Archive - September 2009

1
How do You Maximize Your Benefits During Open Enrollment?
2
It’s About to Become Cheaper To Be Single – Again
3
4 Ways to Make a Budget Work
4
Roth Conversion As Estate Planning Technique
5
Purchase a Car: Getting a Fair Price With Minimum Haggling

How do You Maximize Your Benefits During Open Enrollment?

Four Do's During Open Enrollment Period!

Four Do's During Open Enrollment Period!

As we move into fall, open enrollment season is starting. For those of you that are employees, you may have already received information from your employers outlining the benefits available to you.  Some benefits may be offered on a pre-tax basis.  Most often health insurance is offered in this manner.  Here are four do’s to get you through this season’s open enrollment.

1. Do the reading!

While many folks simply peruse the information provided, benefits and tax savings are often left on the table.  Understanding your benefit package is an important part of your …

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It’s About to Become Cheaper To Be Single – Again

There have been several provisions available to taxpayers since 2003 that have provided relief from the old “marriage penalty” that was inherent in the tax code.  The term marriage penalty refers to several provisions in the tax law that made it automatically more expensive (from a tax payout perspective) for two people to be married filing jointly than to be two single persons filing singly.  The following marriage penalty relief provisions will be expiring at the end of calendar year 2010: [caption id="attachment_3279" align="alignright" width="350" caption="It’s About to Become Cheaper To Be Single – Again"]It’s About to Become Cheaper To Be Single – Again[/caption]
  • Standard deduction for Married
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4 Ways to Make a Budget Work

For so many people the problem with budgeting is two-fold:
  1. The budget template they are using doesn’t really reflect their lifestyle or the way they look at their money &/or
  2. The budget is prepared once, locked in a drawer or a Quicken file and never looked at, updated, or revised again.

So here are my 4 suggestions to address the problems and get you started on a “real world” budget that works for you.

Suggestion #1

Budget by season not by month

Many budget templates require you to fill in line items with monthy or annual amounts.  I don’t know

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Roth Conversion As Estate Planning Technique

The 2010 lifting of income limits for Roth IRA conversions creates a sizable opportunity to reduce estate taxes.  We’ve already discussed Roth IRA conversion basics, and who might want to convert.  But if your estate is potentially subject to the estate tax at your death, you have an additional reason to take a close look at this opportunity.

For 2009, the estate tax exemption is $3.5 million.  Under current law, the estate tax is scheduled to be completely revoked for 2010 and then in 2011 revert back to pre-2001 levels with a $675,000 per person exemption.  Very few …

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Purchase a Car: Getting a Fair Price With Minimum Haggling

One of the more fun parts of being a wealth advisor is when I get to remind a client that, really, much of the point of wealth management is to someday spend that wealth (or share it with others to spend). As hard as our riches sometimes come to us, it can be hard to shake loose of them, even when it’s okay to do so. Recently, I experienced some spending angst first-hand when I replaced my 13-year-old Mazda Miata (I love that car!) with a shiny, new Acura MDX.

I rather enjoyed the shopping experience, at least the part

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