There's a new paradigm in valuing stocks and bonds. The change in the relative value of stocks versus bonds – the two primary investments in a diversified portfolio -- has major implications for strategic retirement investors. Here's what's happening.
The commemoration of 9/11 and pullout of U.S. troops from Afghanistan marked the passing of 20 difficult years. Historians will debate the lessons to be drawn from this tumultuous time for decades to come. For investors, however, a crucial investment lesson to be drawn is clear: In the past 20 years, amid the tumult and difficulties, broadly diversifying paid off, and quite convincingly at that!
An income tax hike is widely expected, but the important question is how it would affect your personal situation. Here’s help in understanding and planning for the expected change in tax brackets.
Year-end tax planning is more important than usual because it occurs concurrently with a turning point in U.S. tax policy. For the first time in 40 years, taxes on income and wealth transfers are headed higher.
Tax law and estate planning might bore you to death, but this brief tip could make a life-changing financial difference to your surviving spouse, and other loved ones, including disabled and chronically ill family or friends, as well any minor children in your life.
Here's a retirement planning alert built for current financial economic circumstances - an explanation of the current situation followed by a timely and high-value retirement investing tip.
For the five years through June 30, U.S. stocks were the No. 1 performing investment of major securities indexes! The S&P 500 index more than doubled in value, despite the pandemic! Remarkably, U.S. stocks were No. 1, not only for this five-year period through June 30, 2021, but for the past FIVE five-year periods ended June 30! And today the S&P 500 closed at a record high!
If you suffer from financial fear and anxiety, talking about it is likely to help.
The most important measure of the financial strength of the United States is the Standard & Poor's 500 stock index. It’s widely watched but constantly surprising.
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Foreign Intrigue In Estate Planning
Published Monday, September 18, 2017 at: 7:00 AM EDT
Are you married to someone who isn't a U.S. citizen? If you are, special estate planning considerations may come into play.
Whether your spouse is a citizen or not, you can use the same basic estate planning documents without any reservations. You can create a will bequeathing assets to your spouse, name him or her as a beneficiary of retirement accounts, and designate your spouse as the agent under a power of attorney. No problems there.
But things get trickier when your spouse inherits assets. Normally, property transferred from one spouse to another, during your lifetimes or when one of you dies, is completely exempt from gift or estate tax thanks to an unlimited marital deduction. But that doesn't apply to non-citizen spouses.
Instead, you can make use of a $5.49 million unified gift and estate tax exemption that covers transfers to any beneficiaries, including a non-citizen spouse.
In addition, you can give a non-citizen spouse as much as $149,000 (in 2017; the amount is indexed for inflation) in gifts during your lifetimes.
Other ways to avoid being subject to the rules for non-citizen spouses may include:
1. Have your spouse become a U.S. citizen. This can be an obvious solution. It allows your spouse to qualify for the unlimited marital deduction by the time your federal estate tax return is due. That's generally nine months after death, but the IRS may grant a six-month extension.
Because it takes time to obtain citizenship—there is a waiting period before you can even apply—it's important to start sooner than later.
2. Rely on a QDOT trust. With a qualified domestic trust (QDOT), you can leave property to the trust, rather than directly to your spouse. Then your spouse can receive income from the QDOT that is exempt from estate tax.
But there are a couple of extra wrinkles. If your non-citizen spouse withdraws principal from the QDOT, it will be taxed like a distribution from your taxable estate, which can increase estate tax liability. There are also limitations on investments made by QDOTs. In some cases, it could make sense to complement a QDOT with other kinds of transfers to your spouse. Finally, a QDOT can be structured to end if your spouse becomes a U.S. citizen.
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