Retirement

IRA Limits and Deadlines

IRA limits and deadlines – for 2019 and 2020 The deadline is approaching! July 15 is the new April 15 for the 2019 tax year, because of COVID19. The maximum amount you can contribute to a traditional IRA or a Roth IRA for 2019 and for 2020 is $6,000 (or 100% of your earned income, if less). The maximum catch-up contribution for those age 50 or older is $1,000 for both years, for a total of … [Read more...]

Five-Year Rule for Roth IRAs

The Roth IRA Five-Year Rule The Roth "five-year rule" – often misunderstood – in part governs when you can take tax-free distributions of earnings from your Roth accounts (IRAs, Roth 401k, or other work-based Roth accounts). Your Roth contributions can be withdrawn tax-free at any time. But the for the account’s earnings: The rule says that to take a tax-free distribution of earnings you must … [Read more...]

Three Questions to Increase Happiness

Three Questions to Increase Happiness Shelter-In-Place Offers Opportunity for Reflection: What makes us happiest? Our quarantines and shelter-in-place this year have been difficult for many, but it would be a shame not to use the current situation to learn more about ourselves, says Shlomo Benartzi, PhD, an expert in behavioral finance and a professor at the UCLA Anderson business school. He … [Read more...]

Investing: Strategy vs. Reaction

Investing: Strategy vs. Reaction You can always count on market swings to challenge your patience as an investor, but these current swings – and the reasons for them – are unprecedented in their speed and depth. Tune Out the Noise The media generates news 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and they need to fill all that time. You can check the market and access the news any time and … [Read more...]

Key Benefits of the CARES Act

Key Benefits of the CARES Act - and a Note About Financial Literacy Financial Literacy for the Pandemic **NOTE: Our "Financial Literacy for the Pandemic" Zoom calls, which were held weekly during the first few months of the pandemic, will move to monthly as the questions have subsided but many people still need help with financial issues as a result of COVID-19. We will be sending the usual … [Read more...]

2020 Retirement Plan Numbers

Thresholds and maximums for retirement contributions and deductions The government left some retirement numbers unchanged and increased some for 2020. The maximum you can contribute to a traditional IRA or a Roth IRA in 2020 is $6,000 if under 50 and $7,000 if 50 or older (or up to 100% of your earned income, if that is less), the same as last year. You can split your contribution between a … [Read more...]

The Perils of Market-Timing: A Reminder

There is no lack of unquieting news that impacts the markets daily. And volatility looks to be a big player in the markets for at least the near-term. Here are a few important reminders on the perils of trying to time the market – at any time. To take some kind of action may offer brief relief, but market-timing ultimately runs counter to your best strategies for building durable long-term wealth. … [Read more...]

What Is Blockchain?

What Is Blockchain? Clients often ask about bitcoin, but blockchain technology is more interesting and is what really makes bitcoin possible. It’s a data structure used to create a secure digital ledger shared among a distributed network of computers. It was initially designed for the peer-to-peer exchange for the virtual currency bitcoin. However, many businesses are now developing and … [Read more...]

Single women and money

Study: Single women and money Single women – those who have never married, those who have experienced divorce, and those who have outlived a spouse – need to take a more proactive approach to growing and protecting their finances, according to a new study. The Single Women and Money Study found that while the overwhelming majority of single women (97%) believe it is important to be engaged in … [Read more...]

Keep Your Eye Out for Scams

Scams to Watch Out For While scams are especially prevalent during tax season, they can take place any time during the year. A client recently had a call from someone at Social Security, or so they told her. They coaxed this very intelligent woman into revealing quite a bit about her financial life, using profoundly professional-sounding authority and a sense of urgency about her Social Security … [Read more...]

Why Name a “Trusted Contact”

Why name a “Trusted Contact” Do you need a Trusted Contact? Not everyone needs one, as cozy and protective as it sounds. We suggest that you take this step with intention and careful thought, not just because the custodian sends you a form to name someone. In an effort to prevent senior financial fraud, FINRA (the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) created a rule to allow custodians to … [Read more...]

Hidden Gem: HSAs

Hidden Gem: HSA in Retirement The health savings account or “HSA” is a little-understood vehicle for tax-deferred savings for medical expenses. This tax-preferred account can prove useful not only during your working years but also in retirement. Many people think it is just to defer current-year taxes for medical out-of-pocket costs, but it can be used much more strategically, even in … [Read more...]

Medicare Costs in 2019

What Will You Pay for Medicare in 2019? Medicare premiums, deductibles, and coinsurance amounts change annually. Here’s a look at some of the costs for 2019 for those enrolled in Original Medicare (Part A and Part B). Medicare Part B premiums Most with Medicare who receive Social Security benefits will pay the standard monthly Part B premium of $135.50 in 2019. However, for some whose premiums … [Read more...]

2019: Key Retirement and Tax Numbers

Every year, the IRS makes cost-of-living adjustments that affect contribution limits for retirement plans and set thresholds for tax deductions, exclusions, and exemptions. Here are the key adjustments for 2019: Employer retirement plans Employees in 401(k), 403(b), and most 457 plans can defer up to $19,000 of their compensation in 2019 (up from $18,500 in 2018). Those age 50 and older can … [Read more...]

Medicare Coverage Gap

The Medicare Coverage Gap One of the most confusing Medicare provisions is the coverage gap, often called the “donut hole.” It may be clearer if you look at it as the uncovered portion of the annual Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Coverage. Here's a way to understand it better. This also applies to drug coverage that is integrated into a Part C Medicare Advantage Plan. Annual … [Read more...]

Blue Spark Capital Advisors

We're a fee-only Registered Investment Advisory and financial planning firm based in New York City and the Berkshires.

We specialize in working with women after divorce, death of a spouse, or other life transitions such as retirement or job change. We provide financial planning and investment management services.

We believe in a holistic approach. Movement in each piece of your financial plan impacts the others, so we consider your entire picture.

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New York, N.Y. 10011
(212) 537-3899

93 Church Street
Lenox, Mass. 01240
(413) 551-7000

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– Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)
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