Financial Planning and Advice Blog for Syracuse

Want to keep up with the latest news in the financial sector? HighPoint Advisors in East Syracuse, NY makes sure all our clients have the latest up to date financial information to better plan for their future. Feel free to browse the blog below to learn more about the current financial market.
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How to Budget for Your Health Plan

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By highpointadvisors November 10, 2017

Your family's health is your most important responsibility. With costs rising year after year, and insurance premiums becoming more and more expensive, paying for healthcare has become more difficult than ever for your average family. Even if you have a good insurance policy, you'll find that there's still a lot of healthcare related expenses that can eat it into your available income. That's why it's essential to budget your expenses as carefully as possible.

Health Insurance Expenses

Healthcare Budgeting Depending on the number of people in your family and the type of coverage your employer offers, your monthly insurance expenses can eat up a relatively small or large part of your budget. Insurance varies widely from plan to plan, so you'll need to figure out exactly what you're covered for before making a solid budget. Your budget will need to include payments for:
  • Premiums. This is a relatively fixed cost and may even be paid by your employer. The higher your premium, the lower your other insurance related expenses may be.
  • Co-pays. These are fixed costs you pay for routine doctor visits and prescriptions. These are costs are fairly predictable.
  • Deductibles. The total yearly amount you'll need to pay for care before insurance starts paying. Plans with low premiums often have high deductibles. A very conservative budget may account for the entire deductible.
  • Out-of-pocket max. In a worst-case scenario, you may need to pay up to a certain amount before insurance will cover 100% of expenses. Once you budget for the max one year, rolling it over can be relatively easy.
If you're concerned that you don't have the income to cover 100% of all these expenses, paying for your premiums should be the top-priority. That's because any lapse in coverage can cause your premiums to rise drastically, and any expenses you incur without coverage will be your complete responsibility.

Emergency Services

If you have health insurance, your plan likely covers hospital and urgent care visits. What they may not cover, however, is recovery time away from work. If you have the appropriate sick days saved up, that's great, but it's recommended that most people have three to six months of expenses saved up in case of an emergency.

Healthcare Savings Accounts

Spending and savings accounts are available for individuals and families who need help with high insurance premiums, deductibles or out-of-pocket expenses. An FSA, or flexible spending account, gives employees who get health care through their employer the opportunity to put pre-tax income aside for healthcare expenses. An HSA, or health savings account, is for people with high-deductible health plans who want to save money pre-tax for out-of-pocket expenses. These accounts rollover year after year, so you can safely budget these savings without worrying about losing them. When it comes to budgeting any type of expense, make sure you keep detailed track of your money through a personal accounting website, custom spreadsheet, or with help from your own accountant or adviser. Speak with a financial professional about budgeting for your health care expenses....

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How to Retire on a Teacher’s Salary

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By highpointadvisors October 10, 2017

Teaching is considered one of the most important professions in the country, so anyone that devotes their life to educating either children or adults deserves a comfortable retirement. Unfortunately, teachers aren't given salaries that match their training, education, and dedication to improving society. Pensions still exist for some educators, but benefits in general seem to be going down, and yearly salaries don't always keep up with inflation. If you're a teacher, creating a future with a comfortable retirement takes a bit of extra planning.

Calculate the True Value of Your Pension

Teacher Retirement PlanIf you're fortunate enough to be in a district that still provides a pension and you know you'll be eligible to take advantage of the benefits, you may not be able to rely completely on this income stream in retirement. A pension very rarely pays 100% of your working salary, so you need to figure out how to match your retirement income with expenses. That may mean downsizing in retirement or increasing your retirement savings while working. Also keep in mind that many teachers who pay into some kind of retirement or pension plan through their state or district are exempt from social security taxes. That means you'll need to make sure any income you need comes from other sources.

Use Tax-Advantaged Retirement Instruments

The IRS has special retirement savings accounts for teachers and other people who work in public or tax-exempt private schools. A normal 403(b) lets you contribute pre tax income into your preferred savings instrument. The contributions grow tax deferred, but you do pay taxes when you decide to withdraw. If you prefer to pay taxes ahead of time, you may be more interested in the Roth 403(b) where contributions grow tax free. You may also want to put your pre tax dollars directly into a 457(b) plan. You're allowed to maximize your contributions to both 403(b) and 457(b) accounts.

Work with a Professional Advisor

As a teacher, you know how important being educated is when it comes to succeeding at any given goal. Retirement is no different. When you work with a professional financial advisor who's dedicated their life to giving individuals and families the tools and information they need to live comfortably, your chances of success can improve. In addition to advisors, there's likely a wealth of information available to you from local teacher's associations, state institutions, or even benefits counselors within your district. Make sure to take advantage of all the resources available to you. While it's best to start saving for retirement as soon as possible as a teacher, it's never too late. Benefit plans seem to be constantly changing, and information for private-sector employees seems much more abundant, but there are people and resources out there who can help you navigate this complicated process. Contact an experienced financial planner from Highpoint Advisors today to get started. The sooner you act, the better. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. Investing involves risks, including the loss of principal....

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