TIP 1 Paying Off Debt
The National Retail Federation predicted that, despite inflation, holiday spending would still grow 6-8% in 2022. Now that the holidays are over, we’re all likely looking at what just happened and the best foot to put forward in the new year. For many Americans, either keeping spending equal or slightly increasing it likely meant taking on more credit card debt. According to LendingTree, credit card debt went up year over year in the third quarter of 2022 by 15%, the largest jump in 20 years, even before the holiday bump.
Debt and liability management is very important in terms of building long-term wealth. It’s important to pay down the highest interest rate debt first, but it’s also important to keep all your creditors happy by having on-time payments and building your credit score. A better credit score can impact more than just loan rates, too, it can impact insurance rates and even eligibility for certain jobs. If you’re just getting started building your credit score – take a look at our blog about some of the misconceptions and myths in the industry.
TIP 2 Educate Yourself on Scams
Every year, scams become a little more sophisticated. The “if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is” advice is great, but that’s only the start of the fight against fraudsters. Many scams rely on desires beyond greed, such as the need for companionship, and many rely on fear and bamboozling someone into believing a loved one is in trouble.
Garden State Trust Company has a brochure, Watch Your Wallet, that provides information on additional red flags to be aware of as well as local New Jersey and Pennsylvania resources one could reach out to. However, it’s also good to be aware of additional developments as much as possible, and the Federal Trade Commission came out with a new educational website about scams called Money Matters. Take a look, and share it with those that might be at higher risk of getting scammed.
TIP 3 SECURE Act 2.0
When a software creator such as Apple or Microsoft makes changes to their main platform or operating system, they keep track with a numbering system. The first release is 1.0. A minor update becomes 1.1, a major update goes to 2.0, and so on. However, it’s hard to say that the same is true for Congress, given that many bills are not revisited within the same structural framework, and so often get a new name or acronym rather than being considered an update of an earlier bill.
Is SECURE Act 2.0 act really deserving of a before-the-decimal-change with the same name? Read our latest blog, SECURE Act 2.0, about the background, changes made, and how they fit into the existing framework to find out.
TIP 4 Living Trust Control
Trusts can offer many benefits, and some of those benefits have to do specifically with giving up control of the funds. For example, you can receive tax benefits with charitable trusts that are irrevocable, because you no longer have ownership of the assets.
On the other hand, many trust benefits can be achieved with a living trust, in which you would retain the right to revoke or amend the trust at any time. Benefits such as: having someone familiar with your situation ready to step in and manage the finances should incapacity strike, letting your family have access to assets more quickly should you pass away, and keeping financial privacy for the family regarding those assets.
Trust services and benefits are extremely versatile, and Garden State Trust Company’s Trust Officers would be pleased to elaborate on how they may match your family’s needs. Please let us know if you’d like a consultation.