Tax Saving Tips for Graduate School and Other Low Income Years

Over the course of a career, many individuals will experience a year or more with limited income prior to retirement.  It could be the result of a multi-month break from employment or simply the decision to temporarily leave the workforce for graduate school.  These situations present powerful opportunities that are generally only available for a limited [...]

Pros and Cons of Toddler Golf and Target Date Funds

There is a refreshing simplicity to the golf game of a toddler.  I appreciate this because my youngest son’s passion for golf is only superseded right now by that of chocolate chip cookies and his blanket.  He spends long stretches every day hitting a foam golf ball around the yard and occasionally we visit the [...]

Children as Dependents and College Tax Planning Strategies

Most questions in life that begin “Can I…” ideally ought to be prefaced with the question of “Should I…”  The distinction is important.  “Can I” implies that the item in question is a good idea in the first place.  Often, it is not. When it comes to taxes, many people want to know if they [...]

Should I Pay off My Mortgage or Invest?

One of the most common questions facing families and individuals is whether to accelerate mortgage payments and forego the potential mortgage interest deduction or borrow as much as possible, make minimum debt payments, and save for retirement.  Simply, is it better to save or pay off debt?  The question comes in a variety of flavors: [...]

Opportunity for High Income Earners – the Backdoor Roth Conversion

This week, five years ago, was a period that financial journalists dream about.  We were ushering in the new year of 2010 and significant impending tax law changes provided a bevy of important topics that consumers needed help navigating.  There was the elimination of federal estate and gift tax, the return of IRA required minimum distributions [...]

The Best Retirement Plan for Self Employed Individuals

In financial planning, the right answer to most seemingly simple questions is nearly always “it depends”.  How much life insurance do I need?  Should I contribute to a traditional 401k or a Roth 401k?  Should I use a will or revocable trust for my estate?  How much can I plan to safely distribute from my [...]

A Framework for Considering Gains and Losses

At this time of year, there is no shortage of holiday music on the radio, consumer electronic advertisements on television, and year-end tax planning suggestions in print media.  Rather than add one more article about the ten tax steps you should consider at year-end, we thought it would instead be beneficial to review the framework [...]

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Thinking Differently About Required Minimum Distributions

In 1987, the IRS created rules to require the distribution of retirement plan assets and set 70½ as the age at which these distributions would be required to begin.  Although not mentioned in the legislation or tax code, this age was chosen based on a Biblical reference to old age: “The days of our years [...]

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Income Planning for the New Health Insurance Subsidies

It is estimated that nearly 26 million Americans will be eligible for some form of health insurance subsidy starting in 2014 under the Affordable Care Act.  For individuals and families with incomes well in excess of 4x the federal poverty line, these subsidies will be a non-event.  However, there are several situations where the subsidies [...]