Self Employed in Michigan? Comparing a SEP IRA vs. a Solo 401(k)

For years, the SEP IRA was the gold standard retirement plan for the self employed. High contribution rates? Check. Easy to open? Check. Flexible investments? Check. However, the SEP IRA is getting some competition, from the solo 401(k) (a.k.a an individual, or self employed 401(k)).  My buddy, and hotshot business owner , Marvin asked me the best retirement plan for him over dinner the other … Continue reading Self Employed in Michigan? Comparing a SEP IRA vs. a Solo 401(k)

How WEP Affects Social Security

Sometimes, as a financial planner, I have to deliver bad news.   “We may have to look at cheaper homes.” “Sure, you can retire this year, but you may have to sell the boat.” “No, you can’t buy lotto tickets in your Roth IRA.” The other day was no exception.  A client came into the office, having finally collected his U.S. and Canadian retirement benefit … Continue reading How WEP Affects Social Security

Why Retirement May be a Good Time to Sell That Highly Appreciated Stock

So you bought AT&T stock 30 years ago. It has gone through about 40 name changes, 12 spin offs, and 120 dividend payments. Not to mention the stock has made you a ton of money since you bought it. The cost basis is long gone and somehow you have misplaced your brokerage statements from 1986. You figure that you can never sell the stock because, … Continue reading Why Retirement May be a Good Time to Sell That Highly Appreciated Stock

5 Questions You Must Ask Before Buying An Annuity

Buying an annuity is not that different from buying a home. Let’s break it down: Both involve pretty high fees (6% realtor commissions don’t pay themselves) Both involve long time commitments as annuities have high surrender fees, and most homes aren’t bought to be flipped Both can involve a big money commitment However, there is one major difference; most people do much more research before … Continue reading 5 Questions You Must Ask Before Buying An Annuity

Qualifying For U.S. Social Security and Canada CPP and OAS (Totalization Agreement)

In 1984, the U.S. and Canada finalized an agreement that allows a person to qualify for both U.S. Social Security and Canadian retirement benefits. This made it easier for people who worked in both countries to qualify for retirement benefits when they may not have been able to without the agreement. In the process, they have also thoroughly confused anybody trying to figure out what … Continue reading Qualifying For U.S. Social Security and Canada CPP and OAS (Totalization Agreement)

Taxes on 401(k) and IRA Distributions in Michigan

You have saved and saved throughout your working years and now it is time to start taking some money out. You didn’t think the government was going to let you have all of that money tax free did you? A lot of things in retirement compared to working are different, and that includes taxes. Some taxes go up, some go down, and others are completely … Continue reading Taxes on 401(k) and IRA Distributions in Michigan