Author - Thomas Fisher, CFP®

1
Can You Really Take a Social Security Benefit, Pay It Back, and Then Get A Bigger Benefit?
2
What do municipal bonds and 529 plans have in common?
3
The Sage of Omaha says, “Buy Index Funds”
4
What You Didn’t Know About 529 Plans

Can You Really Take a Social Security Benefit, Pay It Back, and Then Get A Bigger Benefit?

An idea that seems to have gained a lot of attention through an article by financial journalist Scott Burns is worth examining. Basically, the idea is this: you retire at 62 and apply for Social Security benefits, which are reduced because you’re retiring early. Then, at age 70, you withdraw from Social Security, pay back the benefits you’ve received, and reapply. Now you receive a much bigger Social Security check.

Normally, if you start taking Social Security benefits at a certain age, your benefit level is locked in from that point forward, although you get cost-of-living adjustments.  You forfeit the …

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What do municipal bonds and 529 plans have in common?

The Supreme Court is considering an appeal to Kentucky versus Davis, a lawsuit that could have an impact on the state tax treatment of both municipal bonds and some state 529 plans.

As described in this article from the Wall Street Journal (also available here as an excerpt from the Albany Times Union, if you don’t have access to the WSJ site), the case is a lawsuit in which the plaintiffs argued that it is unlawful for a state to provide a tax exemption for its own bonds while not providing the same exemption for out-of-state municipal bonds.  Kentucky’s …

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The Sage of Omaha says, “Buy Index Funds”

Buffett Agrees - Invest in Index FundsThe question of whether one should use a passive investment strategy (in which you buy an entire market index) vs. an active strategy (in which you try to figure out which specific securities will outperform and invest in those) is one that can produce passionate responses. Express a strong opinion in favor of one dogma or the other in the midst of a bunch of financial types, and a brawl may ensue.

So it’s interesting to hear that Warren Buffett, who has made his fortune and reputation as an active investor, has publicly opined that index funds can be a …

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What You Didn’t Know About 529 Plans

Saving for CollegeRecently someone said to me that the only reason she invested in a 529 savings plan for her child was that everyone she knew had done the same thing. Often people have at best a vague understanding of how these plans work, why they are a desirable way to save for college, or how to select a plan that suits their needs.

I’ve found that most people don’t understand that there are actually two types of 529 plan.  There are “prepaid” 529 plans and 529 “savings” plans; they differ significantly in some respects.  In both types, state tax deductions may …

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