What does a financial advisor do?

What is it like to work with a financial advisor? Many people who work with an advisor feel better about their financial future. In fact, 90% of Ameriprise clients who have had the Confident Retirement® conversation feel more confident about retirement.1

To help illustrate how a relationship with an advisor works and the benefits that may result from personalized advice, here are some answers to commonly asked questions about advisors and financial advice. 

What if I only need advice in one specific area of my finances?

Financial advisors provide a spectrum of financial advice, ranging from simple strategies that focus on one aspect of your finances to taking a more comprehensive approach through more complex strategies. 

Some people don’t have the time to manage their investments or they want to feel more confident about making financial decisions. Others like to do some research themselves but want to work with an advisor to gain more control over their investment strategy as conditions change. 

Advisors will deliver personalized advice based on your unique goals, investment time horizon and risk tolerance, to name a few factors. 

What are the advantages of an ongoing relationship with a financial advisor? 

In addition to understanding the analytical side of pursuing financial goals, financial advisors also consider how events in your personal life, the economy and the markets impact your overall strategy. 

In delivering personalized advice, an advisor brings together three valuable elements: 

  1. Insight into your specific situation;
  2. The ability to develop an investment strategy for today while factoring in measures to adjust to changing circumstances; and 
  3. Knowledgeable advice and guidance to help you achieve your personal goals. 

Can an advisor help me manage emotional reactions to unexpected or unforeseen circumstances?

A financial advisor can help you maintain a long-term perspective on market-driven or current events without losing sight of the bigger picture. Similarly, personal events that can impact your ability to stay on track with financial goals, like disability, job loss, or health issues, can prompt emotional reactions and decisions that could derail your progress.  An advisor can help streamline and prioritize decision-making during turbulent times so that you can stay the course financially.

What resources do Ameriprise financial advisors rely on when delivering personalized, goal-based advice?

In addition to their own skills and experience, advisors at Ameriprise have access to a depth and breadth of expertise. The Ameriprise Investment Research Group (IRG) provides ongoing commentary and longer-term perspective and analysis of the domestic and global economies as well as the condition of the capital markets. 

These market and economic experts support advisors and clients with an objective view of market events, enabling our advisors to work with their clients in reviewing their investment portfolios regularly and while tracking progress toward goals, help them make real-time adjustments as needed.

Can an advisor help me navigate tax strategies?

Whether you’re focused on saving for retirement or a child’s college education, there are a variety of tax strategies and solutions that can help. A financial advisor, along with your tax advisor, can help you incorporate tax-advantaged products and investments into an overall, long-term investment strategy.

 How can advisors help me if I’ve fallen behind in reaching my financial goals?

The Ameriprise Confident Retirement approach is designed to help clients feel more confident, connected and in control of their financial future. Through personalized advice and digital tools to help you stay on track with your goals, you and your advisor can devise a strategy that can help you “catch up” to where you want to be, and when you want to get there. 

How much does a financial advisor cost? 

Just as with other professional services, the fee you will pay for personalized financial advice based on your goals will depend on the degree of advice right for you.  

Together with your advisor you’ll discuss the financial advice you’ll receive and the related fees, before you pay anything.

Find out more

Financial advisors take the time to understand what’s truly important to you so they can help you achieve your financial goals, today and tomorrow. By offering professional tools and advice, your advisor can help you feel more confident about your financial future. Meet with an Ameriprise advisor today to learn how they can help you meet your financial goals, today and tomorrow.

Disclosures

Ameriprise Financial Confident Retirement Client Survey results from May 2012 through May 2018. All results are reflective of top-two box responses (strongly/somewhat agree). The Confident Retirement approach is not a guarantee of future financial results. 
Investment advisory products and services are made available through Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc., a registered investment adviser.
Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA and SIPC

Market volatility: Keeping market moving headlines in perspective to achieve your goals

During your busy day, an alert sounds on your smartphone with geopolitical news that could affect your investments. You might wonder about the potential impact to your portfolio and how much time you have to react — or whether you should react.

Current market headlines: News or noise?

Is it news or just noise? Columbia Threadneedle Investments Global Chief Investment Officer Colin Moore helps clarify daily market headlines. (0:39)

By working with your Ameriprise advisor, your decisions can better reflect the goals, risk tolerance and time horizon you factored into your investment strategy at the outset and as you’ve adjusted along the way.

A well-diversified portfolio can offer you the perspective and time to make objective, goal-focused decisions. By looking beyond the headlines and the emotions they can provoke, you could potentially limit the negative impact to your long-term investments.

Think long-term

Sound investment decisions are based on informed and rational reactions to financial updates and analysis, not just the headlines. However, keeping news in perspective can be easier said than done. Our hyper-connected world continuously informs us of developments that may cause us to panic, even when we’ve built a well-planned investment strategy with a financial advisor. “Most of what we get today in the news is just noise,” says Colin Moore, global chief investment officer at Columbia Threadneedle Investments. “It’s not a material change in economic direction, and therefore you shouldn’t really be reacting to it.”

While daily headlines and news can give the impression that short-term events have a large impact on your portfolio, it’s important to keep headlines in perspective. What happens at one moment in time could reverse or materially shift just a few weeks or months later. For example:

  • In the first eight weeks of 2019, the technology, energy and industrials sectors generated the best performance out of the 11 sectors that make up the S&P 500 Index.
  • However, these sectors were the worst-performing segments of the market during the severe equity market sell-off during the fourth quarter of 2018 — arguably fueled by fears of a recession, higher interest rates and trade tensions.

When should you respond to market-moving headlines?

Most big news events don’t have a large impact on the global economy, even if they’re a cause of significant short-term turmoil — but some do.

When you’re unsure about whether a portfolio adjustment is warranted, begin by asking yourself three questions. If the answer is yes to any of these questions, there could be a longer-term effect on asset values. If the answer is no, the news story — and its effect on your portfolio — will most likely pass.

  • Is a superpower involved? If the one of the top five — the United States, Russia, China, Germany, United Kingdom — is involved or has the potential to be quickly drawn into a situation, there’s potential for longer-term concern.
  • Is there a risk to oil prices? Oil is the most important commodity in the world, providing fuel that keeps industry and transportation systems moving and economies growing. Prices could spike upward if turmoil causes a significant disruption to supply.
  • Is there a risk to the global financial system? The global economy could begin to seize up if an event looks likely to undermine confidence in systemically important banks. Also watch for whether key global currencies and banks can’t take deposits, lend money, facilitate payments or support cross-border trade.

Check your investment goals and strategy regularly

When a headline concerns you, remain grounded and realistic by asking yourself:

  • “Will my investment objectives be materially affected by ups and downs in the market?”
  • “Am I still comfortable with the amount of diversification and risk in my portfolio?”
  • “Do I have time to recover losses before I begin using my investments for retirement income?”

Partner with your advisor

During a period of market movement, talk with your Ameriprise advisor to see if any action is needed. Your advisor can help you make objective decisions based on your long-term financial goals and a diversified investment strategy. Together, you can cut through the noise of news headlines and stay on track to achieve your goals.d stay on track to achieve your goals.

Disclosures

This information is being provided only as a general source of information and is not intended to be the primary basis for investment decisions. It should not be construed as advice designed to meet the particular needs of an individual investor. Please seek the advice of a financial advisor regarding your particular financial concerns.
Diversification does not assure a profit or protect against loss. Investing involves risk including the risk of loss of principal.
Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA and SIPC.

Medicare facts and coverage gaps

Planning ahead for health care expenses is essential. Determining how much you’ll need, however, depends on a variety of factors. Your costs will vary based on your income, age, health, location, your Medicare or supplemental plans and life expectancy.

Review the information below to learn how you and your family can prepare for the future.

Evaluating retirement health care costs

The financial impact of dealing with a serious illness can be devastating, and even everyday medical expenses such as prescription drug costs and routine medical services can add up over time. Planning now can help ensure you have enough money to pay for healthcare throughout retirement.

The amount of savings needed for health expenses for people eligible for Medicare, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI)1:

  • Medicare beneficiaries pay a share of their health expenses out-of-pocket because of program deductibles and other cost-sharing. In 2015, Medicare covered 60 percent of the cost of healthcare services for Medicare beneficiaries ages 65 and older, while out-of-pocket spending accounted for 12 percent, and private insurance covered 15 percent.
  • In 2018, a 65-year-old man with median prescription drug expenses needs $75,000 in savings and a 65-year-old woman needs $99,000 if each has a goal of having a 50 percent chance of having enough money saved to cover health care expenses in retirement. If either instead wants a 90 percent chance of having enough savings, $148,000 is needed for a man and $161,000 is needed for a woman. This analysis does not factor in the savings needed to cover long-term care expenses.
  • Savings targets increased between 2 percent and 13 percent since 2017. For a married couple both with drug expenses at the 90th percentile throughout retirement who want a 90 percent chance of having enough money saved for health care expenses in retirement by age 65, targeted savings would be $399,000 in 2018.

According to the EBRI, this information is based on dollars needed for Medigap premiums, Medicare Part B premiums, Medicare Part D premiums and out-of-pocket drug expenses for retirement at age 65 in 2017. 

 

Introduction to Medicare

Medicare is a federal health insurance program that provides coverage for people age 65 and older, and for some disabled people under age 65. The program consists of four parts, each of which covers different health-related expenses.

The different parts of Medicare

Medicare Part A
Medicare Part B
Medicare Part C
Medicare Part D
Hospital Insurance
Medical Insurance
Medicare Advantage
Prescription Drug Plan
Helps pay for in-patient care in a hospital, skilled nursing facility (following a hospital stay), some home health care and hospice care
Helps cover services like lab tests, surgeries, and doctor visits in addition to supplies like wheelchairs and walkers that are considered medically necessary to treat a disease or condition.
Allows you to participate in PPO-, PFFS, and HMO-type managed care plans
Helps pay for medications prescribed by doctors
No premium if you and your spouse paid Medicare taxes during 40 or more quarters
Optional coverage
If you are enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B, you are eligible to switch to Part C
Pays outpatient drug care costs
 
Requires a monthly premium payment for all participants2
 
Requires a monthly premium payment for all participants3
 
 
 
Deductible and cost-sharing limits may apply. In the coverage gap stage, there are different cost sharing percentages for brand name vs. generic drugs

Several types of Part C plans are available, including:

  • Preferred Provider Organization (PPO). This plan allows you to see any doctor or specialist; however, visiting doctors outside your PPO network will involve extra costs.
  • Health Maintenance Organization (HMO). You have access to doctors in the HMO network only.
  • Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS). You can see any doctor who is willing to accept the fees and terms of the PFFS.
  • Special Needs. These plans are intended for people with certain chronic diseases or special health care needs.
  • Medical Savings Account (MSA). This plan includes a high-deductible health insurance plan and a savings account in which Medicare deposits money for you to use for health care costs.

Enrolling in Medicare

If you are already receiving Social Security, you are automatically enrolled in Medicare at age 65. If you want to enroll in Medicare but are not taking (or not eligible for) Social Security, you can enroll three months before the month of your 65th birthday and the three months after. For example, if your birthday is March 15, you can apply anytime from November through the end of June.

Medigap and Medicaid

Medicare is only one of the sources of health care coverage available to retirees. You may also be eligible for Medigap or Medicaid.

Medigap
Medicaid
Individuals enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B are also eligible to purchase Medigap coverage from insurance companies.
Individuals with limited income and resources who meet certain requirements may also be eligible to receive Medicaid.
Coverage and costs vary by state.
Medicaid is an insurance program sponsored jointly by states and the federal government.
Generally helps pay costs not covered by Medicare like deductibles, co-payments and co-insurance. 
Covers some hospital care, prescriptions, personal care services, and nursing home costs
Enroll through private insurance agencies.
Contact your state Medicaid program for additional details.

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA)

COBRA makes group health coverage available at group rates for employees and their dependents who would otherwise lose health benefits when they retire, leave their job or have certain other qualifying events.

Generally, employers with 20 or more employees are subject to COBRA. Coverage applies to employees, former employees and certain dependents who are or were covered under a group health plan. Benefits include medical, dental, vision, healthcare reimbursement and employee assistance programs.

Long-term care insurance and planning for long-term care

The average duration of long-term care for a retiree is estimated to be about three years. While long-term care (LTC) costs vary widely by region and type of facility, the national median cost of one month in an assisted living care facility was $4,000 in 2018 – or $48,000 per year. A private room in a nursing home costs about $8,365 a month, or a whopping $100,375 per year4. That adds up to $301,125 for three years of care — a significant expense which is expected to rise in the future. Medicare and Medigap policies offer limited, if any, coverage for LTC.

One way to plan for these costs is to purchase LTC benefit insurance. Premiums for this coverage vary by company but are generally based on your age, health status and the level of benefit you are purchasing. Make sure that the benefit on your LTC insurance policy will be enough to cover the average cost of care in your region in the future.

High-Deductible Health Plans (HDHP) and Health Savings Accounts (HSA)

A High-Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) may offer a practical way for retirees under age 65 (and therefore not yet eligible for Medicare) to deal with their medical costs. HDHP differs from other health insurance plans because its high deductible allows the policy to be offered at relatively low cost.

If an HDHP meets certain requirements, the policyholder may also open a Health Savings Account (HSA) to pay for HDHP deductibles and other qualified out-of-pocket costs. Money withdrawn from the HSA to pay for qualified expenses is tax-free as long as the expenses were incurred after the HSA was established and funded.

For 2018, the maximum annual contribution rates to an HSA are $3,450 for an individual and $6,900 for family coverage. Those who have reached age 55 but are not yet age 65 may contribute an additional $1,000 for 2018.

You can use an HSA account to pay for medical expenses as they occur, or you can accumulate funds in the account to pay for future health care expenses. Note that any distributions taken prior to age 65 that are not used for eligible medical expenses are subject to income tax and a 20 percent penalty.

Insurance Marketplaces

Beginning in 2014, public and private insurance marketplaces became available to purchase coverage for individuals and small businesses.

The marketplaces in each state are designed to allow you to compare coverage and cost among the policies offered by area health insurance companies. Some states run their own marketplaces, others have opted to have the federal government run them. Either way, you purchase insurance through your state marketplace.

An Ameriprise financial advisor can work with you to help build a confident retirement that anticipates health care costs and other major expenses in retirement.

Find answers to your retirement questions

 

Disclosures

1 Source: Employee Benefits Research Institute (ebri.org) October 8, 2018, No.460. Savings Medicare Beneficiaries Need for Health Expenses: Some Couples Could need as Much as $400,000, Up From $370,000 in 2017.
2 Medicaid pays the premium for those who are eligible for Medicaid benefits.
Individuals with limited income and resources may not have to pay a premium or deductible. Contact Social Security at 800.772.1213 or visit ssa.gov for more information.
4 Genworth 2018 Cost of Care Survey, conducted by CareScout®, June 2018
Before you purchase, be sure to ask your sales representative about the insurance policy’s features, benefits and fees, and whether the insurance is appropriate for you, based upon your financial situation and objectives.
Ameriprise Financial, Inc. and its affiliates do not offer tax or legal advice. Consult your tax adviser or attorney regarding your specific situation.
Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA and SIPC.

SECURE Act: How could it impact your retirement planning?

The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement — the SECURE Act — was signed into law Dec. 20, 2019. Many provisions took effect Jan. 1, 2020. The SECURE Act retirement planning changes that are most relevant in the near term include: 

  • A later age for required minimum distributions (RMDs): age 72 from 70 ½ previously. 
  • A change to the IRA stretch strategy for non-spouse beneficiaries who inherit retirement accounts. 
  • Elimination of the 70 ½ age limit for workers who contribute to a traditional IRA. 

Required minimum distributions 

The SECURE Act increases the RMD age to 72 from 70 ½ and applies to anyone who turns 70 ½ in 2020 or later. 

If you don’t need income from your retirement plan or IRA accounts, the SECURE Act enables you to defer taxes from those accounts. If you want to work longer, the later RMD age provides more time for retirement-income planning.

Additional details: 

  • You turned 70 ½ in 2019: The SECURE Act does not change your RMD timing. You must take your first RMD by April 1, 2020. 
  • You will turn 70 ½ in 2020 or later: Under the SECURE Act, you must take your first RMD by April 1 after the year you reach age 72.  

First half 2020 birthday example: Turn 70 in spring 2020 and 70½ in December 2020

New rule – SECURE Act 
Former rule 
Under the SECURE Act, this person must take their first RMD by April 1, 2023 — the April 1 following their 72nd birthday in 2022. They receive two extra years because of the bill.
Under the former rules, this person would have had to take their first RMD by April 1, 2021 — the April 1 of the year following their 70 ½ birthday in 2020.

Second half 2020 birthday example: Turn 70 in fall 2020 and 70 ½ in spring 2021

New rule – SECURE Act 
Former rule 
Under the SECURE Act, this person must take their first RMD by April 1, 2023 — the April 1 following their 72nd birthday in 2022. They receive one extra year because of the bill.
Under the former rules, this person would have had to take their first RMD by April 1, 2022 — the April 1 of the year following their 70 ½ birthday.

IRA stretch strategy in estate plans  

Prior to the Secure Act, beneficiaries who inherited retirement accounts (such as a traditional or Roth IRA) could take the RMDs over their lifetime. The SECURE Act changes that financial strategy for most non-spouse beneficiaries who inherit their retirement account on or after Jan. 1, 2020. As a result: 

  • Most non-spouse beneficiaries must take the account proceeds (and pay the corresponding taxes) within 10 years of inheriting the account. This can be done with any number of distributions.  
  • Spouse beneficiaries, non-spouse beneficiaries who are no more than 10 years younger than the IRA owner and non-spouse beneficiaries who are disabled or chronically ill will continue to be able to stretch their IRAs over their lifetime.
  • If a minor child inherits the IRA, the 10-year period begins when the beneficiary reaches the age of majority (the age at which a minor child legally becomes an adult, generally between 18 – 21 years old).
  • A beneficiary who inherits an individual retirement account before the end of 2019 can still draw down the account over their lifetime. However, if a beneficiary inherits an IRA before the end of 2019 and dies Jan. 1, 2020, or later, that beneficiary’s beneficiary will be subject to the 10-year rule. For example:  
    • Allen’s son, Joe, inherits Allen’s IRA on Nov. 12, 2015. Joe takes RMDs over Joe’s life expectancy. 
    • On Feb. 12, 2020, Joe dies. Joe’s spouse, Fran, inherits the remainder of the IRA Joe inherited from Allen. Fran must take out the remainder of the IRA within 10 years. 

Traditional IRAs

The SECURE Act eliminates the 70 ½ age limit for contributions to a traditional IRA.

  • There is no change for Roth IRAs, which do not have an age limit. 
  • As always, you must have earned income to contribute to a traditional or Roth IRA. The SECURE Act does not change that requirement.  
  • Special rules apply to ensure individuals who make contributions after age 70 ½ cannot also receive a qualified charitable distribution (QCD) exclusion for those amounts. 

We are here to help you 

How could the changes impact you? An Ameriprise advisor can help you understand what the SECURE Act means for you and provide personalized advice to adjust your retirement income plans.

Disclosures

Ameriprise Financial, Inc. and its affiliates do not offer tax or legal advice. Consumers should consult with their tax advisor or attorney regarding their specific situation.
Investment products are not federally or FDIC-insured, are not deposits or obligations of, or guaranteed by any financial institution and involve investment risks including possible loss of principal and fluctuation in value.
Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA and SIPC.

SECURE Act: How could it impact your retirement planning?

The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement — the SECURE Act — was signed into law Dec. 20, 2019. Many provisions took effect Jan. 1, 2020. The SECURE Act retirement planning changes that are most relevant in the near term include: 

  • A later age for required minimum distributions (RMDs): age 72 from 70 ½ previously. 
  • A change to the IRA stretch strategy for non-spouse beneficiaries who inherit retirement accounts. 
  • Elimination of the 70 ½ age limit for workers who contribute to a traditional IRA. 

Required minimum distributions 

The SECURE Act increases the RMD age to 72 from 70 ½ and applies to anyone who turns 70 ½ in 2020 or later. 

If you don’t need income from your retirement plan or IRA accounts, the SECURE Act enables you to defer taxes from those accounts. If you want to work longer, the later RMD age provides more time for retirement-income planning.

Additional details: 

  • You turned 70 ½ in 2019: The SECURE Act does not change your RMD timing. You must take your first RMD by April 1, 2020. 
  • You will turn 70 ½ in 2020 or later: Under the SECURE Act, you must take your first RMD by April 1 after the year you reach age 72.  

First half 2020 birthday example: Turn 70 in spring 2020 and 70½ in December 2020

New rule – SECURE Act 
Former rule 
Under the SECURE Act, this person must take their first RMD by April 1, 2023 — the April 1 following their 72nd birthday in 2022. They receive two extra years because of the bill.
Under the former rules, this person would have had to take their first RMD by April 1, 2021 — the April 1 of the year following their 70 ½ birthday in 2020.

Second half 2020 birthday example: Turn 70 in fall 2020 and 70 ½ in spring 2021

New rule – SECURE Act 
Former rule 
Under the SECURE Act, this person must take their first RMD by April 1, 2023 — the April 1 following their 72nd birthday in 2022. They receive one extra year because of the bill.
Under the former rules, this person would have had to take their first RMD by April 1, 2022 — the April 1 of the year following their 70 ½ birthday.

IRA stretch strategy in estate plans  

Prior to the Secure Act, beneficiaries who inherited retirement accounts (such as a traditional or Roth IRA) could take the RMDs over their lifetime. The SECURE Act changes that financial strategy for most non-spouse beneficiaries who inherit their retirement account on or after Jan. 1, 2020. As a result: 

  • Most non-spouse beneficiaries must take the account proceeds (and pay the corresponding taxes) within 10 years of inheriting the account. This can be done with any number of distributions.  
  • Spouse beneficiaries, non-spouse beneficiaries who are no more than 10 years younger than the IRA owner and non-spouse beneficiaries who are disabled or chronically ill will continue to be able to stretch their IRAs over their lifetime.
  • If a minor child inherits the IRA, the 10-year period begins when the beneficiary reaches the age of majority (the age at which a minor child legally becomes an adult, generally between 18 – 21 years old).
  • A beneficiary who inherits an individual retirement account before the end of 2019 can still draw down the account over their lifetime. However, if a beneficiary inherits an IRA before the end of 2019 and dies Jan. 1, 2020, or later, that beneficiary’s beneficiary will be subject to the 10-year rule. For example:  
    • Allen’s son, Joe, inherits Allen’s IRA on Nov. 12, 2015. Joe takes RMDs over Joe’s life expectancy. 
    • On Feb. 12, 2020, Joe dies. Joe’s spouse, Fran, inherits the remainder of the IRA Joe inherited from Allen. Fran must take out the remainder of the IRA within 10 years. 

Traditional IRAs

The SECURE Act eliminates the 70 ½ age limit for contributions to a traditional IRA.

  • There is no change for Roth IRAs, which do not have an age limit. 
  • As always, you must have earned income to contribute to a traditional or Roth IRA. The SECURE Act does not change that requirement.  
  • Special rules apply to ensure individuals who make contributions after age 70 ½ cannot also receive a qualified charitable distribution (QCD) exclusion for those amounts. 

We are here to help you 

How could the changes impact you? An Ameriprise advisor can help you understand what the SECURE Act means for you and provide personalized advice to adjust your retirement income plans.

Disclosures

Ameriprise Financial, Inc. and its affiliates do not offer tax or legal advice. Consumers should consult with their tax advisor or attorney regarding their specific situation.
Investment products are not federally or FDIC-insured, are not deposits or obligations of, or guaranteed by any financial institution and involve investment risks including possible loss of principal and fluctuation in value.
Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA and SIPC.