Key income tax deductions not to miss

By Elliot Raphaelson
Posted on February 01, 2024

It is no secret that the federal income regulations are very complex. As a result, many deductions are missed by individuals when they file their tax returns. I’ll discuss some of these deductions below. Because of the increase in standard deductions, according to the IRS, almost 88% of tax filers used the standard deduction on their 2020 tax return. For your 2023 tax return, the... READ MORE

Protect your documents from a disaster

By Kate Ashford
Posted on January 23, 2024

Floods, wildfires, historic storms — severe weather events are on the rise. If your home was hit by high water or a fire, would your important papers be safe? “Unfortunately, I’ve had clients who’ve been victims of fires, flooding, hurricanes,” said Sev Tamayo, an agent with Goosehead Insurance in Palm Coast, Florida. “Some of them were prepared, and some of them... READ MORE

The best sources for financial information

By Elliot Raphaelson
Posted on January 18, 2024

If you want to succeed in personal financial planning, you need to use the best-informed, up-to-date and unbiased sources. In this column I’ll share my recommendations. Retirement accounts For information about IRAs and other retirement savings accounts, Ed Slott and his publications are simply the best. I regularly attend his seminars and keep up to date with his monthly... READ MORE

Ways to help grandchildren financially

By Kimberly Palmer
Posted on January 12, 2024

In his early 20s, Chris Chen’s nephew dreamed of becoming a professional photographer. But to pursue that dream, he needed equipment that cost over $5,000. His nephew worked hard to save $1,500; then, his maternal grandmother provided an additional $750. Chen, a certified financial planner in Newton, Massachusetts, covered the rest. “It helped him understand the value of money,”... READ MORE

Address possible scams before they call

By Adriana Morga
Posted on December 28, 2023

This summer, Daniel Goldstein’s 86-year-old mom got an email that looked like it was from her bank. She was alarmed because she hadn’t spent the money it mentioned, so she called a help number on the email. The person on the other end of the line asked for her bank account information and made her believe she would get her money back. Instead, she lost $600 to a scammer. Last... READ MORE

Some pros and cons of Roth conversion

By Elliot Raphaelson
Posted on December 26, 2023

Because of retirement-related federal legislation passed in the last few years, many individuals are considering converting some or all of their traditional IRAs to Roth IRAs. One major reason is that most beneficiaries of traditional IRAs other than surviving spouses are no longer allowed to “stretch” distributions from their traditional IRA inheritances over their... READ MORE

How to make retirement more meaningful

By Heidi Ardis
Posted on December 14, 2023

A purpose-driven retirement is all about finding meaning and fulfillment in your post-work years. It is more than just relaxing and enjoying leisure time; instead, it involves actively seeking activities and interests that align with your values and passions. Much of our identity in life is tied to work, but retirement gives us the opportunity to rethink our purpose and to rediscover who ... READ MORE

Consider gifting stock to grandchildren

By Dan Burrows
Posted on December 12, 2023

If you have never given a child shares in a publicly traded company as a holiday present, that’s probably just as well. Presents are supposed to be fun. Investing in equities — as remunerative over the long haul as they have proven to be —isn’t fun a lot of the time. That said, the impulse to give stocks as a gift to a youngster is understandable, even noble. We want children to... READ MORE

No, your Social Security isn’t going away

By Jamie Feldman
Posted on December 07, 2023

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is making a concerted effort to quell fears over dwindling reserves in the trust fund. In a new episode of the SSA Talks podcast, SSA chief actuary Steve Goss offered some much-welcomed reassurance that, while there is still a risk that benefits will lessen as the reserves are depleted, there’s no need to believe Social Security will run... READ MORE

Time to give bonds and CDs a closer look

By Elliot Raphaelson
Posted on November 28, 2023

Traditionally, financial advisers have urged investors to allocate 60% of their portfolios to stocks and 40% to debt instruments. This approach made sense during bull markets for stocks, when the average return for a diversified stock portfolio performed much better than for a diversified bond portfolio. Lately, however, the Federal Reserve has been increasing interest rates to curb... READ MORE