Workshop Topics

I’d be happy to talk with you about scheduling a workshop for your organization. Drop me a note on the Contact Karen page.

Taking Distributions from Retirement Accounts: What Changed and What Didn’t (new for 2020)

The SECURE Act changed some of the most basic rules about how we access the money in our retirement accounts, including the age at which required minimum distributions begin and how distributions are calculated for heirs. But the real issues may be more obscure. It may now be more advantageous to name a spouse as beneficiary rather than children. Having a trust as beneficiary could cause unexpected problems. And Roth conversions may be more appealing than ever. In this program, we’ll cover the changes, review what stayed the same, and help you understand the implications.

What Women Need to Know about Social Security Benefits (new for 2020)

Women rely more on Social Security for their income during retirement than men do. That means that maximizing your Social Security benefit is critical. Learn which claiming strategies are recommended, and which decisions could cost you. See how divorce, remarriage, and widowhood affect your benefits. We’ll also cover special rules about continuing to work while receiving benefits and how a government pension could reduce your Social Security check.

Women and Money: Twelve Months to Take Charge of Your Financeswomen-calendar

Get your financial house in order by focusing on one part of your financial life each month. Personal finance educator Karen Chan will introduce you to her Money Calendar. Following the calendar, you’ll do just a few tasks each month. Before you know it, you’ll learn where your money goes, evaluate your debt, estimate your income in retirement, know where to get help when you need it, and more.

Bring a friend so that you can team up and support each other through this enlightening, year-long process.

Credit History, Credit Score, and Identity Theft Prevention

How does cancelling a credit card, paying off a debt, or having too much debt affect my credit history and score? Should I use a fraud alert, a credit freeze, or a lock to protect my information? What are the best strategies for paying down debt? Learn all this, plus things you thought you knew about credit that are actually myths.


10 Tips for Getting the Most from Your Retirement Money

The right strategy can help you get the most from your IRA, 401(k), or other retirement plan. Rollovers, qualified charitable distributions, Roth conversions, and other tools can help you manage income taxes, streamline (or even avoid) distributions, and simplify your life. Learn about required minimum distributions, when it makes sense to take money out before you reach age 70 1/2, how to choose the right beneficiary, and what you can and can’t do when you inherit an account.

I graduated with student loans. Now what?

Learn how to determine the types of loans you have and the rules that apply to each. We’ll show you how to compare balance-based and income-driven repayment plans, and choose the best one for your situation. You’ll also learn about loan forgiveness programs, loan consolidation, and how to “cure” a loan that’s in default.





Annuities: The Good, the Bad, and the Complicated

While they carry the same name, annuities differ greatly in terms of their risks, costs, underlying investments, and potential benefits. As a result, some are regulated as insurance products and others as investments. Which ones are the most appropriate for providing retirement income? As an investment, how do they compare with other options such as mutual funds? What are the pros and cons of features like Guaranteed Lifetime Withdrawal Benefits? Financial educator Karen Chan, CFP®, will help you cut through the sales-speak to better understand these complex products.


Estate Planning Toolbox

Knowing your tools and learning how to use them makes any job easier. The same is true for estate planning. In this workshop, you’ll become familiar with a range of estate planning tools, what they do, and the terminology they use. In addition to wills, trusts, and powers of attorney, we will discuss the role that insurance, titling of property, and gifting can play. Finally, we’ll take a look at how these tools work with our tax system, including estate, income, generation-skipping and gift taxes.



Investing Made Simple 

Financial educator Karen Chan will make stocks, bonds and mutual funds crystal clear using the story of a young company called Freddie’s Finest Furniture. You’ll learn how to put that information into use as she explains index funds and target date retirement funds, and how they can simplify your investing decisions.


Is It the Right Time to Retire?is-it-the-right-time-to-retire

There’s a lot of talk about “the number” – the specific amount of money you need to retire. But thinking about retirement involves more than just one number. In this session, we’ll talk about assessing your overall financial picture and gathering all the pieces of information that will help you make an informed decision. Building a better understanding of all aspects of your finances, from expenses to Social Security to IRAs and investments, will help you know when retirement is an option for you.



Strategies for Claiming Social Security Benefits social-security-benefits-2016

Starting your Social Security benefits may be as simple as filling out a form. But there are many choices to make. Learn rules and strategies for singles and married couples,  how other income can affect your Social Security benefits, and special options available to widows and widowers.



Ten Steps to a Smarter Tax Returnsmarter-tax-return

Instead of just “doing” your taxes, take steps to manage your tax bill now and in the future. Learn to make smart choices about when and how you save for retirement or college, use employer benefits, pay taxes on your investments, manage the tax hit of being a widow or widower, or take advantage of lower income years at the beginning or end of your career.



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