November 22, 2016

Taxable Rental Income

If you have a rental property or rent rooms in your residence, there are a few things you should know. Here’s how to navigate taxable rental income: Rental property income includes all advance and current rental payments, as well as penalty fees, e.g., fees charged for late payments. Should a tenant cancel their lease, the money forfeited from security deposits is still rental income. You should also report any property or services you receive in lieu of rent at their fair market value. For more information about rental income, speak to a tax professional or read IRS Topic 414 – Rental Income and Expenses. Tip courtesy of IRS.gov
April 15, 2016

FEES! FEES! FEES! ~ Are brokers worth the fees they charge?

Are brokers worth the fees they charge? Ask any investor this question and you likely receive one of the three very short responses: No, maybe, or yes. I will be the first to admit that I have asked myself this question on multiple occasions. Recently I was reviewing a prospective client’s investment account  and asked, “Why is she even paying this person?” A little secret, known only in the investment community, is that many “investment professionals” are not required to have any formal training outside of an entrance exam. That’s right, your “investment professional” may not have earned a college degree, any advanced designations, or even any education beyond the financial products that their wholesalers are promoting. Even more confusing are the many financial publications that are critical of brokers on one page and supportive of their efforts on the next. And with so any conflicting messages in today’s financial marketplace, it is easy to understand just why investors ask themselves this question so often. So why is there such a divergence of opinions on broker’s fees? Here’s my opinion No, a broker is not worth the fees they charge. Too often I see investors who have relatively simple investment objectives but pay a broker for something, they could likely do on their own. They do not own a business, they do not have tax […]
March 16, 2016
Top 3 Questions to Ask Before You Hire a Financial Advisor

Top 3 Questions to Ask Before You Hire a Financial Advisor

Top 3 Questions to Ask Before You Hire a Financial Advisor Choosing a financial advisor can seem overwhelming when you first start…especially if you’ve never delved into the financial world yourself. It can be tough knowing what to look for. However, there are some strategies that you can utilize to find the advisor that gels with your needs the most and will help you reach your ultimate goal. Making use of these three questions will undoubtedly land you with the advisor that can help you trek down the path you desire. Are you a fiduciary? According to Wikipedia’s definition, “a fiduciary is a person who holds a legal or ethical relationship of trust with one or more other parties (person or group of persons). Typically, a fiduciary prudently takes care of money or other assets for another person.” Merriam-Webster defines it this way, “of, relating to, or involving a confidence or trust;” So to put that in layman’s terms, a fiduciary is doing what’s in the person’s best interest. Most people don’t realize when choosing an advisor that the expert does NOT have to act in your best interest. They just have to meet what is called a suitability requirement…in other […]
February 18, 2016

Low cost investing: Why not? – Financially Simple

Low cost investing: Why not?  When you buy into a mutual fund, you have to pay for the expertise of the fund manager and the research that goes into choosing assets for that fund. That cost can vary widely between funds. As a result, some experts believe you should stick to funds with the lowest available costs. In other words, why should you be paying any more than absolutely necessary, when that cost comes directly out of your pocket? This is not a bad strategy, but it may not always be the best idea for your situation. Let’s look at an example. Say an investment returns 10 percent and the cost is 1 percent; in that case, your net return is 9 percent. If another investment with the same return costs only a quarter of a percent, your net grows by three-quarters of a percent, to 9.75. So the argument says that if two funds perform identically, only a fool would take the higher-cost choice. Makes sense, no? The problem is that “if” is a troublesome word. If two investments return the same, then yes, you should go for the lower cost. But your pursuit of low cost should not […]