CarsonAllaria’s Financial Blog on Retirement and Wealth Management

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Should Aging Parents & Adult Children Co-Own Assets?

Taking care of aging parents can be unfamiliar territory for anyone who is put to the task. However, it is something that many in their 50s and 60s are dealing with today. And, part of navigating that unfamiliar territory is trying to find a way to more easily “Mom or Dad’s” financial accounts.

Social Security: Will I Get It?

Social Security is facing a crisis as it heads toward insolvency by 2034. If no changes are made, all Americans would face a 20% cut in benefits across the board. However, there are several possible solutions, but time is of the essence. In today’s uncertain economic climate, one question looms large for many Americans: Will I Get Social…

2024 Stock Market Predictions

What do financial experts say is going to happen in the stock market during 2024 and should we listen? The evidence suggests that despite these institutions spending millions of dollars or more on market research, it is incredibly difficult to predict future short-term market movements. As we step into the unknown territory of….

2024 IRS Cost of Living Adjustments

The IRS has announced new contribution limits for Traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, 401(k)s, and Simple IRAs for 2024, along with updated Standard Deduction amounts and Marginal Tax Brackets.The IRS has released its 2024 cost of living adjustments, which include new...

2023 Stock Market Predictions and Why You Should Ignore Them

It’s that time of year again…when we see stock market predictions being released by financial institutions, fund managers, financial media personnel, and other financial “experts.” Most of these predictions end up being wildly inaccurate, yet they keep being made, and many keep listening.

Secure Act 2.0: Top 10 Changes

Secure Act 2.0 has been passed and continues to build upon retirement legislation that was passed in the original Secure Act of 2019. The bill is filled with dozens of changes to previous retirement law and provisions will be phased in over the next several years, with some starting immediately in 2023.

Social Security Loopholes

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 made some significant changes to a few key Social Security filing strategies. Specifically, the legislation removed some well-known loopholes that were used by many to increase spousal benefits. These loopholes involved the file-and-suspend and restricted filing strategies.

Don’t Fear a Recession, but be Prepared

With the challenges of 2022 still looming, including inflation and the Fed’s trend of aggressive interest rate hikes, some economic “experts” have called for a recession in 2023. However, it’s important to note that although not all recessions start for the same reason, they have all been ended by a common..

Year-End Strategies to Lower Taxes & Optimize Investments

When a new year is approaching, that means the window for certain opportunities is closing. Taking advantage of a few simple year-end strategies can help save you taxes and increase your bottom line. The year is almost over, and it has certainly been a bumpy one for the financial markets….

Roth Conversions: Good Idea?

Roth conversions are the repositioning of assets in a Traditional IRA or qualified employer sponsored retirement plan to a Roth IRA. This strategy could make sense for investors even as they approach retirement, but it’s important to understand the implications that may arise. We know that taxes are one of life’s inevitables…

Retirement Investing: Is it Different?

Retirement investing isn’t completely different than investing prior to retirement. The same risks and thought patterns should apply. However, the end strategy will likely look different due to expected withdrawals during the retirement phase. It’s no secret that retirement investing can seem more…

5 Bear Market Mistakes to Avoid

Bear markets can make it difficult for investors to stay the course. Stock market volatility and negative headlines give the impression that you should be doing something and poor investor behavior may begin to emerge. Stock market investing can be emotionally challenging in a bear market, especially when combined with a major world….

Stocks During a War: Should You Worry?

The Russia-Ukraine conflict has left many investors worried as they wonder what will happen to their stocks during the war. That is why it is especially important during times of heightened volatility and uncertainty to remember the fundamentals of investing and the keys to mastering behavioral finance.

2021 Review + 2022 Stock Market Predictions

At the beginning of every year, we see stock market predictions being released by financial institutions, fund managers, financial media personnel, and other financial “experts.” Most of these predictions end up being wildly inaccurate, yet they keep being made, and many keep listening.

Health Savings Accounts: A Best-Kept Secret?

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) are somewhat of a hidden gem in the investment world. Many people may have heard of an HSA before, but few are aware of how beneficial they can be.In many of my own client interactions, I find that people may have a decent understanding...

Charitable Donations Using Stock, Not Cash

Before you get the wrong impression of the headline, I think giving to charity is great. In fact, I think people should do more of it. This article, however, wasn’t written to change your attitude about charitable giving, but about the method in which you administer your gifts to lower…

Monte Carlo vs. Linear Planning for Retirement Projections

Retirement planning often includes making assumptions on future unknowns. To avoid negative outcomes down the road, it’s best to understand a range of possible outcomes using either Monte Carlo simulations or a series of linear projections. Planning for retirement is both an art and a science.

Annuities: Pros, Cons, and What are They, Anyway?

Some people love them. Some hate them! So, are annuities good or are they bad? The truth is that because there are so many different types of annuities, they cannot all be characterized as either good or bad. Each annuity should be evaluated independently based on each individual’s situation.

EQ Beats IQ When Investing

The ups and downs of investing can cause some investors to experience “market fatigue.” It’s not always our balances that get beat down, but our emotions, which is why a high level of EQ (or emotional intelligence) can be more beneficial than a high IQ. The ups and downs of investing can cause some investors to experience….

Social Security: 7 Crucial Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

Bad Social Security advice and poor claiming strategies continue to cost retirees, especially those eligible for spousal, survivor, and divorced retirement benefits. Social Security has provided benefits to Americans for over 80 years and is a pillar of retirement in the US. However….

Identity Theft: 15 Ways to Protect Against Cyber Attacks

Cybersecurity may not often be included as part of wealth management, but poor practices could lead to significant financial loss. However, many cases of identity theft can be prevented with prudent practices and security measures.Identity theft is an issue that...

Should I Invest Near a Market High?

When the stock market is near an all-time high, some investors decide to exit the stock market, fearing of a possible decline. Although this is a common and logical concern, historical data shows that may not be the most prudent approach to navigating markets that are near all-time highs.

Is the 60/40 Portfolio Dead?

Portfolios with 60% stocks and 40% bonds have been a staple of investing for the last few decades, but many think these portfolios could face major challenges in the next several years. With interest rates near historic lows, successful bond investing could look much different in the future. The 60/40 portfolio has been a common strategy..

5 Financial Impacts of the Democrat Blue Wave

Democrats swept the 2020 elections, which means investors are evaluating how that could impact their portfolios, taxes, and overall economic recovery. Forecasts are mixed, but investors are encouraged to keep a long-term focus. The elections dominated headlines for several months leading up to….

Market Predictions for 2021 and Why To Ignore Them

Every year, investment advisors & other financial “experts” release their market predictions for the upcoming twelve months. Many investors listen. However, these predictions are frequently and sometimes drastically wrong. It’s 2021 and you’re looking for a great start to the year in your….

College Savings: Is a 529 Plan Right for Your Child?

A 529 College Savings Plan could be a great way to contribute to your child’s financial future, but is it the best? Tax-advantaged accounts, like 529s, also come with restrictions and less flexibility to offset their tax benefits. But, a 529 College Savings Plan isn’t your only option in saving for your….

What Will I Do When I Retire?

Being able to answer the question “What will I do when I retire” and having a plan for your retirement lifestyle can help you stay engaged and can lead to a healthier and more enjoyable retirement, studies say. Your retirement years are supposed to be your golden years, right? But, have you ever had the thought, “What will I do..

Investment Help with 3 Simple Questions

The stock market can seem simple for some and leave others searching for investment help. However, a “good” investing outcome can be achieved in many ways. But, it's your mindset, expectations about investing, and the way you approach investing that has much to do...

3 Myths About the Stock Market in an Election Year

Every four years, we are essentially told the fate of the world hangs in the balance of which presidential candidate wins the election. This narrative is used by both major political parties in the U.S. However, historical data tells a different narrative, and it’s one that debunks some of the most common…

If Everyone is Selling, Who is Buying?

The Great Wealth Transfer has been historically known as the shift of assets from Baby Boomers to their heirs, which some estimate to be in the ballpark of $68 trillion over the next two decades.1 But, I’d like to share about a different transfer of wealth, one that all investors need to be aware of.

5 Ways to Get More Money in a Roth IRA

When the world feels like it’s on the brink of implosion, it seems trivial to write or think about taxes. But, with the thought that taxes might go up in the future, especially in Illinois, many are wondering how to get more money in a Roth IRA today (to pay taxes now and not in the future). Of course, it is…

The 3 Biggest Surprises of Retirement

Retirement presents many unknowns for those planning to enter their “golden years.” As it goes, more uncertainty tends to result in more anxiety. However, some components of retirement aren’t quite what they seem. Here are three of some of the biggest surprises of...

4 Ways to Keep Getting Paychecks in Retirement

etting a regular paycheck is one of the most comforting things about your working years. Therefore, not getting paychecks in retirement can be a major cause of stress. With all the different investment strategies out there for investing and producing income, the decision of how to create an income…

How to Navigate the 3 Phases of Your Financial Life

Your financial goals and priorities certainly change throughout your life. These changes result from many factors and are common. In fact, you will experience three distinct phases in your financial life (accumulation, preservation, and distribution). To avoid major...

Why You Need a Specialist Near Retirement

Most people are surprised when I tell them that, even as I financial advisor, I do very little to help people get to retirement. In fact, our clients have done much of the hard work themselves by living within their means, investing in their 401(k), and avoiding...

How to Free Yourself from Financial Anxiety

As the world attempts to bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic, there is still much uncertainty and financial anxiety in the air. In fact, according to a survey done by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, 69% of Americans age 18 and up reported having financial anxiety. So, if you are..

Is Cash Really King?

You’ve probably heard before that “cash is king.” I have certainly heard it more during the last few months as we’ve endured the COVID-19 crisis. Volatility, uncertainty, and fear has been high. The value of cash, safety, and liquidity has increased. But, the question remains, “Is Cash Really King?”

7 Ways to Get COVID-19 Financial Help

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many to look for financial help. With massive shutdowns of non-essential businesses and industries, Americans are in unchartered territory. For those struggling to make ends meet, here are 7 things to consider that could help your cash flow situation.

How to Invest During Market Volatility?

With the recent fluctuations in stocks, investors have been left wondering how to invest during market volatility. Market volatility causes stress, anxiety, and worst of all, doubt. Doubt is what causes investors to question their previous plan or strategy if one was present. Doubt can turn into panic….

5 Key Ingredients to a Good Financial Recipe

In my experience, a good dish usually begins with good ingredients and a good recipe. The right amount of those ingredients, mixed together in the proper order, and cooked for a designated amount of time, can turn into something special. The same goes for getting positive financial….

5 Things the SECURE Act Has Changed for Individuals

In December of 2019, the SECURE Act (Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement) was signed into law, triggering several changes for individual investors and employers that offer or have considered offering retirement plans. The SECURE Act was the latest major financial….

What Tax and Contribution Limit Changes Will Take Place in 2020?

More changes are coming for 2020 as contribution limits are set to increase once again. This is good news for those looking to defer more of their income to their retirement accounts. See below for some of the major highlights of the tax and contribution limit changes that are set to take place in 2020.

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About the Blog

The Wealth Navigator is a financial blog that was created in 2015 to provide pertinent, yet digestible wealth management tips for the average, everyday person. You don’t need to have a PhD in finance or a Series 7 license to understand the posts in our blog. Yet, the strategies covered can provide immense value to readers when implemented.

The blog primarily focuses on the following wealth management topics:

  • Retirement Planning (withdrawal strategies, investing near retirement, Social Security analysis, and Medicare planning)
  • Investment Management (behavioral finance, diversification, markets)
  • Tax Planning (tax-reduction strategies, tax-loss harvesting, charitable giving strategies, etc.)
  • Risk Management (life insurance, long-term care concerns, long-term disability)
  • Estate Planning (generational planning, estate tax reduction strategies, wills/trusts/powers of attorney)

Joe Allaria, a Partner and Wealth Advisor with CarsonAllaria Wealth Management, and a primary writer for the blog, has been featured in several financial publications, including; The Wall Street Journal,, Nasdaq,, Yahoo Finance, and Investopedia.