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Budget Act of 2015 and a Year-End To-Do List

November 9, 2015 | News

As I was driving to the office this morning, I was struck by the fact that October is over, and we are already in the beginning of November.  It seems like just yesterday that we were enjoying a wonderful evening at the Senators game!  The Denlinger household has been working on fall cleanup, splitting firewood (much to our son Josh’s chagrin), cutting the lawn for hopefully the last time, and cheering for our unpredictable PSU Nittany Lions.  Thanksgiving and Christmas (yes, I said Christmas) will be here before we know it.

At LifeGuide, we are busily working through Medicare and Health Insurance open enrollment season.  We are finding that it is increasingly important for everyone to review their insurance plans each year.  Now is also a great time to make sure that you have taken care of your 2015 TO-DO list before the holiday crazy gets into full swing.  Here are some common action items found in many of our clients’ LifePlans that may need to be taken care of by the end of 2015.

  • Roth conversions
  • End-of-year giving
  • Tax-loss (and gain) harvesting
  • College savings funding
  • Topping off employer retirement plan contributions
  • Taking required minimum distributions

THE BUDGET ACT OF 2015

The Budget Act of 2015 was signed into law on November 2, 2015.  Among other things, this legislation raised the federal debt limit, put in place a framework for a two-year budget deal and will have a significant impact on retirement planning strategies going forward.   It contains provisions that affect Social Security claiming strategies and Medicare Part B premiums.

Social Security Implications:

  

Over the years, our LifePlans have included advanced Social Security claiming strategies designed to increase the lifetime income of our retirees.   This new law will prevent the use of two of these strategies in the future. The ability to “file and suspend” and “file a restricted claim for spousal benefits” will be phased out.  It appears that workers and spouses currently utilizing these strategies are grandfathered and should not be affected.     

If you have questions or concerns, especially if you feel that you may be eligible to file and suspend for Social Security before May 1st of 2016, contact us and we will be happy to discuss your specific situation. 

Beginning in December, we will be offering a special Social Security Optimization Service for LifeGuide clients and their friends in order to help understand the implications of this new law.  We will be providing more information about this program soon.   Please feel free to contact us if you or someone you know needs guidance regarding Social Security.   When to claim Social Security is a very important decision.

Medicare Part B Implications:

For certain beneficiaries not covered by the “hold harmless” provision in the Social Security Act, this legislation sets the 2016 Medicare Part B premium at $120.   (Those paying higher income-adjusted premiums will pay more.)  The hold harmless provision of Social Security protects about 70% of Social Security beneficiaries from increases in Medicare Part B premiums when there is no Social Security cost-of-living increase (the standard premium is currently $104.90).  The provision will apply in 2017 as well, if there is again no Social Security cost-of-living adjustment.

    

As always we are here to help.  Don’t hesitate to contact us.  We love being your advisors.

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