Category Archives: Personal Finance

Frequently Overlooked Aspects of Estate Plans

For nearly two decades, Kansas resident Aaron Jack has been working in the financial services industry. Holding FINRA Series 6, 63, and 65 licenses, he leads the Kansas-based company Genius Diversified Holdings, LLC, as president and is responsible for overseeing all daily operations. Throughout his career, Aaron Jack has written a number of publications and books that largely focus on the topic of estate planning.

Creating an estate plan is an important part of preparing for what happens after one passes. There are several commonly overlooked parts of an estate plan that are actually very important. The integration of technology in nearly every part of today’s world has created a relatively new part of an estate plan that covers digital assets. Paper is quickly being replaced by electronic data, and this information is often lost unless digital assets are included in an estate plan. Similarly, some other assets get left out of an estate plan due to an incorrect assumption that the last will and testament automatically covers all assets.

Many individuals also forget about creating a plan in case they become mentally incompetent. Estate planning is meant to handle one’s assets not only after death, but also in cases of mental incompetence. Further, single individuals and couples without children also commonly ignore estate planning, thinking it is not important. This often results in complicated estates being left behind, making matters more difficult for remaining family members.

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Planning for Retirement

After representing Kansas’ 99th District in the state’s House of Representatives for a term starting in 2009, Aaron Jack went on to cofound Genius Diversified Holdings, LLC. Now serving his firm as president in its Overland Park, Kansas, headquarters, Aaron Jack concentrates on setting the firm’s strategies to help clients grow and safeguard their resources and prepare for their retirements.

Planning for retirement is a critical element of individual and family financial planning. Through the 1970s and early 1980s, most people could look forward to a retirement funded by an employer-sponsored pension plan and supplemented by Social Security. Both of these programs paid guaranteed retirement incomes based on a combination of years of service and annual earnings.

While Social Security remains in place, the pension plans have more or less been supplanted by self-directed programs like Individual Retirement Accounts, 401(k) plans, and similar options, which are funded by workers themselves and sometimes subsidized by their employers. These programs carry no guarantees. Thus, today’s workers shoulder more of the responsibility of managing their retirement savings.

Many workers today, though, don’t have any retirement savings beyond Social Security. According to a recent survey conducted by the Federal Reserve, nearly a third of all working people have no pension or retirement savings plan. Included in that figure are nearly a quarter of all workers older than 45. Thus, unless their circumstances change dramatically, those people will retire in 20 or fewer years’ time on their Social Security income alone, which currently averages about $1,300 per month. While that figure will likely rise as time passes, living costs will rise with it.

While it can be a challenge, working Americans without retirement savings, regardless of their age, should review their finances and try to save a set amount every pay period, no matter how small, for retirement. Compound interest can make this money grow dramatically over the course of a decade or two, or more, and can help provide a cushion in one’s golden years.