Business & Economy
3 Tax Saving Plans for Gold Investments PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Tuesday, 24 February 2015 12:47
Financial Strategist Says Gold May Face Higher Taxation in Future

Adding to the confusion of extensive tax laws is the fact that they change, says gold financial strategist William A. Storum.

In 2013, for example, new tax laws moved the highest federal income tax rate from 35 percent to 39.6 percent. For 2014, if your taxable income topped $406,750 – or $457,600 if you’re married and file a joint return – you are in that 39.6 percent.

“Whether you’re in that percentile or not, inflation is an inevitable part of our future because the government is printing money it doesn’t have, affecting every American,” says Storum, author of “Going for the Gold” (www.goldandtax.com).

“Gold is the standard, and that’s why it’s a great investment for your portfolio assets – anywhere from 5 to 35 percent is a good range.”

But gold investments may be highly taxed in the future, which is why you’ll need a tax-planning strategy.

In trying to navigate stocks, mutual funds and various tax traps for gold, such a strategy likely requires a comprehensive and highly detailed plan, says Storum, who offers a few basic tips for gold coins and bars.

•  Trading with like-kind exchanges : As many real estate investors know, like-kind exchanges mean that an owner can exchange one investment property for another and thus avoid paying tax on a sale. Like-kind exchanges are also possible for gold investors. You can exchange bullion – coins or bars – for another form, and as long as equal value changes hands, no income tax will be due. Why trade? One reason may be to obtain smaller, more liquid gold items. A one-ounce gold bullion coin worth $1,400 or more may not be practical for purchases or gifts.

•  Privacy protection: Unlike gold stocks, funds and other similar securities investments, the purchase of gold bullion often is not reported to the IRS. No government agency is able to keep track. For the most part, investors in gold coins and bars, and other precious metals, have a great deal of privacy – if you know the rules and understand when forms must be filed. It’s important to work with a dealer who is in compliance with reporting regulations. The IRS may scrutinize dealers and their customers if their compliance is in question.

•  Helping loved ones: Many people today are still not making what they used to, and finding a job right out of college is still challenging for many recent grads. Instead of giving cash to your child, consider giving an appreciated gold coin, which can be sold to pay the mortgage, pay property taxes, buy food, etc. In times of financial distress, your child may be in a low tax bracket – perhaps a 0 percent bracket – and thus would owe much less tax than you probably would pay if you sold the coin yourself. However, due to the so-called kiddie tax, this strategy won’t work as well with children who are fulltime students younger than 24.

About William A. Storum

William A. Storum, JD, is a member of the California Bar Association (inactive) and a licensee (inactive) of the California Board of Accountancy. He has extensive experience in individual, corporate, real estate and partnership taxation and has represented clients in tax audits and other tax matters with the IRS. As an investor, Storum came to understand the need to own gold in order to preserve wealth from the government’s reach. He wrote “Going for the Gold” (www.goldandtax.com) in an effort to clarify widespread confusion about investment in and taxation on gold. Storum graduated cum laude from the University of Santa Clara with a bachelor’s degree in accounting with a minor in economics, and from the University of Santa Clara School of Law, cum laude.

 
Make a Difference With Your Money PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Tuesday, 24 February 2015 10:20
Help Your Family Or Community By Helping Yourself First

At some point during their lifetime, most people wonder whether they’ve done enough – if they’ve made a positive impact, says Jeff Bucher, a financial advisor who helps working-class Americans plan their golden years.

“For most people, I think that concern increases as they get closer to retirement – they wonder what their earning years have bought for themselves and the people they care about, which may extend to their greater community,” says Bucher, who, through his firm, Citizen Advisory Group, (www.citizenadvisory.com), has contributed to the local Boys & Girls Club, the Make-A-Wish Foundation and to development of an Olympic training center for wrestling at Ohio State University, his alma mater, where he earned a wrestling scholarship.

“You don’t have to be super-wealthy to make a significant contribution to others. The smarter you are with the wealth you do have, however, the more of an impact you’ll be able to have.”

If you want to make a difference with your money, you’re better off having your financial affairs in order. Bucher offers a few suggestions.

• Now is the time to design a lifetime income plan. Simply attaining a minimum figure in savings probably won’t work; such figures do not account for family emergencies, inflation, etc. Social Security does not cover what it used to, and its future is uncertain at best. You need to establish a laddered, inflation-adjusted income using safe and dependable accounts that will provide a check every month. This should be informed by a plan that maps out your lifetime income needs to ensure that you do not outlive your money. For example, if you need $3,000 a month now, at a 4 percent inflation rate you will need $3,649.96 in five years. In 10 years you will need almost $4,500 per month.

• Consider holding off on retirement. Many people are understandably eager to retire as early as possible; others fear Social Security benefits will vanish, so they want to get what they can as quickly as possible – at age 62. But if you’re counting on those benefits as part of your income, you should wait until you’re eligible for the full amount. That’s age 66 if you were born from 1943 to 1954, and age 67 if you were born in 1960 and later. If you’re in the older group, retiring at 62 cuts your benefits by a quarter; for the younger group it’s nearly a third. “Chances are, you’ll be better off mentally and physically if you wait anyway,” Bucher says. “Many studies show that people live longer and are more vital the longer they remain employed.”

• Know when to transfer investments out of tax-deferred plans. If you’re working for a company that provides a match for 401k contributions, by all means, contribute up to the maximum match. “That’s free money – you’d be crazy not to take advantage,” Bucher says. But anything beyond that should be invested in something that’s more tax efficient: Roth IRA, municipal bonds, life insurance or real estate. No one expects taxes will go down – they’ll be going up. Uncle Sam already has a lien on your IRA or 401(k); don’t let his lien, the taxes you’ll owe, continue to grow. Go ahead and pay now. Your future retired self will be glad you did.

About Jeff Bucher

Jeff Bucher is president of Citizen Advisory Group (www.citizenadvisory.com), and is an Investment Advisor Representative of AlphaStar Capital Management, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. He has a life and health insurance license with the state of Ohio. His membership affiliations include the exclusive Ed Slott's Master Elite IRA Advisor Group™, National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA), the National Association of Fixed Annuities (NAFA) and the Forum 400. He has earned Top of the Table honors through the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT). Bucher is a former standout wrestler at The Ohio State University, where he earned an athletic scholarship and honed his leadership skills en route to earning four varsity letters.

 
Smiddy Bill Helps Businesses Hire Unemployed Workers PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Paul Ferrero   
Tuesday, 24 February 2015 09:59
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. –Illinois business may soon have additional incentive to hire long term unemployed Illinois workers under legislation cosponsored by state Rep. Mike Smiddy, D-Hillsdale.
“Illinois has thousands of hardworking men and with tremendous skill who are ready to join the workforce,” Smiddy said. “This legislation will help give employers a reason to give these workers a chance to get back on the job.”
Smiddy is cosponsoring House Bill 144, which provides a tax credit for businesses that hire individual who have been unemployed for at least 27 weeks. The credit increases in each of the first three years the new employee remains with the employers; encouraging long term hiring and new careers. An employer receives a tax credit of $500 the year they hire a long term unemployed worker, $750 in the first taxable year after he or she is employed and $1,250 in the following year.
“Illinois unemployed workers deserve the chance to return to the workplace to support their families, and the employers that put them back to work should be rewarded helping them get back to work,” Smiddy said. “I’ll continue to support measures that help Illinois businesses grow and return workers to the jobsite.”
House Bill 144 was introduced in January and awaits action in the House Revenue and Finance Committee.
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Working Out A Safe-Money Strategy PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Monday, 23 February 2015 11:44
Financial Consultants Say Retirees Can Take Steps To Protect Savings From Vagaries Of The Market

As people creep into the retirement “red zone” – those years just before or right after they retire – it becomes more important than ever that they find ways to keep their savings safe.

Because at that point, their retirement picture will change significantly only if they lose a lot of money, says Chris Bennett, co-founding partner of The Abbott Bennett Group, (www.theabbottbennettgroup.com).

“They are not going to change who they are,” Bennett says. “But if they lose a bucket of money, they are not going to go out to eat, they won’t travel, they won’t be able to leave money to their children and grandchildren. They will end up having to make sacrifices.”

In other words, they won’t be living the retirement they envisioned all those years they were saving a nest egg.

Having a “safe money” strategy is key to a secure retirement, say Bennett and Michael Abbott, CFO of the firm. It’s important to be able to create an income stream that the retiree won’t outlive.

There are several areas you and your financial professional can focus on as part of an overall “safe money” strategy, Abbott and Bennett say. Here are two examples:

• Rate of return vs. sequence of return. The average rate of return on an investment can be misleading, they say. That’s because in reality how well you hang onto your money depends more on “sequence of return.” That is, exactly when do those profits and losses come about?

To see how that might work, imagine a 50 percent loss followed by a 50 percent gain. That would appear to average out to a zero rate of return. But that’s not how it would look in your portfolio, Bennett says. If you have $100,000, a 50 percent loss drops it to $50,000. The market rebounds with a 50 percent gain. But a 50 percent gain on $50,000 just increases that investment to $75,000, so you’ve still taken a loss.

Now consider that kind of activity over the course of your retirement as you are also withdrawing money from your savings to live on. Depending on when market fluctuations happened, you could take major hits. That’s especially true if the dips come early in retirement when your savings are at their peak, and the rallies arrive late when there is less left in the account.

“One big downturn and that money could run dry,” Bennett says.

Abbott and Bennett say there are tools that a good financial professional uses that can help people reduce the risk created by sequence of return.

• Maneuvering toward tax-free income. “Whatever the tax rates may be in the future, taxes can be a drag on your savings and may adversely impact your retirement security,” Abbott says. So it’s important to consider the tax implications of how you hold your assets.

Even those Social Security benefits that retirees draw can be taxed, but they don’t necessarily have to be, Bennett says. Once again, a financial professional can review strategies that could help reduce or even eliminate the tax on that monthly Social Security benefit.

“It’s possible to have tax-free income in retirement,” Bennett says. “Talk about being in control. Then you can just enjoy your retirement with your children and your grandchildren.”

About Michael Abbott and Christopher Bennett

Michael Abbott has two decades of experience assisting retirees with their 401(k)s and pension plans. He is co-founder of The Abbott Bennett Group, LLC, an independent financial services firm, where he serves as CFO. He is a lifetime member of MDRT (Million Dollar Round Table), an association composed of the world’s best financial services professionals, and a member of NAIFA (National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors). He holds a Master of Estate Preservation designation.

 
MUNGER WELCOMES COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH TO BUDGET PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Brad Hahn   
Monday, 23 February 2015 09:13

Comptroller looks forward to honest discussion

SPRINGFIELD - Illinois Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger released the following statement Wednesday in response to Gov. Bruce Rauner's Budget address:

"Today Governor Rauner offered a much-needed comprehensive approach to our state's budget and fiscal challenges. For the last decade state government has consistently spent more than it took in, borrowed money that it didn't have and 'balanced' the budget with accounting tricks. Today the consequences of those actions are coming due.

"I appreciate that the Governor delivered his budget proposal to the General Assembly without delay, providing the maximum amount of time for much debate before moving forward with the best financial plan for our state and its taxpayers.

"While there will be plenty of disagreement in the weeks and months ahead, it is abundantly clear that Illinois must change the way it does business and I am heartened to see a thorough approach to our fiscal issues. The Governor's proposal provides a solid starting point for discussion."

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