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Updates & Insights

529 Plans

With college starting this fall in many different formats, it is good to keep up on how your 529 Plan can be used for expenses. 529 distribution planning can be particularly tricky and you don’t want to make the mistake of paying unnecessary taxes or penalties on your withdrawals. We have included an easy to read piece with information such as:

  • What you can use your 529 funds for tax and penalty free
  • The timing of your 529 withdrawals especially around year-end before it’s too late
  • Who is responsible for keeping track of withdrawals and expenses
  • What taxes and penalties you owe if you take a non-qualified withdrawal

Social Security:

Nearly half of couples aged 65 will see one spouse outlive the other by 10 years or more, making it essential to consider how you can maximize your Social Security benefits.

The math behind Social Security seems fairly straightforward: The more you earn annually in your working life, the greater your monthly benefit when you file.

Yet women often find themselves at a disadvantage on both sides of this equation: Not only do they tend to earn less in their careers, but they typically live longer, requiring their retirement assets to last. Here are some tips for women looking to maximize their Social Security benefits.

Market Highlights:

  • The Fed: Fed Chair Powell said the Fed will now seek to achieve a 2% average inflation target. This means that following periods of inflation under 2% target, appropriate policy will likely seek inflation above 2% for a time. Chairman Powell also highlighted heightened emphasis on employment, noting the Fed's updated view that a robust job market can be sustained without triggering an outbreak of inflation.
  • Growth vs. Value: The divide between growth stocks and value stocks continues to be significant. Growth stocks are considered stocks that have the potential to outperform the market or their benchmarks over time due to expectations of higher growth rates than that of the market (i.e. Tesla & Amazon), whereas value stocks are considered stocks that are trading below the price that analysts feel the stock is worth (i.e. Chevron & CVS Health). Year to date through the end of August, the Russell 1000 Growth Index (comprised of 1,000 largest growth companies in the US) was up 30.47% vs the Russell 1000 Value Index (comprised of the 1,000 largest value companies in the US) was down 9.35%. 

Good News:
  • COVID-19 Testing: Emergency authorization was granted to Abbott Labs for its $5 rapid Covid-19 antigen test. Test returns results in approximately 15 minutes and is intended for patients who have begun experiencing symptoms within the last 7 days. Abbott plans to increase production to 50 million tests by October. The White House unveiled a deal to buy 150 million of the tests, a move that would substantially expand the nation’s capacity for rapid testing.
  • COVID-19 Vaccine: The CDC has notified public health officials that they should be prepared to distribute a vaccine to healthcare workers and other high-risk groups as soon as late October. Initial results from the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine could come by mid-September while other options (Moderna & Pfizer/BioNTech) may also have initial data before key FDA meeting October 22. Dr. Fauci stated clinical trials on a vaccine could be stopped early if they provide overwhelmingly positive results that show it is safe and effective.
  • Residents of Igiugig in Southwest Alaska scrambled just before midnight Friday to help get emergency help for a child, jumping into their vehicles to light up a pitch-black runway as a medical transport plane circled overhead. LifeMed Alaska had sent a King Air flight from Kodiak to the state-owned airport at the mouth of the Kvichak River on Iliamna Lake. The child was safely evacuated to Anchorage.
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