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A key issue everyone faces is when to begin Social Security benefits. One aspect of this decision that is easy to overlook is how the choice could affect a spouse’s lifetime income. We’ve discussed when to begin Social Security benefits in past visits, most recently in the May 2002 issue (available in the Archive of […]
The greatest charitable giving innovation of the last decade might be the donor-advised fund. These funds actually have been around for some time, but they were concentrated on the local level. Few national funds existed, promotion of the funds was almost non-existent, and no effort was expended to make the funds accessible to most people. […]
You need an estate plan even if you don’t expect to owe taxes. Even if you expect to owe taxes, tax planning still should not be the focus of your planning. It is more important to decide who should receive the wealth, how much each should receive, when the wealth should be transferred, and how […]
Retirees don’t receive much advice on the best ways to take distributions from their investment accounts after retirement. Financial firms have a wealth of easy-to-find information on saving through taxable and various tax-advantaged accounts. Yet they don’t seem interested in helping you decide how to plan withdrawals from the accounts. Most Americans have their retirement […]
We’ve done better than most investors since the market peak in March 2000, including the most recent market decline. Even so, you still might own some underwater investments, especially in your Core Portfolio. For example, American Century Income & Growth has declined with the general market. These underwater investments can be used productively to minimize […]
This year for the first time Renee and I were hit by the alternative minimum tax. A large capital gain, over which we had no control, triggered this tax and increased our bill. Many of you recently had the same experience, and many others will in the next few years. More people will pay this […]
Today’s retirees are the wealthiest generation in history, and that makes them a target for the tax man. A special tax problem for many retirees is the required quarterly payment of estimated income taxes. After decades of having taxes automatically deducted from their paychecks, many have trouble adapting to the system of writing a check […]
Some Social Security beneficiaries might soon find that their benefit checks are for less than expected. They will be joining federal retirees and those doing business with the government. A 1997 law authorized the IRS to place a levy on government checks intended for those who have outstanding federal tax debts. The first levies were […]