The Green Zone Newsletter - November 2023
November has arrived, and along with it, we bring you a few important updates:
2024 COLA Adjustment
The Social Security Administration has announced its annual Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) to recipients’ monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. More than 71 million Americans will see the 3.2% increase in their payments beginning in January 2024.
The increase – significantly lower than last year’s 8.79% COLA which was the largest since the 11.2% adjustment in 1981 – is tied to the consumer price index for urban wage earners and clerical workers and was put in place to ensure the purchasing power of these benefits isn’t eroded by inflation. The increase of 3.2% is designed to provide benefit recipients with a COLA commensurate with overall inflation. The increase amount for 2024 is far lower than 2023’s 8.7% or 2022’s 5.9%, but still provides recipients with a nice “raise” in the next year.
According to the Social Security Administration, on average, retired workers currently collect $1,840.27 per month in Social Security payments, or roughly $22,083.24 per year. The 3.2% COLA will add about $58.88 per month to those payments or $706.66 for the year.
Keep in mind all federal benefits must be direct deposited. So if you haven’t already started receiving benefits, you need to establish electronic transfers to your bank or financial institution. We are happy to help you get set up if needed.
Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs)
A Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) allows you to make tax-free donations from your IRA account if you are 70 1/2 or older. If you plan to make charitable contributions this year, consider utilizing your IRA to minimize tax implications.
Medicare Open Enrollment: Oct. 15 - Dec. 7
We are now in the midst of the annual Medicare open enrollment period, running until December 7. Take this opportunity to review your benefit selections, costs, and make any necessary changes to your coverage. If you need assistance or have questions regarding Medicare, don't hesitate to reach out to us. We're here to support you.
Thank You for Another Wonderful Year
In this season of gratitude, I wanted to take a moment to express my heartfelt thanks and appreciation to our amazing clients, supporters, friends, family and our dedicated team.
Your support has been the driving force behind our success for 15 years. Thank you for enriching our journey through every conversation, every shared success and every moment of trust.
I wish you all a season filled with joy and treasured moments with loved ones. What are your plans for Thanksgiving this month? Feel free to reply to this email and share whether you'll be staying in town, hosting family and friends or embarking on an exciting adventure. We always love hearing from you.
And please remember you can schedule a call with us any time. To make things easier for you, you can click here to find a time that works for you.
Until next month,
Jeff & the Green Financial Group Team
Upcoming Dates: Key Dates To Remember
- October 15 - December 7: Open Enrollment for Medicare
- November 23: GFG Office & Markets Closed in observance of Thanksgiving holiday
- November 24: GFG Office & Markets Open Until 12:00 pm CST in observance of Thanksgiving holiday
Team Spotlight: Highlighting Our Team
We're thrilled to announce the latest new addition to the Green Financial Group family - Meet Laura Garza, our new Client Concierge.
Laura Garza is a natural servant leader. As Client Concierge at Green Financial Group, she supports clients and their families by ensuring a seamless client onboarding process, comprehensive account management and attentive communication. She also sustains our business operations by serving as our office manager and a friendly liaison for everyone who walks through our doors. Our team and clients alike appreciate Laura's intelligence, kindness and quirkiness. She approaches her role with a can-do attitude and is dedicated to ensuring that every “i” is dotted and every “t” is crossed to deliver exceptional results.
In an industry that can sometimes feel cold, Laura brings warmth and a genuine passion for supporting clients that stems from a personal mission. While in college, the 2008 financial crisis devastated her family with bankruptcy and foreclosure. Remembering this pain, particularly for her parents who had been successful career officers in the US Air Force, she resolved to become a financial professional to help others avoid such an outcome.
Originally from the Midwest, Laura graduated from Michigan State University before moving to Houston to begin her career at Wells Fargo in business banking and private banking. Since then, she has served in client operations roles for financial service and investment firms, including supporting ultra-high net worth families. She is currently studying for her CERTFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® professional certification and holds her Series 65 designation, allowing her to provide even more comprehensive financial guidance and support.
Laura and her husband are the proud parents of two wonderful children, Catie and Luke. Laura supports their school as an active member of the PTA and a chair for the Boosterthon, their annual fundraising event. Faith plays a significant role in Laura’s life, both inside and outside of the office. She credits her faith as a driving force in her calling to be a steward for her clients’ finances and also enjoys serving in the Children’s Ministry and the Choir of her church. No matter how busy life gets, Laura makes time to do her favorite hobby – hula hooping – which she says is both exercise and a great party trick.
Please join us in welcoming Laura to the team. We're excited to see the great work Laura will do in his new role.
Check It Out: Our Most Recent Resources
Explore our comprehensive roundup of resources, including insightful podcasts, informative videos, and thought-provoking blog articles, designed to empower you with valuable financial knowledge and help you make informed decisions for your financial journey.
Here at Green Financial Group, we have five core values that are at the heart of our team's ethos and guide everything we do. In this video, I’ll share a little bit more about what those fundamental values that define us are and how we incorporate them into our work with you.
Retirement planning can be a daunting task, filled with complexities and uncertainties. To shed some light on this critical phase of life, we've invited Lauren Smith, another Financial Advisor here at Green Financial Group and a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® professional, to discuss common retirement mistakes and how to avoid them.
The dream of retirement has probably been sitting in the back of your mind for years. You have an idea of what you want it to look like. You’ve saved for it. You’ve talked to financial professionals. And all of that is great… but have you done any research and planning about how to avoid common retirement mistakes? In this episode of The Green Zone Podcast, hosts Jeff Green and Lauren Smith share a list of items you may want to consider in order to avoid these “retirement traps” and help ensure you are able to live out your dream retirement. Together, they discuss:
- Why managing your own money, instead of relying on professionals, may not be strategic
- The need for a mix of both conservative and growth-focused investment assets
- Mistakes to avoid when considering when to take Social Security
- How to think about implementing a distribution strategy to help you meet your Social Security benefit goals
- The types of retirement scams they’re seeing out there
- And more!
By Lauren Smith, MBA, CFP®
Divorce is a transformative, often tumultuous journey that touches every aspect of your life. And it invariably brings financial changes that can feel overwhelming. As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, I take pride in helping to guide newly single women through the financial intricacies that come with the end of a marriage.
By Jeff Green
I've been privileged to guide many clients through the complexities of retirement planning and investment management. A sector that continually piques the interest and concern of many is the energy market. This critical industry displays a unique set of dynamics depending on the state of the economy, whether we're looking at industrialized nations or developing countries. In this article, we'll explore how the energy sector responds in these diverse economic landscapes, highlighting the key drivers, challenges and opportunities that shape its trajectory.
By Lauren Smith, MBA, CFP®
Losing a spouse is one of the most heartbreaking experiences anyone can go through. As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, I have been in the position to help many widows navigate the complex financial landscape after such a loss. So you can trust me when I say that I really understand that dealing with finances is often the last thing you want to think about during this time. Nonetheless, there are many important decisions you will need to make, even amidst your grief. So today, I’d like to offer you a roadmap to guide you through the financial aspects of this new chapter of your life. From accessing benefits to re-evaluating your financial goals, consider this your supportive guide to finding stability and peace in an otherwise tumultuous time.
By Jeff Green
The road to becoming an industry-leading financial advisor is rarely straightforward. It's a path laden with challenges and intricacies, yet filled with endless opportunities for growth and excellence. But what truly distinguishes a promising novice from an industry leader is the environment in which they are nurtured. At Green Financial Group, we have always understood that providing the right framework for professional development is crucial for anyone who aspires to be more than just competent in the world of financial advising.