Posts By: Mark Prendergast

What’s an RMD?

Piggy moneybox with dollar cash closeup
The short answer: a Required Minimum Distribution.  Do you have an IRA or 401K?  You cannot defer your taxes indefinitely.  The general rule states that, once you attain age 70.5, you must start taking taxable withdrawals from your account.  To make the discussion easy, I will speak on IRA a...
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Is That Really Your Money?

Uncle Sam
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 decl...
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Fee Only vs. Commission-Based Advisors

coins and calculator
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 ...
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What is a Step-Up in Basis? Why should I Care about it?

calculator
(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...
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Benefits of a Professional Fiduciary

couple fight
Family strife when a family member dies is a sad and often tragic thing.  Yes, when funds are short, but I want to talk here about when the funds are plenty but the emotions of greed and fear get involved, or pride and even criminal behavior rear their ugly heads.  What could a good parent do to h...
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Taxes & the Hidden Alpha

taxes
I am of the opinion that every wealth management firm should have someone with a strong tax background – very strong!  Like having a CPA or Masters of Science in Taxation (MST). Why is tax expertise so important?  Our client work is quite fluid and virtually every action we take has tax conse...
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On Your Road to Financial Success, What Car are You Driving?

Car on long road, like a financial journey
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 fue...
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Preparing Personal Financial Statements Effectively

Financial Statements
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...
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Location, Location, Location! How Asset Placement Can Save You Taxes

Taxes
Asset Placement is a popular discussion among financial planners (we’re a nerdy bunch). Asset Placement is determining what type of account (IRA, Roth IRA, trust, etc.) should hold what type of investment (bonds, US stocks, foreign stocks, real estate, etc.). If you ignore asset placement and you ...
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Zero Percent Capital Gains Tax Rate

0% taxes is a beautiful thing.  It doesn’t apply to everyone.  Let’s discuss. The Capital Gain rates are 15% (for most) and 20% (for very high income people).  Then there’s this pesky 3.8% tax on Net Investment Income if you make over $200,000.  Who knew that Capital Gains taxation was ...
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