Year-End Tax Planning Tips 2021

Tax planning is important stuff. Perhaps not as exciting as the markets but saving money on taxes can still be exciting! Mid-November begins the countdown to year-end. The following is a handy Tax Planning Checklist.*  Some of these items, if done now, could make a big difference to the 2021 tax year AND add to savings.

1. How close are you to maxing out your 401k? The max is $19,500 for those under age 50 and an extra $6,500 for those age 50 and above. The deadline is December 31st and lots of 401k and 403b plans allow contributions of as much as 25-30% or even 100% of pay. Contribution rates can be lowered again in the new year.

There is still time remaining in 2021 to accomplish tax-deductions and/or create new savings vehicles!

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Champagne & William Shatner

Last week William Shatner – at 90, who knew?! – became the oldest person to achieve space flight. Completion of a 10-minute journey on the reusable New Shephard rocket, including four minutes of weightlessness, was cause for major celebration immediately afterwards.

But notable was that upon disembarking from the space capsule Shatner politely turned down taking part in the champagne shower amongst the crew, Blue Origin promotional people and members of the press.

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Will Social Security be There, Pt. 2

Last week tgif2minutes.com explored a basic statement directly from Social Security’s SSA.gov summarizing that taxes will mostly likely need to go UP TODAY to afford Social Security in the mid 2030’s and for future generations – which is only 15 years away.

This week’s edition will present several possible changes that could take place along the path to higher taxes in order to preserve the Social Security that American workers pay into dearly and expect to receive someday.

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Buy Dirt

In keeping with the theme that life is precious and worth planning for – enjoy this quick and meaningful tune. Do not hesitate to crank it up and play it several times to capture all the words.

Watch Jordan Davis – “Buy Dirt” (Official Audio) ft. Luke Bryan” on YouTube.

Thank you for reading AND listening… and of course TGIF!

Reacting Can Hurt Performance

As they say, “a picture is worth 1,000 words.”* Please do whatever you need to do with your phone or laptop to make sure the graphic below is visible. And make sure to ZOOM IN or turn the phone sideways (or ask me to send you the PowerPoint or PDF version of this slide).

With that said, the title of the slide is: Reacting Can Hurt Performance. And here is a question,

Who is NOT scared these days or after this week?

Savings and investing decisions need to have been made before today. Reacting can significantly hurt performance.

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Personal Board of Directors

As has been said, “No man [or woman] is an island.” The deeper meaning of the famous poem by this title may be somewhat philosophical: that we are all part of a bigger unit such as the world, a country, a family, or something. The less deep but equally serious meaning is more like,

  • why go it alone?
  • try reaching out to others from time to time to seek advice and larger perspective.

Regular readers of TGIF 2 Minutes may be thinking that Debbs has lost her mind here but the related idea of having a “Personal Board of Directors” has been worthy of featuring for some time. Coincidentally Brett Danko, my business partner and the principal and founder of Main Street Financial Solutions LLC, recently presented a similar topic including having and regularly consulting with a Personal Board of Directors which inspired this edition.

The Personal Board of Directors can be consulted regarding decisions of all sorts – personal, financial, and professional.

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Family Fireworks

This year’s Fourth of July, celebrated with a long weekend, is lining up to be much more celebratory than one year ago. Thank goodness for that! The 3-day weekend will allow families and friends to spend time together – just like “old times”. Considering the year-long pandemic there may be families who have not been together in one place for over a year, two years or longer. This opens up the opportunity for celebration as well as “family fireworks” that can be just as explosive as the fireworks that will be lit all weekend long at beaches and towns throughout America.

In a prior TGIF 2 Minutes, I referred to “10 Topics Likely NOT Discussed at the Thanksgiving Table”. These included a couple of money and family related topics often not discussed due to their emotional nature. Here, a closer look at two conversations that can prevent much pain and expense at a later time:

“Family fireworks” that can be just as explosive as the fireworks that will be lit all weekend long at beaches and towns throughout America.

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Portfolios & Back Pain

Have you ever had back trouble? Boy can it be a pain in the ### (pun intended). Recovery is usually possible by seeking – and taking – proper advice and treatment. Believe it or not, there is a way to relate the recovery process from back pain to the recovery and durability of investment portfolios. Stay with me here!

I will credit my excellent physical therapist, who knows very well my profession as a CFP®, for coming up with the concept. He said to me, “like your advice about my 401k allocation, the physical strength work a person does for years can make recovery from back trouble much swifter and even easier.” Hooray! While the recovery process for a person’s back can take several weeks to several months, the recovery process for properly positioned investment portfolios has been actively taking place for over 12 months and could continue over the life of a portfolio.

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White-Hot Real Estate – Pt 1

The real title this week is, “Selling Real Estate in a White-Hot Market”.

Future topics include:

  • Real Estate (in general) in a White-Hot Market
  • How to Handle Real Estate as an Asset in Any Market
  • Renting versus Buying in a White-Hot Real Estate Market

ALL of these topics have come up in conversations with friends and clients over the past year, even more so in the past five months. There is no question that real estate – especially around major cities like New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Raleigh/Durham, and Atlanta – is sizzling hot. Even cities such as Atlanta where there are residential areas inside of a sprawling city, those “suburban feel” areas are also on fire.

Whether or not to sell their home has come up in conversations with friends and clients over the past year, even more so in the past five months.

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Gut Check in Rocky Markets… 2021 Version

From the 2014 & 2016 Archives of TGIF 2 Minutes comes a timely message – updated for 2021, as markets could get fairly rocky (read: volatile) with inflation fears, unprecedented US government debt issuance and money printing. Caution is warranted. However, timeframe and a PLAN are key.

Have you asked yourself lately…

  • “Is this the ‘Big Dip’ in the markets they have warned about?”
  • “Should I be selling my stocks?”
  • “Should I be selling my bonds?”
I stress to my clients and friends: Do NOT allow short-term market moves to instill fear and lead to poor decisions.

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