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Podcast Q&A: Reviewing Life Insurance Needs in the Time of COVID

/// Posted by Aviva Sapers

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Aviva Sapers, CEO & President at Sapers & Wallack, answers questions about our September blog, Reviewing Life Insurance Needs in the Time of COVID.

Estate Planning Today for the World You Want Tomorrow

/// Posted by Aviva Sapers

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Often, when I begin a discussion with a client on estate planning, I remind them that they generally have three beneficiaries: family, charity, and Uncle Sam. I follow up with the question, “how much do you want to leave to each?” 

No one ever wants to leave their money to Uncle Sam, but the government will receive a piece of most everyone’s estate none-the-less — whether it be at the federal or state level, so you might consider incorporating philanthropy or bequests into your estate plan. With a deliberate, structured approach, you can leave specific assets to your kids and significant sums to charity, while paying zero estate taxes.

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Podcast Q&A: Estate Planning Today for the World You Want Tomorrow

/// Posted by Aviva Sapers

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Aviva Sapers, CEO & President at Sapers & Wallack, answers questions about our August blog, Estate Planning Today for the World You Want Tomorrow.

There is a pervasive myth that insurance products produce mediocre returns. In truth, though life insurance has been purchased for many years to provide security and guarantees, there are some newer product lines that can be very attractive for investment purposes—particularly in volatile markets. 

In order to remain competitive and relevant, the insurance industry has had to become much more creative with the investment options underlying their products. Years ago, they unveiled variable life insurance and variable annuities, where policyholders can invest monies that were over and above the cost of the insurance itself into mutual funds. Policyholders can choose from a myriad of mutual funds to invest in, much like what they’d find in various 401(k) plans, and now, some even offer target date funds as well. When the market goes up, the investment account or cash value accounts go up with it, and when the market declines, so do the underlying values to match a broader spectrum of risk tolerances.

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Aviva Sapers, CEO & President at Sapers & Wallack, answers questions about our July blog, Mitigating Downside Risk in the Market with Annuities and Life Insurance

Getting Your Financial House in Order

/// Posted by Evan Macedo

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Since many of us are stuck at home with our fiscal future full of bumps and potholes, I’ve found it to be a good opportunity to assess my relationship with personal finances. Full disclosure, I am a bit of an “Excel geek,” so expense tracking and spreadsheets are definitely in my wheelhouse. Nevertheless, this process need not be a burden, even for those of you who hate looking at numbers or facing the realities of your own spending habits. Getting your financial house in order may just be one of the most productive and important things you do this year. As someone who has just gone through the process, here are my favorite strategies that have worked well for me.

Analyze Last Year’s Income vs. Expenses

I, like so many others, spent the better part of a month not spending much money because we were told to only go out if we had to.  When I saw how much my credit card bill went down, I decided to analyze what I had been spending money on. For me, the easiest way to start this process was to export digital copies of online credit card “year-end summary” statements, and input those numbers, broken out by category, into an Excel spreadsheet. Since your credit cards conveniently categorize everything for you, pulling this together should be a cinch. Next, I added in any expenses that came out directly from my bank accounts, and when all else fails, I estimated the rest. The objective of this exercise is to scrutinize where all my spending went, how much I saved at the end of the year, and whether those numbers fell in line with my wealth building goals. I learned that I didn’t save nearly as much as I had planned to. It became painfully apparent that my Amazon purchases and fine dining habits would be the areas where I need to show more willpower in the coming year!

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Podcast Q&A: Getting Your Financial House in Order

/// Posted by Evan Macedo

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Evan Macedo, Vice President Finance & Operations at Sapers & Wallack, answers questions about our June blog, Getting Your Financial House in Order.

/// Posted by Ellen Bohn Gitlitz & Bill Smeltzer

No one would have predicted that we’d all be spending our spring, summer, and possibly beyond working remotely and restructuring how we engage with our coworkers, clients, and lives in general. Unfortunately, this extended period of disruption and uncertainty has also made us all more vulnerable to those who would capitalize on the moment.  As we’ve all turned to online solutions to remain connected, hackers, fraudsters, and thieves across the globe have unleashed their arsenals toward exploiting any weakness. Now more than ever, stringent cybersecurity protocols, backed by a comprehensive insurance policy, are necessary.

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Ellen Bohn Gitlitz, Executive Vice President Property & Casualty, Sapers & Wallack /The Hilb Group of New England answers questions about our May blog, Why Cybersecurity Insurance is More Important than Ever.

 

As a general rule, the more money you make, whether in work generated income or capital gains, the more you will pay in taxes. But rules are meant to be broken, and there are ways to mitigate tax losses with the right planning and advice.

The after-tax return vs. the pretax return. Everyone wants their investments to perform well. But for many investors it’s their after-tax return that may make all the difference. After all, even if your portfolio is earning double-digit returns, it may not matter if you’re also losing a percent of those earnings to taxes.1

Holding onto assets. One method that may increase tax efficiency is to simply minimize buying and selling in order to manage your capital gains taxes. The idea is to pursue long-term gains, instead of seeking short-term gains through a series of steady transactions. In the words of Warren Buffett, “Only buy something that you’d be perfectly happy to hold if the market shut down for 10 years.”2

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