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 [...]

Why You Should Not Own Your Best Investment Idea in a Tax-Deferred IRA

The following paraphrases a conversation that I have had many times before with friends and clients.  It is obviously never the same dialogue but the underlying advice is the same - that you should generally not own your favorite investment or can't-miss stock idea in a traditional IRA.   Me: Did you buy this stock because [...]

A Story of Correlation and The Greatest Team Ever Assembled

A respected portfolio manager presented recently at an investment symposium where she explained an investment strategy that has consistently maintained zero correlation to stocks.  Several times during her presentation, she described why the strategy should be expected to maintain a near-zero correlation to stock markets in the future.  During the break that followed, financial advisors [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

The Tax Saving Opportunity of a Lifetime for Early Retirees

Like it or not, the Affordable Care Act will again rule the health insurance marketplace in 2018 regardless of what happens in Congress with tax legislation or whether the individual mandate holds up over the coming weeks.  Also like it or not, there has been a dramatic increase in insurance premiums from the onset of [...]