Darcy Bergen
Darcy Bergen

Darcy Bergen Explains A Few Things People Don’t Know About Social Security

As the owner of Bergen Financial Group, Darcy Bergen has been a financial advisor for over twenty years. Darcy Bergen advises his clients on retirement and other financial concerns. Although many of his clients are those approaching retirement age, he likes to offer advice for Americans in all stages of life. For starters, there are a lot of misconceptions regarding Social Security benefits Darcy Bergen wants Americans to be aware of.

People Can Use Social Security for More Than Retirement Benefits
Darcy Bergen explains a lot of people don’t know that they can take advantage of social security benefits for more than just retirement benefits. Social Security beneficiaries can use them as disability benefits, surviving spouses, Medicare, and benefits to the family of deceased workers.

Learn About the Payout Rules
Before people decide to take out their Social Security benefits, they should know about the payout schedule. For example, if they request their February payment, they will receive it in March. Darcy Bergen advises his clients to keep this in mind if they’re relying on the payments.

The Social Security Administration Reviews Benefits
The SSA administration performs a yearly review of all the benefits and calculates the amount beneficiaries receive as needed. The longer the beneficiary works, the more money they will receive.

Social Security Beneficiaries Can Work While Receiving Benefits
According to Darcy Bergen, many people are not aware they can receive social security benefits and keep working. Many people choose to continue working while they receive their Social Security benefits until they reach full retirement age. While they continue to receive the benefits and work, the SSA will reduce their benefits if their earnings reach the limit. For example, they could be reduced $1 for every $2 they earn. Darcy Bergen mentions once the person reaches full retirement age, they will receive the total amount even if they keep working and go over the limit.

The Benefits are Based on 35 Years of Earned Income
To calculate the Social Security benefits, the SSA uses 35 years of income as a base. Before qualifying for the benefit, people should work for a minimum of forty quarters, or ten years. If a person goes through a period when they don’t earn any income, it could throw off their average. When someone hasn’t yet hit thirty-five years of work, Darcy Bergen recommends they work for a few more years to increase their potential benefits.

Beneficiaries Will Have to Pay Taxes
Darcy Bergen mentions a lot of people are not aware they have to pay taxes on their Social Security benefits. Those who will rely on their Social Security benefits as their sole form of income should be aware of this fact.

For more of Darcy Bergen’s tips on Social Security and retirement benefits, check out darcybergen.co.

Darcy Bergen Shares How to Teach Teenagers About Money

As the owner of Bergen Financial Group, Darcy Bergen has over 20 years of experience helping clients with their financial planning needs, including IRAs, Social Security benefits, and Fixed Index Annuities. Darcy Bergen enjoys sharing financial tips to help people enjoy financial freedom at any stage of their life. He believes the sooner people learn good financial habits, the easier it will be for them to achieve their goals. Below, Darcy Bergen shares how parents can teach their teenagers about money.

The Difference Between Good vs. Bad Debt
Darcy Bergen mentions that although there’s a debate that no debt is good debt, some people have to borrow money to be able to afford big-ticket items such as cars and their homes. It’s essential that when their children are teenagers before they start to earn money, parents teach them the difference between good and bad debt. There are several reasons to borrow money that could be put in the good debt category. Taking out a loan for college, to start a business, or to buy a house is considered good debt by many. Good debt is anything you borrow that has the potential to increase your net worth. Bad debt, on the other hand, usually depreciates your net worth. Some examples of bad debt include credit cards, expensive goods you cannot pay cash for, or even getting a new car.

Cost of Living
According to Darcy Bergen, many teenagers live sheltered from what the actual cost of living is. While many of them have jobs and pay for their car, gas, and other personal expenses, not all of them know the actual cost of living. Parents should share with their teenagers the actual cost of living. Once they see what it costs to pay rent, car, and utilities, teenagers will realize it will take more than their part-time job to make a living.

Teach them to Use a Credit Card Responsibly
Darcy Bergen points out that many parents consider credit cards to be a necessary evil. While they want to give their teenagers access to money in case of an emergency, they also don’t want them to abuse their privileges. If they teach them credit card responsibility from an early age, they have a better chance of becoming financially responsible adults.

Reading a Paycheck
Many people often don’t think about the importance of learning how to read a paycheck, according to Darcy Bergen. This is an important skill to have and can be useful for teenagers to learn as soon as they start earning their paycheck.

For more of Darcy Bergen’s financial tips on life insurance and other concerns, check out darcybergen.co.

Darcy Bergen’s Simple Retirement Budgeting Guide

Darcy Bergen is the owner of Bergen Financial Group and has experience working with clients who have various financial concerns. He has over two decades of experience as a financial planner helping his clients plan for retirement and other financial needs. When it comes to retirement, many of his clients come to him with very little knowledge of how to prepare for retirement. His clients receive one on one advice tailored for their needs, but it’s a passion of his to provide guidance for everyone. Darcy Bergen offers a quick guide to reference when creating a retirement budget.

Healthcare
According to Darcy Bergen, when budgeting for retirement, individuals need to keep in mind that their healthcare needs will change. The medical care people need a few years into retirement is not the same as they need in the first couple of years. Although eventually retired individuals will get coverage under Medicare and other supplemental insurance, their premiums or out of pocket will increase. They must make a budge to cover all of these expenses.

Cost of Living
Many retired individuals have the fortune of having a home that is paid for. However, Darcy Bergen mentions that not everyone is this lucky. Those individuals who have to pay for a mortgage or rent need to keep in mind housing possible housing expenses when planning for retirement. Even if their house is paid for, retired individuals still need to make a budget for unexpected and standard repairs.

Transportation
During retirement, most people cut down their transportation expenses to a minimum since they no longer need to pay for daily commuting costs. However, this doesn’t mean transportation costs will cut down to zero. Those people who plan to keep their vehicles still need to keep maintenance costs in mind.

Food
Darcy Bergen mentions that although many retirees cut back on their social life and don’t eat out as much, other individuals do enjoy the freedom of having more time to eat out. Whatever their preference is, people budgeting for retirement need to keep food expenses in mind. Also, their overall health will determine how much they will have to spend on food. Those dealing with health issues could end up spending more money on special meals to accommodate possible food sensitivities.

Travel
Although many retirees dream of traveling the world during their golden years, not all of them have the opportunity to do it. Those individuals who plan on traveling during retirement need to decide what the extent of their travel will be. Budgeting and setting realistic travel expectations will set them up for a prosperous retirement, according to Darcy Bergen.

For more of Darcy Bergen’s financial tips on life insurance and other concerns, check out the rest of his blog https://darcybergen.xyz/posts/.

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Shopping for Life Insurance According to Darcy Bergen

Darcy Bergen is the owner of Bergen Financial Group and has over 20 years of experience advising clients on financial matters. His specialty includes IRAs, Social Security benefits, Fixed Index Annuities, and retirement planning. Darcy Bergen gets many questions about life insurance from his clients. To answer some of those questions, he explains five common mistakes people make when looking for life insurance.

Not Choosing the Right Type of Life Insurance Policy

According to Darcy Bergen, one of the biggest mistakes people make when shopping for life insurance is the failure to pick the right policy to fit their needs. There are two types of basic life insurance policies, term and permanent. With term life insurance policies, policy-holders can pick between a 10, 15, 20, or 30-year term. Once the term is over, they will need to buy a new policy. With permanent life insurance, there are no terms, and the policy remains in force as long as sufficient premiums are paid. Permanent life insurance holders can even accumulate cash value on the premiums they paid. It’s important to consider the pros and cons before committing to one policy over the other. 

Under Calculating the Death Benefit

Aside from not getting the right policy, another mistake people make is underestimating how much insurance they need. Instead of picking a number based on their current financial situation and marital status, Darcy Bergen recommends people sit down and do their homework. For starters, they should think about their health, income, life expectancy, debts, and total assets. Someone who wants to have a family should also consider adding more to their death benefit if they’re going to have children in the future. Sitting down with a financial advisor like Darcy Bergen can help them with the decision. 

Failure to Compare Rates

When shopping for life insurance, one of the biggest mistakes people make is not comparing prices. Even if one rate sounds appealing, it’s important to compare before purchasing said policy. When they compare policies, people often get the best deal for their money. 

Only Focusing on Price

Another mistake people make when shopping for life insurance is only focusing on price and not focusing on the benefits. While it might be tempting to save on the premium, they might regret it later on in life when they realize the death benefit is not high enough. 

Not Buying at the Right Time

Many people wait until they have a spouse and children to buy a life insurance policy because they don’t think they needed before that. Darcy Bergen likes to point out that this is a mistake since premiums tend to get higher as people get older. 

To learn more about life insurance, retirement, and other financial tips, check out the rest of his blog.

What Darcy Bergen Wants Young People Need to Know About Saving for Retirement

Darcy Bergen is the owner of Bergen Financial Group and has over 20 years of experience helping clients plan for retirement and other financial solutions. Although most of Darcy Bergen’s clients are those who are getting close to retirement age, he wishes more people in their 20s and 30s sought the help of a financial advisor.

In fact, research shows only 25 percent of working young professionals take advantage of retirement savings plans offered by their employers. Also, only 39% of adults started saving for retirement in their 20s. According to Darcy Bergen, there are a few steps young adults can take to contribute to their retirement at an early age.

Make Retirement Contribution a Priority
Darcy Bergen believes one of the reasons why young people don’t start saving for retirement early on is because they don’t think it’s a priority. After all, they believe, paying off their student loans or credit card debt seems more important than saving for retirement. They also believe they must start with a large contribution towards their retirement account. Darcy Bergen believes all young adults should account saving for retirement as part of their monthly expenses. Even putting away $25-per-month can make a big difference in the future.

Take Advantage of a 401(k) Plans
Although a lot of employers offer 401(k) plans, not many young adults take advantage of them, according to Darcy Bergen. Taking advantage of 401(k) plans is a great way for people in their 20s to start saving for retirement. First of all, 401(k) contributions get taken out of their paychecks before taxes, which means they won’t have to pay taxes on this income in that given year. Also, many employers match the contributions of their employees. For example, if they contribute $100 a month towards their retirement plan, their employers will contribute an additional $50. In a year, employees could save an additional $600 a year.

Consider Retirement Benefits Before Taking a Job
Many young people don’t consider retirement benefits when they accept a job offer, according to Darcy Bergen. As they get older and move up in the corporate world, young professionals should consider retirement benefits when accepting a job offer. The earlier they start contributing, even if the contribution is small, the better off they will be. Darcy Bergen advises young professionals from taking jobs that don’t offer a comprehensive retirement plan.

For more information and tips on saving for retirement and other financial benefits, check out darcybergen.co.

Are You the Surviving Spouse? Darcy Bergen Offers an Overview of Social Security Benefits

According to Darcy Bergen, who has been a financial planner for over two decades, Social Security benefits always bring some confusion in his clients. For those approaching retirement age who have recently lost a spouse, the confusion and uncertainty can be even greater. Even though every month, 59 million people receive Social Security Benefits, there is still a lot of information Americans don’t know. What happens when a surviving spouse wants to claim the Social Security benefits of their deceased spouse? Darcy Bergen offers an overview of how to use the Social Security benefits of a deceased spouse.

Who Qualifies? 

In order to qualify for Social Security benefits of their deceased spouse, the surviving spouse has to show evidence the marriage was at least nine months long. According to Darcy Bergen, the deceased spouse should have had also worked long enough to accumulate Social Security benefits. Those who meet these basic requirements can collect widower/widow Social Security benefits.

 When Can Surviving Spouses Start Collecting?

Surviving spouses have to wait until they’re at least 60 years old to receive their Social Security survivor benefits. According to Darcy Bergen, they will only get 70% of the benefit at this age. They will have to wait until they reach full retirement age to receive the full benefit. The retirement age is 66 for those born between 1945-1956. It’s expected to increase to age 67 for those born in 1962 and later.

However, Darcy Bergen explains there are a few age exemptions. For example, those who are disabled can start collecting the survivor benefit as early as age 50. Those surviving spouses who care for the child of their deceased spouse who is under the age of 16, can collect the benefits at any age. 

How Much Do Surviving Spouses Get?

According to Darcy Bergen, the exact monthly dollar amount surviving spouses can collect will depend on how much their deceased spouse collected over their lifetime. If the deceased spouse never collected any Social Security benefits, then they will be eligible for the full amount once they reach retirement age.   

Social Security Benefit Exceptions

Darcy Bergen advises the surviving spouse that some exceptions could prevent them from collecting the benefits. For example, if a spouse remarries before turning 60 or 50 if disabled, they will lose their eligibility. Also, if the deceased spouse had any dependent children, there might be a limit on the amount disbursed per family.

Darcy Bergen recommends everyone learn about Social Security benefits as early as possible. For more information on Social Security and other retirement benefits, check out darcybergen.co.

Darcy Bergen Talks About Ways to Use Life Insurance to Fund Retirement

Financial planner, Darcy Bergen has over 20 years of experience helping clients plan for retirement. As the owner of Bergen Financial Group, Darcy Bergen has encountered several clients who are seriously concerned they haven’t saved enough money for retirement. Other people wonder how their life insurance policy can help them in retirement once their children are grown up and the house is fully or almost paid for. Because it’s important for Darcy to address these concerns, he talks about how to use a life insurance policy to fund retirement.

Life Insurance Can Equal Retirement Income

For those who obtain a whole life or permanent life insurance policy early on in life, they have accumulated a cash value that has grown over time. However, Darcy Bergen warns his clients that term life insurance doesn’t accumulate any cash value. With most whole life insurance plans, you can withdraw the cash value and use it as income during retirement. The amount policyholders can withdraw tax free is equal to the amount of premiums they have paid in over time.

Cash Value

According to Darcy Bergen, many people don’t know that when they purchase a permanent life insurance policy, a portion of their premiums will accrue as cash value. A portion of their payment will go towards insurance and maintenance costs, and the rest will accumulate cash value.

Borrow From Your Life Insurance Policy

During retirement, if an unexpected expense happens, Darcy Bergen explains clients can often borrow money from their life insurance policy. Amounts borrowed are not taxable, therefore it is a great way to use the cash without paying tax on interest earned. Those who borrow from their life insurance policy are basically borrowing money from their death benefit. Darcy Bergen explains that although they’re not required to pay it back, any unpaid balance will accumulate interest, and it will get deducted from their death benefit.

Making Your Policy Payments With Your Policy

According to Darcy Bergen, if, at any point during retirement clients need to move around their budget, they can pay for their monthly life insurance payment using their cash value. By using their cash value to pay for their policy, it will allow them to keep their death benefit without defaulting on the payments. Once their life gets back on track, they can resume paying for their premiums. Universal life insurance policies are more flexible in this regard than traditional whole life insurance policies.

Before making decisions when it comes to planning for retirement, Darcy Bergen recommends everyone to meet with a financial advisor. Although using life insurance to fund retirement is a possibility, Darcy Bergen will explore all other options with their clients.

For more of Darcy Bergen’s financial tips on retirement, check out darcybergen.co.

Questions to Ask Yourself If You’re Thinking About Retirement According to Darcy Bergen

Darcy BergenAs the owner of Bergen Financial Group, Darcy Bergen has been helping his clients with retirement planning strategies for many years. Because he knows not everyone is ready for retirement, he is sharing some questions everyone should ask themselves to prepare for retirement.

Will I Have Other Sources of Income During Retirement?
If you’re approaching retirement age, Darcy Bergen recommends you take a look at what your sources of income will be once you transition into your golden years. For starters, once you’re in your 60s, you will receive some income from your Social Security. Also, some people rely on their tax-advantage retirement accounts such as 401(k) or IRAs.
Unfortunately, for some people, that’s not enough money to carry them through retirement. Darcy Bergen recommends people start planning early and look into other ways to generate revenue after they retire. Some people try to diversify their income by starting a business or investing in rental properties.

How Can I Pay for Healthcare Expenses Once I Retire?
With over 20 years of experience as a financial advisor, Darcy Bergen knows the healthcare after retirement question is the least asked among his clients.
Although people can start collecting Medicare after the age of 65, their healthcare-related expenses are likely to increase over time. Medicare only covers about 50% of medical expenses, and you will still be responsible for co-pays and other out of pocket expenses.
Darcy Bergen recommends you look into the possibility of contributing to a Health Savings Account (HSA). With a HAS, all of the contributions are tax-deductible and tax-free when you use it to pay for medical expenses.

How Much Money Do I Have in My Retirement Accounts?
According to Darcy Bergen, not everyone who approaches retirement age knows how much they actually have saved in their retirement accounts. If people don’t know how much combined retirement savings they have, how can they know where they need to be?
Darcy recommends meeting with a retirement planning advisor to review their current accounts and come up with a plan.

How Do I Plan on Spending My Retirement?
Well before retirement, Darcy Bergen advises people to visualize how they want to spend their retirement. Are you planning on traveling, moving to the beach, or downsizing? Your answers will affect how you plan and look at retirement. Once you figure out what your dream retirement looks like, you will be able to modify your retirement contributions.

Financial advisors like Darcy Bergen help clients answer these and other tough questions to ensure their clients have the life they deserve once they reach retirement.

Darcy Bergen Discusses The IRA Rules Everyone Should Know About in 2019

As the owner of the Bergen Financial Group, Darcy Bergen has over 20 years of experience helping clients in various aspects of financial planning. Although many people don’t want to think about retirement in their 20s and 30s and don’t have a clue what an IRA is, Darcy Bergen advises people in all stages of life to stay informed. “Whether you are just entering the workforce, in mid-career, or approaching retirement age, it is important to begin planning for retirement now,” advises Darcy Bergen. Here’s Darcy’s list of quick rules to remember when considering opening an IRA in 2019.

The Maximum Contribution
In 2019, individuals can contribute $6,000 a year and $7,000 if they’re 50 or older. This is a jump from the 2018 numbers of $5,500 and $6,500.

It’s Possible for Individuals to Contribute to Roth and Traditional IRAs the Same Year
Individuals who qualify for both types of IRA accounts can make contributions to both in the same year. However, they need to ensure their combined contributions don’t exceed the annual limit

After 70 You Can’t Contribute to a Traditional IRA
While a Roth IRA allows individuals to continue making contributions to their accounts for as long as they can, a traditional IRA doesn’t work the same way. Once a person turns 70½ the IRS prohibits them from continuing making contributions to their traditional IRA.

Individuals Can Contribute to Their 401(k) and a Traditional IRA the Same Year
Those who are enrolled in a 401(k) plan with their employer can also make contributions to their IRA account. However, Darcy Bergen wants to make sure individuals know the contribution cannot exceed the annual limit.

No Minimum is Required When Opening an IRA
Some individuals don’t open an IRA account because they don’t believe they have the funds necessary to do so. However, there are no specific rules that specify a minimum amount to open an IRA. Brokers often set the minimum amount to open an account.

Roth and Traditional IRAs are Not Created Equal but Serve a Similar Purpose
Darcy Bergen also sees a lot of confusion when it comes to traditional and Roth IRAs. For starters, in a traditional IRA, an individual can make deductions on the income when filing their federal and state taxes. The money will be subject to taxes once the individual retires. Roth IRAs, on the other hand, don’t qualify for deductions but the money is tax-free upon withdrawal.

For more of Darcy Bergen’s financial tips and IRA information, check out darcybergen.co.

Financial Advisor Darcy Bergen Explains How to Prepare for Retirement with an IRA

Darcy BergenDon’t put saving for retirement on the back burner, warns Peoria, Arizona financial advisor Darcy Bergen. Whether you are just entering the workforce, in mid-career, or approaching retirement age, it is important to begin planning for retirement now, says Darcy Bergen, who has more than two decades of experience in financial planning.

An Individual Retirement Account, or IRA, is one of the best ways to plan for retirement, Darcy Bergen explains, especially because of the tax advantages offered to account holders. Many types of IRAs are available – Traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, Stretch IRAs, SEP IRAs, and more – but your income, age and marital status will help dictate which type of IRA is best for you.

Unlike 401k plans, which must be established by an employer, anyone can open an IRA. Darcy Bergen details the rules of IRA contributions and withdrawals below.

Single Filing

Unmarried individuals who file a tax return as a single earner and who have a modified adjusted gross income of less than $122,000 may make the full annual contribution to an IRA, which is $6,000 per year ($7,000 if you’re 50 or older). People with incomes over $122,000 but less than $137,000 can make a partial contribution to an IRA.

Married/Joint Filing

Married couples who file a joint tax return and have a modified adjusted gross income of less than $193,000 combined may also make a full contribution, while couples earning more than $193,000, but less than $203,000, can make a partial contribution.

Traditional IRA vs. Roth IRA

One of the major differences between Traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs is that with Traditional IRAs, federal and state tax deductions can be claimed, but once an individual retires, withdrawals from Traditional IRAs are taxed at ordinary rates.

Contributions to a Roth IRA are not tax-deductible; however, the earnings and withdrawals are typically tax-free, so if you can wait for your tax break, a Roth IRA is an appealing option.

“To qualify for the tax-free and penalty-free withdrawal of earnings, Roth IRA distributions must meet a five-year holding requirement and distribution must take place after age 59½,” Bergen adds.

It’s also important to know that Roth IRA contributions cannot be made by taxpayers with high incomes. Other restrictions apply: “To qualify for the tax-free and penalty-free withdrawal of earnings, Roth IRA distributions must meet a five-year holding requirement and distribution must take place after age 59½,” Bergen explains.

Stretch IRA

An inherited, or Stretch, IRA is allocated to a beneficiary by a parent, grandparent, spouse or others to hand down their IRA to a benefactor. The benefits of a Stretch IRA are numerous. Some advantages include avoiding sizable tax brackets, paying taxes on a deferred basis, and that the preliminary decisions can be altered if needed.

SEP IRA

The “SEP” in SEP IRA stands for “simplified employee pension.” These accounts are a useful retirement savings tool for small-business owners and self-employed people. Like a Traditional IRA, a SEP IRA offers a tax deduction on contributions. Your savings grow tax-deferred, and withdrawals in retirement are taxed at regular income tax rates.

Withdrawal Rules

Complicated tax laws can leave even a savvy investor confused. As a longtime financial adviser, Darcy Bergen recognizes that many individuals are confused by the tax exemptions and tax penalties regarding the withdrawal of IRA contributions.

Since IRAs are meant to be used after retirement, tapping into them before retirement can incur penalties. Traditional IRA withdrawals before age 59½ will require a 10% penalty on the distribution, in addition to federal and state taxes. At age 59½, an individual can withdraw funds from an IRA without penalty.

In most cases, once you reach age 70½, you must begin taking required minimum distributions. The original owner of a Roth IRA is not required to take minimum annual withdrawals.

Tax-free and penalty-free withdrawals also can be taken under certain other circumstances, such as in the result of the owner’s death.

To devise a strategy that works for your specific situation, a seasoned tax advisor or financial planner like Darcy Bergen can help you chart the best course for your future.

For more information about IRAs, go to Darcy Bergen Financial at darcybergen.co.