Wealth Column: A look ahead to the second quarter

Struggling to manage your financial chores? Or even to know where to begin? Here’s our handy quarterly calendar to help you do just that.

Bruce Helmer and Peg Webb sit next to each other at a table.
Bruce Helmer and Peg Webb, financial advisers at Wealth Enhancement Group and co-hosts of “Your Money” on KLKS 100.1 FM on Sunday mornings.

Be on the alert for identify theft

This month featured April Fool’s Day — and a good time to make sure no one has been fooling around with your credit card or bank accounts. More than 98.2 million people were impacted by the 10 largest data breaches during the first half of 2021, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. And while most victims report losing less than $500, 21% say they lost more than $20,000 to identity criminals, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center.

With breaches and identity theft on the rise, some people have turned to credit monitoring services for protection. These services automatically notify you of errors or inconsistencies in your credit reports so that you can proactively address potential misuse of your personal information. The three major credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion — must provide you with free access to your credit report once a year to help red-flag errors or attacks on your credit.

It’s important to remain vigilant for the warning signs of identity theft that may lurk in these reports. Telltale signs of potential identity theft include: payments reported that you didn’t make, credit accounts you don’t recognize, spelling mistakes with your name and address, and court decisions that you don’t know about (suggesting someone may be claiming to be you in a courtroom proceeding).

Taxpayers have until April 18 to file their taxes this year.


Tax-filing day and Tax Freedom Day are approaching

This year, your 2021 federal tax return is due on April 18 (state filings vary: Minnesotans have until April 18). Make sure you’ve maxxed out your traditional or Roth IRA contributions for 2021. Remember that once the dust has settled to take your completed tax return to your financial adviser to review your tax strategy for 2022. Pay special attention to taxable income reported from 1099-INT and 1099-DIV. This is a good time to determine whether your investments — particularly those from passive investments held outside of qualified plans, such as ETFs — are truly tax-efficient.

April 18 is also Tax Freedom Day this year. Tax Freedom Day represents how long Americans need to work to pay the nation’s tax burden. It’s also an opportunity to see how well your tax-deferred 401(k) and/or tax-advantaged Roth IRA are helping your progress toward your retirement goals.

Caring for older parents

Mother’s Day is on May 8 and Father’s Day is June 19. If you have aging parents, you likely are thinking about their financial and emotional well-being. Take time on these days to reflect on the state of your parents’ finances, health care needs, living arrangements and estate plan. Perhaps it’s time to have that tough but necessary talk about their lives’ next chapter.

Read more
Pick one or two financial wellness goals and work on them at your pace. Soon you’ll develop confidence in your ability to achieve the financial success you’ve always wanted.
Planning for taxes across these horizons gives you peace of mind by providing for yourself and your family no matter where taxes are headed in the future.
Having a Health Savings Account or Flexible Spending Arrangement can be help if you or family members are saddled with high or unexpected health care costs not covered by regular insurance.

Know that if you’re caring for elders, you’re not alone: The older population is already large and will continue to grow significantly in the future, no doubt putting a “boomer” stamp on every aspect of life. Several statistics bear this out: Although accounting for 16% of the total U.S. population, more than two-fifths (41%) of the U.S. “baby boom” generation is now 65 or older. Among older adults age 65+, 61% lived with their spouse/partner in 2020, and about 27% lived alone. By 2040, there will be roughly 81 million older persons living in the U.S., more than twice as many as in 2000, according to the Administration for Community Living’s 2020 Profile of Older Americans.

The halfway point is just three months away

We’ll be halfway through the year on June 30. It’s a great time to check your progress since setting your annual goals in January. Expenses higher than you hoped? Track your spending for the next three months to see where it all goes. Making progress with that fitness regimen? Remember, small changes in your behavior can yield impressive results over time. The important thing is to do your best to stay on target — but don’t punish yourself if you make a small misstep.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.


Bruce Helmer and Peg Webb are financial advisers at Wealth Enhancement Group and co-hosts of “Your Money” on News Radio 830 WCCO on Sunday mornings. Email Bruce and Peg at Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services, LLC, a registered investment adviser. Wealth Enhancement Group and Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services are separate entities from LPL.

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