Five Mini Plans In Every One Retirement Plan

Five Mini Plans In Every One Retirement Plan

These 5 mini-plans make up every successful retirement plan. A retirement plan is not something to take lightly. What you put away now, and where you put it, can greatly impact how much security you will have later on in life when you are looking to retire. When developing a retirement plan, there are a lot of aspects to consider. What will your income look like? How will taxes play into it? What happens if later on in life you face medical complications. There is no way of knowing these things ahead of time, but there are plenty of ways to plan for them so that when the time comes, you will be able to face surprises down the road with some peace of mind. There are five mini plans that we include in an overall retirement plan to help round the plan out and cover all necessary bases.

  1. Income Plan

This plan is important to ensure that when you are ready to retire, you can count on a reasonable and stable income to cover your month to month expenses. There are a variety of  components to this plan including, but not limited to: social security, maximization, spousal planning, and investment income. This plan is foundational to retirement, as it ensures that you will be able to maintain a comfortable lifestyle, even when you are no longer actively working.

2. Investment Plan

All our investment plans are based on your Income Plan. The two work in unison. 

The traditional retirement planning industry commonly decides how to invest your money based on your “risk tolerance”. We think this a deeply flawed approach that leads to higher than needed worry during major market corrections. 

Instead, if we can find the right cashflow needed from investments, we can map out the next 10 years need and design the income plan so you don’t market fluctuations do not affect your income plan. 

3. Tax Plan

Whether you are retired or not, you better believe that you will owe your dues to Uncle Sam. However, it is important to plan for this, and to ensure that you will never end up paying more than needed in your taxes. There are a variety of strategies that we can implement in this plan from withdrawal strategies to Roth conversion strategies.

4. Healthcare Plan

This is the less glamorous, but unfortunately common, side of retirement. Healthcare costs tend to rise pretty consistently upon retirement, and therefore, a healthcare plan is an essential aspect of an overall retirement plan. There are a variety of factors that will impact your healthcare plan. One of the main factors people face is medicare planning in addition to any supplemental and long-term planning.

5. Legacy/Charitable Plan

This is the part of the plan that most people prefer not to think about, however, it is a part that requires thorough consideration. When a person passes away, their money and assets will have to go somewhere. It could end up at any of these three places: to their heirs, to a charity, or to the government. It is important to put consideration into where you would like for your own assets to go, and to set up a plan to ensure that your wishes are granted when that time comes. In addition to estate planning, is the wealth transfer plan. This plan simply alerts those who will be receiving assets upon your death so that they can be prepared to receive it when the day comes. 

There are a variety of essential parts to a retirement plan, and at times this can seem overwhelming. If you are looking to increase security upon retirement, our team of experienced financial advisers is happy to help you develop a plan that best fits your unique needs, income, and interests. Contact Streamline Financial Services today, to meet our team and learn more about our unique approach to each of these essential mini plans. 

INVEST IN KIDS ILLINOIS: Step-By-Step Walkthrough

Today I’m going to be talking about how to qualify and to actually get the credit for the Invest In Kids Act program.

I’m going to walk you through what to do step by step:

  1. Request a letter ID with Illinois;
  2. Activate your account;
  3. Reserve the Invest In Kids credit; and finally,
  4. Make the donation.

If you’re not familiar with the Invest In Kids program, click to see my previous video on what the program is and some of the benefits, then come back here to see how to take the steps to make it happen for you this year.

STEP ONE: Request a letter ID with Illinois

If you don’t already have an account at

  • Click on the “Individuals” tab at the top
  • “Request letter ID” from under the Miscellaneous heading
  • Enter your social security number and ONE of the following:
    • Your most recent, adjusted gross income (you can find this on last year’s tax return)
    • Your driver’s license number
    • Your Illinois state ID number
  • Click “Submit”

In 7-10 days, you’ll get your letter ID in the mail. Once you get that, you can go to step two.

STEP TWO: Activate Your Account

After you receive your letter ID, it’s time to activate your account on

  • Look for the section titled: Login to MyTax Illinois, and click “Sign Up Now”
  • Enter your social security number
  • Click “yes” to activate your MyTax Illinois account
  • Enter the letter ID you received in the mail
  • Enter EITHER:
    • Your individual Illinois PIN (there will be a link on the page where you can look it up), or
    • Your most recent, adjusted gross income (you can find this on last year’s tax return)
  • Fill in your name and email
  • Pick a username and password and fill in the reminder for that information
  • Click “Submit” at the top of that screen, then “OK” on the next screen

You will receive an email confirmation that your account was activated.

STEP THREE: Reserve Your Credit

There are different Scholarship Granting Organizations (SGOs) and you should be able to use any of them for each school, but some schools have preferences on who they’re using. So to be safe, and because you’re giving money, I would recommend confirming with the school on which SGO they prefer. In this example, I’m going to use the Bright Promise Fund.

  • Enter your username and password on the login screen, click “Log In”
  • Under Account Type, select “Individual”
  • Under I Want To … , select “Contribute to Invest In Kids”
  • Read the overview of the program and click to acknowledge
  • Choose your region (if you don’t know it, you can either ask the school or look it up)
  • Choose the Bright Promise Fund (or your preferred SGO)
  • Put in whatever amount you’re choosing to donate
  • Confirm and authorize the amount to give
  • Enter your email
  • Click “Submit”

On the next screen, you will receive a confirmation. Print and save this confirmation to get credit when you give the actual gift in the next step.

STEP FOUR: Make the Donation

Again, for this example, I am using Bright Promise Fund. Your preferred SGO may be slightly different.

  • Navigate to
  • Click “Donate Online”
  • Next to SGO ILL Tax Credit Donation, click “Here’s How”
  • Read and confirm that you have done the three required steps shown on the screen
  • Write a check in the amount you determined in step three
  • Mail the check to the provided address, along with your contribution certificate

Rather than just use USPS, I actually did FedEx, just so I could track it to make sure that it arrived. And if you want to really be sure that they’ve received it and they get it counted for the correct year, call them up and make sure they’ve received it.

One more thing to mention, you’ll want to write on the check the name of the school to designate the gift to them, and then also write it on the actual certificate that you print out and include with the check.

And there’s actually one step more. Once you’ve sent the check and the certificate to the SGO and you know that they received it, come back to and look under “requests” and you’ll be able to see if your contribution authorization certificate has been processed, or is still waiting. And once it’s processed, you’ll have a tax form available under that tab which you can print out or save for when you file your taxes next year.

I know that was quite a few steps. If you have any questions, leave a comment or send me an email and maybe I’ll be able to help you out. But good luck on using this great program; one that helps the kids, helps the schools, and gets you a pretty good 75% tax credit in Illinois.

What Is A Donor-Advised Fund?

Donor-advised funds are gaining a lot of popularity because of all the benefits that they provide. A lot of people thought that these benefits were only available to ultra-wealthy people or people who could create family foundations. But with a donor-advised fund, you can get a lot of those same benefits. 

As the donor to a DAF (donor-advised fund),

  1. You can give any amount you decide
  2. There are multiple ways to give, including cash, stock, funds, or real estate
  3. You get a tax deduction, same as if you were to give directly to the institution

So, why not just give directly to the institutions, the charities?

Here are a couple of reasons: 

  • Let’s say that you were going to give a stock – a highly-appreciated asset – and that you had multiple charities that you wanted to give to. You could fill out the DTC forms and everything needed to give to those different charities directly from your brokerage account. Or you can just do it one time and get it into your DAF, and then once the money is in there, you can decide the time and the place and when you want to give.
  • If it’s a big income year and, for tax purposes, you’d like to give more than you usually do. Well, rather than flooding the charity with a bigger gift than normal – for example if you normally give 10, and this year you’re going to give 50 – you could put in 50K out of any of your assets. And then over the next five years, you can have it spread out and sent out to each charity at the timing and pace you want. So you have a little bit more control over how it gets to get to these charities. 
  • You can also “give” real estate. Let’s say that you have a building and it has appreciated in value. You can give a portion of your building to a DAF and it gets converted into monies that you can then give out, which is pretty crazy to think about and really cool that it’s actually possible. 
  • One of the other advantages, and the reason why I use it personally is, yes, to give stock. But then the other reason is just setting it up on autopilot where every month or year, I can set up an amount that goes to each charity, and then I can let it go. And at the end of the year, I don’t get three receipts or however many charities you give to. You just get one from your donor-advised fund. 

So that’s a simple example of what a donor-advised fund is, as well as some of the benefits. 

Other institutions that have options for donor-advised funds:

  • Vanguard
  • Fidelity
  • Schwab
  • American Endowment Foundation
  • National Christian Foundation
  • Charityvest, a no-fee donor-advised fund

If you’ve got questions about donor-advised funds, you can either give us a call or click here to schedule a time to talk.