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506, 2018

Marriage and Money: Taking a Team Approach to Retirement

Now that it's fairly common for families to have two wage earners, many husbands and wives are accumulating assets in separate employer-sponsored retirement accounts. In 2018, the maximum employee contribution to a 401(k) or 403(b) plan is $18,500 ($24,500 for those age 50 and older), and employers often match contributions up to a set percentage of salary. But even when most of a married couple's retirement assets reside in different accounts, it's still possible to craft a unified retirement strategy. To make it work, open communication and teamwork are especially important when it comes to saving and investing for [...]

2105, 2018

Investing to Save Time Boosts Happiness Returns

The more money you make, the more valuable you perceive your time to be — and the more time-strapped you may feel, according to University of British Columbia psychology professor Elizabeth Dunn.1 So wouldn't it stand to reason that if you use some of your hard-earned money to buy yourself more time — for example, by paying someone to clean your house or mow your lawn — you might achieve a greater level of happiness? Indeed, that was the primary finding in a series of studies by Professor Dunn and other researchers published in the Proceedings of the National Academy [...]

1005, 2018

Message from Dana Pingenot (President) and Mark Whidby (Chief Investment Officer)

On April 20th, four of our executive members (Richie Lee, Dusty Wallace, and yours truly, Dana Pingenot and Mark Whidby) had the pleasure of hearing one of the greatest visionaries of our generation and the world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos, speak at SMU for the closing conversation of the George W. Bush Presidential Center’s Forum on Leadership. We all came away with many thought provoking takeaways (way too many to include here) and wanted to share some of the points that resonated the most with us. Jeff Bezos is a great optimist and believer in the future. We think [...]

105, 2018

What are the gift and estate tax rules after tax reform?

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, signed into law in December 2017, approximately doubled the federal gift and estate tax basic exclusion amount to $11.18 million in 2018 (adjusted for inflation in later years). After 2025, the exclusion is scheduled to revert to its pre-2018 level and be cut approximately in half. Otherwise, federal gift and estate taxes remain the same. Gift tax. Gifts you make during your lifetime may be subject to federal gift tax. Not all gifts are subject to the tax, however. You can make annual tax-free gifts of up to $15,000 per recipient. Married couples can [...]

1004, 2018

Due Date Approaches for 2017 Federal Income Tax Returns

Tax filing season is here again. If you haven't done so already, you'll want to start pulling things together — that includes getting your hands on a copy of your 2016 tax return and gathering W-2s, 1099s, and deduction records. You'll need these records whether you're preparing your own return or paying someone else to prepare your tax return for you. Don't procrastinate The filing deadline for most individuals is Tuesday, April 17, 2018. That's because April 15 falls on a Sunday, and Emancipation Day, a legal holiday in Washington, D.C., is celebrated on Monday, April 16. Unlike in [...]

2612, 2017

Summary of 2017 Tax Cuts & Jobs Act Changes

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act legislation has been passed by Congress and signed by the President. The Act makes extensive changes that affect both individuals and businesses. Some key provisions of the Act are discussed below. Most provisions are effective for 2018. Many individual tax provisions sunset and revert to pre-existing law after 2025; the corporate tax rates provision is made permanent. Comparisons below are generally for 2018. Individual income tax rates Pre-existing law. There were seven regular income tax brackets: 10%, 15%, 25%, 28%, 33%, 35%, and 39.6%. New law. There are seven tax brackets: 10%, 12%, [...]