Tax Break…Anyone?

One of the more anticipated pieces of legislation out of Washington DC has been the Trump tax proposal — or really ANY tax proposal — that has been said to carry some kind of relief for all taxpayers.

tax-formsHealthcare is another hot button but taxes slightly edge out healthcare as the #1 item of interest (and if my readership is any indication, the subject of taxes is my #1 most read topic year-over-year).

This is at least a two-part edition, so here goes the tip of the iceberg of ideas being floated by reporters on the front lines in Washington:*

  • Lowering the corporate tax rate to 15%
    • theoretically encourages US corporations to bring back, or “repatriate”, cash being held overseas.
  • Simplification of individual tax brackets to three: 10%, 25% and top rate of 35%.

Continue reading “Tax Break…Anyone?”

Cars: Buy, Lease, Rent or Zip?

One topic that believe it or not comes up with nearly every client and prospective new client, no matter their age or level of wealth, is cars.
www.usnews
For younger, city-dwellers, Uber may be an excellent (and cheaper) alternative to owning.
The conversation touches upon the following:
  • Buy or lease?
  • If buying, buy for cash or take out a car loan?
  • New or used?  (I nearly always suggest used, a.k.a. “certified pre-owned”.  Remember the book, The Millionaire Next Door?)
  • If buying, how often to replace?
  • If leasing* or taking out a car loan, what is a sensible payment amount?  With a lease, buy at the end of the lease?
  • For younger people perhaps living in or near a city, is it possible to not even own a car?  And take advantage of excellent (cheaper) alternatives as needed such as renting a car, Uber, or Zipcar?
Leasing is not often my recommendation for first cars, mostly because I prefer not to add another sizable monthly outflow of cash early on in life. Early on, own a car you can afford for cash or a small loan. The future will look brighter.

Continue reading “Cars: Buy, Lease, Rent or Zip?”

Dick Wagner & Life

In tribute to a guy definitely worth knowing about — not a rock star or Hollywood actor — but a celebrity in his own right. Richard “Dick” Wagner died this week at age 66.

Dick Wagner (no relation to me) was a luminary in the world of financial planning, dedicating his life to getting people to focus and think about their lives and the human side of their wealth. Another way to say this is, “How are you going to spend your money today and someday…for the richest life possible?”.

Continue reading “Dick Wagner & Life”

Don’t Dismiss Reverse Mortgages Outright

“No way.”  That is the #1 response I hear around the topic of reverse mortgages.

reverse_mortgageBut we are coming to the end of tax time — when the idea of having access to a little extra cash would come in real handy!  At some point in our lives sooner or more likely later — due to needing to pay for healthcare, caring for an aging parent, investing in a business or simply wanting a more secure “cushion” or “rainy day fund” — we will seek out ways to get our hands on more cash.

Continue reading “Don’t Dismiss Reverse Mortgages Outright”

Warren Buffett Letter 2017

What a week for people named Warren and Trump.  Did you catch the Oscars Best Picture mix-up with Warren Beatty??  The bottom line for me was: when you are unsure whether you understand something important, ask.

Exclusive Portraits Of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Chief Executive Officer Warren Buffett

As for people named Warren Buffett this week yielded yet another annual letter of wisdom and perspective from the “Oracle of Omaha”.  Striking was that Mr. Buffett’s letter reflected several similar sentiments (some not) to those expressed by Mr. Trump in his Presidential address to Congress on Tuesday evening. Another week in America. Not always perfect but still good–even great.   Continue reading “Warren Buffett Letter 2017”

Caring for Aging Parents

Grandma moving in??  Traveling to help mom and dad from time to time? Sharing tasks with your siblings to help out your parents?

Elderly Parents

“Caring for Aging Parents” is an emotional and involved topic that takes FAR longer than 2 minutes to cover.  However, it is a critical topic and one that comes up daily in my conversations with friends and clients. Think about it: how many times have you been part of this conversation in the past several months alone… among friends/family?? I bet more than once!

Continue reading “Caring for Aging Parents”

Money and Therapy

Money and Therapy.  Two things that people may love or hate talking and thinking about.  However, among other things in life, money and therapy help.  

The NumberHere is where I am going with this.  Recently I read a must-read book for young and old, wealthy or building wealth, married or single.  Anyone who wants to have a “life” someday…or even have a life NOW.  The book is called The Number* and was written by Lee Eisenberg nearly 10 years ago, but it reads like he wrote it yesterday.

Here are some of the titles of the chapters:

  • “Welcome to Numberland”
  • “Debt Warp”
  • “Alone at Sea”
  • “Covering Your Assets” (nice play on words)
  • “Night Sweats”
  • “Deep Breathing”
  • “Bottom Lines”

Continue reading “Money and Therapy”

Gut Check in Rocky Markets – 2016

In times of stock market weakness – like we are seeing over the past month – we can tend to get scared.  We are human.  However, I stress to my clients and friends NOT to allow short-term market moves (monthly, quarterly…even yearly) to lead to poor decisions.  Why?  Please read on…

The following chart reads like a cartoon so not to worry that I am sending you a complicated graph.  The RED DOTS = how much the market went down sometime during each year.  The BLUE LINES = where the market finished at the end of the year.

Greatest Chart Ever

Continue reading “Gut Check in Rocky Markets – 2016”

Gut Check in Rocky Markets

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—and then make rash investment decisions – when these media personalities comment on dramatic market moves (they LOVE down markets for hype), we are human!  It is nearly impossible to ignore completely what is going on daily in the markets.  And the stock markets have crept down a bit over the past few weeks. Continue reading “Gut Check in Rocky Markets”