Friday, December 27, 2019

Don't miss these changes

Changes to retirement plan law require some re-thinking
The Secure Act raises the age for required minimum distributions to 72 beginning in 2020. It also removes the age limit for contributions to traditional IRAs beginning in 2020. This 2019 legislation does not affect the rules for 2019. If you’re at least 70½ in 2019, you must take a required minimum distribution. And you’re not allowed to make contributions to your traditional IRA for 2019 after age 70½. Put them into 2020 and beyond. You can add to IRA all your home health payments, grants, fellowship, stipends and awards. For those who don’t save: “IRA holders can use money in their account for child birth and adoption cost without penalty,” The bad news is that insurers can now sell annuities to employers so they won’t have any responsibility when your retirement income loses buying power.

How did your advisor do this year?
Over the years my clients have been serious long-term investors. They have taught me how they have become wealthy. Many are now in retirement and have picked funds that have ended up with fine returns. Most have been rewarded by using the buy and hold strategy over 10, 20 and 30 years. I have shared their experience and my own with others who consider me their ‘money coach.’ Most are DIY investors—they have jettisoned their advisors since learning the John Bogle and Warren Buffett investment lessons: costs detract from market index. Here are the results for 2019. They are total return investors—selling shares equally across all 10 funds for their monthly RMD income. Some want protection from a down market and so they overweight Wellesley Income instead of buying an annuity: Wellesley’s 9.7% a year not too bad to live on.

2019 Total Return Fund                    Long-term Return      Longevity
31.0% 500 Index                                             10.7% since 1976
11.9% Energy                                                    9.7% since 1984
28.0% Extended Market                                  10.7% since 1987
23.0% Health                                                   16.1% since 1984
30.4% International Growth                              10.5% since 1981
27.9% PRIMECAP                                         13.4% since 1984
27.5% Small Cap Index                                    10.7% since 1960
16.2% Wellesley Income                                    9.7% since 1970
30.0% Windsor                                                11.3% since 1958
28.6% Windsor II                                            10.7% since 1985
25.5% Average                                                11.3% *
            *Average Annual Returns as of 12/31/9.

Govt will take your legacy if your heirs don’t withdraw and pay taxes in 10 years.
Under new law, Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020, leaving our IRA to children or grandchildren will require your heirs or beneficiary to withdraw and pay taxes (perhaps higher rate) within 10 years not their lifetimes. Even the tax-FREE Roth account would be required to be eliminated as an estate planning tool since it must be cleaned out in 10 years. Thus, if you were planning to leave a lifelong legacy to your family members or others, you must rethink it. We all may be changing our IRA beneficiary designation to a trust which may require an attorney fee ‘legacy.’ Some of us must change our plan now while others may want to wait to see if another solution comes in 2021. We had planned to use the IRA and Roth IRA for the ‘stretch’ strategy: our beneficiary would be allowed to take annual income but allow the stocks/bonds to grow during the rest of our child’s lifetime—perhaps 40 years. Now it appears that the wealthy who already have a family trust will keep avoiding their fair share and we will have to subsidize the tax-avoiders. For example, the beneficiary of $1 million accounts could withdraw roughly $33,000 a year over 30 years under current rules; however, that changes to $100,000 a year under new rules. Clearly the middle class would be hit with higher taxes on the compressed withdrawal period. Trusts set up like Romney’s can help avoid taxes.

Save on taxes BEFORE Dec 31
1. Reduce reportable income by contributing $19,000 in a 401(k) plan this year or, if you’re age 50 or older, $25,000. Check with your HR. Traditional IRA deductions are still useful up to $6,000 ($7,000 for over 50) by April 15 2020. Double Deductions for Married Filing Jointly. 2. Pay forward charity or medical expenses to take the itemized over the standard ($12,000 $24,000 married). 3. Sell that dog of a stock you own. Admit you made a mistake and use the loss up to $3,000 against income. 4. If you had a bad year in business, pay forward any new expenses/supplies and take a bigger loss against other income. Verify with your accountant.

Is the new rage ‘direct-indexing’ right for you?
Wall Street has tired of ETF and wants to market stocks with the ‘index’ label. What is it? It is a ‘buy and hold’ strategy of stocks they pick for you. Sounds like the old strategy because it is: an investor can own a personal index that owns however many stocks they want, optimized to track that index within a certain band of tolerance. “An investor can customize a portfolio to fit their beliefs, customize it to their personal employment situation (to avoid concentration) and tax loss harvest.” You can do this yourself but who has the time to research and track ‘many’ stocks. As one blogger said: “I see the next $1 billion, $10 billion, $100 billion financial advisor opportunity.” They can’t make any money on low-cost ETFs or mutual funds, so advisors are going back to ‘personal’ portfolio selection. But can an advisor really beat the IVV or 500 Index? Which advisor can produce over 30% this year and 11% a year over time? By the time you find out (trial and error) your earnings will be the average managed-account return of 3.79%.
Why does the stock market return 11% so consistently?
This year your portfolio cemented a love of indexing at over 30%. You did not have to buy and sell the stocks others recommended. You could just sit back and feel good. Turns out the market total return has provided 11% a year over a long time: Check the returns over time (1971-2018: 11.83%).
DALBAR’s Quantitative Analysis of Investor Behavior (QAIB) shows those who try to beat the index earn just 3.79% over 30 years. In fact, during every period, advisor-managed accounts ALWAYS provided LESS than the index. For every period, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940, 1950, 1960, 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000, 2010 till today, we could have earned over 11%. Of course these returns do not subtract inflation but when we accumulate wealth, we don’t spend our portfolio so inflation is not taken into account.

New Year financial resolutions
Start a 529 college plan with tax savings and growth. Four state plans anyone can use have the highest ratings from funds analyst Morningstar. The top four plans, which earned gold ratings, were direct-to-investor plans issued by Illinois, Virginia, Utah and California. California’s plan was upgraded to gold from a silver rating by the analysts because it plans to adopt progressive glide paths in its age-based portfolios starting in 2020.
End paying for loans from your ‘cash value’ life insurance. If you have a policy with loans, you may be paying for something that is no longer providing a benefit to you or heirs. People are living longer and have other assets for a legacy. When you can’t keep up the loan payments (loan repayments compound) and annual premiums, it is time to ‘cut bait.’ You could reduce the death benefit or cash out (with huge tax bill: loan interest is NOT deductible). You may not need coverage anymore. Usually that need ends with grown children and working spouse. Former premiums can buy an emergency fund or pay all debts. Cash out in the year your income drops.

How to block the MS new browser from your computer
Since many of us do not use the Microsoft browser—the one that comes with Win 10—we might not want MS to push another version of their ‘chromium’ Edge on us. It will come with a new update and you can follow these instructions to keep it out of your hair.


Like 1776, this period is a test of democracy—do we really want ‘low-IQMobster?

Trump has replaced 187 judges so far: GOP bias changes our lives for 60 years.
Making war in space: Trump starts new arms race: Darth Vader is back!

Trump to allow slaughterhouses to self-inspect: Just like Boeing: people die!
Trump allows foreign objects (steel, plastic, rubber) into speeded food processors.
GOP allows industry to ‘regulate’ itself: Boeing, GM kill us, kids shred their guts.

Toy manufacturers are killing our kids: Safety Commission under industry $ thumb.

NJ Dem converts: gives “undying support” to The Party Leader: Kool-Aid
House votes to repeal SALT cap but wealthy already found loophole.

Trump will debate DEMs Putin-style: Moderators are in his control/employ

Broker/advisor really doesn’t ‘watch your back’: new rule makes them tell the truth.
Relative in trouble scam: works every time because they have family details we gave up.

WATCH out: GM cars without steering wheels: computer glitch run you down?

Your ‘handwritten’ card/letter is really a robo writer: can’t believe anything written now.

Who owns your account?
Average credit score: up to 682 but debt up too. Our spending keeps economy growing.
Esurance brand (Allstate) is over: rebrand Allstate online 2020.

NJ is now converting photo ID to ‘real’ ID with * so I can get on airplane: another fee!

U.S. Bank’s 3,700 branches will cut teller coordinator & assistant branch manager jobs.


41 Watchung Plaza, B242
MontclairNJ   07042

Friday, December 20, 2019

So how does your advisor broker survive on $0 commissions?

Happy Holiday

So how does your advisor broker survive on $0 commissions?
There is no FREE lunch especially in financial services. Schwab paid its chief executive, Walt Bettinger, an 8.9% compensation hike in 2018 to $15.6 million (down from 2016 of  $19.54 million), about 150 times the firm’s median employee pay of $104,281. Charles gave himself $6.05 million, up 9.6% from 2017. Like others, Schwab had a profit margin of 45%. So how do we give them so much money if not in commissions? Firms execute others’ trades: Selling order flow. Firms earn interest on your cash. Earn from loans: margin trading and options trading. Earn from money management accounts: quarterly fee for ‘holding’ your money. Securities lending: covers shorts. Remember, most firms have such huge economies of scale that trading millions of shares a day at only 10 cents each is worth $ millions for senior management. Some firms are market makers and so have a virtual monopoly on certain markets. For instance, two former Deutsche Bank traders were found guilty of trying to rig a key lending benchmark (LIBOR) that was considered one of the most important barometers of the world’s financial health. Some brokerage firms are also capital creators selling IPOs: the stocks of new companies for big fees. There is no need to pay for advisors. Amateur traders usually lose money. Most smaller active stock managers may become history since beating an index is too hard.

Congress just gave insurers and salespeople a big bonus
They passed the SECURE Act, "The SECURE Act will make it easier for employers to offer as part of their retirement plans annuities that provide a guaranteed stream of lifetime income," says an insurance lobbyist. Employers and their retirement plan person can entice us into high-cost plans that lock up our retirement dollars into an insurer’s vaults. Using industry trick-phrases like “guaranteed income you can’t outlive” and misleading charts with best possible outcomes, employers can wash their hands of any future responsibility for the inevitable low payouts down the line. For instance, when we chose an annuity of $1000 a month in 2020, we will have no recourse when it buys only $500 a month benefits later on. Currently, a retiree can shop and buy the best annuity deal out there with their money. Under SECURE, employers will be able to escape any future lawsuit when an annuity ‘guarantee’ goes wrong. We are NOT secure with SECURE.

How much IRA money should you convert to Roth IRA?
If you have a good idea how much income and thus tax you will pay for 2019, you can calculate how much IRA money to convert. If you file jointly, your $100,000 earned income puts you in the 22% bracket. With the standard deduction of $24,400, you can estimate the amount of IRA income to be taxed on for the year. You can convert to a Roth IRA as much as you can afford since the $7,000 limit on contributions does not apply. Example: $100,000 - $24,400 = $75,600. With $5,000 added income (SS, pension, interest, dividends, gains, etc) you can convert up to $88,000 without hitting the 24% bracket. Of course you will owe an extra $19,360 tax on top of the $17,600 AGI income tax. Pace it out over time. Use the FREE efile software to calculate: now open: .

How much will you be required to withdrawal from your IRA 2020?
IRS expects those over 70 ½ years old with a traditional IRA to take a certain amount out and pay tax on the taxable amount. Your IRA trustee or custodian reports your year end IRA account balances to the IRS and if you allow, calculates your RMD for the year. IRS tables tell us the divisor based on your assumed longevity. RMD is the ‘minimum’ you need to acknowledge and pay tax on. You can take more and pay more tax now. The IRS leaves it up to you to report how much of the RMD is taxable each year. Some people added already taxed money to their IRA (before the Roth IRA) so no need to be taxed again. You can adjust that RMD by removing money from your IRA and paying more tax before year-end. You might do that if you have no income other than SS benefits or you had to meet an emergency. Reducing the IRA balance by year-end will lower the RMD for the rest of your life. Thus if you have a $100,000 in your IRA your RMD is $3,773.58 because you are expected to live 26.5 years more when you are 71. If you took out $20,000 the year before the calculation, your RMD would be $3,018.87 the following year.

How to fight health care overcharges by your providers
Recently I got a bill from my colonoscopy provider. I thought all screening procedures are FREE since my expensive health care plan is usually excellent. My employer told me on my W-2 box 12a that my shared cost was $26,920.68. I did some research and printed out the FREE screening protocols for ACA ObamaCare compliant health plans. The ACA Preventive health initiative by Obama is meant to reduce long-term costs by catching problems early. I assumed my provider knew this when I confirmed that all the costs of my procedure would be covered. So I sent a copy of the ACA regs to the provider’s billing address with a note that I was covered. They just sent more bills and emails for months. The doctor’s office ignored me. Like in the movie Rainmaker, we pay premiums and the insurer-doctor complex assumes we will give up fighting. Since I knew they were wrong, I wrote a letter to the CEO of my insurance company asking him to pay the bill and set the provider’s billing clerk straight. They called the provider group HD and told me I would not get another bill. Most people would just give up and be sued and perhaps be thrown into bankruptcy. It happens a lot since we have no power against the insurer-doctor complex.

Vanguard cut fees AGAIN
Vanguard has cut some fees 20% for funds and ETFs. Why is that important? Over time you will earn and KEEP substantially more of your hard-earned money. If you are investing for the long term, you could give up $143,000 on $10,000 deposit with that 20% extra fee. Compounding the extra fees works for your advisor just as well as it can work for you. This fact never comes to mind for most of us because our employer’s HR person never tells us exactly and completely what our 401k or 403b investments cost. Some of them don’t know. Most of us have no idea which options are best for us when we start our plan. Some employers don’t even look at fees when giving the plan advisor the annual check up. Even if they know what the fees are, they don’t care because WE are ones paying them. It comes out of our earnings even before our earnings are credited to our accounts. We don’t see them. Our employer has the fiduciary responsibility for choosing the best options for US not the advisor. However, most employers don’t take their duty seriously and this has led to many lawsuits. Over time, this can cost you over $100,00 in lost earnings on your invested money.


Like 1776, this period is a test of democracy—do we really want ‘low-IQMobster?

Trump personal attacks on dead Congress member’s family: “look up” from hell

Trump fights for his useless WALL instead of lower drug prices from drug companies

Can Congress do something worthwhile? 54.6 billion spam phone calls placed.
Why can’t Trump negotiate lower drug prices or buy from foreign countries?
Trump will reduce SS benefits for the disabled: cuts to pay for tax break for wealthy

Truth is the greatest victim of this fight to the death for GOP view of ‘democracy’

Putin has Trump’s back: Russian dictator echoes GOP “made up reasons” Ukraine did it
GOP compares Trump to Jesus: Trump treated worse, GA rep says. Lincoln shot.

WI removes 234,000 DEM voters from rolls to assure WI goes to Trump again.
GA takes aim at eliminating 309,000 DEM voters: voter suppression for 2020

Jeffrey Friedland promoted weed investment w/o disclosing he got paid fined $4.2million
Windhaven Insurance FL insolvent taken over by the state for lack of surplus funds
Robinhood broker order flow failed to guarantee receive best prices: cheap but not best

Samuel Lek caught manipulative trading for foreign traders using master-sub account
BEWARE: Advisor sells annuity promising LTC benefits: pay extra 1% for no coverage.

Hype of 5G: different types may not match your phone, coverage areas, speeds-too early.

Who owns your account?
Don’t take your phone to do your crime: Govt will find you using Google data.
Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot merge: Fiat family run with French twist

Retirement isn’t for everyone: some people just have to work—it’s their joy.

Oceans getting more acidic: CA waters double the global rate. Australia hits 105.6.

41 Watchung Plaza, B242
MontclairNJ   07042
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Friday, December 13, 2019

Financial industry BIG LIE

Financial industry BIG LIE
Many investors still believe their advisor broker or agent charges NOTHING. Among mutual fund investors, 32% believed they do not pay fees or expenses, according to new study. The survey showed that 46% of the participants mistakenly think that the past performance of an investment is a good indicator of future results. Since investing is not taught in school, the only source of information is the industry’s sales people. They have a vested interest in keep us dumb about investing and how they get paid just as doctors don’t tell patients they are paid to push certain drugs. And the industry has convinced us that we have enough information to make good decisions. Sites that offer contrary information about sale of financial products like BrokerCheck or are hardly used. Most investors don’t realize how much they pay for bad advice over their lifetimes. The average investor earned just 3.79% vs 11% from a low-cost market index fund and that over 30 years, they give up 63% of their potential earnings.

Do we really need an advisor now?
‘Next Decade Will Bring the Demise of Hundreds of Advisory Firms.’ This was the topic of one recent advisor conference. The industry has changed. Commissions are lower or $0. Low-cost fund firm Vanguard is growing faster than any other fund firm. Brokerage firms are bought by banks or consolidating. Many firms are eliminating smaller accounts. Their wealthy clients are going into art, private debt, and hard assets. Our life stages have changed and so we will need ‘lifestyle counselors.’ Technology has changed the way we invest and manage our money. We don’t need a sales person to tell us how to make money. Most people understand that costs are important in the long run to retire. Over time, whether we use a 401k or advisor, we waste up to 63% of our total potential accumulations in fees, commissions, trading, timing schemes. Instead, we can answer our own questions of how to invest and manage money.  

Are the new leveraged and inverse exchange-traded funds right for you?
Brokerage firms are proposing that the SEC allow them to sell the “riskiest” ETFs. However, some of the ETF industry's most controversial products come with a caveat that could doom them to irrelevance: brokers must document whether investors understand their risks. Since many traders love the potential of huge gains, wirehouses have a huge potential market of buyers. But how will they prove we understand we could lose more than we bet? Leveraged products use derivatives to boost their returns or move in the opposite direction to their benchmarks. While these strategies can mean big bucks, they can also amplify losses, especially for the less experienced ‘players.’ Historically, the average investor earns only 3.79% instead of the market index return of 11% because they lose as much as they gain. As one analyst put it: "Anything new that is coming in at the margins will likely aim for something more esoteric, more gimmicky." These products have been banned for 10 years for a reason. Casinos offer thrills for less.

Our incomes barely budged in 50 years
The average real (after inflation) annual income after taxes and transfers has edged up a meager $8,000 since 1970, rising from just over $19,000 to just over $27,000 in 2018. By contrast, among the top 1 percent of earners, average income even after taxes and transfers has tripled since 1970, rising by more than $800,000, from just over $300,000 to over $1 million in 2018. This is why we can’t afford a decent retirement fund, college for the kids, or even a home, in recent years. The money we earned for the American Dream got sent up the line to the bosses and owners: the top .01 % has increased their incomes nearly sevenfold, from just over $3.5 million to over $24 million. Their taxes went down to 17% while ours went up to 33%. The wealthy have screwed us all and the Dem’s plans to raise taxes on income or wealth will fail just like in the past.

Are the new mobile trading apps right for you?
Apps from Charles Schwab, Wells Fargo and Edward Jones all earned high marks from users relative to the rest of the brokerage industry according to J.D. Power. Our question: do we earn more money by having the ability to trade securities at our finger tips? Fast trading is usually what leads to greater losses over greater gains. With computer trading and order execution by full-time geeks, is it really possible to beat Wall Street workers? Impulse buying is a marketing tool of the grocery industry. Historically most us fail to beat the lowly market index. Warren Buffett recently proved this again. Trading by click could be the equivalent to playing the lottery every week—spend $1,000 win $750.

What is a ‘safe’ investment strategy?
In one day, I received three totally different messages from so-called “professional” Wall Streeters on the future of my investments. It’s no wonder we investors are always paying the WRONG advisor. Thing is, NONE of them know what will happen. When I worked in the industry, the expensive suits on the top floor had to come up with new reasons for our clients to buy or sell every week. As one veteran confessed, “we don’t make any money unless there is activity.” So Citi says stocks. Bloomberg says risks ahead. One says Recession: ‘Get into cash.’ Another says No recession. Whatever your advisor recommends doesn’t matter by next month so the best strategy is to stay in a diversified portfolio like the top 10 from low-cost Vanguard and don’t pay fees for ‘advice’ (guessing is more accurate). Hey, you are the one taking all the risks and paying the fees, charges, commissions.

Convert your IRA to a Roth and leave a TAX FREE legacy
When you take out IRA money after you reach 70 ½ years, you can pay tax as you are required to do and pop the amount up to $7,000 into your Roth IRA with a child or grandchild as beneficiary. It grows Tax FREE until you pass and becomes your legacy without the taxes you, nor they, pay. You can even change the owner later on so this cash build up over the years is not counted in your estate. Since you are forced to take this money out as your RMD each year, you create an estate for them without ANY tax to them: Perfect reminder of your generosity.

Best holiday gift for your young person—lasts a lifetime
Your child or grandchild could have a $2,000,000 Wealth Reserve providing tax-FREE income later in life. Your annual or monthly gift could provide your favorite child with real “social security:” their own tax-FREE money fund. You help them take advantage of the miracle of compounding. Put $250 a month ($3,000 a year) in a low-cost stock index fund earning 11% and watch it explode: Your gift becomes a $1-2,000,000 Wealth Reserve. You could reduce your taxable estate by up to $500,000 for each child. Your child or grandchild may NEVER have to pay taxes on the money either if you use a Roth IRA. Social Security will exhaust its reserve fund in about 2034, according to 2018 projections. Every year you delay helping them with a gift costs your favorite kid $100,000 later.

Is ‘bundling’ auto and home insurance right for you?
First, since insurance companies like Progressive use this as a marketing tool, you need to check it out for your situation. You know it is a great deal for insurers since they push it. Second, they claim to save you money on the total premium but this can be bad for you. Their ‘bundle’ of policies may not cover what you need. Example: I had an oil tank in the ground for oil-fired steam. When I tried to bundle with my auto, all insurers refused. My home insurer grandfathered my coverage from a previous home and I have over 40 years with them. Third, if you have a lot of claims on your home and a perfect driving record, one ‘rap sheet’ will hurt your total premium. Better look for separate coverage. Fourth, insurers count your credit report with different weights. Bad credit means bad driving and home care behavior to some of them. Shop separately to compare your best deal. Remember that insurers are NOT your friends—they hate paying claims.


Like 1776, this period is a test of democracy—do we really want ‘low-IQMobster?

Live in TX? Trump is going to take your home for WALL: no 2nd Amndmnt for homes.
Judge tells Trump NO, can’t build WALL with military money for other purpose.

Arming Space Force to fight wars in space: WWIII by remote control built by Boeing

Trump still holding up $20 million for Ukraine: waiting for dirt for 2020 election?

Trump’s vigilantes build his WALL illegally: Prez can give pardon to any criminal!

Insurer lures young annuity buyers by invoking parents' financial woes: fear-buying
Regulators let money manager hide ETF portfolios, including exotic items: buyer beware
Credit card debt hits 10-year high: “This is well-managed delinquency,”

Marcus Boggs caught stealing $2 millions: “very charming”
Jefferies brokerage caught mishandling ADR foreign securities: $4 million settlement
BitClub Network ran Ponzi scheme for fake $722 million cryptocurrency ‘miners’

SCAM: ‘Save’ by switching gas/electric utility: but who to call if wires down/gas leak?

Who owns your account?
CA banned medical surprise billing: protects people from bills of docs out of network

Moving to avoid high state/property taxes? Consider wisely avoiding $10,000 cap SALT

Global warming: CA gets historic 75 foot wave—lucky at low tide but next time?
Boston bomber claims trial 6 years ago not fair: killed/injured 280 people: hated US
Atlantic coast will move 1 mile or more in our lifetimes: where is your home?
ObamaCare mandate actually saved lives by forcing states to offer coverage

41 Watchung Plaza, B242
MontclairNJ   07042

Friday, December 6, 2019

Best gift for your young person—lasts a lifetime

Best gift for your young person—lasts a lifetime
Your child or grandchild could have a $2,000,000 Wealth Reserve providing tax-FREE income later in life. Your annual or monthly gift could provide your favorite child with real “social security:” their own tax-FREE money fund. You help them take advantage of the miracle of compounding. Your gift becomes a $1-2,000,000 Wealth Reserve. You could reduce your taxable estate by up  to $500,000 for each child. Your child or grandchild will NEVER have to pay taxes on the money either. Social Security will exhaust its reserve fund in about 2034, according to 2018 projections. Every year you delay helping them with a gift costs your favorite kid $100,000 later.

Rethinking living life to age 100?
Longevity—living longer—and longevity risk—running out of money—are real concerns for anyone age 60 today. Maintaining physical fitness from the beginning to end of life will be paramount. Getting outside, encouraging sports, reducing the time we sit, and spending more time walking and moving will greatly improve individual lives. There is good reason to think we will work longer, but we can improve work quality with shorter workweeks, flexible scheduling and frequent “retirements.” The problem is living in cultures designed for lives half as long as the ones we have. Flexibility is the key to living well longer through different stages than in the past.

Where can you invest $100 for your child’s future?
Teach your child to invest the Buffett way. Success with money starts early. Compounding over time assures your child of security. You have a great opportunity to teach your child how to become successful with money. They can learn to take care of themselves and even become wealthy from your guidance TODAY. You can show them how to take advantage of the greatest power in finance: compound interest and the time value of money. Warren Buffett, who turned his paper route savings into $60 billion, credited compounding over time for his wealth. "My wealth has come from a combination of living in America, some lucky genes, and compound interest." $100 a month can reach $867,000 in time.

Part-time job tax reporting change
IRS ruled recently that if you receive a 1099 MISC for work done which is NOT “your regular trade or business for a profit,” you may report it as miscellaneous income on line 8, 1040 instead of as a new business. Even if the payer makes a mistake and enters it in box 7, you are allowed to treat it as ‘other income’ as in box 3. If you use tax prep software, you are now allowed to move the amount reported in box 7 to box 3. This means you are not forced to complete the self-employment tax Schedule SE and business Schedule C. Usually, miscellaneous payments are for occasional remuneration for a task, not a business or trade involving expenses and the profit potential. Also for retirees, adding payments to their SS earnings record may reduce their future benefits since the remuneration may decrease the average earnings formula calculated annually. Example 1: retired social worker provides part year classes in yoga at her church. Unless she reports the $2500 from box 7 as box 3, she will owe over $800 additional tax or loss of refund. She is not teaching yoga for biz profit and there are no expenses involved in the activity. The IRS will accept reporting non-business income on line 8 despite an entry in box 7 on 1099 MISC.
Example 2: high school student works at local CVS and plays drums for occasional events at a YMCA. He is learning to be a drummer as a future artist. He has expenses like transport, sticks, new heads, etc in pursuit of a profit. His 1099 MISC earnings total is in box 7. He must complete Schedule C and SE since he is an artist for a profit.
Confirm new ruling with your tax preparer.

Social Security will not be enough
Retirees receiving SS benefits in 2020 are getting a raise—a COLA. However, most will see a decrease in benefits since the Medicare B cost has gone up to $144.60 and is often deducted automatically. Looking forward in retirement, this will probably happen in future years. Plus, Congress is not likely to fix the failing SS benefit reserve fund which the trustees warn may cut benefits by 21% in 2034—just 14 years from now. For those near retirement, this is a warning: forget that new car costing over $40,000 and invest it. For those with 20 years or more before retirement, add an extra $250 a month to your 401k, Roth 401k, IRA or Roth IRA now.

How average is your tax deduction for charity?
If you still itemize deductions, this category has not been capped like the property and state income tax category. But how much can you reasonably deduct without generating a letter from the IRS? Perhaps if you stay close to the average for your income level you will be ‘safe.’ No one is ‘safe’ since the average taxpayer is just as likely as the super wealth to be audited. However, most of us don’t have the same lawyers as the tax avoiders do to fight the audit. I am asked how much to deduct by some clients when I do their taxes. I say “whatever you have receipts for.” However, the Vets, Red Cross and others don’t give you a value on your donation receipts. Any valuable item like a $4,000 wheelchair needs an appraisal or purchasing documentation. The IRS provides round numbers here: story/money/taxes/2018/07/06/how-much-average-taxpayer-give-charity-taxes-2018/36561381/ Be prepared to give receipts or docs if you claim much more than your income group average. Fewer middle-income folks are itemizing since the standard deduction was doubled last year. In recent years the IRS has quit auditing many wealthy folks. The IRS goes for the single mother with children since they know she has no money and no lawyer. America now has Socialism for the Rich:

This investment is what most people are looking for
Most ‘investors’ are not traders. They understand that steady growth over time is better for their future happiness than constant worry about the current hot ‘opportunities.’ When we look at the funds that offer both growth and income before and during retirement, we use a fund’s long-term returns as a guide. Recently, a popular site called Seeking Alpha examined a fund that provides a well-rounded solution. The summary: “The Vanguard Wellesley Income fund, a mere conservative balanced fund, outperformed the S&P from 2000 to 2019. This fund proved suitable for all seasons, evidenced by its performance during major market meltdowns (i.e., 2000 and 2008). Three words might describe this fund: longevity, consistency and performance.” A total return of 9.7% since 1970 seems like an exceptional bargain in the growth and income space. A yield of 2.56% makes this fund superior to most fixed annuities for income since your capital is preserved. This is one of our choices for pre and post retirement.

Congress may give insurers and salespeople a big bonus for 2020
If they pass the SECURE Act, "The SECURE Act will make it easier for employers to offer as part of their retirement plans annuities that provide a guaranteed stream of lifetime income," says an insurance lobbyist. Employers and their retirement plan person can entice us into high-cost plans that lock up our retirement dollars into an insurer’s vaults. Using industry trick-phrases like “guaranteed income you can’t outlive” and misleading charts with best possible outcomes, employers can wash their hands of any future responsibility for the inevitable low payouts down the line. For instance, when we chose an annuity of $1000 a month in 2020, we will have no recourse when it buys only $500 a month benefits in 20 years. Currently, a retiree can shop and buy the best annuity deal out there with their money. Under SECURE, employers will be able to escape any future suit when an annuity ‘guarantee’ goes wrong. We are NOT secure with SECURE. Learn the annuity facts:


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