The beginning of October means we are in the 4th Quarter… and the countdown begins to year-end. The following are excerpts from the Year-End Tax Planning Checklist.* Several of these items, if addressed now, could make a big difference to your 2019 tax filing AND add to your savings.
College is expensive. As with all expensive things, planning and talking through plans – even hopes and dreams – can make the situation more affordable in the long run.
Case in point: paying for college. Back in the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s when a lot of the people reading this note went to college, college was mostly affordable depending on the choice of schools. The most expensive colleges and universities cost less than $15,000 or $20,000 per year (definitely, in the 1960’s and 1970’s). Although families still struggled to pay the cost for college in lots of cases.
“Is this the ‘Big Dip’ in the markets they have warned about?”
“Should I be selling my stocks?”
“Should I be selling my bonds?”
Although I stress to clients and friends NOT to listen to the Talking Heads on TV, radio & internet amidst dramatic market moves —and then make rash investment decisions – we are human! It is nearly impossible to ignore completely what is going on daily in the news and markets. And the stock markets have crept down a bit over the past few weeks. (Note, in 2019 the downturns and recoveries have been often.)Continue reading “Gut Check (Again) In Rocky Markets”
In the heart of this already HOT summer of 2019, the heat may only be beginning for your IRA. Under the seemingly friendly title of the “SECURE Act” Congress is considering plans to over-reach in the form of future taxes on IRA accounts.
There are several positive and constructive elements of the bill recently passed by the House of Representatives and currently in review in the Senate. These include provisions to lower the threshold for small employers to offer 401k plans to their employees. However, a key part of the bill would do away with one of the most popular and widely used aspects of current IRA rules: the “Stretch IRA” for beneficiaries.
Currently, and dating back to the 1990’s, the Stretch IRA favors longevity by allowing a beneficiary to stretch inherited IRA monies over a lifetime, or until the IRA (or rolled over 401k) monies are depleted. This feature has come to be a popular and inexpensive long-term planning tool. The “Stretch” also aids in managing the tax consequences of becoming an inheritor of IRA monies. Continue reading “Potential Danger to Your IRA”
Does it seem to you that with the stock market rebound since late December that you feel “good” or “better” today than you felt in early January?
If you DO feel good, that “good” feeling today may not be as strong as the “pain” you felt in January following December’s big decline.
If you do NOT feel “good” or “better” today, is it attributable to the markets? (Unlikely) A job or the economy? Family? The political environment?
The reason I ask is that good and bad feelings – especially related to the stock markets – come and go. However, extensive research* says that “bad” or “painful” times are felt more strongly than “good” times. Maybe good is boring but I would rather have good than bad.Continue reading “Is Good Boring?”
It is always helpful to define where stand today and understand a few points about how we got here. So as a sequel to my last post, here are a handful of data points about today’s economy and market stats from the recent past. Several of these may surprise you.
It is nearing year-end and I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to double-check certain items NOW. The best financial advisers can and should be drawing your attention to these items in order to make your year-end easier and less stressful.
Here is a list of questions I review annually with clients:
This edition of TGIF 2 Minutes originally ran on February 16, 2018 just after the (now) temporary 12% decline in the Dow Jones, which ended as a 6% decline for the month.
Typically, I do not get too far “into the weeds” of technical terms in my TGIF 2 Minutes messages. However – this has not been a typical last two weeks in the markets – at least not “typical” as defined by the past several years of gradually UP markets (and portfolios) month after month. Thus, a short walkinto the weeds to talk a little about inflationis warranted – and may shed light on the volatility we have experienced lately with more likely to come over the next months and year or so.
See this visual of a rocket launch* – and not just any rocket launch, the Falcon Heavy launch as photographed by a friend of mine with years of clearance for NASA rocket launches – as an appropriate comparison to what inflation can look like. Continue reading “Inflation Revisited”
“TGIF 2 Minutes” was never meant to simply report current events. Rather, my intent is to highlight topics in personal finance – or a current topic – that affects your financial life and decision-making. BUT (there is always a “but”) certain pieces of news affect our mindset – both positively and negatively – and if I can comment on how to avoid letting the news sway you too far either way financially-speaking, then I believe it worth commenting!
ECONOMIC TIMES ARE GOOD! This week the revised U.S. GDP report (the key measure of economic growth) revealed a strong, strong US economy. There is a reason I am mentioning this news as it relates to our mindset for making all sorts of major spending and savings decisions – decisions for us, our families and businesses in the short-term and longer-term.