hand in hospital

Three Legal Strategies When Facing A Major Health Event (Guest Post)

Curtis Kaiser, Esq., a professional colleague and a personal friend of ours, recently wrote his own blog post on Major Health Events. To me it was impactful and I asked Curtis if we could share it with our clients and friends.  Last month, Curtis volunteered a day of his time to be Counselor for a Day in […]

closeup of electronic calculator buttons

The Complexities of Capital Gains Rates

Most of us know that taxes on capital gains are more favorable than other types of taxable income.  For “ordinary income”, the tax brackets have rates of 0%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35% and 37%.  Ordinary income is comprised of things like wages, interest income, and IRA distributions, among other things. To contrast, capital gain rates are 0%, 15% or 20%. […..]

Uncle Sam

Is That Really Your Money?

When you look at your monthly brokerage statement, you see the values and what has happened in your account over the last 30 days.  It’s pretty simple math: “You started there, you finished here, and what happened to cause the changes—dividends (increase), market gains (increase), market decline (decrease), and withdrawals and fees (decreases).  But we are not[…..]

coins and calculator

Fee Only vs. Commission-Based Advisors

There are three primary ways that financial advisors are compensated: [1] Fee Only, [2] Commission, and [3] Fee and Commission.  Each has its own set of conflicts of interest (none are conflict free!) but we believe that Fee Only has the least amount of conflicts.  Let’s explore the definitions and differences between all three. Fee Only means[…..]

calculator

What is a Step-Up in Basis? Why should I Care about it?

(get ready for a whirlwind tax lesson!) A basis step-up is one of the basic concepts of estate planning. When a person dies, we say that their assets get a “step-up” in basis. Basis is short-hand for “income tax basis,” “tax basis,” or “cost basis” and is often shortened simply to “basis.” The general rule is that[…..]

Car on long road, like a financial journey

On Your Road to Financial Success, What Car are You Driving?

Thoughts on the optimal process for achieving your financial goals (spoiler alert: this is our process!) In a word, it’s all about “efficiency.”  I will make the comparison of your financial life to an automobile.  Your financial assets (“money”) are the gasoline in the tank—the fuel for your financial life. The gasoline (money) doesn’t make you happy. […..]

Preparing Personal Financial Statements Effectively

What do you and Apple have in common? Or, how creating your personal financial statements contributes to your success. Ok, I’m a CPA.  I can read, interpret, and analyze financial statements.  But did you know that the two most common corporate financial statements—the Balance Sheet and the Income (or, Profit & Loss) statement—apply to you, too? Let’s[…..]