Year-End Tax Planning Tips

Excerpts from the TGIF 2 Minutes Archives:

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.

variety of pumpkins
The beginning of October means we are in the 4th Quarter… and the countdown begins to year-end.

Continue reading “Year-End Tax Planning Tips”

Quick Real Estate Thoughts

There have been lots of trends (mostly good) in real estate this year.

  • Existing home sales have been mostly UP and exceeding expectations
  • New home sales are near a 12-year high
  • Interestingly, a statistic that can be seen as mostly positive (for certain suburbs) but partly negative (for certain major cities) is that the Millennials who are between the ages of 25 and 39 have shown interest in moving OUT of several major cities.
river in between buildings
According to a recent piece of news, the list of cities losing Millennials and those specifically between ages 35 and 39 include first-tier locations like Chicago.

Continue reading “Quick Real Estate Thoughts”

Gut Check (Again) In Rocky Markets

From the archives of TGIF 2 Minutes comes a very handy message – one that still holds true 5 years later:

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Photo by energepic.com on Pexels.com

August 2014:

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?”

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”

Minimizing Danger to Your IRA

Last week’s topic was potential danger to IRAs contained in new legislation lingering in the Senate. Those affected would be most IRA beneficiaries including you or your kids or grand kids. The scenario would affect the lives of more than just the wealthy. Therefore, it makes sense to present a handful of ways to minimize the possible negative consequences.  Although, if the SECURE Act legislation is passed in its current form, these strategies will be even harder to come by.

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Several current solutions have been discussed in prior editions of TGIF 2 Minutes, namely using the Roth IRA, Roth 401k or 403b, or Roth IRA conversions (see the link below for quick details of various Roth strategies). Most important is to have this issue on your radar – to create a balance by using both traditional and Roth strategies TODAY side by side for diversification. Continue reading “Minimizing Danger to Your IRA”

Potential Danger to Your IRA

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.

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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”

What to Worry About

Spoiler Alert:

Amidst the positive narrative playing out via recent stock market records in the US (including strength in European markets) the “next episode” in the markets and economy could be more of a letdown. Use this time amidst the market’s gains to identify what to worry about and actions that can be taken NOW to craft a better ending to the story.

adult art conceptual dark
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The following is a non-comprehensive list of “constructive worries” (or concerns) that if managed year-round can greatly increase the ability to cope with inevitable market declines or letdowns – and enjoy more the experience of investing over our lifetimes. Continue reading “What to Worry About”

Not Your Father’s Muni Bonds

My Father loved municipal bonds.  The coupons were high (certainly higher than the average coupon rates of today) and supply was ample. And he loved the story behind the bond.

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As a quick primer, “muni bonds,” otherwise known as municipal bonds, are debt obligations issued to fund capital expenditures by municipalities, states, counties and other government and public service-related entities like hospitals and schools. The tax treatment of the interest paid is typically Federally tax-free to the investor and often state tax free in the state where the bond was issued. Investors who buy the bonds are promised to receive tax free interest periodically and then repayment of principal upon maturity. Continue reading “Not Your Father’s Muni Bonds”