News & Insights

Planning Newsletter – Oct 2018

by Financial Alternatives on 10/16/2018

Year-End Tax Planning

If you have not already completed your year-end tax planning, now is the perfect time to do so. Don’t wait until December when the holiday rush kicks in and you and your advisors have less time to devote to this very important task.

  • Year-end tax planning could save you thousands of dollars in taxes.
  • Automating the execution of your financial planning and investment decisions will assure their implementation.
  • Every business and family needs up to date and accurate books and records.
  • Use technology to automate tracking of your assets, liabilities, income and expenses.

posted in NewslettersPlanning

Planning Newsletter – Apr 2018

by Financial Alternatives on 4/25/2018

  • The amount you can pass without owing estate taxes essentially doubled as of January 1st thanks to the recently passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.
  • This estate tax provision will expire at the end of 2025.
  • Estate plans based on prior tax law should be re-evaluated to ensure your intentions match the current law.
  • Older estate plans may ultimately cost your beneficiaries more in taxes and/or unnecessary recordkeeping requirements.

posted in NewslettersPlanning

Planning Newsletter – Oct 2017

by Financial Alternatives on 10/13/2017

Tax Reform or Not

  • The recent tax proposal would significantly change income taxes, but there are many important provisions that have not been specified.
  • The most noteworthy part of the proposal is a full repeal of the estate tax.
  • Due to the makeup of Congress and the expected costs of the tax proposal, some sort of compromise will be required to push any changes through.

Remembering the Last Crisis

  • The 10 year anniversary of a record S&P 500 high point is upon us, with several other crisis period anniversaries like the Lehman bankruptcy coming in succeeding months.
  • Reflecting on your experience back then and looking at the recoveries of other financial crises can help prepare you for the next one.
  • A key part of a good long-term investing experience is being able to stay with your investment philosophy, even during tough times.

posted in NewslettersPlanning

Planning Newsletter – Apr 2017

by Financial Alternatives on 7/13/2017

  • Giving evokes gratitude, improves our health and makes us happier.
  • Giving increases social connection, cooperation and can be contagious.
  • From a financial point of view, effective giving maximizes your possible tax deductions.
  • Personal Charitable Gift Funds make giving appreciated investments simple and easy.
  • Giving to charity from your IRA has significant tax benefits.
  • Giving appreciated stock can be a tax efficient way to give money to family members.
  • UTMA and 529 accounts offer tax advantaged ways to pay college expenses and provide gifts to children and young adults.

posted in NewslettersPlanning

Planning Newsletter – Oct 2016

by Financial Alternatives on 10/12/2016


  • Emotions are running high this election season and investors are nervous about how the election will affect their investments.
  • Tumultuous events have been a constant theme for presidential elections throughout history.
  • In 17 of 18 past presidential elections, a hypothetical $10,000 investment in the S&P 500 made at the beginning of each election year would have gained value 10 years later.
  • Long-term investment success has depended more on the strength of the US economy than on which party occupies the White House during any particular four-year period.
  • Beliefs about which political party is best for the markets may encourage you to vote, but shouldn’t discourage you from investing.

posted in NewslettersPlanning

Planning Newsletter – Apr 2016

by Financial Alternatives on 4/12/2016

  • One early retirement study noted that a withdrawal rate of 4% is relatively safe.
  • Many researchers have evaluated withdrawal rates and related issues since then – proposing adjustments to the traditional 4% rule.
  • One such proposal, the Target Percentage Adjustment (TPA) suggests modifying your withdrawals year by year.
  • Being flexible in the face of market downturns and inflation can allow you to increase your withdrawals in retirement.
  • Be sure to know what your withdrawal rate is from year to year.

posted in NewslettersPlanning

Planning Newsletter – Oct 2015

by Financial Alternatives on 10/21/2015

Smart investors should never let taxes be the primary driver of their investment planning. In past decades, investors lost millions in “tax favored” or “tax advantaged” investments. Even though investors are wise not to let taxes be the primary driver of their investment strategy, they should do everything possible to manage their portfolios in a way that minimizes taxes.

In the newsletter we cover two strategies we employ when managing client portfolios to reduce taxes: Tax loss harvesting, and thoughtful asset location.

posted in NewslettersPlanning

Planning Newsletter – Apr 2015

by Financial Alternatives on 4/16/2015

  • Estate tax laws change often.
  • Such estate tax law changes can turn a good estate planning strategy into a bad one for the same client.
  • In 2011, federal law changed to allow each person to pass $5,000,000 (indexed to inflation) to their heirs’ estate tax free.
  • This change in the estate tax law made AB trust planning unnecessary for many people.
  • You need to review the pros and cons of AB trust planning to see if you still need or want to fund a B trust at the death of either you or your spouse.
  • We can help you make this decision along with your estate planning attorney.

posted in NewslettersPlanning

Planning Newsletter – Oct 2014

by Financial Alternatives on 10/20/2014

  • Don’t be surprised by a market correction of 10% or more.
  • “Forming macro opinions or listening to the macro or market predictions of others is a waste of time.” – Warren Buffet
  • “Owners of stocks, however, too often let the capricious and often irrational behavior of their fellow owners cause them to behave irrationally as well.” – Warren Buffet
  • Stay properly diversified and do not panic and sell your stocks during corrections.
  • Review your taxes with your CPA before the end of November.

posted in NewslettersPlanning

Planning Newsletter – Apr 2014

by Financial Alternatives on 4/19/2014

  • Personal stories you leave to loved ones and friends are priceless.
  • There are many ways to preserve your stories in a way that fits your schedule and personality.
  • Sharing stories with younger generations can be especially enjoyable when they are treated more like conversations.
  • If you are interested in a copy of Scott Farnsworth’s book entitled, “Like a Library Burning” we’ll be happy to send you one.

posted in NewslettersPlanning

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Posts are general in nature and do not constitute the rendering of legal, investment, accounting or other professional advice.