Category: Epic Insights

Will You Avoid These Estate Planning Mistakes?

Jul 17, 2019

Confused Child
Too many wealthy households commit these common blunders.

Many people plan their estates diligently, with input from legal, tax, and financial professionals. Others plan earnestly but make mistakes that can potentially affect both the transfer and destiny of family wealth. Here are some common and not-so-common errors to avoid. (more…)

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Trends in Charitable Giving

Jul 15, 2019

Colorful Arrows
The hows and whys of charity in America

According to Giving USA 2018, Americans gave an estimated $410.02 billion to charity in 2017. That’s the first time that the amount has totaled more that $400 billion in the history of the report.

Americans give to charity for two main reasons: to support a cause or organization they care about or to leave a legacy through their support.

When giving to charitable organizations, some people elect to support through cash donations. Others, however, understand that supporting an organization may generate tax benefits. They may opt to follow techniques that can maximize both the gift and the potential tax benefit. Here’s a quick review of a few charitable choices: (more…)

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Three Key Questions to Answer Before Taking Social Security

Jul 12, 2019

Question Marks
When to start? Should I continue to work? How can I maximize my benefit?

Social Security will be a critical component of your financial strategy in retirement, so before you begin taking it, you should consider three important questions. The answers may affect whether you make the most of this retirement income source. (more…)

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The A, B, C, & D of Medicare

Jul 10, 2019

Stethoscope
Breaking down the basics & what each part covers.

Whether your 65th birthday is on the horizon or decades away, you should understand the parts of Medicare – what they cover and where they come from.

There are two components of original Medicare, Parts A & B. Part A is hospital insuranceIt provides coverage for inpatient stays at medical facilities. It can also help cover the costs of hospice care, home health care, and nursing home care – but not for long and only under certain parameters.1,2 (more…)

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A Retirement Fact Sheet

Jul 8, 2019

Street Sign that reads Retirement
Some specifics about the “second act.”

Does your vision of retirement align with the facts? Here are some noteworthy financial and lifestyle facts about life after 50 that might surprise you.

  1. Up to 85% of a retiree’s Social Security income can be taxed.

Some retirees are taken aback when they discover this. In addition to the Internal Revenue Service, 13 states levy taxes on some or all Social Security retirement benefits: Colorado, Connecticut, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, and West Virginia. (It is worth mentioning that the I.R.S. offers free tax advice to people 60 and older through its Tax Counseling for the Elderly program.)

2. Retirees get a slightly larger standard deduction on their federal taxes.

Actually, this is true for all taxpayers aged 65 and older, whether they are retired or not. Right now, the standard deduction for an individual taxpayer in this age bracket is $13,600, compared to $12,000 for those 64 or younger.       (more…)

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Investment Challenges of the Affluent Investor

Jul 5, 2019

Maze
Affluent investors face unique challenges when putting together an investment strategy.

High net worth investors face investment challenges that some would consider unique to their financial status. The fundamental tenets of investing apply just as equally to them as any other investor, but these investors need to be mindful of issues that typically arise only from substantial wealth.

Let’s examine a few of these.

(more…)

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Charitable Contribution Limits

Jul 3, 2019

Giving a Gift
What are the limits for Donor-Advised Funds and Private Foundations?

Among the big changes in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) were new limits on standard and itemized deductions. These limits and restrictions created new hurdles when planning deductions with tax advantages in mind. An exception was charitable deduction, which remains an option for high-income individuals looking to create a donation for the charity of their choice.

When making a charitable donation, two avenues to consider are donor-advised funds (DAFs) and private foundations (PFs).

(more…)

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Coping with an Inheritance

Jul 1, 2019

Trending Data
A windfall from a loved one can be both rewarding and complicated.

Inheriting wealth can be a burden and a blessing. Even if you have an inclination that a family member may remember you in their last will and testament, there are many facets to the process of inheritance that you may not have considered. Here are some things you may want to keep in mind if it comes to pass.

Take your time. If someone cared about you enough to leave you a sizable inheritance, then you will likely need time to grieve and cope with their loss. This is important, and many of the more major decisions about your inheritance can likely wait. And consider, too – when you’re dealing with so much already, you may be too overwhelmed to give your options the careful consideration they need and deserve. You may be able to make more rational decisions once some time has passed. (more…)



Can an IRA Be a College Savings Vehicle?

Jun 28, 2019

College Graduates
You might be surprised at its potential

An IRA is a retirement savings account, right? Indeed. IRA stands for Individual Retirement Arrangement. Even with that definition, however, there is no prohibition on using an IRA to save for other purposes, such as funding a college education.

Why would anyone choose an IRA as a college savings vehicle? At first glance it may seem strange, since there are other types of investment accounts specifically dedicated to that objective. On closer inspection, though, IRAs (especially Roth IRAs) present some features that may be quite attractive to the parent or grandparent who wants to build education savings.

Parents are urged to save for their children’s college education as soon as possible, but what if their children end up spending little or no time in college? (more…)



Helping Your Parents Manage Financial Tasks

Jun 26, 2019

Broken Puzzle Pieces
How can you make things easier on them later in life?

Worldwide, the number of people aged 60 and older is growing.By 2050, this demographic will be more than twice as large as it was in 2015.¹

Some of these seniors could face a financial test.Will they be able to look after their investments or financial matters at age 80 or 90 with the same level of scrutiny they exercised earlier in life?

Your parents may be facing such a challenge.If you sense that they are not quite up to it, then a conversation about financial issues could be in order.

If you need to have this kind of talk with your parents, it is best to proceed gently, while acknowledging some potential risks that may heighten if the status quo persists. (more…)



More Insights

Jul 17, 2019

Many people plan their estates diligently, with input from legal, tax, and financial professionals. Others plan earnestly but make mistakes that can potentially affect both the transfer and destiny of family wealth. Here are some common and not-so-common errors to avoid.

Jul 15, 2019

According to Giving USA 2018, Americans gave an estimated $410.02 billion to charity in 2017. That’s the first time that the amount has totaled more that $400 billion in the history of the report. Americans give to charity for two main reasons: to support a cause or organization they care about or to leave a … Continue reading “Trends in Charitable Giving”

Jul 12, 2019

Social Security will be a critical component of your financial strategy in retirement, so before you begin taking it, you should consider three important questions. The answers may affect whether you make the most of this retirement income source.

Jul 10, 2019

Whether your 65th birthday is on the horizon or decades away, you should understand the parts of Medicare – what they cover and where they come from. There are two components of original Medicare, Parts A & B. Part A is hospital insurance. It provides coverage for inpatient stays at medical facilities. It can also help … Continue reading “The A, B, C, & D of Medicare”

Jul 8, 2019

Does your vision of retirement align with the facts? Here are some noteworthy financial and lifestyle facts about life after 50 that might surprise you. Up to 85% of a retiree’s Social Security income can be taxed. Some retirees are taken aback when they discover this. In addition to the Internal Revenue Service, 13 states … Continue reading “A Retirement Fact Sheet”

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