Financial Planning and Advice Blog for Syracuse
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By Sarah Flick July 10, 2019 No Comments
They could be among the most memorable journeys you take. Travel with a difference: the essence of the volunteer vacation. You take the trip, you help make the difference for others, and perhaps you see the world differently as a byproduct. If you are thinking about combining travel with some service, there are things you should know. Know the various options. If you’re traveling solo, you’ll commonly work alongside locals on a community-organized project, and live in dorm-style lodging with other participants. If you have a young family, a homestay may be arranged with a host couple or family, or personal accommodations could be scheduled for you; the service aspect can often be tailored to the interests and abilities of the kids. Animal lovers often work in shelters or in conservation management programs. How can you book a service vacation? Travel agents and tour companies guide the way. You can even book one through groups such as REI, Discover Corps, Global Volunteers, and the Sierra Club. Some hotels and resorts will give you a huge discount if you are part of a volunteer effort. Be sure to ask what percentage of your fees will go to the local community (and not to organizational overhead). (more…)...
Marriage and Money: Finding a Happy Balance
By Sarah Flick June 27, 2019 No Comments
Marriage affects your finances in many ways, including your ability to build wealth, plan for retirement, plan your estate, and capitalize on tax and insurance-related benefits. Here are some considerations to keep in mind if you are thinking of getting married or have just tied the knot.
- Building wealth -- If both you and your spouse are employed, two salaries can be a considerable benefit in building long-term wealth. For example, if both of you have access to employer-sponsored retirement plans, your joint contributions are double the individual maximums allowed by each plan (up to $18,500 for 2018, plus an additional $6,000 if you are 50 or older). Similarly, a working couple may be able to pay a mortgage more easily than a single person can, which may make it possible for a couple to apply a portion of their combined paychecks for family savings or investments.
- Retirement benefits -- Some (but not all) pensions provide benefits to widows or widowers following a pensioner's death. When participating in an employer-sponsored retirement plan, married workers are required to name their spouse as beneficiary unless the spouse waives this right in writing. Qualifying widows or widowers may collect Social Security benefits up to a maximum of 50% of the benefit earned by a deceased spouse. (more…)