General Finance

Last week I wrote about what individual taxpayers can expect in 2018 under the new 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Law. Now, let’s take a look at the business side of things. The purpose of this blog is to highlight things that taxpayers understand, not what they expect their accountants and financial professionals to know. In other words, we won’t get “into the weeds.”

For more details, this article “What Tax Reform Means for Small Businesses & Pass-Through Entities”  by Forbes writer Kelly Phillips Erb covers a lot of ground. I will bullet the major points to highlight areas that you may want to spend more time understanding in light of your business situation. The new laws are still being interpreted and we can expect more clarification from the IRS in the coming months.

The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has become law, and it will go into effect for the tax year 2018. For many, there will be benefits and savings. For others, there may be some adjustments to be made. Although this law simplifies the tax code, there is still quite a bit of information to wade through. It will take several pages to go through all of the changes, but I will focus on some major items now and more in future posts.

The stock market continues to trend upwards. According to industry analysis it is expected to remain positive for 2017 and enter 2018 strong. This may have some people questioning why they still need a financial advisor. The truth is a good financial advisor may be the key resource between reaching your financial goals or spending your lifetime worrying about them. Below we’ll delve into a few reasons why people need a financial advisor — even when the market is up.

The holiday season is here, and, while it’s important to give thanks and spread holiday cheer, it’s also important to be mindful of your budget and savings. This is particularly important if you are a young adult still adjusting to living on your own, paying off bills and student loans, and earning an entry-level salary. Not sure where to start? No worries, below are some key money management tips to keep you on track during the holiday season and throughout the new year.

While we have enjoyed steady gains in the equity markets, corrections do happen. When the next correction occurs we offer the following thoughts for investors to keep in mind.

A stock market correction is often announced with attention-grabbing headlines. The effect can be scary and overwhelming to any investor. It’s hard to stay calm and not panic when bright red numbers and flashy headlines tempt you to take immediate action. Let’s discuss what a correction in the market means and how it may impact you.

The last thing anyone wants to think about when dealing with the loss of a spouse is taxes. Coping with the loss of a loved one is stressful enough. Not knowing what to do regarding finances and taxes presents yet another burden. If you are newly widowed, there are a few questions you may have regarding finances and potential tax breaks.

How do I know if I can file as a qualified widow(er)?

Filing for qualifying widow(er) status provides you the same exemption as if you were filing married jointly. You can usually file as a qualifying widow(er) if you meet the following requirements:

Last time, we discussed the various adoption opportunities (private, international and foster care) along with the average cost associated with each. We also walked through the basic steps for adopting one of the 428,000 children currently in foster care. In this article, we will review the different financial assistance available for those adopting children in foster care.

Financial Adoption Resources

In addition to Federal and State financial assistance for children adopted from foster care, families may be able to access employer-provided adoption benefits, tax credits, and loans or grants to offset adoption expenses.

So, you’re thinking about adopting a child. We think that’s admirable. But while raising children can be rewarding, there are also many financial considerations. Adoption comes with its own set of financial challenges. For some people, the question becomes, how can they best provide for their child financially as well as emotionally?

The Cost of Adopting a Child

According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway’s Planning for Adoption: Knowing the Costs and Resources, the average U.S. private agency adoption costs can range from $20,000 to $45,000, and international adoptions can average between $20,000 to $50,000. While both of those are great opportunities for some families if finances are planned accordingly, for others, the costs associated with the process can be disheartening. There is another option, however – adopting a child in foster care.

We talk a lot about financial education in this blog, especially as it pertains to our youth. But what about our entrepreneurs, seasoned business owners and executives who have experience in their fields but not in finance? What happens to them in business and in life if they do not become educated?

In my series on youth and finances, I try to share many ways to give young adults tools to make sure they keep their financial life as stable as they can while navigating high school, leaving home for University and, eventually, their first career building job choices. However, for many students, personal financial stability has never been a reality, even if they have come from a family with that stability. There are many reasons for this, but the most prevalent is lack of education.  

It is a different world when our grandchildren are around. We invest time to spend and we relive so many wonderful memories. Investing in our grandchildren is also an investment in the future of our communities, and many people consider it a financial investment as well. And doing it while you are still living can serve to reduce your potentially taxable estate.

As a beneficiary of the love of many dogs, I know how they can become a very valued family member.  For parents, as the kids leave the nest and we approach retirement, many of us adopt a dog or a cat, (or a few), as a companion for our new adventures. For non-parents, a beloved pet can be a faithful friend to join in life’s activities. These wonderful animals become part of our family, but many worry about how to make sure their pets are provided for if they outlive us.

It’s a horrible situation to be in, but it’s one that is all too common. A loved one becomes seriously or terminally ill, and insurance does not cover even half the costs. Not only does the family worry about their loved one, then, they begin to wonder where the funds will come from to pay for quality care. But this is not a blog about health insurance or long term care insurance. It’s about having an emergency fund.

Did you know that nearly 40 percent of weddings today are second or third marriages for at least one of the spouses? The Pew Research Center shared this statistic along with several others, including that one in five marriages are remarriages for both spouses. You may be one of these numbers; single due to divorce or the death of a spouse. If you are marrying again you are creating an opportunity for new life with a new partner. Successful remarried couples have found the following tools helped their financial success during this joyful transition.

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