Maintain Eligibility for Resident Assistance

Willamette View residents have a safety net here at Willamette View Foundation. It’s a
safety net that was created over 50 years ago and has been strengthened over the years by donors and investment earnings. It is
designed to provide direct financial support to residents whose financial resources are no
longer able to cover their living expenses at Willamette View.

Some residents choose Willamette View
because they know about the Foundation and its purpose, while others learn about it after moving into the community and discover a “gift with purchase”. My guess is that all residents, however or whenever they become aware of our purpose, and resources that are here to support them, feel some sense of relief.

The Foundation’s eligibility standards are basically a set of rules that residents should follow in order to
preserve the opportunity to have our Resident Assistance Program pay their living expenses if their own
resources are exhausted during their lifetime.

Residents will want to maintain a lifestyle consistent with their level of resources and avoid extravagant spending and gifts to family and friends. Prudent investment strategies and maintaining adequate
insurance will help to protect the assets that were accumulated for retirement. It is important that assets are not otherwise encumbered and remain available for the resident’s use to pay living expenses.

Home Care at Willamette View, or other private duty caregivers, can be a huge help and enable residents to maintain independence. A transition should be considered, including a thorough evaluation of all specific circumstances, if the cost for permanent in-home care increases to the point where it exceeds the cost for the next level of care available at Willamette View.

If you have any questions, or would like a copy of our eligibility standards, please contact the Foundation office at 971.233.8956. Information is also available online at willametteviewfoundation.org.

Trimming the Sails

By Michael Gallagher, CFA Director of Investments at TPG Financial Advisors, LLC

After the uncomfortable 4th quarter last year (when stocks declined 14%), a few items were keeping our attention. Besides our indicators (which were negative at the time), the trade war with China and the Fed tightening monetary policy were top of mind. Here we are three months later and the negative trajectory of each item has reversed course sending stocks 13% higher.  This increase basically recoups most of the previous quarter’s decline. If we were on a boat experiencing these ups and downs, we’d all be seasick!

Last month we passed the ten year anniversary of the Financial Crisis lows in 2009.  Everyone learned a lot throughout the Financial Crisis and its aftermath (at least we hope so!).  Here are a few of our favorite lessons:

  • The storm will pass – even though it may not feel like it at the time
  • Choose the right boat – the right portfolio is different for everyone and minimizes the risk of abandoning ship
  • Trim the sails – there are telltale signs that must constantly be monitored and used to adjust investment strategy

It’s the last point we’d like to highlight.  While there is no indicator, or set of indicators, that is 100%  accurate in determining market turning points, we believe there are certain warning flags that have helped more often than not.  One of these is the Leading Economic Index (LEI).   The Conference Board (an economic think tank) has assembled a list of ten underlying indicators that tend to decline and improve before the economy as a whole.  Of these ten, the biggest weight is given to average weekly hours worked in manufacturing, new manufacturing orders, consumer expectations for business conditions, and the interest rate spread (10 year Treasury bond yield minus the Fed Funds rate). The LEI usually leads other economic statistics like the unemployment rate.

As you can see in the chart above, the LEI usually declines before recessions and market downturns. This indicator has been phenomenally resilient since it bottomed in March of 2009. While the LEI is still growing, it is starting to lose some momentum (as seen in the “Last 12 Months” pop-out). And like a telltale wind indicator on a sailboat, we are keeping a close eye on this. The LEI data is updated every month, and while there have been months it has declined, we look at the change over the last six months. This helps smooth out the month-to-month choppiness inherent in this type of data and capture a more meaningful change in direction.

We add this indicator in with our other indicators and when the combination of them changes direction, we take note and trim the sails.  If it looks like we’ll be sailing into the wind, like in the Winter of 2008, we’ll get more conservative and sell some stocks.  Conversely, if it appears there are clear skies ahead, like in the Summer of 2009, we’ll get less conservative and buy more stocks.

As you may recall, our indicators turned positive at the end of January (after being negative since the end of November).  We must always man the ship.  Talk to your portfolio advisor or financial planner to make sure that your ship is sound and prepared for the weather ahead.

Mike Gallagher is a Foundation Board member and serves on the Foundation’s Investment Committee.

Securities and advisory services offered through Geneos Wealth Management, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC.   Advisory services offered through TPG Financial Advisors, LLC, a registered investment firm.  Representatives at TPG Financial Advisors, LLC may not transact business in the State of Washington unless appropriately registered, excluded or exempted from such registrations.

Financial Assistance for Couples

The Foundation has a special policy regarding financial assistance for married couples. We recognize that there is a possibility that a couple might become impoverished when one of them permanently moves to the Health Center.

The policy is designed to allow the partner who moves to the Health Center the opportunity to apply for financial assistance when half of the couple’s assets have been depleted. This leaves the other half of their assets for the “well partner” to use for his or her lifetime. For this purpose, the assets of the couple will be valued on the date one of them moves to the Health Center. The value should be captured and documented. It will need to be provided if, at some point, an application for financial assistance becomes necessary. If the “well partner” exhausts the remaining assets, they may also apply for financial assistance. All assets of the couple must first be used for either partner’s care prior to becoming part of either’s estate residue.

If you and your spouse anticipate that you may need financial assistance at some time in the future, it is important to contact the Foundation office so that we can provide additional information about the married couple policy. Often this conversation can help ease anxiety prior to and during the time of transition.

Holiday Closures

Happy Holidays!  So that we can celebrate the holidays with family and friends, our office will be closed on the following dates.

  • Thanksgiving: Thursday, November 28th & Friday, November 29th
  • Christmas: Monday, December 23rd through Wednesday, December 25th
  • New Year’s Day: Wednesday, January 1st

Protect Your Identity

Here are some tips that will be helpful in preventing Identity Theft. 

  • Keep your personal and financial information in a secure place in your home.
  • Shred financial documents, credit card offers, and other paperwork that you do not need.
  • Every month carefully check your credit card statements for any unusual charges.
  • Clarify the need when you are asked for your Social Security number. Ask if you can use an alternate identifier instead.
  • Use only secure websites when submitting personal information.  A secure website’s address will begin with “https”.
  • Store your computer user name and passwords in a safe place in your home.
  • Do not give out personal information over the phone, internet or through the mail unless you have initiated the contact.

 

Avoid Beneficiary Designation Mistakes

Be Sure to Name a Beneficiary

If you have not named a beneficiary on life insurance or a retirement account it will likely guarantee that the asset will go through probate upon your death.  Unfortunately, heirs might face a long wait to receive their money.

Designate Contingent Beneficiaries

It is recommended that you name a contingent beneficiary.  Most likely you designated a primary beneficiary when the account was opened and most people designate their significant other, but they do not take into account that person might predecease them. If that happens, your contingent beneficiary will receive the assets.

Review Beneficiary Designations

You should review your policy or account every few years to

ensure that your beneficiaries remain consistent with your overall estate planning goals.

¨ Consider a trust if Beneficiary is a Minor

A trust to benefit a minor grandchild can hold assets until the child has reached a designated age.

 

Source:  www.aaii.com/journal/article/avoid

New Charitable Contribution Tax Laws for 2018

 

How do the changes to the tax code affect the benefits of charitable giving?

The new tax law is a hot topic of conversation everywhere. And the experts are still analyzing and devel-oping materials that explain its impact on taxpayers and chari-ties.

The Tax Law of 2018 preserves the deduction for charitable con-tributions, however it shrinks other itemized deductions and in-creases the standard deduction. Therefore, it is expected that more taxpayers will take the standard deduction rather than itemize their deductions.

However, the reason for giving to a charity, for most people, is not driven by tax benefits, but rather by a belief in the mission of their favorite charities. The upside is that tax savings will leave many taxpayers with more money that they can direct as they choose.

You may be wondering, how the new tax law will affect you and whether you should change the way you support causes dear to your heart.

How will I be affected by the new tax law?

For those who are already taking the standard deduction, the increased standard deduction reduces your tax bill, putting more money in your pocket.

If you itemize your deductions and give small to moderate amounts to charity, you may notice that the increased standard deduction will lower your tax bill more than itemizing would.

Those who have larger annual itemized deductions are less likely to be affected because donations along with other deductions will tend to be greater than the standard deduction. If you itemize deductions, you will most likely get a full tax benefit of your charitable contributions.

The new tax law keeps the charitable deduction and, increases the limit on cash contributions from 50% to 60% of adjusted gross income which will help some taxpayers who make larger gifts to charity.

Should I change the way I give to my favorite charities?

Most people donate because they are passionate about a cause. Not to get a tax deduction. Giving to charity is always a worthy goal, so don’t let changes in the tax code affect your giving plans. If you do decide to make changes, always talk with your financial planner or a tax advisor to determine what makes the most sense for your personal situation.

This information is intended for educational purposes only and is not offered and should not be taken as legal, tax, of other professional advice. Always consult an attorney, financial planner or tax advisor.

Source: https://www.schwab.com/resource-center

Willamette View Foundation Awards $1 Million

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PORTLAND, OR -- The Willamette View Foundation board of directors has voted to give a $1 million grant to support the Riverview Project. It is the largest grant the Foundation has ever awarded. The Foundation is generally focused on helping individual residents with their finances. However, there is an unrestricted reserve fund that allows the Foundation to make these grants on special occasions.

The Riverview Project includes an expanded kitchen, an auditorium with more seating capacity and a veranda with a river view. “We are excited to be able to participate in helping residents with this project,” said Foundation President Christie Geiger. We think this project will benefit all residents and enhance the core social venue of the community.

Executive Director Diane Wernli said, “We are all interwoven in the Willamette View community and it’s important for us to support the residents and this project.”

Since its inception in 1967, the Foundation’s mission has been to help residents maintain their financial security and has done so by managing their bills and by helping them directly with financial assistance if they exhaust their funds. Along the way, unrestricted funds have also provided grants for projects on the Willamette View retirement community’s campus.

The Foundation is funded entirely through the generosity of donors – most of whom are past or present residents or the families of residents.

questions about the foundation or this grant you are encouraged to call
971-233-8958.

SPRING CLEANING YOUR FINANCES

Spring is here!  It’s when you feel like cleaning out your closet and reorganizing your room every year, but so often people neglect the type of spring cleaning that they should focus on most; their finances!  Cleaning up and organizing your finances and all the paperwork is a good way to stay on top of your financial progress.

Know Where You Stand

From rate changes to market fluctuations, there are many different factors that can affect your money.  Don’t be caught off guard, explore and evaluate your resources and options.  Knowing where you stand financially is the key to keeping your finances in good order.

Set Realistic Goals

Attempt to set realistic goals to achieve your financial success.  Stretch your dollars and use money wisely.  Know where your money is going and attempt to make goals oriented around things that you really want to do now.

Build an Emergency Reserve

Are you prepared for an unexpected expense?

There are numerous ways to boost your emergency fund.  Some are as simple as being aware of your future care needs and trying to curb unnecessary spending.  Another idea is to do away with those memberships and subscriptions that are no longer important to you.

Get Rid of Clutter

Spring is a good time to do some financial cleaning and purging—out with the old and in with the new!  Keep in mind, for most people, you don’t need to keep old tax returns any more than 7 years.  Shredding old documents is the best way to  purge old paperwork with personal information on it.

Monitor Your Spending

Make sure your dollars are going toward things that bring you the most satisfaction and benefit.  Set your priorities and focus your spending on things that matter to you most, that way you will have resources available to do the things that add value to your days and fulfillment to your life.

Tax Scams Can Take Different Forms

Always be aware of scammers but be especially aware during tax season.   The most common scams come in the form of emails and phone calls, they will often use the IRS name, logo and fake websites to obtain information and sometimes money from unsuspecting citizens.  The IRS will never demand payment over the phone, threaten legal action, or threaten to contact the police.

If you receive an email that you believe is a scam – forward it to: phishing@irs.gov and then delete it.  Don’t reply to the email or open any of the attachments.

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