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Month: April 2020

Episode 4: Risk and the Bear Market

Portfolio stress tests! Consolidating assets! Analyzing risk! Shifting money to bonds! In this episode of Peak Financial Freedom Show, Dan and Jim discuss different ways that you can bring planning into your portfolio to minimize risk, especially when you’re in retirement. To do so, they look back at all of the bear markets that have happened since 1929 – how often they’ve happened, how big the losses were, the best ways one could have protected themselves from the market drop, and how another bear market may affect your portfolio.

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The CARES Act Has Changed 2020 RMD Rules

When President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act on March 27, he enacted the largest aid package in American history.[i] One important impact is that Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) for 2020 are, in essence, suspended. In this way, the federal government chose to sacrifice short-term tax revenue in order to provide immediate financial relief to retirees.

This change bears discussion, however, as there are many questions about what the CARES Act means for those who have already taken their 2020 RMDs, as well as any impact on taxes and inherited accounts.

Let’s begin with a review of the basic tenets of the RMD portion of this new law.

Understanding the CARES Act

This relief package allows defined contribution plans, including 401(k)s, 403(b)s, 457(b)s and IRAs to suspend 2020 RMD requirements. Now, RMD rates were already a bit lower since 2020 is the first year, per the SECURE Act[ii], in which the age change from 70.5 to 72 began, but skipping RMDs in 2020 altogether is a meaningful change. With so many Americans facing financial struggles due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the flexibility to opt-out of distribution means that retirement portfolios have more time to recover from the current market volatility.

[i] https://www.forbes.com/sites/jackbrewster/2020/03/27/trump-signs-2-trillion-stimulus-bill-into-law-largest-aid-package-in-us-history/#77d59e864ea5

[ii] https://www.fidelity.com/learning-center/personal-finance/retirement/understanding-the-secure-act-and-retirement

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Episode 3: Retirement Income in the Markets: A Recipe for Regret?

You spend your entire life working hard, saving up, investing your money, and dreaming of the day when you can finally retire and enjoy the fruits of your labor. However, one can never expect stability in the stock markets, and that’s why it’s so important to have a portfolio that is uniquely built to protect you from any fluctuations the markets may face – no matter how drastic.

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Financial Literacy Month, Coronavirus and Financial Resilience

Beginning 16 years ago, April was declared Financial Literacy Month as part of a strategy to enhance and increase nationwide financial literacy. It was implemented with the hope that it would lead to increased government advocacy of financial literacy programs, as well as spark more interest in programming already offered through schools, non-profit organizations, and businesses.

The creation of a month-long focus on financial literacy was a pointed acknowledgment of its importance in helping Americans gain necessary financial knowledge – knowledge that proves integral during a time of crisis like we are facing now with the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

Though prevention is always preferable over a cure, it’s never too late to learn more and change your financial behaviors. Doing so can help you become more resilient in the face of financial adversity during times of personal or worldwide crisis. So, here are three ways you can personally celebrate Financial Literacy Month this year:

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Episode 2: Answers to Your Pressing Financial Questions

Join Jim Files and Dan Ahmad as they answer listener questions touching on topics that range from pension management to retirement planning to why it’s so important to have a written plan for your personal wealth management goals. Having a comprehensive financial plan for your future is critical to staying on top of your finances and setting you and your family up for the retirement you deserve.

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Series Premier: Is there too much risk in my current portfolio?

Join Jim Files and Dan Ahmad as they provide valuable information about risk level in your portfolio as you age. Mathematically, there’s a high probability that you will experience many peaks and valleys of the stock market. That’s why as you age, your risk of running out of money in retirement goes up.

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Scams Abound Amid Pandemic Panic

Sadly, as is the case in any crisis, there are those among us who are looking to capitalize on cruelty and take advantage of heightened vulnerabilities. Hackers are trying to lure victims to click on COVID-19 related hyperlinks that contain malicious software and other computer viruses. In some cases, these scams look like official messages from the government and they send people to fake websites where their sensitive information can be stolen.

The following guidelines can help you protect yourself from these digital scams and stay clear of suspicious links you may come across in your internet travels.

How to Spot a Phishing Email

Phishing is a practice in which scammers send emails that appear to be from legitimate organizations. In the case of COVID-19, they may promise to share important information about the coronavirus or how to keep your family safe. In short, they prey on a public fearful of a dangerous virus.

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CARES Act Signed into Law –Brings Relief to Millions of Americans

On March 27 the President signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) to address the unprecedented public health and economic crisis related to COVID-19.

This $2 trillion bill is meant to impact both individuals and businesses and contains significant tax-savings measures. It could affect prior tax years while also creating immediate cash-flow.

Impact on Individuals

Stimulus Checks

Perhaps the most impactful provision for American citizens is the CARES Act’s promise of cash payments of up to $1,200 per single individual and $2,400 for a married couple. Parents will also receive an additional $500 per qualifying child. Payments are phased-out for individuals with incomes greater than $75,000 and for married couples filing jointly with income greater than $150,000.

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