All about mortgages: what type of loan is best for you?

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Signing your name on a mortgage application means entering into a large transaction with wide-ranging financial planning and budgeting implications. The size and type of mortgage you select may help or hinder your ability to fund your retirement, send your children to college, or adequately address other important planning goals. Continue reading

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Homebuying 101: a step-by-step guide to buying your first home

Purchasing a home is often far-and-beyond the largest financial commitment that we will make, and one not to be taken lightly. In most cases, the purchase will involve a substantial down payment and the need to borrow a large sum of money to complete the purchase. Add to this the time, energy and stress that invariably accompanies a major purchase, and it’s easy to see how the pleasurable pursuits of visiting open houses and contemplating design schemes are quickly replaced with the cold reality that credit scores, mortgage applications, and cooperative board packages provide. Keeping your Cortisol levels in check requires a detailed plan of action that progresses through every important phase of the home-buying process. Continue reading

Which type of IRA is right for you?

roth_or_traditional_iraAsk a financial planner whether to save for retirement using a Traditional IRA or a Roth IRA and you may receive an unsatisfying answer: it depends. While the Roth IRA is a much-loved planning tool, whether it’s the best option for you will depend on several factors, but math is not one of them. Continue reading

Home Ownership: Renting versus buying, and changing incentives under the new tax law

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For many, owning a home is part of the American dream and one that the United States government actively encourages through a variety of subsidies that are designed to give more Americans the keys to their own home. Homeownership is thought to create stronger communities, build family wealth and foster economic development. Creating incentives to expand homeownership has been a staple of U.S. housing policy for decades. Continue reading

Tax and financial planning for equity-based compensation under the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act

The Tax Cuts & Jobs Act, directly and indirectly, impacts equity-based compensation arrangements through several key components and provisions of the law. While the effect of these provisions remains to be seen, they may provide the recipients of equity-based compensation with an array of new planning opportunities.  Continue reading

Gifts that give back: Can the Qualified Charitable Distribution help fill a void in charitable giving?

Following the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in December 2017, the law’s impact on charitable organizations has come to the fore. Although the law provides for an increase in cash gifts to public charities from 50% of the donor’s adjusted gross income (AGI) to 60% of AGI, the donor must itemize their deductions to realize a tax benefit for their gift. The new law’s increase in the standard deduction to $12,000 for single filers and $24,000 for married couples filing a joint return is expected to result in a sharp reduction in the number of households that itemize their deductions, reducing the marginal tax benefit of gifts to charity by more than 25%. The impact of the law on charities remains to be seen, but with an estimated 72% of charitable gifts coming from individual donors it may be profound. Fortunately, the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015 has made permanent a hitherto underutilized incentive for older Americans to give to charity. The Qualified Charitable Deduction (QCD) is in vogue once again. Continue reading

Retirement Income Planning: a practical framework for approaching retirement

retirement-img-25Feb15People face many questions as they transition from work to retirement, but perhaps none more daunting than how to provide a reliable income stream without running out of money. While accumulating assets is a necessary part of retirement planning, at most levels of wealth, it is not sufficient to ensure a worry-free retirement. Continue reading

Medicare’s IRMAA Blows Ashore in 2018

Medicare open-enrollment season is here again, running from October 15th-December 7th.  During this period, the roughly 45 million Americans enrolled in Medicare have the opportunity to review their current coverage and make changes for the upcoming year.  It’s also the time when Medicare recipients are reminded of the costs associated with their coverage, and how these might change going forward.  And while some costs are expected to remain stable, or even decrease slightly, in 2018 an increasing number of higher-income enrollees will be subject the Medicare’s Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA), which increases their Medicare Part B and Part D premiums.
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How the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Affects You

On November 2nd, following months of buzz but few details, the House of Representatives introduced the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act”, the opening salvo in what is sure to be a contentious process of turning complex legislation into law before Congress’s self-imposed year-end deadline. Continue reading

2017 Medicare Open Enrollment Checklist

healthcareIt’s that time of year again. If you’re one of the roughly 45 million Americans enrolled in Medicare, get ready for some year-end shopping. Medicare open enrollment for Medicare Supplement and Advantage plans and Medicare prescription drug plans runs from October 15th until December 7th. Open enrollment presents a great opportunity for seniors to manage their health care costs for the coming year. Continue reading