How A Negligent Rule of Thumb Causes Poor Divorce and Estate Planning Decisions

An important consideration in divorce and estate planning that often gets ignored, underappreciated, or just poorly evaluated is the relative comparison of different account types: tax free accounts, tax deferred accounts, and taxable accounts.  While many people tend to think of $100,000 as $100,000, the account type in which the money resides can make a [...]

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 [...]

11 Retirement Plan and IRA Beneficiary Designation Mistakes

A married couple pays a local attorney to draw up estate documents.  The attorney drafts wills and lays out the well-conceived plan for testamentary trusts to be created upon death, distributing assets just as the husband and wife desire.  The couple signs the documents with appropriate witnesses and goes home to the relief that their estate [...]

Retirement Planning And the Future of Social Security

Lost amidst the hoopla of the Super Bowl last weekend was a historic anniversary.  75 years ago, on January 31, 1940, the first Social Security retirement check was mailed to Ida May Fuller, a legal secretary from Vermont who went to grammar school with Calvin Coolidge. 75 years after that first check, Social Security is an integral part [...]

The Middle Seat of Retirement Planning – Why Retirement Plan Limits Should Not Limit Your Savings Plan

First time flyers on Southwest Airlines are easy to spot at the boarding gate.  They’re notably confused, trying to figure out the purpose of the stainless steel posts with numbers on them and what they should do with the unusual B22 zone assignment on their boarding pass.  Someone eventually helps them find their spot in line and [...]

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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