August 1, 2017
Estate and Gift Tax Limits

2017 Estate and Gift Tax Limits

We all want to leave a legacy. When it comes to money though, the IRS has some say so, meaning there are some tax ramifications to transferring your wealth. Here are the estate and gift tax limits you may need to know. The Changes For individuals, the estate and gift tax exemption jumped from $5.46 million in 2016 to $5.49 million this year. That means you can leave your heirs a hefty sum and not pay federal estate or gift tax. If the money is left by a couple, that amount is almost $11 million ($10.98 million). The annual gift exclusion is still $14,000 for 2017. Inflation played its role by initiating the increase by the IRS. Changes to the estate tax especially matter to those in the upper tax brackets. Whittling down your estate can help you avoid the 40% estate tax. The increase is especially helpful for those that used every dollar of their exemption. They now have an extra $80k to work with. Which means starting a funding a GRAT or starting up a trust could be viable options to sheltering the money.  The federal gift tax and estate tax are married to one another, so the inflation […]
June 7, 2017
reasons you don't need an annuity

Reasons You Don’t Need an Annuity

In the world of finance, advisors are sometimes scolded for selling annuities. Dave Ramsey is especially popular for doing this. While I agree that annuities aren’t always the best option for every individual, there is a time and place for everything. When you’re trying to keep expenses to the client as cheap as possible, achieve an overall comprehensive plan, which includes everything, their asset protection, savings, investments, taxes, etc., an annuity considered holistically may not be the best recourse. However, I have used annuities for clients. So what are some reasons you don’t need an annuity? Reasons you don’t need an annuity The first is that you are smart enough to control your own money. You don’t have to allow annuity companies to manage it for you. Sometimes better investment tools exist, like mutual funds or exchange-traded funds. Even if you know nothing about investing you can typically invest money with a broker for cheaper than you can invest in an annuity. Another reason why an annuity might not be the best selection is, the fees are typically extremely high. While you may think they don’t cost you, there are several things you need to consider. How much is the surrender […]
May 24, 2017
liquid net worth matters

Liquid Net Worth Matters and Why

Finance is a multifaceted subject. It cuts across various aspects of human life and at certain times knocks the wind right out of us. For instance, today as I met with a client, we considered how to calculate liquid net worth. Yeah, I know liquid net worth doesn’t garner the attention that net worth alone does. However, both calculations have their place in your finances. So I’m going to share a little about why liquid net worth matters and how you can figure yours out. If you’ve never heard the term liquid net worth, then perhaps you are wondering what the difference between the two is anyway.  The difference is probably simpler than you think. Liquid net worth is more in depth than just net worth. With so many of us struggling to keep up with money as it is, let me explain in a little more detail. Imagine you walk into a bank, and the teller asks, “What is your liquid net worth?” Perhaps you look lost because you never took the time to figure it all up. (In case you don’t know what net worth is—it’s basically, all of your assets minus all your liabilities.) Or maybe you quickly […]
March 22, 2017

Just Lost Your Spouse: Now What?

One of the hardest situations anyone faces in life is the loss of a loved one, and when that loved one is a spouse, it can leave you baffled beyond just your emotions. Unfortunately, the financial chaos that ensues can be just as overwhelming as the emotional void when you’ve just lost your spouse. That’s why preparing for the inevitable helps you heal faster, at least when it comes to the financial burdens you face. 1. Stop and allow yourself time to grieve Death is not just emotionally draining, but physically and financially as well. Allow yourself time to grieve. Your emotions will be all over the place. You’ve just lost your life’s mate and quick decisions are the enemy. Processing each emotion is critical to making shrewd financial decisions, especially in such a heartbreaking time as this. Far too often, people make snap judgments on how to handle financial issues after a death because their judgment is so clouded. Definitely, allow time to go through all the stages of grief. 2. Prepare for a new financial future What’s next in life for you? It’s time to begin thinking about how you’ll live your life solo now. Assess your goals. Do […]