Out Money by Jeremy R. Gussick

OutMoney covers a variety of financial planning issues that LGBT singles and couples may face throughout their lives. From paying off debt, to saving for retirement, to filing for Social Security and Medicare, OutMoney will help guide you to making educated, sound financial decisions. Readers can submit questions directly to PGN columnist and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Jeremy Gussick at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Q: I noticed in 2018, I wasn’t able to deduct my charitable contributions on my tax return.  Can you please explain to me what changed? And will that still be the same for 2019?

A: Many tax filers may have found they were not able to deduct their charitable contributions in 2018 due to the higher Standard Deductions in the new tax law.  And this WILL apply again for 2019.  Here’s what you need to know to make the most of your giving.

Q: I’m looking to retire soon and am trying to decide how to produce income from my investments.  Interest rates on bonds haven’t been so great lately and a friend suggested investing in dividend-paying stocks, but I’m worried about the risks. Please help.

A:  With your retirement coming soon, it’s certainly important to understand your level of risk, considering recent market volatility.  And while many people turn to bonds for perceived safety and income, dividend-paying stocks may serve as a good compliment to bonds for income.

Q:  Some of my coworkers put money into HSAs.  I’m not sure if this is something I should consider.  Can you please tell me a bit more about how they work?

A:  Thanks for this question.  Many more people today understand the potential benefits of contributing to a Health Savings Account (HSA).  Here’s what you should know to determine if this may be a good choice for you.

Q: I’m just now beginning to think about planning for retirement, and I don’t recall receiving any statements recently from Social Security about my benefits.  Do you how much the average person today can expect to receive in benefits?

A: I’m glad to hear you’re looking to plan for your retirement, and one of the first steps in your planning should be to get an accurate read on just how much income you can expect to receive from Social Security.  This should help you get started…

Q:  I’m a gay man in my mid-20’s just finishing graduate school.  I have some fairly significant student loans, which I will need to begin to payoff shortly.  Do you know what my options are if I can’t afford to make the standard payments right away?

Q: I know it’s late in tax season, but I’m just getting around to it. Were there any major changes to the tax law in 2018?

A: Yes. It’s that time of year again. Millions of Americans are preparing their 2018 tax returns and grappling with some big changes as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA). Their impact on you could be significant. Here’s an overview of key tax changes affecting individuals.

Q: My spouse and I are in our early 60s, without children, and are concerned about the risk of needing care in the future. Do you think most couples who can afford it should consider buying long-term care insurance?

Q: A friend of ours had his identity stolen when he clicked on a link in an email he thought was from his bank, but wasn’t. How can we be more careful to be sure we’re not putting our own information at risk?

A: Identity theft affects millions of Americans each year. And while it’s nearly impossible to protect all of your information all of the time, this article can help you learn the risks, and give you some ideas on how you can better protect your sensitive data from cybercriminals.

Q: It seems that the holidays sneak up on me every year and I find myself struggling to afford gifts and visits with family and friends. So I charge these expenses and then end up making payments well into the next year. There’s got to be a better way!

A: It does often seem like we blink and another year has already gone by. The key to managing holiday spending is to treat it as you would any other financial goal: Plan, budget and save. Financially happy holidays are a year-long endeavor.

Q: I’m a gay man in my 40s and I have struggled with credit card debt for years.  Now that I’m making a decent income, I’m determined to get on a better path going into 2019.  Can you please offer me some advice?

A: I’m sure other readers may have similar concerns, and I think it’s great that you’re making a commitment to take some positive steps to improve your situation going into the New Year.  Here are some thoughts to get you started.

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