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Steven Elwell, CFP® Quoted by NBC News On Potential Government Shutdown


“If there is a temporary shutdown and the stock market declines because of that, if you’re someone who’s still saving that’s probably good news,” said Steven Elwell, vice president of Level Financial Advisors. “Every paycheck you hit that has 401(k) contributions go in is buying stock at a cheaper price,” he pointed out. Read the full story here...

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4 Examples: How Tax Reform Could Impact You


In Part III of our series on tax reform, we examine four hypothetical scenarios.  The people portrayed are fictional. You should consult your tax professional and financial advisor to understand your specific situation.  To read Part I in our series, describing the basics of the tax reform bill, click here.  For Part II – 8 things you can do NOW before the tax bill kicks in, click here. Want a quick review of your potential tax bill for next year?  Click here to use a basic calculator.   John and Susan John and Susan are 55 and 53 years old respectively.  They have two children, one in a local private high school and another attending Cornell University. John makes $150,000 a year as an executive with a local manufacturing company. Susan is a teacher and makes $80,000.  Both max-out their 401k contributions each year.  They live in western New York in a $320,000 home...

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8 Things You Can Do Now Before the Tax Bill Kicks In


In Part II of our three-part series on the  Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (Part I of our series can be found here), we shift our focus to strategies you can deploy before the end of the year to maximize tax efficiency.  As always, you should consult with your tax professional or financial advisor before making any changes to your financial plans. The basis for taking action revolves around four simple principles: Most people will have a lower marginal tax rate next year. Most people will pay less tax overall next year. Some people who itemize now will not be able to itemize next year. Some people will still itemize next year, but those deductions are unlikely to be substantially more than the new standard deduction. 1. Accelerate Charitable Giving Before 2018 If you plan to itemize in 2017, and do not believe you will be able to itemize in 2018, then you should consider accelerating your...

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Major Changes in the Tax Code Ready to Take Hold


With the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act ready for President Trump’s signature, many Americans are racing to understand a bevy of changes that will impact their 2018 tax return.  After reviewing the new bill, we’ve put together a short list of important changes and developed a three-part series to assist in preparing for the upcoming change. Part I of our series will focus on Tax Cut and Job Act highlights; the essentials of the new code. Part II provides specific strategies people should consider doing now -- in 2017 -- to maximize tax efficiency. Finally, Part III demonstrates a few hypothetical scenarios for tax filers, along with useful links and resources to help navigate the many questions and concerns that the tax change will present. Individual Tax Rates and Brackets The most impactful change involves modification of existing tax brackets and rates. The tax act keeps the total number of tax brackets at seven, but changes thresholds...

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Trump rally has plenty of precedent


The stock market has been on a roll this year, breaking record after record. President Trump recently tweeted that the media  should report on the “virtually unprecedented” rally in the market since he took office. Although the Trump rally has seen nice, healthy gains so far, it is well behind some other presidential stock market rallies, reports Bloomberg News. In fact, it is only the seventh-best presidential stock market rally, and is dwarfed by previous rallies under four Democratic and two Republican administrations. As of mid-October the market had gone up by 19% under Trump, as measured by growth in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Stock Index, Bloomberg says. However, the market jumped by 41% during the 11 months following the election of Franklin Delano Roosevelt to his first term in 1932. Roosevelt saw another 28% rally in his fourth term beginning in 1944. The second-best performance was 38% in Bill Clinton’s second...

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