With its family traditions and festive celebrations, the holiday season is the most wonderful time of the year. And according to, the giving in the U.S. alone totaled $2.7 billion to nonprofits and community organizations on #GivingTuesday in 2021, a 6% increase from 2020.

Unfortunately, despite the greatest of intentions,
many will inevitably make mistakes in how they give, especially if they wait until the last minute. So, here is a list of things for you to think about as you consider your year-end charitable donations.

Make a Plan

Ideally, at the beginning of every year – with your financial professional – you would map out a plan to maximize the tax benefits of your giving. Really think through what is important to you and what you want
to support. Is it an organization that supports literacy? Or provides food? Or shelter for families? Creating
a plan will help you be less reactive and feel less boxed in when friends ask for your charitable support.

Research Your Charity

It’s easy to get fooled by a charity’s name so you need to do your homework. And beware of scam artists pretending to represent an organization that doesn’t exist. Read a charity’s financial statements
to see how they spend their (your) money. Even better, volunteer before you write a check.

Donating Stock

If you have owned stock for more than a year and it has appreciated, then don’t sell it first and then give the cash to charity. Those appreciated assets can be donated directly to charity without you or the charity incurring capital gains taxes (consult your tax professional to be sure).

Selling Your Personal Info

Quite a few charities will rent or sell the addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and detailed social media profiles of their donors, which means you might start getting a bunch of unwanted calls, emails and friend requests. Make sure you review a charity’s privacy policy before you give them your information. And many times, you have to actively “Opt Out” to ensure your personal information is not used.

Ask for A Receipt

Remember, for charitable contributions of $250 or more, you need a donor’s acknowledgement letter. And generally it’s a good idea to obtain receipts, especially when donating goods.

Don’t Delay

Shockingly, a whopping 12% of all giving occurs in the last 3 days of the year! But if you mail a check postmarked after December 31st, then you might run into trouble. Make it easy on yourself and don’t wait until the last minute.

Money Can’t Buy Happiness, But Maybe Donating to Charity Can?

Consider research from Elizabeth Dunn of the University of British Columbia, Lara Aknin at Simon Fraser University and Michael Norton at Harvard Business School. Essentially what they found in their study is the following:

  • Spending money on other people has a more positive impact on happiness than spending money on oneself
  • Spending more of one’s income on others predicted greater happiness

Discuss with Your Financial Professional

If you have any questions or need help mapping out your Charitable Plan, set an appointment to discuss with your financial professional.


Important Disclosures

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.

This article was prepared by RSW Publishing.

LPL Tracking #1-05318847


What are appropriate checklists for year-end tax planning?

Tax planners often develop checklists to guide taxpayers toward year-end strategies that might help reduce taxes. Typically, suggestions are grouped into several different categories, such as “Filing Status” or “Employee Matters,” for ease of reading. When year-end approaches, it might be wise to review each suggestion under the categories that may apply to you.

Filing status and dependents

  • If you’re married (or will be married by the end of the year), you should compare the tax liability for yourself and your spouse based on all filing statuses that you might select. Compare the results when you file jointly and when you file married separately. Determine which results in lower overall taxation.
  • If you and several other people financially support someone but none of you individually qualifies to claim the individual as a dependent, you should consider making an agreement with all of the other parties to ensure that at least one of you can claim the individual as a dependent. Certain tax benefits may be available if you can claim an individual as a dependent.

Family tax planning

  • Determine whether you can shift income to family members who are in lower tax brackets in order to minimize overall taxes. However, under the kiddie tax rules, the unearned income of a child in excess of $2,300 (in 2022) is taxed at the parents’ tax rates. The kiddie tax rules apply to: (1) those under age 18, (2) those age 18 whose earned income doesn’t exceed one-half of their support, and (3) those age 19 to 23 who are full-time students and whose earned income doesn’t exceed one-half of their support.
  • Consider making gifts of up to $16,000 (in 2022) per person federal gift tax free under the annual gift tax exclusion. Use assets that are likely to appreciate significantly for optimum income tax savings.
  • Take advantage of tax credits for higher education costs if you’re eligible to do so. These may include the American Opportunity (Hope) credit and the Lifetime Learning credit. Note that these credits are based on the tax year rather than the academic year. Therefore, you should try to bunch expenses to maximize the education credits.

Tip: If you have qualified student loans (and meet all necessary requirements), you may be entitled to take a deduction for the interest you paid during the year. The maximum amount you can deduct is $2,500.

Employee matters

  • Self-employed individuals (who generally use the cash method of accounting) can defer income by delaying the billing of clients until next year. You may also be able to defer a bonus until the following year.
  • Use installment sale agreements to spread out any potential capital gains among future taxable periods. However, the gain on the sale of publicly traded stock or securities cannot be spread out.

Business income and expenses

  • Accelerate expenses (such as repair work and the purchase of supplies and equipment) in the current year to lower your tax bill.
  • Increase your employer’s withholding of state and federal taxes to help you avoid exposure to estimated tax underpayment penalties.
  • Pay last-quarter taxes before December 31 rather than waiting until January 15.
  • In certain circumstances, it may be possible for the full cost of last-minute purchases of equipment to be deducted currently by taking advantage of Section 179 deductions or additional first-year depreciation deductions.
  • Generally, you are able to make a contribution to your employer retirement plan at any time up to the end of the year.

Financial investments

  • Pay attention to the capital gains tax rates for individuals and try to sell only assets held for more than 12 months.
  • Consider selling stock if you have capital losses this year that you want to offset with capital gain income.
  • If you plan to sell some of your investments this year, consider selling the investments that produce the smallest gain.

Personal residence and other real estate

  • Make your early January mortgage payment (i.e., payment due no later than January 15 of next year) in December so that you can deduct the accrued interest for the current year that is paid in the current year.
  • If you want to sell your principal residence, make sure you qualify to exclude all or part of the capital gain from the sale from federal income tax. If you meet the requirements, you can exclude up to $250,000 ($500,000 for married couples filing jointly). Generally, you can exclude the gain only if you used the home as your principal residence for at least two out of the five years preceding the sale. In addition, you can generally use this exemption only once every two years. However, even if you don’t meet these tests, you may still be able to qualify for a reduced exclusion if you meet the relevant conditions.
  • Consider structuring the sale of investment property as an installment sale in order to defer gains to later years. (However, the gain on the sale of publicly traded stock or securities cannot be deferred.)
  • Maximize the tax benefits you derive from your second home by modifying your personal use of the property in accordance with applicable tax guidelines.

Retirement contributions

  • Make the maximum deductible contribution to your IRA. Try to avoid premature IRA payouts to avoid the 10 percent early withdrawal penalty (unless you meet an exception). Contribute the full amount to a spousal IRA, if possible. If you meet all of the requirements, in 2021 and 2022 you may be able to deduct annual contributions of $6,000 to your traditional IRA and $6,000 to your spouse’s IRA. You may be able to contribute and deduct $1,000 more if you’re at least age 50. Contributions to an IRA can generally be made at any time up to the due date (not including extensions) for filing a given year’s tax return.
  • You may also be able to make nondeductible contributions to a Roth IRA. The same dollar limit applies to all contributions to your traditional and Roth IRAs combined. Qualified distributions from a Roth IRA can be received tax-free.
  • Set up a retirement plan for yourself, if you are a self-employed taxpayer.
  • Set up an IRA for each of your children who have earned income.
  • Minimize the income tax on Social Security benefits by lowering your income below the applicable threshold.

Charitable donations

  • Make a charitable donation (cash or even old clothes) before the end of the year. Remember to keep all of your receipts from the recipient charity.
  • Use appreciated stock rather than cash when contributing to charities. This may help you avoid income tax on the built-in gain in the stock, while at the same time maximizing your charitable deduction.
  • Use a credit card to make contributions in order to ensure that they can be deducted in the current year.

Adoption and medical expenses

  • Take advantage of the adoption tax credit for any qualified adoption expenses you paid. In 2022, you may be able to claim up to $14,890 (up from $14,440 in 2021) per eligible child (including children with special needs) as a tax credit. The credit begins to phase out once your modified AGI exceeds $223,410 (up from $216,660 in 2021), and it’s completely eliminated when your modified AGI reaches $263,410 (up from $256,660 in 2021).
  • Maximize the use of itemized medical expenses by bunching such expenses in the same year, to the extent possible, in order to meet the 7.5% threshold percentage of your AGI.


This article was prepared by Broadridge.

LPL Tracking #1-05094147


When it comes to medical or legal advice, the value of getting a second opinion is fairly well established and defined. What about financial decisions? At what point does it make sense to get a second (or a third) opinion on money matters? Here we discuss some benefits of seeking a second financial opinion, including a few situations in which a gut check may not just be useful but downright necessary.

Many Eggs, Many Baskets

As the adage goes, you never want to put all your eggs into one basket—and jumping headlong into a financial strategy recommended by one person does just that. What if their advice is outdated or does not fit your particular financial situation? What if the person providing the advice may actually be receiving a commission based on the products you select? By getting a second opinion, you will have a stronger strategy and a way to confirm that the initial advice you received was either on target or not suitable for you.

Another benefit of a second financial opinion is that it can encourage you to reevaluate and reassess your goals. If your personal, employment, or financial situation has changed since the last time you reviewed your portfolio, it is an excellent time to make sure these changes are taken into account in future decisions. You may also need to reevaluate your investments or rebalance your asset allocation.

Finally, by getting a second opinion, you will also have a chance to compare the costs and fees charged by different financial professionals. You may discover that you are happy to pay a higher fee for more tailored advice; on the other hand, you may decide that your financial situation does not warrant advice from someone whose fees are more at the high end of the scale.

When You May Need a Second Opinion

Situations in which you could benefit from a second opinion include: 

  • You are a DIY investor. If you have been managing your own investments, it is a good idea to bring in a professional to give your portfolio a top-to-bottom review. You may discover some opportunities you have missed.
  • You have been using the same financial professional since you began investing. If the second opinion matches up with your original financial professional’s advice, you may feel more confident that you are on track. If this advice is different, you will know there is a disconnect somewhere and can work to track it down.
  • You do not have a relationship with a financial professional. If you have not yet partnered with a financial professional, you may not be aware of all the services and strategies available. It is important that any financial professional you choose is a good fit for your style and financial situation. An initial interview can help you assess their investment strategies, values, and principles before you become a client.

There are more circumstances in which a second opinion may be warranted, but these three situations cover a great deal of ground. If you’re concerned about taking your next financial steps or just want a comprehensive review of your balance sheet, a financial professional can help.

Important Disclosures

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

Investing involves risks including possible loss of principal. No investment strategy or risk management technique can guarantee return or eliminate risk in all market environments.

Rebalancing a portfolio may cause investors to incur tax liabilities and/or transaction costs and does not assure a profit or protect against a loss.

Asset allocation does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss.

This article was prepared by WriterAccess.

LPL Tracking #1-05318847


As we approach the end of the year, you may want to review areas that may impact your wealth and estate planning next year. In this year-end planning guide, we examine four critical areas to consider that may affect your finances:

  1. Generational wealth transfer- Generational wealth transfer may become more important when an event occurs, such as a death, a marriage, or the birth of a new family member. However, it’s essential to plan for generational wealth transfer by ensuring all these crucial actions have been completed:
  • Established a Trust document- If you don’t have a trust document, your family may need to go through probate, a tedious court process to transfer your assets retroactively, which can be expensive and public.
  • Updated beneficiary information- Consistently check the beneficiaries listed on your legal documents, retirement savings, and insurance plans, as these designations can outweigh what is in a will. Life transitions that may impact a change in beneficiaries include divorce, the birth of a new child, the loss of a loved one, a marriage, etc.
  • Established directives- Review all legal directives such as power of attorney documents, medical care directives, and your trust document to ensure all information is up to date in case the relationship with the named individual(s) changes.
  • Completed an inventory of assets- Periodically update inventory assets listed in your trust documents, such as real estate, collectibles, vehicles, etc., and intangible assets, such as savings accounts, life insurance policies, retirement plans, ownership in a company, and more.
  • Drafted, reviewed, or updated a last will- It is important that your last will details your wishes regarding the distribution of your property, money, and assets that aren’t in your trust document. Remember to update your will as your financial and family situation changes.
  1. Minimizing taxes- Building wealth and planning for taxes are essential and often require the help of financial, tax, and legal professionals. For some, tax policies can impact how much taxes to pay domestically and abroad when living or working in a foreign country, or if they own companies in a foreign country. Consider these taxes that may impact your tax situation:
  • Income tax- Income tax is a source of revenue that governments impose on businesses and individuals within their jurisdiction. If you work or own a business in a foreign country, you may need to file taxes in more than one country. For this reason, you must consult a tax professional in each country for the latest tax laws
  • Estate tax and gift tax- The IRS limits the valuation of assets that can pass to heirs’ estate tax-free, and states set their own gift tax thresholds that are impacted by where the deceased resided and heirs live. As you plan for who pays taxes when your assets pass to your heirs, work with your financial and tax professionals to determine which tax-advantaged strategies are appropriate for your situation.
  • Generation-skipping tax- The generation-skipping transfer tax is a federal tax that results when a property is transferred by gift or inheritance to a beneficiary who is at least 37½ years younger than the donor. Consult your tax professional on how transferring assets to a grandchild or other heir may impact their tax situation if inheriting from you.
  1. Legacy planning- Legacy planning is leaving a legacy for others, which often includes protecting others when you pass on your values and financial dreams. Some individuals give their wealth to benefit their children and their children’s children. If the wealth is great enough, endowments may be created to help many people over time. Legacy wealth transfer may become complex due to the types of assets you own, changes in tax legislation, economics, and political environments. You must consult financial, tax, and legal professionals to pass assets without economic consequences to heirs.
  2. Succession planning- Succession planning generally involves trusts, private trust companies, and foundations offered in various jurisdictions to ensure your wealth transfers to the next generation as efficiently as possible. There are two types of succession planning for individuals to consider:
  • Generational succession planning- Planning to help ensure your wealth passes to the next generation and is comprehensively managed and passed to the next generation.
  • Business succession planning- If you own a business, business succession planning may cover selling your business and retiring, selling but staying on part-time, and passing ownership to another family member or key employee.

Here are some other things you may want to consider in your succession planning:

  • Investment strategies
  • Involving the successors
  • Clarify your values and purpose
  • Work with professionals who will help monitor your situation across generations.

Estate planning can be challenging for some due to the complexities of their situation but manageable when done over time. Now is a great time to use this planning guide as you work with your financial professional to plan for the start of the New Year.

Important Disclosures

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax or legal advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific situation with a qualified tax or legal advisor.

LPL Financial Representatives offer access to Trust Services through The Private Trust Company N.A., an affiliate of LPL Financial.

All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.

This article was prepared by Fresh Finance.

LPL Tracking #1-05326016