Apprise Wealth Management’s Selected Readings for the Week of May 5, 2019

Checking Social Security Benefits Online

At Apprise Wealth Management, we want to help people make better decisions about money. We also read constantly and like sharing some of our favorite commentaries each week.

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Here are this week’s articles as well as a brief description of each:

1.   Starting a New Job? How to Take Charge of Your 401(k). Have you changed jobs recently? Did you simply leave your 401(k) with your old employer because you weren’t sure what to do with it? You have options. You can leave it where it is, you can roll it over into your new employer’s plan, or you can roll it over to a self-directed plan. You could also cash it out, but that could be costly, especially from a tax perspective. If you’re unsure of what to do, the linked article as well as Top Five 401(k) Rollover Questions to Ask Your Advisor could help.

2.   Checking on Social Security Estimates Is a Good Idea but Many People Don’t Do It. Checking your potential Social Security benefits online is a best practice. It helps you confirm that your retirement benefits reflect what you’ve earned during your lifetime. Unfortunately, according to this article, many Americans are not checking their accounts. In the past, the Social Security Administration periodically sent statements through the mail. However, this no longer is no longer the standard procedure. As a result, the government has cut its costs to print and mail statements from $65 million to $8 million over the last eight years. If you have not registered, you can do so here.

3.  Confronting Inbox Zero. The amount of email we receive each day can be overwhelming. It is often recommended that you end each day (or better yet each time you check your inbox) with an empty inbox. However, productivity wizard Merlin Mann, who gave an influential tech talk back in 2007 called “Inbox Zero,” says we have it all wrong. Mann says,“… the real zero is how much of your mind is on email.” He says reducing your inbox to zero is essentially saying, “My time is so up for grabs that I’ll stop whatever I’m doing and take care of it.” He believes the key is to change your mindset. Try checking your email less often. It might even make you happier.

4.  Beneficiary Designations: 5 Critical Mistakes to Avoid. Making mistakes with your beneficiary designations can be costly. You may not know it, but your will does not control who inherits all of your assets when you die. Many can pass by beneficiary designation (e.g., life insurance, retirement accounts, and annuities). In addition to being sure to properly name your beneficiaries, you should also review and update them periodically. Here are the five critical mistakes discussed in more detail in the article:

·        Not naming a beneficiary

·        Not taking into account special circumstances

·        Naming the wrong beneficiary

·        Not updating beneficiaries over time

·        Not reviewing beneficiary designations with legal and financial advisors

5.  Rules for Forecasters. It is hard, if not impossible, to be able to successfully forecast what the future may hold. This may be even truer when it comes to the stock market or the economy. The article provides some suggestions that can potentially make forecasting more useful, or at least more honest.

We hope you find the above posts valuable. If you would like to talk to us about financial topics including your investments, creating a financial plan, saving for college, or saving for your retirement please complete our contact form, and we will be in touch. We can schedule a call, a virtual meeting via Zoom, or a meeting at Apprise Wealth Management’s office in Northern Baltimore County.

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