Tax Planning Opportunities: Tax Favored Retirement Account Contributions

Back in February, we anticipated writing an ongoing series of articles on the measurable value of forward-looking tax planning, a topic that we spend a lot of time thinking about here at Level Financial Advisors.  We posted the first article, but then COVID 19 intervened in all of our lives and our attention turned to the more immediate topics resulting from the crisis. This article brings us back to the tax planning theme and focuses on the use of tax favored retirement accounts.  There are two distinct components to the planning function.  First, we must make decisions about new contributions during our working years and then, just as importantly, make decisions about how to best distribute the funds from the accounts in the future. This article will focus on contributions and the next in the series will address distributions. We must add a note of caution as some families are facing reduced...

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IRS MAKES IMPORTANT UPDATES TO RMD RULES

On Tuesday, June 23rd the IRS released Notice 2020-51, which updated and expanded CARES Act relief for Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) on tax-deferred IRAs, 401(k)s, and 403(b) accounts for 2020. An RMD is the amount the IRS mandates people age 70 ½ (born before July 1, 1949) or age 72 (born after June 30, 1949) take out of their tax-deferred accounts in order to pay tax on those savings. The two most important points of this update are: Anyone who has taken their RMD at any time in 2020 can return it to their IRA or other tax deferred account. The original legislation limited returns to RMDs taken between February 1 and May 15. Now, retirees who took their RMD (or partial RMD) in January of 2020 or after May 15, 2020 can return that RMD. The deadline to return RMDs has been extended to August 31, 2020 from the original deadline...

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In-Person Client Meetings

We are pleased to announce that we will begin offering in-person meetings starting July 15, 2020 at both our Amherst and Hamburg offices.  We will also continue to offer web conference meetings and digital transaction tools as we have throughout the crisis. Clients can use the same tools they have used during the pandemic to schedule in-person, phone, or Zoom meetings with their advisor. To protect the health and safety of all visitors to our offices, we have put the following protocols in place for in-person meetings. All visitors and employees are required to wear a mask when entering the building. Masks are required when individuals cannot be six feet apart while in the office.  It is up to the discretion of each visitor if they would like to wear their mask during meetings with their advisor, or if they would like their advisor to wear their mask during the meeting....

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The Power of Rebalancing for Retirees

The stock market has taken a wild ride so far in 2020. Starting on February 19th, the global stock market lost approximately 35% in five weeks.* Following that, the global stock market gained 42% from March 23rd through June 16th.* The market has been extremely volatile over this period, which typically drives investors crazy, but ultimately provides a unique opportunity for retirement investing. Over the last six months we have been rebalancing portfolios as we’ve mentioned in several videos and blog posts. We know that there is extensive research supporting rebalancing as a risk reduction tool, which is especially valuable for retirees. Typically, this involves selling stocks and buying bonds, mainly because stocks tend to earn higher returns than bonds over the long run. Thus, portfolios become overweight in stocks and create the need to rebalance. But when markets decline, rebalancing provides an opportunity to take advantage of depressed stock prices and...

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Elise Murphy and Rosanne Braxton Recognized by Junior League

Two members of the Level family were recognized recently by the Junior League of Buffalo for their efforts to assist the local organization.  Level's President Rosanne Braxton, CFP® was awarded the organizations Sustainer Award, while Elise Murphy, CFP® was recognized with the Membership Council Award. The Junior League of Buffalo, Inc. is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers....

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Retirement Planning During A Global Pandemic

One of the benefits of financial planning is proactively preparing for periods of financial instability and chaos. Clearly, we are in such a period as all of us are experiencing the full range of anxiety and insecurity caused by: The health risk to ourselves and our loved ones. The sense of isolation and disruption. The financial impact on our income and investments. The fear of the unknown; this is unprecedented! Let’s acknowledge that the specific nature of the pandemic and the emotional impact of being isolated were not factors that many folks anticipated or planned for. And while it is impossible to avoid the emotional discomfort, we can gain some measure of security by applying logic, research, and smart strategy to the things we can control, especially within our finances. The economic impacts of this crisis have been experienced before and a good financial plan can address these periods of instability and...

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