Category Archives: Financial Planning

The Power of Compounding

Albert Einstein once (allegedly) called compounding interest the most powerful force in the universe. While claims that the famous scientist uttered these words are dubious at best, what is not in question is that compounding interest is an incredibly powerful tool that all investors can leverage. Read more »

Building Walls of Financial Protection

There has been a lot of talk about building walls lately. Regardless of whether you are in favor of building physical ones, you ought to consider building some legal and financial ones, as we are each surrounded by potential liability threats. While the odds of any of these liability threats becoming a liability claim are incredibly low (the odds are about 1 in 2,000 that someone will have a serious slip and fall in the shower, for example), the impact these events have when they do happen can be profound (especially if that person fell in a shower at an apartment that you rented to them). Properly constructed walls can shield assets and provide a level of protection from claims. Read more »

Practical Planning: Review Your Withholdings for 2018

Even though we are knee-deep in the 2017 tax season, it’s not too early to start thinking about 2018 taxes. Given tax reforms in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, wage earners should be sure to review and, if necessary, adjust their tax withholding. You can start this process using the IRS 2018 Withholding Calculator to do a “paycheck checkup” and help you determine whether your tax withholdings are appropriate. Read more »

Beware of Tax Scams Involving Fraudulent Refunds

Less than a week after we posted our recent story on criminals using tax season to wreak havoc in the lives of taxpayers, the IRS issued a warning about a new kind of scam that has affected thousands of taxpayers early in this year’s tax season — they describe an especially tricky ploy that involves depositing funds into taxpayers’ actual bank accounts. Here is how it works: fraudulent returns are filed by scammers on behalf of taxpayers, tax refunds are then erroneously deposited into taxpayers’ bank accounts by the IRS, and then the scammers contact the taxpayer pretending to be IRS agents seeking return of funds to a particular account. Once the taxpayer initiates the return transaction, the scammer has the money he or she was looking for. Read more »

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 »