April is National Social Security Month. With the future of Social Security in question, financial planning will become increasingly important for those seeking a secure retirement.

Social Security has long been the cornerstone of American retirement.

According to the Social Security Administration, nearly 67 million Americans will receive monthly Social Security benefits in 2023. Meanwhile, approximately nine out of ten seniors aged 65 and older were collecting Social Security benefits as of December 31, 2022. 

Indeed, many older Americans rely on Social Security as a key source of income in retirement. Yet with recent projections showing the program’s reserves are likely to run out by 2033—one year sooner than previously estimated—Social Security may no longer be the retirement bedrock it once was.  

The future of Social Security may be uncertain for some time. Nevertheless, careful financial planning will be necessary for those who hope to retire comfortably one day.

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  • Tillman Hartley

Consider these five tips to avoid unnecessary headaches this 2023 tax season.

The 2023 tax season is officially here, which means most taxpayers will be filing their tax return within the next two months. If you tend to stress about squaring up with Uncle Sam, there are steps you can take to help ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible this year.

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What Is the Debt Ceiling (And Does It Matter)?

  • Tillman Hartley

On Thursday, January 19, 2023, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen announced that the United States had hit its debt ceiling of $31.4 trillion and is now relying on “extraordinary measures” to continue paying its bills. These measures should carry the U.S. through early June, at which point the government risks default if lawmakers can’t reach a deal to raise the national debt limit.

Defaulting could have potentially disastrous consequences for the U.S. economy, such as higher interest rates, job losses, and a decline in GDP. It could also negatively impact those who rely on government benefits and services.

Indeed, this is not the first time the U.S. has reached its debt limit. Nor is it the first time Congress has used it as a bargaining chip.

In 2011, the U.S. got dangerously close to defaulting on its debt, leading Standard & Poor’s to downgrade the country’s AAA credit rating for the first time ever. As a result, markets plummeted, interest rates jumped, and the country’s borrowing costs increased by $1.3 billion.

Now, U.S. lawmakers are locked in a political stalemate as they debate raising the debt ceiling once again. Meanwhile, the economy hangs in the balance.

As we watch the drama unfold, here’s what you need to know about the U.S. debt ceiling.

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7 End-of-Year Tax Planning Tips for 2022

  • Tillman Hartley

With the end of the year fast approaching, Tax Season may be the last thing on your mind. Yet in many ways, the final months of 2022 may be your last chance to reduce this year’s tax liability. To avoid overpaying Uncle Sam and preserve more of your hard-earned income, consider the following end-of-year tax planning tips for 2022.

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Here’s What Investors Need to Know About the SECURE 2.0 Act

On December 29, 2022, President Biden signed into law a $1.7 trillion spending package. The package includes the SECURE 2.0 Act, a series of provisions that will affect the way many Americans plan and save for retirement.

SECURE 2.0 builds on the SECURE Act of 2019, which, among other measures, increased the age at which retirees must take required minimum withdrawals (RMDs) from 70½ to 72. Key provisions in the new package include additional increases to the RMD age, as well as less severe penalties for failing to take an RMD. In addition, savers over the age of 50 will be able to make larger catch-up contributions beginning in 2025.

Many of the SECURE 2.0 Act’s provisions take effect January 1, 2023. Still, others may take years to implement. Here’s what you need to know about SECURE 2.0 and how it may affect your retirement plan.

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U.S. stocks had their worst September since 2002. Here’s what’s contributing to recent stock market volatility and what it may mean for long-term investors.

As we enter the final quarter of 2022, it appears investors are increasingly losing confidence in the Fed’s ability to rein in inflation without sending the economy into recession.

Indeed, after a strong July, U.S. stocks once again ended the quarter in bear market territory.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished the third quarter below 29,000 for the first time since November 2020, losing 8.8% in September alone. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite shed 9.3% and 10.5% last month, respectively.

It’s not unusual for stocks to experience a rough September, leaving some investors to wonder if seasonality may be partially to blame. At the same time, a strengthening U.S. dollar and climbing short-term Treasury yields remain problematic for stocks.

As investors brace for a potentially bumpy year-end, it may be helpful to understand why markets are behaving erratically and what this may mean for long-term investors.

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