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4 Questions If You’re Thinking About Retiring to Punta Gorda

If retirement is on your mind, Realtor.com recently ranked Punta Gorda as the number one of the  top 10 hottest retirement spots for baby boomers in the country. In fact, Southwest Florida is one of the fastest growing regions in the country according to data from the US Census Bureau.  Its warm weather, beaches, and lack of state income tax make Punta Gorda a popular choice for retirement.

Here are a few quick tips from Punta Gorda retirement planning professionals in wealth management, estate planning and guardianship management, who offer localized expertise to consider as you solidify your plans for relocation.

Have you reviewed and updated your budget?

Life in Punta Gorda is fun, and retirees tend to live a pretty active lifestyle. It’s a growing community with lots of activities. Downtown Punta Gorda has experienced a revitalization in recent years and offers an increasing number of restaurants, and new things to explore and enjoy.  

Will you join a golf or yacht club, or other social club? Do you foresee dining out more? The Punta Gorda Chamber of Commerce has a great directory of things to do.  

“Social memberships are common expenses for retirees,” says Scott Peterson, wealth advisor at Ballast Advisors in Punta Gorda.

“HOA (Homeowner’s Association) fees can be all over the board from $300-$900 month, depending on what type of community you want to live in.  These can be big expenses my clients need to factor in their plan.”

Like moving to any new town, moving to Punta Gorda can mean change in cost of living. Consider this among any new expenses you might have, as well as what you can let go (like that snow removal service) in revising your personal financial plan.

plant growing out of coins with filter effect retro vintage style

Do you understand the tax implications in relocating?

Even with a strong financial plan in place, your move to Punta Gorda could have tax implications you need to consider.

 “Take State income tax for example. Moving to a state, like Florida, that does not have state income tax, can potentially save you thousands of dollars in taxes, “ says Peterson. “Clients moving from a state that does have a significant state income tax, to a state like Florida that does not have state income tax, should adjust their Financial Plan.”

“Hypothetically, say a married couple moves from MN, an income tax state, to FL, a no income tax state, and together will earn a taxable income of $80,000 annually. Moving to FL could potentially save this couple nearly 5K annually or approximately $416 per month based on the 2018 Tax Rates. This extra money could be helpful to pay those extra-curricular expenses that often come along in retirement,” Peterson adds.

Although not having to pay state income tax can potentially save you a lot of money in taxes, there are other things to consider when adjusting your financial plan for a move to a state without income tax. For example, some states without income tax might ask residents to pay more sales tax on groceries, clothes or other goods, or ask homeowners to pay more on their property taxes.

See Related Post: Your Home as a Source of Dollars in Retirement

Who will your support system be?  

As exciting as moving to a new location can be, it also can mean moving away from primary family members who may act as a support system for various things, including emergency situations when someone may need to act on your behalf for finances or health concerns. Many times these responsibilities are given to a spouse or child, however not everyone has or prefers this option. 

“Among retirees in Florida, there are a significant number who gradually lose the capacity to manage finances, make decisions or act in a timely manner to safeguard their own health and welfare, ” says Robin Vazquez of Estate Guardianship and Management Services in Punta Gorda. “It’s critical for retirees to work with their families, financial advisors and/or estate attorneys to appoint representatives for power of attorney, healthcare directives, and  trustees in advance. As a last resort, in Florida the court is empowered to appoint guardians like us for adults who are unable to manage their affairs for their own benefit.”

family spending time at seaside

Have you reviewed your estate plan against Florida laws?

Your will, trust and or estate plan is really an extension of your overall financial plan. The plans you make for your wealth throughout your lifetime and ultimately how it should pass on to the next generation is just as important, and state laws may differ when it comes to your will and your estate plan.

Attorney, Dean Hanewinckel who wrote the book “The Official Snowbirds Guide to Becoming a Florida Resident,” says it’s important to review how Florida laws could impact your estate plan. 

“Florida has very strict and unusual laws regarding the distribution of homestead after a person’s death.  If you are married, and haven’t planned properly, you can only leave the homestead to your spouse. This can wreak havoc on the estate plans of couples in second marriages who only want to leave their estate to their children,” says Hanewinckel.  “This can also cause problems with couples who have set up A-B Trusts to minimize or avoid estate taxes.” 

Taking the extra step to review your previous will, trust, estate plan and power of attorney with an experienced professional to the local area will ensure nothing falls through the cracks in accordance with Florida law.

Planning for Peace

Even though making a large life change like moving and retirement can be a lot to factor, putting a few of these best practices in place (before you need them), will give you peace of mind and you can fully enjoy all Punta Gorda and Charlotte County has to offer.

See Related Link: Retirement planning in Punta Gorda and Southwest Florida

 

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES

The opinions expressed are those of Ballast Advisors, LLC. The opinions referenced are as of the date of publication and are subject to change due to changes in the market or economic conditions and may not necessarily come to pass.  Ballast Advisors, LLC is a registered investment advisor under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended. Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. More information about the firm, including its services, strategies, and fees can be found in our ADV Part 2, which is available without charge upon request. The opinions expressed herein are those of Ballast Advisors, LLC and are subject to change without notice

Why You Need Life Insurance

September is Life Insurance Awareness Month, a good time to evaluate your life insurance needs and review your life insurance coverage.

We’ve all heard about the importance of having life insurance, but is it really necessary? Often, the answer is “yes,” but it depends on your specific situation.

In general, you should consider life insurance protection if any of the following applies to you:

  • You are married and your spouse depends on your income
  • You have children
  • You have an aging parent or disabled relative who depends on you for support
  • Your retirement savings and income won’t be enough for your spouse to live on
  • Your estate may be subject to federal or state estate taxes
  • You own a business, especially if you have a partner
  • You have a substantial financial obligation such as a personal loan for which another person would be legally responsible after your death

 

Life insurance plan on computer laptop screen

In these cases, the proceeds from a life insurance policy can help the people you leave behind after your death.

If you’re still unsure about whether you should buy life insurance, ask yourself: If I died today with no life insurance, would my family need to make substantial financial sacrifices and give up the lifestyle to which they’ve become accustomed in order to meet their financial obligations (e.g., loans, mortgages, college tuition, etc.)

If you decide you need life insurance, don’t delay buying it. Although no one wants to think about and plan for death, you don’t want to make the mistake of waiting until it’s too late.

There are expenses associated with life insurance. Generally, life insurance policies have contract limitations, fees, and charges, which can include mortality and expense charges, account fees, underlying investment management fees, administrative fees, and charges for optional benefits. Most policies have surrender charges that are assessed during the early years of the contract if the contract owner surrenders the policy. Any guarantees are contingent on the financial strength and claims-paying ability of the issuing company. Life insurance is not guaranteed by the FDIC or any other government agency. The cost and availability of life insurance depend on factors such as age, health, and the type and amount of insurance purchased. If you are considering the purchase of life insurance, consult a professional to explore your options.

Prepared by Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. Copyright 2019

 

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES
Ballast Advisors, LLC is an independent investment adviser registered under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended. Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. does not provide investment, tax, legal, or retirement advice or recommendations. The information presented here is not specific to any individual’s personal circumstances.To the extent that this material concerns tax matters, it is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by a taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by law. Each taxpayer should seek independent advice from a tax professional based on his or her individual circumstances.These materials are provided for general information and educational purposes based upon publicly available information from sources believed to be reliable — we cannot assure the accuracy or completeness of these materials. The information in these materials may change at any time and without notice.