An important part of estate planning involves consideration of funeral or memorial arrangements, including paying for some or all of the costs in advance. Planning ahead not only spares your survivors from the stress of making these decisions, but prepaying for your services relieves your survivors from the burden of worrying about money during an otherwise difficult time.
One way to prepay your funeral is by entering into a pre-need agreement with a funeral home of your choice. The funeral home may agree to “lock in” costs for future funeral or burial services at an agreed-upon price. This is often done through a trust or other arrangement that you can fund with cash, bonds, or life insurance. At your death, the funds are disbursed to pay for your funeral according to the terms of the agreement.
Do you sometimes lie awake at night thinking about bills that need to be paid? Does it feel as though you’re drowning in debt? If this describes you, you might take solace in the fact that you’re not alone. A recent report released by the American Psychological Association (APA) showed that 72% of adults feel stressed about money at least some of the time, and 22% said the amount of stress they experienced was extreme.1
The bad news is that stress can be responsible for multiple health problems, including fatigue, headaches, and depression. And, over time, stress can contribute to more significant health issues, including high blood pressure and heart disease.2 The good news is that there are some simple steps you can take to reduce or eliminate some of the financial stress in your life.
Home buyers and sellers finally have reason to celebrate in 2015. After almost a decade of limping along toward recovery, it seems as though the housing market has finally hit a more comfortable stride. According to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, well-known gauges of the U.S. housing market, real estate is finally showing healthy signs of improvement.
Data released by Case-Shiller at the end of April indicates that home prices have continued to rise across the United States. (Source: S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, April 2015) And as it turns out, no one factor is responsible for the trend. Rather, a variety of factors are being credited for the recovery.
Actually, there are two five-year rules you need to know about. The first five-year rule determines when you can begin receiving tax-free qualified distributions from your Roth IRA. Withdrawals from your Roth IRA–including both your contributions and any investment earnings–are completely tax and penalty free if you satisfy a five-year holding period and one of the following also applies: