Everything You Need to Know About the Lifetime Gift Tax Exemption

The lifetime gift tax exemption applies to all the taxable gifts an individual makes during life, and it also applies to assets left upon that individual’s death. In 2021, that lifetime exemption is $11.78 million for individuals. Here, we answer common questions about gift taxes. What qualifies as a “gift” as far as the IRS goes? A gift is any money or asset that you don’t expect to receive fair payment for. This could be cash, real estate, investments, interest-free loans, and tangible or intangible assets. There are some exemptions, or things that don’t qualify as gifts for the Read More

Everything You Need to Know About the Lifetime Gift Tax Exemption2021-08-27T14:37:09-07:00

Estate Tax Planning: How to Avoid or Reduce Estate Tax

Estate taxes can have a significant impact on what your beneficiaries receive, and recent changes (and speculation about changes) to tax law make now a good time to review your estate planning. Recent legislative proposals under the Biden administration have made some people concerned that estate and gift tax changes could impact a broad range of families. In one example, the “For the 99.5% Act” proposes major changes to taxes for gift, estate and generation-skipping transfer taxes. It also includes an increase in gift and estate tax rates. While it’s impossible to foresee tax laws of the future, it's Read More

Estate Tax Planning: How to Avoid or Reduce Estate Tax2021-08-27T14:32:34-07:00

Top Roth Conversion Strategies

We recently covered a Roth IRA conversion ladder as one potential strategy for converting 401(k) or traditional IRAs to a Roth IRA. But there are some other key strategies that are good for high-income earners to know. First, why (and why not) a Roth IRA? There are quite a few tax benefits to a Roth: funds grow tax free, you can take tax-free withdrawals in retirement, and there are zero required minimum distributions (RMDs). Another perk is that Roth income is not considered in the income calculation when it comes to taxation of Social Security benefits and in determining Read More

Top Roth Conversion Strategies2021-07-16T16:59:56-07:00

Social Security Strategies for Married Couples

Married couples have more options than single people do when it comes to Social Security benefits. That’s because each member of a couple can opt to claim at different ages and may also have access to spousal benefits. To maximize Social Security, you and your spouse need to work together to identify the claiming strategy that’s best. Here are a few potential strategies for you to know about and to discuss with your wealth advisor, who can help you understand the complexities of each and how they may apply to your financial plan. Strategy #1: Delay filing for benefits Read More

Social Security Strategies for Married Couples2021-06-25T15:06:32-07:00

What is the Great Wealth Transfer?

Is the so-called “Great Wealth Transfer” on your radar? You might have heard this term, but what does it mean — and more importantly, what does it mean for you? The baby boomers are retiring, and it’s this generation that holds a substantial majority of wealth in our country. They are said to be the first generation in United States history to do better than their children, the Gen Xers and Millennials. It’s estimated that their assets are valued in the trillions of dollars, anywhere from $15 trillion to $68 trillion, thanks in part to the fact that they came into the Read More

What is the Great Wealth Transfer?2021-05-17T10:36:31-07:00

Tax-Smart Investing Tips Every Investor Should Know

Investing comes with many decisions, and some of the most important ones have to do with taxes. Although tax considerations shouldn’t be the only part of the equation, there are investing strategies that you can use to minimize the impact taxes will have on your finances in both the long- and short-term. Here are six suggestions for making sure your investments are as tax-efficient as possible. To determine which strategies might work best for you and your financial situation, be sure to consult with your tax professional. Take full advantage of tax-advantaged accounts As long as you’re eligible, contribute Read More

Tax-Smart Investing Tips Every Investor Should Know2021-05-06T12:58:07-07:00

What is an ILIT, and Should You Have One?

ILIT stands for irrevocable life insurance trust, and it’s one powerful financial and estate planning tool you might want to consider. An irrevocable life insurance trust, or ILIT, is a certain kind of trust that allows you to do two things: One, to create and manage life insurance policies (term or permanent) during your lifetime; and two, to handle distribution of the funds upon your death. It can be a valuable tool for estate planning, and is often used alongside (and sometimes in lieu of) a will. You’re already familiar with the purpose of a regular (or revocable) trust, which Read More

What is an ILIT, and Should You Have One?2021-05-06T13:12:53-07:00

QCD Rules & Facts to Reduce Your Taxes & Adjusted Gross Income

Here’s a win-win: Direct some of the income from your required minimum distributions (RMDs) to charity. The charity wins by receiving your contribution, and so do you, because you’ve lowered your adjusted gross income. Here’s everything you need to know about using the qualified charitable distribution (QCD) to reduce your taxes by lowering your adjusted gross income (AGI). If you have tax-deferred retirement accounts, and you’re older than 72 (or if you were 70.5 before December 31, 2019, thanks to the SECURE Act), then you’re required to distribute (or withdraw) a certain amount of funds from your accounts each year. Read More

QCD Rules & Facts to Reduce Your Taxes & Adjusted Gross Income2021-02-18T14:29:26-07:00

Charitable Giving Tips for This Giving Season

Thinking about making some charitable contributions before the year is up? Here are some things to consider from a financial planning and tax perspective. The end of the year is the most popular time for charitable giving: Nonprofit and charitable organizations receive on average more than 40% of their annual revenue during the holiday giving season. Not only are people in a spirit of generosity around this time of year, it’s also a great time to optimize your finances for tax purposes. Charitable contributions can typically provide you with a big tax benefit if you itemize your deductions and Read More

Charitable Giving Tips for This Giving Season2020-12-08T17:31:56-07:00

The HSA Triple Tax Advantage: What You Should Know

As you likely know, an HSA is your government-regulated health savings account, available to you if you have a high-deductible health plan. What you may not already know: Your HSA comes with some pretty major tax benefits and can be a powerful way to boost your retirement savings.  An HSA allows you to accumulate money on a pre-tax basis, and these funds can be invested and grow tax-deferred. If spent on qualified medical expenses, they can be withdrawn tax-free, too. The best of all worlds! Here’s how it works.  Tax Advantage #1: Pre-tax contributions When you use a payroll Read More

The HSA Triple Tax Advantage: What You Should Know2020-10-15T13:54:42-07:00
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