Author:Devin McCombs

2023 End of Year Tax Planning Checklist

As the year draws to a close, we must make tax-aware decisions before the ball drops and we hit our tax deadline for 2023.  A few annual items to review include reviewing qualified plan contributions, annual gifting and gifting deadlines, and tax bracket management.  Then, we have an assortment of one-offs or end-of-year planning items specific to 2023. Gifts: Many folks give end-of-year cash gifts during the holiday season; while this can be a great way to give gifts, monitor when these gifts are cashed, and coordinate the gift giving as needed.  We have received somewhat surprising guidance from the IRS that...

When is the right time to itemize your taxes?

Tax season can be a daunting time for many individuals, filled with confusing forms, numbers, and decisions to make. One of the critical decisions taxpayers face is whether to file with itemized deductions or opt for the standard deduction. Understanding the differences between these two approaches is crucial for anyone looking to minimize their tax liability and make informed financial decisions. In this blog, we'll explore the distinctions between Itemizing Deductions and the Standard Deduction, so that you can choose the most advantageous filing method for your tax reality. Background: Mass income taxation was introduced during World War Two when the US...

SAVE and OnRAMP

On Friday, June 30th, a date which will live in infamy (at least with student loan borrowers), the Supreme Court ruled that the Biden administration's student debt forgiveness program was unconstitutional.  No sooner had the ink dried that the administration announced their plan B, a double whammy of the SAVE and On-Ramp programs.  These programs were aimed at helping citizens with outstanding student loans to finally pay off their loans or have a path toward student loan forgiveness after a series of payments.  The ambitious SAVE program will replace the current REPAYE program and will, by July 1st of 2024,...

The ABC’s of Student Loans

The phrase Student Loan Debt likely inspires dread in the minds of many struggling to repay years-old loans for an education that may or may not have been worth the cost.  While many view student loans and the mounting debt crisis with disdain, student loans have funded the education of millions in the past decades.  Since the 80s college tuition inflation has outpaced both actual inflation and salary escalation leading to increase borrowing to fund educational goals.  This led to the ballooning of student loan debt and the student debt crisis I’m sure you’re sick of living through. When borrowers find...

Bananas and Bank Runs

By now, you’ve likely heard about the bank run on the Silicon Valley Bank and the subsequent failure and bailout of that bank.  You may have also heard about the failure of an unrelated bank in New York, Signature Bank, and about the bailout of the depositors at these two institutions. As with anything in the world of business and finances, the complexities of the bank run, bailout, and expected fallout will be very complicated and by the time they’re fully understood, will likely be forgotten.  However, through the magic of AI, I came up with another solution to explain...

Sample Advanced CTC Check

Should you Opt Out of the Monthly Advance Child Tax Credit Payments?

With the monthly Advance Child Tax Credit Payments starting to be sent out in mid-July, we’ve received several inquiries from clients as to whether or not they should opt out of these payments (to avoid potentially having to pay it back when they file their 2021 returns). As such, I thought it would be helpful to provide an overview of how it works, how to calculate your 2021 amount, and how to decide if you should opt out of the monthly advanced payments.   By Laurence Schiffman, CFP® September 11, 2021   Estimated Read Time:  12-14 minutes If you don’t care about the details, scroll to the...

Important Message Regarding Long-Term Care Insurance

If you have long-term care insurance, you have most likely received a premium rate increase on your policy (potentially multiple ones depending on the insurance company). These are typically accompanied by a few options to make changes to your policy. In general, the options listed are typically more beneficial to the insurance company than the policy owner and are not the only options available. Here’s what I just went through for my parents: In May my parents received a notice from Genworth that their premiums would be increasing by 55%. This was on top of the 44% increase between 2013-2015 and the...

Hand Sanitizer and Masks are Tax-Deductible (and HSA eligible)

Last week the IRS announced that amounts paid for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), which includes masks, hand sanitizer, and sanitizing wipes are tax-deductible medical expenses if the primary purpose for purchasing them was to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. They also made this ruling retroactive to January 1, 2020. Unfortunately, in order to qualify for the deduction for medical expenses you need to itemize your deductions and only the portion of your medical expenses above 7.5% of your AGI is tax-deductible so very few people will actually be able to claim those deductions. Don’t fret though because there’s a twist to...

January 2021 Portfolio Update

We wanted to take a few minutes to loop you in on the rebalance we did earlier this week and some adjustments we made at the same time. A lot has happened over the past year. We saw the beginning and middle of a global pandemic, along with the markets' retreat and recovery along the way. Not only has Zoom become a household name, but many parents took up second careers as homeschool teachers. And most recently, we ushered in a new administration. With changes as large and impactful as these, it was prudent and timely to rebalance the portfolios...

October 2020 Portfolio Updates

This year has been one for the history books on many counts.  When we made the changes to our portfolios at the beginning of the year, we mentioned that we hadn’t experienced a bear market (i.e. 20% or greater decline) in over a decade.  While we did not know what would cause one, we knew (from a purely statistical standpoint) that we were on borrowed time and proactively adjusted our portfolios accordingly.  It turned out that the timing of our derisking was extremely timely.  When we made the changes to our portfolios, it was done so out of prudent investing...