Is it just me, or do you also feel like the last two years have flown by? It’s always a busy time of year with the holidays, but it’s important that we take some time to financially prepare for the end of the year and the beginning of a new year.
Here are some things to consider as you weigh potential tax moves before the end of the year.
Defer Income to Next Year
Consider opportunities to defer income to 2022, particularly if you think you may be in a lower tax bracket then. For example, you may be able to defer a year-end bonus or delay the collection of business debts, rents, and payments for services in order to postpone payment of tax on the income until next year.
Look for opportunities to accelerate deductions into the current tax year. If you itemize deductions, making payments for deductible expenses such as medical expenses, qualifying interest, and state taxes before the end of the year (instead of paying them in early 2022) could...
Did you recently change your name as part of your divorce? If so, it's time to get it updated everywhere.
When you have your final divorce papers identifying your name change, your first step will be to contact the Social Security Administration to legally change your name on your Social Security Card. The details of what you’ll need are listed out on their website under "corrected card" (https://www.ssa.gov/ssnumber/ss5doc.htm).
You can either visit your local social security office or send your documentation by mail with form SS-5. Your social security number will not change - just the name associated with your social security number. It typically takes at least two weeks to receive your new card in the mail, so you can take this time to make a list of all the places where your name will need to be changed. The IRS is automatically notified when you update your information with the social security administration.
If you grew up with a sibling, you likely learned about conflicts of interest the hard way. I remember one instance where my mom said we could split the last Oreo cookie and my brother gave me the half without the cream filling – I was mortified. In situations like that, you can see how easy it is for a decision maker to prioritize themselves over the other person. Technically there’s a number of ways to half a cookie, but finding a fair split is another matter.
When it comes to financial advisors, consumers are tasked with choosing someone who will treat them fairly and an important part of this is understanding inherent conflicts of interest.
There are many, many titles in this industry: money coaches, financial consultants, advisors, brokers, planners, wealth managers, and so on. And since there aren’t legal requirements associated with using these terms, it can get confusing. To help sort it out, advisors have started to identify themselves by...
Balance is a universal principle that works wherever it is applied. For example, a balanced nutritional program is better than an unbalanced one; a balanced exercise program is better than an unbalanced one; and a balanced life is better than an unbalanced life.
This same investing principle of balance has historically worked in portfolio management. Adding diversity of style, geography, and asset class has historically mitigated volatility, and made it easier for our clients to remain “buckled in.”
Diversification across asset classes may keep investors from chasing last year’s performance. What works in one year doesn’t necessarily work in the subsequent years. Oftentimes, last year’s outperformer falls to the...
A historical perspective can help inform and guide investment decisions. In a recent blog post, I shared how this combined with the investing principle of consistency was the best way I’ve found to increase your returns. But it doesn’t stop there. Maintaining that disciplined perspective often requires that we exercise the principle of courage in investing, especially during times of uncertainty and fear.
Each generation faces challenges that often appear both unique and overwhelming, but when viewed through the sobering lens of history, we find they are neither. Today, we face any number of challenges which, while significant, are arguably no more daunting than: A global depression, two world wars, the Cold War, the assassination of one president and the resignation of another, 9/11.
And yet the market has continued its inexorable climb. After all, humans are remarkably resilient, as well as masterful...
When you listen to financial news commentators, it can feel as though financial markets and investment decisions are capricious and arbitrary. Over the short term, that might be accurate. However, over the long term, there are universal investment principles that may ultimately help govern your success and which guide all of our wealth management and investment decisions.
Adhering to principles like balance, consistency, and courage will help you stay on course and provide a buffer from the constant drone of crisis and fear promoted by some news and media outlets.
Humans are not fans of consistency, yet it’s one of the most powerful principles of investing. I cannot tell you how many clients I’ve worked with over...
You may be familiar with traditional retirement plans available to employees, but there’s a lot of confusion about retirement plans for self-employed or business owners. The great news is that if you are self-employed or own a business, you can create retirement plans for yourself and any employees you have. Having a retirement plan option for your employees can even benefit your business by attracting quality people who are in it with you for the long haul!
Either way, a huge advantage of having a retirement plan is that you’re able to begin saving for the future. The earlier you start saving, the better, but there is by no means a “wrong” time to start investing or contributing to a plan.
Like I mentioned before, having a retirement plan could help you attract qualified employees who wish to stay with your company. This is true whether you have 2 or 200 employees.
Also, in the case of qualified plans and some...
A self-directed 401(k) or 403(b) is an additional investment option to the traditional retirement plans offered by your employer. It might be available to you and you don’t even realize it. In those traditional plans, your employer pre-approves funds you can invest in, whereas a self-directed 401(k) or 403(b) allows for a little more flexibility in choosing what you can invest in.
Whether it’s you or someone outside your company’s organization, the option of a self-directed 401(k) could be great for you if you like having a little more say in where your money goes. It’s important to note that not all employers offer this option, so check with your organization to see if you’re able to participate in a self-directed brokerage of your investments.
I can’t tell you how many people I’ve talked to who have no idea how their 401(k) is invested. It’s usually not managed well because...
The coronavirus has created some interesting situations around money and managing investments, one of which is the CARES Act. The CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) includes a number of ways to help retirement savers find relief in an economically turbulent time.
A few benefits of the CARES Act include… Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) for 2020 have been suspended and if you’ve already taken a distribution, you may be able to return it. Loan repayments from workplace retirement plans could also be delayed.
Additionally, the IRS has relaxed the rules around early distributions of retirement plans. The 10% penalty is waived for “coronavirus-related distributions” of up to $100,000 in 2020 if you take the distribution before age 59.5. This includes both IRAs and 401(k)s, as well as 403(b)s, 457(b)s, and similar tax-deferred plans.
Coronavirus-related distributions apply to individuals or spouses who have been diagnosed with...