Published: December 22, 2019

Congress has passed, and the President has signed, a spending bill that includes the SECURE Act, which makes a number of changes in retirement planning rules. Here are some highlights:

1. Minimum distributions from IRAs and retirement plans, required to begin soon after age 70 1/2, may be postponed until age 72. This change applies to those who reach age 70 1/2 after December 31, 2019.

2. Participants in IRAs and retirement plans may withdraw up to $5,000 without penalty (but with tax) to pay the costs of the birth or adoption of a child.

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Published: June 10, 2019

How To Prepare For The Retirement Years


Ages 25, 30, 35, 40 – save more spend less

Save as much as possible on a pre-tax or tax-advantaged basis

(Why think about retirement at these young ages?  Because, with a little luck, you’ll be old someday)

Age 50 – increase savings in retirement plan by the catchup amount

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Published: March 26, 2019


I have had a few clients caught up in scams of the Madoff variety, but fortunately not for large sums. The most common reaction when this happens is embarrassment, that someone who is intelligent could be caught by something that seems so obvious in hindsight. And yet scams continue. Why is that?

There are several reasons:

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Published: March 10, 2019


In most households, there is one spouse who handles financial matters- paying bills, filing tax returns, planning retirement income. While division of labor might be great, there could be problems if the "non-financial" spouse is the survivor- he or she might be easy prey for those who try to sell inappropriate investments or insurance policies, or might be a victim of out-and-out theft. There is a solution, but it requires work while both spouses are alive. A technique I have used is to create a notebook with important information:

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Published: February 6, 2019

Providing for the people who matter most to you is one of estate planning's overarching goals. An inheritnace can go a long way toward ensuring the security of your partner, spouse, or children after you're gone. But sometimes our loved ones need to be protected from themselves. Reckless spending and the claims of creditors can quickly eat away at what at first seemed like limitless reserves.

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Published: December 18, 2018

A client visited today and asked what advice we give to husbands and wives about financial responsibilities when one spouse has died. It's still often one spouse's task to pay bills and make household arrangements, and if that spouse dies first, what can be done to assist the survivor? My suggestion was just what I have done. Although my wife is familiar with our bills and the various contracts we have for maintaining our home, it makes sense to put that information into a separate "guidebook".

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Published: December 11, 2018

Like most people, members of the LGBTQ community often wait until after a major life event before meeting with a lawyer to plan their estates.

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Published: October 30, 2018

What will happen to your frequent flyer miles when you're gone? Will your spouse, partner, or someone else you care about be able to use and enjoy them? The airlines' rules are not always clear-cut on the matter. But with proper planning, you can make the most of their policies and help to ensure that your miles are passed on to someone you designate.

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Published: September 6, 2018

One of the many benefits of Saul Ewing's recent merger with Arnstein & Lehr, now Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr, is that we now have offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, Florida. Many people living in the Northern and Midwestern states have second homes in Florida or have become full-time Florida residents, and they often need additional or different estate planning assistance.

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Published: September 5, 2018

An article in the September 4, 2018 Wall Street Journal discusses the question of what people will spend in retirement. Its author is connected with something called the Center for Advanced Hindsight, which I suppose is humorous. The article indicates that the center brought together a large number of people and asked them what they thought their expenses would be in retirement. Because they had heard the figure of 70% of pre-retirement expenses, that's what they said. So far, not very scientific.

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