File Your 2020 Tax Return Now Or Later? Why It Matters This Year

It may pay to file your tax return early this year as new laws could impact your payout

The Senate and the House are currently working their way through approving another round of stimulus to help keep people and businesses afloat during the pandemic.  Like previous rounds, it is expected to include stimulus checks paid to individuals and families. This would include $1,400 per individual, plus children and adult dependents qualify this time as well. You must have income below $75,000 if you are a single filer or income below $150,000 if you file jointly with your spouse to get the full stimulus payment. In past packages, the stimulus payment would phase out completely for a single filer who earned more than $100,000 or a married couple who earned more than $200,000.  It was recently announced that the new package may have the phase out happen much faster, with single filers being completely phased out once they earn more than $80,000 and married couples phasing out once they earn more...

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What’s the Break-Even on Delaying Social Security?

Social Security benefits can vary greatly

Throughout our working life we become accustomed to seeing chunks of our paycheck withheld for different types of taxes. Not many of us get a warm fuzzy feeling about contributing our share of payroll taxes to the government for Medicare and Social Security. Fortunately, the government gives you back the money in the form of monthly payments for the rest of your life and possibly your spouse’s life as well. As you approach the age range when you can finally claim social security, between age 62 and 70, it becomes imperative you consider the best strategy for your situation. As you delay claiming your benefit, the government significantly increases your benefit each year. In fact, every year you delay after full retirement age, you receive a guaranteed 8% increase in your benefit (this stops after you reach age 70). Try finding a guaranteed 8% return anywhere else! While there are many factors...

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New Educational Webinar: Estate Planning & Medicaid

We are pleased to offer a new educational session, “Medicaid and Estate Planning: Answers to Popular Questions,” to our clients and special guests. Wednesday, March 10th at 6pm This is a great chance to familiarize yourself with the basics of estate planning as it pertains to long-term care and Medicaid. This webinar will discuss: • Should I put my house in my kids' names? • Can I pay my kids to take care of me? • How do NY partnership long term care insurance policies work? • Options for paying for a nursing home (private pay, Medicaid, long term care insurance). • Medicaid qualification criteria. • Nursing home pre-planning options (gifting and trusts). • Nursing home crisis planning (gift/loan strategy). • In home care: what will Medicare/Medicaid pay for? Click Here To Register For this Event...

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How the 2020 Coronavirus related legislation can affect your tax deductions

The CARES Act and the 2020 year-end coronavirus relief bill had a lot built into them.  As we start the 2020 tax return season, here are a few items affecting individual taxpayers that we feel are most relevant: Certain charitable contributions deductible by non-itemizers Many who take the standard deduction, which became more popular after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 raised the standard deduction amounts, will be able to deduct $300 in 2020 for all taxpayers and $600 in 2021 for married couples filing jointly. This means that if you made a cash contribution directly to a 501(c)(3) you will be able to reduce your taxable income by up to $300 in 2020 and $600 in 2021. It is important to note that the contribution must be in cash, check, or credit card, and it must go directly to the charity and not a donor advised fund or 509(a)...

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Prepare for Landing: A retirement readiness analogy-visualizing retirement

In my previous blog, I used our common airline flight experience as a retirement readiness analogy.  In the last fifteen minutes before landing, the flight attendant will make an announcement describing a number of key tasks that need to be done to ready the plane for landing and we can liken this to the five years (give or take) prior to retirement.  I outlined five high priority preretirement tasks.  In this article lets focus on the first:  Visualizing retirement in detail. During our early career years, we can prepare for retirement readiness, but often our notion of retirement is understandably vague.  With so many elements of our future life yet unknown, it’s reasonable to simply save and invest a percentage of our salary for our future.  If we do attempt to calculate our retirement needs, most calculators will assume a broad retirement income objective such as 70% of our current income. But...

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Portfolio Construction, Mutual Fund Selection and Apple Pies

We sometimes are asked why we might use a mutual fund rather than an ETF in the portfolios we build for our clients and why we are willing to pay a trading fee to buy that fund when an ETF can be bought for free? There is actually a process for how we arrive at that important decision. That process starts with the mix of investments we use to create a portfolio. Since the industry likes to use pie charts to help clients visualize their portfolios, I am going to use the analogy of baking a pie to help explain why we use certain investments. The finished pie is your portfolio, the recipe is the model we follow, and the ingredients are the various investments. The ingredients we use to build a portfolio are called asset classes. A sample of some of these asset classes are: Large and small company stocks, Growth...

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Top 3 Mistakes Millionaire Investors Make

Earlier this year DeVere Group conducted an interesting survey of 752 investors who have over $1 million in investable assets. Investable assets, such as stocks and bonds, are those which can be converted to cash relatively easily and they exclude physical assets like real estate. The survey asked these affluent investors what their biggest investing mistakes were before they started working with a financial professional. Here is what they found: Top 3 Results:  Leaning too heavily on historic investment returns (38%)  Not seeking professional financial advice (35%)  Failure to adequately diversify investment portfolio (21%) We have seen these same mistakes negatively impact many investors who are trying to reach their financial goals. It would not be difficult to argue that almost all investors have battled with one or more of these mistakes at some point in their lives. Let’s take a quick dive into each of the three results mentioned above to...

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