Financial Independence: How to Retire Before Age 59 1/2

How do you define “retirement?” This word, and more importantly the concept, is ever-changing.

Hearing the word may evoke images of an elderly couple walking along the beach or lying in a hammock as they watch the sun set. This advertised lifestyle is usually funded by Social Security retirement benefits, private and public pensions, annuities, and distributions from after-tax brokerage and qualified retirement accounts – such as 401(k)s, 403(b)s, and IRAs.


Brokerage Accounts: Tax Gain and Tax Loss Harvesting

“It’s not what you make; it’s what you keep!” As mindful investors, it is important that we look for opportunities to legally reduce our tax liability. Strategies may include Roth conversions, health savings accounts (HSAs), tax-efficient investments, business deductions, charitable gifts, tax credits, and so on. In this article, we will be focusing on two unique techniques to reduce the tax liability of your taxable brokerage accounts.


College Savings – 529 Plans

Many Baby Boomers and Gen Xers remember working a part-time job and graduating college with little or no debt. Unfortunately, that memory is no longer a reality for most college students today, since the cost of a 4-year public university has more than doubled since 1989, +2.5% per year even after inflation! Conversely, wages grew only an average of 0.3% per year (according to Forbes).

Roughly 70% of American students take out loans to go to college, graduating with more than an average of $30,000 in unsecured debt – but since we’re all about planning, what can we do to prepare for our own children’s education costs?


Financial Advice – Where is the Value?

When I suggest the value of hiring a financial planner to the public, I am often met with the response