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Claiming the Home Energy Audit Tax Credit

Sep 15, 2023 11:18:57 AM
written by The Retirement Group

When considering making energy-saving home improvements, it may be helpful to have a home energy audit done. Fortunately, there is a federal income tax credit available equal to 30% of the amount paid for home energy audits, up to $150 per tax year. (There are also credits available for many other energy-saving expenditures.) The IRS has now provided some guidance on what is required to claim the credit for a home energy audit.

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posted in Financial Planning, 2023, Energy, Tax Credit, Audit

U.S. Economy: Soft Landing or Delayed Recession?

Sep 6, 2023 3:26:35 PM
written by The Retirement Group

Economists have been predicting a recession for the U.S. economy ever since the Federal Reserve began aggressively raising interest rates in 2022. This is Econ 101. High interest rates, which make it more expensive to borrow, are intended to tame inflation by slowing business and consumer spending. A rapid and extreme increase in rates, as the Fed has carried out over the last year and a half, can be expected to slam the economy into reverse. The classic example is the early 1980s, when the Fed pushed the economy into a deep recession in order to stop runaway double-digit inflation.1

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posted in Financial Planning, Economy, 2023, Recession, United States

Market Month: August 2023

Sep 2, 2023 10:00:00 AM
written by The Retirement Group

The Markets (as of market close August 31, 2023)

August proved to be a tough month for stocks, with each of the benchmark indexes listed here ending the month notably lower. Investors tried to decipher mixed economic data throughout the month, attempting to gauge the course of the economy, while trying to determine what the Federal Reserve will do with interest rates moving forward.

Speaking of the Federal Reserve, it did not meet in August, so interest rates remained unchanged. However, Fed Chair Jerome Powell spoke at the Jackson Hole Economic Symposium (see below) and reiterated the Fed's intent to continue its restrictive policy until interest rates fell to 2.0%.

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posted in Financial Planning, Stock Market, Interest rates, Inflation, 2023, Employment, GDP

Department of Education Launches New SAVE Income-Driven Repayment Plan

Sep 1, 2023 9:21:56 AM
written by The Retirement Group

The Department of Education recently launched the most generous federal student loan income-driven repayment (IDR) plan to date — the Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) Plan. The SAVE Plan comes after the U.S. Supreme Court blocked federal student loan cancellation in June and before payments are set to restart in October after more than three years of payment pauses. The SAVE Plan will be implemented in phases, but eligible borrowers can sign up online now with a "beta version" of the application.

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posted in Financial Planning, 2023, Education, Income, Repayment

Watch Out for Student Loan Repayment Scams

Aug 23, 2023 2:47:20 PM
written by The Retirement Group

This past June, the Supreme Court struck down President Biden's plan to cancel up to $20,000 in federal student loan debt for qualified borrowers. As a result, millions of student loan borrowers are scheduled to start paying back their loans in October after a three-and-a-half-year reprieve.

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posted in Financial Planning, Student Loans, Scams, 2023

Why Did Retirement Confidence Falter in 2023?

Aug 10, 2023 9:48:20 AM
written by The Retirement Group

In its annual Retirement Confidence Survey of current workers and retirees, the Employee Benefit Research Institute found that workers' confidence in their ability to fund retirement fell by the largest extent since the financial crisis of 2008, to levels not seen since 2018. Retirees' confidence also took a substantial hit. Overall, just 20% of respondents felt very confident they will be able to afford a comfortable retirement.

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posted in Financial Planning, Retirement, Cost, Inflation, 2023, Income

What's Happening in the World of Higher Education?

Aug 3, 2023 10:30:00 AM
written by The Retirement Group

A 2023 survey revealed a notable shift in public opinion over the past decade about the value of a college degree: 56% of Americans think a four-year college degree isn't worth the cost due to students graduating with significant debt and a lack of specific job skills vs. 42% who believe college is worth it. The survey numbers have almost reversed from ten years ago, while college enrollment has declined by about 15% over the same period.1-2

A big reason many Americans are foregoing college is the cost. For the 2022-2023 year (most recent data available), the average one-year cost for tuition, fees, room, and board was $23,250 for in-state students at a four-year public college, $40,550 for out-of-state students, and $53,430 at a four-year private college.3 But many schools, especially "elite" private colleges, cost substantially more, with some over the $80,000 mark.4

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posted in Financial Planning, FAFSA, College, 2023, Education

Market Month: July 2023

Aug 2, 2023 1:46:35 PM
written by The Retirement Group

The Markets (as of market close July 31, 2023)

Stocks closed higher in July, with each of the benchmark indexes listed here posting notable gains. Both the stock market in particular, and the economy in general, have proven to be resilient in 2023, despite rising interest rates.

The Federal Reserve, in its endeavor to bring inflation down to the government's 2.0% target, hiked interest rates another 25.0 basis points in July, to the highest level in 22 years (see below). However, there are clear signs that inflation is finally receding. The Consumer Price Index and the personal consumption expenditures price index saw their respective 12-month rates fall to the lowest levels in nearly two years. Import and export prices dipped lower in July, as did producer prices.

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posted in Financial Planning, Stock Market, Interest rates, Inflation, 2023, Employment, GDP

RMD Relief and Guidance for 2023

Jul 27, 2023 1:14:06 PM
written by The Retirement Group

In early 2022, the IRS issued proposed regulations regarding required minimum distributions (RMDs) to reflect changes made by the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act of 2019. The IRS has held off on releasing final regulations so that it can address additional changes to RMDs made by the SECURE 2.0 Act of 2022, which was passed in late 2022. In the meantime, the IRS has issued interim RMD relief and guidance for 2023. Final RMD regulations, when issued, will not apply before 2024.

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posted in Financial Planning, RMDs, IRA, IRS, 2023

AT&T Employees: Weighing the Risks and Rewards of Relocating for a Job

Jul 24, 2023 10:57:27 AM
written by The Retirement Group

For AT&T employees, relocating for your job is a significant decision that can impact your career and personal life. With the global nature of today's job market, many professionals face the prospect of moving to a new city or even a different country for work-related reasons. However, the decision isn't without its challenges, and careful consideration of the advantages and disadvantages is essential.

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posted in Financial Planning, AT&T, 2023, Relocation, Surplus

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