Educational Reading

You Can Reach Your Retirement Goals

You Can Reach Your Retirement Goals

Google is one of the world’s greatest innovations. Did you ever think you’d have all the world’s knowledge compiled and instantly searchable just a click away? It’s remarkable. But as anyone who has searched a medical symptom has discovered, ‘Dr. Google’ doesn’t always know best. There are many articles that provide ideas and suggestions, but because they aren’t tailored for you, the advice is often general at best and creates more anxiety at worst.

A Message from Mary Sterk

A Message from Mary Sterk

Happy New Year from Sterk Financial! In our neck of the woods, 2024 is off to a blustery winter start. Here are a few economic observations from last year:

3 Things Before Reviewing Your Progress

3 Things Before Reviewing Your Progress

The new year is a perfect time to review progress toward your financial objectives – whether that’s in person or over video conferencing. We want to hear about your interests and plans for the new year so that we may align your desires with financial strategies that are in sync with your goals. Here are three things we recommend you spend a moment or two on prior to giving us a call. This way, we can make sure our time together is productive when we meet.

How to Afford the Best Moments In Life

How to Afford the Best Moments In Life

As you enter each new phase of your life, milestones like marriage, buying a home, and having kids will, while exciting, impact you financially and, inevitably, could affect how much money you can put toward retirement. While these new expenses can be daunting, the good news is these also typically coincide with your peak earning years. While you move through life and its ups and downs, you’ll want to focus on balancing your spending with saving, avoiding common pitfalls, and preparing for your future. Here are eight tips you should consider.

What Can You Expect From Social Security?

What Can You Expect From Social Security?

When it comes to Social Security, one major constant has been uncertainty. The truth is that no one truly knows what social security benefits will look like in 20-30 years. This poses a problem, since projecting your retirement age and how much you’ll need has historically hinged upon what you’ll get back from Social Security benefits. What that boils down to is that when considering your own retirement plans, it’s important to account for the uncertainty of the program, and to ensure your expectations don’t make or break your retirement plan.

A Message from Mary Sterk

A Message from Mary Sterk

Happy Summer from Sterk Financial! While 2023 got off to a volatile start, we were happy to see Q2 markets bring modest gains. Here are a few economic observations.

How to Use Life Insurance to Pay for Retirement

How to Use Life Insurance to Pay for Retirement

Most investors understand that life insurance protects beneficiaries from financial hardship in the present, assuming something were to happen to them. They don't necessarily think it holds any value other than peace of mind for the insured. While this is true for temporary or term life insurance, there are some types of permanent life insurance coverage (whole and universal) that can be purchased now to provide a steady stream of income during retirement.

A Different Type of Inflation – One You Can Control

A Different Type of Inflation – One You Can Control

Inflation is an important factor to take into consideration when determining your retirement goals. It may be a hard number to pinpoint, but ignoring inflation poses a great risk to financial security later.

How to Stop a Disability From Derailing Your Retirement

How to Stop a Disability From Derailing Your Retirement

Most of us take for granted our ability to earn an income and save for retirement. But consider what would happen if an emergency occurred and you could no longer work.
Not only would your day-to-day expenses start piling up, but your retirement contributions could also be in jeopardy.

Focus on Health Now, Retire Better Later

Focus on Health Now, Retire Better Later

When we think about retirement planning, we usually focus on the obvious: Maximizing contributions. Minimizing taxes. Diversifying accounts and assets.
But even the best financial planning can be undermined by the unexpected. In fact, medical problems account for one of the top three reasons that people file for
bankruptcy. So, how can you stay healthy now to avoid financial challenges due to medical issues later? There are some ways.

Mary's Money Minute - Retirement Readiness

Mary's Money Minute - Retirement Readiness

This edition of Mary's Money Minute features a video exploring the facts about early retirement and helpful articles about challenges women face when planning to retire, the importance of making sure your retirement accounts are working in harmony, and ensuring your portfolio is aligned with your retirement lifestyle goals. You can also listen to a great podcast about Retirement Income Stratgies and some great Celebrity Money Mistakes video shorts!

How To Decide Between These Two Retirement Accounts

How To Decide Between These Two Retirement Accounts

As far as retirement accounts go, if your employer offers a 401(k) program, it's a great idea for you to plop you investment dollars there 99% of the time. Some plans even offer a Roth 401(k) in addition to a traditional 401(k). If yours is one of them, you'll want to take some time to figure out the best fit for your needs.

Could Your Debt be Good?

Could Your Debt be Good?

There's only so much we can do with our money. With so many things vying for our dollars, the question becomes: is it better to use income to pay off debt or save for retirement?

4 Ways You Can Retire Early!

4 Ways You Can Retire Early!

When we consider retirement, it's not just about doing what we enjoy (although that's a big part of it!) It's also about removing the need for mandatory work and living the life we truly want for as long as possible. Remember: your contributions today hold exponential growth possibilities, so we want to maximize them. There are common expenses that, when adjusted, could allow you to put more into retirement and, potentially, retire early.

Is Your 401(k) Full?  Here's What You Should Do Now.

Is Your 401(k) Full?  Here's What You Should Do Now.

For 2023, the IRS has raised the 401(k) limit to $22,500 with an additional $7,500 catch-up contribution for employees aged 50 and over. If you're planning to reach that, more power to you! Once that's done, there are other investment options you can take advantage of for greater financial security later.

A Message from Mary Sterk

A Message from Mary Sterk

Our newsletter this month features nine facts about social security, healthcare costs in retirement and some good insurance reminders.

Estate Planning Mistake: Disability Doesn't Discriminate

Estate Planning Mistake: Disability Doesn't Discriminate

We've been talking about smart estate planning and retirement preparation throughout this series of tips to help you avoid making mistakes in your own estate plan. As most of us think about retirement and leaving our assets to our heirs, we often consider only the upside: How will I spend my golden years? How much will my children or loved ones inherit? But this thought process doesn't account for a very real possibility of today's aging process, and it's a biggie. Estate Planning Mistake #5: Ignoring the Likelihood of Disability.

Estate Planning Mistake: Troublesome Trustee

Estate Planning Mistake: Troublesome Trustee

You wouldn't use a teaspoon to empty a bucket, and you wouldn't use your Grandfather's antique watch to time a race. Selecting the right tool to get the job done is critical to success, and it's no different in estate planning. That's Mistake #4: Choosing the Wrong Trustee of Your Trust, or Personal Representative of Your Estate.

Estate Planning Mistake: Leaving Assets to Children

Estate Planning Mistake: Leaving Assets to Children

If you're like most people with kids, you probably want to leave your assets to them in your estate plan. But if not done properly, it leads to Estate Planning Mistake #3: Leaving Assets Outright to Minors.

May 2023: Tips for Retirement & Recent Graduates

May 2023: Tips for Retirement & Recent Graduates

We get a lot of questions about a variety of retirement topics.  Here are some thoughts about how working will affect social security benefits, making catch-up contributions, redefining retirement, and whether or not social security will stick around.  Also, we recently did a podcast on "Money Tips for the Graduate" - feel free to forward this to someone you love graduating from high school or college!

Estate Planning Mistake: Leaving an Empty Trust

Estate Planning Mistake: Leaving an Empty Trust

Hopefully you've reviewed your estate documents and even found an attorney to help.  If so, you may now have a revocable trust, a document that transfers your assets to your heirs.  But setting it up isn't the step that actually makes the trust effective, which brings us to Estate Planning Mistake #2: Not transferring assets into the revocable trust.

Don't Ignore these Planning Documents

Don't Ignore these Planning Documents

The responsibility of any financial professional is to be realistic about the future and a client's financial picture.  One of those topics is estate planning. Here's Estate Planning Mistake #1: Ignoring Basic Documents

Calculating Your Post-Retirement Income, Post-Haste

Calculating Your Post-Retirement Income, Post-Haste

Retirement is an exciting time! It's the end of one adventure and the start of the next. Let's make it the trip of a lifetime, and make sure you have the income to do the things you want to do!

A New Mindset for Income Distribution

A New Mindset for Income Distribution

There's always a lot of noise around the stock market. It's not always clear if it means anything for your retirement. Often, we trade growth for stability when we choose to retire. That way, we filter out some of the noise and focus instead on preserving your spending power.

3 Major Retirement Hazards to Avoid

3 Major Retirement Hazards to Avoid

Boxer Mike Tyson famously quipped that "everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth." Like a boxin match, sometimes life tries to throw some haymakers. The best financial plan isn't optimized to the cent; instead, it's flexible enough to allow for those unexpected moments while keeping you on track.

A Message from Mary Sterk

A Message from Mary Sterk

Happy Spring from Sterk Financial! 2023 has had a fairly volatile start.  Here are a few economic observations.

401(k) Distribution Dilemma

401(k) Distribution Dilemma

We all look forward to the day when we can finally call it a career! Time to kick back, relax, and collect our carefully planned and hard-earned retirement savings. But rushing into withdrawing your retirement funds without the best distribution method can prove costly.


March 2023: Retirement Readiness

March 2023: Retirement Readiness

Our Retirement Readiness newsletter features caring for aging parents, important birthdays over 50 that have implications on your retirement income, 5 facts about social security, and women & financial strategies. 

Your Monthly Market Newsletter, March 2023

Your Monthly Market Newsletter, March 2023

In this month's newsletter, you'll find information about February's market performance, inflation, the U.S. debt ceiling, & contradictory economic news, as well as a look at Whole Life Insurance, Extended Care & Behavioral Finance.  We also share an inspiring story about young students raising money so an 80 year-old janitor can retire.

Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) - Update

Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) - Update

We strive to keep you regularly updated with important market changes and news.

Please find the Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) - Update from Phil Blancato, Advisor Group’s Chief Market Strategist attached below. This update provides details on the collapse of SVB.

We’re here to answer any questions you may have! Please don’t hesitate to reach out.