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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Do I need a living trust?

Most people do not think about estate planning for numerous reason, not enough assets, no time, do not care, and so on. I am here to tell you EVERYONE needs to think about estate planning. One way to take care of the majority of your estate planning is by setting up a Living Trust. I have listed below the reasons why you need to have a Living Trust .

1. Avoid Probate: Do you want the courts telling you how to divide up your assets or who will take care of your children? Well that is exactly what will happen if you die and do not have aLiving Trust in place.

2. Avoiding Estate Taxes: You can set up certain trusts to avoid estate taxes at the time of death.

3. Confidentiality: When you die and have no will or trust in place. your estate will go into probate. In probate your assets are public record for everyone to see what you owned. If you are like me I do not want any lawyers knowing what I own.

4. Conservatorship: With a Living Trust you can name who you want to take care of you when you become incapacitated. Without one the courts will appoint one for you.

5. No recordkeeping: Some people think it takes a lot of time to maintain a Living Trust. Once you transfer your assets into one that is it. You do not have to do anything more.

Here a few reasons why you need to set up a Living Trust today. You owe it to yourself and and your love ones.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Guest Blog - The Market's Message Is 'Beware Inflation' - CNBC

Guest Blog - The Market's Message Is 'Beware Inflation' - CNBC

TurboTax is Easy, Free Edition, Fast Refund

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Should I invest in an annuity?

I hate getting asked this question. The reason why is usually someone has been speaking to the family insurance person. These products get pushed so hard by the insurance industry and they are a completely flawed product. the only person annuities benefit are, you guessed it, the insurance industry. Let's go over why these are wrong for you:

1.   Commissions: You will be paying a hefty commission to the agents. This may upwards to 12%. Now you know why they push these so hard.

2.   Surrender Fee: So you get suckered by a smooth talking salesperson and you want out.  Not so fast, you will have to pay a fee to close the annuity.

3.   Early Withdrawal Penalty: If you are younger than 59 1/2 and want to make a withdrawal you will have to pay a 10% penalty.

4    Loads:  You will have to pay a load to invest in their mutual funds.

5.   Taxes: Gains on your investments are taxed as ordinary income which is higher than capital gains rates

6.   Estate Planninghere's no getting around the income tax due on annuities. In fact, if you die with money remaining in your annuity, your beneficiary will inherit all the taxes that you have deferred. Compare this to a mutual fund or ETF, whose basis is stepped-up at death. In that case, your beneficiary would owe no taxes on the gains. Both types of accounts — annuities and mutual funds — are liable for federal estate taxes on anything over the federal estate tax exemption.

Do yourself a favor and next time a salesperson recommends an annuity, RUN!!!!  

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Is this mutual fund any good?

When I hear my clients ask me this question I do not think they realize they are actually asking two separate questions. One, is the mutual fund they are asking about a good sound investment? Two, is this mutual fund right for me? You need to remember this when researching mutual funds for your portfolio. Let's examine a little closer:

1. Is this mutual fund a good sound investment? There are thousands of books and articles that can show you how to answer this question. I am not going into here. But you NEED to do your own due diligence on whether the mutual fund is a good investment or not. Only when you have convinced yourself that it is truly a good investment can you ask yourself the second question.

2. Does this mutual fund fit in your portfolio? The first thing you must do is figure out your portfolio allocation. How much do you have in large caps, small caps, growth, value, international? You get the picture. Now, by adding this investment will it overweight you in a particular category? If so, can you sell another mutual fund in the same category to make room for this one? Will this mutual fund bring too much risk into your portfolio? If so, this mutual fund may not be right for you. You need to be sure that the new mutual fund "fits" in your allocation.

With these two simple questions, you can decide for yourself if a mutual fund is good for you.

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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Here is another reason you need to freeze your credit

I stumbled on this article how this guy got identity stolen. Please I have repeated before do the extra effort and freeze all 3 credit reports. You can also sign up for Life Lock.

Link to article

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#1 in Identity Theft Protection

Friday, February 18, 2011

How do I chose a tax preparer

I get this question all the time. How do I chose a tax preparer? Well, who best to go to get the answer? The IRS of course. Here is the link to the website where they give points to keep in mind when choosing a preparer. Of course, i have to out in a shameless plug and you can always use me. You can contact me by clicking on the button on the left.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

What is new with the 2010 tax code?

There have been some significant changes to the tax code this year. Smartmoney has put them together in an article below:

 By now, some of you may already have your 2010 W-2 and 1099s in hand. If not, it won't be long. So it's not too soon to think about starting your 2010 Form 1040. Before you begin, there are some key changes to note. Here's what you need to know.

Read more: Here