Articles & Insights
How Did the Tax Reform Law Affect Education?
The Tax Cuts & Jobs Act (TCJA) enacted in late 2017 impacted many areas of one’s financial life, including taxation pertaining to education expenses. Parents, grandparents and students largely benefited from the following education related tax changes.
Next Step Now That Tax Season is Over: Check your Withholdings
Now that tax filing season is over, are you still just a wee bit upset that you didn’t receive a tax refund or owed more than you expected? You’re not alone. After the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act became law in late 2017, tax rates for most individuals were reduced effective with the 2018 tax return filing (currently through 2025). However, it doesn’t appear that way at first glance to many recent taxpayers.
Our Team’s Top Tax Questions
We receive a lot of questions from clients throughout the year pertaining to taxes — which is a good thing since maintaining tax efficiency is an important part of any financial plan. In the interest of serving you well, and proactively, we thought we’d provide answers to the most commonly asked questions we receive about taxes, especially during tax return season. So here we go.
Seeing the Forest for the Trees — With a Cohesive Set of Financial Values
By Glen Cesari, CFP® | Wealth Advisor
The yearly ritual of Americans filing their taxes is an annual financial rite of passage. As we pour over reams of financial information, we are forced to confront the past year and our current financial situation. Often, this time of reflection has people wondering in the short term:
RMD Rules - Retirement Account Distributions After Age 70½
If you have assets in a qualified retirement plan, such as a company-sponsored 401(k) plan or a traditional individual retirement account (IRA), you'll want to be aware of several rules that may apply to you when you take a distribution.
Required Minimum Distributions During Your Lifetime
Coping with Down Markets
By R. Todd Holden | Financial Advisor
In spite of my long-held and deep conviction that stocks and stock mutual funds are an incredibly effective tool for middle-class Americans wanting to create wealth, I feel the strain and stress of down markets just like my clients do. The difference is I need to assist my clients through these difficult times without them making decisions that will hurt them and their families in the long run.
Five Tips to Consider Before Buying a Vacation Home
By Justin Valadez, Financial Advisor
October is National Estate Planning Awareness Month
It’s a Good Time to be Proactive with Advance Directives
Perhaps you’ve had your will drafted and you now think your affairs are in order. However, to be thorough and well-prepared for the future, it’s important to complete other planning documents as well.
How Inflation Affects Retirees
Stay ahead of inflation in retirement
Inflation, a sustained increase in the price of goods and services in an economy over a period of time, averages a little over 3 percent annually.1 For the 12 months ending July 2018, U.S. inflation stood at 2.9 percent.2 As the economy grows, inflation tends to tick upward, and retirees and near-retirees may be especially concerned about how this will affect their finances.
Managing Your Cash Flow – The Overlooked Piece of Your Financial Plan
529 Savings Plans: What Qualifies for Tax-Free Distribution?
Whether your child or grandchild is starting college now or in several years, if you are taking advantage of a 529 college savings plan, it’s important to remember which educational expenses qualify for tax-free distribution and which do not.* The IRS gives detailed guidance on qualified expenses in Publication 970. Here are a few important points.
Financial Planning in Retirement
The importance of financial planning doesn’t change at retirement
If you’re like many, you may assume that financial planning ends once you retire. After all, retirement is a major life milestone that you’ve planned and saved toward for many years, and it’s often a great relief to finally retire. But the notion that financial planning is no longer needed is mistaken and can lead to financial difficulties down the road.
How Do Higher Interest Rates Impact Stocks?
By Scott Aune, Investment Manager
It's commonly assumed that higher interest rates mean lower stock prices.
You and Your Social Security (Tax)
By James Christy, Wealth Advisor
Corporate and Individual income tax rates may be coming down as a result of the recently-enacted Tax Reform Act, but the combined Social Security and Medicare (FICA) tax continues to go up.
The ABCs of RMDs and QCDs
Donating to charity can be good for your soul — and your tax bill
RMDs, or Required Minimum Distributions, are the minimum amounts that the federal government requires Traditional IRA (or other qualified retirement plan) holders to withdraw starting the year they turn 70 ½. Uncle Sam doesn’t let us defer taxes on our retirement accounts forever. And if RMDs are not taken, significant penalties will apply.
Trusts—Fulfilling a Role in Your Financial Plan
Many people have heard about trusts, but may not know there are several kinds of trusts, and which, if any, of these legal documents may be of value to them for their personal financial planning. It might be time to ask yourself, “Would a trust help me accomplish an important financial or estate planning objective?” Trusts can be established to address a variety of concerns, including protecting and distributing your assets, managing taxes and achieving your charitable goals. The assets in a trust are managed according to your wishes by the trustee you choose.