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Why You Should Consider Using Your IRA RMD for Charitable Gifts

In 2018 and beyond, more taxpayers will claim the standard deduction and lose the tax benefit of any charitable gifts. But if you have reached 70.5 in age and have an IRA, you may be able to preserve the benefit of the charitable deduction even though you no longer itemize your deductions. The planning strategy will be to make gifts directly from your IRA to qualified charities to offset your required minimum distribution (“RMD”).

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Volatility is Back, as Stocks Drop

On Friday last week the Dow dropped 665 points. Monday, the market was down most of the day but come late afternoon the selling accelerated dramatically. At one point, the Dow was down 1600 points. It rallied back some and ended Monday down 1175 points. Many are wondering what happened and why did the markets fall so far, so fast?

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Tax Reform Highlights. What You Need to Know.

Voting along party lines, Congress has passed, and President Trump has now signed major tax legislation (“The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” or “Act”). At an estimated cost of $1.5 trillion dollars, the legislation delivers deep and permanent tax cuts for corporations, as well as reductions to individual taxes.

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Concentrated Stock - Too Much of a Good Thing? Strategies for Reducing the Risk and Tax Burden of Concentrated Stock Positions

This article was updated on February 21, 2018 to reflect current tax laws and limits.

There’s an old investment saying, “Concentrated wealth makes people wealthy, but diversified wealth keeps them wealthy.” One of the most common concentrations of wealth people have are large stock holdings in a single company. Publicly traded companies often compensate employees with stock or stock options, especially upper-level executives. Others may have large holdings from investing early in an initial public offering (IPO) or inheriting a large holding. No matter how it was obtained, owning a large stock position creates investment and planning challenges.

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Why Are Stocks Still Going Up?

Stocks have been going up ever since the Presidential election last November. There have been no significant pullbacks along the way, and stock market highs are reported by the media on a weekly basis. Clients are asking “Why are stocks still going up?”

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Tax Reform: Process, Policy and Personalities

In late September, the White House and Republican congressional leaders published their guiding principles for reforming the U.S. tax code. This “Unified Framework” provides general direction but is silent on many details. The debate over how to re-size and re-divide the national tax pie has begun.

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Charitable Giving Made Easy with Donor-Advised Funds

This post was updated on February 20, 2018 to reflect new data and the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

Americans have a history of charitable giving, it’s a part of the fabric of our culture.  Many public institutions such as schools, hospitals, museums, and parks owe their existence to charitable donors.  Charitable giving keeps climbing.  According to The Giving Institute, Americans gave $373B to charities in 2015.  And it goes up almost every year.  See Figure 1.

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Happy Birthday Economic Expansion

As June came to a close, the current economic recovery and expansion turned eight years old. That is the third-longest expansion on record since the end of WWII. That’s according to data compiled by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), which marked the end of the Great Recession in June 2009. The NBER is the arbiter of recessions and expansions for the U.S. economy. It bases its calls on data that includes employment, sales, income, and industrial production.

Birthdays are a time for celebration. But when economic expansions start getting older most don’t want to party. Investors usually start fretting over how long it will last.

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Score One for the Investor!

The Fiduciary Rule, a new Department of Labor (DOL) regulation, became effective on June 9, 2017. This rule obligates financial advisors to place retirement plan clients' interests ahead of their own. The fate of this new consumer protection had been unclear due to hostility from various sources. Even so, the DOL determined that it lacked legal grounds to delay the effective date of the rule.

RSWA Supports a Fiduciary Standard

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International Economies are on the Mend

The recent economic backdrop in the U.S. has been positive and solid. In the media, U.S. markets and politics have been getting the lion’s share of the attention. But the rest of the world economies are slowly mending themselves and are on surer footing than they have been in a long while.

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