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IRS increases qualified retirement plan limits for 2019
As you prepare for the new calendar year, one resolution that we often make it to is to take steps towards enhancing our financial future.  As we work with clients towards putting plans in place, we are often asked what are the biggest influencers on reaching retirement goals.  The number one influencer on achieving long term goals  is making regular savings a priority.  Achieving market-like returns along with regular savings is what helps achieve long term financial goals.  Regular savings, versus ad-hoc lump sum contributions to savings also helps smooth out the influence that timing has on the achievement of goals.Additionally, tax-deferred savings (IRA, 401k, 403b etc.) and tax free savings (Roth IRA, Roth 401k) also have significant benefits and are often the first priority for dollars allocated towards savings.The IRS reviews qualified plan limits each year and increases them periodically to keep up inflation.  Generally, the IRS will increase ...
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Current Market Volatility In Perspective After reaching an all-time market high on September 21st, the S&P 500 entered a bear market (20% decline) in late December, falling to levels last reached in early 2017.  Having experienced positive returns through September, the S&P was down just over 4% for the year.  All other domestic and international equity asset classes had greater full year losses.  Declines of this magnitude naturally cause one to wonder what the future holds and if they should make changes to their portfolios. While it may be difficult to remain calm during a substantial market decline, it is important to remember that volatility is a regular part of investing in stocks.  As a client of DHG Wealth Advisors, you’ve likely been invested through one of the five declines over 10% for the S&P 500 that we’ve experienced since 2008. The biggest, which was a 19% drop at the end of 2011, saw a recovery in just 5 months - although many take longer than that to recover.
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DHG Wealth Advisors Podcast Episode 04:  Letter From the Heart
In this episode, we're joined by DHGWA financial advisor Clay Thornton from Charleston, SC and insurance specialist Maria Tobin with DHG Agency.  These two veterans of the industry share the benefits of documenting your family’s financial affairs using DHG Wealth Advisors’ Letter From the Heart.   We’ve designed the Letter From the Heart to be a written summary that can be passed on to your heirs documenting your full financial picture and also to express your end-of-life wishes.Download DHGWA's Letter From the Heart
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Letter From the Heart
Too often, financial and especially estate planning focuses on the legal, tax and investment structure and forgets to address practical and personal issues.  Problems may then occur when a loved one passes away and in the midst of the heartache and grief, with little or no direction, the family is left to make difficult short term decisions about funeral arrangements, followed by the big issues of sorting out the longer term financial picture.  What would your family do in such an event?  Would they know the location of your most important documents?  Would they know who to call for help? A few years ago, as we worked through the planning process with a new client, the above thoughts really hit home and we were asked to develop a system that would organize and pass along valuable financial and personal information to her family.  The attached questionnaire became a guide for her and we believe it can prove to be equally as important to you.  We know t...
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Happiness is a warm puppy  Many people would agree with the above statement.  A little, fuzzy, snuggly puppy keeping your lap warm would indeed make most people happy.  But what if the warmth was coming from the puppy urinating on you?  Would you feel the same?  Would your feelings about  a “warm puppy” be different in that scenario?  We have purposely used this tasteless example to underline the fact that a person’s expectation has a lot to do with their feelings.  If someone’s expectations are met, or exceeded, then most people are happy about that occurrence.  If something doesn’t meet expectations, then typically there is an unhappy or disappointed result.You may be asking what any of this have to do with your investment portfolio?  Quite a lot. With financial markets, there are known expectations.  Some basic, some more complex.  An example of a basic financial expectation is that stocks...
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DHG Wealth Advisors Podcast Episode 03:  Employer Sponsored Retirement Plans
In this episode, we're joined by DHGWA financial advisor Jason Lunsford.  Jason helped created and currently leads our retirement plan services division – which means Jason is involved in the design, implementation, and advising of employer sponsored retirement plans. Together we discussed three of the most common retirement plan options: The SIMPLE IRA, the SEP IRA, and the 401(k).
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The Benefits of Company Sponsored Retirement Plans
As a business owner, establishing a retirement plan at your company can serve many purposes.    Having a plan will provide your employees an opportunity to reduce their taxes and save for retirement.   It can be an important tool in retention of existing employees as well as attracting new employees.It also has quantifiable benefits for the business and the business owner.  In particular, salary deferrals can be shielded from tax and employer contributions can be utilized as expenses for the business.   A business with a small number of employees can take particular advantage of these breaks and often has a wider array of feasible plans to choose from.   The establishment of a retirement plan has become particularly attractive given the reduction in deductible items for many high-earners brought about by the most recent tax legislation.Plans range from the SIMPLE IRA, which allows $12,500 annually to be deferred from tax ($15,500 those over 50), a 3% match...
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DHG Wealth Advisors Podcast Episode 02: 529 College Savings Accounts
In this episode, we’ll be joined by Amy Manning, CFP® and Justin Baas, CFP® to discuss one of the most powerful and tax-advantaged tools to help you save for a child or grandchild’s college education: 529 College Savings accounts.

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529 Savings Plans

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529 Savings Plans
529 Savings plans were introduced in 1996 as a convenient way to save for future college education expenses.   They are used widely, but misunderstandings about their design and use also exist widely.The primary benefit of 529 plans are that they provide tax free growth of contributions as long as the funds are used for qualified college expenses.  More recently, laws changed allowing for 529 plans to be used for k-12 education as well, with the limit annually per student being $10,000 for grades prior to college.  Setting up a 529 plan can be especially valuable if funds are deposited early and have time to benefit from tax-free growth.  Some states also allow for a reduction in state income tax during the year the funds are contributed.Potential asset growth within a 529 plan comes from a set list of mutual fund investments inside the plan.   The fact that the assets are permanently segregated from your spendable assets allows for the growth to occu...
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DHG Wealth Advisors Podcast Episode 01:  Sustainable Investing
In our first episode, we have a special interview with Marcus Axthelm, Senior Portfolio Manager and Vice President at Dimensional Fund Advisors, who is part of the team that develops and manages Dimensional’s sustainability funds. Tune in to learn about what sustainable investing is, and how you can take a more sustainable approach to your portfolio.
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