Category Archives: Financial Planning

The Marital Penalty in the Tax Code

The U.S. Tax Code has included subtle penalties (and occasional benefits) for married couples for as long as there have been tax tables, phase-outs, and deductions — sometimes two people are better off filing as separate taxpayers, while sometimes couples get a little bit of a break when they tie the knot. The penalties are hidden in various places throughout the tax code and are most easily spotted when looking at the tax brackets a married couple filing jointly uses versus the same two incomes applied to the single filing table.  Read more »

What Does the Baby Boom Mean for Your Future?

One of the more frustrating aspects of the political climate in 2018 is that no one seems to be comfortable discussing the elephant in the room: Americans are living longer and having fewer babies. As a result, the commitment the United States has made to healthcare and retirement benefits for baby boomers is likely to lead to substantially higher taxes and/or significant cuts to entitlement programs in the United States over the next few decades. Read more »

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 »