Back to top

Resources

Often, tax-qualified retirement accounts such as IRAs make up a significant part of one's estate. Naming beneficiaries of an IRA can be an important part of an estate plan. One option is designating a trust as the IRA beneficiary.

This discussion applies to traditional IRAs, not to Roth IRAs. Special considerations apply to beneficiary designations for Roth IRAs.

Why use a trust…

Tax deductions and credits are terms often used together when talking about taxes. While you probably know that they can lower your tax liability, you might wonder about the difference between the two.

A tax deduction reduces your taxable income, so when you calculate your tax liability, you're doing so against a lower amount. Essentially, your tax obligation is reduced by an amount…

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, passed in December of last year, fundamentally changes the federal tax landscape for both individuals and businesses. Many of the provisions in the legislation are permanent, others (including most of the tax cuts that apply to individuals) expire at the end of 2025. Here are some of the significant changes you should factor in to any mid-year tax planning. You…

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, signed into law in December 2017, approximately doubled the federal gift and estate tax basic exclusion amount to $11.18 million in 2018 (adjusted for inflation in later years). After 2025, the exclusion is scheduled to revert to its pre-2018 level and be cut approximately in half. Otherwise, federal gift and estate taxes remain the same.

Gift tax. Gifts you…

College students and their parents dodged a major bullet with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. Initial drafts of the bill included the elimination of Coverdell Education Savings Accounts, the Lifetime Learning Credit, and the student loan interest deduction, along with the taxation of tuition waivers, which are used primarily by graduate students and college employees. In the end, none of…

Owning shares of stock or stock funds might increase the value of your portfolio in one of two fundamental ways: capital appreciation (i.e., price increases) and dividend payments. Of the two, capital appreciation carries the greatest potential for return, but it also carries the greatest potential for loss. And any gains or losses are only reaped when you sell your shares.

By contrast…

Nowadays, it's easier than ever to get caught up in the cycle of credit card debt. In fact, it's become a growing problem for many Americans. According to the Federal Reserve, total U.S. credit card payments reached 111.1 billion in 2016, up 7.4% from 2015. 1

If you find that you are struggling to pay down a credit card debt balance, here are some strategies that can help eliminate…

It's a common problem for many individuals — wondering exactly where your paycheck goes each month. After paying expenses, such as your mortgage, utilities, and credit card bills, you may find little left to put toward anything else.

Creating a budget is the first key to successfully manage your finances. Knowing exactly how you are spending your money each month can set you on a more…

No matter what your age or stage of life, targeting a goal for monthly retirement income can seem like a daunting task. Following are four considerations to help you get started.

1. When do you plan to retire?

The first question to ponder is your anticipated retirement age. Many people base their target retirement date on when they're eligible for full Social Security benefits, and…

529 plans were created 22 years ago, in 1996, to give people a tax-advantaged way to save for college. Roth IRAs were created a year later, in 1997, to give people a tax-advantaged way to save for retirement. But a funny thing happened along the way — some parents adapted the Roth IRA as a college savings tool.

Tax benefits and use of funds

Roth IRAs and 529 plans have a similar tax…