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's on.  The brief history goes [...]

Dividends May Lie…And So Might the Marketing Pitch of Dividend Investing

Few things in our profession are more frustrating than when financial advisors deliver bad financial advice.  It doesn’t have to be that bad financial advice is dishonest or delivered for the wrong reasons (like it is so often, for the benefit of the advice-provider).  It is just that misguided or blatantly wrong financial advice hurts consumers and [...]

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 [...]

Asset Location: The High Cost Mistakes People Make

Earlier this month, we published an article explaining why investors would be well served to organize their portfolios like their kitchens.  This process, one that the finance industry calls ‘asset location’, is simply intended to make the most of the existing tax code.  The IRS sets the rules with different tax treatment for different account types [...]

Asset Location: Organize Your Portfolio Like Your Kitchen

My family’s kitchen will not be profiled on HGTV as a model of organization.  We face the practical limitations of 25-year old builder-grade cabinets and constrained space.  We also face the reality confronted by many parents of young children.  That is, the focus of children emptying a clean dishwasher is on getting it done quickly [...]

More Smart Tax Planning with 529 College Savings Plans

In an article last month about saving for college, we outlined some of the many ways to handle overfunded 529 college savings plans and why these underpublicized options justify aggressive funding of 529 plans.  In the opening paragraphs of that May article, we explained how the rules treat 529 account funds used for non-qualified expenses: The first [...]

Why Non-Deductible IRA Contributions Are Generally a Bad Idea

High income families faced with high annual taxes are often looking for ways to reduce their taxes or save additional dollars in tax-efficient ways.  Unfortunately, these well-intentioned pursuits often result in irrational behaviors (such as permitting the government to shortchange your retirement savings) or unfavorable outcomes (such as paying more taxes than you would have [...]

Flexibility of 529 College Savings Plans Often Argue for Aggressive Funding

In the 20 years since Section 529 was added to the Internal Revenue Code under the Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996, many families have discovered the significant advantages of the “Qualified Tuition Programs” which we collectively now refer to as 529 College Savings Plans. Among other benefits, these plans offer tax-exempt investment growth [...]

Simple and Effective Investing

“It might be the simplest play in all of sports, and the most effective.  Give the ball to Michael Jordan, and everyone else get out of the way.” These two sentences began an Associated Press article on May 28, 1989.  The day prior, the Chicago Bulls had the ball in the closing seconds of a [...]

Protecting Children and Grandchildren with an IRA Trust

One of the most challenging roles of parenting is finding the proper balance between protecting children too much and not enough.  In the early years, we cover electrical outlets, protect household edges with soft bumpers, and spend hours analyzing all the safety features of car seats.  Parental protection then evolves to monitoring what our children [...]