Advisors

The Lockdown Test

the lockdown testThis time of uncertainty and pandemic lockdown has been a test for many of us on many levels.  For me, working from home since March 13, the lockdown test and struggle has primarily been managing my time.

My daily routine typically includes a lot of time reading or consuming information. Lately, that has meant reading articles about COVID-19 and how the economy and markets are being impacted by this virus, as well as about what else is going on in the world.

In my initial weeks working at home, however, I found myself spending an inordinate amount of time reading. That realization made me pause. While staying informed is important, I do not need to spend four to five hours a day on this task. It’s not the only thing on my plate, at work or at home.

Prioritizing my tasks and putting time parameters on each has been a good personal exercise during this quarantine.

We all know how important it is to empty the dishwasher every day, right? If that doesn’t get done, it puts a jam on dishes and the kitchen becomes messy pretty quickly. That’s my job at home, and I make sure to do it before I fire up the computer for the day. It’s a lesson I learned early on and something my family appreciates.

The need to balance work duties and household chores forced me to clearly define my priorities and set aside appropriate time blocks for the most important tasks each day. Having all of these tasks now wrapped up together under one roof has been an interesting new test. It also has been an important reminder to occasionally review my process and fine-tune my productivity.

Our firm’s technology has given us a tremendous platform to serve clients, stay competitive and work remotely. This technology also enables us to be highly efficient, as long as we remember to use it appropriately.

How are you spending your time in quarantine? Are there things you can learn from this experience to improve your daily life and balance, both today and after life returns to normal?

By |2020-05-12T14:39:18-07:00May 12th, 2020|Advisors, Current Affairs|

CARES Act Key Elements

CARES Act key elements

Mike Larriva highlights CARES Act key elements for individuals.

Late last month, President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) written by Congress. It provides $2.2 trillion of relief in many forms for individuals, nonprofits, small businesses and large corporations. I can’t imagine you want to read the behemoth 900-page law. So, here’s a brief overview of CARES Act key elements that may apply to you.

Income tax deadline extension: The federal deadline has been delayed from April 15 to July 15. That includes money due for 2019 taxes and for 2020 first-quarter estimated payments (second-quarter estimated payments are still due June 15, 2020).

Recovery rebates: The IRS will determine rebate amounts based on 2018 or 2019 income tax returns. Individuals who made less than $75,000 in adjusted gross income (AGI) can expect $1,200 (or $2,400 for married people filing jointly); an additional $500 will also be rebated per child under 17 years of age. Rebates will be reduced by $5 for every $100 over the AGI limit. Individuals earning more than $99,000 (or $198,000 for joint filers) will not receive a rebate.

Rebates will be delivered via direct deposit if you received a refund that way in 2018 or 2019. Otherwise, checks will be issued and mailed.

Required Minimum Distribution waiver: RMDs from retirement accounts, for people older than 70.5 years, are being waived for 2020. Unfortunately, the waiver isn’t retroactive for RMDs already taken in 2020. (Learn more about RMDs in this informative video.)

IRA early-withdrawal penalty waiver: Loans and withdrawals from retirement plans for those under 59.5 years of age normally include a 10 percent penalty. That penalty will be waived (up to $100,000) for Coronavirus-related purposes. Withdrawals will still be taxable, though the taxes will be spread over three years versus just the current year. The contribution cap will also be removed for three years for the recontribution of funds withdrawn.

 

By |2020-04-08T15:42:29-07:00April 13th, 2020|Advisors, Current Affairs|

Make Positive Life Changes

Many people dream about suddenly getting a large sum of money. You win the lottery. Perhaps you receive a significant inheritance. But few think about how they will handle the responsibility of their newfound wealth. Lupe Camargo recalls a young woman who came to her for help. The woman had not handled money well in the past and feared she would make poor choices with a recent inheritance. They discussed small steps she could take to make positive life changes that would have lasting impact on her finances and her family’s well-being.

In this moving, five-minute video, Lupe shares the impact this experience had in her own life and career, as well.

By |2019-08-14T13:59:43-07:00December 9th, 2019|Advisors, Financial Planning, Video Blog|

529 Education Savings Accounts and Grandparents

529 education savings accountsGrandparents often want to assist their grandchild with college. But they don’t know the best ways to help. In this brief video, Jim Mailliard talks about grandparents and 529 education savings accounts.

These investment vehicles are state-sponsored college savings plans. They invest money on behalf of participants, much like mutual funds invest shareholder money. Earnings grow tax-deferred, and withdrawals can be used for a variety of qualified education expenses.

 

By |2020-01-27T14:10:44-07:00November 12th, 2019|Advisors, College Planning, Video Blog|