ARK Wealth Insights

Unit Investment Trusts

Posted by Matthew_Hanshaw-CFP on Mar 22, 2018 8:49:59 AM

Unit Investment Trusts

Despite offering certain distinct advantages for an investor, unit investment trusts (UITs) are not nearly as familiar to most people as, say, mutual funds. According to data compiled by the Investment Company Institute (ICI), in 2016 mutual funds held nearly 192 times as much money as all UITs did. But as a greater diversity of UITs have been introduced, they have become more popular as an investment vehicle.

Historically, most unit investment trusts have invested in bonds, especially municipal bonds. However, in recent years, equity UITs have taken the lead.

What is a unit investment trust?

Like a mutual fund, a UIT represents a collection of individual securities. However, unlike a mutual fund, it has a specified termination date. A UIT can last as little as a year, or 30 years or more. A bond UIT's termination date coincides with the maturity dates of the bonds it holds; an equity UIT specifies its termination date. Once that date is reached, the proceeds are either distributed to investors or, in some cases, reinvested in another trust.

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Topics: Economy & Investing

Advanced Estate Planning Concepts for Women

Posted by Matthew_Hanshaw-CFP on Mar 20, 2018 8:00:00 AM

Advanced Estate Planning Concepts for Women

Statistically speaking, women live longer than men; if you're married, that means that the odds are that you're going to outlive your husband. That's significant for a couple of reasons. First, it means that if your husband dies before you, you'll likely inherit his estate. More importantly, though, it means that to a large extent, you'll probably have the last word about the final disposition of all of the assets you've accumulated during your marriage. But advanced estate planning isn't just for women who are or were married. You'll want to consider whether these concepts and strategies apply to your specific circumstances.

Transfer taxes

When you transfer your property during your lifetime or at your death, your transfers may be subject to federal gift tax, federal estate tax, and federal generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax. (The top estate and gift tax rate is 40%, and the GST tax rate is 40%.) Your transfers may also be subject to state taxes.

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Topics: Women and Investing, Estate Planning

Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts (GRAT)

Posted by Matthew_Hanshaw-CFP on Mar 15, 2018 8:00:00 AM

Grantor Retained Annuity Trust (GRAT)

A grantor retained annuity trust (GRAT) is an irrevocable trust into which you make a one-time transfer of property, and from which you receive a fixed amount annually for a specified number of years (the annuity period). At the end of the annuity period, the payments to you stop, and any property remaining in the trust passes to the persons you've named in the trust document as the remainder beneficiaries (e.g., your children), or the property can remain in trust for their benefit.

A GRAT is generally used to transfer rapidly appreciating or high income-producing property to heirs with the main goal of transferring, free of federal gift tax, a portion of any appreciation in (or income earned by) the trust property during the annuity period.

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Topics: Estate Planning, Financial Planning

Trusteed IRAs

Posted by Matthew_Hanshaw-CFP on Mar 13, 2018 8:00:00 AM

Trusteed IRAs

The tax code allows IRAs to be created as trust accounts, custodial accounts, and annuity contracts. Regardless of the form, the federal tax rules are generally the same for all IRAs. But the structure of the IRA agreement can have a significant impact on how your IRA is administered. This article will focus on a type of trust account commonly called a "trusteed IRA," or an "individual retirement trust."

Why might you need a trusteed IRA?

In a typical IRA, your beneficiary takes control of the IRA assets upon your death. There's nothing to stop your beneficiary from withdrawing all or part of the IRA funds at any time. This ability to withdraw assets at will may be troublesome to you for several reasons. For example, you may simply be concerned that your beneficiary will squander the IRA funds.

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Topics: Retirement, Estate Planning

A Woman's Guide to Health Care in Retirement

Posted by Matthew_Hanshaw-CFP on Mar 8, 2018 8:00:00 AM

A Woman's Guide to Health Care in Retirement

At any age, health care is a priority. But when you retire, you should probably focus more on health care than ever before. That's why it's particularly important for women to factor in the cost of health care, including long-term care, as part of their retirement plan.

How much you'll spend on health care during retirement generally depends on a number of variables including when you retire, how long you live, your relative health, and the cost of medical care in your area. Another important factor to consider is the availability of Medicare. Generally, you'll be eligible for Medicare when you reach age 65. But what if you retire at a younger age? You'll need some way to pay for your health care until Medicare kicks in. Your employer may offer health insurance coverage to its retiring employees, but this is the exception rather than the rule. If your employer doesn't extend health benefits, you may be able to get insurance coverage through your spouse's plan. If that's not an option, you may need to buy a private health insurance policy (which could be costly) or extend your employer-sponsored coverage through COBRA.

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Topics: Women and Investing, Retirement

Getting Help from a Financial Professional

Posted by Matthew_Hanshaw-CFP on Mar 6, 2018 8:00:00 AM

Getting Help from a Financial Professional

Are you suddenly on your own or forced to assume greater responsibility for your financial future? Unsure about whether you're on the right track with your savings and investments? Finding yourself with new responsibilities, such as the care of a child or an aging parent? Facing other life events, such as marriage, divorce, the sale of a family business, or a career change? Too busy to become a financial expert but needing to make sure your assets are being managed appropriately? Or maybe you simply feel your assets could be invested or protected better than they are now.

These are only some of the many circumstances that prompt people to contact someone who can help them address their financial questions and issues. This may be especially true for women, who live longer than men on average and therefore may face an even greater challenge in making their assets last over that longer life span.

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Topics: Financial Planning

Five Questions about Long-Term Care

Posted by Matthew_Hanshaw-CFP on Mar 1, 2018 8:00:00 AM

Five Questions about Long-Term Care

  1. What is long-term care?

Long-term care refers to the ongoing services and support needed by people who have chronic health conditions or disabilities. There are three levels of long-term care:

  • Skilled care: Generally round-the-clock care that's given by professional health care providers such as nurses, therapists, or aides under a doctor's supervision.
  • Intermediate care: Also provided by professional health care providers but on a less frequent basis than skilled care.
  • Custodial care: Personal care that's often given by family caregivers, nurses' aides, or home health workers who provide assistance with what are called "activities of daily living" such as bathing, eating, and dressing.
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Topics: Retirement, Financial Planning

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