Giving to a charity is easy, right? You write a check and send it off to your favorite 501(c)(3) organization, and get a full deduction for the amount on your tax return, up to 50% of your adjusted gross income.
One of the persistent issues of the 2016 U.S. Presidential campaign was the wide (and growing) divide between the “haves” and the “have-nots”—variously expressed as a rising sentiment against the “one-percenters,” or as laments against the “hollowing out of the middle class.”
We hear all the time that medical costs are too high in the U.S., and that Medicare is going to go bankrupt in the future. The President-Elect recently told us in a press conference that drug companies are “getting away with murder.” So how high are drug prices, and are those prices contributing at all to the high medical costs in the U.S.?
Anybody who was surprised that the Federal Reserve Board decided to raise its benchmark interest rate this week probably wasn’t paying attention. The U.S. economy is humming along, the stock market is booming and the unemployment rate has fallen faster than anybody expected. The incoming administration has promised lower taxes and a stimulative $550 billion infrastructure investment.
Once an individual or family has reached a point in their lives that they have enough income to easily pay their basic living expenses and other bills, they often desire to put their excess monthly cash flow to work in an investment.
Perhaps the most important factor in formulating your investment plan is your risk tolerance; that is, the amount of risk you’re willing to assume in order to achieve your most important objectives.
All investors – be they conservative, moderate or aggressive – need to understand that the level of returns they expect to generate is directly related to the amount of risk they are willing to assume – the higher the return, the higher the amount of risk one needs to take.
January 2, 2015
By Beth Jones, RLP®, AIF®, CFT™
The beneficiary designations on financial accounts are crucial decisions that will impact the success of a financial or estate plan. Here are 10 common mistakes that you should discuss with your professional advisor to be sure your designations are correct for your personal situation.
Mistake No. 1: Naming the Estate as Beneficiary of Life Insurance Policy
This creates a number of serious problems. First, proceeds are now subject to probate or intestate administration, which takes time to complete, delaying access and use of the proceeds by surviving family members. Second, the proceeds are now subject to estate taxes regardless of how policy ownership was structured. Third, creditor protection over the life insurance proceeds under state law may be lost. Fourth, distribution of the insurance proceeds is now subject to the terms of the decedent’s will or intestacy proceedings, which may not result in what the decedent intended. Generally, naming an individual, for a personally-owned policy, or the trust, for a trust-owned policy, is the appropriate method.
October 3, 2014
By Ed McCarthy, CFP
At times it seems like the main focus of retirement planning is on numbers. Consider the frequent surveys that evaluate retirees’ or near-retirees’ readiness—the results usually evaluate how much money the survey’s participants have saved versus their expenses.
Sock away enough dough or cut your expenses sufficiently and you’re in good shape to pursue your retirement dreams; fail to save enough and you better brush up your barista or shelf-stocking skills.
The numbers are important, of course. But what if you reverse the process: Identify the clients’ goals first and then configure the financial resources needed to support those goals? That’s the basic premise of life planning, a financial counseling approach developed by George Kinder, CFP. Life planning has gained acceptance largely through Kinder’s books, seminars and certification training for financial advisors.