Author - Matthew J. Illian, CFP®, AIF®

1
What Are The Odds That The Stock Market Will Go Up This Year?
2
Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs) from IRAs
3
Marotta’s 2016 Gone-Fishing Portfolio
4
IRS Wants Charities To Collect And Report Sensitive Donor Identity Information
5
Six Creative Beneficiary Designation Ideas

What Are The Odds That The Stock Market Will Go Up This Year?

The stock market is inherently volatile, but it is more likely to go up than down. Defining “the stock market” as the aggregate capitalization of all the securities listed on the NYSE, AMEX and NASDAQ exchanges, there have been only 22 years out of 89 in which the markets were down. That means that about 75% of the time, the year ends with the stock market gaining money.

Those are good odds and a good reason to remain invested even after a year in which the markets went down.

But how volatile are the markets really?

Of the 22 …

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Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs) from IRAs

In December 2015, Congress passed a law allowing you to give up to $100,000 to charity directly from your individual retirement account (IRA) when you are over 70 1/2 years old without counting the distribution as taxable income. This type of charitable gift is called a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD).

Normally, when you take money out of your IRA it is a taxable event. The withdrawal adds to your taxable income and inflates your adjusted gross income (AGI). Then, if you give the same amount to charity, the charitable gift reduces your taxable income by the amount of the gift …

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Marotta’s 2016 Gone-Fishing Portfolio

In 2011, we made the Marotta Gone Fishing Portfolio and have updated and reviewed it every year since. A gone-fishing portfolio has a limited number of investments with a balanced asset allocation that should do well with dampened volatility. Its primary appeal is simplicity. But a secondary virtue is that it avoids the worst mistakes of the financial services industry. The Marotta gone-fishing portfolio is used by many subscribers as a free and simple way of low-cost investing.

The gone-fishing portfolio provides suggested asset allocations for investors up to age 70 and up to $1 million. Comprehensive financial planning can …

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IRS Wants Charities To Collect And Report Sensitive Donor Identity Information

Late last year, the IRS proposed asking charities to collect sensitive donor identity information for any charitable gift of more than $250. As “IRS Elicits Vehement Reaction to Proposed Donor Substantiation Rule” reported:

The information collected by the nonprofit would include donors’ name, address, Social Security or other taxpayer identification number, and the amount of cash or a description of property donated. Nonprofits that use the option would also be required to provide a copy by the February date to each donor listed, revealing information specific to the donor.

In a joint letter to the IRS, 215 nonprofit

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Six Creative Beneficiary Designation Ideas

The majority of beneficiary designations are straightforward. Spouses leave retirement accounts primarily to each other and contingently divided among their children. If their children have not yet reached the age of majority, a trust may be involved.

For many, these simple and common beneficiary designations are the perfect fit for their wishes. For others, they want something more but haven’t yet thought of it. Here are 6 beneficiary designation ideas to inspire your estate planning creativity.

1. Use per stirpes to include your children’s families.

If you set your contingent beneficiary designations to divide your estate between your children, you …

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