Updates

Retirement planning after tax reform

Several tax reform ideas affecting retirement planning were bandied about as the recent legislation was being prepared, including limits on deductible 401(k) contributions, elimination of “stretch IRAs,” and requiring minimum distributions from Roth IRAs, similar to the treatment of traditional IRAs. In the end, only one significant change made it into the final legislation, together […]

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Tax reform and estate planning

The tax reform legislation signed by President Trump on December 22 last year included an important change for many wealthier families. As of January 1, 2018, the amount exempt from the federal estate and gift tax has doubled, to $10 million plus inflation adjustments since 2011 (so $11.2 million in 2018, still higher in the […]

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Bitcoin and Taxes

Bitcoin, the popular digital currency, went on a tear in 2017, rising in value by 900% in the first 11 months.  More and more investors are taking notice.  On November 30, 2017 The Wall Street Journal ran a front-page article, “Bitcoin Mania: Even Grandma Is In.”  On the advice of her grandson, Rita Scott invested […]

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2017 Review

Following is a snapshot of the total returns for various asset classes for the year 2017. Among widely followed commodities, gold, at $1,305.50 per ounce was up 13% for the year and West Texas intermediate crude oil was up 12% at $60.42 per barrel. The Weekly Update will not be published for the next two […]

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Inherited IRAs

DEAR TRUST OFFICER: I’ve inherited a substantial IRA from my parent. What are my choices? Can I roll over the money into my own IRA? What I’d really like to do is convert the inherited IRA to a Roth IRA. — FORTUNATE HEIR DEAR FORTUNATE: Those approaches are not available to you. Because you are […]

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The Value of Investment Advice

Jason Zweig, author and investment and finance columnist for the Wall Street Journal, has written a good deal about the financial services industry. I like the summary he used at the end of one of his recent articles: “A lot of Wall Street Journal readers have told me they think hiring a financial adviser is […]

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Modern bounty hunters?

The October 9, 2017, issue of The New Yorker included a shocking article titled “How the Elderly Lose Their Rights.”  The author, Rachel Aviv, was interviewed by National Public Radio.  This article should be read carefully by everyone who is 65 or older, and by everyone who has a relative who is 65 or older.  […]

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Year End Pre-Review

The S&P 500 finished the week at 2,675.81, another new high. Year-to-date, the index is up 19.52% and if the year had ended on Friday it would have been the 4th largest calendar year gain for the index so far in this century. If the index can at least hold onto its current month-to-date gain […]

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Paying for investment advice

Investment advisors may be compensated in several ways.  In some cases, they charge clients a fee for their advice. Sometimes they earn commissions from the investment products their clients buy based upon that advice.  Life insurance is sold on commission, for example. Sometimes the advisor may earn both fees and commissions. Trust departments and trust […]

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Recent Past Performance is No Guarantee…

The last 10% or greater correction experienced by the market as measured by the S&P 500 ended on February 11, 2016 with a decline of 13.31%. The index has since risen from that low point of 1,829.08 to Friday’s new high close of 2,651.50. Over that 95 week run the index is up 44.96%. Following […]

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