Study Shows Americans Are Adapting Financial Plans for 2023

A recent study from Fidelity found that many Americans are feeling uncertain and concerned about a potential coming recession or other shifts in the economy. The 2023 New Year’s Financial Resolution Study finds that Americans are mostly focused on financial resolutions due to shifting economic issues and inflation.

In fact, 1/3 of survey respondents said their financial situation is worse this year than last year, and only 65% said they believe they’ll be better off in the coming year. That’s compared with last year’s numbers of 72% of people feeling they were going to be better in the coming year. Half of the survey respondents reported that they want to plan ahead and live more sensibly in the coming year.

Many people are stepping back to look at their overall financial picture and to figure out the best ways to move forward and protect their interests. When there’s so much uncertainty at stake, it can be beneficial not just to review your financial plan and strategy, but also to think about adapting your estate plan. You may need to reevaluate different financial opportunities and set aside more savings for yourself, especially if you’re anticipating a potential healthcare expense in the future or leaving the workforce sooner than you expected.

Looking over your financial plan and your estate plan are great tasks to be done together.

Working with a qualified and knowledgeable estate planning lawyer helps you plan ahead for what might happen if you experience an unexpected financial or health-related issue, and it also gives you clarity and peace of mind over how you’re structuring your plan for the future for your heirs. Set aside a time to meet with an experienced and knowledgeable estate planning lawyer to learn more.



Start Your Year-End Planning Now

You might be tempted to wait until the end of December to evaluate your current savings, investment, retirement and other financial strategies. But because you may want to adapt these before the New Year, now is the perfect time to assess and evaluate these issues and ask questions. Waiting until the last minute could lead to missed savings opportunities and lag time into 2023 for implementing these changes. Many of the strategies involved in maximizing your financial situation and minimizing taxes can take time to analyze and to decide the most appropriate strategy.

Once your year-end plan has been created, you’ll want to make a schedule for staying in touch with your financial tax and legal advisors over the course of the year. Changes in state or federal laws or even shifting markets may call for an update to your estate plan and financial strategy overall.

Looking at the big picture of your financial plan may open up realizations that you have not adequately prepared for disability concerns, long term care expenses or distribution of these assets through your estate plan. By working with a qualified estate planning attorney in your region, you’ll have a better handle of all of the assets and liabilities inside your estate plan and the best strategies for aligning these.

Whether you have lived in the Hampton Roads area for many years or only recently relocated to Virginia Beach, working with the right estate planning lawyer is critical for covering all of your bases and making sure you have everything you need should something happen to you. Set up a time to meet with a talented Virginia Beach, VA estate planning law firm now.



How Does Gray Divorce Affect Your Estate Planning?

Any major change in your life should warrant an update in your estate planning, and divorce is no exception.

Getting divorced later on in life can have a significant impact on your finances. Although it is certainly true that divorce can alter your finances at any age, it is extremely important to consider how you’ll split your assets and any impacts this may have on your estate, especially if you are part of a blended family or have adult children. Gray Divorce is a term used to describe the growing number of older couples who contemplate getting a divorce. 

Getting divorced in your 50s, 60s or even 70s may dramatically alter not only your retirement plans and savings, but your overall financial and estate planning health. Meeting with a qualified financial adviser as soon as possible after deciding to get a divorce is a crucial first step in protecting your interests.

But you must from there go forward to meet with your estate planning attorney as well. If a substantial portion of your retirement or your estate planning strategy was based on being married to this person, and assets and properties you own together, you will need to make substantial changes to this plan in order to move forward.

Because there are so many potential alterations in your life at play with gray divorce, it is far better to work with an estate planning attorney and your financial advisor well in advance of actually filing for divorce. This gives you a good opportunity to plan for this transition and to avoid catastrophic financial consequences.

Meet with a Virginia Beach, VA estate planning lawyer to learn more about updating your plan to align with your new needs.

How To Review Benefits And Insurance For Possible Incapacity Planning

Working through the financial and estate planning process means thinking about what happens to you or your assets if you become unable to speak for yourself or care for yourself. Planning for the unexpected and developing contingency plans is crucial, even though you hope you never have to activate these plans.

Unwelcome events can turn your life upside down, and you should start by considering what benefits you really do have in order to decide other ways you need to invest in potential benefits. Look at your employer’s insurance policies and benefits. For example, do you have any other insurance coverage that may apply if you were to become disabled or unable to work? Short term and long term disability policies may come with your employment, or you may have purchased these privately. They will give you a portion of your income if your claim is approved and you’re unable to work.

However, review details about the waiting period before benefits begin and how long they will pay out and at what rate. Disability benefits can be taxable if your employer pays the premium on this disability insurance policy. However, if you are personally paying the premiums, the disability benefits may be tax free. Consider the potential income received through Social Security Disability Income should your assigned disability be expected to last for longer than a year.

If you are concerned about losing your ability to work in Virginia because of a disability, you need to consult with an experienced and qualified estate planning lawyer. A lawyer can help you walk through the important questions for incapacity planning and to put you on track for what you need to evaluate.



Six Ideas to Protect Your Finances this Year

Although New Year’s resolutions might have fallen by the wayside, having a great financial and estate plan is important all year round. Thinking about your health and long-term care security issues can prompt you to do the important work around protecting your individual interests and establishing a next step with your estate planning. The support of an experienced and knowledgeable estate planning lawyer can help guide you through accomplishing each of these individual steps. Here are six things you can do to get your financial strategy up leveled or back on track:

  • Maintain your health by investing in healthy diet and exercise plans.
  • Make sleep a priority every night as this can have important implications on your physical health.
  • When it’s time, sit down and review Medicare benefits with a financial professional to make sure that the plan you’ve selected is aligned with your individual needs.
  • Discuss your wishes and resources for long term care with your loved ones. For example, if you have a long-term care insurance policy, make sure your spouse and other loved ones know where to find it.
  • Consider long term care insurance or Medicaid planning strategies that can help you qualify for Medicaid more quickly and easily if and when the time comes.
  • Set up an annual physical and review all of your medications. Discuss options for getting off certain medications where possible.

All of these issues can help you to protect your health for as long a period as possible, and to give you powerful insights and next steps for your planning strategies. Learn more about estate planning by meeting with a lawyer in Virginia Beach today.



How Many People Don’t Have the Resources to Support Themselves with Long-Term Care?

Long-term care expenses can be catastrophic for a single person or even for the other spouse of a married couple. Most people anticipate aging in place or relying on family and friends as caregivers. But extensive long-term care needs might require assisted living or a nursing home.

A recent study indicates that 60% of those people who will have moderate or severe long term care needs will not have the financial or family resources to meet those needs. Medicaid will step in to provide assistance for some of them but without Medicaid in place nearly 16% of today’s 65-year-olds will have severe enough care needs that they will be unable to cover them with private resources. This highlights the importance of having a plan to qualify for Medicaid if and when that time comes.

Automatic qualification for Medicaid is very difficult since many people do not anticipate the illness or disabling injury that requires them to seek out long-term care. If you find yourself in the position of needing support from an experienced Medicaid planning lawyer, now is a good opportunity to walk through your options and see how your current strategy lines up with the possible expenses of the average long term care stay.

While there are plenty of nursing homes and great care facilities in Virginia, most people are caught off guard by both the expense of staying at one and the possibility for staying there a long time. In both these situations, it helps to plan ahead by thinking about the assets you can use to support yourself and assets you wish to pass on in your estate and how these impact Medicaid eligibility. Talk to a Virginia Beach lawyer today.

Short Term Versus Legacy: Your Financial Plan

It can be difficult to ensure that you have enough funds set aside for retirement and that you’ve done the appropriate strategies and planning to protect yourself later on.

But this also must be balanced with your interest in creating a legacy. How do you know which one should take priority? The truth is that both of these goals of short term financial support and a long term legacy are important and there may have to be tradeoffs as well.

Creative and knowledgeable planning can decrease the possibility of disruption in your life, but only when done with the help of experienced estate planning lawyer in your area.

Longevity is one of the most unplanned for gaps in a retirement plan. A study from 2018, for example, showed that men between ages 60 and 79 have biological ages that were 4 years lower than men in earlier generations. This suggests that not only do they have the possibility of living longer than previous generations, but they are living healthier lives longer.

If you are in the 60 or older age group, this means that you might need to set aside a lot more money than your current plans allow for. 50% of the population lives beyond the life expectancy for the age group they belong to. This creates a longevity income gap that can expose you and your loved ones to unnecessary financial pressure. Set aside time to meet with an experienced and knowledgeable estate planning lawyer and work with your financial professional team to ensure that you have considered possible risks and inflation in the future.



What Are Transfer on Death Accounts?

Transfer on death accounts are those accounts that allow you to move ownership to a beneficiary when you, as the owner, pass away. This is recognized under certain state laws and doesn’t require the involvement of the probate courts. Many different assets can be covered by the transfer on death umbrella.

Certain states will allow transfer on death bank accounts, but you might also hear these referred to as payable on death bank accounts. Brokerage accounts, bonds, stocks, 401Ks, and IRAs could all potentially be considered transfer on death accounts. When you pass away, your beneficiary will just need to show proof of ID and possibly your death certificate to get access to those accounts. Each financial institution has different rules around what is required, so it’s worth placing a phone call first to make sure you have everything you need.

If you’re the one who currently owns these accounts, do an annual review to make sure they are properly updated and include the names of your chosen beneficiaries.

You’ll need to make sure that you’ve completed appropriate beneficiary designation forms with each one of these account managers, to ensure that a smooth transfer of assets occurs if something happens to you.

Transfer on death accounts are just a few of the assets that could pass to your loved ones after you death; an attorney can help you create a plan for the rest of your assets. Set aside time to speak with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney in the Virginia Beach area for more information.



Three Tips to Maintain Your Savings in Retirement

Approaching retirement means thinking about your finances and your working life differently. For plenty of soon-to-be American retirees, it’s just as important for them to protect their savings as it is to have a good plan for spending it during their retirement years.

There are many different risks that can impact retirement plans today, most particularly, their impact of long-term care expenses. Three tips can help retirees be more mindful of the balance inside their retirement savings accounts and how best to protect it. The first of these is to look for a fiduciary or a financial advisor who will put your best interests ahead.

There are many different financial professionals who are targeting the retiree market for those who are high net worth. It’s a good idea to work with someone who has a fiduciary responsibility and will help you understand where you are at now and where you hope to be in retirement. The second step is to make sure that you have an advanced wealth planning strategy and a relationship with an estate planning lawyer.

An estate planning lawyer could help you see some of the different ways that your retirement plan could be affected, not only to support you in your older years but to leave gifts behind for your loved ones. Finally, think about the big picture.

Maintaining wealth goes beyond income and investment returns. Look for advice from a variety of professionals that can help you better understand things like health care planning and taxes. For more information about drafting a retirement plan that aligns with your estate planning goals, schedule a consultation with an estate planning lawyer in Virginia Beach today.



Update Your Emergency Fund and Your Estate Plan in 2021

End of year provides unique planning opportunities to close up loopholes or to evaluate whether your life circumstances should prompt you to change strategies altogether. A couple of key tips can help you reorganize before 2021 and ensure that you enter the new year with a comprehensive plan and strategy to accomplish your individual or business goals.

One of the most important things you can do personally is to replenish or grow your emergency fund. One study found that just over half of Americans had an emergency fund to begin with and nearly 40% of those savers have had to tap into their emergency fund during the pandemic. Over half of the people who had an existing emergency fund before the pandemic had taken on additional debt rather than turning to their cash reserves.

This highlights just how important it is to have an emergency plan in place. Financial planning advice suggests that you have between 3 and 6 months of expenses stored up in an emergency fund. This can help to handle unanticipated bills or even a temporary loss of income. While it is challenging to build an emergency savings plan while things appear so uncertain, this and updating your estate planning documents are important end of year activities that can help you recalibrate and forge ahead into the new year.

If your life circumstances have changed over the last year or your financial planning picture has changed, this is a good opportunity to schedule a consultation with your estate planning and financial planning professionals in Virginia.