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Clarifying Tax Deductions for Meals and Entertainment

April 2019

Despite some initial confusion and dismay when the 2017 tax law was first passed, the IRS has confirmed that businesses can continue to write off 50% of the cost of food and beverages provided to current or potential clients, customers, consultants, or similar business contacts. However, the deduction for entertainment expenses — such as golf… Read more

Considering Preferreds? Proceed with Caution

April 2019

Preferred stocks may appeal to investors looking for a robust income stream, but they come with heightened risks during a period of rising interest rates. If you’re considering or already own preferred shares, here are some points to keep in mind. Stocks That Act Like Bonds Preferred stocks act more like bonds than common stock…. Read more

Trusts Offer More Than Estate Tax Protection

April 2019

The 2017 tax reform law effectively doubled the federal estate tax exclusion amount to $11.18 million for individuals who died in 2018 ($11.4 million in 2019). With the portability provision that allows the unused exclusion amount to pass to a surviving spouse, a married couple could shelter up to $22.8 million in 2019. Trusts have… Read more

Why Americans Are Eating Out Less Than Ever

April 2019

Sharing meals in your home or out on the town isn’t just about eating; it’s also an opportunity to spend quality time with friends and family. But whether you are a frugal home cook or a foodie who frequents the trendiest eateries, your dining habits can impact your finances. U.S. consumers spend about 13% of… Read more

Do You Need a Power of Attorney?

April 2019

A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that gives another person the authority to act on your behalf. Unless you have authorized someone to carry out your medical or financial affairs in the event you are unable to do so, a relative or friend will have to ask the court to appoint a… Read more

HOT TOPIC: The Fed Hits the Brakes: No Rate Hikes Projected in 2019

April 2019

At its meeting on March 20, 2019, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) maintained the benchmark federal funds rate at the target range of 2.25% to 2.50% that was set in December 2018. This in itself was not surprising. But other communications signaled a definite hiatus in the Fed’s policy of raising interest rates and… Read more

Succession Plans Often Hinge on Reliable Valuation

March 2019

The “fair market value” of a business is a price that is acceptable to a willing buyer and seller, neither of whom is under any compulsion to complete the transaction, and with both parties having reasonable knowledge of the relevant facts. Still, lenders generally require a professional valuation (or appraisal) before extending credit to business… Read more

Estate Taxes: Should a Trust Own Your Life Insurance?

March 2019

Federal estate taxes became less of a concern for many families when the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act doubled the estate tax exemption. In 2019, a 40% tax rate applies only to taxable estate assets exceeding the $11.4 million exemption amount, with a “portability” provision allowing a surviving spouse to shelter up to $22.8… Read more

Bridging the Gap Between Retirement and Medicare Eligibility

March 2019

Almost seven out of 10 retirees left the workforce before reaching the Medicare eligibility age of 65. Most current workers expect to retire at 65 or later, but retirees’ experiences suggest this may not be realistic.1 If you (and your spouse) retire early, bridging the health insurance coverage gap between retirement and Medicare eligibility could… Read more

IPOs: Consider the Risks Behind the Hype

March 2019

An initial public offering (IPO) is the first public sale of stock by a private company. Companies tend to schedule IPOs when investors are feeling good about their financial prospects and are more inclined to take on the risk associated with a new venture. The U.S. IPO market was strong in 2018, reflecting the surging… Read more

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