Category Archives: Financial Planning

Don’t Get Scammed by Tax Scammers!

The beginning of February often puts U.S. residents in a tax-paying frame of mind, as employees open their mailboxes to find W-2s, 1099s, and other tax documents. February also brings with it increased activity from scammers and thieves, as tax season presents criminals with opportunities to steal identities, tax refunds, and all sorts of personal information. Read more »

Practical Planning – Understanding Life Insurance

The basic purpose of life insurance is simple: upon your death, a policy will pay out a set benefit (income tax-free and occasionally estate tax-free) to your beneficiaries. When considering life insurance options, however, it can be difficult to determine the amount of coverage your family needs and to understand the terminology and costs/benefits of different policies. Read more »

529 Plan Changes – Should you use your 529 Savings Plan to pay for elementary or high school?

Families saving for future educational expenses were granted an unexpected gift from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: up to $10,000 of elementary or high school tuition and fees may now be paid (tax and penalty-free) from 529 savings accounts. (Previously, 529 plans were limited only to college expenses.) In this post, I will address how this change to the tax code affects residents of Oregon and Washington and will answer some of the questions we have been getting here at our office. Read more »

Practical Planning – Advice for New Parents

Like a new year, parenthood brings with it many new experiences. Some are great — the first time you hold your child, the first time they smile, et cetera. Some are not — first diaper changes, the first all-nighter, and so on. The Arnerich Massena team is welcoming three babies in the coming months and we love hearing stories about these firsts from our new parents.

Sometime during those first few sleep-deprived months, most new parents stumble across the same thought: “Since I am now responsible for this other human being, I should probably get my finances and estate in order.” Read more »

Planning for Tax Reform

Republicans in the House and Senate have passed tax reform bills in their respective chambers. As the bills now go to committee for reconciliation, several items are clear: first, the text of the final bill is not likely to be set until around Christmas, leaving taxpayers no time to take action ahead of the new rules for the 2017 tax year. Second, some changes to the itemization of an individual taxpayer’s deductions are on the way. Third, the legislative and budgetary environment in Washington makes it likely that, if a bill is passed, interpreting that bill’s provisions is going to be something of a guessing game– one accountant recently described to me the current state of the environment as being, “akin to the Wild West, where anything goes.” Read more »

What is Financial Wellness and Why is it Important?

The 2017 Retirement Confidence Survey found that 3 in 10 workers worry about their personal finances while at work.1 What does this mean for employers, and what can you do about it? Research into financial wellness is beginning to show just how much of a toll financial anxiety can take on workers. Financial wellness is more than just a trendy term; it points to a very real problem, but there are solutions. Read more »