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.

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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”

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.

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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”

Luck & Sequence of Returns

Last week’s topic was taxes. This week I’ll talk about luck, which can matter nearly as much to our financial lives. Taxes and luck can go hand in hand – with planning being the link.

The following are highlights from TGIF 2 Minutes one year ago entitled, The Luck Factor otherwise known as “Sequence of Returns.”

Despite all of the calculations involved in investing, there is still an element of luck involved. A specific term for this luck is, “Sequence of Returns.” Otherwise known as risk of timing, which can be the #1 most important concept if you ever wish to spend your savings – and have them last as long as you need.

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Continue reading “Luck & Sequence of Returns”

How Much is Too Much in a 401k?

Now that the 2018 tax filing season is mostly over it is time to talk the reality of 2019 taxes – and more important, taxes beyond 2019. This leads to the question, “How much is too much in a 401k?”

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This subject requires more than one edition of TGIF 2 Minutes. For starters here are a handful of issues, facts and questions to ponder over the upcoming long weekend: Continue reading “How Much is Too Much in a 401k?”