When Roth is Wrong

In the book, Predictably Irrational, author and esteemed behavioral psychologist Dan Ariely wrote an entire chapter about the strong emotional impact of getting something for free.  He describes how we go back for free extra courses at the buffet despite not being hungry or how we wait in line for an hour to get a [...]

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 [...]