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Avoid Probate with These Two Free Methods Anyone Can Use

Probate can be quite a headache. Fear not! There are two not-so-secret secret weapons in your estate-planning arsenal, known as Transfer-on-Death (TOD) and Payable-on-Death (POD) designations.

These simple, yet overlooked methods are an easy and free way to avoid losing time and money to probate. Don’t burden your loved ones with complicated and confusing processes to claim their inheritance.

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Expert Strategies to Pay for Your Grandchild's College

There’s no denying the importance of getting a quality education. However, the rising cost of higher education really makes things difficult for young families. It’s not uncommon for grandparents to want to help their grandchildren pay for college.

With that being the case, there are some key strategies for you to help your grandchildren without affecting their chances for student aid. You can probably save some taxes too – if you know what to do.

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More than a Plan - A Tour of the COLLAB Financial Planning Process™

What does it actually look like when you work with a financial planner? This varies a lot between financial planners and clients alike. However, we’re peeling back the curtain to show you how we create your financial plan at NextGen Wealth.

Whether you’re already working with an advisor or a do-it-yourself investor, having a clear system for success is vital. The COLLAB Financial Planning Process™ is our answer. We hope you enjoy this “inside look” at how we construct a plan for your future.

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Tailoring a Plan for Your Retirement Income Needs

Having enough money for all your needs in retirement is crucial. In order to identify and avoid shortfalls, proper retirement planning is absolutely essential. Just like planning for a long vacation, planning for retirement takes time and careful consideration of where you want to go.

A good retirement income is going to be different for everyone’s specific needs. We’re going to focus on optimizing retirement income to achieve your dreams – not just how to end up with more money. We want you to be happy and fulfilled.

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Top 5 Activities in Kansas City If You're Retired

Kansas City is full of activities for virtually anyone – especially retirees. There’s so much to do, you might even have a hard time fitting everything into your schedule!

From professional sports teams to outdoor activities to fine arts, there’s truly something for everyone. Kansas City also has a rich history worth exploring as well. We’re a little biased, but Kansas City is a great place to retire!

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Finding Peace and Happiness: Reducing Stress and Anxiety in Retirement

Retirement is supposed to be a time of relaxation, personal growth, and fulfillment. However, it can also bring unexpected challenges and uncertainties which can lead to stress and anxiety. It's crucial to prioritize your mental and financial well-being during retirement, as it directly impacts your overall happiness and quality of life.

We’ll explore some effective strategies to help you reduce stress and anxiety, allowing you to embrace your golden years with tranquility and peace of mind. One note, we’re not doctors or licensed therapists, so seek professional counseling or therapy if you’re feeling stress and anxiety.

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How to Get Money from Your Retirement Accounts Early

One of the key functions of retirement accounts is they “lock up” your money until you’re ready to retire. What happens if you need to access your money sooner? There are several reasons, and options, to gain access to your retirement funds early.

As with anything, you need to understand the consequences of pulling money out of your retirement accounts – early or otherwise. There may be options which may be better suited to your situation. Just make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into.

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5 Health Concerns Retirees Need to Know About: Are You Prepared?

Retirement is an exciting phase of life where you can finally relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor. However, it's essential to maintain good health in retirement to make the most of it. As we age, our bodies undergo various changes, making it crucial to take extra care of our health.

In this article, we'll explore some tips for maintaining good health in retirement, including staying socially engaged, pursuing hobbies and interests, practicing mindfulness and relaxation techniques, regular check-ups with healthcare providers, and staying up to date on preventative health measures such as vaccines and screenings.

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How Much Should I Have Saved by the Time I Want to Retire?


Do you know how much you should have saved to retire? What if you want to retire by 60 or 65 – maybe even sooner like 50? The answer depends on many variables in your life and potential income sources.

There’s not really a “magic number” like, “If you have __, you can retire at __ years old.” We first need to figure out what your anticipated income needs will be in retirement – we can call this educated guessing. Once we have our best estimate (guess) of your expenses, we can start to uncover how much you might need for retirement.

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SECURE Act 2.0 Changes Going into Effect in 2023

Many SECURE Act 2.0 changes don't go into effect until later, but 2023 is an important year when many changes do take effect. We’ve made a list of these changes so you can more easily track them.

We’ll work through all the changes going into effect this year by “like items” instead of chronological order. This just helps keep things grouped together mentally. No need to add any more confusion, right?

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Is SECURE Act 2.0 Really a Big Deal?


Overall, this is a tough question to answer. SECURE 2.0 doesn’t cause any real major changes, but collectively, all the small changes have a significant impact. Put a different way, SECURE 2.0 probably won’t derail or save your retirement, but you certainly need to update your financial plan.

Many important dates have shifted, Roth options have gotten better, and there are several small but useful provisions which affect only a few people. We won’t cover all the provisions in this article, but we’ll touch on some of the SECURE 2.0 highlights and changes.

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Critical Ages to Keep Track of in Retirement

Although you might not care much about what age you are, the government does. It’s very important you keep track of key age-related milestones in retirement. If you fail to properly plan around these, you may be missing out on some opportunities – or even face penalties.

As you enter the end of your working years and transition into retirement, these key dates are critical. You really need to start paying attention to these in your 50’s and 60’s. Once you’ve reached your 70’s, the actions tied to your age start to taper off, but there are other important factors to consider.

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The 3 Main Phases of Retirement Planning

There are three main phases of retirement planning: accumulation, transition, and decumulation (retirement). Depending on which you’re in, you’ll need to focus on different aspects of your financial life. The advice and expertise you’ll need will also be different as you move through these phases.

Someone who’s in the accumulation phase will need to focus on eliminating risks preventing the buildup of retirement assets and income streams. The transition phase bridges the gap between accumulation and decumulation. As you move into the decumulation/retirement phase, many changes happen.

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Calculating the Right Amount of Roth Conversions

Roth conversions are one of the most powerful methods for maximizing long-term tax savings. If you believe that a Roth conversion might be something you could benefit from, the next question is how much to convert. The right amount will vary based on your situation.

Once you’ve decided to implement a Roth conversion strategy, you’ll want to look at areas of opportunity. We usually look at projected cash flows throughout retirement and attempt to find any dips in income. Dips in income may be opportunities for additional Roth conversions.

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What is a Diversified Portfolio Anyway?

You hear the words “diversified portfolio” all the time, but what does diversified even mean? At first, we’re not even comfortable asking because it feels like something we should know, but don’t. Let’s explore what being diversified really means and why you need a diversified portfolio.

You might be surprised at how little it really takes to be “diversified.” There are a lot of technical terms surrounding portfolio construction, but you don’t need to get too wrapped up about those. We’ll talk a lot more about your overall risk in your portfolio.

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Opportunities in Down Markets and Recessions

Recessions and down markets are scary, but they can also offer lots of opportunities too! If you’re wondering what to do with your money, you’re not alone. When markets get sideways, folks tend to look to make moves to protect their assets.

Depending on what your financial life looks like, you can employ a number of tax saving strategies and other methods to boost your financial stability. There are some particularly useful strategies for down markets.

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Planning for Retirement in a Down Market

Can you still retire in a recession or “down” market? Many have done it, but there’s so much to think about when things don’t feel very optimistic. Don’t worry.

There are lots of things you can’t control like the markets and when recessions will occur. Many other things you can. Let’s look at what needs to happen to successfully retire in a down market.

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The IRS Hardship Rules Do Not Care About Your Boat

This post was last updated on April 29th, 2023, to reflect all updated information and best serve your needs.

If times are tough, a hardship withdrawal from your 401k might sound like a good solution. Hold your thoughts and do lots of research first. There are irreversible consequences to taking a hardship withdrawal for emergency situations.

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Strategies to Save Money on Taxes in Retirement

Are you looking for ways to avoid taxes on retirement and Social Security income? There are many retirement tax strategies you should be aware of. You may even be looking for how to avoid taxes on withdrawals from your 401k or other investment accounts.

It’s tempting to look for an IRS loophole to reduce taxable income in retirement. We’re not going to talk about hacks or questionable loopholes, but we will outline some legal and proven methods to reduce your taxes in retirement.

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Should I Take Monthly Income from My Investments for Retirement?

Deciding how to spend down your life savings can be stressful. Working hard for decades to accumulate a nest egg is no easy feat. Spending money in retirement can be challenging because you don’t want to accidentally spend too much and mess things up.

Fortunately, you’re not the only one going through this, and you don’t have to do it alone. There are a multitude of options for what to do with the money you’ve worked hard for.

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