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Archive by author: Sarah K. Charles, CSRIC™, AIF®Return

A veteran of the financial services industry with more than 20 years’ experience, Sarah is very clear about which aspect of her job she finds most rewarding: working with people.

“People have plans, goals, dreams,” she says.  “I’m there not only to help my clients turn dreams into realities, but to provide financial clarity and peace of mind.” 

Sarah graduated cum laude from Duke University with a BA degree in Economics, and she holds an Accredited Investment Fiduciary® designation from Fiduciary360.  Passionate about sustainable and ESG investing, Sarah became one of the first people in the country to get her Chartered SRI Counselor™ designation from the College for Financial Planning in 2019.  Born and raised in New York City, she brought her talents to DHG Wealth Advisors in 2007.

A long-time advocate for women, Sarah is passionate about working with women going through life transitions (including divorce and death of a spouse) and educating them so that they can feel empowered and confident stepping into the role of primary financial decision maker.

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Reasons to Consider a Roth Conversion
Plans change because scenarios and conditions change. While you have a strategy for your financial future and legacy, that planning will inevitably have to be adjusted for any number of circumstances, including your personal preferences and needs, market fluctuation and, as we will focus on in this commentary, Washington D.C.Because administrations, legislatures and political philosophies come and go, tax policy changes. In fact, there’s an old saying “tax code is written in pencil.” There is a strong indication that taxes will increase in the future, so including a Roth IRA conversion in your financial plan today may help you protect more of your wealth in your lifetime, and preserve the after-tax value of your legacy for your heirs.  The present situation While you may consider the current top tax bracket of 37 percent high, historically, that percentage is relatively low. For instance, from the late 1940s through the 1960s, the top marginal tax rates were arou...
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On November 3rd, 2020 Americans will elect our next President. But even though the election is several months away, there is already a lot of speculation about what the stock market will do if either candidate gets elected. Unfortunately, much of that speculation is wrapped in fear with investors worrying that if the other guy (i.e. the candidate they don’t support) wins then the stock market will collapse or the economy will stagnate or taxes will go sky high or some other terrible calamity will occur that will wipe out wealth and destroy capitalism.
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Saving money for retirement in a tax-deferred account has many benefits – but you can only defer taxes so long before they must be paid, which is why U.S. tax law requires a Required Minimum Distribution (RMD). An RMD is the amount of money that must be withdrawn annually from a tax deferred account (including traditional IRAs, SEP IRAs, and Simple IRAs) once the owner reaches a certain age. RMDs are taxed as ordinary income.
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The friendship between Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg seems unlikely. She’s the polished lifestyle expert who gives new meaning to the concept of domestic perfection, and he’s a pot-smoking rapper.  And yet, not only is their friendship very real, it led to two seasons of the Emmy-nominated show Martha and Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party. Who could have predicted the success of these unlikely besties hosting a weekly potluck? Not many because frankly, it doesn’t make sense. 
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March Madness. It conjures up images of office pools, trash-talking and some of the best college basketball played all year. But 2020 saw a different kind of March Madness as the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the globe impacting the lives of hundreds of millions of people. As the number of cases began to rapidly grow, and the death toll mounted, social distancing and self quarantine guidelines were put in place in an attempt to flatten the curve and reduce the strain on our healthcare system. The result was a “self-induced” economic slow-down the likes of which we’ve never experienced as most non-essential businesses were asked to shut their doors.
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The traditional path to saving and investing has been to focus on the future (retirement), and rely solely on numbers and return on investment (ROI). However, this approach often can be misleading because it doesn’t consider your individual circumstances. “Beating the market” is often an artificial objective because it is not likely to have a substantive impact on your unique situation. Consider this: what does beating the market by one percent less (or more) mean to how you live your life? Do market returns have an impact on how you live your life?
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On December 20th, 2019 the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act – was signed into law, representing the most extensive changes to retirement legislation in over a decade. One of the primary objectives of the SECURE Act is to help Americans save for retirement – and many of the new rules and provisions reflect that including: * Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) will now start at age 72 (instead of 70½) * IRA contributions can be made after age 70½ as long as there is earned income * Part-time employees may now be eligible to participate in their company-sponsored retirement plan
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As the year draws to a close, now is a good time to both reflect and to plan for the future. Much like the prior year, the 2019 calendar year has continued to be a year of significant change and uncertainty. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the U.S. Treasury have continued to issue interpretative guidance on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) and other legislative changes at a rapid pace. In some instances, guidance issued is entirely new and not yet finalized. In other instances, the new guidance replaces prior guidance issued in the form of proposed regulations and notices. The result is a myriad of effective dates and choices for taxpayers to navigate.Dixon Hughes Goodman (our parent company) has put together the attached letter which highlights a few tax planning areas for you to consider before year end. This letter does not address the nuances and variations in existing guidance that must be carefully evaluated before implementing any provision highlighted herein. We anticipa...
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One of the most important letters you may receive is a letter titled “Your Retirement Choices.”   This cheery title sits atop a letter that companies send when it’s time for you to make a decision regarding your accrued pension benefits and is usually sent close to your expected retirement date – although sometimes there is an opportunity to claim benefits early.
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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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