What working parents can learn from the backpacking community

It is a late-April morning and you are standing at the rim of the Grand Canyon, ready to hike down to the Inner Canyon.  The temperature is a few degrees below freezing and an uncomfortably cold wind is blowing.  You have come prepared and dressed appropriately to fend off the bitterly cold wind as you [...]

Children as Dependents, Kiddie Tax, and College Tax Planning Strategies – Updated

Back in 2014, we authored this article explaining why higher income parents may be well served to gift appreciated investments to their children and then have the children use the proceeds to pay for college.  The article further explained how taxpayers who faced alternative minimum tax (AMT) received no tax benefit from claiming their children as [...]

How Apathetic, Ignorant, or Overcommitted is Your Financial Advisor?

All three of time, interest or passion, and knowledge are required to be successful at anything.  I might have the knowledge of how to mow my grass properly and I might enjoy mowing my grass but if I don’t have the time to mow my grass, then my lawn eventually becomes a mess.  Alternatively, I [...]

The Newly Expanded Benefit of the Qualified Charitable Distribution

What do Arnold Schwarzenegger, Steven Tyler, Stevie Nicks, Billy Crystal, and my father all have in common?  At least two things.  They will, God willing, all celebrate their 70 1/2 birthdays in 2018 and join the ranks of approximately 25 million others in the United States over this age (assuming, of course, that they all [...]

3 Things People Get Wrong About Gifts To Or From Family Members

On June 26, 1963, President John F. Kennedy delivered one of the most important speeches of his presidency at the foot of the recently-built Berlin Wall.  During this speech, viewed as a turning point in the Cold War, Kennedy spoke the now famous words, "Ich bin ein Berliner."  His intent was to express solidarity with [...]

High Income Earners Fail to Appreciate the Math of 529 Plans – Part II

We made the case in this 2017 Astute Angle post that Section 529 College Savings Plans present a huge tax saving opportunity for high income parents but that most fail to exploit the opportunity.  Based on experience and observation, we cited five reasons that parents and grandparents fail to maximize the potential benefits.  Two of [...]

4 Secrets to Better Investing

1) Turn off the financial noise machine. Information overload is the norm in today’s world.  We demand it.  We expect it.  Your mind, my mind, and all of our minds are wired to digest information, emotionally respond to the information, and then to do something as a result.  This is why and how advertising works.  [...]

Georgia Rural Hospital Tax Credit and Qualified Education Expense Credit Under the New Tax Law

Prior to 2018, the financial benefit for Georgia taxpayers to utilize the Rural Hospital Tax Credit and the Qualified Education Expense Tax Credit accrued only to those who faced alternative minimum tax (AMT).  Georgia taxpayers who were not subject to AMT had the opportunity to direct the application of their state taxes to a specific [...]

Tax Planning Strategies Under the New Tax Law

The first sentence of our early November 2017 Astute Angle post read "It is November 8th, 2017 as this is written and there is no doubt that a lot will happen with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act before the end of the year."  As expected, a lot did happen to the initial Tax Cuts [...]

Zero-Based Budgeting Applied to Personal Finance

If you have ever run a businesses or worked in corporate finance, you are likely familiar with the concept of zero-based budgeting (ZBB) as an alternative to traditional budgeting.  The traditional form of budgeting - and the one most commonly used in corporate America - uses the amount spent last year in each category (or [...]