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Financial News ,CPA Continuing Education ,Financial News

CPA Continuing Education Course: Retainer Fee Wealth Management

Retainer fee-based financial planning and wealth management is a new service being offered to your clients. Learn about it here.
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Financial News ,Investment Strategy ,Financial Advisor ,Financial News

Long-Term Care Insurance vs. Hybrid Life/LTC Insurance Policies

Should long-term care insurance be purchased as a stand-alone policy or as a feature of a “hybrid” life insurance policy?

Having been in the life and health insurance industry since 1984, I have become skeptical when insurance companies include language in the fine print such as: “may be,” “ordinarily excluded,” “check with your tax advisor,” or “the rider is not long-term care insurance and is not intended to replace long-term care insurance.”

Why are those disclosures included within hybrid life insurance and long-term care policy contracts? Do we have to find out at claim time exactly how they apply? The purpose of this article is to address some of these issues.

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Financial News ,Investment Strategy ,Financial Advisor ,Financial News

Can Retainer Fee-Based Financial Planning & Wealth Management Help Couples Address Money-Related Relationship Problems?

Yes, retainer fee-based financial planning and wealth management can help set couples—or anyone for that matter—on a clearer path toward achieving their lifelong goals.

It’s well established that finances and money-related matters can be a prime source of disharmony within a marriage or relationship.

Understandably so. Between rent or mortgage payments, property taxes, car and health insurance, utilities and entertainment costs, retirement and/or college savings, and the daily necessary living expenses associated with home ownership, transportation, and/or children, it can add up.

And these are just a brief rundown of some of the known expenses; unaccounted for are those unexpected costs that inevitably arise throughout the course of life.

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Financial News ,Investment Strategy ,Financial Advisor ,Financial News

April 1 IRA Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) Start Date: What You Need to Know

April 1 marks the starting date of Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) withdrawals for IRA owners who've turned 70 ½, with significant tax ramifications, as well as a costly penalty for those who don't comply.

Besides the infamous April 15th tax return deadline looming this year, there is also the infamous April 1st date.

Why is this date also infamous?

It is the “Required Beginning Date” (RBD) for Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) withdrawals from traditional IRAs following the year the IRA owner turns 70 ½. This is only the beginning. Every year thereafter, withdrawals must be taken. The result is more taxable income and income taxes. Ouch! With more and more boomers turning 70, this date will live on in infamy until the IRS changes the rules.

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Financial News ,Investment Strategy ,Financial Advisor ,Financial News

What Accountants Should Know About Their Clients' Financial Advisors

Important information for CPAs to know about their clients' financial advisors include: how they're compensated, who they represent, what strategies they utilize, and whether or not they are true fiduciaries.

(Co-authored by 4Thought Financial Group Operations Associate Michael C. Duvally)

The time is now for CPAs to step up to the plate and learn how their clients’ financial advisors are being compensated.  

The financial services industry has not been up front or transparent about this historically. Now that the Fiduciary Rule by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is in tatters, all compensation options are once again on the table. A recent client meeting proved onerous fees are still being charged and incentives are still misaligned in many cases. 

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Financial News ,Investment Strategy ,Financial Advisor ,Financial News

How Can I Avoid the Probate Process? The Revocable Living Trust.

A Revocable Living Trust holds several significant benefits for the grantor, chief among these, avoiding the probate process while still retaining control of the assets during his/her lifetime.

(Co-authored by 4Thought Financial Group CEO Brian Mackey)

The estate probate process can be a long, expensive, frustrating process, often lasting nine months to two years while moving through the courts system, potentially costing thousands of dollars in fees, and leaving beneficiaries in a state of confusion without access to assets during a time in which they are grieving over a family loss.

For these reasons, most individuals with substantial wealth prefer to plan in advance of their own death to avoid and minimize the probate process to the extent possible.

How can one avoid the probate process? While there are several potential answers to this question (and the appropriate ones depend on the specifics of the situation), one possible solution is the Revocable Living Trust (RLT).

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Financial News ,Investment Strategy ,Financial Advisor ,Financial News

What Is the Best Way to Transfer Ownership of a Business?

Choosing the right business succession strategy is critical to facilitating a smooth transition and ensuring nothing falls through the cracks. Potential methods include leaving your ownership to your family via your will, gifting the business to family member employees, or selling ownership to a third party.

Business succession is one of the most complicated subjects that all privately held business owners are eventually faced with.

Business owners do not want to give up control. I recently heard a great comment from a former business owner, who finally at age 85 decided to sell to an unrelated third party: “I should have sold 15 years earlier!” In this business owner’s family, no one was interested in going into the business. But it is much more complicated when family is involved versus not. Either way, there are many reasons to wait. There are also many reasons to act expeditiously.

Below are some issues and approaches to consider when dealing with business succession. Your accountant or tax advisor and lawyer should be consulted before any strategies are implemented.

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Financial News ,Investment Strategy ,Financial Advisor ,Financial News

How Can a High Earner Reduce Current Income Taxes? Through a Non-Qualified Deferred Compensation Plan.

A Non-Qualified Deferred Compensation plan is not for every employer or employee, but can be a useful means of deferring a large portion of taxable income and reducing current income taxation, while also attracting and retaining highly skilled personnel.

There are a variety of ways for high earners to reduce their current income tax liabilities, but they’re not all as obvious as taking your available deductions and maxing out your 401k contributions. After your 401k contribution has been maxed out for the year, one possible solution to further reduce current taxation is the Non-Qualified Deferred Compensation plan (NQDC).

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Financial News ,Investment Strategy ,Financial Advisor ,Financial News

'How Can I Make Gifts Without Paying Taxes?' & Other Gift Tax-Related Questions Answered

Knowing the requirements, limitations and annual tax exclusions pertaining to gifting—such as cash gifts, educational and medical contributions, 529 plan funding, and more—is critical to minimizing personal liabilities while maximizing benefits to loved ones.

This is a common topic that never seems to go away. From parents to grandparents, each year the questions arise: "How much am I allowed to give to my kids and grandkids? Should I set up a 529 plan? What are the limits on how much to give?"

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Financial News ,CPA Continuing Education ,Financial News

CPA Continuing Education Course: Life Insurance as a Tool of Financial Planning

Learn about the multiple applications of life insurance for individuals and business owners.
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