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Dollars & Sense: Don’t Fall Behind in 2020

By Roberta L Nestor

“Disruption” seems to be another new phrase for 2020.  Did any of us plan for our lives to be this disrupted for such a long period of time?  We understand that each of us are all in the same boat these days and that as families, we are experiencing extreme circumstances.  As the world keeps turning, many of us have stood still.  We are waking up and realizing the many things we haven’t tended to in 2020 and how easy it is to neglect important things.

Don’t let yourself fall behind on these important matters:

  1. The date for being able to file for Free Application for Student Aid (FASFA) is October 1, 2020. This applies to anyone who is a high school senior or older and planning on or already attending college.  Do not wait to file!  FASFA has a limited budget and aid is first come, first served.  The high unemployment rate in the U.S. may translate into more families needing federal aid.
  2. Contributions to your ROTH or other non-employer sponsored retirement plans should continue. If you are under age 50, you can contribute a maximum ROTH contribution of $6,000 and if you are over age 50, you can contribute a maximum of $7,000.  We all have to continue to save for our future and most ROTH plans are flexible with low minimums.
  3. If you are experiencing job insecurity and concerned you might be forced to take an early retirement – do not wait until it happens. Meet with your financial advisor so you will have an idea of what income would be available to you in the event of an unplanned retirement.
  4. Don’t forget about contributions to 529 College Savings Plans—all that money we are not spending on children’s activities (sports, dance classes, etc.) can be re-allocated into their college savings plans. Remember if you have the CT State CHET plan, up to $10,000 of 529 contributions can be deducted from your CT state tax return (this is for contributions through 12/31/2020).
  5. 2020 tax returns may look different for self-employed individuals as there may be fewer tax deductions—lack of meetings, conferences, entertainment, advertising, and other work-related expenses that you probably did not incur this year. Talk to your tax advisor about offsetting expenses you normally would have had by contributing to a retirement plan.  SEPS and Single-K plans are unique to self-employed individuals.
  6. When is the last time you had your will reviewed? Is everything up to date?  Check your 401k and other investment plans to make sure your beneficiaries are current and express what you want to happen in the event of death.
  7. Do you have a current Power of Attorney? Does your family know about it?  COVID-19 also brought to light the issues involving the appointment of a Health Care Agent.  If you are unable to make medical decisions for yourself, who will?
  8. Do you have a living will? This is a legal document that tells others what your personal choices are about end-of-life medical treatment.  It spells out the procedures you want (or do not want) used to prolong life if you are unable to communicate this directly to your doctors.

There are endless “things” that have slipped through the cracks this year; however, there is still time before the end of the year to make sure you don’t fall behind.

Roberta L. Nestor is a financial advisor practicing at 759 Boston Post Road in Milford, CT offering retirement, long term care, investment, and tax planning services.  She offers securities and advisory services as a Registered Representative and Investment Adviser Representative of Commonwealth Financial Network – a member FINRA/SIPC and a Registered Investment Adviser.  Fixed insurance products offered through Nestor Financial Network are separate and unrelated to Commonwealth.  Commonwealth Financial Network or Nestor Financial Network does not provide legal or tax advice.  You should consult a legal or tax professional regarding your individual situation.  Roberta can be reached at Nestor Financial Network, 203-876-8066 or roberta@nestorfinancial.com.

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