TCJA – The AMT and Why You May Be Pleasantly Surprised this Tax Season

TCJA – The AMT and Why You May Be Pleasantly Surprised this Tax Season

The changes made to the tax code by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017 are now being felt full fledge, and despite early fears, some filers have been pleasantly surprised by their tax returns for 2018. Historically, one of the more loathsome tax rules over the years was the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) which disproportionately impacted earners in the Northeast and West Coast where wages and cost of living are higher.  In 2018, the rules around AMT have changed increasing the amount of income you must earn to be impacted by the tax.

Tips For Tax Refund

Tips For Tax Refund

Before treating yourself on a new flat screen tv, consider your long-term finances and how one smart decision today can have a positive impact going forward. Although saving and investing are always a key to long term financial freedom, it may not be the best use of a tax refund windfall based on your current situation. There are a few things to consider before deciding on how a tax refund should be used:

Super Bowl Winners and Stock Returns

Super Bowl Winners and Stock Returns

The National Football League (NFL) season reached its conclusion yesterday when the New England Patriots defeated the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia to win the Super Bowl. While New England Patriots fans are busy celebrating their sixth Super Bowl win in the past eighteen years and Los Angeles Rams fans are licking their wounds, some investors are looking to the final score to get a sense of how the stock market is likely to perform for the rest of the year.

An Umbrella What?

An Umbrella What?

Protecting yourself and your family is top priority for most, and households purchase different types of insurance to ensure that they are properly covered from unforeseen events.

A very important form of insurance that people frequently overlook is Excess Personal Liability, which is commonly referred to as Umbrella insurance. Umbrella insurance provides additional liability coverage above the limits established through other basic liability policies like auto and homeowner’s/renter’s. Umbrella insurance is designed to help guard against large and potentially devastating liability claims or judgments caused from bodily injury, property damage, lawsuits, libel, and slander.

Credit Card Conundrum

Credit Card Conundrum

Although credit cards have a negative connotation, they can be a useful tool to have in your wallet. There is a wide array of benefits associated with different types of cards, i.e. cash back, reward points, etc. The card you choose can have a significant impact on your financial wellbeing, so here are some steps to help select the credit card to best fit your needs.

Equifax Breach and Freezing My Credit

The Equifax hack has raised a number of questions about what you can do to protect yourself. Reed Fraasa, President of HIGHLAND, shares his experience with freezing his credit along with providing some helpful resources.

According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, there have been 7,900 data breaches involving over 1 billion records of personal information from January 2005 to September 2017.   The recent Equifax breach is one of fifteen mega breaches over the last ten years involving major corporations’ consumer data.  I finally decided to freeze both my wife’s and my data last week.  Here is what I learned from the process:

The Sunk Cost Fallacy

Have you ever made yourself sit through a horrible movie because, having paid for the ticket, you felt you had to get your money's worth? Some people treat their investments in a similar manner. 

Behavioral economists refer to this propensity of people and organizations to stick with a losing strategy purely on the basis that they have already sunk so much time and money into it already as the "sunk cost fallacy."  

The Next Generation of Banking

Technology has advanced in ways many thought wouldn't be possible and has solved problems we didn't even know existed. At the forefront of this movement has been the financial services industry, which has developed technology that has completely changed the banking experience over the past decade. Gone are the days of going to a bank branch and waiting in line to make a deposit or withdrawal; the digital age has made transacting quicker and easier than before. Below I have highlighted two recent technology advancements in the banking industry that could further revolutionize the customer experience.

The Full Ride Scholarship and 529 Plan Savings

You have done an excellent job saving for your child to go to college – in fact you have accumulated close to $200,000 in assets in a 529 college savings plan.  The acceptance letters start rolling in and you find out your son or daughter gets a full ride scholarship to their school of choice.

Great news!  You probably plan a party to celebrate – but you realize $200,000 of your wealth is locked up in the 529 plan.  What can you do?

Tips for Buying a Car

It has been some time since we sent out a newsletter - after a physical move to our new office space in Wayne, and a transition to a new operating system it has certainly been an interesting month!  Here is a great article a fellow Advisor in our office, Pete McKenna, put together on what to think about when purchasing a car.  Happy Spring!

3 Things to Know Before You Go Into Underwriting For Life Insurance

Unfortunately, when I tell someone I am a financial planner usually their first reaction is to say – “Oh so you sell insurance?”  It drives me nuts.  Planning is not selling investments, life insurance, or any other product – it is simply helping clients make confident financial decisions and reach their goals.

With that being said, life insurance plays a key role in a financial plan.  In fact, the results of the financial plan will dictate how much and for how long you need insurance.

The 83(b) Election

If you are the founder or an employee of an early-stage company and have stock awards subject to a vesting schedule, then the 83(b) election is going to be a very important tax decision.

The 83(b) election is a section of the Internal Revenue Code that allows individuals with restricted stock awards subject to a vesting schedule to accelerate the taxation of the income.  The election is made by submitting a form to the IRS requesting to be taxed on the value of the stock the date it was granted instead of when it would vest.

Financially Fit

We all love free money – and who would not want free money come the holiday season?  New Year’s is also around the corner and along come with it resolutions to eat healthier, exercise, and of course save!

Here is our attempt to highlight some well know smartphone apps to help you save and also get in better shape – this however is by no means an endorsement of any app.  If you know of any other apps you use and have had success with send them on over!