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Financial News ,Financial News ,Investment Strategy ,Financial Advisor

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 ,Financial News ,Investment Strategy ,Financial Advisor

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 ,Financial News ,Investment Strategy ,Financial Advisor

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 ,Financial News ,Investment Strategy ,Financial Advisor

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 ,Financial News ,Investment Strategy ,Financial Advisor

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 ,Financial News ,Investment Strategy ,Financial Advisor

'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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Financial News ,Financial Planning ,Wealth Management

The Importance of Retainer Fee-Based Financial Planning & Wealth Management

Retainer fee-based financial planning holds significantly more benefits for advisors and investors concerned about navigating recent industry changes than the traditional commission-based model. Here are several reasons why you should consider making the switch today.

Recent, sweeping tax reform. Uncertainty about the U.S. Department of Labor’s recently enacted—(Or was it?)—Fiduciary Rule. The current turbulence defining the stock market, and ever-evolving capabilities of automation.

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Financial News ,Financial News ,Pro Tips ,Wealth Management

Charitable Giving Ideas to Benefit Those in Need & Your Family

Listed here are some ideas to ponder for 2018 and beyond that would benefit the charity of your choice, and your family. Anything you read below should be discussed first with your accountant or tax advisor before you take action.

Charitable giving has certainly changed in 2018. A new tax regime has been passed into law, called the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.” The main change that is relevant for charitable giving is whether (or not) you can still itemize your deductions on your income tax return. Why is that relevant? Charitable giving is part of your itemized deductions.

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Financial News ,CPA Continuing Education ,Financial News

CPA Continuing Education Course: Helping Clients With Elderly Parents

Learn how to help your accounting clients with the tax, financial planning, and family issues associated with their aging parents.
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