Friday, February 7, 2020

Health & Food Trends to Watch in the New Decade

A recent study concluded that half of the U.S. population will be clinically obese within the next 10 years. This isn’t just a weight issue, it’s a financial one. Obesity is a major factor for developing conditions like heart disease, diabetes, joint disorders and even certain types of cancer.1 So if you think health care expenses are high now, imagine how they could escalate over the next decade.
While we can’t always control what ailments we will experience, to some extent we can work on reducing body weight. And given the impact that being overweight can have on your finances and lifestyle, it may be worth putting as much effort into staying healthy as you do planning for retirement. We may not be able to help you with your nutrition and exercise regimen, but we’re here for you when it comes to building a financial future you can have confidence in. We’d be happy to discuss your insurance options based on your unique situation.
Shape up with small changes
As for improving your health, most experts agree on a handful of evidence-based recommendations. For example, sugary drinks like soda and even fruit juices contribute a lot of calories that can be avoided by switching to water. The same can be said for processed junk food. Nutritionists recommend replacing such foods with different types of vegetables, fruits and nuts as staples in your diet. High-quality proteins and fiber-rich foods can help you lose weight.2
If those traditional suggestions sound too boring, there are new ideas associated with better health. For instance, one study in Italy discovered that people who ate chili peppers at least four times a week had a 40% lower risk of dying from a heart attack and 50% lower risk of dying from a stroke.3
Researchers are still working to determine what accounts for the apparently protective effect, and a registered dietitian not connected to the study reminded that this observational study doesn’t show a causal link. “It is plausible people who use chilies, as the data suggests, also used more herbs and spices and as such were likely to be eating more fresh foods including vegetables,” said Duane Mellor, a registered dietitian and senior teaching fellow at Aston Medical School in the U.K., told CNN.4
Try these trendy foods
If the last decade is any indication, food patterns are trending healthier. From 2010 to present, we witnessed the growing popularity of things like avocado toast, Greek yogurt, nut-based milks, Kombucha tea, poke (raw fish salad) and bone broth.5
Looking ahead to 2020, the Food Network predicts that the biggest food trends will include:6
  • Pellet grills – compressed sawdust pellets heated by an electric rod that generates the easiest, cleanest and tastiest way to grill and smoke foods at the same time
  • Hudson Valley, New York – the area, comprising communities of growers, cookers and gourmet artisans, will become a popular vacation destination for “foodies”
  • Taiwanese food – will become increasingly popular, with dishes like beef noodle soup, pork belly buns and oyster omelets
  • Tajin (pronounced “ta-HEEN”) – this chile-lime salt seasoning will become all the rage
  • Grab-and-go charcuterie – will increasingly become the “go-to” choice among meals and snacks prepared by grocery store deli departments
1 Alice Park. Time. Dec. 18, 2019. “Half of the U.S. Population Will Be Obese by 2030.” https://time.com/5751551/us-obesity-by-state/. Accessed Dec. 30, 2019.
2 Kris Gunnars. Healthline. June 7, 2019. “27 Health and Nutrition Tips That Are Actually Evidence-Based.” https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/27-health-and-nutrition-tips. Accessed Dec. 30, 2019.
3 Jack Guy. CNN. Dec. 16, 2019. “Eating chilies cuts risk of death from heart attack and stroke, study says.” https://www.cnn.com/2019/12/16/health/eating-chili-pepper-study-scli-intl-scn-wellness/index.html. Accessed Dec. 30, 2019.
Ibid.
5 Lucas Kwan Peterson. Los Angeles Times. Dec. 30, 2019. “Cronuts, cold brew and avocado toast: 15 food trends that defined the decade.” https://www.latimes.com/food/story/2019-12-30/food-trends-best-of-decade. Accessed Dec. 30, 2019.
6 Leah Brickley. Food Network. Dec. 12, 2019. “These Are the Food Trends We’ll Be Talking About in 2020, According to Food Network.” https://www.foodnetwork.com/fn-dish/news/2019/12/food-network-food-trends-2020. Accessed Dec. 30, 2019.
Investment Advisory Services are offered by Imber Financial Group, LLC., a Registered Investment Adviser firm. Insurance services are offered through Imber Wealth Advisors, Inc. Imber Financial Group, LLC. and Imber Wealth Advisors, Inc. are affiliated companies We are an independent firm helping individuals create retirement strategies using a variety of insurance products to custom suit their needs and objectives. This material is intended to provide general information to help you understand basic retirement income strategies and should not be construed as financial advice.
The information contained in this material is believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed; it is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions. If you are unable to access any of the news articles and sources through the links provided in this text, please contact us to request a copy of the desired reference.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Work World: Late Career Management

The number of workers older than 64 has increased threefold since 1989.1 And while working longer may be a marker of good health for some, it’s a necessity for others who need the income. As a result, we may need to rethink our idea of what retirement looks like in the 21st century.
Consider that working longer could be a problem if you’re relying on it as a retirement savings strategy. That’s because a 2018 study found that more than half of older U.S. workers, many of them mid- and late-career managers, were forced out of their jobs before they chose to retire.2 Working longer has a lot of advantages, such as the ability to save more money and to grow your assets and your Social Security benefit. Unfortunately, sudden job loss — compounded by the difficulty older workers experience finding new jobs — can cause serious financial damage.
If there is one thing we can count on in life, it’s that life is always changing. We encounter great joys and great challenges, and often it’s how prepared we are that helps us recover and persevere. As insurance professionals, we believe it’s important to be prepared for any type of change that may come your way. If we can help you devise an insurance strategy to help you plan for the income you need in retirement, please give us a call.
It used to be more common for people to retire on their own terms, and there may be a way we can get back to that. But it doesn’t mean bucking the system; it requires embracing change. That change, for many people, could mean working in the “gig economy” with a sideline business. Think about it. By the time you are in the latter stages of your career, you likely have more experience than the vast number of colleagues around you. How can you leverage that for independent income?
Today, more than a third of America’s workforce participates in the gig economy, whether full time or part time.3 Even if you do not have knowledge that translates into a sideline business as, say, a consultant, perhaps you’ve developed another skill that could provide you income. Are you a baker or a carpenter? Perhaps you could drive for a rideshare service or walk dogs in your spare time. Working for yourself comes with plenty of perks, such as accepting only the jobs you want and scheduling hours that work for you. Like it or not, the gig economy could be the defining work/life balance solution of this century.
Many people may be uncomfortable with the idea of changing jobs or careers late in the game. That is certainly understandable. But it’s important to remember that many retirees didn’t get to make that decision on their own. So imagine for a moment what you would do if you lost your job late in your career. Would you look for another job in your field? Would you consider starting your own business? Would you go in a completely different direction — perhaps pursue something you’ve always wanted to do?
Let’s say you don’t even need the income; you have plenty of money saved to retire on — you just don’t want to retire … yet. So what would you want to do? Taking time to consider this question could be instrumental in shaping the new, 21st century perspective on retirement.
And why not? Consider that you have a lifetime of experience — both in career and in life lessons learned. If you are in the latter stages of your career, it’s time you take charge by putting together a plan B — just in case.
You could consider your potential career change a gift to the next generation. Many Gen Xers and millennials now say the biggest obstacle in their career path is that more baby boomers are putting off retirement, so there’s little room for promotions to middle- and higher-level jobs.4
That’s a lot to think about. But perhaps the 21st-century vision of retirement isn’t to stop working, but rather to pursue income-producing dreams.
1 Stef W. Kight. Axios. Nov. 16, 2019. “Special report: Retirement becomes more myth than reality.” https://www.axios.com/retirement-myth-reality-d64d1e74-df04-49b7-9629-2cab2609a917.html. Accessed Dec. 18, 2019.
2 Knowledge@Wharton. Dec. 3, 2019. “Forced Out of Your Job Mid-career? Here’s How to Prepare.” https://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/forced-job-mid-career-heres-prepare/. Accessed Dec. 18, 2019.
3 US Bank. 2019. “Understanding the expanding gig economy.” https://financialiq.usbank.com/index/landing-page/gig-economy.html?c3ch=Paid%20Social&c3nid=TW-21808397. Accessed Dec. 18, 2019.
4 Paul Davidson. USA Today. Nov. 7, 2019. “Millennials, Gen Xers to baby boomers: Can you retire so I can get a job promotion?” https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2019/11/07/jobs-baby-boomers-older-workers-may-block-millennials-careers/4170836002/. Accessed Dec. 18, 2019.
We are an independent firm helping individuals create retirement strategies using a variety of insurance products to custom suit their needs and objectives. This material is intended to provide general information to help you understand basic retirement income strategies and should not be construed as financial advice. Investment Advisory Services are offered by Imber Financial Group, LLC., a Registered Investment Adviser firm. Insurance services are offered through Imber Wealth Advisors, Inc. Imber Financial Group, LLC. and Imber Wealth Advisors, Inc. are affiliated companies
The information contained in this material is believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed; it is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions. If you are unable to access any of the news articles and sources through the links provided in this text, please contact us to request a copy of the desired reference.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Financial Tips for 2020

The U.S. has enjoyed 10 years of a booming stock market and a growing economy. It’s too early to tell how 2020 will look, but there are some signs that it doesn’t look quite as promising. Between warnings of a possible economic pullback and a contentious presidential election year, investors may want to consider financial moves designed to help protect gains and optimize future opportunities.
For example, while domestic securities were global leaders in 2019, Morgan Stanley believes U.S. stocks and bonds will underperform other developed countries in 2020. The wealth manager predicts the S&P 500 Index will have a small decline to 3,000 points by the end of the year as the dollar weakens, corporate earnings edge downward and “unique” political risks are expected in the run-up to Election Day.1
We recommend that individuals take a long view when it comes to investing, particularly in relation to retirement planning. However, as we approach this new decade, it may be important to review your portfolio’s overall asset allocation, not just within the context of 2020, but for your long-term financial objectives. Please give us a call if we can help you make this assessment.
As for retirement planning, be aware of three changes scheduled to impact Social Security benefits in 2020: 2
  1. The earnings limit subject to FICA payroll taxes is scheduled to increase by $4,800, to $137,700. This means employees who earn at or above that threshold will pay an additional $367 in payroll taxes during 2020.
  2. Retirees received a 1.6 percent boost in Social Security benefits, which translates to roughly $288 (on average) more for the year.
  3. Social Security recipients who haven’t reached full retirement age can earn $600 more in 2020 without a benefits reduction — up to $18,240. Beyond that limit, every $2 in earnings will result in $1 withheld in benefits.
It’s a good idea to consider your income tax status early in the year. A lot of people did not expect the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to negatively impact their taxes and received an unpleasant surprise when they filed returns last year. You can help prevent having to owe additional taxes on filing day by adjusting your Form W-4 exemptions with your employer so that more income is withheld throughout the year.3
Also, consider making your 2020 contributions to tax-advantaged accounts as early in the year as you can. That’s because any contributions you make to accounts such as IRAs, 529s and workplace retirement plans will have more time to take advantage of tax-deferred compounding growth.4
1 Joanna Ossinger. Bloomberg. Nov. 17, 2019. “Morgan Stanley Sees U.S. as a Laggard in 2020 Across Markets.” https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-11-18/morgan-stanley-sees-u-s-underperforming-in-2020-across-markets. Accessed Dec. 18, 2019.
2 Kenneth Terrell. Oct. 28, 2019. “What to Know About Social Security Changes for 2020.” https://www.aarp.org/retirement/social-security/info-2019/social-security-changes-look-ahead.html. Accessed Jan. 15, 2020.
3 Kiplinger. Oct. 29, 2019. “27 Money Moves to Make Now to Prepare for 2020.” https://www.kiplinger.com/slideshow/saving/T023-S002-money-moves-to-make-now-to-prepare-for-2020/index.html. Accessed Dec. 18, 2019.
4 Business Wire. Dec. 16, 2019. “20 Financial Resolutions for 2020 from the AICPA.” https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20191216005073/en/20-Financial-Resolutions-2020-AICPA. Accessed Dec. 18, 2019.
Our firm is not affiliated with or endorsed by the U.S. government or any governmental agency and does not provide tax advice. Investment Advisory Services are offered by Imber Financial Group, LLC., a Registered Investment Adviser firm. Insurance services are offered through Imber Wealth Advisors, Inc. Imber Financial Group, LLC. and Imber Wealth Advisors, Inc. are affiliated companies
We are an independent firm helping individuals create retirement strategies using a variety of insurance and investment products to custom suit their needs and objectives. This material is intended to provide general information to help you understand basic financial planning strategies and should not be construed as financial or investment advice. All investments are subject to risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.
The information contained in this material is believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed; it is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions. If you are unable to access any of the news articles and sources through the links provided in this text, please contact us to request a copy of the desired reference.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Tax Tips & Updates for the 2019 Filing Season

As we enter a new year, it’s time to start thinking about smart tax moves to help minimize what you’ll owe Uncle Sam on April 15, 2020. Given the fact that the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act went into effect only last year, taxpayers are still learning the ins, outs and potential undiscovered advantages of the plan. For example, if you did not itemize deductions on your previous federal return, your state tax refund will be tax-free.1
Bear in mind that other clarifications have come to light since the law was passed, such as deducting interest on a home equity line of credit. However, if you actually used the money from a home equity loan to repair or renovate your home, the interest on that loan is still deductible.2
We recognize that tax planning is an onerous task, made more difficult by changes in tax law. If you are wondering how any changes in your investment portfolio may affect your taxes, please give us a call. If we don’t have the exact tax expertise you need, we can help point you in the direction of someone who does.
In addition to doubling the standard deduction, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act reduced individual income tax rates to between 12% and 37%. However, these cuts are scheduled to expire in 2026. In recent months, the Trump administration has proposed dropping the marginal rate even lower for the current 22% income tax bracket, down to 15%. While this appears to be a strong carrot entering the 2020 campaign year, there’s been no clarification as to how this tax cut would be paid for and, given that it would add roughly another trillion dollars or so to the federal debt throughout the next decade, is not likely to gain traction in Congress.3
If you traditionally deducted substantial mortgage interest as well as state and local real estate and income taxes, you may have seen a noticeable difference in last year’s return. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act capped these federal deductions at $10,000, which some real estate analysts say is responsible for lower home valuations in some parts of the country.4
It’s also important to stay abreast of the tax-related ins and outs of inherited IRAs. If you are the deceased account owner’s spousal beneficiary, you have several options — one being that you can basically treat the account as your own. However, if you’re a non-spouse beneficiary, your options are limited. Currently, you can either take distributions based on your own life expectancy — the “stretch option” — which allows the funds to continue growing tax-deferred in the account; or, you must liquidate the account within five years of the original owner’s death. Note that as of 2019, Congress is currently considering legislation that would eliminate the stretch option and require full liquidation within 10 years of the account owner’s death.5
For more information on how we may be able to assist you when it comes to incorporating your tax planning into your Retirement Plan, give our office a call at (734) 769-1719 or email us at office@imberwealth.com.
1 Rocky Mengle and Kevin McCormally. Kiplinger. Dec. 2, 2019. “20 Most-Overlooked Tax Breaks and Deductions.” https://www.kiplinger.com/slideshow/taxes/T054-S001-most-overlooked-tax-deductions-breaks-2019/index.html. Accessed Dec. 5, 2019.
2 Andrew H. Friedman. Merrill Lynch. March 19, 2019. “Tax Law Update: New Information on What’s Deductible – and What’s Not.” https://www.ml.com/bulletin/tax-update-the-irs-answers-frequently-asked-questions.recent.html. Accessed Dec. 5, 2019.
3 Knowledge@Wharton. Nov. 19, 2019. “A Middle-class Tax Cut: Weighing the Costs and Benefits.” https://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/blouin-middle-class-tax-cut/. Accessed Dec. 5, 2019.
4 Knowledge@Wharton. Oct. 22, 2019. “Why Tax Changes Are Hurting the Housing Market.” https://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/tax-changes-hurting-housing-market/. Accessed Dec. 5, 2019.
5 James Royal. Bankrate. Nov. 19, 2019. “7 inherited IRA rules all beneficiaries must know.” https://www.bankrate.com/retirement/inherited-ira-rules/. Accessed Dec. 5, 2019.
Investment Advisory Services are offered by Imber Financial Group, LLC., a Registered Investment Adviser firm. Insurance services are offered through Imber Wealth Advisors, Inc. Imber Financial Group, LLC. and Imber Wealth Advisors, Inc. are affiliated companies

Friday, January 10, 2020

Market Trends to Watch

Market Trends to Watch
The investment world is like the weather: constantly changing. Financial vehicles are tweaked and improved upon, particularly when there are changes to tax law or compliance rules. The world of finance is fluid, and so are we. As our lives evolve, it’s important to review and sometimes make adjustments to our investment and insurance goals and strategies.
The difficult part can be keeping up with all the changes. We believe one of the best ways to do that is to work with a financial advisor and meet with him or her regularly. At least once a year, it’s good to review your current situation, find out what changes or new products are available, and determine if you should make any alterations to your financial portfolio. Contact us if you are interested in such a consultation.
Following is a roundup of news and timely reminders from the investment industry.
 Impact Investing
What may have started as an environmentalist movement to effect change by tapping invested assets, the sustainable investment industry has grown into a mainstream strategy. The share of assets invested in funds focused on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues increased 40% from 2000 to 2017.1
 This is no longer simply a “do-gooder” motivation. Studies have revealed that companies focused on environmental efficiency — meaning they minimize the use of natural resources and generate less production waste — tend to enjoy economic advantages over less environmentally sensitive competitors. These advantages can include lower costs; higher flexibility and efficiency in their supply chains; increased productivity; reduced regulatory risk; and fewer costly fines, recalls or mitigation requirements. As a result, recent studies found, the stocks of these companies tended to be less volatile — particularly in manufacturing and other resource-intensive industries.2
 E-Commerce Update
Online sales are starting to have a more profound effect in some sectors of the investment market. For example, in 2018, Amazon surpassed Walmart as the top apparel retailer in the United States, claiming more than 9% of the market. But not all traditional retailers have been hit as hard by e-commerce; for example, some investment analysts say retailers like QVC and those in the business‑to‑business e-commerce market — notably in the home improvement and auto parts industries — remain competitive because they are more insulated from Amazon or other online competitors. 3
 And there’s another angle to consider with e-commerce. While we normally associate online retailers with low overhead, overall the industry requires three times the warehouse space of primarily brick‑and‑mortar retailers. In turn, this has created opportunities in the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) market that focuses on commercial properties.4
Investment trends
According to Bank of America, some of the economic and societal changes to watch over the next 10 years include:5
1. More disruptions in the global flow of goods, ultimately leading to a rebalancing that will increase productivity and lead to a more sustainable global economy
2. A focus on high-quality companies in sectors with low political risk, such as utilities, national defense, waste management, data processing and payments, and global beverages
3. Markets responding to demographic shifts, such as the rise of the middle class in emerging market countries and millennials’ preference for tech compatibility and sustainability
4.Continued growth of energy-efficient, renewable, sustainable and green initiatives

Friday, January 18, 2019

Learn About the Best Places to Retire Outside of the United States

If you’re working with a financial planner, you’ve probably spent years asking the same question – “how much does it cost to retire in Ann Arbor?” – if living abroad is something you’ve always dreamed of, you can shift your financial planning a bit to accommodate your new goal and start asking, “how much does it cost to retire abroad?”

Willian P. Barrett, a contributor for Forbes, writes, “The U.S. Social Security Administration just reported it’s now sending checks to almost 700,000 people living in foreign countries. That’s a steady 40% increase over 10 years.”

Check out our website to learn about the best places to retire abroad!


Work with Imber Wealth Advisors to Figure out How Much it Costs to Retire

If you’re not already working with a financial planner, it’s time to call one of our experts! Our firm treats you like family, and we will help you create a plan to achieve all your retirement goals, even living abroad! We can help you create a plan that aligns your life and your money to help you leave a stress-free retirement. Contact us today to get started!

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Have You Considered Retiring Abroad? Here are the Best Places According to Forbes...

Have you recently retired? Are you planning your retirement? Trying to figure out what’s next?

Have you considered moving out of the United States, but never had the means to do so?

Moving abroad is a big decision, but don’t be put off the idea if it appeals to you! It may be easier than you think.

According to Forbes, “many countries offer a high standard of living at a much lower cost and throw in good weather, great scenery, and fascinating culture at no extra charge.”

To see Forbes’ list of the best places to retire abroad in 2019, click here!

Imber Wealth Advisors can help you plan how much it costs to retire in Ann Arbor, or abroad!


Our family-focused firm will create a plan to align your money and your life goals.