Friday, December 28, 2012

Paying for Health Care in Retirement



Plan ahead. It wasn't raining when Noah built the ark.

It would be nice to believe that health care cost increases were a temporary phenomenon. Unfortunately, that's not the case…the cost of medical care has outpaced inflation for the past 20 years and predictions are that medical and long-term care costs will continue to escalate as much as 10% to 15% per year into the future.
The decisions we make as to how and where we live in retirement are unique to each individual or couple. The options open to us, however, are frequently determined by our financial resources…our ability to pay. This review of the various ways to pay for health and long-term care costs during retirement is offered in the hope that it will be of assistance to you as you make decisions regarding your retirement plans.
The options available to pay for medical and long-term care costs in retirement include the following:

Retiree Health Insurance Plans: If your company provides retiree health care benefits, make sure you know how much of the premium you will be required to pay, as well as deductible and co-payment requirements. Retiree health insurance plans are generally designed to coordinate with Medicare benefits. Caution: Even if your employer currently provides retiree health care benefits, there is no guarantee those benefits will be available when you retire. The escalating costs of medical care, combined with the "Baby Boom effect"…a large "bubble" of people who will make a substantial contribution to the size of the aging population… are causing employers to rethink their retiree health care plans. Some companies are requiring that retirees pay a higher share of the premiums to cover themselves, their spouses and any dependents. Other companies are implementing higher co-payments and/or deductibles. Still other companies are discontinuing retiree health insurance plans altogether.

Medicare and "Medigap" Insurance: Most people qualify for Medicare insurance when they reach age 65. Medicare helps to protect you from the costs of medical care during retirement. One fact, however, is evident…there is no "free lunch." You will have costs related to medical care and the likelihood is that those costs will continue to increase each year.

Medicaid: Medicaid is a joint Federal and state program that helps with medical costs for some people with low incomes and limited assets. To qualify for Medicaid, federal poverty guidelines for income and assets must be met. In addition, there are state requirements for Medicaid eligibility. Medicaid is essentially a safety net for those who didn't adequately plan for their financial needs in retirement, or who encountered unexpectedly large expenses that depleted their financial resources.

Long-Term Care Insurance: Long-term care insurance can put you in control, preserving your dignity and allowing you to select the type of facility and setting in which you want to receive long-term care services, if needed. Long-term care insurance also helps protect your personal assets, preserving them for your use or as an inheritance for your family. Suggestion: Check with your employer…your company may offer long-term care insurance as a voluntary or supplemental employee benefit!

Personal Savings: Review your retirement plan to make sure that it adequately takes into account the potential costs of medical care and long-term care in retirement. If you find a shortfall, you may want to increase your personal savings now in order to have sufficient funds available after you retire. Some experts suggest setting up a separate fund or account specifically to pay for health care needs in retirement. This approach adds focus to your plan and better enables you to assess your progress.

Home Equity: Many retired people have built up substantial equity in their homes. There are a variety of ways to tap that equity if needed to pay for health care costs in retirement, including selling the home, arranging a home equity loan or line of credit or using a reverse mortgage to supplement your retirement income.

Going Back to Work: When it comes to planning for health care needs as we age, it's time for a reality check. It's fine today, when our health is good, to state the intention to return to work if financial needs arise, but how many 70+-year-old people with health problems really want to be out looking for a job? In reality, planning to return to work in order to pay for health care needs during retirement isn't so much a plan as it is a hope…a hope that we won't face substantial health care costs as we age.
Don't wait until it rains to start building your ark… plan ahead while the choices are still yours to make!

To view the entire NFS December Retirement Readings Newsletter, click here

Contact my office if we can help.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Seasons Greetings from NFS



Seasons Greetings!!

Your friends here at Northeast Financial Strategies want you to know how much your loyalty and friendship are appreciated this year and in all years past. At the holiday season, our thoughts turn gratefully to those who have made our success possible. It is in this spirit we say...thank you and best wishes for the holidays and a happy new year.

From all of us here at NFS, THANKS!!

Friday, December 21, 2012

IRS Warns Congress Tax Season Might Be Delayed until March or Later without AMT Patch


WASHINGTON, D.C. - IRS Acting Commissioner Steven T. Miller warned Congress on Wednesday that if lawmakers fail to extend the traditional alternative minimum tax patch, up to 100 million American taxpayers could be affected, and most taxpayers might not be able to file their tax returns until late March 2013 or later.

Miller sent a letter to leaders of the House Ways and Means Committee warning of the trouble ahead. He has warned Congress in the past about not patching the AMT, but he has increased his estimates for how many taxpayers could be affected.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

IRS Offers Tips for Year-End Giving


WASHINGTON — Individuals and businesses making contributions to charity should keep in mind some key tax provisions that have taken effect in recent years, especially those affecting donations of clothing and household items and monetary donations.

Rules for Clothing and Household Items

To be deductible, clothing and household items donated to charity generally must be in good used condition or better. A clothing or household item for which a taxpayer claims a deduction of over $500 does not have to meet this standard if the taxpayer includes a qualified appraisal of the item with the return. Household items include furniture, furnishings, electronics, appliances and linens.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012



When business liquidation is the only course of action at an owner's death,life insurance can provide the funds that make the difference between a planned liquidation and a financially-disastrous forced liquidation.

Consider the uses to which life insurance can be put in the planned liquidation of a business:

Estate SettlementLife insurance proceeds can be used to pay estate taxes and other estate settlement costs, allowing the liquidation to proceed on an orderly basis.
Family IncomeUsing life insurance proceeds to provide the surviving family with a continuing income can avoid a forced liquidation of business assets for this purpose.
Working CapitalIf the executor needs additional cash to temporarily operate the business, life insurance can serve as the source of that cash.
Offset ShrinkageEven a planned liquidation will usually result in some shrinkage in value, as compared to what the business was worth as a going concern. Life insurance can be used to replace the value lost in the liquidation.
For "pennies on the dollar," life insurance provides the cash needed to avoid a forced liquidation will be available exactly when needed -- at the business owner's death.
To view the full NFS December Business Briefs Newsletter, click here

Monday, December 17, 2012

WOTC for Hiring Military Veterans by Year’s End


The IRS is reminding employers to act soon if they plan to claim a Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) for hiring certain military veterans. The expanded credit may provide thousands of dollars of benefit to qualified businesses, but only if they hire veterans before the end of 2012.

The WOTC rewards employers with a tax credit for hiring individuals from targeted groups. The Three Percent Withholding Repeal and Job Creation Act (2011 Heroes Act) expanded this tax incentive to encourage employers to hire military veterans by creating the Returning Heroes Tax Credit and the Wounded Warriors Tax Credit.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Estate Shrinkage Profiles




You may be interested in what the public probate records of the estates of businessmen, attorneys, entertainers, accountants and even a President have to show.

NameGross EstateNet EstatePercent Shrinkage
Franklin D. Roosevelt$1,940,999$1,366,13230%
Henry J. Kaiser, Sr.$5,597,772$3,109,40844%
Edwin C. Ernst, CPA$12,642,431$5,518,31956%
Robert S. Kerr (U.S. Senator)$20,800,000$11,300,00046%
A.H. Wiggin (Chairman, Chase Bank)$20,493,999$5,646,66672%
William E. Boeing$22,386,158$11,796,41047%
Rick Nelson$744,357$506,63632%
Elvis Presley$10,165,434$2,790,79973%
Rock Hudson$8,600,000$3,926,28854%
James S. Kemper (Insurance Executive)$10,948,356$7,007,56036%
Nelson A. Rockefeller$79,249,475$56,727,62828%
Conrad Hilton$199,070,700$93,288,48353%
Source: Public Probate Records
If these people, who had access to the best advice money could buy, were not able to avoid the "unwanted heirs" (federal and state estate taxes and estate administrative costs), it will be difficult for the rest of us to avoid estate settlement costs.
Proper advance planning, however, can minimize the impact of estate settlement costs on the value of your estate.
To view the full NFS December Estate Ideas Newsletter, click here

Monday, December 10, 2012

Can I Have a SEP IRA and SIMPLE IRA For Employees?


Q: Can an employer offer both a SIMPLE IRA plan and a SEP IRA to his/her employees?

Friday, December 7, 2012

IRS Offers Tax Tips for “The Season of Giving”


December is traditionally a month for giving generously to charities, friends and family. But it’s also a time that can have a major impact on the tax return you’ll file in the New Year. Here are some “Season of Giving” tips from the IRS covering everything from charity donations to refund planning:

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Long Term Care - Did you Know?




Did You Know...
>About one-third of individuals turning 65 in 2010 will need at least three months of nursing home care, 24% more than a year, and 9% more than five years.
(Source: What Is the Distribution of Lifetime Health Care Costs from Age 65?, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, March 2010)
>About 71% of nursing home residents are women.
(Source: CDC Vital and Health Statistics, Series 13, No. 167, June 2009)
>The national average daily rate in 2011 for a private room in a nursing home was $239, an increase of 4.4% from 2010.
(Source: 2011 MetLife Market Survey of Nursing Home, Assisted Living, Adult Day Services, and Home Care Costs)
>The average length of a nursing home stay is 835 days.
(Source: CDC Vital and Health Statistics, Series 13, No. 167, June 2009)
>At an average daily rate of $239, an average nursing home stay of 835 days currently costs almost $200,000 making it virtually unaffordable for many Americans.
>Medicare does not pay for long-term care services, as explained by the Social Security Administration:
“About Social Security and Medicare... Social Security pays retirement, disability, family and survivors benefits. Medicare, a separate program run by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, helps pay for inpatient hospital care, nursing care, doctors’ fees, drugs, and other medical services and supplies to people age 65 and older, as well as to people who have been receiving Social Security disability benefits for two years or more. Medicare does not pay for long-term care, so you may want to consider options for private insurance (emphasis added).”
Without proper planning, a serious accident or illness could rob you of your financial independence.

Whether purchased for yourself, your spouse or for an aging parent, long-term care insurance can help protect assets accumulated over a lifetime from the ravages of long-term care costs.
For the complete NFS December Financial Facts Newsletter, click here

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Medicare Part B Premium Changes for 2013


The new Medicare Part B premium amounts for 2013 have announced.  The base monthly premiums increase $5.00 from $99.90/month in 2012 to $104.90/month in 2013.

Some taxpayers have to pay higher premiums due to high AGI.  The amount varies based on the taxpayer’s income as shown on the income tax returns and their filing status.  The monthly Medicare premium (base + extra) amounts for 2013 based on 2011 income and filing status are:

Monday, December 3, 2012

Tax Impacts of President Obama's Re-election


OVERVIEW

President Obama secured a second term in office November 6, 2012, in the end winning the Electoral College by a wide margin. The President's re-election now sets in motion what will likely be difficult negotiations between Democrats and Republicans over the fate of the Bush-era tax cuts, nearly $100 billion in automatic spending cuts, and the more than 50 expiring tax extenders, which include the alternative minimum tax (AMT) patch for tens of millions of taxpayers. The President's re-election has also significantly changed the dynamics for reaching an eventual agreement over long-term tax reform.

General Impact

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Obama Tweets for Tax Cut Extension


President Barack Obama urged middle-class families who are in danger of seeing their taxes go up next year to begin using Twitter and other forms of communication to urge lawmakers to extend tax cuts for the middle class.

Obama said Wednesday they should use a new Twitter hashtag, #My2K, to explain what they would do with the additional $2,200 that a family of four is estimated to pay next year if the current tax rates expire for taxpayers earning less than $250,000 a year.

Monday, November 26, 2012

New IRS Notices Related to Form 1099-K


If you receive a letter or notice from the IRS, it will explain the reasons for the correspondence and provide instructions. The notice you receive covers a very specific issue about your account or tax return. Generally, the IRS will send a notice if it believes you owe additional tax or are due a larger refund, or if there is a question about your tax return.

Friday, November 23, 2012

2013 Standard Mileage Rates Up 1 Cent per Mile for Business, Medical and Moving


WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today issued the 2013 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2013, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:


  • 56.5 cents per mile for business miles driven
  • 24 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations

The rate for business miles driven during 2013 increases 1 cent from the 2012 rate.  The medical and moving rate is also up 1 cent per mile from the 2012 rate.

The standard mileage rate for business is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile. The rate for medical and moving purposes is based on the variable costs.

Taxpayers always have the option of calculating the actual costs of using their vehicle rather than using the standard mileage rates.

A taxpayer may not use the business standard mileage rate for a vehicle after using any depreciation method under the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS) or after claiming a Section 179 deduction for that vehicle.  In addition, the business standard mileage rate cannot be used for more than four vehicles used simultaneously.

These and other requirements for a taxpayer to use a standard mileage rate to calculate the amount of a deductible business, moving, medical, or charitable expense are in Rev. Proc. 2010-51.  Notice 2012-72 contains the standard mileage rates, the amount a taxpayer must use in calculating reductions to basis for depreciation taken under the business standard mileage rate, and the maximum standard automobile cost that a taxpayer may use in computing the allowance under a fixed and variable rate plan.

-IRS Notice 2012-95

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving from NFS


Today, we all move pretty fast and sometimes we rush right by the simple things in life, like thanking our colleagues, customers and friends for all that they do.

We’d like to “slow down” for a minute, during a very challenging year, as we approach one of America’s great traditions of “taking stock and giving thanks.” For almost 400 years, our country has celebrated Thanksgiving Day to give thanks for what we have and express gratitude to each other.

Your friends at Northeast Financial Strategies want you to know how much your loyalty and friendship are appreciated this year and in all years past.

To you and your family, from all of us here at NFS, a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

What is a FUTA Tax Surcharge?


FUTA Tax Surcharges – Form 940 Schedule A for 2012

Some states have borrowed from the Federal government to pay unemployment benefits and have not yet repaid the money. As a result employers with payroll in those states have a “credit reduction” that applies to effectively reduce the maximum .054 credit. The reduction in the credit means a net increase in the FUTA taxes due for the year.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

IRS Announces Per Diem Rates


Per Diem Amounts - Effective October 1, 2012

The M&IE rates have stayed at the same $46, $51, $56, $61, $66, and $71 although some cities may have different rates that they had for the prior fiscal year (October 1, 2011-September 30, 2012).  The full per diem tables by state and key city can be found at http://www.gsa.gov/.  IRS Publication 1542 has been discontinued and is no longer available for new years.

The definition of “incidental expenses” has changed.  Effective October 1, 2012, this includes only fees and tips given to porters, baggage carriers, hotel staff, and staff on ships.  Transportation between places of lodging or business and places where meals are taken, and the mailing cost of filing travel vouchers and paying employer-sponsored charge

Monday, November 19, 2012

Hobby or Business?


If an individual, partnership, estate, trust, or an S corporation engages in an activity that is not conducted as a for-profit business, deductions are limited to the amount of income from the activity. This rule does not apply to corporations, other than S corporations. If an activity is considered a for-profit business, deductions can exceed income, allowing the resulting loss to offset other income.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Can I Use My Roth IRA Contributions For a First Home?


Q: I am 26 and I have been contributing to my Roth IRA since I was 18. Now, I am looking to purchase my first home and was considering taking funds from my Roth IRA. The 5-year rule is confusing to me and I am not sure how this applies to me, given the circumstances. Are the funds in my Roth IRA penalty free, and tax free when withdrawn for the purpose of buying a first home?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

2013 Social Security Taxable Wage Limit & Employee Rates



The Social Security Administration announced an upward cost-of-living adjustment for the Social Security taxable wage limit. For year 2013,the amount of earnings taxable for Social Security (Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance, or “OASDI”) will increase from $110,100 to $113,700. The temporary decrease in the employee tax rate from 6.2% to 4.2%, last extended under the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, expires on December 31, 2012.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Obama Victory Leads to Fast Tax Moves by Wealthy Before 2013

(Bloomberg) The race is on for wealthy Americans to save on taxes before January 1.

President Barack Obama’s re-election means his administration will push to let tax cuts enacted during the George W. Bush era expire for high earners, as scheduled, at year-end. Obama wants to increase the top federal income tax rate to 39.6 percent from 35 percent, boost rates on long-term capital gains to as much as 23.8 percent, and shrink exemptions from estate-and-gift taxes.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Obama Wins Re-election, Pledging to Reform Tax Code


President Barack Obama delivered his acceptance speech early Wednesday morning after winning re-election in a hard-fought campaign against Republican rival Mitt Romney as the U.S. faces the risk of another plunge into recession with the expiration of the current tax rates coupled with deep automatic spending cuts.

In his acceptance speech at McCormick Place in his native Chicago, Obama promised to work with both parties to solve the country’s lingering economic problems. “You elected us to focus on your jobs, not ours,” he said. “And in the coming weeks and months, I am looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties to meet the challenges we can only solve together: reducing our deficit, reforming our Tax Code, fixing our immigration system, freeing ourselves from foreign oil. We’ve got more work to do.”

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day is Here


Today is election day in America - it doesn't matter who you decide to vote for, just get out there and do it! Not voting, is a wasted vote.

Voting in Wrentham is at the Delaney School, Gibbons Gym, 120 Taunton St. Polls open Tuesday, November 6 at 7 a.m. and will close at 8 p.m.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

IRS Extends Deadlines After Sandy


The IRS is granting taxpayers and tax preparers affected by Hurricane Sandy until November 7 to file returns and accompanying payments.

The relief applies to taxpayers and preparers in an area affected by Hurricane Sandy or otherwise impacted by the storm. It primarily applies to businesses whose payroll and excise tax returns and payments were due on October 31. No action is required by the taxpayer; the relief is automatic. Regular federal tax deposits are due according to current rules.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Safety Tips from NFS

October 2012

Halloween Safety Tips from NFS


Halloween Safety Tips to Have a safe and fun Halloween!

KNOW THE RULE


1. Instruct your older children to TAKE FRIENDS when “Trick or Treating.”

Monday, October 29, 2012

Odds of Living to Retirement at Age 65






Of 1,000 Men...

Of 1,000 Men at AgeNumber Who Die Before Age 65Their Odds of Living to Retirement at Age 65
3016184%
3515584%
4014885%
4513886%
5012388%
5510090%
606294%

Of 1,000 Women...

Of 1,000 Women at AgeNumber Who Die Before Age 65Their Odds of Living to Retirement at Age 65
3012687%
3512188%
4011688%
4510989%
509790%
557892%
604795%
Inadequate retirement savings can keep you from realizing your retirement dreams!

Are you making effective use of your business to achieve your retirement planning goals?
To read the Full NFS October '12 Business Briefs, please click here

Protecting Your Financial Records From Disaster


Hurricane Sandy is on the way and it is important that we are prepared for an emergency disaster. Take this time to educate yourself and your whole family on what to do in any type of disaster. Get a plan ready and have needed supplies handy if you ever need them.


Identification. If you suddenly find yourself standing in a pile of rubble that was once your home and your worldly possessions, establishing your identity will be of paramount importance. Access to personal identification documents such as your Social Security card, driver's license, marriage license, birth certificate, passport and any citizenship papers will help you quickly establish your identity and speed up the co-ordination of your efforts with insurance companies, construction contractors, bankers and other entities involved in rebuilding and recovery.

Create a Backup Set of Records Electronically. Individuals and businesses should keep a set of backup records in a safe place. The backup should be stored away from the original set. Keeping a backup set of records - including, for example, bank statements, tax returns, insurance policies, etc. - is easier now that many financial institutions provide statements and documents electronically, and much financial information is available on the Internet. Even if the original records are provided only on paper, they can be scanned, which converts them to a digital format. Once documents are in electronic form, taxpayers can download them to a backup storage device, like an external hard drive, or burn them onto a CD or DVD.

You should also consider online backup, which is the only way to ensure data is fully protected. With online backup, files are stored in another region of the country - so if a hurricane or other natural disaster occurs in your area, documents remain safe.

Document Valuables.  Another step you can take to prepare for disaster is to photograph or videotape the contents of your home, especially items of higher value. A photographic record can help prove the market value of items for insurance and casualty loss claims. Photos should be stored with a friend or family member who lives outside the area, or in the above mentioned online backup solution. Such proof can include photographs or videos of personal possessions; remember, digital cameras and camcorders make it possible to quickly and easily create a complete home inventory record.

Update Emergency Plans. Emergency plans should be reviewed annually. Personal and business situations change over time, as do preparedness needs. When employers hire new employees or when a company or organization changes functions, plans should be updated accordingly and employees should be informed of the changes.

Make sure you have a means of receiving severe weather information; if you have a NOAA Weather Radio, put fresh batteries in it. Make sure you know what you should do if threatening weather approaches.

We're Here to Help. Rebuilding your life in the wake of a disaster is a daunting task. However, advanced preparation can go a long way toward making recovery easier. If you don't have your documents in order, there's no time like the present to get started. Once you have everything in its proper place, remember to update it. If you lack the time or energy to keep your files updated on an ongoing basis, schedule a yearly checkup and use it as an opportunity to put the latest version of everything into your files. Even the most well-organized disaster recovery materials will be of no use to you if they are out-of-date. Please contact my office for your free “Emergency Planning Guide” today. This detailed guide will provide more in depth plans to help you protect your financial records from disaster.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Importance of Planning for Retirement



Some people think that retirement planning isn’t important because they won’t live until retirement. Consider...

Of 100 Men at AgeTheir Odds of Living to Retirement at Age 65
3084%
4085%
5088%
6094%

Of 100 Women at AgeTheir Odds of Living to Retirement at Age 65
3087%
4088%
5090%
6095%
Source: 2001 Commissioners' Standard Ordinary (CSO) Mortality Table; based on composite date (combination of smokers, nonsmokers and smoking status unknown); age nearest birthday

Not only will the vast majority of us live to reach retirement at age 65, but with advances in medical technology, we can also expect to live a substantial number of years after retirement. Consider...

A Man Who Is Currently Age:Has a Life Expectancy of Age:
3078
4078
5079
6081

A Woman Who Is Currently Age:Has a Life Expectancy of Age:
3082
4082
5083
6084
Source: 2001 Commissioners' Standard Ordinary (CSO) Mortality Table; based on composite date (combination of smokers, nonsmokers and smoking status unknown); age nearest birthday
The biggest financial risk that anyone faces during retirement is the risk that income will be outlived.

Don't let a lack of planning keep you from realizing your retirement dreams!


To Read the entire NFS October '12 Financial Facts, click here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The High Cost of Dying






There may be a mistaken impression that, at death, your assets will automatically be distributed to your loved ones. Instead, several "unwanted heirs" may step forward FIRST for their share of your estate.
These "unwanted heirs" can include:
  • Federal Estate Tax
  • State Inheritance Tax
  • Estate Administrative Costs (funeral expenses, probate costs, professional fees, final expenses and debts)
The problem is that these "unwanted heirs" can siphon off a significant portion of an estate's total value.

The high cost of dying:

Gross EstateAdministrative Costs at 5% (1)Taxable Estate2012 Federal Estate Tax (2)
$1,000,000$50,000$950,000$0
$5,000,000$250,000$4,750,000$0
$7,500,000$375,000$7,125,000$701,750
$10,000,000$500,000$9,500,000$1,533,000
$15,000,000$750,000$14,250,000$3,195,500
$20,000,000$1,000,000$19,000,000$4,858,000
$25,000,000$1,250,000$23,750,000$6,520,500
$30,000,000$1,500,000$28,500,000$8,183,000
(1) Actual costs may be higher or lower.
(2) Based on the 2012 maximum 35% estate tax rate and $5,120,000 exemption equivalent.
What might the "high cost of dying" mean to you and your family?


To view the entire NFS October '12 Estate Ideas, click here.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Understanding Medicare

A survey from Extend Health reveals 75% of seniors on Medicare say the government health program is difficult to understand. Understanding Medicare and various coverage options can be confusing. In addition to signing up for original Medicare, seniors can purchase private Medicare Advantage or Medigap plans to fill gaps in what original Medicare covers. This adds another layer of complexity to their choices.

The takeaway for seniors turning 65 this year — or for seniors already on Medicare making decisions to change or renew their coverage options during the upcoming annual enrollment period — is that it's important to have the right information to make sure you have the right coverage based on your health needs and desires.

Our Medicare seminars are very informative and usually filled up. We still have some spots left for the upcoming seminar...

Medicare - Healthcare Options for Retirees
HarborOne U, Mansfield MA
Thursday, November 1st, 2012 
1:00 pm to 2:30 pm

Medicare Overview:
Eligibility / Enrollment / Coverage Options/cost
Prescription Drug Coverage:
Medicare Prescription Drug Program (Part D) / Employer Retiree Coverage / Other Options for Prescription Coverage / Help with Health Care Costs

Discussion & Questions on Medicare Planning & Retirement Strategies

Presented by James Schweitzer and Jeffrey Schweitzer of Northeast Financial Strategies Inc. and Peggy McDonough, Regional Director of the SHINE Program at HESSCO Elder Services.

Register today as seating is limited.





Friday, October 12, 2012

IRS Answers to Frequently Asked Questions for Same-Sex Couples


The following questions and answers provide information to same-sex domestic partners, same-sex individuals in civil unions and same-sex couples whose marriage is recognized by state law (for convenience, these individuals are referred to as “same-sex couples” and each individual is referred to as a “same-sex partner” in these questions and answers). Below this information are questions and answers for same-sex couples who reside in community property states and are subject to their state’s community property laws:

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Fall Financial Tidbits


Summer has come to an end. Now that the hottest days, family vacations and back-to-school rush are behind us, it’s a great time to give some attention to your personal finances. Prepare for the coming months – and the holidays on the horizon – with these fall tips:


  • Pay quarterly estimated taxes. If you’re self-employed or you have extra income you haven’t reported on your W-2, now’s the time to make sure you’re paying both state and federal quarterly estimated income taxes so you don’t get stuck with a big bill from

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Three Toads




How often I recall the tale of the three toads...

They decided to cross the road to a greener field on the other side,
but were momentarily delayed by a deep rut in the auto tracks.
Two toads hopped over the rut successfully,
but the third misjudged the distance and fell in.

His friends waited for him as he tried to jump out but failed.
Finally, they deserted him and went on across the field.

A few moments later,
they were amazed to see their friend hopping merrily toward them.
“What happened?
The last we saw, you were in a rut and couldn’t get out.”
“I know,” he replied. “But a car came along and I had to!”

Please call my office if you’re in a “financial rut”…
we may be able to help.

To read the Full NFS September '12 Retirement Readings, click here

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Federal Income Tax Rates for Corporations




For Taxable Corporate Income:

From: To: The Tax Is: Plus: Of the Amount Over:
$0 $50,000 $0 15% $ 0
50,000 75,000 7,500 25% 50,000
75,000 100,000 13,750 34% 75,000
100,000 335,000 22,250 39% 100,000
335,000 10,000,000 113,000 34% 335,000
10,00,000 15,000,000 3,400,000 35% 10,000,000
15,00,000 18,333,333 5,150,000 38% 15,000,000
18,333,333 unlimited 5,150,000 35% 18,333,333
Are you making effective use of corporate dollars to achieve your personal financial security goals?
To read the Full NFS Spetember '12 Business Briefs, please click here

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Why People Buy Life Insurance



For the Death Benefit:

  • To replace earning power at death
  • To pay for cash needs that arise at death

As a Disciplined Savings Program*:

  • To help pay for educational costs
  • To supplement retirement income
  • To take advantage of business opportunities
  • For financial emergencies

Because of the Risk of Waiting:

  • To replace earning power at death
  • To pay for cash needs that arise at death

For the Tax Advantages:

  • Death proceeds are received free of income tax
  • Cash value accumulations are tax deferred
  • Cash value loans or withdrawals* are free of tax, as long as the policy stays in force
  • Accelerated death benefits are received free of income tax

In Recognition of Personal Responsibility to:

  • Family
  • Banker
  • Mortgage company

For the Flexibility:

  • Benefits may be available regardless of whether the policyowner lives, quits, dies or becomes disabled
  • Life insurance is portable; benefits are not lost due to job changes
* Withdrawals and loans will reduce the policy’s death benefit and cash value available for use.

To Read the entire NFS September '12 Financial Facts, click here.

Please call my office for an appointment if I can assist in evaluating your life insurance needs. Remember, September is LIFE INSURANCE AWARENESS MONTH!


Monday, September 17, 2012

Keeping His Spirit Alive


As a young insurance agent, Mark Wandall didn’t needed to be convinced to buy life insurance. But even Mark would be amazed at all that the insurance has meant for his wife, Melissa, and for many other people he never met.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

What Are the Implications of Dying Without a Will?




People who die without a valid will, die intestate. In this event, the state in which they resided effectively provides a will through the state's intestacy law. This means that the state dictates who will receive the estate owner's property and in what proportion.

While state intestacy laws do attempt to provide for a "fair" distribution of property, the state's "one-size-fits-all" will simply cannot reflect the specific wishes of the estate owner in regard to either property distribution or the unique needs of the estate owner's heirs.

In addition, state intestacy laws require that the probate court appoint a guardian for any minor children. The court-appointed guardian, who may not even be a relative, may be required to post bond and the guardianship will be supervised by the probate court.

Finally, when a person dies intestate, the probate court appoints an administrator of the estate. This administrator can be anyone of the court's choosing and is required to post bond, an additional expense that must be paid by the estate.

To view the entire NFS September '12 Estate Ideas, click here.

Medicare - Healthcare Options for Retirees

Medicare - Healthcare Options for Retirees - TODAY!!!
HarborOne U, Mansfield MA
Wednesday, September 12th, 2012
1:00 pm to 2:30 pm

Medicare Overview:
Eligibility / Enrollment / Coverage Options/cost
Prescription Drug Coverage:
Medicare Prescription Drug Program (Part D) / Employer Retiree Coverage / Other Options for Prescription Coverage / Help with Health Care Costs

Discussion & Questions on Medicare Planning & Retirement Strategies

Presented by James Schweitzer and Jeffrey Schweitzer of Northeast Financial Strategies Inc. and Peggy McDonough, Regional Director of the SHINE Program at HESSCO Elder Services.

Register today as seating is limited. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Wrentham Day 2012 Winners

Wrentham Day 2012 was a great day and Northeast Financial Strategies Inc was excited to take part!

In addition to meeting lots of new people and seeing our old friends, we gave out hundreds of Wrentham T-Shirts, put temporary tattoos on kids of all ages and had a FREE Raffle for some great prizes from lots of local businesses! We thank them all for their support and generosity!!

Here is the listing of the raffle winners: