CFG Planner Blog

Posted by Nancy Hecht, CFP®, AIF®

While many taxpayers have payroll deduction retirement plans, it does not necessarily prevent you from making a deductible IRA contribution. If you are married filing a joint return and your adjusted gross income is between $98,000 – $118,000, you can make a partial or completely deductible IRA contribution for 2016. For single tax filers, their phase-out bracket is $61,000 -$71,000. If you are self-employed, the limits are even broader if you open a SEP IRA. For 2016, you can contribute 25% of your adjusted gross income up to $53,000.

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Posted by  Joe Bert, CFP®, AIF®

At Certified Financial Group, we live by a simple rule: act in the best interests of our clients. This philosophy is also the underpinning for the financial advisory industry’s “Fiduciary Standard.”

But the word fiduciary is truly a sophist’s dream. There’s a veritable alphabet soup of numbers and letters that can allow certain actors to play games with what the meaning of “fiduciary” truly obligates them to do and the way they must act.

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Posted by Gary Abely, CFP®, AIF®, CPA

“Volatility is not risk, it is the source of future returns.” – Jan. 10, 2016

“Volatility” can be measured by using the standard deviation or variance between returns from a market index over a certain time frame.  While volatility is not exactly risk, it can provide an indication of an asset’s risk.  In this case, the author of this quote clearly wanted the reader to understand that to obtain long term favorable returns, one must accept the inevitable volatility that comes from investing in equity securities.  Undoubtedly, 2017 and future years will have plenty of intra-year moves up and down ten to twenty percent or more.

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Posted by Nancy Hecht, CFP®, AIF®

A fresh new year is once again upon us. It’s the time to be thankful for the blessings of the past year and to take stock of all our achievements. At the same time, New Year 2017 is a brand new year to start afresh, to start strong, and yet another chance to do everything we want to do this year.

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Posted by Denise Kovach, CFP®, AIF®

Mistiming a divorce. I know, if you are in the process of getting a divorce you don’t always have a choice of when things will become official. However, if you do there is an opportunity to monetarily benefit from, without affecting, your spouse’s SS benefit while leaving your own alone to continue to grow. SS rules say that an ex-spouse can claim benefits on the other ex-spouse’s work record as long as the marriage lasted at least 10 years. You also have access to survivor benefits, too. So if you are close to that 10 year mark and can endure, stay put.

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Posted by  Joe Bert, CFP®, AIF®

At Certified Financial Group, we don’t see it as the firm’s goal to be the knight-errant of the fiduciary standard for all financial advisors. Nor do we propose to wag our fingers at those with conflicts. Rather, we simply hope to intimate our firm’s pride at our Investment Advisor, Certified Advisory Corp (CAC), having recently received the Centre for Fiduciary Excellence’s CEFEX designation and to discuss our perspective on the meaning of fiduciary duty.

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Posted by Gary Abely, CFP®, AIF®, CPA

Most of us have heard that in retirement we can withdraw approximately 4 to 5% per year from our retirement accounts without too much worry about outliving these assets.  One of the biggest risks a new retiree faces is sequencing of returns, or a bear market in the early retiree years.  It is generally a good idea to have at least your first several years of needed withdrawals invested conservatively.  While many retirees review where their funds should be invested, few spend adequate time analyzing from which accounts their withdrawals should come from and the order of those withdrawals.

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Posted by Denish Kovach, CFP®, AIF®

The short answer is “Not without paying taxes.” The IRS considers moving money from your IRA to a 529 plan as a distribution included in your taxable ordinary income. Plus you would face an additional 10% penalty if you are not yet age 59-1/2. So rather than opening the 529 plan you might consider using the IRA distribution for the education expense, as distributions from your IRA being used for higher education are exempt from the 10% penalty. These expenses include tuition, fees, books, supplies, and equipment at an eligible institution. Keep in mind that while these distributions are penalty free, they are still considered taxable income.

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Posted by Aaron Bert, CFP®, AIF®

The one incident that could change your entire future

Whenever you read about important topics like long-term care, health care or retirement, you’re likely inundated with facts and numbers. The cost of care, the likelihood you’ll experience various diseases, how much you’ll need in retirement to live and pay for care — these are some facts you typically come across.

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