facebook twitter instagram linkedin google youtube vimeo tumblr yelp rss email podcast blog search brokercheck brokercheck

Articles on Wealth Management Topics

The CARES Act and Tax-Efficient Charitable Giving in 2020

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act contains one-time provisions that apply to the taking of required minimum distributions (RMD's) in 2020. The CARES Act also makes temporary modifications to some of the tax rules surrounding this year's charitable giving. With just a couple of months left to take advantage of them, let's explore these changes and their implications.

Read More

The CARES Act and Required Minimum Distributions

As mentioned in the most recent issue of "Seasonal Musings" - the quarterly e-newsletter distributed by Five Seasons Financial Planning - the passing of the SECURE Act late last year permanently changed the financial planning landscape, and in particular, many of the rules on required distributions from IRA's and retirement plan accounts. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, passed just a few months later, contains a number of measures related to the taking of RMD's in this calendar year alone.

Read More

Predicting Future Investment Returns: Implications for Retirement Planning

In the last installment of Articles on Wealth Management Topics, we discussed academic research on different ways to estimate the magnitude of future stock market returns. As a refresher, the worst of the ways studied was to extrapolate future returns from past returns. Nearly as ineffective is to base estimates of future returns on surveys of individual and institutional investors.

Read More

The ABC's of QCD's: Qualified Charitable Distributions Explained

After having played political ping-pong with them for almost a decade, Congress finally made qualified charitable distributions (QCD's) a permanent feature of the tax code late in 2015. And that's a good thing: (a) for those who consider their IRA required minimum distributions to be an unneeded and tax-inefficient nuisance, (b) for charitably-minded retirees, and (c) for charities in general.

Read More

The Current State of Social Security Claiming Strategies

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 was a mixed blessing for investors and retirees. As in most bipartisan compromises, there was plenty to dislike in that budget agreement. It did away with a couple of coordinated Social Security claiming strategies, "file-and-suspend" and "filing a restricted application", that were deemed by the Administration to be unintended loopholes.

Read More

Target-Date Mutual Funds: A Step in the Right Direction, But Far From Ideal

Target-date mutual funds have been attracting more and more assets during the last decade, primarily as a result of their burgeoning use in 401k and 403b plans. Plan sponsors and participants alike are drawn to the simplicity of TDF's, but as is often the case, the easy solution is not the best one. The weaknesses of target-date funds stem from three words: lack of customization.

Read More

An Introduction to Closed-End Mutual Funds

One of the investment universes that Five Seasons Financial Planning monitors in an ongoing search for value to exploit for the benefit of client portfolios is that of closed-end mutual funds. At this time of year, when tax-loss selling is prevalent, there are often compelling values to be found, and this year is no different. Since you may be somewhat less familiar with the concept of closed-end mutual funds than with other types of mutual funds, here's a quick primer:

Read More

Making the Most of Health Savings Accounts (HSA's)

Health Savings Accounts, or HSA's, were only introduced in 2004, and already there are over 20 million of them. Much of that growth, however, has taken place in the last few years, driven by the recent popularity of high-deductible health insurance plans. I've owned an HSA since 2011 and am a big fan of them, so let's discuss the benefits of these relatively new accounts.

Read More

Should You Withdraw from your Retirement Accounts or File for Social Security?

Almost half of retirees take Social Security at age 62, the earliest possible age you can sign up for these benefits. And the vast majority of retirees request benefits before their full retirement age. While the decision of when to file for Social Security benefits must be based on individual circumstances, I would argue that many retirees would be better served to wait longer to access this lifetime, inflation-adjusted stream of income.

Read More