CHEERS TO A NEW YEAR OF INVESTING

For many investors, this year has been a wild ride—with interest rate increases, a crypto implosion, and whipsawing values in the major market indices. It might be tough to catch one’s breath and look ahead to next year. But the end of the year is the perfect time to take stock of your investments, evaluating what worked, what didn’t, and what you might do better next year. Here are four key opportunities to consider that may recharge and reset your finances as you enter the new year.

Review and Refresh Your Financial Plan

If you set goals for the past year, evaluate your progress. Did you spend more than expected? Save less than expected? Or did you manage your goals easily—suggesting a bigger challenge may be appropriate for next year?

While setting financial goals for next year, you might also consider the long-term. When do you plan to retire? What do you need to see before getting there—a specific number in your 401(k), a paid-off balance sheet, or something else? Should you stay in your home or downsize? The answers to these questions may help you formulate a more solid plan.

Assess Your Retirement Readiness

Are you on schedule to retire? Are you contributing enough to your 401(k) or IRA?

Though the answers to those questions depend on each person’s circumstances, some patterns are emerging in savings habits among those in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond. Check these numbers to see whether you are on track.1

Age 20 to 29

Average 401(k) balance of $10,500 while contributing 7% of income

Age 30 to 39

Average 401(k) balance of $38,400 while contributing 8% of income

Age 40 to 49

Average 401(k) balance of $93,400 while contributing 8% of income

Age 50 to 59

Average 401(k) balance of $160,000 while contributing 10% of income

Age 60 to 69

Average 401(k) balance of $182,100 while contributing 11% of income

Age 70 to 79

Average 401(k) balance of $171,400 while contributing 12% of income

These numbers are simply averages—they do not account for income, sector, or cost of living. They also do not include assets in individual retirement accounts (IRAs), taxable accounts, or other savings accounts. But knowing what those in your general age bracket save, on average, might give you a better idea of your progress toward retirement savings.

You should notice that as workers grow older, they tend to contribute a greater percentage of their total income to retirement.

Pay Down High-Interest Debts

With interest rates continuing to rise, credit cards, home equity lines of credit, and other variable-rate loans are likely to grow more expensive.2 If you have any adjustable-rate loans, now is a good time to begin paying them off more aggressively.

Calculate Your Cash Reserves

It is a good idea to have some cash held for emergencies during turbulent times. From an unexpected medical bill to a new appliance, having cash on hand may help avoid the stress of paying for sudden expenses. Assessing your cash reserves at the beginning of the new year may give you a good baseline for setting cash accumulation goals.

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 WriterAccess.

LPL Tracking # 1-05337697.

Footnotes:

1 The Average 401(k) Balance by Age, Investopedia, https://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/010616/whats-average-401k-balance-age.asp

2 What Rising Interest Rates Mean For You, CNN, https://www.cnn.com/2022/09/21/success/what-rising-interest-rates-mean-credit-mortgage/index.html

STOCK MARKET STOCKING STUFFERS: HOW TO GIVE A STOCK AS A GIFT

If you struggle to find a gift for the person who has everything—or want to do your holiday shopping without having to leave the house—consider giving stock as a gift. Doing so is easier than you think, and it may offer a few benefits for you as well. Here is some information on giving stock as gifts and the benefits of doing so.

What Are the Benefits of Gifting Stock?

When it comes to giving stock as gifts, there is one key benefit for both the giver and the recipient.

1. Stepped-Up Cost Basis

If you held a stock until it increased in value, selling it could mean paying capital gains taxes. But giving the stock to someone else means transferring these gains to the recipient, allowing them to take possession of the stock at its appreciated price.1

For example, if you purchased 100 shares of a stock and each share is now trading for more than the purchase price, cashing the stock might mean paying capital gains taxes on the amount the investment increased. If you give this stock to someone else, this person begins with a stepped-up-per-share cost basis. If they later sell the stock once it goes up more, they may only owe taxes on the profits-per-share difference.

2. Transfer of Wealth

Giving stock as gifts may also be a good way to begin passing down wealth to the next generation while minimizing your tax obligation. Cashing out stock and passing along the cash may mean paying capital gains taxes. The proceeds may also be subject to income taxes. This tax may depend on the type of account holding the stock and how long the investment was in the account.

Transferring stock to your children, grandchildren, or other loved ones may help them learn about investing in the stock market while reducing the assets you may eventually want to pass down through the inheritance process.

How To Get Started Gifting Stock

There are a few different ways to give stock as gifts, but the simplest ones involve setting up a brokerage account.

If you plan to give stock as gifts to your children, a custodial brokerage account allows you to transfer shares and buy and sell stock on your child’s behalf. Your child may take control of the account once they are a certain age, usually 18 or 21.

If you want to give stock to an adult with no strings attached, you may transfer them to that person’s existing brokerage account—or open and fund a brokerage account for them yourself. Talk to your financial professional for more information on giving stock as gifts this holiday season.

 

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 security. To determine which investment(s) may be appropriate for you, consult your financial professional prior to investing.

Stock investing includes risks, including fluctuating prices and loss of principal.

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

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 WriterAccess.

LPL Tracking #1-05337702.

 

Footnote

1 How to Give Stock as a Gift (And Why Tax Pros Like the Idea), Nerdwallet, https://www.nerdwallet.com/article/investing/gifting-stock#

YEAR-END PLANNING CONSIDERATIONS FOR BUSINESS OWNERS

The end of the year can be a chaotic time for business owners. It is a time to compile data, review the numbers, evaluate strengths and weaknesses, and determine growth opportunities for the future. A business owner would be keen to review several factors in preparing year-end documents and preparing for the following year. Here are five tips that may assist with organizing a strategy.

 

1. Tax Planning –Have necessary steps been taken toward filing required business and individual tax returns, so they get filed on time? The type of business will determine the tax consequence. There are five general types of business taxes and tax changes that can be applied.

  • Income Tax

All businesses aside from partnerships file an annual income tax return. Partnerships file an information return.

  • Estimated Tax

This tax comes from income generated by interest, dividends, alimony, self-employment income, capital gains, prizes, and awards.

  • Self-employment Tax

Owed if earnings were $400 or more or church employee income was $108.28 or more.

  • Employment Taxes – These taxes include:
    • Federal income tax withholding
    • Federal unemployment (FUTA) tax
    • Social security and Medicare taxes
  • Excise Tax
    • Manufacture or sell certain products
    • Operate certain kinds of businesses
    • Use various kinds of equipment, facilities, or products
    • Receive payment for certain services

*Several forms may be required depending on the type of business.

  • Tax Changes
    • The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) lowered the corporate income tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. If the business is, for example, an LLC and has grown considerable it may be possible to elect to be taxed like a C corporation while the tax rate is low. This act is set to expire January 1, 2026.
    • Some business can take advantage of the qualified business income deduction (QBI) that offers a deduction worth up to 20 percent of their share of the business’s income. However, specified service trades or businesses (SSTBs) may not be eligible for this deduction if their income is too high. Some example of STTBs are Financial Professionals, Law Firms, Accountants, Investment Managers, Medical Practices, and more. i Determining if you can claim it and calculating the deduction amount is complex and it is highly encouraged to seek the assistance of a financial professional.

 

2. Understanding the value of Life Insurance –

Life insurance is not just about preserving lost wages for surviving family members and evaluating how loved ones may transfer the business to them. Life insurance cash values can potentially become an asset that can be used to, for example, finance a buy-out or borrow against the policy or multiple policies to help cover business expenses. ii

 

3. Cybersecurity is a way of life now. Are you staying on top of new threats and measures to lower the possibility of attacks?

Breaches within the cyberspace of companies have become a real threat. Hackers are sophisticated and regularly create innovative techniques to break into company databases. What steps are being taken to stay updated with the evolving threats and means of protection against cyberattacks? iii

 

4. Whether to defer or accelerate income?

Smaller businesses often use the cash method of accounting on their books and tax returns. If the business is expected to be in a lower tax bracket the following year, consider deferring income to the following year. However, if the expectation is that the business will be in a higher tax bracket, consider accelerating income into the current year, for example, sending invoices and attempting to get paid sooner so income will be taxed at the current tax rate.

 

5. Record of Out-of-Pocket “Business” Expenses

  • Mileage log – A record of tracking miles to show to the IRS
  • Money spent out of personal accounts
  • Cash receipts (Gas, Uber or taxi cab, and other expenditures.) iv

 

Important Disclosures

 

This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

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

Please keep in mind that insurance companies alone determine insurability and some people may be deemed uninsurable because of health reasons, occupation, and lifestyle choices. Guarantees are based on the claims paying ability of the issuing company.

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 LPL Marketing Solutions

 

Tracking # 1-05341284

 

Footnotes: i Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Provision 11011 Section 199A – Qualified Business Income Deduction FAQs | Internal Revenue Service (irs.gov) ii How Can I Borrow Money From My Life Insurance Policy? (investopedia.com) iii 6 Ways Cybercrime Impacts Business (investopedia.com) iv Reimbursable out-of-Pocket Costs Definition (investopedia.com)

YEAR-END DONATIONS AND GIVING TUESDAY

With its family traditions and festive celebrations, the holiday season is the most wonderful time of the year. And according to GivingTuesday.org, 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

APPROPRIATE CHECKLISTS FOR YEAR END TAX PLANNING

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

THE BENEFITS OF GETTING A SECOND FINANCIAL OPINION

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

A YEAR END WEALTH PLANNING GUIDE

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

 

Sources:

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/g/generation-skipping-transfer-tax.asp

https://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/070715/quick-guide-highnetworth-estate-planning.asp https://www.investopedia.com/terms/g/generation-skipping-transfer-tax.asp

 

 

BUSINESS CONTINUITY AND LONG-TERM CARE CONSIDERATIONS

As a business owner, you know the importance of planning for your company’s future. To this end, you may have taken steps to learn about buy–sell agreements and the role that life insurance and disability income insurance can play in planning a business buyout. If so, you may be one step ahead of the game. But, have you thought about long-term care buyout planning?

A Buy–Sell Refresher

Let’s review an important tool for planning the future of your business. A buy–sell agreement is a legal contract that prearranges a buyer for your share of the business when a triggering event occurs, and it also stipulates the price that the buyer will pay. You may negotiate a buy–sell agreement with your partners, shareholders, members of your management team, or key employees who may have an interest in the company’s future ownership.

Buy–sell agreements are generally structured in one of two ways: as a cross-purchase agreement or an entity-purchase agreement. A cross-purchase agreement is negotiated between you and each partner or shareholder. If you die or become incapacitated, the parties to the agreement purchase your shares at a previously agreed on price. A cross-purchase agreement generally works best in companies with only two or three owners. As the number of owners increases, it can become expensive and administratively cumbersome for each owner to maintain an agreement with every other owner.

For a company with a larger number of owners, an entity-purchase agreement may be more practical. With this kind of agreement, the company takes out a life insurance policy for each owner. At a triggering event, the insurance money collected by the company is used to pay the estate of the deceased owner for that person’s share of the business. And the remaining owners avoid any out-of-pocket expenses. When the company buys back a departing owner’s shares, the value of the remaining shares increase accordingly.

Simply having an agreement in place does not ensure that funds will be available to buy your shares when the agreement goes into effect. Therefore, these agreements are often funded through life insurance (as is the entity-purchase agreement) and/or disability income insurance. In these cases, the triggering event would be death or disability. But what about the possibility of a long-term care event?

Preparing for Long-Term Care

To create a more comprehensive buy–sell agreement, you may want to consider planning for an accident or illness that requires long-term care. “Long-term care” refers to a variety of medical and nonmedical services provided to individuals with a chronic illness or disability.

Most long-term care involves assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), including, but not limited to, dressing, personal care, meal preparation, and housekeeping. An individual is generally considered to be in need of long-term care if he or she has difficulty performing two or more ADLs due to physical limitations, cognitive impairment, or both. Services are typically provided in a nursing home, in an assisted living facility, or at home.

A long-term care event can come about suddenly, as a result of an accident or illness, or gradually, as part of the aging process. When an owner or partner requires long-term care, the company may find it difficult to continue to pay that owner’s salary, and other owners may not have the funds to buy the departing owner’s shares.

Preparing for long-term care when drafting a buy-sell agreement may be important to the future of your company. A buy–sell agreement could trigger the sale of a departing owner’s shares, and the agreement could be funded by long-term care insurance.

Long-term care buyout planning may help preserve the value of the business and ensure continuity. Be sure to consult a long-term care insurance professional for more information.

 

 

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 material contains only general descriptions and is not a solicitation to sell any insurance product or security, nor is it intended as any financial or tax advice. For information about specific insurance needs or situations, contact your insurance agent. This article is intended to assist in educating you about insurance generally and not to provide personal service. They may not take into account your personal characteristics such as budget, assets, risk tolerance, family situation or activities which may affect the type of insurance that would be right for you. In addition, state insurance laws and insurance underwriting rules may affect available coverage and its costs. Guarantees are based on the claims paying ability of the issuing company. If you need more information or would like personal advice you should consult an insurance professional. You may also visit your state’s insurance department for more information.

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.

This article was prepared by Liberty Publishing, Inc.

 

LPL Tracking #1-05185631

HOW TO PROTECT YOUR SMALL BUSINESS FROM CYBER THREATS

Risk management is a key component in any successful business plan. In today’s world — where data breaches are common occurrences — it’s especially important for business owners to understand the digital risks they face. Are you doing all you can to mitigate the risk of a cyberattack?

The importance of cybersecurity

Many small-business owners may think their organizations hold little appeal to hackers due to their small size and limited scope. However, according to the Small Business Administration (SBA), this naiveté may actually make them ideal targets. Small businesses are keepers of employee and customer data, financial account information, and intellectual property. Their systems, if not adequately protected, may also inadvertently provide access to larger supplier networks. “Given their role in the nation’s supply chain and economy, combined with fewer resources than their larger counterparts to secure their information, systems, and networks, small employers are an attractive target for cybercriminals,” reports the SBA on its cybersecurity website.

Consider the following tips compiled from information supplied by the SBA, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

What are your vulnerabilities?

To protect your organization, you must first understand your vulnerabilities. How are your systems protected? Do you collect and store personal information of customers and employees, such as credit-card information, Social Security numbers, and birth dates? If so, how is this information stored and who may access it? Do you store it in multiple locations and formats? Are these files password protected and, if so, are you using multiple complex passwords? Do you have a Wi-Fi accessible to employees and customers? How do your vendors and other third-party service providers protect their information? You may want to engage a professional to help identify your risks.

Tips for security

When monitoring your security, ensure you have firewall and encryption technology that protects your Internet connections and Wi-Fi networks. Make sure your business’s computers have antivirus and

anti-spyware software installed and updated automatically. Require employees and others who access your systems to use complex passwords that are changed regularly. Keep only personal data that you actually need and dispose of it securely as soon as it no longer serves a business purpose. Back up critical information and data on a regular basis, and store the backups securely offsite. Assign individual user accounts to employees and permit access to software and systems only as needed. Be especially cautious with laptops and company-assigned smartphones. Question third-party vendors to ensure that their security practices comply with your standards.

Redundancy is key

In writing or speaking, redundancy is typically not recommended unless you’re really trying to drive a point home. When it comes to your digital life, however, redundancy is not only recommended, it’s critical. That’s because redundancy means having multiple data backups stored in different locations. Here are some ideas for redundancy when backing up your data:

  • If you have digital assets that you don’t want to risk losing forever — including photos, videos, original recordings, financial documents, and other materials — you’ll want to back them up regularly. And it’s not just materials on your personal computer, but your mobile devices as well. Depending on how much you use your devices, you may want to back them up as frequently as every few days.
  • A good rule to follow is the 3-2-1 rule. This rule helps reduce the risk that any one event — such as a fire, theft, or hack — will destroy or compromise both your primary data and all your backups.
  • Have at least three copies of your data. This means a minimum of the original plus two backups. In the world of computer redundancy, more is definitely better.
  • Use at least two different formats. For example, you might have one copy on an external hard drive and another on a flash drive, or one copy on a flash drive and another using a cloud-based
  • Ensure that at least one backup copy is stored offsite. You could store your external hard drive in a safe-deposit box or at a trusted friend or family member’s Cloud storage is also considered offsite.

More about cloud storage

Cloud storage — using Internet-based service providers to store digital assets such as books, music, videos, photos, and even important documents including financial statements and contracts — has become increasingly popular in recent years. But is it right for you? If a cloud service is one of your backup tactics, be sure to review carefully the company’s policies and procedures for security and backup of its servers. Another good idea is to encrypt (that is, convert to code) to protect sensitive documents and your external drives. Other considerations include:

  • Evaluate the provider’s Is the service well known, well tested, and well reviewed by information security specialists?
  • Consider the provider’s own security and redundancy Look for such features as two-factor authentication and complex password requirements. Does it have copies of your data on servers at multiple geographic locations, so that a disaster in one area won’t result in an irretrievable loss of data?
  • Review the provider’s service agreement and terms and conditions. Make sure you understand how your data will be protected and what recourse you have in the event of a breach or loss. Also understand what happens when you delete a file — will it be completely removed from all servers? In the event a government subpoena is issued, must the service provider hand over the data?
  • Consider encryption processes, which prevent access to your data without your personal password (including access by people who work for the service provider). Will you be using a browser or app that provides for data encryption during transfer? And once your data is stored on the cloud servers, will it continue to be encrypted?
  • Make sure you have a complex system for creating passwords and never share your passwords with

Educate your employees

To help ensure that your employees are also maintaining sound cybersecurity practices, establish clear security policies and procedures and put them in writing. Cover such topics as handling sensitive or personal information, appropriate use of Internet and social media, and reporting vulnerabilities. Clearly spell out consequences for failing to follow the policies. Develop a mandatory employee training program on the importance of cybersecurity. Explain the basics of personal information, as well as what is and isn’t acceptable to post on social media.

Employees could unknowingly release information that could be used by competitors or, worse, by criminals. Ensure that employees understand the risks associated with phishing emails, as well as “social engineering” — manipulative tactics criminals use to trick employees into divulging confidential information.

For more information, visit the SBA cybersecurity website.

 

 

 

Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and may not be invested into directly.

The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax planning or legal advice. We suggest that you consult with a qualified tax or legal professional.

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

This article was prepared by Broadridge.

LPL Tracking #1-546955

TREAT YOURSELF TO THESE FIVE RETIREMENT SAVINGS TRICKS

Your retirement is the reward after years of hard work and saving. You might dream of traveling, want to invest in a vacation home, or want to take up a new hobby. For an enjoyable retirement, saving is critical. Take charge of your retirement and work toward your goals with the help of these few tips and tricks.

1. Take Advantage of a Company 401(k) Match

When a company provides a matching contribution for your retirement savings, it is like getting free money to invest. This strategy may help your portfolio grow larger. Find out the amount of your 401(k) contribution that your company matches, and make sure you contribute that much to your 410(k). This strategy is like getting an extra company bonus each year.1

2. Start Early

No matter your age, you may save for retirement. The longer your money is invested, the greater chance you may have that your savings grows. Make your savings allocations a part of your monthly budget, like any other bill. Take advantage of payroll contributions if you have a company 401(k). If you set up an automatic savings process, you put money away with each paycheck without thinking about it.2

3. Fully Fund a Health Savings Account

Healthcare costs continue to rise yearly, and you may face significant health expenses as you age. Consider contributing money to a health savings account to prepare for these costs. When you contribute to a health savings account, it is tax deductible. You may withdraw the money tax-free as needed to pay for qualified medical expenses. In 2022, you may contribute up to $7,300 annually for a family and $3,650 for an individual. While a health savings account is a way to prepare for medical costs, it is also a way to help save for retirement. Once you hit 65, you may use the funds in the account to pay for anything, not just healthcare expenses.1

4. Find the Perfect Place to Retire

When saving for retirement, it is essential to know your goals for retirement and where you plan to retire. If you are considering moving for retirement, you might find a state that may help your money go further. Many states are good for retirees. Some have great weather, some top-notch health care services, and others do not impose a state tax. Not paying state tax on your retirement funds may make retirement easier.1

5. Look for Tax Advantages at 50

Taxes may get a little easier for you once you are at the age of 50. As you get nearer to retirement, you may take advantage of the increased limits for retirement contributions. This additional amount may help boost your retirement savings while taking advantage of the tax breaks that retirement plans offer. After age 50, contributions to a traditional individual retirement account (IRA) or a Roth IRA may increase from $6,000 to $7,0003, and you may contribute an additional $6,500 to your employer-sponsored plan.1

Get your retirement savings on track by utilizing these tips.

 

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 security. To determine which investment(s) may be appropriate for you, consult your financial professional prior to investing.

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.

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

Contributions to a traditional IRA may be tax deductible in the contribution year, with current income tax due at withdrawal. Withdrawals prior to age 59 ½ may result in a 10% IRS penalty tax in addition to current income tax.

The Roth IRA offers tax deferral on any earnings in the account. Withdrawals from the account may be tax free, as long as they are considered qualified. Limitations and restrictions may apply. Withdrawals prior to age 59 ½ or prior to the account being opened for 5 years, whichever is later, may result in a 10% IRS penalty tax. Future tax laws can change at any time and may impact the benefits of Roth IRAs. Their tax treatment may change.

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 WriterAccess.

LPL Tracking #1-05313109.

 

Footnotes

1 8 Essential Tips for Retirement Saving, Investopedia, https://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/111714/8-essential-tips-retirement-saving.asp

2 How to Win at Retirement Savings, The New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/guides/business/saving-money-for-retirement

3 Retirement Plans FAQs Regarding IRAs, Internal Revenue Service, https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/retirement-plans-faqs-regarding-iras