Debunking a Few Popular Retirement Myths

It seems high time to dispel some of these misconceptions. Generalizations about money and retirement linger. Some have been around for decades, and some new clichés have recently joined their ranks. Let’s examine a few. 1) “When I’m retired, I won’t really have to invest anymore.” Society still sees retirement as an end instead of a beginning – a finish line for a career. In reality, retirement is the start of a new and promising phase of life that could last a few decades. If you don’t keep one or two feet in the investment markets (most notably the equities … Read More

Q3 Economic Update

In this Q3 recap: stocks climb, U.S. economic indicators shine, yearly inflation decreases slightly, and a trade war gets underway. The Quarter in Brief The third quarter of 2018 shall be remembered as a great one for stocks. The Dow Industrials, Nasdaq Composite, and S&P 500 all rose more than 7% in three months as bullish investors maintained their confidence in the face of some momentous news developments. Consistently strong economic indicators and impressive corporate profits helped motivate the summer rally. While the prospect of a global trade war did not ruffle Wall Street, investors in other regions shouldered more … Read More

Understanding Real Estate Taxes

How to Reduce Capital Gains Tax on Your Primary Residence Qualified homeowners can exclude from their taxable income up to $500,000 in capital gains using IRS Section 121 Exclusion. Qualifying for the Exclusion: Your home must be used as a primary residence for at least 24 months out of the last 60 months before you sell it (two out of the last five years). The 24 months does not have to be consecutive. There are certain exceptions to the 24-month requirement when a change of employment, health, military service or other “unforeseen circumstances” have occurred. Generally, you can only claim … Read More

Q2 2018 Financial Market Update

The Quarter in Brief At the end of 2018, economists and journalists may look back on the second quarter and see the moment when a global trade war began. Whether one is truly underway or not, the fact is that Q2 was a good quarter for equities. The S&P 500 gained 2.93% in three months, and while the blue chips had their struggles, tech shares ascended once again. Many foreign benchmarks also had a good quarter, even as the Trump administration’s planned import taxes on U.S. trading partners drew tariffs in kind and bred pessimism overseas. Our labor market and … Read More

1031 Exchanges: The What, Why, When, & How

Real estate investors trying to defer taxes may want to explore like-kind exchanges. What exactly is a 1031 exchange? For some real estate investors, it may be a nice answer to a dilemma involving an income property. A properly executed 1031 exchange lets an investor sell one property and buy a similar one while deferring capital gains taxes. Also called a Starker exchange or a like-kind exchange, this procedure has been used for some time.1 Why would an income property owner choose a 1031 exchange over a standard sale? It comes down to taxes. The Internal Revenue Service does not … Read More

The A, B, C, & D of Medicare

Breaking down the basics & what each part covers. Whether your 65th birthday is on the horizon or decades away, you should understand the parts of Medicare – what they cover and where they come from. Parts A & B: Original Medicare. America created a national health insurance program for seniors in 1965 with two components. Part A is hospital insurance. It provides coverage for inpatient stays at medical facilities. It can also help cover the costs of hospice care, home health care, and nursing home care – but not for long and only under certain parameters.1 Seniors are frequently … Read More

Sailing with the Tides: Planning Your Investment Journey

Embarking on a financial plan is like sailing around the world. The voyage won’t always go to plan, and there will be rough seas. But the odds of reaching your destination increase greatly if you are prepared, flexible, patient, and well-advised. A mistake many inexperienced sailors make is not having a plan at all. They embark without a clear sense of their destination. And once they do decide, they often find themselves lost at sea in the wrong boat with inadequate provisions. Likewise, in planning an investment journey, you need to decide on your goal. A first step might be … Read More

Q1 2018 Financial Market Update

The Quarter in Brief Stocks rallied in January, corrected in February, and slumped in March as volatility and economic policy changes took some of the enthusiasm out of the market. The Trump administration announced tariffs on foreign steel, aluminum, and assorted products from China; China soon said that it would reciprocate with excise taxes of its own. The Federal Reserve adjusted the federal funds rate upward and welcomed a new chair; the White House appointed a new chief economic advisor. An orderly process was outlined for the Brexit. The Nasdaq Composite advanced for the first quarter, but the Dow 30 … Read More