“How is it that before the election lots of people said the stock market would crash if Biden got elected and now that he’s elected the stock market is going up?”
The great American philosopher Yogi Berra once said, “Predicting is very hard. Particularly about the future.” This is a good example. If one projects out the impact of the financial policies proposed by candidate Biden you would get a financial meltdown.
However, two factors arose that carried more weight. COVID vaccines were approved and began the re-opening of our country. Congress signaled they would send more cash to Americans with another stimulus package. Those two actions signaled a growing economy and (likely/not guaranteed) increasing corporate profits – and increasing stock prices.
The next question (if you’re feeling psychic) is how long do these two factors take the lead and when (if?) do fiscal policies out of Washington D.C. pull the economy down?
Yogi was right – this predicting stuff is hard.
“My wife passed away in 2018 at age 56 and I am now 63. I read recently where I may be eligible for widowers social security benefits from her account. Is this true? I don’t plan on drawing social security until I reach full retirement age of 66 and a half or possibly 70 years old. If I were to receive my wife’s social security benefits now would this affect the amount of social security I would draw at full retirement age?”
I am so sorry you lost your wife at such a young age.
You are eligible for widower’s benefits based on your wife’s income history. You can draw that amount now and continue it right up until you decide to retire. At that point you would switch to your own social security benefit. At age 70, your benefit is at its maximum. Drawing your widower’s benefits would only affect your social security payments in a positive way. If using those benefits allows you to postpone your benefits until age 70, you would then receive the maximum for the rest of your life. This is a very good idea.
“When can a person stop paying taxes? My Mom is 91 and has an income of $1,700 SS. $700 pension and takes the minimum from her IRA of $25,000. A tax volunteer we used last year said my Mom does not need to file her taxes unless she is trying to get a refund. What do you think?”
The IRS does permit taxpayers with very low income to avoid the necessity of filing an income tax return. The real question is whether this is a good idea.
If a taxpayer’s income is lower than their standard deduction they may very well qualify for a waiver for filing a return. However, identity theft is a much larger challenge than filing a tax return. Often identity thieves will target senior citizens for exactly this reason. The taxpayer is not likely to be filing a return so the thief files one in their place requesting a substantial (bogus) refund and trashing your mom’s financial life.
Your mom is best served if you or your tax preparer files a return for her.
“My sister recently passed away. She was divorced 30 years ago. Apparently, she never changed her IRA beneficiary from her ex-husband. I am her executor. Her bank won’t give me the money for her estate. The attorney says the divorce cancelled the beneficiary. Who is right?”
In this case the answer is very much – it depends!
If your sister’s divorce decree specifically addressed the IRA than the money goes to her estate. If it does not, the bank will likely give the funds to her ex-husband.
I know this is not the answer you were hoping for. I’m hoping people will read this and see it as a huge, red flag of warning to review and update the beneficiaries of their IRAs, life insurance policies, 401(k)s, annuities, and every other instance where they have named beneficiaries.
If you need assistance coordinating your estate planning with your beneficiary designations please contact our office and meet with a More than Money advisor.