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gifting 2019

Do I need to make gifts before the end of the year?

By Blog
With all of the political uncertainty and recent changes in the tax law, our clients are wondering what to do about gifting. Below are answers to three commonly asked questions that we are getting this time of year. Note that this blog covers non-charitable gifts.* 1. Do I need to make gifts before the end of the year? Only if you are making annual exclusion gifts. You may give away $15,000 per person ($30,000 if gift-splitting with a spouse) each year tax-free. If you want to use your annual exclusion for 2019, the gift needs to be completed before the…
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good credit

How to Make Good Credit Better

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Do you pride yourself on having a good credit score? In the world of credit, there’s good, and then there’s excellent. Even if you are doing most things right when it comes to watching out for your score, there are several lesser known ways to maintain what you have and take your credit to the next level. Understanding how your credit score is calculated is an important place to start. Six basic credit factors go into calculating this score. While all factors matter, some affect your score more than others. From roughly highest impact to lowest, these factors are: Derogatory…
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wealthspire pathways

Why We Created Wealthspire Pathways

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Our Approach to the Robo-Advisor Trend If you follow the investment management/financial planning industry, then you no doubt have heard the term “Robo-Advisor”. Robo-advisors are the hot topic right now and some advisors even view these types of digital platforms as the future of the industry. Robo-advisors come in all shapes and sizes, but for the most part tend to be lower-cost, automated investing solutions accessed digitally with minimal one-on-one interaction with a person. Some services don’t provide any contact with a live person while others offer call centers with new people answering each time you call, providing no real…
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Reflections on our New Name from our Chairman and CEO

By and Blog
Howard Sontag, Chairman As the founder of a firm with my own name on the door, why would we choose a new name? As we officially begin doing business as Wealthspire Advisors, our rebranding makes it clear that our firms are now a single organization with common purpose and consistent values. When I founded Sontag Advisory in 1995, the independent advisor universe was just beginning to grow. The idea of representing the client as their fiduciary, with independence from any product or investment firm, was the crucial ingredient in longstanding growth and client retention. Putting Sontag and Bronfman Rothschild together…
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Understanding New York’s Estate Tax “Cliff” – Updated October 2019

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It has been more than five years since some dramatic changes were made to New York’s gift and estate tax law. For many clients, the subject of the New York estate tax “cliff” continues to remain a source of confusion. This is for good reason. The New York cliff is not easy to understand, nor is it easy to know how it may impact your particular situation. The answers below are intended to guide those who remain baffled by the New York estate tax cliff. For a quick snapshot of the 2019 estate and gift tax rates for New York,…
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education planning

FAFSA: Act Quickly and Strategically to Maximize Benefits

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Starting October 1, this year’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is now available for current and prospective college students. The FAFSA determines a student’s eligibility for Federal grants and loans and is used by schools to craft a student’s financial aid package. Everyone, regardless of income levels, should fill out the FAFSA because it is necessary even for merit-based scholarships. Maximizing Your Potential Financial Aid File the FAFSA as soon as possible after October 1, as some financial aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis until the money runs out. In fact, based upon the most recent…
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401(k) contributions

Pre-tax or Roth 401(k) Contributions—That is the Question

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The decision of whether to make pre-tax or Roth (after-tax) 401(k) contributions frequently pops up, especially when investors start new jobs. Both pre-tax and Roth 401(k)s offer tax-advantaged investment growth, the same annual employee contribution limits, and both allow the plan participant to receive any available employer match. However, there are key differences between these options, so it is important to understand the pros & cons before electing whether pre-tax, Roth, or a combination of the two is appropriate for you. What is the difference between pre-tax and Roth? There are two primary differences – both of them are tax…
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financial planning for incapacitation

Financial Planning for the Possibility of Incapacitation

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Planning for the possibility of becoming incapacitated can be daunting. While many may have their estate planning documents squared away and have end-of-life plans carefully laid out, they may not have planned adequately for the possibility of incapacitation. Incapacitation, or the physical or mental inability to make or communicate your decisions, often caused by illnesses like stroke or cognitive disease, is a real threat for retirees. Incapacitation presents a unique challenge, in that your family members, designated POAs (Powers of Attorney), doctors or lawyers will need to make decisions for you – and will need access to your documents and…
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prenup

Why Should I Sign a Prenup?

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It’s not because either of you thinks the marriage won’t last To many, “prenup” (short for a prenuptial agreement) is a bad word. Why would any loving couple want to start off their marriage with a financial contractual agreement? As a wealth manager, I counsel clients who have a large disparity in wealth to execute a prenup. Some are getting married later in life and have built up considerable assets, some started a company, some are getting married for the second time. Some have former children to worry about. Some clients have children with considerable trusts getting married. We have…
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