The 2017 Tax Cuts & Jobs Act and you!

As we begin the new year, there are many changes afoot which will impact clients in a variety of ways.  The passage of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act introduces many changes to personal income taxation beginning with the 2018 tax return filing.  The following contains a few of the highlights which will impact your overall taxation going forward.     2017 Individual Income Tax Rates 2018 Individual Income Tax Rates Married Filing Jointly and Surviving Spouses: Married Filing Jointly and Surviving Spouses: 10% (Taxable income not over $18,650) 10% (Taxable income not over $19,050) 15% (Over $18,650 but not over $75,900) 12% (Over $19,050 but not over $77,400) 25% (Over $75,900 but not over $153,100) 22% (Over $77,400 but not over $165,000) 28% (Over $153,100 but not over $233,350) 24% (Over 165,000 but not over $315,000) 33% (Over $233,350 but not over $416,700) 32% (Over 315,000 but not over $400,000) 35% (Over $416,700 but not over 470,700) 35% (Over $400,000 but not over 600,000) 39.6% (over $470,700) 37% (over $600,000) Single Individuals: Single Individuals: 10% (Taxable income not Read on! →

Moving from “tax” prep to “life” prep

At this time of year, everyone becomes a master at document gathering.  There is a shoe box or a filing system or a folder on your laptop to hold all the tax-related documents which are needed to complete your income tax returns.  It requires a diligent attitude to ensure nothing has been neglected or omitted which is important to the outcome of the bottom line.  Once the taxes have been submitted for the year, there is always a sigh of relief in getting to completion. Before you pack everything up and put it away for another year, take a step beyond tax prep and begin your life prep.  What does life prep really mean?  Like tax preparation, the devil is in the details and it is critical to your financial success that you take the time to examine and shore up the other areas of your financial life. You can start with that recently completed tax return.  Did you save to your employer plan and thereby reduce your current income?  If eligible, did you contribute to a Roth or regular Read on! →

Why you should get to know your insurance agent!

When was the last time you met with your Property & Casualty Insurance agent? Here’s why you should get to know them. For many of us, our insurance agent is a name on an insurance card, the person we would call if we were ever involved in an accident or if we had a claim to file. The reason we need to get to know our agent is so that they can get to know us and therefore ensure that we are insured appropriately. I recently spent about an hour in my insurance agent’s office to complete a thorough review of my insurance coverage. A higher than anticipated homeowner’s invoice is what prompted me to initiate this session. The agent’s office was more than willing to meet and discuss the policy in detail. We reviewed all the details of our home, including square footage, floor coverings (hardwood, carpet, tile), upgrades to kitchens and bathrooms, outdoor improvements (screened porches, outdoor kitchens), as well as the basics of how many bedrooms, bathrooms, etc. were in the house.  After about 50 detailed questions, Read on! →

Did you know the Serenity Prayer applies to your financial plan?

Many of us are familiar with the Serenity Prayer.  Most individuals understand there are areas of their lives which they can’t control, as well as areas which are entirely within their control.  Thankfully, having the serenity to accept, the courage to change and the wisdom to know the difference might just make the financial journey more enjoyable. In financial planning, there are aspects which are “known” and entirely in your control.  There are also those things which are “assumed”, that may or may not be in your control and that can lead to an uncertain outcome.    A well-constructed plan dives into the details of your life, documents the known factors, and makes educated assumptions about what the future might hold and predicts an outcome.  Some of the assumptions however, are made in areas that are entirely out of your control and therefore can sometimes seem like a shot in the dark. So what does all of this mean for a secure future?  For retirement planning to be most successful, you must distinguish which areas you can control and those you Read on! →