TIP 1 Groundhog Day
Three fun facts to share about Groundhog day:
It is set on the cross-quarter date that falls directly between the winter solstice and spring equinox.
Before we were checking to see if the groundhog could see his shadow, Christians in Europe celebrated Candlemas on the same date when the candles would be blessed for further winter. If it was a sunny day (and the candles cast a shadow just like the groundhog), it was believed we would have another 40 days of winter.
It is very hard to predict a long winter, and even Punxsutawney Phil isn’t right all the time. The National Centers for Environmental Information has compared Punxsutawney Phil’s forecast to actual temperatures for the 2010-2020 decade and found that he’s only been correct 40% of the time.
TIP 2 Social Media Scams
It is easy to think that only the unsophisticated or the greedy would get fooled, as W.C. Fields stated in multiple movies “you can’t cheat an honest man”. However, scammers are becoming more sophisticated, and targeting everyone using modern tools, with the newest in their arsenal being social media.
According to this recent report from the FTC, more than 95,000 people reported about $770 million in losses to fraud initiated on social media platforms in 2021. This is compared to only 5,000 reported cases in the same category in 2017. Not only are there 18 times more cases, but people 18 to 39 were more than twice as likely as older adults to report losing money to these scams in 2021.
Our Watch your Wallet has information on scams for older adults, but all age groups need to be protected. One way to create a barrier between scammers and family wealth is through the use of trusts. The professionals at Garden State Trust Company would be pleased to share more information if you’re interested.
TIP 3 Privacy
One way to protect financial privacy during the estate settlement process is through the use of a living trust. With assets in the trust, the publicity of the probate process may be avoided, with the added benefit of not having the assets tied up. Please let us know if you’d be interested in learning more.
TIP 4 Smaller RMDs in 2022
It is normal to think that once you retire, you no longer need to save or invest for retirement. Although many may switch from an accumulation to a distribution mindset when retirement starts, it is important to keep your money working for you as much as possible.
One consideration is managing distributions from tax-favored accounts, such as traditional IRAs. The required minimum distribution factors have been adjusted for 2022, which should mean being able to keep more money in tax-preferred accounts for longer. To learn more, read our latest blog post, Smaller RMDs in 2022.