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So far Perspective Financial Services has created 147 blog entries.

Think About Estate Planning

Aretha Franklin’s death without a will is a reminder that “you better think” about estate planning.

On August 16, Aretha Franklin passed away in her home after a long, private battle with pancreatic cancer. The Queen of Soul died without having a will or trust in place. Now her family must wrestle with not only their grief, but also the lengthy, complicated and expensive process of probate. Take this news as an important reminder to think about estate planning. Probate is the court-supervised process of gathering a deceased person’s assets and distributing them to creditors and inheritors.

How Often Do You Think about Estate Planning?

Franklin’s exact net worth is unknown, but it is estimated at roughly $80 million and includes the rights to many of her hit songs, according to Wealth Management Magazine. The complete lack of estate planning on Franklin’s part will likely result in the federal government taking a huge tax bite out of that figure, leaving less inheritance to her four sons. At the moment, there are no indications that any of Franklin’s heirs are in conflict regarding next steps. Unfortunately, without documented instructions for distribution of her estate, that could easily change.

When music legend Prince died two years ago, he also left behind no will or plan for what should happen to his $500 million estate. In addition, it was unclear who had control of his royalty rights and his unreleased music. Both performers led deeply private lives. Yet, without a will or trust in place, each of their estates now can and will be laid bare for all to see.

Everyone needs a will. The legal document expedites the settlement of an estate, keeps proceedings from going to probate, and helps keep private matters private. This is true regardless of the size or scope of your estate, legacy or fame.

By |September 24th, 2018|Current Affairs, Estate Planning|

529 Education Savings Plan Updates

529 Education Savings Plan UpdatesIn July, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Department of the Treasury announced new regulations related to recent tax law changes that affect 529 plans. The 529 education savings plan updates have to do with k-12 education and rollovers to Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) accounts.

The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) allows distributions from 529  plans to be used to pay up to a total of $10,000 of tuition per beneficiary (regardless of the number of contributing plans) each year at an elementary or secondary (k-12) public, private or religious school of the beneficiary’s choosing.

Another TCJA change allows funds to be rolled over from a designated beneficiary’s 529 plan to an ABLE account for the same beneficiary or a family member. ABLE accounts are tax-favored accounts for certain people who become disabled before age 26, designed to enable these people and their families to save and pay for disability-related expenses. The regulations would provide that rollovers from 529 plans, together with any contributions made to the ABLE account cannot exceed the annual ABLE contribution limit ($15,000 for 2018).

To learn more about the changes, visit the IRS official website.

To learn more about 529 plans and how they can help beneficiaries, as well as those who contribute funds, click on our article below.

Grandparents Can Help Pay Grandchildren’s Education

By |September 10th, 2018|College Planning, Current Affairs, Taxes|

Financial Education Missing Piece in Social Work

Social workers assist people with a myriad of complex topics like housing, public benefits and health care. Would adding financial education be too much to ask of an already strained profession? Or might it be an essential piece that has been underestimated all along?

The Spring 2018 edition of NEFE Digest explores the concept of including financial education training for social workers. It draws from a research report produced at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis: Faculty Perspectives on Financial Capability and Asset Building in Social Work Education.

On any given day, a social worker could be helping someone find treatment for opioid addiction, placing a child in foster care, or leading crisis management after a natural disaster. While these might not seem to have much in common at first glance, there is a financial component underlying just about every situation a social worker might face.

At its core, financial education is about more than spending guidelines and credit scores. It’s about making informed decisions that will benefit one’s life now and in the future. Regardless of whether the challenge is getting affordable housing, finding employment or caring for the elderly — basic financial skills and understanding are critical to making the best choices. Training social workers to educate their communities about debt management, spending guidelines, opportunity cost and other personal finance concepts could improve decision making and outcomes in just about every area.

By |July 16th, 2018|Current Affairs|

Money Habits for Living the Life You Want

Rachel Cruze has been speaking to people about the dangers of debt and the importance of budgeting since the age of fifteen. Growing up as Dave Ramsey’s daughter, she uses that experience and knowledge to educate others. Her book Love Your Life, Not Theirs: 7 Money Habits for Living the Life You Want is a worthy read. It starts out strong with its main point and first habit to establish – quit the comparisons – and specifically addresses the envy of others that social media creates.

The other six money habits are laid out clearly: steer clear of debt, make a plan for your money, talk about money (even when it’s hard), save like you mean it, think before you spend, and give a little… until you can give a lot. Cruze’s views on budgets are adaptable for people of all incomes. She breaks down the basics of budgeting simply, making it easy to follow. If you’re new to money management, or if your money management isn’t working, it is a great introduction to help you figure out where you need to adjust.

The first section has a somewhat philosophical tone, covering an emotional habit rather than a financial one. The pace quickens in the following sections, and Cruze does a great job covering sensitive subjects like debt and loans in a direct but inoffensive way. This line, in particular, resonated with me: “There is no such thing as good debt and bad debt. It’s just debt. At the end of the day, you still owe someone something.”

There were a few critical omissions in the budget section that are worth noting. Medical expenses had only a vague reference under “miscellaneous,” and insurance (not including car) was considered a luxury along with cable and eating out. Despite these oversights, I recommend this book to everyone.

I felt I was in a good place with my money management, yet I still found the book highly motivating and helpful. It’s a quick read, and Cruze makes recommendations to websites and other books for those who want to delve deeper into subjects she briefly covers.

Written by Tobi McCann
By |June 4th, 2018|Books|