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 [...]

10 Tax Planning Strategies for the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

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.  The current bill is being marked up by the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate is due to release its own [...]

Good and Bad Reasons Why High Income Earners Miss the Opportunity With 529 Plans – Part I

Mid-career professionals with young children severely underutilize Section 529 College Savings Plans.  That is not to say that these parents are unaware of 529 Plans or not using them for college savings.  In fact, most mid-career professional parents who I meet already know about 529 Plans and are often funding these accounts for future college [...]

The Qualified Charitable Distribution Explained

The history of the qualified charitable distribution (QCD) feels a lot like the 'Friends' relationship of Rachel and Ross.  Off.  On.  Off.  On.  Off.  On.  There has been enough disruption in the availability of this tax-saving opportunity that it has been hard to remember if it is on or off.  Good news...it's on.  The brief history goes [...]

Take Advantage of a Year-End Tax Opportunity with a Donor Advised Fund

This time of year is referred to as the ‘season of giving’.  Charities report that 31% of all charitable donations happen in December each year and that 12% of donations occur on the final three days of the year.  There is good reason to believe that those percentages will increase dramatically in 2016.  Proposed tax [...]

5 Medicare Open Enrollment Mistakes to Avoid

Records show that organ donation elections vary dramatically from country to country.  Even bordering countries with similar cultures have huge differences in the percentage of citizens who participate in organ donation programs.  Consider two countries that neighbor Germany: Austria and Belgium.  99.9% of Austrian citizens and 98% of Belgian citizens are registered organ donors.  In Germany, [...]

Why Non-Deductible IRA Contributions Are Generally a Bad Idea

High income families faced with high annual taxes are often looking for ways to reduce their taxes or save additional dollars in tax-efficient ways.  Unfortunately, these well-intentioned pursuits often result in irrational behaviors (such as permitting the government to shortchange your retirement savings) or unfavorable outcomes (such as paying more taxes than you would have [...]

Protecting Children and Grandchildren with an IRA Trust

One of the most challenging roles of parenting is finding the proper balance between protecting children too much and not enough.  In the early years, we cover electrical outlets, protect household edges with soft bumpers, and spend hours analyzing all the safety features of car seats.  Parental protection then evolves to monitoring what our children [...]