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Roth IRAs: 8 Essential Rules and Strategies to Know

Roth IRAs can be an excellent retirement savings vehicle for many people. They offer the ability to save for retirement with after-tax dollars, accumulate tax-free earnings, and withdraw money tax-free down the road. In simple terms, you trade a potential tax break today for tax-free withdrawals later. 

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7 High Income Year-End Tax Planning Strategies for 2019

This post was updated on October 15, 2019 to reflect current tax information.

At year-end, many professionals and executives will have the opportunity to make some financial decisions that can have a big impact.  Many of these decisions will have tax implications.  Here is a look at a few of these issues and seven strategies that can help. 

The strategies covered in this article: 

  1. Tax Loss Harvesting
  2. Exercising Options
  3. How to Handle Restricted Stock
  4. Tax Bracket Management
  5. Donating Appreciated Securities
  6. Bunching Charitable Donations and Using a Donor-Advised Fund
  7. College 529 Contributions & Gifting

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Earnings on Fire

There are a lot of factors when evaluating a company for purchase. Whether one buys a business or franchise, the cash flow and expected cash flow that the company generates will play a large role in the purchase price. While other factors play a role, the same holds true for purchasing stocks. The cash flow, or earnings, are evaluated to help determine the purchase price. Public companies are reporting 2018 first quarter earnings results and the numbers are looking great.

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The B Word...Bonds That Is

We need to talk about bonds more and understand them better. Almost everyone talks more about stocks. Stocks are in the news and get the headlines. Stocks are easier to understand. But bonds are an essential asset class in almost every investor’s portfolio. Fixed income grows in importance as investors grow older. For younger investors, bonds may still serve a purpose-either to fund a specific future cash need or to lessen portfolio volatility.

This article starts with a short primer on bonds and then explains how we at Robinson Smith Wealth Advisors construct bond portfolios and manage the associated risks.

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Using an Exchange Fund to Diversify Concentrated Stock Risk

What is an exchange fund?

Exchange Funds or “Swap Funds,” are private placement limited partnerships or LLCs.  An Exchange Fund allows an investor to “exchange” an individual stock for shares in a fund of many pooled stocks. Here are some of the key benefits and drawbacks to an exchange fund:

Benefits:
  • Provide immediate diversification
  • Allow a larger investment amount to grow (stock owner avoids selling stock, paying taxes, and reinvesting lesser amount in diversified investments)
  • Potential increase in value if the Exchange Fund outperforms the original stock
  • May accept contributions for restricted securities

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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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7 Strategies for Dealing With Your Concentrated Stock Position

This article was updated on April 10, 2019 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 or concentrated 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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Charitable Giving Made Easy with Donor-Advised Funds

This article was originally posted in September 2017 and has been updated to reflect new data and the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

What is a Donor-Advised Fund?

Donor-advised funds (DAFs) go by many names.  They are called charitable gift funds, charitable funds, giving funds plus others.  For this article, I will refer to them by their legal definition, Donor-Advised Funds (DAFs).  A DAF is a fund maintained and operated by a sponsoring charitable organization which has legal control over the funds.

How Does a DAF Work?

  1. An individual, or donor, contributes cash or securities to a DAF account. Stocks and bonds are commonly used for funding.  Some DAFs may accept real estate, restricted stock, and non-publicly traded securities as well.  A minimum contribution is required and many of the larger DAF sponsors require minimums between $5,000 - $25,000. 

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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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