Women and Money

Estate Planning Documents Every Single Woman Needs

Estate planning documents for single women

Estate planning is an essential part of anyone’s financial plan. I’ll explain in this article why it’s critical for single women.

If you don’t have a proper plan in place, your state’s laws will dictate who receives the assets under your estate. State laws usually designate beneficiaries in this order: spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins. If you have children and die without a will, the state will decide who the guardian will be. This is all true even if you’re in a relationship without being legally married. 

Suppose you’re hoping to designate your possessions to a significant other, extended relatives, close friends, or charitable organizations. In that case, it’s critical to put together an estate plan. And more importantly, to appoint a person for your children’s guardianship, creating a will is a crucial step. Thankfully, this is easier than it sounds. The following is a list of primary estate planning documents and their purpose: 

Will or living revocable trust

Although these titles are often used interchangeably, wills and living trusts are two different documents. The most significant difference: both transfer an estate to designated heirs, but only trusts skip over the probate court. Plus, a will lays out your wishes for after you die while a living revocable trust becomes effective immediately and can be revised anytime while you are living. 

Suppose you are a woman with significant assets. In that case, a revocable living trust will keep your assets away from court-supervised distribution. If you have a more modest estate, a will may suffice.

A living revocable trust also helps your beneficiaries avoid the hassle and expense of a lengthy probate process. Living revocable trusts have benefits, but they cost more to create and require management. The choice between a will and a living trust is a personal one. Whichever path you take, it’s always a good idea to seek the advice of professional advisors. 

Healthcare proxy/durable medical power of attorney

As the name suggests, this type of power of attorney deals strictly with your health care decisions and medical treatments. With your healthcare proxy document, you’ll appoint an agent to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you’re incapable of making them on your own. This is an important responsibility, and it’s essential to choose someone you trust and be transparent with them on the specifics of your wishes. 

The financial power of attorney

While the medical power of attorney or healthcare proxy deals with health specifics, the financial power of attorney deals with financial matters. Your financial power of attorney document grants another individual the power to make financial decisions for you while you are alive but not capable of handling things yourself.

Your power of attorney is your legal representative for financial matters. Should you be hospitalized or incapacitated, they’ll handle financial tasks, like managing your bank accounts and paying your bills from a designated account. You can choose to designate a power of attorney that is effective immediately or kicks in after a specific event occurs (ex. coma, Alzheimer’s, mental disability, or an inability to communicate your wishes directly). 

The Challenge Of Naming Representatives

It is one thing to get the will, living trust, financial and healthcare powers of attorney created. The other challenge is to decide who will be your legal representatives. Married couples usually name each other, but being single, you need to decide who will handle your affairs and find out if they are willing to do it. If you have a will, you will need an executor, and if you have a living trust, you will need a successor trustee. Then you will need to choose your powers of attorney for health and finances. Most people choose from personal relationships, but it’s also possible to hire professionals for these roles. As you are preparing to start your estate planning, besides organizing your financial assets, it’s just as important to decide who will represent you.

If you’re a single woman and want to talk about your estate plan with a trusted financial planner, please connect with us. We are here to help.

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Single and Thinking About Retirement? Five Tips to Help You Get There

Single Women Retirement Planning
Single Women Retirement Planning

Most of us dream about the day that we can take a break. We envision a full, long-lasting retirement that is free of financial worries and packed with more of the things we enjoy spending our time on. Whether you’re planning to retire at the traditional age of 65 or you’re aiming to get there earlier, being single doesn’t have to slow you down.

Use your unique strengths to your advantage, and plan for a retirement filled with time spent with friends and family, giving back, reading books, traveling, and everything else you enjoy. If you’re thinking ahead to your retirement, but you’re not sure where to start, here are a few tips that will help you get there:

Revisit your spending and saving

The start of your retirement planning is a great time to check in with your spending or looking at it in reverse, at your savings rate. Could you be saving more money? Are you spending on things that aren’t important to you? Are you wasting money anywhere, such as trial subscriptions you forgot to cancel that are now costing you money annually? Paying for a high-priced gym that you rarely use? Highlight anything you think can be cut out or reduced. Savings gives you freedom and it’s something you have control over, more than your investment returns or even your income.  Then, use Vanguard’s handy retirement calculator to compare your current monthly income to what you’ll need in retirement. 

Make small changes

Now that you’ve revisited your spending vs savings rate and identified areas that could use improvement, start making small, incremental changes. Save takeout or restaurant meals for weekends; make coffee at home instead of suffering through long drive-thru lines; cancel unused services or subscriptions. Discretionary items like these add up quickly to cost us thousands each year. Aim for improvement, not deprivation and watch your savings grow. Cutting out all discretionary spending isn’t sustainable long-term. Choose the changes and budget cuts that make the most sense to you and your goals.

Max out your savings

Reallocate the funds from your discretionary budget cuts to your retirement accounts or investment accounts. While opting for easy alternatives may have been eating up all of your extra cash, maxing out your savings opportunities will make you extra cash. When it comes to saving for retirement, compound interest is your best friend. Start spending time with her as soon as you can.


Any personal finance expert will tell you that it’s not enough to match your employer’s contributions (or fully fund your Solo 401(k) if you’re self-employed). Investing outside of your retirement account in mutual funds, ETFs, or individual stocks can help you create additional streams of income when you’re settling comfortably into your retirement.

Work a little longer than you think you can stand

While you are working your salary funds your expenses. When you stop working you are going to rely on other income sources: social security, maybe a pension, and withdrawals from your retirement and investment accounts. If your retirement projections are at all iffy – meaning, it seems your money may not last through your retirement years, it pays to stay employed. Most people want to maintain their standard of living in retirement not have to reduce it. Staying employed and savings as much as you can in those last years of working is one way to get you closer to your goal.

No one-size-fits-all plan for retirement

There’s no one-size-fits-all plan for retirement. But if your end goal is a retirement free of financial worries, there are plenty of actionable steps you can take now to set your future self up for success. A lack of financial stress helps us better connect with the people we love, sleep better, stay healthy, and enjoy both the destination and the journey. Employ financial strategies that will help you move consistently toward your goals.  

If you need a retirement plan and want to work with a trusted financial partner, we encourage you to explore our services and schedule an introductory phone call.

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Selfcare, Learning And Trying New Things During The Age Of COVID And Black Lives Matter

Photo by Madison Lavern, Unsplash

As our usual routines and habits get upended and disrupted due to COVID, we have had to find new ones to replace them. The way we dress, eat meals, get exercise, socialize, work, and play has changed. I have discovered new ways to practice self-care. I renewed my interest in more in-depth learning, particularly about Black history as the Black Lives Matter movement has taken center-stage along with COVID. I am attempting something new, a podcast – challenging me in so many ways, personally and professionally. 


Instead of going to the gym, I exercise either by taking long walks outdoors or via Zoom classes. Surprisingly, I feel fitter than pre-COVID due to my new routine. I found an instructor I love on a website called “Daily Om,” Sarah Rector. She expertly leads classes to tone different parts of the body: the inner thighs, abs, legs, arms, and shoulders. Daily Om’s courses are pre-recorded. I also discovered a live-streamed Yoga class taught by Sarana Miller, a calm yogini who has a wide following. Because the yoga class is live, it offers a sense of community lacking with pre-recorded courses. Yoga is an excellent antidote to anxiety and hunched-over-the-keyboard bodies.


The Black Lives Matter movement has motivated me to learn more about Black History and examine my own thinking and behavior about race. I am a big fan of Audible, and I have listened to “How To Be An Antiracist,” “I’m Still Here,” and “So You Want To Talk About Race.” Next on my listening list, “The Warmth Of Other Suns.” I have also watched the documentaries/movies “I Am Not Your Negro”, “13th,” and “The Help.” These books and movies at times make me cringe and make me wonder why change in matters of racial justice is so slow. I know I want to be part of the solution.


Podcasts seem to be more popular than ever, and new ones keep sprouting up. I’m very excited about the debut of Michele Obama’s podcast, “Higher Ground,” on July 29, 2020. I won’t miss an episode of Brene Brown’s podcast, “Unlocking Us.” Brene shares her wisdom about emotional awareness and interviews soulful people (including many of the authors of the books I noted above). 

I decided to start my own podcast, “Financial Finesse,” about two months ago. My plan is to interview women about their money and their lives and how they intertwine. It’s a learning curve, but one that I am thoroughly enjoying. In my latest episode, “Young Women, Money and Black Lives Matter,” I interview four women of color. The women were my students during a Personal Finance class I taught last summer. I know you will find their money stories inspiring and educational, particularly about the different challenges POC face when it comes to money and credit.

Trying new things like this podcast has made shelter-in-place more bearable as it expands my skills and creates community. 

I hope that you are finding ways to grow and expand during these challenging times. 

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How Mountain Biking is Like Life

Mountain BikingThis evening, my husband, Rob, convinced me to join him for a mountain bike ride near our home. I have done the ride before, many times, but not for a few years.

I always get a little anxious before a mountain bike ride as, like many adult women, I am afraid of getting hurt.

I envision myself applying the brakes at the exact wrong moment and plunging head over the handlebars. Or, struggling up a steep hill and stopping, thus falling over, bike on top of me. Or, while bravely navigating the various rocks, limbs and small boulders that inhabit the trails, making one wrong move, and wiping out.

I prefer road-biking, where the ride is smooth, and the pace is fast.

But Rob, rightfully so, thinks road-biking is too dangerous, and indeed, it can be. We have seen our share of accidents between cars and bikes, and thus prudence prevails – we mountain bike. This evening’s ride was beautiful as it is late Spring, and the days are long. The sunlight was so pretty, filtering through the trees. As we progressed, I couldn’t help thinking about how much mountain biking is like life. I could have told Rob, no, I don’t want to go because I’m afraid. But then I wouldn’t have experienced the joy of being outdoors, being challenged, and feeling accomplished afterward. With mountain biking, just like life, there are always challenges right around the corner. Do you navigate them with grace and finesse, or do you do the best you can, knowing that by doing, you will be better the next time? Or, maybe you realize that mountain biking just isn’t your thing, but at least you tried, just like life.

We are living in a difficult, challenging time that will test us in many ways.
But we will come out stronger in the end, just like after a good, sweaty bike-ride.

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Financial Windfalls: How to Manage Sudden Wealth

Financial Windfall Sudden Wealth
Financial Windfall Sudden Wealth
An inheritance, a big bonus, a surprise payout – expected or unexpected, receiving large sums of money can be stressful. Sudden wealth or a financial windfall can derail even the most prudent people. Some people feel guilty about their good fortune and react by being overly generous or too frugal. Others immediately start spending, erroneously thinking that the money will last forever until it doesn’t. Bottom line: this type of income can be emotionally charged. We have all heard stories about professional athletes, lottery winners, or celebrities who blow through vast amounts of money and even end of bankrupt. But, this can happen to anybody.

Sudden Wealth Syndrome Is Real

This behavior is common and has a name: Sudden Wealth Syndrome – symptoms include heightened stress, guilt, social isolation, mistrust of others, and poor spending habits. Sudden wealth can also cause a person to feel so conflicted that they don’t take any actions at all.

As a financial planner, I have seen people take the following actions soon after receiving a financial windfall:

  • Quit their job before they have a new one lined up.
  • Decide to do a major remodel on their home instead of their previously planned appliance upgrade or fresh paint.
  • Buy family members expensive gifts.
  • Give money to family or friends who are in need.
  • Buy expensive cars (a Tesla instead of a Prius).
  • Take luxurious vacations.
There is nothing wrong with any of the above actions if well thought out and considered within a broader plan. If done impulsively, or to relieve emotional stress, they can create feelings of guilt or remorse that can last longer than the money spent.

Is It Possible To Not Get Caught In The Sudden Wealth Trap?

Yes, here are a few ideas:

Develop Mindfulness. Think deeply about what you want to do with the money to match your values, and make decisions with clarity to use the windfall wisely and well. Talk to your trusted circle – a friend or family member, a therapist, or advisor – before making any large purchases or life-changing decisions.

Try not make any large purchases until you’ve had a chance to make your dream list and pare it down to realistic priorities before you write the checks.

Sudden Wealth Creates Opportunities

Sudden wealth creates opportunities– for security, for pleasure, for doing good – but without careful planning, it can create headaches (and heartaches too). With a plan in place, you can avoid the negatives (regret, remorse, guilt), and embrace the positive outcomes from a financial windfall.

Take The Next Step

Download our free guide to find out what to do if you’re experiencing the symptoms of sudden wealth syndrome, and learn what your next steps should be to adjust to and maintain your newfound wealth.

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A Great Alternative to Grocery Stores: Farmer’s Markets

My anxiety level spikes at the thought of going to a grocery store. The lines are long, and once inside, it’s like playing bumper carts with your fellow shoppers all scrambling to keep out of each other’s way. I’m so grateful to the workers who are cashiering and bagging groceries, but I worry about them at the same time.

Photo Courtesy of CUESA

A great alternative and one I highly recommend is shopping at your local farmer’s market.

You will be outside in fresh air;
You will buy produce harvested the day before;
You will find sustainably raised meat, fish, and eggs and fresh cheese;
You will most likely find freshly baked bread and good coffee;
You will be buying from small farmers and other independent food businesses who need your support.

I guarantee you’ll feel energized and happy after spending an hour or two in a farmer’s market community.


Photo Courtesy of CUESA

Farmers and other vendors are taking precautions to keep you safe by offering bagged fruits and vegetables, selecting items for you, maintaining lines, and encouraging the use of apps, or credit cards instead of cash. Some are offering curbside pickup of pre-packed boxes. The farmers market at the Ferry Plaza farmers market in San Francisco run by CUESA – The Center for Urban Education For Sustainable Agriculture, has curated a “best of the market” box that you can purchase on-line and then drive-by to pick up. I bought it last Saturday, and I’ve been enjoying the bounty all week.

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area and would like to be notified about the CUESA Farmers Market Box availability sign up here. You can also order from the individual farms that sell at the market here.

If you don’t live nearby, here is an excellent directory of farmer’s markets nationwide. And lastly, if you aren’t convinced yet, the CUESA staff wrote an excellent article about why farmer’s markets are essential for our health and well being.

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5 Unique Things to Buy To Help Ease Your Anxiety 

Photo Credit: Roberto Nickson on Unsplash

I have gotten a special thrill out of being a curator of delightful, beautiful or delicious things and sharing them with my friends.

With the pandemic crisis, I think we can all use more simple pleasures to lift our spirits and ease our anxiety. 

In the act of treating ourselves or others, we can support independent businesses in their time of need. I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.


Coin 1804 Protective Masks in Camo Or Python Prints – these masks made by fashion brand COIN 1804 in Los Angeles are not medical grade masks. But they will do in a pinch when you are out for a walk or running errands. They are comfortable, easy to take off and on, fully cover your nose and mouth, and are cute! Check out COIN 1804’s wide and surprisingly affordable men and women’s casual, chic clothing while you are on the site.


I regret all the years I didn’t know how wonderful it is to sleep on a silk pillowcase! Articles touted how they prevent wrinkles and bed hair, but what I love is how good they feel on your skin. Cool and smooth and luxurious. It’s important to buy 100% mulberry silk for the best experience. I purchased mine from Fishers Finery 
and Brooklinen  and I’ll be checking back for sales often. I know I’ll never use a cotton pillowcase again.


For a perfect well-priced gift or a treat for yourself, go no further than Heath Ceramics and their bud vase – $26.00. It’s simple, clean lines and lovely colors are always pleasing to the eye alone or with a few buds tucked inside. As if that wasn’t good enough, Heath produces it in seasonal colors, so you have a reason to go back for more. If you buy the vase as a gift, you can include a Heath designed letterpress card for $5.00.


Being at home gives me the urge to organize and find new, esthetically pleasing ways to store things. One of my favorite storage vehicles is from Design Within Reach. It’s the Restore Basket designed by Mika Tolvanen for Muuto. It comes in 3 different sizes and is constructed of polymer felt made from recycled PET bottles. The basket holds its shape, is easy to carry, and doesn’t scratch surfaces. I use them in my office and at home. Currently, some of the colors are on sale, and they do add new colors from time to time.


A friend of mine recently sent me a “COVID-Care package,” and inside was a vial of St. Jane Luxury Beauty Serum for the face. It’s the most fantastic face oil formulated with all Vegan ingredients, including sunflower and grape seed oil combine with 500mg CBD to help nourish and calm the skin. I have sensitive skin, and my face loves it. 

If you try these products, I hope you like them as much as I do.

And, I’m sure these independent businesses will appreciate your orders during this time of need. 

If you enjoyed this post, you may enjoy this one as well.

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Photo by Ani Kolleshi on Unsplash

One of the objectives of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) is to help people get the care they need with fewer obstacles and less-in-person contact. It adds to the health provisions in a bill passed in March – the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).

The CARES ACT health provisions will be most beneficial to families with High Deductible Health Insurance plans (HDHPs) and health savings accounts (HSAs) or flexible spending accounts (FSAs), which are pre-tax savings accounts for healthcare expenses. However, Medicare Part D participants and anyone who gets a test for COVID-19 will benefit too.

Temporary provision:
-Telehealth services used to be subject a deductible, now they are covered before a patient has met the plan deductible. Usual cost-sharing, such a co-pay, is still allowed. This provision will sunset in December 2020.

Permanent and retroactive to January 1, 2020 provisions:
-It’s now ok to buy over-the-counter medical products, such as OTC drugs and surgical masks, without a prescription and get reimbursed by an HSA. With the prior rules, effective since January 2011, a prescription was necessary for reimbursement.
-Certain menstrual care products such as tampons and pads are now reimbursable medical expenses.

PLANNING TIP: For individuals and families experiencing cash flow issues some of the existing HSA rules can help. For example, there are no time restrictions or deadlines for when you can reimburse yourself from your HSA. You can claim reimbursement for eligible items if you have proof of purchase as far back as when you first opened the account.

PLANNING TIP: While HSA can’t be used to cover your share of employer-provided medical insurance, they can be used by unemployed people to pay premiums on an independent policy or coverage through COBRA.

The FFCRA mandates that private insurance companies and Medicare cover COVID-19 testing and a vaccine for free. The CARES Act extends free testing to any services or items provided during a medical visit that results in coronavirus testing. Medical visits can be in-person, a telehealth visit, an urgent care or emergency room visit. This benefit remains in effect only while there is a declared public health emergency. It’s not certain if self-administered tests (if and when available) will be covered.

The CARES ACT also clarifies that Medicaid must cover such tests regardless of whether they are authorized for emergency use by the FDA.


Medicare PART D recipients can order up to a 90 day supply of medications. Prior to the CARES Act passing, a PART D insurance plan had the option to relax their “refill too soon” restrictions but now they are required to do so. The change is designed so that all Part D enrollees can get an extended supply of medications during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

PLANNING TIP: Place orders of your medications for 90-day supplies to save trips to the pharmacy and the hassle of having to reorder in less time.

-Reauthorization of programs to strengthen rural community health, the Healthy Start program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
-Dollars to support domestic food assistance programs (breakfast and school lunch, SNAP, emergency food assistance.
-Funding for the Defense Production Act, Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, Disaster Relief Fund, FEMA, Indian Health Service, CDC, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, CMS, Public Health and Social Social Services Emergency Fund and others.

If you missed Part IV: Review of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) go here.
And, for a comprehensive article about HSAs, go here.

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Updated for 2020: Triple Tax Savings For You: Health Savings Plan (HSAs) Explained

Photo by Micheile Henderson on Unsplash

If you don’t know about Health Savings Accounts (HSA’s) and are eligible to open one, you’re missing out on an excellent savings vehicle with fantastic tax benefits.

What is an HSA?

An HSA is a tax-exempt trust or custodial account established with a bank, insurance company or other IRS-approved entity. They are triple tax-advantaged – contributions are pre-tax/tax-deductible, earnings grow tax-free, and withdrawals are tax-free if used for qualified medical expenses. Hence, the triple tax savings.

These accounts are for medical expenses, but you don’t have to use up the balance during the year. Unused balances roll over from year to year, and you can invest the money for growth. For people who have adequate cash flow, low to average health care costs, and pay high taxes – the best way to use HSA’s is as a long-term savings account for medical expenses in retirement when healthcare costs tend to go up. In this case, you will benefit most from opening an HSA that has good investment options – low-cost ETF’s and mutual funds and take full advantage of compounding growth of your funds.

For those who are on a tighter budget, HSA’s are a great tool for lowering the cost of your medical costs through tax-saving. HSA funds can also be accessed when an emergency hits -such as with a sudden job loss or healthcare crisis as with COVID-19.


You must be an “eligible individual” to qualify for an HSA, which means that:

  • You must have a high-deductible health plan (HDHP). The IRS definition of a “high-deductible” plan in 2020 is a policy with a deductible of at least $1,400 per individual or $2,800 for a family, and whose out-of-pocket maximum is at most $6,900 per individual and or $13,800 per family.You can enroll in a high-deductible health plan through your employer, or on your own as an employee or a self-employed individual.There can be advantages to joining your employer’s plan: if the HSA is part of a Section 125 cafeteria plan and administered by a payroll deduction, the contributions will not only be Federal tax-free, they will be free of FICA taxes as well – an additional tax savings of 7.65%.Your employer may make contributions on your behalf that aren’t counted against your maximum contribution and are exempt from FICA taxes as well. Self-employed individuals do not avoid FICA taxes with their contributions to an HSA. Each State taxes HSA’s differently. For example, California prohibits a state tax deduction for an HSA contribution.
  • You cannot have other health-care coverage except what the IRS considers permissible coverage, for example, plans with limited coverage, such as dental or vision plans.
  • You can’t be a Medicare recipient. Some people who are still working at age 65 delay Medicare so they can continue contributing to an HSA -this could be a good strategy for certain individuals.
  • You can’t be a dependent on someone else’s income tax return.

Contribution Limits for 2020

If you qualify, you can contribute as much as $3,550 to an HSA in 2020 if you have individual health coverage, or $7,100 if you have a family health plan. Moreover, if you’re 55 or older, you can contribute an additional $1,000 as a catch-up contribution. Contribution amounts can be flexible and can be made any time during the year up to the tax-filing deadline in April of the next year. For, 2020 the deadline for contributions has been extended until July 15th.

The money in your HSA remains available for future qualified medical expenses even if you change health insurance plans, change employers or retire. Funds left in your account continue to grow tax-free.

What medical expenses are eligible?

You would use your HSA funds for health expenses that aren’t covered by your traditional health insurance, and many are eligible*, for example:

  • Acupuncture
  • Alcoholism treatment
  • Ambulance services
  • Chiropractors
  • Contact lens supplies
  • Dental treatments
  • Diagnostic services
  • Doctor’s fees
  • Eye exams, glasses, and surgery
  • Fertility services
  • Guide dogs
  • Hearing aids and batteries
  • Hospital services
  • Insulin
  • Lab fees
  • Prescription medications
  • Over the counter medicines and supplies*
  • Menstrual care products*
  • Nursing services
  • Surgery
  • Psychiatric care
  • Telephone equipment for the visually or hearing impaired
  • Therapy or counseling
  • Wheelchairs
  • X-rays

*New with the passage of the CARES Act in March 2020.

Whether you have a self-only or a family health insurance policy, HSA money may be spent on medical expenses for you, your spouse and current tax dependents.

You can’t pay medical insurance premiums out of your HSA. However, HSAs can pay for premiums for long-term care insurance (subject to certain limits); health-care continuation coverage (e.g. COBRA); health-care coverage while receiving federal or state unemployment compensation; and Medicare parts A, B, D, Medicare HMO, and Medicare Advantage Plan premiums, if you’re at least 65. HSA’s cannot be used to cover Medigap premiums.  

Penalties for Non-Compliance

The penalty for taking a non-qualified withdrawal from an HSA is high – you must pay taxes on it plus a 20% penalty if you are under age 65.  So the triple-tax benefit is broken. If you are over 65, there is no penalty on non-qualified withdrawals, but taxes apply in the year of the withdrawal. 

Mechanics of Opening An Account and Using It

You must have an HDHP before you can sign up for a Health Savings Account. Besides working with your employer’s option if you are an employee, many institutions offer HSA’s including insurance companies, banks, or credit unions. You can search the internet for HSA providers.

Depending on the HSA, reimbursements are made by check, ACH transfer, or ATM withdrawal. Good recordkeeping is critical because there are no time restrictions or deadlines for when you can reimburse yourself from the account. You have to keep your receipts to document the date of purchase and also as proof the expense is qualified.  Medical expenses you incurred before the HSA was open aren’t eligible.


Some HSAs charge monthly maintenance or per-transaction fees, which vary by institution. Some providers waive the fees if you maintain a certain minimum balance. So, it pays to shop around.

What happens to your HSA when you die?

If you designate someone other than a spouse as a beneficiary, the fair market value of the account on the date of death is taxable to the recipient in the year of your death.  If your beneficiary is your spouse, he/she can use the HSA are their own. If you die without a designated beneficiary, the value goes into your estate and is includable on your final tax return.

As you can see, there are many benefits to HSA’s, here are a few more that are unique to this savings vehicle:

  • There are no maximum income thresholds that you can disqualify you from opening an HSA.
  • There are no Required Minimum Distributions (RMD’s).
  • You can be unemployed and contribute to an HSA.

I think you can agree that if you can afford to pay your uncovered medical expenses out of pocket now, and can fully fund your HSA every year invested for growth, you will have a nice nest-egg for health expenses when you are no longer working.

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The CARES Act Review Part IV- The Paycheck Protection Program

Photo by Alex Kotliarskyi on Unsplash

Included in the CARES Act is $350 billion for a small business loan program called the Paycheck Protection Program.

This program intends to get money into the hands of small business owners quickly so that they can continue operations and pay their employees. The SBA is working with 1,800 approved lenders and plans to add more of them.

Not all the details about eligibility are available yet, but the SBA plans to publish specific regulations soon. Small businesses and nonprofits can apply first (as soon as April 3!), followed by independent contractors and self-employed.

These are essential details of the program:

  • Small businesses, nonprofits, tribal business concerns, and veterans organizations with fewer than 500 employees are eligible for loans under the program. If the business is in foodservice, the 500 employee cap is on a per-location basis.
  • Self-employed individuals, independent contractors, and sole proprietors are eligible.
  • Borrowers must certify that their business has been affected by the coronavirus slowdown.
  • Lenders will not require collateral or a personal guarantee. The loans are guaranteed by the Federal government.
  • The company must have been in business since February 15, 2020.
  • The loans can be up to $10 million to cover payroll and other expenses, or 2.5 times total payroll expenses for the loan period. The payroll expenses covered are broad including salaries, retirement, healthcare, parental leave parents and bonuses.
  • The loan applies to costs incurred from February 15 to June 30.


  • The Treasury Department set the loan rate at 1%, but the cap is 4%, so it could change.
  • The first payment will be due after six months, and the full loan will be due in two years. 
  • A business that has other SBA disaster loans such as a Disaster Relief Loan can still apply for the Paycheck Protection Loan but the loan must be used for different things.


  • The loan includes loan forgiveness covering costs for the first eight weeks for companies able to keep employees on payroll and continue paying bills through the crisis.
  • The loan forgiveness will include payroll costs for individuals below $100,000 in annual income, mortgage/rent, including interest and utilities. 
  • If a business reduces the workforce or wages, then the total amount of loan forgiveness will be mitigated unless employees are hired back.
  • Eligibility for loan forgiveness starts eight weeks after the loan origination date. 
  • It’s not clear yet whether salaries (up to $100,000) of sole proprietors, independent contractor, LLC’s or other businesses will count towards loan forgiveness; guidelines will be issued soon.


To read more details and to get updates, its best to go to the Treasury Department Website where you can also find the loan application.

And a more detailed summary from the Treasury Department here and from the SBA here.

There will be a huge demand for these loans, so if applying it’s best to find out what information you need to gather soon and find an approved lender to work with you to get your needed funds.

If you missed CARES Act Review Part 3 Unemployment Benefits go here.

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