Taxes & Investments: Timely and Timeless Strategies Series


  • 9 To-Do's When Buying a Home
    Buying a home is one of the most significant purchases the average individual makes in their lifetime. Therefore, it’s important to make smart financial decisions to help avoid any unnecessary costs.

  • 529 Plans for College Savings

    There is no doubt about it, college costs are on the rise. Saving for college early can help with the increasing cost of a college education. An effective way to save is to use a 529 plan.

  • Active Versus Passive Management
    As you begin to analyze investment options you will find that there are two main types of management for investments- active management and passive management. Each of these has their place in the investment world and it is important to understand the difference between the two to determine which is right for you.

  • Advanced Roth IRA Conversion Strategies

    With recent tax changes, high income individuals are looking for a tax-free income alternative in retirement. There are several advanced Roth IRA conversion strategies that high net worth individuals should consider.

  • Advisor Diversification *For Investment Professionals
    Time and again, investors have heard that diversification is good for an investment portfolio. While diversification across asset classes is certainly beneficial to an investor’s overall portfolio, it doesn’t necessarily make sense to diversify across multiple firms and advisors.

  • Advisor Diversification *For Tax Professionals
    Time and again, investors have heard that diversification is good for an investment portfolio. While diversification across asset classes is certainly beneficial to an investor’s overall portfolio, it doesn’t necessarily make sense to diversify across multiple firms and advisors.

  • Budgeting for Success
    The first and most important step towards living a healthy financial life is creating and implementing a budget.
  • Buy-Sell Agreements Using Life Insurance
    A buy-sell agreement is an efficient way to transfer ownership of a business and provide peace of mind for the owners. There are two ways a buy-sell insurance agreement can be structured: cross purchase and entity purchase. 

  • Capitalize on Market Volatility
    Volatile markets can be concerning to both novice and experienced investors. It is important to remember that accepting volatility is a normal part of investing in the market.

  • Charitable Remainder Trust
    A Charitable Remainder Trust (CRT) is an irrevocable trust that allows charitably inclined individuals to receive a potential income stream for a period of years on assets that will ultimately be left to the charity of their choice all the while enjoying an immediate, partial tax deduction. 

  • Dynasty Trust - An Alternative to the Stretch IRA

    Stretch individual retirement accounts have been a hot topic in the news lately. On July 10, 2013, the Senate Daily Policy Note showed that the United States Senate moved to eliminate stretch IRAs in order to increase tax revenue and keep the 3.4 percent interest rate in place. With this idea gaining ground amongst law makers, it is important for Americans to understand the stretch IRA and what alternatives they have.

  • Expanding Your Family: Tax and Investment Issues to Consider
    One thing that should not be neglected in the excitement of growing your family is managing their financial well-being.

  • Fixed Income Investing in a Rising Rate Environment

    With interest rates at historic lows, investors are becoming more concerned about what a rise in interest rates may mean for their portfolios. What would rising interest rates mean for bonds?

  • Getting Married: Tax and Investment Issues to Consider
    When you get married you are committing to share a lifetime with your partner, which usually means sharing all responsibilities, including finances. Without a shared financial vision, there could be unnecessary stress on your relationship.

  • Getting the Most Out of Your Required Minimum Distribution
    By April 1 of the year following turning 70½, taxpayers must begin to take a required minimum distribution (RMD) from their IRA accounts. Business owners who own 5% or more of a business must also begin to take RMDs from that business’s qualified retirement plan. Many times individuals don’t want or need to take these RMDs, so how do you turn this requirement into an opportunity? There are several ways to maximize the potential of your RMDs.

  • Grantor Retained Annuity Trust

    A Grantor Retained Annuity Trust (GRAT) is a complex financial tool used to transfer wealth from an individual (grantor) to a beneficiary(ies) while retaining an income stream from those assets. More on how a GRAT works, and things to consider before implementing this estate planning strategy.

  • How to Handle the Death of a Loved One

    Expected or not, the death of a loved one marks a very difficult and stressful time for the ones they leave behind. There are many issues that must be addressed immediately and others that can be addressed in the coming days or weeks.

  • Investment Strategies for Investors Subject to the 3.8% Net Investment Income Tax

    On January 1, 2013, the 3.8% surtax on net investable income created in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 took effect. This 3.8% tax affects Americans with incomes over $200,000 single or $250,000 joint – in addition to any alternative minimum tax payable.

  • Investment Strategies to Reduce Alternative Minimum Tax

    A serious concern for many Americans today is the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). What started as a "wealthy person's" tax has now begun to affect middle-class America. According to IRS Publication 505, making more than $51,900 single or $80,800 joint in 2013 may subject a taxpayer to this controversial tax.

  • Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust

    When structured properly, the Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT) can be a highly effective estate tax and legacy planning tool.

  • Key Man Business Protection
    In every business there are a few individuals that are particularly important to the well-being of the company. If something were to happen to one of these employees, it could be a highly detrimental event for the organization. Thus, it is critical to have a plan in place to help support the business until a suitable replacement can be found or until the key employee is able to resume work. 

  • Let Compound Interest Work for You
    When it comes to finances you want your money to work for you in the most efficient way possible. One of the most powerful and readily available financial planning tools is compound interest. Compound interest is when you earn interest on both the money you’ve saved and the interest you earn.

  • Life Insurance Basics

    Life insurance is one of the most important financial purchases an individual can make. In the event of a tragedy, life insurance proceeds can help pay bills, continue a family business, finance a child’s education, protect a spouse’s retirement plans, and much more. There are many different types of life insurance policies and the type of policy chosen is based on the needs and goals of the owner.

  • Life Insurance Retirement Plan

    A Life Insurance Retirement Plan (LIRP) is a tax efficient way for high income individuals to supplement their retirement income by taking advantage of the tax treatment of life insurance. When utilized properly, the LIRP can be an attractive option for tax-deferred retirement accumulation and tax-free retirement distributions.

  • Managing the Financial Implications of Divorce

    Divorce is a very difficult and emotional time in an individual's life. Each year, 3.4% of married Americans experience a divorce and it takes a toll on everyone involved, both emotionally and financially. Even when both parties intend for an amicable split, it is important to make sure they are doing everything they can to protect their own financial future.

  • Net Unrealized Appreciation

    As individuals look to retire or change jobs, occasionally they find that they have large positions of highly appreciated company stock in their retirement plan. Many employers allow employees to buy company stock inside their retirement plan, and that employer stock is sometimes eligible for special treatment under the tax code. If this is the case, this little known IRS rule, net unrealized appreciation (NUA), could save the taxpayer a significant amount of tax.

  • Picking the Right Time to Retire
    While it can be enjoyable to determine how to spend your new-found free time, there are also concerns that arise when working out the financial logistics of retirement.

  • Positioning Your Assets to Enhance Financial Aid Eligibility

    Today, many Americans are reasonably concerned about the rising cost of tuition.1 On average, tuition increases by about six percent each year, which means college could cost almost three times what it currently does for a child born today. As a result, it is important to know how to position assets and income to maximize a student's financial aid eligibility.

  • Protect Your Income with Disability Insurance
    Individuals use insurance to protect themselves and their family in many ways - life insurance to take care of their family when they pass away, car insurance to protect their vehicle, or homeowners insurance to protect against the loss of a home, just to name a few. One asset that most individuals forget to insure is their ability to work and earn a wage.

  • Qualified Charitable Distributions Within IRAs
    QCDs can be a highly advantageous way for a charitably minded individual to give to a charity from an IRA.

  • Retirement Planning for Owner Only Businesses

    Sole proprietor businesses establish retirement plans for many different reasons. All of them are valid, so how do they work? In most cases, the money you put into a qualified retirement plan can reduce your taxable income for the current year, and the tax on any investment growth is deferred until the year you withdraw the money.

  • Social Security: Understanding the Basics

    Understanding how Social Security retirement income works and the ways to maximize benefits is important when deciding the most appropriate time to begin starting income.

  • Social Security: Working While Claiming Retirement Benefits

    As your retirement date draws closer, it is important to determine if it makes sense to continue to work in some capacity and claim Social Security retirement benefits while you continue to work.

  • Social Security: Spousal Retirement Benefits

    Understanding whether or not you qualify and how you can claim spousal or divorce benefits is important when putting together a comprehensive retirement plan.

  • The AB Trust
    The AB Trust is a critical part of many high net-worth estate plans. This strategy is designed to allow a spouse access to the family assets while reducing the possible estate tax due upon the deaths of both spouses.

  • The Importance of Beneficiary Review

    A comprehensive beneficiary review is a simple way to ensure that assets go to exactly whom an individual wishes. Without a comprehensive beneficiary review, an individual may be leaving assets to those they did not intend or no one at all. To ensure the right people have been named and all the necessary information has been provided, a beneficiary review of all accounts should be performed regularly.

  • The Power of Dollar-Cost Averaging
    Dollar-cost averaging can be a very powerful tool for investors. By using the dollar-cost averaging strategy, an investor can take advantage of market volatility to increase the number of shares they purchase. 

  • Traditional or Roth…Which Is Right For Me?

    As individuals look to fund IRAs, they may wonder which type of IRA - Roth or Traditional - is the most appropriate choice. This chart illustrates the differences between the two, and may help determine which one may be the most advantageous for you. As always, consult your trusted HD Vest Advisor to get a specific recommendation based on your individual tax and investment situation.

  • Understanding Long-Term Care
    One of the chief fears individuals have as they enter retirement is outliving their income. For those who need it, long-term-care costs are becoming an increasingly large portion of an individual's annual budget. The chances of needing some kind of nursing care are higher than many people realize. Long-Term-Care Insurance is designed to alleviate the drain on one's finances by such an occurrence.