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Financial Planning

Souvenir Strategy

 May 11 2018     Anna Pfaehler
Each day I am both delighted and bewildered by my children.  I’ll start this post with a disclaimer – while I am a mother of two, I am in no way an expert at raising children. Like every other parent, I rely on trial, error, and Google. But we recently had some success worth sharing when it comes to teaching the very basics of financial responsibility. We took our kids to Walt ...

Social Security Benefits – The Abridged Version

 April 25 2018     Michael Hermes
April 1 marks the beginning of National Social Security month. Ironically, I am writing this post towards the end of the month. My delay is synonymous with the way many people put off planning for retirement, which can be a full-time job. Between budgeting, health insurance, estate planning and investment planning, it is easy to become overwhelmed. Filing for Social Security (SS) benefits is just ...

The Importance of Designated Beneficiaries

 April 19 2018     Anna Pfaehler
“What if I just don’t…?” Sometimes planning is as much about illustrating what happens if you make no changes as it is about designing and recommending strategies. Understanding one’s current position is the start to every financial plan. Furthermore, illustrating the trajectory of the current plan (or lack thereof) can be the motivation a client needs to finally ac...

An Insurance Time Capsule

 April 6 2018     Anna Pfaehler
“Ladies and gentlemen, the stakes are high and the game is for keeps.” – Milton J. Rappoport, Great-West Convention, 1965 Several months ago, I was handed a file full of thin, yellowing paper from the 1950s and '60s containing the writings of Milton J. Rappoport, an estate-planner and insurance salesman of some prominence from Cincinnati. I was told I am like him. Skeptically I ...

The Tariff Debate

 March 23 2018     Anna Pfaehler
I’ve referenced my copy of Economics for Dummies twice this week. First, because I was discussing signed books and my copy is signed by the author, Sean Flynn, who was my Behavioral Economics professor at Vassar. The second time was to confirm my understanding that yes, tariffs are bad. To quote: “But such (protectionist) policies inevitably fail because any time you put up a tariff ...

Leveraging Charity

 March 9 2018     Anna Pfaehler
It is more expensive for me to donate to charity now than it was last year. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act made a slight, favorable change to the deduction of charitable contributions. For donations to public charities, you can now deduct contributions up to 60% of your adjusted gross income. The limit was 50%. Most Americans will not directly benefit from this because to do so requires you to itemiz...

Taxing Bitcoin

 December 18 2017     Anna Pfaehler
There are a number of TV sets in our office tuned to financial news. For the last few weeks each program has dedicated a corner of the display to show the price of Bitcoin. I do not own any Bitcoin, but it is hard to ignore its meteoric rise when you see the price for 8 hours a day. With all the attention, I have received a few questions. In particular, if I sell Bitcoin is it taxed? The short an...

The Eleventh Hour

 December 12 2017     Anna Pfaehler
While my children eagerly await the holidays (i.e. presents), I eagerly await the details of tax reform. Not because it will benefit me personally – my taxes will increase – but because for the past two years clients have been questioning the likelihood of tax reform and I have not had an answer. I could only give my understanding as it stood that day. Even an iota of clarity, although...

Giving Nicely

 November 30 2017     Anna Pfaehler
A favorite read for my children is The Nice Book by David Ezra Stein. The book gives simple examples of what it means to be nice. One of my favorites is “if you have more than you need, share.” As an adult, sharing moves beyond treats and toys with schoolmates. It develops into causes, charitable organizations with varying structures and maximizing impact. The holidays create an atmo...

Planning Potpourri

 November 3 2017     Anna Pfaehler
I field many questions from clients and colleagues every day. Here are a few recent ones from the trenches: Do I Need to Pay Estimated Taxes? Most people have their taxes withheld from their earnings, pensions, or retirement plan distributions. However, those who do not have withholding, or their withholding is not sufficient, must make estimated tax payments. These are made quarterly to cover y...
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