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Tax Planning Checklist

ornaments

Happy Holiday Greetings,

As year-end approaches, I want to send a quick reminder about important tax planning deadlines. The following checklist can help you simplify and manage these critical deadlines as you take advantage of opportunities to help reduce your 2017 tax burden. 

December 31st marks the deadline for:  

Gifts and Charitable Contributions: 

  • Making tax-year 2017 charitable contributions of cash or securities  
  • Gifting to family members (you can give up to $14,000 per individual free of gift or estate tax)
  • Donating real property, such as a car, boat, household items, or clothing to qualified charities

Investments and Retirement Accounts: 

  • Tax harvesting: selling stocks or listed options to realize a gain or loss
  • Contributing the maximum to employer-sponsored qualified retirement plans such as (401(k) and 403(b) plans ($18,000 if you’re under age 50); you may be eligible to make an additional $6,000 catch-up contribution for a maximum contribution of $24,000 if you’re age 50+
  • Completing a 2017 Roth IRA conversion

Employment and Medical Expenses: 

  • Deferring bonuses or self-employment income into 2018 
  • Rolling over Flexible Spending Account (FSA) balances in employer-sponsored plans 
  • Paying for qualified out-of-pocket healthcare services, procedures, or equipment to itemize medical expenses (qualified expenses for 2017 must exceed 10% of adjusted gross income (AGI) regardless of your age)
  • Avoiding tax penalties by adjusting withholding or estimated tax payments to make up for any shortfall
  • Accelerating income to “zero-out” the alternative minimum tax (ATM); check with your tax adviser first; this can be counterproductive for certain taxpayers

If you have questions or need assistance with year-end financial and tax planning, please contact me at your earliest convenience.

All the best,

Steve Lindquist

steve 

Steve Lindquist 
stevelindquist@peakfns.com 
Financial Consultant
9600 S McCarran Blvd
Reno, NV 89523 
(775) 789-3140

http://www.gbfinancial.org/

Steve Lindquist is a registered representative offering securities and advisory services through Cetera Advisor Networks LLC, member FINRA/SIPC.  Cetera is under separate ownership from any other named entity. Registered address: 9600 S McCarran Blvd., Reno NV 89523.

Investments are not deposits; not NCUSIF insured; and not insured by any federal government agency.  No credit union guarantee.  May lose value.

Investors should consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses associated with municipal fund securities before investing. This information is found in the issuer’s official statement and should be read carefully before investing.

Investors should also consider whether the investor’s or beneficiary’s home state offers any state tax or other benefits available only from that state’s 529 Plan. Any state-based benefit should be one of many appropriately weighted factors in making an investment decision. The investor should consult their financial or tax advisor before investing in any state’s 529 Plan.

 

 

Key Retirement Numbers to Consider

older man working on documents

Key Retirement Numbers to Consider 

In the seemingly complex world of retirement, there are important numbers you should be aware of that could make or break your overall retirement savings. A recent USA Today article highlights ten numbers that could make or break your retirement1. Here we outline our top five: 

#1 – 41%. This is a surprising statistic that reveals the percentage of workers (or four in 10) who say they (or their spouse) have tried to calculate how much money they should have saved to live comfortably in retirement, according to a March 2017 Employee Benefit Research Institute’s Retirement Confidence Survey2.  That’s a relatively low number given a good rule of thumb is to plan to have 10 times or more of your final salary in savings for retirement. 

#2 – 50. This represents the age at which you can make catch-up contributions to your retirement savings. The benefit of blowing out the candles on your 50th birthday is the ability to increase the amount you save in retirement accounts to the tune of $6,000 additional dollars a year into a 401(k) or an extra $1,000 into an IRA. 

#3 – 8%. It may seem like a small number but it could mean big savings for older workers who delay taking Social Security benefits beyond their full retirement age (around 66). Those who delay taking their benefits could increase their overall earnings by an additional eight percent each year until the full retirement age of 67.

#4 – $1,360. This number reflects the average Social Security benefit of approximately 41 million retired workers. It is important to understand that Social Security benefits vary by amount of time worked and the age when you enroll. 

#5 – 4%. On average, this is the recommended maximum percentage of assets you should plan to withdraw the first year of retirement. This is a general rule of thumb to ensure the nest egg you’ve worked hard to prepare will last for at least 30 years into the future. For example, if you’ve saved $1 million, you would plan to withdraw no more than $40,000 (or four percent) that first year. Then to help keep pace with inflation, you could increase that initial dollar amount by the inflation rate each year.

Retirement preparedness varies by age and personal financial situation. If you have questions or concerns about your retirement plan, please give the office a call at 775-789-3123 to schedule a time to meet.


All the best,
 
Steve Lindquist
Steve Lindquist 
stevelindquist@peakfns.com 
Financial Consultant
9600 S McCarran Blvd
Reno, NV 89523 
(775) 789-3140
Registered representative offering securities through Cetera Advisor Networks LLC (doing insurance business in CA as CFGAN Insurance Agency), member FINRA/SIPC.  Cetera is not affiliated with any other named entity. CA Insurance License #0G30574
Investments are not deposits; not NCUSIF insured; and not insured by any federal government agency.  No credit union guarantee.  May lose value.
 
Investors should consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses associated with municipal fund securities before investing. This information is found in the issuer’s official statement and should be read carefully before investing.
Investors should also consider whether the investor’s or beneficiary’s home state offers any state tax or other benefits available only from that state’s 529 Plan. Any state-based benefit should be one of many appropriately weighted factors in making an investment decision. The investor should consult their financial or tax advisor before investing in any state’s 529 Plan.
  
 

Retirement in 2017

Portrait Of Senior Couple In Park

We thought you might find the following information useful as it explains noteworthy changes to Social Security that both retirees as well as those currently paying into Social Security can expect in 2017.

  • Cost-Of-Living Adjustment– Based on an increase in the Consumer Price Index over the last two years, a Cost-Of-Living Adjustment (or COLA) will be implemented for Social Security income beneficiaries in 2017. This will result in a 0.3 percent increase in payouts, or approximately an extra $5 per month.1 A modest increase compared to a 14.3 percent payment increase back in 1980.2
  • Earnings limit increase– Retirees who plan to work and collect Social Security at the same time may have some of their benefit withheld if they exceed the new earnings limit. In 2017, the earnings limit for those aged 65 and younger will increase to $16,920 from $15,720. Those taking Social Security benefits, who earn more than the new amount, will have $1 in benefits held back for every $2 in earned income over the $16,920 limit. However, the earnings limit will go away once you turn 66 and Social Security payments will no longer be withheld if you work and receive benefits at the same time. Also, payments will increase to credit you for any part of your benefit withheld in the past, according to US News & World Report.3
  • Changes to double claiming– Often married couples age 66 or older have taken advantage of collecting spousal Social Security payments worth half of the higher wage earner’s benefit amount only to later opt to take payments based on the other spouse’s individual work history, which now would be higher due to delaying the claim. Yet in 2017, this will no longer be an option. Retirees who turned 62 on January 2, 2016 or later will no longer be able to double claim a spousal payment and an individual payment at separate times. Instead, they will now just receive the higher of the two benefit options.

Bump in full retirement age – Like the COLA, it may seem like a modest increase, however, this change could affect the Social Security payments that you may plan to receive. Seniors reaching the eligible full retirement age of 66 years old will now have to wait 2 months (age 66 and 2 months) in order to receive full benefits.

How will this impact retirees? Those planning to claim Social Security as early as possible—such as age 62—will see a larger reduction from their overall benefits (slightly larger than the one they’d receive for claiming benefits early) with the extra 2 months tacked onto the full retirement age.

Give our financial services department a call at 775-789-3123 if these changes have you thinking about your retirement strategy, or if you just want more information.

All the best,

Steve Lindquist
stevelindquist@peakfns.com
Financial Consultant
9600 S. McCarran Blvd.
Reno, NV  89523
(775) 789-3140
gbfinancial.org
Find me on Facebook!

 

Registered representative offering securities through Cetera Advisor Networks LLC (doing insurance business in CA as CFGAN Insurance Agency), member FINRA/SIPC.  Cetera is not affiliated with any other named entity. CA Insurance License #0G30574

Investments are not deposits; not NCUSIF insured; and not insured by any federal government agency.  No credit union guarantee.  May lose value.

 

Life Insurance & Life Events

family in back of car

While you can’t always ensure what the future holds for the ones you love, you can help ensure their future is protected. Having sufficient life insurance and the right financial instruments in place can help protect their dreams for the future—and give you and them the peace of mind to look ahead with confidence. 

And if you already have life insurance, remember that your insurance needs can change as you approach significant life events, such as:

  • Marriage
  • Purchasing a new home
  • Purchasing a new business
  • Children moving out of the house or going to college
  • Retirement

As exciting as it is to think about the futures of those you love, it can be a little daunting to think about putting together the right mix of insurance and financial products to protect them. We would be happy to help, and put the knowledge and experience of our financial professional to work for you. Together, we’ll assess your needs and concerns, discuss your options, and then decide on a practical solution that meets your budget. We’ll make sure you understand the program we put together, and can help you adjust it should any events like those above prompt changes in your coverage.

Call Steve Lindquist today at 775-789-3123 to find out how we can help give you an even brighter view of the future. Or if you prefer, you can stop by and talk to us in person at Great Basin Federal Credit Union. We look forward to talking with you soon!

All the best,

Steve Lindquist

Steve Lindquist
stevelindquist@peakfns.com
Financial Consultant
9600 S. McCarran Blvd.
Reno, NV  89523
(775) 789-3140
gbfinancial.org
Find me on Facebook!

 

 Registered representative offering securities through Cetera Advisor Networks LLC (doing insurance business in CA as CFGAN Insurance Agency), member FINRA/SIPC.  Cetera is not affiliated with any other named entity. CA Insurance License #0G30574

Investments are not deposits; not NCUSIF insured; and not insured by any federal government agency.  No credit union guarantee.  May lose value.

Tax Tidbits

It’s tax time again! Here are some recent public tax updates we thought might be helpful.

On December 18, 2015, the President signed the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes of 2015 (PATH) Act. The Act extends over 50 tax provisions that had expired earlier in the year, as well as creates new changes that were not expected. The following is a brief summary of the Act’s major tax provisions impacting financial planning.

  • Teachers’ Classroom Expense Deduction – Elementary and secondary school teachers who work at least 900 hours per school year are allowed an above-the-line deduction of up to $250 for unreimbursed classroom expenses. This deduction is now permanent, and the $250 ceiling amount will be indexed for inflation beginning in 2016
  • Mortgage Insurance Premium Deduction – Many homeowners are required to obtain mortgage insurance. Such premium payments can be treated as deductible interest for a qualified residence through 2016. Mortgage interest premiums are treated in the same fashion as mortgage interest payments, meaning they are subject to the existing AGI phase-out rules that apply to the mortgage interest deduction.
  • Deduction for Qualified Tuition & Related Expenses – The above-the-line deduction for qualified tuition and related expenses for the post-secondary education of a taxpayer, their spouse or a dependent has been extended for 2015 and 2016. The maximum deductible amount is $4,000 if AGI is less than $65,000 ($130,000 married joint filers) and $2,000 if AGI is between $65,000 -$80,000 ($130,000 – $160,000 married joint filers). No deduction is available if AGI exceeds $80,000 ($160,000 married joint filers).
  • Qualified Expenses for 529 Plans – Historically, computers have not been deemed a qualified educational expense unless specifically required for class. Now computers are deemed a qualified education expense including software, peripheral and even internet access expenses. The beneficiary must be enrolled at an eligible education institution. In addition, refunds of tuition paid from 529 accounts will remain a qualified expense if re-deposited to a 529 account within 60 days of the refund.
  • American Opportunity Tax Credit – This credit is for qualified education expenses paid for an eligible student for the first four years of higher education. One may be able to claim a credit of up to $2,500 for adjusted qualified education expenses paid for each student who qualifies for the credit, subject to adjusted gross income (AGI) phase-out amounts of $80,000 (single) and $160,000 (married filing jointly). This credit can be claimed in the same year the beneficiary takes a tax-free distribution from a 529 plan as long as the same expenses are not used for both benefits. The credit was scheduled to expire after 2017.
  • State and local sales tax deduction – The ability to claim an itemized deduction for state and local general sales taxes in lieu of state and local income taxes has been extended for 2015 and made permanent. This provision is particularly beneficial to residents of states that do not impose an income tax.

As you evaluate your finances this tax season, remember that as a member of Great Basin you always have access to Financial Consultant, Steve Lindquist. He can help you with retirement planning, estate planning, college funding, business planning, and more. No cost, no obligation. And he’s a pretty nice guy, too. Contact him today.


This information is for informational purposes only. We always recommend that you speak with a tax professional. Steve Lindquist does not give tax or legal advice or counsel. Securities offered through Cetera Advisor Networks LLC (doing insurance business in CA as CFGAN Insurance Agency), member FINRA/SIPC. Cetera is under separate ownership from any other named entity. California Insurance license # 0G30574 *Insurance noted not offered by Cetera.