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yield curve

The Yield Curve: An Imperfect Indicator in Evolving Market Conditions

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The U.S. Treasury Yield Curve inverted recently for a few days, which provoked hand-wringing and doomsday predictions from all the usual market commentators in all the usual places. So let's examine this phenomenon, starting with the simple question: What is an inverted yield curve anyway? An inverted yield curve is simply the unusual case of short-term interest rates being higher than long term.  Under normal circumstances, you wouldn't lend money to anyone for a longer period at a lower rate - it just makes no sense. That's why inverted curves don't happen very often. But all yield curves are not…
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couples finances

What to Do When a Partner Has Little or no Interest in Finances

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It’s not uncommon in a relationship for one partner to handle most of the finances and the other to have little or no interest—or involvement—in the process. In these setups, difficult situations or unexpected events such as divorce, widowhood or the sudden incapacitation of a partner can leave the uninformed spouse financially vulnerable. For an uninterested or uninformed partner, trying to become acclimated with the couple’s finances can be a daunting task – and even more challenging without knowing where to start. Financial accounts and statements may be scattered across various internet portals, each with a separate password, and simply…
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roth ira

What is a Mega Backdoor Roth IRA?

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Most people have heard of Roth IRAs. Those that qualify typically contribute and those that do not qualify can sometimes find a way to do so, as Zach Gering indicates here. In either case, you can do MORE. Take a step back and understand plan types and limits Depending on your current occupational status and business structure, you may or may not be able to open any of the accounts noted above. For starters, any individual can open an IRA (with certain age/income requirements). All of the other plans must be company sponsored. An optimal retirement plan design permits annual…
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fiduciary

What is a Fiduciary?

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Shedding some light on an industry term In the search for a financial advisor, you may come across a common buzzword: fiduciary. A welcome sign when used as a descriptor for a financial professional, fiduciary refers to those required by law to act in the best interest of their clients, even if doing so means putting their clients’ interests ahead of their own. While it may seem obvious that financial professionals should act in the best interest of their clients, this is unfortunately not always the case. While not all conflicts can be avoided when giving investment advice, the White…
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backdoor roth contribution

The Benefits of a Backdoor Roth Contribution

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It is that time of the year – with tax season comes retirement account contribution season! The most popular retirement account of the current decade is the Roth IRA. It offers tax-free growth, tax-free withdrawals after age 59.5, and no minimum distribution requirements. Unlike traditional IRAs, Roth’s are funded with after-tax dollars. There is no tax deduction for contributing. Evaluating whether to contribute to a pre-tax or Roth IRA is a common exercise. A prevalent misconception is choosing a pre-tax account is the best option. This is mostly because the investor expects that his tax rate will decline in retirement.…
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Important Gift Tax and Trust Income Tax Reminders

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As tax season is now in full swing, below are some important gift tax and trust income tax return reminders: Gift Tax Returns The lifetime exemption from gift and estate tax was $11,180,000 per person in 2018. Currently it is $11,400,000 per person for 2019. Generally, gifts made directly to a medical provider or educational institution on behalf of someone do not count against your lifetime exemption. In addition, donors have an annual exclusion from gift tax of $15,000 per donee. This means that a donor may give $15,000 to each of his or her three children, for example, without…
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female advisors

The Wealth Management Experience for Female Advisors & Clients

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Perspectives from Women Advisors at Wealthspire Advisors As we observe International Women’s Day on March 8th, there is a lot to celebrate as gender gaps continue to be closed. 51% of women report they are the “CFO” of their household, and 62% of women report either being the main or co-breadwinner in their family. At the same time, it’s no secret that financial services industries continue to be male-dominated. Female financial advisors make up only 17% of the industry and women advisors account for only 23.3% of all Certified Financial PlannersTM (CFP®s). What’s reassuring is that the tides are starting…
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Avoid Common Planning Mistakes with Executive Compensation

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Whether you work for a budding start-up or a well-established Fortune 500 company, it’s imperative to have a firm understanding of the components of your executive compensation plan—along with the inherent risks and rewards. Creating and maintaining a thoughtful strategy to integrate your executive benefits into your overall financial plan can help you maximize your wealth and achieve your goals in a tax-efficient manner. Still, even the most accomplished and organized executives can fall into some very common traps when incorporating complex aspects of their compensation into an overall plan. Here, we outline common mistakes we see and key considerations…
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Moving Abroad for Work? Here’s How You’ll be Taxed

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The following refers to citizens and resident aliens of the United States who are not otherwise exempt.   Do I still have to pay U.S. income tax? Yep, sorry - the United States is one of only a few countries that taxes its citizens on their worldwide income, regardless of where they earned that money. Additionally, note that because of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act of 2010 (FATCA), foreign and offshore banks will report any of your assets held there to the U.S. government.  The reach of the IRS extends far and wide. However, you may be eligible to…
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Mitigate New York’s Estate Tax Cliff with Smart Estate Planning and Gifting Strategies (2019 Update)

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While the large increase in the federal estate tax exemption has provided many with federal estate tax relief, New Yorkers must continue to plan for New York estate tax.  For a quick review of the New York Estate Tax “Cliff” basics, see the “Understanding New York’s Estate Tax “Cliff” blogpost. What is the current exemption from New York estate tax again? The current New York estate tax exemption amount is $5,740,000 for 2019. Under current law, this number will remain until January 1, 2020, at which point it will rise again with inflation. Who does the Cliff affect? Everyone with…
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