Updates

Predictability

Last week’s economic news continued to signal the expansion is continuing although at a slightly slower pace than was experienced in the quarters from Q3 2017 through Q3 2018. The slowing trend experienced over the last three quarters is not expected to stabilize in the two percent growth range for the foreseeable future. S&P 500 […]

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Ask a Trust Officer: Planning for the Long-term

Dear Trust Officer: Should I buy long-term care insurance? Is it a good deal? — Retiring Soon DEAR RETIRING SOON: These are excellent questions for which there are no simple, easy answers. You are wise to be addressing your potential need for long-term care now, while you still have choices. According to the AARP (formerly […]

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Planning for Efficient Distributions

Planning for accumulation is the initial stage of all but a few financial plans. This beginning phase in the decades-long process of accumulating wealth to provide for educational needs, housing, retirement and family support is a decades-long process. Accumulation strategies are also the basis for most personal finance writing. The distribution phase of a financial […]

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Philanthropy and your IRA

Making a direct transfer from an IRA to a charity, a long-time valuable planning strategy has become even more valuable following the enactment of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. This is because the higher standard deduction coupled with the $10,000 cap on the deduction for state and local taxes effectively means there will […]

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Diversification of Focus and Assets

Stocks rebounded from their summer correction which, to date bottomed in mid-August after a decline of around 6% (fall officially begins on September 23rd). The S&P 500 was up nearly one percent for the week, finishing about one-half percent under its all-time high of 3,025.86. The real action lately has been in the normally sleepy […]

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Everyone Needs a Will

As important as estate planning is, it often gets neglected. A 2017 survey by Caring.com revealed that only 42% of U.S. adults have a will or a living trust in place. In part, it is an age thing, as the table here shows. Source: www.caring.com/articles/wills-survey-2017 When asked why they have not completed their estate planning, […]

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Retirement Account Tax Planning

Angela Malley returns this week with more tax-focused thoughts in, How to Avoid Early Withdrawal Penalties, available on our web site. The tax code includes some well-intended tax penalties for certain withdrawals from an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). The penalty is meant to encourage workers to postpone tapping into such balances until retirement or at […]

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How to Avoid Early Withdrawal Penalties

To increase the likelihood that tax-preferred savings actually will be used for retirement, Congress included a 10% penalty tax on IRA and 401(k) distributions before the account owner reaches age 59½. The penalty applies in addition to the regular income tax on the distribution. For example, someone in the 15% tax bracket who takes a […]

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Interested in Interest Rates?

In the United States, there is not a single Treasury bond which currently pays more than 1.96%. The dividend yield on the S&P 500 currently exceeds the yield on the 30-year Treasury bond and those dividends will increase over time. The recent decline in interest rates means an increase in bond prices. In the month […]

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Ask a Trust Officer: Falling Interest Rates

Dear Trust Officer: When the Fed cut interest rates at the end of July, the stock indices fell. I thought lower interest rates were good for stock prices? What’s going on? Should I be worried about my portfolio? — WORRIED INVESTOR DEAR WORRIED INVESTOR: Two factors seem to have been at work to produce this […]

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