While China, Japan, Germany, and other major economies are grappling with a decline in their working-age population in the decades ahead, the U.S. working-age population is expected to grow. Since growth in the size of the labor force is one of the two determinants in economic growth, it's a key fundamental factor that will shape the future of financial markets. This is a key fundamental affecting long-term personal financial plans. It's important and it has practical consequences on retirement portfolios.
Put yourself through this brief lifeboat drill, to prepare for things suddenly going wrong. Everything may be fine right now, in the eleventh year of the economic expansion. That's a sensible time to test your ability to muster the resources to respond to a range of emergency scenarios.
The leading economic indicators (LEI) are part of this picture, but this quiz will help you see the forest for trees. Just like this picture of change, the economic picture is always changing right in front of us, making it hard to see even the most obvious trends unfolding in front of us.
If you're in your 50s or 60s and own an interest in a business or professional corporation, knowing the answers to these four questions can lower your 2019 federal tax bill sharply, while jumpstarting a tax-advantaged retirement income plan.
Doctors, dentists and business owners with more than $321,400 of 2019 adjusted gross income have one last chance not to pass up on this tax and retirement planning opportunity.
The Fed cut rates again on October 30th, for the third time in 2019. What's it mean to your long-term financial plan?
It's notable that the stock market in 2019 has not suffered a 10% correction on worries about the China trade confrontation, the manufacturing slump or concerns about the U.S. political situation - three bad-news narratives currently haunting markets.
When you are halfway through your 70th year on the planet, U.S. law says you must start taking money out of IRAs, SEPs and SIMPLE plans, as well as 401(k), 403(b) and other U.S. Government qualified retirement plans. Only a Roth IRA account, which you fund with after-tax dollars, is exempt from federally-required minimum distributions (RMDs).
How much should you withdraw from your tax-deferred 401(k) or IRA, and in what form? Here's a brief summary of four retirement income withdrawal methods to help you optimize the decumulation of your retirement income portfolio prudently.
The American Opportunity Credit (for college students) and the Lifetime Learning Credit - for undergrad, graduate and vocational students - are the two education tax credits available from the federal government. Students can claim either of the two credits for schooling costs, or their parents can - provided they don't opt for married filing separately.
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Give To Charity From An IRA To Lower Your Tax Bill
To keep your tax bill down, if you are over 70½, consider a qualified charitable contribution, which makes donations of up to $100,000 from an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) to a fully deductible charity.
A qualified charitable distribution (QCD) lets you donate from a traditional or inherited IRA, provided you meet the age requirements.
A QCD can help you eliminate, or at least reduce, taxes owed on your required minimum distribution (RMD). That's the amount you are required to take out of your IRA account annually after turning 70½.
Example: Your yearly RMD is $20,000, which counts as taxable income. But if you donate that amount to a charity, it's not counted as income, which may drop you into a lower tax bracket.
Moreover, you don't have to itemize to take this tax deduction. That's good news for Americans no longer itemizing deductions on their returns. To be sure, some taxpayers are hurt by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act's $10,000 cap on state and local tax deductions, so a qualified charitable distribution can make sense.
You don't have to donate the entire amount to a single charity. You can divvy up a QCD among multiple IRS-eligible charities, within the $100,000 annual limit. You don't have to use 100% of your RMD for the donation, of course, and can keep what you need to pay for your living expenses and donate the rest.
QCDs require careful attention to ensure your donation is made from an individual retirement account — not a 401(k) or 403(b). In addition, you may not make a QCD and also itemize charitable deductions. You must to pick one. Plus, the charity must not be a private foundation or a donor-advised fund. These technical details are crucial.
Another QCD tip: Make the contribution straight from your IRA. The RMD money must never be in your personal, non-IRA account. Send your IRA custodian instructions to send the check directly to the charity, with the organization's name on the check. Have the IRA custodian send you documentation that you made the donation.
Finally, be sure to make the donation before you take your RMD. Should you take the RMD first, you can't give the money back to the retirement account and will be ineligible to deduct it.
The QCD is a fairly complex solution to lower taxes and requires the advice of a qualified tax professional.
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