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Information provided on this page is informational only. Nothing posted here should be considered investment advice. Please review your financial situation with a qualified financial professional before taking action. For more information please see our disclosure.

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It’s Medicare Open Enrollment Time!

If you’re 65 or older, by now you should have received your annual installment of the official U.S. government Medicare handbook, Medicare & You 2023. Your mailbox is also probably full of Medicare-related flyers from insurance companies trying to win your business. The annual open enrollment period for Medicare started on October 15 and goes until December 7. It is the one time every year that Medicare beneficiaries have an opportunity to modify their Medicare coverage. During the open enrollment period, you can switch or add a Medicare Advantage plan, switch, or add a Part D prescription drug plan and, in some states, like Massachusetts, switch or add a Medigap plan. Any changes you make take effect January 1 of next year.

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Massachusetts 62F Refund Alert

An obscure law in Massachusetts called Chapter 62F, enacted by voters in 1986 and only used once since then, allows for taxpayers to receive a credit if total tax revenues in a given year exceed an annual cap tied to wage and salary growth in Massachusetts. For tax year 2021, this amount was $2.941 billion, and this entire sum will be returned to Massachusetts taxpayers. Massachusetts estimates that more than three million Massachusetts taxpayers will be eligible for this special refund.

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Series I bonds really are yielding over 9% right now. Should I buy them?

Series I bonds (the I stands for inflation) are all the rage right now because of their currently high yields in an otherwise low-yielding savings environment. But before you tap into your home equity line of credit to max out your I bond purchases, you need to understand the mechanics of how I bonds work. What is an I bond? An I bond is a bond issued by the US government on which you earn interest at a rate tied to inflation and guaranteed by the federal government. If you buy an I bond today (June 2022), you will earn 9.62% interest, which is tied to the Consumer Price Index (CPI-U). The bond earns interest for up to 30 years. You can also defer paying federal tax on the interest until you redeem (cash in) the bond, and there is no state or local tax on the interest.

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What to Do if You Contribute Too Much to an HSA, Roth IRA or 401(k)

It is common for individuals to make excess contributions to health savings accounts, Roth IRAs, 401(k)s, 403(b)s and 457(b)s. So common, in fact, that the IRS has a lenient policy for removing these excess contributions to avoid most penalties. So, if you discover that you’ve made an excess contribution to any of these account types, don’t worry, because there is a way to fix it. Note: For purposes of this article the tax filing deadlines are noted as April 15th and October 15th even though the exact days in these two months may vary from year to year.

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Maximizing Retirement Plan Contributions with an Individual 401(k)

Imagine that you are a sole proprietor with a high income, and you’re looking for a way to maximize your retirement savings while reducing your taxable income. You’ve heard about SIMPLE IRAs and SEP IRAs, and you used to contribute to a 401(k) when you had a corporate job. Did you know that it is simple to set up your own 401(k) and you can contribute up to $61,000 a year to it ($67,500 if over age 50)? Introducing the Individual 401(k)! Individual 401(k)s are also known as Solo 401(k)s, Solo-ks, Single-ks, Self-Employed 401(k)s, Uni-ks and One-participant ks. This type of plan is like a traditional 401(k) covering business owners with no other employees. The plan can also cover the business owner’s spouse. It is also possible for the business to have employees, but they cannot be full time, as defined by the plan document.

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Social Security Scams

Social Security numbers are the gateway to identity theft, and fraudsters and scammers try to use scare tactics on unwitting individuals to get them to disclose their Social Security numbers or pay money for a Social Security-related scam. The Federal Trade Commission received reports of more than $174 million lost to government imposter scams in 2020. The bottom line is that the Social Security Administration (SSA) will never contact you by phone, text, or email with any problems related to your Social Security account. Do not give scammers money or personal information. Just ignore them!

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Medicare and Me? Making the Most of Open Enrollment

The annual open enrollment period for Medicare started on October 15 and goes until December 7. It is the one time every year that Medicare beneficiaries have an opportunity to modify their Medicare coverage. During the open enrollment period, you can switch or add a Medicare Advantage plan, switch or add a Part D prescription drug plan and, in some states, like Massachusetts, switch or add a Medigap plan. Any changes that you make take effect on January 1 of next year. We’ll try and cover the basics to give you a general understanding of Medicare and your options during the open enrollment period.

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Will Your Federal Student Loan Be Forgiven?

Federal student loan borrowers have been afforded some relief during the pandemic, starting in March 2020 when all federal loans went into automatic forbearance. This relief is coming to an end on January 31, 2022, but questions remain about whether the Biden Administration or Congress will follow through with proposals made to forgive $10,000 or more of the federal student loans of all borrowers of that amount. In the meantime, the Department of Education has been working on other initiatives to make already existing student loan forgiveness programs easier to take advantage of.

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