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What to do after you max out your 401k



Maxing out a 401(k) is a great financial goal. With the 2021 limits of $19,500 a year for those under 50, those maxing out the 401(k) are looking at around $750 per biweekly paycheck pre-tax. But what should you do if you still have money to invest? If you’re currently maxing out your 401(k) and are looking for the next financial step, here are 4 options to consider.

Finish Your Emergency Fund

If you don’t have a fully-funded emergency fund, now is the time to put your excess funds to work. An emergency fund is used to protect you from needing to take on debt in the case of an emergency.

And having one that’s fully complete, meaning you have your desired 3-6 months of living expenses in cash, means you’re also protecting other investments. By paying for an emergency in cash, you won’t run the risk of needing to decrease your 401(k) contributions to do so.

Invest in an Individual Retirement Account (IRA)

Individuals can open an IRA in conjunction with an employer-sponsored retirement account like a 401(k). And the best part is there are two options, pre-tax and post-tax (Roth). While the traditional pre-tax IRA will be taxed similarly to your pre-tax 401(k), the Roth IRA option uses an investment of after-tax money which grows tax-free for life. For a ROTH IRA, you can contribute an annual maximum of $6,000 (or $7,000 if you are 50 years or older), the amount you can contribute is reduced starting when your income reaches $125,000 (for single filers and $198,000 (if you’re married filing jointly). You can no longer contribute to a Roth IRA after you make more than $140,000 for single filers and $208,000 for married couples filing jointly.

Since IRAs have lower limits than a 401(k) at only $6,000 per year if you’re under 50, some people may be able to max out contributions to both accounts. Keep in mind that if you’re covered by a 401(k) at work, you may not be able to deduct your IRA contributions.

Consider Getting Life Insurance

After you max out your 401(k), you want to be sure you’re putting your money to work. Getting a permanent life insurance plan can allow your beneficiaries to receive a death benefit from the insurer if you pass away unexpectedly. This type of policy also allows you to accumulate cash value throughout your lifetime that you can use in a variety of ways, including taking out a loan and supplementing your retirement income. And a permanent life insurance plan with the right company may pay dividends.

If you’re wondering how dividends work on life insurance, it’s actually pretty simple. A dividend is paid out to the policyholders when the company performs better than assumed.  It’s vital to thoroughly assess the company and premium payments before committing.

Open a Taxable Brokerage Account

You can open a taxable brokerage account with any number of financial firms. The major benefits of investing your after-tax money into these accounts are that there are no income limits, no required minimum distributions, no contribution caps, and you’re in the driver’s seat when it comes to managing your investment. And with these accounts, there is no penalty for early withdrawal.

But on the potential downside, you’re going to pay more in taxes since these the realized gain in these accounts is subject to short or long-term capital gains taxes, depending on how long you hold the investment. If you have other specific financial goals such as saving for a dependent’s college fund, you may have more tax-advantaged options.

The Bottom Line

After you pat yourself on the back for maxing out your 401(k), it’s time to look at other places to stash your cash. Once you’ve built up emergency reserves, it’s wise to consider tax-advantaged options like IRAs or permanent life insurance policies. But if you’d rather have more flexibility in choosing your investments and you’re not too worried about taxes, a taxable brokerage account might be the right option.

For Daniel, journalism is a way of life. He lives and breathes art and anything even remotely related to it. Politics, Cinema, books, music, fashion are a part of his lifestyle.

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Basics of Estate Planning: Funding Your Trust



Property you own can be transferred to your heirs or chosen beneficiaries upon your death in one of several ways. If the particular asset is owned by you and another individual, as in the case of a residence which you jointly own with your spouse with a right of survivorship (JWROS), the property will automatically pass to your spouse upon your death. Assets may also pass by means of a beneficiary designation, such as in a transfer on death deed or in a pay on death account with your bank. A third possibility is property passing via the probate process, either in accordance with your will or (in the absence of a will) in accordance with the laws of intestacy.

A fourth means of transferring ownership of your assets is by means of a trust agreement, such as a revocable living trust. This method offers a number of advantages as the choice component of an estate plan. A well-designed trust agreement can be the vehicle by which your assets are transferred after you die. In addition, the trust can include detailed instructions as to how your assets should be managed by your appointed successor trustee in the event you become incapable of managing them yourself. However, in order to take full advantage of a trust’s benefits, your assets must first be placed in the trust.

When your estate planning lawyer refers to funding your trust, he/she is talking about placing your assets into the trust. Let’s look at some basic principles relating to this important, but often overlooked, aspect of creating a trust as the foundation of your estate plan.

What is so important about funding the trust?

A well-designed trust agreement is but an empty shell and of little or no value to you (the settlor) or your intended beneficiaries unless it actually holds your assets. Should you die prior to placing your assets in the trust, those assets will likely be subject to the probate process (unless they are otherwise held JWROS or pass in accordance with beneficiary designations. However, assets which are retitled in the name of the trust will immediately be subject to the management and control of your chosen successor trustee.

Should I transfer all of my assets into my trust?

Not necessarily. It is true that many of your assets should be transferred as soon as the trust has been created, including such assets as the following: your personal residence; stocks, bonds and mutual funds you own in your own name; checking/savings accounts and certificates of deposit; personal property and collectibles; business interests, such as stock in corporations you own, partnership interests and membership interests in limited liability companies; and, your intellectual property rights, such as patents, trademarks and copyrights. An important aspect of establishing your trust should include a comprehensive review of all of your assets with your estate planning lawyer in order to determine which of those assets should be transferred to the trust.

Why not just transfer all of my assets into the trust?

There are a few categories of assets which should not be owned by your trust. For example, any individual retirement accounts, pension plans and 401k accounts should not be owned by your trust. A transfer of such retirement plans to your trust may well be treated by the IRS as a taxable distribution of the entire account, and thereby trigger an unwanted tax liability to you. In general, you would do well to remember that estate planning with respect to retirement plans is a complex subject area and one that should be addressed with your lawyer.

If you own a second home, either as rental property or as a vacation home, you should also carefully consider whether transfer of that property to the trust is advisable. Is this property subject to a mortgage which includes a “due on transfer” provision? If so, your lender may treat a transfer of the property to your trust as triggering your obligation to pay the loan in full. Again, this is an area you need to discuss with your estate planner.

How do I go about transferring those assets which should be placed in my trust?

The answer here is: it depends on the particular asset being transferred. You would transfer your residence into the trust by recording a quit claim deed in the real property records in the county in which the property is located. So, for example, if you are the sole owner of the real property, you (being the grantor) would transfer the property to “yourself as trustee of the [name] of the trust”, as grantee. You will want to be careful here to not merely title the property in the name of the trust. A transfer to “the John Doe Trust,” may not be recognized as legally effective; instead, the transfer should be to “John Doe, Trustee, of the John Doe Trust under agreement dated January 1, 2001”.

Your checking accounts, savings accounts and certificates of deposit can be transferred to your trust by asking your bank to provide you with the appropriate signature cards, which will then need to be signed by the current trustees of your newly created trust.

Will I need to have new checks issued to me in name of the trust?

Most likely, you should not have to do that. Retitling your checking account in the name of the trust should not have any effect on the account holder’s name printed on your checks.

How do I transfer stocks and mutual funds I own?

Assuming your shares and mutual funds are held by your broker, you will need to instruct your broker to change the title of your personal accounts to the name of your trust. This may involve completing a new brokerage account application. Your broker may require you to provide evidence of the trust’s existence, in which case you will need your lawyer to draft a certificate of trust to be signed by you as settlor.

If you are holding original stock certificates for a publicly traded company, you may need to open a brokerage or investment account in the name of your trust, and then deposit the original stock certificates with the brokerage or you may need to contact the transfer agent designated by the corporation which issued the stock and follow their instructions for retitling the stock in the name of your trust.

What if I own interests in a partnership or limited liability company (LLC)?

You will need to transfer your partnership or LLC membership interest to your trust by means of a written assignment of interest signed by you and acknowledged by the managing partner or managing member of the LLC. You should first review the governing partnership/LLC operating agreement to ensure that the agreement does not preclude such a transfer.

Do I need to title my car and RV in the name of the trust?

Although you can transfer title of your personal vehicle(s) and/or RV(s) to your trust, it might well be preferable not to do so. If you have a vehicle accident, the fact that your vehicle is titled in the name of your trust might result in the injured party believing you have deep pockets, thereby encouraging a lawsuit. You might be better advised to segregate a high-risk asset (such as your vehicle) from your lower risk assets.

To summarize, employing a revocable living trust as the foundation of your estate plan will allow your assets to be distributed after your death without having to go through the probate process. Having a trust will also allow your chosen successor trustee to manage your property while you are incapacitated, thereby avoiding the necessity of an expensive guardianship or conservatorship process administered by a court. However, in order to fully realize the benefits of a trust, you must properly fund your trust. We recommend you use the above guidelines as the basis for a comprehensive review of your assets and discussion with your estate planning attorney.

© 10/23/2017 Hunt & Associates, P.C. All rights reserved.

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Your Business Hotel in Malta



Many people like travelling – whether on holiday, visiting relatives/ friends, or for work, travelling must be fun and stress-free. One should make this time away from home more enjoyable by planning ahead and considering accommodations, luggage, transportation, time management and recreation… all ahead.

Start off by choosing a business hotel carefully. In Malta there are plenty of hotels that cater for such a niche. Your business hotel should have the necessary amenities to work with and if possible other leisure and comfort facilities that will make your business trip easy. A hotel must offer internet service and possibly WIFI access in your room with a solid bandwidth. A good amount of outlets where you can plug in your laptop, phone charger, and other useful gadgets should be around in the room as well.

Remember to check for electricity and plug-in power strips of the location you are heading to. Of course good lighting within the room is a must, while a desk and a comfortable chair will make your life painless and simple. Further out from you room, one must ensure that lobby services and business centers are present within the hotel – conference rooms and halls are a must for your meetings in Malta.

More than just the friendly service and the available amenities, a business hotel must have good food, be centrally located, surrounded with transport connections, and nice views where you can easily go out for a jog or for a walk early mornings before breakfast.

Once you choose the right business hotel (which won’t hurt your budget much), get your luggage done – buy travel toiletries which won’t take much space and which will serve for how long you’ll be away. Don’t overdo it with clothes; take along with you a variety of shirts and ties, or blouses and cardigans if females, all matching with your favourite suite.

Once you’re on your business trip, you need not worry about such minor things anymore. Keep focused on your work. If there is any free time available, then just enjoy some walk around the seafront at Sliema or any other coast in Malta.

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Can I Overcome My Addiction?



If you’re an addict like myself, you probably suffer from addiction on a daily basis. It not only effects you physically but destroys all areas of your life. Addiction doesn’t have to ruin your life, it’s possible to recover.

How Can I Overcome My Addiction

The first step on the road to recovery is admitting you have a problem. If you find yourself putting your addiction, whatever it may be, in front of more important things in your life you most likely have a serious problem on your hands.

Don’t worry, there have been countless others in the same position that you are currently in. Don’t give up hope everyone can recover successfully if they put their mind to it.

After you have admitted that you have a problem, the second step is to receive the help needed to overcome it. There are countless programs and rehabs that are more then willing to help show you the way.

Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and woman who share their experience, strength, and hope with one another that they may solve their common problem. There are meetings available world wide and people in recovery that would have no problem showing you the way.

I personally attend one of these meetings everyday. There are a variety of meeting types but they are all primarily focused on following the 12 step program. The program was first developed back in the early 1930’s and still to this day used because it’s a proven method of addiction treatment. I would recommend checking out some more information and find a meeting in your area.

Using The Help Of Addiction Treatment Centers

There are many reasons why someone would want to get into a great rehab. With all of the problems that we face each and every day, and all of the different things that we can become addicted to, a rehabilitation program can literally change a life. This is probably the main benefit that keeps the interest in a great program at such a high level.

A Helping Hand in Time of Need

For those dealing with addictions, there is nothing more important than being able to receive the help that is needed, as soon as it is needed. This is by far the most critical time for an addict and it can literally be the turning point for the addict able to find a helping hand. When help is not received, during this extremely critical time, the destructive road of addiction can become much longer and harder to get off of than ever. This is why it is so important to have access to the 24 hour staff available at most addiction rehab centers.

What Does a Drug Rehabilitation Program Offer

The best rehabilitation programs will offer those dealing with the struggles caused by addiction a sense of hope in a time when hope can seem completely lost. Something as simple as hope will literally move mountains when nothing else seems to work out in the life of an addict. The structure behind the programs will give those struggling with self control and discipline the push they need to get back on the road to success.

It really is all about self esteem and success for many addicts. This is because of the fact that for many addicts, life simply took an unexpected turn never correcting itself in the process. Many addicts find change a bit scary and some of these unexpected turns can seem absolutely enormous for someone with an addictive personality. It’s a fairly well known fact that when someone who doesn’t know how to deal with change and fear is forced to face them both simultaneously, they automatically shift into a defensive mode putting up a wall of sorts.

We Can Only Receive Help After The Reality Sets In

It’s only after we are able to come to the realization that we are truly addicted to drugs, and as a result are powerless over its effects, that we can begin to take the steps that will bring about positive change. The first, and most important, step is of course to find the best possible drug rehab program available. An effective program will provide the individual dealing with addiction with the tools necessary to not only beat the addiction itself but remain victorious over drugs altogether. It’s important to understand, however, that recovery is an ongoing process that for many continues throughout their entire lifetime.

If you have found that either you, or someone who is close to you, is dealing with the effects of drug addiction, consider finding a rehab in your area and begin the journey to a more successful life!

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