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 [...]

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 [...]