Geoffrey Curran Promoted to Principal

Geoffrey Curran Promoted to Principal

Merriman Wealth Management, LLC, an independent wealth management firm with over $2.5 billion in assets under management, is pleased to announce the promotion of Geoffrey Curran, CPA/ABV, CFA, CFP® to principal.

“Geoff’s contribution and dedication to Merriman and our clients has been invaluable as we seek to be the destination for clients and employees who are looking to Live Fully,” said Jeremy Burger, CFA, CFP®, CEO of Merriman. Merriman is proud to offer a path to partnership for those individuals who demonstrate through their contributions a strong commitment to improving the lives of our clients, helping the firm grow and giving back to their communities. With the addition of Geoff, Merriman now has 15 principals.

Geoffrey joined Merriman as a Wealth Advisor in January 2016 after spending three years at TD Ameritrade. Geoff graduated from the University of Tulsa and has earned three of the most distinguished credentials in the industry – CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM professional (CFP®), Certified Public Accountant (CPA), and Chartered Financial Analyst® charterholder (CFA). Geoff is an active member of the South Puget Sound community including serving on the investment committees for the Tacoma Employees’ Retirement System pension and the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation.

Reason #10 Why Clients Hire Merriman: Someone Else to Blame

Reason #10 Why Clients Hire Merriman: Someone Else to Blame

Our work at Merriman is all about empowering our clients to live their lives fully. Having a financial plan in place and professional investment management provides peace of mind that allows people to focus on what they love to do most.

We conducted a survey to see why our clients chose Merriman and why they’ve continued to work with us throughout the years. We compiled their top ten reasons why—in their own words—and decided to showcase their responses in a ten-part blog series. This is part ten, our final installment. We hope you have enjoyed this series.

Reason #10 Why Clients Hire Merriman: “If something does go wrong, there’s someone I can blame.”

No matter their knowledge, years of expertise, or well-advised insight, there’s no advisor who can single-handedly control market movements. Markets fluctuate. They always will. If, or when, a market is down, it’s easier for you or your partner to blame an advisor than each other. What we’ve heard from our clients is that ability to lay blame on a third-party eases relationship tension that could surface during those stressful times. We find this “safeguard feature” means a lot to our clients. Not everything is predictable, but you can feel safe and confident with us.

Since this is still the start of a new decade, this is a great time to get organized and chart a new way forward. Working alongside an advisor takes the pressure off of having to know what to do first, how to be right about everything, and gives you a back-up opinion you can trust. If anything does go wrong, it’s not your fault. (Feels good, right?)

If you’d like to feel more confident about your financial future, leverage one of our financial advisors as a resource for your family. We’ll get to know you, your goals, and your values. There’s nothing we love more than helping people get back to living their lives fully. Contact us! We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

Check out the previous installment in the series.

New IRS Rollover Relief Update for Required Minimum Distributions (RMD)

New IRS Rollover Relief Update for Required Minimum Distributions (RMD)

What is the new Rollover guidance?

The IRS announced on Tuesday, June 23, 2020, via Notice 2020-51 (PDF), additional relief relating to Required Minimum Distributions (RMD), allowing you to return RMD funds withdrawn after January 1, 2020.

As it sits now, the CARES Act RMD waiver for 2020 is still in place, meaning that you are not required to take an RMD for 2020. This applies to defined-contribution plans such as 401(k) or 403(b) plans and IRA accounts. Those who have previously taken RMDs are likely familiar with the process; but for those who turned 70 ½ in 2019, this all may be brand new, and it’s important to understand the timeframes. This can easily be confused with the SECURE Act which passed toward the end of 2019, changing the RMD age to 72 going forward. Tuesday’s announcement extends relief to anyone who has previously taken an RMD in 2020 by extending the opportunity to return the funds up through August 31st, 2020. In addition, if you return funds under this new announcement, the notice states that the repayment is not subject to the one rollover per 12-month period or the rollover restrictions with inherited IRAs. This is particularly important because the SECURE Act changed the timeframe in which beneficiaries are required to withdraw inherited IRA funds. To find information about the SECURE Act changes, Paige Lee, CFA, wrote a great article which can be found here. There is a lot going on here, and the overall message is that you have more flexibility than ever on how you treat a 2020 RMD.

What was the original relief for RMDs?

The CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) was signed into law on March 27th, 2020, providing relief amidst the COVID-19 pandemic for many American taxpayers and businesses. We posted a blog that summarizes these changes which can be found here. In respect to RMDs, the CARES Act originally allowed individuals to forego taking a 2020 RMD and allowed you to return any RMD taken within the previous 60 days. Despite being a fantastic planning opportunity, anyone who took an RMD earlier that the previous 60 days was left out in the cold. Later in April, the IRS issued a follow-up notice that extended the time period to include those who took an RMD between February 1 and May 15 where the funds could be returned by July 15th. This is no longer the case with the most recent announcement, and now anyone who has taken an RMD from January 1st, 2020, can make the decision to return the funds.

How can you take advantage of this?

This offers a tremendous planning opportunity by providing households with the ability to shift income and take advantage of market conditions. Returning an RMD can lead to a host of strategic financial moves including the following:

  • Continued growth of tax-deferred assets
  • Opening room to make Roth IRA conversions
  • A chance to look at taxable accounts to see if it makes sense to withdraw funds at capital gain rates as opposed to marginal tax rates
  • Rebalancing—as the funds are returned, holdings can be adjusted to shore up your overall allocation

We help our clients make the best choices with the information available, and now that this new extension has been issued, we view this as an opportunity to review your circumstances, discuss the various options, and decide on whether or not to take action.

Connect with Merriman to discuss.

Here at Merriman, we are very excited about this announcement and strongly encourage you to contact us if you have already taken an RMD from your IRA or Inherited IRA this year. We’ll help you understand and explore your options and determine if taking advantage of this extended RMD relief makes sense for you.

 

Reason #9 Why Clients Hire Merriman: Family Continuity

Reason #9 Why Clients Hire Merriman: Family Continuity

Our work at Merriman is all about empowering our clients to live their lives fully. Having a financial plan in place for even the most unpredictable aspects of life provides peace of mind, allowing people to focus on what they love to do most.

We conducted a survey to see why our clients chose Merriman and why they’ve continued to work with us throughout the years. We compiled their top ten reasons why—in their own words—and decided to showcase their responses in a ten-part blog series. This is part nine, out of ten.

Reason #9: “I know my family will be taken care of even after I’m gone.”

Life is about living! At Merriman, we get that. We’re here to help you gain control of your finances and get your money to work for you and your family, while you’re here and even after you’re gone. We find having a plan in place and knowing that everything is under control makes things crystal clear. It’s like preparing for the worst. When there’s a plan in place, there’s less room for stress. There’s more freedom.

Are you confident that your other family members will be taken care of even after you’re gone? An advisor who understands your values, wishes, and financial standing will often be an asset to other members of your family or business partners. Your personal advisor can provide family continuity. Plus, an advisor will help you think about how you want to prepare for the unpleasant aspects of life, like death or the idea of dementia, and work to provide a continuation of whatever plan you put into motion.

We’ve each got our own passion about living. Our Chief Operations Officer and Chief Investment Officer Kristi de Grys proudly owns a flag that flew in one of the space shuttles. Paresh Kamdar, one of our Wealth Advisors who loves to travel, could eat Vietnamese soup, ramen, and tacos for the rest of his life. Michael Van Sant, another one of our Certified Financial Planners, took his family abroad last year for the first time and has slowly been getting back into music, thanks to the inspiration and encouragement from his thirteen-year-old daughter. We’re all about being here and being present for the lives we’re living. Once you join our Merriman family, we take care of the financial aspects and you take care of the rest: you can get back to living.

If you’d like to feel more in control about your finance future, contact us! We’ll get to know you, your goals, and your future plans, so you can start focus on living life fully. We’re looking forward to hearing from you and having you join our family!

Check out the previous installment in the series.

Should I Take the Boeing Voluntary Layoff (VLO)

Should I Take the Boeing Voluntary Layoff (VLO)

 

 

On April 20, Boeing announced a Voluntary Layoff (VLO) program in response to recent economic events. For employees who qualify, this benefit may be an opportunity to meet the goal of retirement sooner than expected. Are you wondering if you should take advantage of this program?

At Merriman, we’ve been helping Boeing employees navigate decisions like this for over 30 years. Here are the main points you should consider:

 

Benefits

For eligible employees, Boeing is offering a lump-sum payment of one week’s pay for every year of service completed, up to a maximum of 26 years in most cases.

Employees who accept the VLO offer may also receive a few months of subsidized health insurance benefits and access to other benefits.

While employees who accept the VLO may apply in the future for open employee or contractor positions, accepting the VLO forfeits any first consideration rehire or recall rights. This program is used as a permanent separation from Boeing, causing the employee to lose those rehire benefits.

 

Important Dates

Boeing has announced the following important dates for this VLO offer:

April 27, 2020                    VLO Registration Opens

May 4, 2020                       VLO Registration Closes

May 14, 2020                     Formal Notification Sent to Employees

June 5, 2020                       Last Day on Payroll

 

Am I in a position to retire?

Many people may be considering the VLO offer but are unclear what retiring now would mean for their future lifestyle. This is a major decision to make in a short amount of time, and there are many factors to consider. What retirement lifestyle are you dreaming of? Are the assets you have saved enough? Will you have other income sources like Social Security or pension benefits? To help weigh your options, we’re offering a complimentary financial analysis for Boeing employees considering the VLO program.

 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by assessing the pros and cons of this decision, reach out to us for your complimentary personalized analysis. We can help you determine whether retiring now would provide you with a sustainable retirement that meets your lifestyle needs.

Webinar | The Fragility of Retirement in the Coronavirus Era

Webinar | The Fragility of Retirement in the Coronavirus Era

 

Our team at Merriman has been diligently following COVID-19 pandemic updates across the world and in our own communities.

We have also been hearing lots of questions from clients, prospects, friends, and family.

Can I still retire or stay retired? Am I still able to relocate as I had planned? Should I sell all of my stocks now? Should I go to cash? Should I use all the cash I have to buy in? Should I file for Social Security earlier than planned? How will I pay for a hospital stay if I need one?

If you are worried about some of these things too, I have good news.

We have partnered with America’s Retirement Forum (a nationwide non-profit dedicated to providing financial education to adults) to organize a webinar that can help.

Why trust me?

I am the Director of Advisory Services at Merriman Wealth Management and an instructor through America’s Retirement Forum. I have been helping people transition into and navigate retirement for over 20 years, and Merriman has been in the business of educating investors since our founding by Paul Merriman in 1983.

In this webinar I’ll discuss:

  • The short and long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy
  • Why this recession may be different from what you have lived through before
  • 5 specific steps designed to protect and maximize your retirement income in the middle of a pandemic (yes, you can implement them yourself)
  • 6 strategies and issues to discuss with your advisor

In this time of worry, false information, and uncertainty, make the choice to spend some of your time learning about what you can do to retire well. And the best part is that you don’t have to put your health at risk or leave the house. All you need is 30 minutes and an internet connection to watch this free webinar.

Click here to watch the webinar now!

Don’t delay: Some of the strategies discussed in the webinar are time-sensitive. I would hate for you to miss an opportunity or to take action without having all the facts. We want to help you avoid mistakes and take the proper steps toward securing your financial future.

Stay home, be well, and use this unprecedented time to get informed. Feel free to reach out with any questions.