Have you logged in to your Social Security account? Creating an online account at SSA.gov is an important first step in understanding your retirement income situation. However, only about 60 million of the 160 million individuals in the U.S. labor force who have Social Security accounts have created a way to access the Social Security Administration’s website.
All year long, the economy and stock prices have fooled experts and consumers, outperforming expectations month after month.
The five questions below are a challenge meant to allow you to assess your knowledge of investing, tax and financial planning. If you have been following our news stream, this quiz draws on familiar ground. The answers are below.
The Securities and Exchange Commission filed enforcement actions against 501 individuals or entities in the 12 months through September 2023 — an 8% increase over the prior fiscal year.
Amid the Mideast war, Ukraine military stalemate with Russia, and rising tensions with China over Taiwan, it’s important to remember that the modern era has been in crisis almost perpetually, and the U.S. stock market has continued to rise anyway.
The Federal Reserve today said it was not raising interest rates. Instead, the U.S. central bankers are waiting to see if their campaign of 11 interest rate hikes since March 2022 was enough to end the worst inflation cycle in over four decades.
The Wall Street Journal published an article on October 19 about investing that illustrates the difficulty for investors in understanding the basics of long-term retirement planning. Criticizing America’s No. 1 financial newspaper is not done lightly, and it’s important to see how the press often undermines prudent investing concepts crucial to retirement success. Here goes...
Office-space delinquencies tripled in the first six months of 2023, and office-space landlords and investors through mutual funds, retirement plans, and other packaged products must be alert to the following:
A mild recession will begin in the first quarter of 2024 and end in the second quarter, economists at The Conference Board (TCB), a think-tank for the world’s largest companies predicted Wednesday.
The number of job openings increased to 9.6 million on the last business day of August, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Tuesday, much more than the 8.8 million expected by Wall Street. It’s good news. If demand for workers stays this strong, a recession is unlikely because the number of workers earning income and spending will continue to rise as openings are filled in the weeks ahead.
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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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