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Retirement Certainty Scorecard™

 
  DISAGREE AGREE
Indicate the degree to which you agree or disagree with the statements below.
1

I have a clear, written and actionable retirement plan that shows my current financial position (Point A) and my ultimate future (Point B) and sets a path to get from A to B.

2

I review my written retirement plan each and every year and adjust it for changes in my life. I stress test my plan's viability by changing variables for the worst case scenario.

3

I know exactly what my personal required rate of return (PRROR) is that will allow me to achieve all of my retirement goals. I plan my investment strategy around and work toward that PRROR.

4

I have an investment plan which focuses an equal amount of time on making money as it does on not losing it, simultaneously advancing and protecting my assets.

5

I know that I am utilizing independent advice and strategies which specifically fit my individual situation.

6

I review all of my investments each and every year based on how the market and economy are responding and make adjustments and/or rebalances at least annually or as needed.

7

I am confident with all of my insurances knowing that the way they are positioned and funded will protect me and my family for any unforeseen negative events.

8

I am confident that my estate planning documents and beneficiary designations are all set up to maximize the benefits that my family receives.

9

I am well qualified or utilizing professionals that are well qualified to give the best possible advice for my retirement, investment, estate and tax planning.

10

My retirement planning is set up (by me or my advisor) in a way that requires little daily, weekly or monthly attention so that I can enjoy life to its fullest.

As I consider everything that will allow me to live most comfortably during my retirement, the thing that keeps me up at night is:

Thank you for completing the Retirement Certainty Scorecard™.

Please click "Submit & Print Form" to send a copy of this form to Campbell Wealth. After completing Steps 2 and 3, a Campbell Wealth associate will review the results of your Scorecard with you.

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Now that the Dust has Settled, What are the Financial Benefits of Same-Sex Marriage?

I was in my car last Friday when news of the Supreme Court’s much-anticipated decision in Obergefell v. Hodges came across the radio.  Widely known to all as the same-sex marriage decision, Obergefell has already had an impact on the legal status of many of Americans.  But as gay Americans enjoy the right to marry that the rest of us have taken for granted, they may also feel the effect of the court’s decision in their pocketbooks.

 

As a financial planner, I am charged with helping my clients develop strategies to assure their monetary security.  But as I listened to the crowds celebrating victory on Friday, I couldn’t help but think of my sister, who is gay, and how much I wished I could celebrate with her.  After all, how could I not want to celebrate the fact that, were she to choose someday to share her life with the woman she loves, she too could enjoy all the hoopla and wonder of getting married.

 

But as a financial planner, I am also aware that there are significant financial benefits, under federal law, that attach to marriage in this country. For too long, same-sex couples have been denied these benefits. For those who choose marriage now, however, here are some of the important issues to consider:

 

  1. Married same-sex couples are now eligible for Social Security spousal retirement benefits, regardless of where they live. This opens up a whole world of creative ways for newly married couples to plan and possibly increase their social security income. Spousal benefits, unlike individual benefits, are not dependent on quarters of eligibility. Therefore, if you were previously ineligible for benefits based on your own working history you can now collect half of your spouse’s social security income as a monthly benefit.
  2. Similar to Social Security, same-sex couples can now participate in spousal benefits for pension plans. If you are a retired government worker, teacher or railroad worker, for example, when you retired you were handed a sheet with a list of pension payment options. Most gay couples were left with the single life option, meaning that when one of them died, their partner received nothing. Now that same sex marriages will be valid across the country, joint pension options will be available to those couples.
  3. With the newly established exchanges, getting health insurance is easier for some than it used to be. However, many of the individuals within these newly recognized marriages will choose to take advantage of a group plan through their spouse. An option previously unavailable if you were living in a state that didn’t recognize your marriage. Several companies including Verizon and IBM have already said they will discontinue spousal benefits to domestic partners as those couples now have the choice to marry. Active or retired military? The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will now grant same-sex couples the right to share in the financial benefits of their spouse, including pensions, home loans, and medical services. This will bring financial independence to those sacrificing for our national security.
  4. Estate plans just became a lot less costly and complicated unless your situation is…complicated. Married couples can pass an unlimited number of assets back and forth without having to worry about gift taxes because of something called the unlimited marital deduction. This will eliminate the need to draft certain documents as “workarounds” to achieve the same benefit. Same-sex couples will now also enjoy the benefits of portability, a provision that allows a surviving spouse the use of the unused portion of the deceased spouse’s estate exclusion. (My apologies for the jargon)
  5. No more having to file state and federal taxes under a different status. Previously same-sex couples in states that didn’t honor their marriage typically filed joint returns at the federal level and single returns at the state level. Not only did this lead to confusion for many of the couples, but it usually meant that they would have to pay twice as much in preparation fees.

 

This is a huge win for same-sex couples across the country but not because of the financial benefits listed above.  It’s because these couples will now get to live their lives with the same freedoms and benefits that the institution of marriage affords the rest of us.   With life change comes change to your financial plan.  Once the party starts to die down, I will be updating all of my client’s plans that have decided to make that change.

 

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