Asset Planning, Inc Blog

The latest from the team.

Earned Income and Social Security Tax

We came across an article on InvestmentNews.com written by Mary Beth Franklin. It gives a great explanation as well as examples and limits on how Social Security benefits are taxed if you are planning on working while collecting social security. Definitely worth a read if you have any income from other sources while collecting Social Security.

 

Click here to read the full article

 

 

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IRA & 401k Contributions Increase for 2019

2019 annual contribution limits for eligible tax filers:

401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans, and Thrift Savings Plan is increased from $18,500 to $19,000.

IRA contributions increased from $5,500 to $6,000 per year. The age 50+ catch-up contribution limit remains at $1,000.

Tax deduction and Income limitations for 2019:

Taxpayers can deduct contributions to a traditional IRA if they meet certain conditions. If during the year either the taxpayer or their spouse was covered by a retirement plan at work, the deduction may be reduced, or phased out, until it is eliminated, depending on filing status and income. (If neither the taxpayer nor their spouse is covered by a retirement plan at work, the phase-outs of the deduction do not apply.) Here are the phase-out ranges for 2019:

If single or joint married taxpayers are not covered by a work retirement plan, they may fully deduct traditional IRA contributions. Other tax filers may partially or fully deduct contributions if they meet the below exceptions:

  • Single taxpayers covered by a work retirement plan, can fully deduct if modified Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) is below $64,000. A partial deduction is allowed if modified AGI is between $64,000 to $74,000
  •  Married Joint taxpayers, where the spouse making the IRA contribution is covered by a workplace retirement plan, can fully deduct if modified AGI is below $103,000. A partial deduction is allowed if modified AGI is between $103,000 to $123,000
  • Married Joint taxpayers, where the spouse making the IRA contribution is not covered by a workplace retirement plan, but the other spouse is, can fully deduct if modified AGI is below $193,000. A partial deduction is allowed if modified AGI is between $193,000 to $203,000

The Modified AGI phase-out range for Roth IRA contributions is $122,000 to $137,000 for singles and heads of household, $193,000-203,000 for married couples filing jointly.

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2019 Medicare and Social Security Changes

Medicare just released the new premiums, deductibles and coinsurance amounts for 2019.

The standard monthly premium for Medicare Part B enrollees will be $135.50 for 2019, an increase of $1.50 from $134 in 2018.

The annual deductible for all Medicare Part B beneficiaries is $185 in 2019, an increase of $2 from the annual deductible $183 in 2018.

If your modified adjusted gross income as reported on your IRS tax return from 2 years ago is above a certain amount, you'll pay the standard premium amount and an Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA)

Here is a chart for reference

Medicare Premium Chart 2019

Social Security announced that in 2019 there will be a 2.8% Cost of Living Adjustment(COLA).

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****Newsletter Correction****

In the Large Vacation and Purchase planning article the married couples income would need to be over $170,000, not 107,000 to see an increase in premiums. So sorry for any confusion this may have caused.

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Wedding Bells!

Kats Wedding Family Web

From left to right-Kimberly, Dexter, me, Kat, Luke, Jorge, Kyle

The highlight of my summer was the wedding of my youngest daughter, Kat, to my new son-in-law, Luke. They were married at Old Ranch Country Club in Seal Beach and it was a beautiful day! He is from Australia and we had quite a fun wedding with the visiting Aussie relatives. The whole family was involved in the wedding, even Dexter (our dog) – he was the flower dog! The planning and details that go into planning a wedding are intense and if you ever need any referrals for photographer, florist, etc. just let me know. We had a great team.    

 

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Trump's Proposes to Extend RMD Age

President Trump issued an executive order directing the Treasury Department to extend the age for required minimum distributions from retirement accounts. Currently the age is 70 1/2. His reasoning is that people are working and living longer. This can be good news for some of our clients who don't necessarily need to take the withdrawals at 70 1/2. Here is an articles from Forbes with some pros and cons to the proposed change.

Read Here

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Informed Delivery by the United States Postal Service

I just found out about a very useful service that the United States Postal Service offers and one that Sandy has been using for a while. It is called Informed Delivery and it sends you a daily email with an image of the mail you will be receiving each day. It is completely free and easy to sign up. I went to USPS.com, logged into my existing account (If you do not already have an account you will need to create one) and under user preferences you can opt into the service. They do verify your identity so no one else can sign up to see your mail. They ask specific questions about you, where you have previously lived etc. This is a great way to know if anything ever goes missing from your mailbox. They even have a link in your daily email to report a piece of missing mail.

Here's an example of my dashboard on the site.

USPS Informed Delivery Dashboard

Signing up for this service is another way to stay one step ahead of identity theft that is so prevalant right now.

Have a great Holiday Weekend!

Melani

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Not Just Tourists- Volunteer Opportunity and Suitcase Donation Drive

Not Just Tourists is a non-political, non-religious, volunteer run program that collects unused medical supplies for those in countries who can't afford them. They collect these supplies from hospitals, clinics, medical suppliers and individuals, pack them in a suitcase and send them with a person traveling to a country in need. The travelor checks the suitcase in on their flight and then delivers the suitcase to a local clinic in the country that they are traveling to. When we heard about this program we just knew that we would have clients who would be interested in helping out during their travels.

Ways you can help:

Volunteer

Donate Suitcases

Donate Medical Supplies

Take Supplies

We will be collecting suitcases at our office to donate to the Orange County Chapter of Not Just Tourists. They prefer donations of full-sized suitcases, but they welcome carry-on size as well. Suitcases should be clean, not too heavy or large, close easily and not be broken or badly torn.

The deadline to drop off your suitcases to our office is Thursday, August 30th.

Our Address

Asset Planning, Inc

10833 Valley View St, Ste 470

Cypress, CA

90630

For more information about the program or to sign up to take a suitcase of supplies with you please go to their website Not Just Tourists.

There you will find detailed FAQ page with any questions you may have.

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Update: REAL ID Act

Back in June we notified you of a new Federal act that goes into effect October 1, 2020. This act will require anyone boarding domestic flights, entering military bases or federal facilities to have a REAL ID. It can either be a REAL ID driver license or a REAL ID identification card and they are issued by the California DMV.

We are being told by clients that appointments to get a new REAL ID are now being scheduled two months out. I just tried to schedule my appointment this morning and the next available appointment is not until October 1st. That's not even including the time it will take for the ID to get to you in the mail.

We strongly urge you to take a moment to schedule your appointment today. You probably won't realize how many places you will need this ID to get into until the act goes into effect. Better to be safe than sorry!

 

 

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Pictures from Our 2nd Annual Ice Cream Social

We had an absolute blast catching up with our clients at our ice cream social on Tuesday. The weather was beautiful, the ice cream was delicious and the company was fantastic! Thank you for all of you who attended. We love the moments when we can sit and chat with you all. Our photo booth pictures were so much fun! Hope to see you all at the next one.

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2nd Annual Ice Cream Social

It was so great catching up with all of you at our last ice cream event that we decided to have another one.

Come beat the heat and grab something sweet to eat!

Bring your friends, neighbors and kids! We'd love to see everyone there!

 

Ice Cream Flyer 2018

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Gap Insurance

We've come to the realization that not everyone knows what gap insurance is and why it may be a good idea to get it when purchasing a brand new car. Gap insurance is an insurance policy you buy to cover the amount your insurance company will pay out vs. the amount you owe on your car loan, in the case of an accident where your car is totaled. This is an important coverage to consider especially if you are purchasing a brand new car. Car values drop drastically once you drive the vehicle off the lot. By not purchasing the gap insurance you run the risk of owing a lot more than what the car is worth after an insurance payout. That means you would either have to pay off the loan balance yourself or roll it into another vehicle loan which would most likely leave you upside down. Definitely not a good place to be in. Here is an article, written by Joshua Caucutt from Money Crashers, that goes into further detail about gap insurance, how to get it and helps you decide if you need it.

https://www.moneycrashers.com/gap-insurance-cars-worth-it/

Have a great weekend!

Melani

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Federal Real ID Act

We thought we would give you a heads up on a new act that will be beginning on October 1, 2020. It is called the Federal REAL ID Act. This act will require anyone boarding domestic flights, entering military bases or federal facilities to have a REAL ID. It can either be a driver license or an ID card and they are issued by the California DMV.

Here is an example of what the Federal REAL ID will look like as well as a link to the REAL ID fact sheet with detailed instructions on how to obtain one.

REAL ID examples

REAL ID Fact Sheet

We suggest getting this done as soon as possible. Don't wait until close to the deadline, especially if you know you have travel plans that will require it. We know people have a tendency to procrastinate and we have a feeling there will be a backup due to a lot of people needing them at once.

 

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2018 Five Star Wealth Manager Awards

Five Star Professional logo 

Orange Coast Magazine June 2018 issue

 

We are proud to announce that Sandy, Carol and Erin have been awarded with the 2018 Five Star Wealth Managers Award. They have been featured in Orange Coast Magazine's June 2018 issue. There were 2,423 candidates for this award and only 144 were named as top wealth managers. Way to go!!!

Follow the link below and search under wealth managers to see the full list.

https://www.fivestarprofessional.com/awardwinners/OCWM

**** There is a minimum of 5 yrs as a credentialed professional requirement to receive this award. We are confident that once Samantha reaches this milestone she too will be named ****

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Public Wi-Fi: Don't Do It

Here is a great article with lots of information on the dangers of using public wi-fi. There are some interesting facts that I never even thought of. For example, hackers are not only looking for your personal identifying information but they also are looking at your browsing history to be able to target you in phishing scams based on your interests. These phishing scams come in the form of robocalls, free apps and targeted ads. As always we want you to take every precaution to safeguard yourself from identity theft. This article is definitely worth the read.

https://lifelockunlocked.com/tips/lowdown-public-wi-fi/?cid=em_eNews_vol5_onboardingdbm_readmore_-_

Happy Mother's Day weekend to you all!

Samantha

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Eyeglass Drive for California Lions Friends in Sight

Asset Planning is collecting used prescription eyeglasses, non-prescription sunglasses, readers and even broken glasses. These glasses will be donated to the California Lions Friends in Sight. This organization provides free vision screening and free recycled eyeglasses to those in need.

If you have any eyeglasses that you wish to donate you can drop them off at our office anytime from now until May 25th.

Thank you in advance for your donations!

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Free Document Back Up

Even though tax season is is behind us you may still be going through important documents or filing them away. We thought now was a good time to let you know that we offer free document back up for our clients. We will take your important documents, scan them, keep them in your electronic client file here and also save them to a password protected flash drive for you to keep. We're always sending out reminders of the importance of having your documents in a safe place and backed up in case of a fire or other emergency and now it's easier than ever to get it done with this free service.

Examples of items you may want to have scanned are; birth certificates, medical records, insurance policies, bank and investment account information, identification cards etc.

Having this USB drive with you while traveling could be especially useful if there is an emergency while you're away from home.

If you would like to take advantage of this offer, feel free to give me a call to set up a time to drop your documents off.

Have a great weekend!

Melani

 

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Deadline for 2017 IRA Contributions

The deadline for getting your 2017 IRA contributions to us is Wednesday, April 11th. Tax season is an extremely busy time so the sooner you get these in the better. Feel free to stop by the office anytime from 8am-4pm to drop them off.

Have a great weekend!

Melani

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New Developments in Dementia and Alzheimer's Testing

Amy Florian from Corgenius released some information regarding new tests to alert you to the early signs of dementia and Alzheimer's disease. The first study was about sense of smell and the second one was about personality changes.

Here are some highlights taken directly from her research on the studies that we thought were important.

Regarding smell, scientists studied several factors in reasonably healthy people and then followed them for five years to see who developed dementia. They found that when combined with baseline cognitive function at the start, the most important factor was sense of smell. They specifically studied five scents – orange, leather, peppermint, rose, and fish. The greater number of scents that created difficulty and the more poorly a person could discern these smells, the more likely they were to exhibit dementia five years later. Researchers noted that this can’t be relied on as a singular test, but rather as a realization that sensory function is closely related to brain function, and may be among the first areas to exhibit deficiencies.

Another study focused on the long-recognized fact that personality changes are an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease, especially becoming uncharacteristically angry, aggressive, paranoid, or inappropriate. Now researchers have developed a 34-question quiz that can help determine the breadth and depth of behavioral changes, and they are proposing an intermediate diagnosis of mild behavioral impairment. You can take the quiz here. Note that these changes should persist for 6 months and be fundamental changes in behavior in order to indicate problems.

We are always looking for ways to keep you informed on the latest news with issues we come accross and cognitive decline is an important one.

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Facebook Privacy Update

There's been a lot of recent reports on how much information Facebook really has on you and it is scary. When is the last time you looked to see how many of your apps are connected to your Facebook profile? Even if youre not using the app anymore, once you grant them permission to your Facebook profile they will continue to collect your data, including your friends list, pictures, browsing history etc, until you revoke their access.

We found a really good article on CNBC that gives you a step-by-step guide on how to check your privacy settings, see who has access to your information and how to remove them. Follow the link below to check it out.

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/03/20/how-to-see-which-facebook-apps-have-access-to-your-data.html

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