Building Life Plans, One Client at a Time

Accretive Wealth Blog

Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts: A Valuable Tool You May Not Know

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Seat BeltYou buy life insurance policies to provide for your loved ones after you are gone. If your estate is large, however, some of the insurance proceeds may end up going toward estate taxes—and that’s important because the estate tax rate is now 40%.

To shield the payout from your life insurance policy, you can set up an irrevocable life insurance trust (ILIT), which becomes the beneficiary of your life insurance and allows the proceeds to pass to your heirs without being subject to estate tax. Basically, the trust owns the policy. Continue reading “Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts: A Valuable Tool You May Not Know” »

So What Are CRUTs and What Can They Do for Me?

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

CRUTYou may have heard of a CRUT, which is a rather unpleasant acronym that stands for charitable remainder unitrust. While the acronym may be unattractive, a charitable remainder trust can be a very valuable tool that high-net-worth individuals can use for estate planning, income generation, tax savings, and charitable giving.

Basics

There are a number of charitable remainder trusts and other trusts that allow you to pass on assets to a charitable organization, and the rules for each of them are quite complicated. Continue reading “So What Are CRUTs and What Can They Do for Me?” »

Trusts and Wills Can Prevent Complex Estate Problems

Friday, March 28, 2014

TrustsEven though it can be emotionally difficult, establishing a trust is a very important estate planning tool that can protect your family’s assets and determine what they will receive after your death. Properly designed trusts can also reduce the tax impact on your estate and help avoid probate.

Your goal is to maximize the wealth you leave to your heirs, and trusts are an invaluable tool. We will take a quick look at some basic information about common types of trusts: Continue reading “Trusts and Wills Can Prevent Complex Estate Problems” »

Traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs: What’s the Difference?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

IRA vs ROTH IRAYou can save money for retirement with either a traditional individual retirement account (IRA) or a Roth IRA. Both offer valuable tax advantages, but there are significant differences between them. Tax season is coming up, so we thought it was a good time to look at those differences so that you can determine which type is right for you. Continue reading “Traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs: What’s the Difference?” »

What Will the Markets Do This Year?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Chart1We asked Advisor Partners, LLC, to give us their market outlook for 2014. Advisor Partners handles portfolio management for many of our clients. Here’s what CEO Daniel Kern told us:

Advisor Partners enters 2014 with a favorable outlook for equities, continuing the generally positive view we have had for the equity markets over the past two years. I would characterize us as “reluctant bulls,” similar to many advisors who have large allocations to equities but worry about a market correction. Our overall equity outlook has not changed dramatically as we enter 2014, but our outlook about the relative attractiveness of different equity asset classes has changed over recent weeks. Continue reading “What Will the Markets Do This Year?” »

Tax Rates Are Going Up—Are You Ready?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Some big changes to federal income tax rates went into effect this year. Investors, small-business owners, and high-earners could have a rude jolt when they file 2013 tax returns, so we’d like to explain the changes and suggest some steps you could take to minimize the burden.

Here’s a look at the changes in 2013 tax rates that we think will have the greatest effect on our clients and friends:

  • The federal rate for long-term capital gains has gone up from 15% to 20% for a single person with taxable income above $400,000 or a married couple with income above $450,000. People in a 25% or 35% tax bracket will continue to pay 15%, while those in a 10% or 15% bracket do not have to pay capital gains taxes. Continue reading “Tax Rates Are Going Up—Are You Ready?” »

Islamic-Value Investing: A Closer Look

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Our clients and friends have been expressing a lot of interest in Sharia-compliant investing lately, so this week we would like to discuss the topic in greater depth than we did in our June blog posting.

We know that some Muslims have totally avoided investing in the stock market thereby missing out on the economy’s rebound. Accretive Wealth’s mission is to provide financial planning and investment advice that aligns with each investor’s beliefs and values, and we want to offer our Muslim clients ways to take part in economic growth through the markets without contravening Islamic values. Let’s begin by reviewing the basics. Continue reading “Islamic-Value Investing: A Closer Look” »

Is Active Management Worth the Cost?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Many individual investors wonder whether they should invest in “passive” index funds or in their actively managed cousins. In this post, we will take a look at the differences between them.

Index funds, whether exchange traded (ETFs) or mutual funds, are constructed to reflect the components of a market index, such as the S&P 500 or the Russell 2000. Their goal is not to outperform the selected index but to mirror its performance. These funds provide broad exposure to a market index by including a representative group of securities. Continue reading “Is Active Management Worth the Cost?” »

401(k)- A Path to a Healthy Retirement

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Whether you’re thinking of retiring soon or whether retirement is way down on your list of your priorities, it’s never too late—or too early—to investigate your options. In this post, we discuss some of the ins and outs of one of today’s most popular retirement plans: 401(k)s.

The 401(k) plan is named after the section of the U.S. tax code that governs it. It is offered through your employer and can provide you with tax-deferred savings, lower taxable income, and, in many cases, matching, or “free,” money from your employer. Continue reading “401(k)- A Path to a Healthy Retirement” »

Are Stocks the New Bonds?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Some of our clients and friends have asked us what strategy they could use in this market to generate income from their investment portfolios. Bond yields are low, and bond risk is rising as issuers take advantage of today’s low rates to extend duration. Fixed-income securities as a source of income don’t look very compelling. What’s an investor to do?

Luckily, there is an option that many investors find attractive: portfolios that focus on growth and income through high dividend yield (HDY). A manager selects the stocks in these portfolios by identifying high-quality companies that offer a higher-than-average dividend yield. An HDY portfolio is characterized by: Continue reading “Are Stocks the New Bonds?” »

Be Smart About Retirement

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Last week we talked about saving for your children’s education, but it’s even more important to create realistic plans for your own retirement. While you want to do the best for your children, you don’t want to ignore your own interests and jeopardize your ability to live comfortably later on. Retirement lasts longer than it used to: A man who’s 50 years old now is expected to live to be 82, while a woman is expected to reach 85.

Many of us don’t realistically think about our retirement, if we think about it at all. Let’s take a look at some numbers from the National Institute on Retirement Security’s June 2013 report, The Retirement Savings Crisis: Is It Worse Than We Think? (The answer is a resounding yes.) Continue reading “Be Smart About Retirement” »

Accretive Wealth