Can Student Loans Fairly Be Labeled “Good Debt”?

Last week’s Astute Angle post explained some fallacies related to mortgage borrowing and how the free pass treatment of home mortgages as "good debt" leads to poor financial decision-making.  In response to that post, I received a few questions related to the "good debt" label of student loans that prompted another debt-centric post.  Three of [...]

The Mortgage Myths We Naïvely Believe

Baseball, apple pie, mom, Chevrolet, hot dogs, and home ownership.  Americana.  To question any of these things is un-American.  And so it becomes a largely unquestioned truth that borrowing money to buy a home is "good debt."  Home ownership, after all, is just living the American dream. But as a result of accepting this good debt [...]

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 [...]

Should I Use a 529 College Savings Plan to Pay for Private K-12 Expenses?

When qualified state tuition programs (QSTPs) were first introduced in 1996 and Section 529 was added to the Internal Revenue Code, the intent of Congress was to create a create a tax-friendly way for families to save for college costs.  At that time, the law provided that any earnings in a QSTP would be tax [...]

The Newly Expanded Tax Credit That Every Georgia Taxpayer Should Understand

Last week, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed House Bill 769, expanding a Georgia tax credit that supports rural hospital organizations across Georgia.  We explained the value of the rural hospital tax credit in this 2017 Astute Angle post but the recently expanded tax credit under HB 769 combined with provisions of the Tax Cuts and [...]

Children as Dependents, Kiddie Tax, and College Tax Planning Strategies – Updated

Back in 2014, we authored this article explaining why higher income parents may be well served to gift appreciated investments to their children and then have the children use the proceeds to pay for college.  The article further explained how taxpayers who faced alternative minimum tax (AMT) received no tax benefit from claiming their children as [...]

How Apathetic, Ignorant, or Overcommitted is Your Financial Advisor?

All three of time, interest or passion, and knowledge are required to be successful at anything.  I might have the knowledge of how to mow my grass properly and I might enjoy mowing my grass but if I don’t have the time to mow my grass, then my lawn eventually becomes a mess.  Alternatively, I [...]

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 [...]