Strategy


10

Jan 2017

Do you need disability insurance?

There are many types of insurance programs to manage these days. Yet, one of the programs most misunderstood by employees of companies and small business owners is the need for disability insurance to protect your income. Since there are so many nuances of disability insurance, here are some key questions to ask yourself regarding your personal situation. #1 What percentage of my income will you...

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05

Jan 2017

Calculate Your RMD as Easy as 1-2-3

A required minimum distribution (RMD) is the minimum amount that must be withdrawn from your retirement account each year. Traditional IRA owners are subject to RMDs beginning in the year in which they turn age 70 ½. Most participants in 401(k) and similar plans must begin RMDs at the same time. #1 Determine Your Distribution Year The distribution year is the year for which you...

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13

Dec 2016

Planning for a Disclaimer in 5 Easy Steps

What is a disclaimer? A disclaimer is a formal refusal of an inheritance (or part of an inheritance) by a beneficiary. By creating a “path” for disclaimed assets to follow, a skilled planner can provide a beneficiary with the option to pass assets to alternate beneficiaries. Make sure the IRA owner names contingent beneficiaries. Naming a contingent beneficiary directly on the beneficiary form is good...

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08

Dec 2016

Controlling Health Care Costs in a Small Business

Because of rapidly rising health care costs, there is a growing sense of urgency among many small-business owners to find ways to reduce health care costs without dropping such coverage completely. With that in mind, strategies to help reduce company health care expenses include: offering high-deductible health plans and health savings accounts, shifting costs and cutting benefits, and providing employee wellness programs. Employer-sponsored health insurance...

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06

Dec 2016

Calculating NUA in 5 Easy Steps

When should you consider using NUA? What is NUA? NUA is short for “Net Unrealized Appreciation” of employer securities.  It’s the difference between the cost basis and the market value of employer securities held inside a qualified plan such as a 401(k).  To take advantage of a special tax break for NUA, there must be a triggering event [separation from service (unless self-employed), disability (only...

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01

Dec 2016

Will Your Money Last? Risks to Retirement Income

A sound retirement income plan takes into account several financial risks, including the potential for the retiree to outlive his or her assets, the effects of inflation on future income, rising health care costs, and the uncertain future of the Social Security system. For example, inflation increases the future cost of goods and services; inflation can also erode the value of assets set aside to...

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29

Nov 2016

Resources to Help Those Caring for a Loved One at Home

Being a caregiver can be overwhelming, particularly if you are juggling other responsibilities, such as working or raising a family. Knowing where to turn for help can make a difference — both in the quality of care your loved one receives and in lessening the stress and responsibilities on you. This article provides some of the resources you can turn to for help. If you...

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18

Nov 2016

Saving for a Large Purchase

Saving for a large-screen television? A new car? A real estate down payment? This checklist can help you reach any savings goal. Buying something on credit can be significantly more expensive than paying cash when you figure in the cost of borrowing the money for the purchase. Many people find that saving the money beforehand is a more efficient strategy. Here’s a checklist that can...

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15

Nov 2016

Ruling To Remember: The $425K Mistake

ROBERT K. AND JOAN L. PASCHALL V. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE (No. 2; Nos. 10478-08, 25825-08, Decided July 5, 2011) Client Owes $425k; Should Have Realized CPA Firm’s Tax Deal “Too Good to be True” Robert Paschall, a married resident of California and an MIT graduate, worked for Rockwell International for his entire career until he retired in 1996. Early in 2000, Paschall paid Grant Thorton, a...

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10

Nov 2016

Four Things Parents Need to Tell Their Kids About Their Estate Plan

It’s interesting that as parents age, especially when they get to 70, they start thinking about their own mortality. They start to think about which of their kids are responsible, especially when it comes to money. Many parents are nervous to tell their kids about how much money they have or what’s happening with the family finances because they either don’t want to bother their...

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08

Nov 2016

Gifting-During-Life Strategy: Does it Make Sense For YOUR Family?

When it comes to estate planning, one of the primary goals is to transfer as much of a person’s assets to their intended beneficiaries at the lowest cost or, in other words, by paying the least amount of tax. Today, the federal estate tax exemption is $5,450,000 per person. It is also portable (can be transferred) between spouses, giving them a maximum exemption of $10,900,000...

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03

Nov 2016

Using a Tax Refund to Fund an IRA in 5 Easy Steps

What does the basic process entail? An income tax refund can be directly deposited to an IRA up to the annual contribution limit. The contribution limit is $5,500 ($6,500 for individuals age 50 or older) for 2014 and 2015. It can also be split among multiple accounts. #1 It is tax time! Prepare your tax return for the year. #2 Determine the refund amount. Once...

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30

Nov 2015

Why Should I Consider Disability Insurance?

The need for disability insurance can come at various times in your life—both in your working years and in your retirement years. Statistically, you are more likely to become disabled during your working life than you are to die prematurely Yet most people, if they were to carry one of those two coverage types, will carry life insurance and not disability. Classic disability coverage replaces...

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23

Nov 2015

Is Your Team of Retirement Experts Truly Supporting Your Goals?

When is the last time your insurance agent, wealth manager, financial planner, attorney, and CPA sat in the same room to discuss your individual financial plan? Do they even know who the other professionals on your team are? Most professionals are classically trained in their particular discipline. Unfortunately, that means they do things their own way. Most don’t ask the right questions as it pertains...

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18

Nov 2015

Retirement Big Risk: Not Having A Comprehensive Financial Plan

The biggest risk that every retiree faces is failing to have a comprehensive financial plan in place. It’s a risk that you have direct influence on and can prepare for well in advance if you take action. Perhaps you have started some financial planning covering some basic wealth management and estate plan strategies, but does your plan cover all five key components of a holistic...

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04

Nov 2015

Your Ideal Life Tip: Don’t Disregard Long-Term Care Coverage

Once you have retired, assuming you have planned well to fund a vibrant lifestyle, the risk you face is one of a long-term care event. With the cost of quality care in the $70,000 per year range and rising, and the average stay in a care facility approaching three years, ask yourself what the financial impact of a $200,000 depletion of assets would do to...

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03

Nov 2015

Ed Slott Press Release

LOCAL Tacoma ADVISOR Brad Berger LEARNS NEW TAX LAWS AND RETIREMENT ACCOUNT PLANNING STRATEGIES FROM AMERICA’S IRA EXPERTS Ed Slott and Company, LLC Holds Exclusive Workshop for Financial Advisors to Complete Advanced Training Tacoma, WA November 3, 2015: Brad Berger of Cornerstone Financial Strategies completed advanced technical training while attending Ed Slott’s Elite IRA Advisor Group workshop in Denver, Colorado on October 22 – October 24....

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02

Nov 2015

The 6 Important Elements of Successful Investing

In their order of significance, these are the six important elements of the success fundamentals: How early you start investing How often you invest How much you invest Whether you stay invested How much you keep (avoiding tax erosion) Your rate of return You will note that your rate of return is not number 1. In fact, although it qualifies as important, it’s last on...

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26

Oct 2015

Make the Most of the Market

The best advice that I can provide to my clients is to implement strategies with the goal to take advantage of rising markets but also prepare them in the event of a surprise downturn. The market is something of an emotional beast. It has its scientific side, but it does not have to act by any particular set of rules. It is a truly free...

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16

Oct 2015

Understanding the Tax Implications of Your IRA or 401(k)

When it comes to retirement plans, remember that the government giveth and the government taketh away. When you open your IRA or 401(k) statement, you may be proud of the number—but are you aware that not all that money is yours? The government has a lien on it, and it’s called taxation. The portion of that account that’s not yours depends on your tax bracket....

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