Things of Importance to Consider

  • Standard Deduction VS. Itemized Deduction
    • The new tax rules increased the Standard Deduction and changed the Itemized Deduction rules. As a result, it is becoming more difficult for taxpayers to take advantage of deductions. This  may affect your ability to deduct certain charitable gifts.

  • Charitable Planning - There are two ways to deduct charitable contributions even with the new limiting tax rules:
      • Utilizing a donor advised fund is one way to take advantage of getting an upfront charitable deduction while avoiding capital gains
      • Another planning strategy to contribute money directly from your IRA to charity.

        ** note: this only applies for taxpayers over the age 70 who have a Required Minimum Distribution requirement. **

  • Deductible IRA or a Roth IRA?

                           What is the difference and which is best for you? There are different eligibly rules for you and your spouse depending on your work status and income.

  • 401(K) Planning: Questions to Ask
    • Did you contribute enough to get the full company match?
    • Did you maximize your contribution
    • Are “Deductible” or “Roth” contributions best for you?
    • If you are close to retirement should you consider “After-Tax” contributions?
    • Do you have your beneficiaries titled correctly so that they can benefit from 

      the ‘stretch IRA rules’?

    • Is your asset allocation appropriate for your time-horizon/retirement goal?
  • Roth IRA Conversions
    • Do you know the history of tax rates in the United States?  The top bracket was 70% in the 1970's and briefly touched 94% during WWII.  Will you be in a higher or lower tax bracket in future years? With tax rates near their lows, tax risk is a retirement risk that is often overlooked but needs to be considered along with market risk, interest risk, longevity risks etc.  It may be time to consider Roth IRA conversions - especially in years you may be in lower tax brackets. In our experience a lot of people have a window post retirement where they can take advantage of IRA/401(k) Roth IRA conversions in coordination with their Social Security benefits.
  • Social Security Planning
    • There are many strategies to consider that affect your income taxes and lifetime benefits for you and your spouse.  Considerations should be given to the lifetime benefit increase you get (8% annually) by waiting until Full Retirement Age (or even age 70) to start your benefits but also to your current health, medical history and family medical history.  These may a part in deciding to take benefits earlier.  We can help think through this decision and if appropriate use our financial planning software ( to help optimize the timing of starting your social security.
  • Health Savings Account 
    • If you have a ‘high deductible’ health insurance plan then you are eligible to contribute to an HSA. This is the only investment in the tax code that is triple tax-exempt.