All Posts By

Bill Schwartz, CPA, CFP®

medicare

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Medicare

By Guides & Whitepapers
Medicare: The Basics Medicare is the Federal health insurance program for people ages 65 and older. The program helps pay for various medical expenses including hospital stays, physicians, prescription drugs, and more. The number of people enrolled in Medicare has tripled since 1970, climbing from roughly 20 million in 1970 to 60 million today, and is projected to reach almost 90 million in another 30 years. A common misconception about Medicare is that it is self-financed through premiums paid by current beneficiaries and payroll taxes by future beneficiaries. Unfortunately, payroll taxes and premiums only cover about half of the programs…
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social security

Social Security Optimization – What You Should Know

By , and Guides & Whitepapers
It is no secret that many Americans are ill prepared for retirement (excluding our clients, of course). With the continued disappearance of defined-benefit pension plans (apart from public sector employees), inadequate savings, and low interest rates, people are depending on Social Security now more than ever before. Despite these facts, billions of dollars in lifetime benefits are lost each year because retirees make uninformed decisions about claiming Social Security benefits. This white paper will discuss various concepts to consider in order to help maximize lifetime Social Security benefits. Regardless of whether you feel Social Security will be a major factor…
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retirement savings

A “How To” Guide to Retirement Savings for the Self-Employed

By and Blog
Recently, we received a call from a client who had previously retired but had decided to get back into the game and provide consulting services as an independent contractor. Part of the conversation was a discussion of the different approaches to consider in deferring income recognition and investing some of these newly earned funds in a tax efficient manner. Below we review some of the most common retirement savings strategies a self-employed person could utilize, and explore the pros and cons of each: Traditional IRA A traditional IRA is a method to save for retirement with tax benefits. Contributions made…
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retirement savings

SECURE Act: Changes May Be Coming Soon to Retirement Savings

By Blog
Believe it or not, there is something that Democrats and Republicans in Congress can agree on, and that is the need for all Americans to increase their retirement savings. Although there is not yet consensus on what any final legislation may look like, there are enough similarities between House and Senate proposals to believe that there could be some movement here. The Senate Finance Committee first reported the Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act (RESA) in November of 2016, followed by a House version known as the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Act (SECURE), which passed the House Ways &…
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2019 1st Quarter Commentary: “When Hindsight Isn’t 20/20”

Market Commentary
Click here to view printable PDF version “Before, You Are Wise; After, You Are Wise. In Between, You Are Otherwise.” -David Zindell Most of us are attracted to round numbers.  Attentions peak around calendar years and familiar anniversaries that have meaning beyond the numbers themselves.  Rarely do we celebrate someone being at a company for 28.14 years or ask about performance over the last 3,147 days, but we do celebrate 20-year reunions and the beginning of a new century.  So, for a society fond of round numbers, the opportunity arrived in early March to count and reflect.  Ten.  In our…
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2018 tax law changes

Tax Season: It’s Getting to Be That Time of the Year!

By Blog
A Recap of Impending Tax Law Changes I know, it’s not April 15th yet, and I’m not necessarily in any hurry to get there.  But with some substantial changes to the tax law made effective in 2018, I figured it’s not too early to remind everyone what is in store for them from an individual tax perspective heading into filing season 2019: Forms 1040A and 1040EZ have been eliminated, so everyone will be using the standard Form 1040. The Form 1040 has been redesigned and is supplemented by new Schedules 1 through 6: Schedule 1 reports various types of income,…
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2018 4th Quarter Review: “Holidays, Goldilocks, Resolutions and Strolling Along the Laffer Curve”

Market Commentary
Click here to view printable PDF version In the grand scheme of things, this holiday season was probably no different from those of the past. Like many others, my family went through some combination of joy, distress, kindness, alienation, reconciliation and everything in between (sometimes all in a matter of minutes). Ultimately, the kids were happy to be out of school and together with the family, and although they occasionally fought and complained, there were still glimpses of heartwarming Rockwellian moments. On the other end of the spectrum, the adult dinner conversations were probably more Orwellian in nature, highlighting how…
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2018 3rd Quarter Review: “The Taming of the Diversified Portfolio”

Market Commentary
taming of the diversified portfolio Click here to view printable PDF version The concept we discuss here goes back to before the advent of the written word, living in parables echoed in religious and secular texts alike.  The precise wording has evolved, but the message has not changed materially over time.  Cervantes put it on paper more than 400 years ago through the lips of Sancho Panza, and we still use a translated version of it to teach our kids: “It is the part of a wise man to keep himself to-day for to-morrow, and not to venture all his…
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behavioral finance

2018 2nd Quarter Review: “Oh, Behave!”

Market Commentary
Click here to view printable PDF version I am often asked by prospects whether financial advisors add value? Being one, of course, I believe we add a great deal of value for our clients, in helping set and implement long-term financial goals, reviewing insurances and risk management strategies, being tax-efficient in all aspects of investing and estate/gift transfer issues, helping with education funding strategies, attempting to constantly reduce portfolio expenses, and much more. But in many cases, and especially when the markets become increasingly unpredictable, our most valuable advice may simply be encouraging clients to follow good investment practices. This…
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2018 1st Quarter Review: “Protectionists Hide in Your Wallet”

Market Commentary
Click here to view printable PDF version It is often fun (at least for us) to go back and re-read some of our prior quarterly missives.  One of our favorites from a couple of years ago was about “Andrew Jackson” and the parallels of his presidential bid in the late 1820’s to the then impending election.  If you remember, he ran on an economic platform of: Protect the American people from the rich and powerful. Reduce the national debt and reduce the government. Strip the Second Bank of the United States of its central bank status and charter. Use protective tariffs…
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