Friday, January 18, 2019

Make sure you have all your tax documents before you file


Make sure all your tax documents come before you file
Since there is no enforcement of tax document mailings by mutual funds, banks, brokerage and advisors as well as employers, check last year’s filing to make sure you have everything to file BEFORE you go to your preparer. Few keep the deadline of January 31. Call IRS if not by February 28. If you have a kid in college, make sure they do NOT take your dependent exemption themselves. They don’t need it to get their job withholding tax refund. You need it to claim deductions and an extra $500. Kids should check the box “Someone can claim you as a dependent.” https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1040.pdf. When you are ready, IRS has efile partners that have easy software programs that may allow you file for FREE. Some charge depending on your state and level of income. Most will cost less than the advertised brands ($50+$30) unless you must use a paid preparer. Trump has doubled the number of forms required to file many middle-income returns so the average price will be higher. And you won’t pay a penalty if you paid 85% of what you owe. Many of us will pay MORE than Trump promised since the wealthy and corporations pay less. January 28 is the first day of FREE ‘human’ preparation by AARP tax-aides. Make sure you have all of your docs: https://www.irs.com/articles/tax-form-checklist. Sign up at locations near you: https://secure.aarp.org/applications/VMISLocator/searchTaxAideLocations.action.

Long term care policies benefits and prices vary by 243%
If you are wealthy you may not need a policy. If you are NOT wealthy you may not be able to afford this coverage. You can buy from a new insurer with better understanding of the cost profile. Most advisors say buy at a younger age and change the benefits to meet your needs. Great for them but how to cope with increasing prices for what may be a very long time—age 55-85 means 30 years at $3-4,000 a year. AND you may not need coverage. That’s $100,000 wasted cash vs. $500,000 invested at 8%. Unless you know you will need it soon, you may be better off paying cash when the time comes. $4,750 to $2,500 per year LTC policy prices vary greatly.

A pathway to health care for all
CA new gov proposing extending ACA ObamaCare to insure more residents. This incremental move may light the way for other states concerned for its citizens. Newsom uses state funds to fill in the gaps for those without coverage and ignores the mandate. More carrot and less stick may help CA do what others haven’t up till now. About 10% of its non-elderly population lacks coverage. A study last year projected a steady rise, finding that Republicans' Obamacare sabotage and other factors would increase the un-insurance rate to 13% by 2023, with about 1 million more uninsured Californians, barring a policy shift. Massachusetts has its own mandate and subsidy program, and it has the lowest uninsured rate in the nation. Families are working hard to pay medical bills but still need help even with 4 part-time jobs and working mom.

Are ‘Target Date’ funds right for you?
A recent survey of employees enrolled in TDF shows they are misunderstood. The industry does its best to keep those with low pension balances in the dark. The industry is a for-profit one and has no interest in explaining this low-cost high-return strategy for retirement funding. Instead of showing how this option gives employees the best shot at a successful pension fund, working folks have the idea that this strategy will assure a safe retirement income, will never go down, is guaranteed by the government and becomes a cash asset in retirement. Workers do know TDF asset allocations shift from stocks to bonds over time. Most employees have had no investing experience and so if their 401k default is TDF, they never learn what they really own. Employers are not in a position to teach investing and the fund complex they use has no responsibility to provide this service. Employers have all but abandoned paid worker pensions. And no one has stepped up to provide the basic financial education all of us need at our first job. https://www.amazon.com/Financial-Literacy-Steps-Success-Money/dp/1491044616

Avoid double taxation when you inherit an IRA
When you inherit an IRA from someone, you need to know the amount they contributed over the years as after-tax non-deductions. Since IRA accounts have been around, contributors who wanted to keep on investing even without current tax deductions because of their incomes, were able to keep building their retirement nest egg. If they started taking distributions mandated by the IRS as RMDs at age 70 1/2, they had to calculate the amount to exclude from taxation as regular income since they had already paid tax on the contributions. They should have filed a form every year (Form 8606) keeping track of this so called ‘basis’—the amount they already paid tax on. The financial trustee for this account never had to keep this information so you as the beneficiary must go back into the tax records to compute the excluded ratio. Otherwise the IRS will treat the whole distribution to you as taxable at your rate. The last tax return should have the Form 8606 so you and your tax preparer can take it from there. Of course, now we have the Roth IRA which shields all the growth in your IRA contributions from taxation. Use the Roth for your current investing or convert your old IRA to the Roth for totally FREE distributions when you take them. You do not have to take them so they are the perfect working-person’s estate plan. Heirs pay no tax.

What did John Bogle give us?
John Bogle died Thursday. John Bogle created The Vanguard Group—the mutual funds owned by us—the investors—at cost, so we could keep more of what we earned. At work in a financial firm one day, he responded to the fall of his clients’ accounts by noting that speculation was not in the best interest of the firm’s clients. Bogle fixed on the role of a firm as steward of the clients’ funds. In 1976, his new firm introduced the index fund to individuals. Indexing was run by banks for some large investors. In 1977, Bogle stopped selling funds through brokers. The company eliminated sales charges and became a pure no-load mutual fund complex—a move that would save shareholders $ billions in sales commissions and fees—increasing their gains. Stewardship is the attitude of salaried workers at Vanguard which is now the largest provider of funds to investors. Noted economist, Paul Samuelson ranked "this Bogle invention along with the invention of the wheel, the alphabet, Gutenberg printing." Jack Bogle’s legacy is rooted in the concept that investing should be conducted solely in the interest of investors. Bogle’s single mindedness on fiduciary stewardship finds its meaning in the company he founded, the (low cost and simple) product strategies and corporate governance reforms he champions, and the nine books he wrote. The industry has followed Bogle’s lead—almost every investor is now paying less and earning more because of this industry disruptor.  See attached.

Real estate moguls lick their chops at Trump’s ‘opportunity zones’
Trump did Jared and friends a big favor. Moguls who develop real estate or fund businesses in these areas are able to defer capital gains on profits earned elsewhere and completely eliminate them on new investments in 8,700 low-income census tracts. The goal is to reinvigorate these areas. But the question is whether the 2017 tax law will, as Mogul Mnuchin predicts, pump $100 billion into places that need it most, or if investors will play it safe by funding projects in a few zones already on the upswing. But like most deals, there are hidden terms. Investing in a relatively illiquid partnership or corporation with the intent of holding the investment for as many as 10 years in order to maximize the available tax benefits requires a strong conviction regarding the merits of the investment itself. Some areas are just not ready for money without people. And state tax codes may not help. The Federal tax benefits don’t exist until the property is sold—no gains; no deduction. And be careful about rolling over their eligible gains into a QOF within 180 days. The rules are complicated.




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Make America, “The Don”, Great Again
Truth isn’t truth, his lawyer says


Two Americas: A Banana Republic? Do we really want an infant king? Daddy Putin!


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How Govt wastes our money: Congress spends $1.3 Trillion we don’t have! 
Sec. Defense, former Boeing exec, OK paying too much for Boeing tanker for AF. Graft?
Mortgage approvals delayed by gov verification on hold; IRS, VA and FHA closed.


SCAMS/SPINS:
Robert Kahn, MO; Andrew Schade, MI; John Wheeler, FL caught misleading clients.
VanEck Vectors BDC Income ETF (BIZD), charges 9.41% a year: you lost money?

Trump to farmers: I’ll “make it easier” for some immigrants to come into the country.
GOP supports lifting sanctions on Putin friends: Trump rewards Russia for election win.

Trump, as dictator, puts 50,000 in slavery chains—says work without pay is good thing
Trump, as dictator, takes revenge on Dems: Pelosi secure flight cancelled: ‘stay here’
Trump, as dictator, lied about how many kids were separated: still don’t know where.

Flight-safety systems at risk with no inspectors & fewer TSA checks.

MetLife stole pension payments to 13,500 retirees claiming they were dead. No jail time.
PA state pension fund overpaid managers $1 billion in 2017—retirees lose; cronies win.
Sterling Jewelers caught opening charge acct without consent: owns ALL jewelers

Hyundai, Kia recall 168,000 for fuel leaks and fires and software



Individual 1” could be a Russian “asset”: Why FBI opened a file on The Mob Boss.

GOP can’t say “You’re fired” to The Boss because his voters will ‘kill’ them in 2020.

The Mob Boss can never go to jail: Trump has Kava as Supreme so no indictment.
‘No man is above the law’ … well up till now. Dictators nullify courts first, then votes.
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Jobs:
Work for free: TSA and flight controllers and Coast Guard need replacements now.
Jobs that pay in health care: leader in job growth.

Who owns your account now?
Trump to take TX homeowner’s property: Is land like a gun 2nd amendment?

Your investments are back to where they were last April and climbing.
WA cancels NRA insurance for killing people: illegal “to insure criminal activity."
Sears bought by Lampert for $5.2 billion

Miracle:

A gymnastic milestone and a ’10’ to Make America Feel Good Again: Twitter

IAN
41 Watchung Plaza, B242
MontclairNJ   07042
973.746.2014
Alerts 

Friday, January 11, 2019

Don’t give your money to the wrong beneficiary!


Don’t give your money to the wrong beneficiary
This is the time to make sure the beneficiaries of your life insurance, annuity, IRAs, 401k, 403b, bank and brokerage accounts are correct. Many companies fail to pay the money you intended for your loved ones because they have tricks to keep it for profit. If your ‘bene’ does not know about the money or make a claim for it, the firm keeps it. You must make sure the insurer and your beneficiary has the correct information. You must make sure the person you want to get your money, gets it. For instance, MetLife and other insurance firms were caught keeping the funds due ‘bene’s because they claimed they did not know the payer had died or they failed to try to find or pay the benefits. Beneficiaries often do not know their benefactor had set up an account for them. In another case, MetLife used the excuse that they made the bene’s money ‘available’ but only in checks of $250 at a time. Since MetLife held $ millions of benefits in their general account, they made $ millions from the earnings with the bene’s money. Each state had to negotiate with MetLife for 3 years to get their citizens’ funds released. Prudential and John Hancock were among hundreds of insurers which had no interest in paying death benefits to their rightful owners. They did not use databases like the SS death record. The courts found that this was an elaborate game that has been going on for a long time and not just with life policy death benefits. Give your executor a list in your ‘final wishes’ letter saying who gets what from whom specifically.
Make sure your money goes where you want it to go: https://www.amazon.com/Your-Retirement-Spending-Plan-enough/dp/1461084016

More employers overcharge their workers on pension plans
Mutual of Omaha and Transamerica have been caught taking excessive fees from employees in their 401k mutual fund plans. A participant in the 401(k) plan of Mutual of Omaha sued the company and plan executives alleging violations of ERISA due to excessive fees and to the plan's use of proprietary funds. The company picks the funds that are available so the workers can have a successful retirement. Excessive fees means workers may not be successful. Other ‘service’ firm employees are in litigation with their pension plans: Prudential, Transamerica, Allianz, Jackson National, JP Morgan, Edward Jones, T. Rowe Price, WellsFargo, Franklin Templeton. An employee can lose up to 63% of their potential retirement nest egg by paying more than the costs of their pension plan. Employers can use plan providers that offer funds ‘at cost’ like Vanguard, TIAA, Schwab, etc. Instead they make employees-saving-for-retirement a ‘profit center’ for their own enhancement. They control the pension options, fees, wages, matching dollars.

Do you lose with Trump’s new tax law?
Some old deductions are gone. You may have to adjust your spending and saving to maintain your tax refund. Families with kids will double the credit. Perhaps your business will benefit from the new deduction of 20%. Here are examples for different income levels. States with high property taxes will cause many to change their tax filings.
Jared and The Don have already benefited from the new real estate credits. His new Opportunity Zone deal is even better for him and his friends/family. Some deductions are still possible.

Advisors’ fees are NOT coming down
Advisors charging over 1.2% in fees per year have decided not to try to compete with lower-fee upstarts. Instead, they are re-naming the services offered. Advisors think we will pay more to them than the new kids in town because services are defined in terms of our individual needs. However automation of some services requires they all be the same. Automation makes a firm more efficiency and profitable. For example, some firms are lowering their minimum asset levels for more business on the assumption that new clients will be happy to pay 1.2% for the chance to see a real person on staff compared with the robo advisors. Model portfolios can easily be established for less cost than an actual hand-crafted one. Other firms are using targeted discounts to tempt clients from other firms. Claiming greater transparency in pricing services, some are trying the ‘flat’ fee approach to lure traditional firm clients away from the brokers with ‘hidden’ charges. In a sense the industry is trying to maintain high fees by creating ‘differentiation’—if I think I am getting more services with greater efficiency, I will stick with my broker/advisor. Don’t be fooled.

Health care fees are NOT coming down either
Americans spend more than twice as much on health care per person as their peers in developed nations, according to a new analysis from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. It's not because people in the US use more medical services. Instead, it's because drugs cost more, drug firms kill generics, doctors and nurses are paid better, hospital administration is more expensive and many medical services have higher price tags, the study found. (Today drug-maker admits to national BRIBE DOCTOR scheme creating the opioid crisis.) And paying more does not result in better outcomes unless you are wealthy. The new analysis found that the US remains an outlier when it comes to spending, which was $9,892 per person in 2016. That compares to a median of $4,033 for Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries in 2016 and to the $4,559 the US spent per person in 2000, adjusted for inflation.


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Make America, “The Don”, Great Again
Truth isn’t truth, his lawyer says


Two Americas: A Banana Republic? Do we really want an infant king? Daddy Putin!


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How Govt wastes our money: Congress spends $1.3 Trillion we don’t have! 
BEWARE: Flood area reclamation by Army Corp at risk--WALL may come from ACE.

SCAMS/SPINS:
One Dem has guts: new rep promises to stop The Don—Congress blushes at candor!
Dictators close down gov for years and install their own puppets: The Don solution?
Citizens who live near the WALL have a much different set of facts than the Con Man.

The Don has cut funds to CA fire fighters to punish CA for not fighting fires his way!

Annuity exchanging made easy but encourages ‘churning’ to make another commission.
Daniel Todd Levine caught hiding involvement in another business

‘No Collusion’ but what about your 101 contacts with Putin’s agents: Cohen statement.
I never said Mexico would pay for the WALL’ OK—we don’t need the WALL!

The Mob Boss can never go to jail: Trump has Kava as Supreme so no indictment.
‘No man is above the law’ … well up till now. Dictators nullify courts first, then votes.
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Jobs:
Trump claims workers without paychecks are behind his scheme to close … for years?
Coast Guard workers told to use garage sales for income instead of paychecks.
Need an affordable city to start your life or start it anew? Low rents; higher salaries.

Who owns your account now?
Our for-profit health system is failing us: One family’s nightmare shows reasons.
Avoid premium increase in homeowner’s insurance by going thru dog training.

Miracle:
Pre-K prep programs working FOR equality of opportunity

Young Muslims are cleaning up our national parks: no pay--“It’s just what we do.”

IAN
41 Watchung Plaza, B242
MontclairNJ   07042
973.746.2014
Alerts 

Friday, January 4, 2019

Save $3,000 this year on financials for a brighter tomorrow


Save $3,000 this year on financials for a brighter tomorrow
My future nest egg is always my concern at the start of a year. Where can I find a permanent $3,000 a year to increase my future Wealth Reserve? I use my tax refund. I shop for lower car, house and liability insurance. I ask for a better price on my phone, TV and Internet deal. Yesterday I bought stamps for the year because the price is going from 50 to 55 cents—that’s 10% Mr Trump! This doesn’t save much but it is the principle I value. I told the clerk Allan that we will just mail fewer cards if he keeps raising prices. I will buy more soup this week as it is on sale—10 for $8.99. I already stopped my life insurance, annuity, accident and disability at work. We dropped TurboTax in favor of FreeTaxUSA. We shifted to gas from electric appliances. The largest cut was in moving all our high-rate debts to a HELOC at 3.49%. Our student loan interest is still deductible so we kept that. We gave up our brokerage account and non-Vanguard mutual funds and moved them all to Vanguard for their lower Admiral expense rate averaging 0.11%. We have moved most of our money to the lower end with 500 Index and Wellesley Income funds. Our brokerage and non-Vanguard funds cost over 1% or $2,500 a year. We bought stocks on sale in December for future gains.
We estimate adding another $150,000 to our Wealth Reserve over time: https://www.amazon.com/Build-Wealth-Without-Extra-Money/dp/1448677505

Check ALL your tax credits
2018 was first year of the new Trump tax rules. Don’t leave it up to your preparer to find all your credits. Use the Trump administration as your guide to pay less. Find your tax credits and pay Zero tax like Jared. One year, The Don had $916 million tax LOSS on paper so he paid NO taxes for up to 18 years. If you have any kind of business, take his new 20% pass-thru deduction against your income. Other deductions/credits include education, medical, savings, electric cars, child, etc. Trump had the IRS create 6 new Schedules so that he could boast that he made the ‘post card’ tax return. HE LIED. Truth is he just created more paper. 1040 looks like the old EZ-1040 which is eliminated. Now with more schedules and worksheets, a middle-income joint return will be over 25 pages up from 15. Since most preparers use a software package, the winners are the paid preparers who charge by the page. Our average cost is now $250-300. The least expensive way to file is to use the IRS approved preparers at Free File. Some have no income limits: File advanced and simple federal taxes for free.

Another way you and I can’t avoid taxes like the wealthy do
When you are really wealthy, you can hide some of your assets and gains inside an insurance policy. For non-taxable income you use policy loans. Athletes, celebrities, and family offices are embracing private placement life insurance to avoid taxes and create a family legacy. Investments that produce earnings taxed as regular income are the best candidates to put in these policies. For insurers, these multi-million dollar contracts carry reduced fees justified by size. 0.7% on $3 million is worth more than 1.5% on $ ½ million normal life. All gains on the $3,000,000 are tax free. The Treasury estimated in October that it will lose about $166 billion over the next decade by not taxing insured death benefits. One tax shelter is available to avoid paying the taxes the wealthy avoid.

Is your company the best place to save for retirement?
“They did everyone dirty,” said Kilby Baker, 70, a retired warehouse worker whose pension check was cut by about 25 percent after Marsh Supermarkets withdrew from the pension. The owners got all their money back in the bankruptcy—taking the workers’ pensions  with them. Even a large business like Marsh fell victim to private equity buy-outs. Maybe using your firm’s 401k isn’t so smart after all. Unless your company is providing a contribution match, an IRA with low-cost funds may be a smarter move. An IRA can provide tax-deferred savings with direct debit from your checking account. Your trustee does the investing for you by using a low-cost Target Date fund or broad stock fund. You can reduce the income that gets taxed just like a 401k. You avoid the plan fees charged by some 401k administrators. You use the investment strategy recommended by Warren Buffett. Your IRA is protected from your firm and your personal creditors. You avoid your company stealing your money. Sears pensioners may be next.


Why are retirement plans failing most of us?
When we change jobs, almost HALF of us cash out our retirement funds. Most of us have no savings to tide us over to the next job so we spend our ‘future’ security. Cashing out is possibly the single most harmful decision to achieving a financially secure retirement that an employee can make — next to not contributing at all. The penalty and back taxes are the least of the problem. About 22% of active and contributed defined-contribution participants will change jobs each year. Of these job changers, Retirement Clearinghouse reports some 41% will cash out their retirement plan. We give up $250,000 or more by not allowing our money to compound in a low-cost stock fund. Based on the average stock market (S&P 500) earnings of 11% a year, our $25,000 cash out could have grown to $1 million if we had just left it alone for 40 years. Even at $12,500, our cash out would grow to $247,967 in 30 years at 10% even if we never added another dime. As Warren Buffett said: “My wealth has come from a combination of living in America, some lucky genes, and compound interest.” It is compounding over time that makes wealth.

McConnell’s GOP calls for cuts in our Social Security and Medicare
Now that the Dems own the House, GOP is worried about paying for the WALL and the tax breaks and $17 Trillion debt so they want Dems to be blamed for cuts. We can avoid the cuts by using a legal tax shelter for working people. We can avoid paying for some of this huge overspending by putting our retirement money in an IRS-approved tax shelter. We then avoid tax on the money and the earnings after age 59 ½. We don’t need a lawyer or offshore account to avoid the future taxes and cuts in SS and Medicare. We can rely on our compounded earnings. $3,000 a year goes into the account over time and $1,000,000 comes out tax FREE. We spend it all with no increased taxes. SS benefits get reduced in 2034 so we need a supplement. We avoid paying for the tax breaks for the rich too.

How did you do in 2018?
Our clients use Vanguard funds to maintain a broad diversified portfolio which has provided over 11% total returns for years. 2018 was negative 7.7%--not as bad as some years like 2008 not as good as others like 2013. Since the overall market has produced a steady 10-12% over any 10 year period, we consider it the safest place for our long-term funds. Even in retirement, our clients are counting on equities to maintain a higher return than the alternatives. Above all, we consider low-cost in any investment to be key. Our clients have learned over time that neither moving in and out of the market nor putting money in hot topics has worked out well for them. There is no guarantee for the future but inflation requires more than a bank CD.

2018 Total Return Fund                    Long-term Return Longevity
-4.4%              500 Index                     10.7%* since 1976
-17.1%            Energy                           9.8% since 1984
-9.4%              Extended Market          10.2% since 1987
1.2%                Health                          16.0% since 1984
-12.7%            International Growth     10.1% since 1981
-1.9%              PRIMECAP                 13.4% since 1984
-9.3%              Small Cap Index           10.4% since 1960
-2.6%              Wellesley Income         9.6% since 1970
-12.5%            Windsor                       11.0% since 1958
-8.9%              Windsor II                    10.2% since 1985
-7.7%                                                  Average 11.1%
*Average Annual Returns as of 12/31/18.

They are not bored by holding Vanguard’s Top Ten:


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Make America, “The Don”, Great Again
Truth isn’t truth, his lawyer


Two Americas: A Banana Republic? Do we really want an infant king? Daddy Putin!


***********************

How Govt wastes our money: Congress spends $1.3 Trillion we don’t have! 
Exiting lawmakers become high-priced lobbyists to steal money from us for their firms.
GOP leaves dirty work of fixing gov to Dems—spending to help worker-citizens.
Trump scraps Obama oil-train brakes so more spills more likely to occur. Penny wise …


SCAMS/SPINS:
WealthFront & Hedgeable caught making false statements/fake adverts etc
Comcast caught overcharging & underperforming; fraud on equipment and cards.
Fraud rampant on theme of bogus requests for funds from your relatives/firms/lottery.


Summit Equities NJ caught mishandled personal information selling to 3rd party.

WellsFargo to stop charging for insurance customers did not order or want.
WellsFargo caught foreclosing on homeowner they should have helped.
Mutual Omaha caught overcharging its own employees for 401k plan.

BEWARE: Cardless ATM may cost more than they are worth. No cards, no drivers, no -?

As promised: Don could kill someone on 5th Ave--not lose voters: 33% say 4 more years.
The Don lies to the troops too. Real fake news: “10% pay raise” is BS. Con the military?
Trump is dishonest and immoral according to generals. Some would not work for him.

Con Man still claims Mexico will pay for the WALL but insists on $5.6 B to save face



The Mob Boss can never go to jail: Trump has Kava as Supreme so no indictment.
‘No man is above the law’ … well up till now. Dictators nullify courts first, then votes.
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Jobs:
Hiring remains strong despite Wall Street: Those who gave up are coming back.

Who owns your account now?
Tired of high-price tax prep plans: import data to FreeTaxUSA and pay just 12.95 state.

Miracle:
7 year old has found homes for 1,400 abandoned dogs: OK, everyone can do 1 good turn!




IAN
41 Watchung Plaza, B242
MontclairNJ   07042
973.746.2014
Alerts