FSA Eligible Items on Amazon

There is now a whole section of Flexible Spending Account eligible items available on Amazon. In case you don't know what an FSA is, it is an account that you put pre-tax money into that you use to pay out-of-pocket health care costs with. The limit per person each year is $2,650 and most plans require that you use up that amount each year. Even though there is a limit of $2,650 a year you are not required to contribute that much. You can estimate what you think you spend per year and only contribute that amount. People use their FSA accounts to pay for copays, deductibles and prescriptions but there is a lot of over the counter products that meet the eligibility requirements ranging from blood pressure testers all the way to sunscreen and lotion.

Most of the time FSA owners will pay for these out of pocket expenses and then submit a claim form to be reimbursed but there is another option. You can now request a debit card for your FSA and pay directly for these expenses using that card. If you would like to order from Amazon, you would enter your FSA credit card information and select that card as your form of payment. When I was looking on Amazon I simply searched for FSA eligible items and was amazed at all of the products that were available and that I would be able to use for my family on a daily basis. This is a great way to use up the funds in your FSA account.

If you do not have a Flexible Spending Account, it may be something to look into. Not all employers offer them, but it doesn't hurt to ask your human resources department. Remember whatever you do contribute will reduce your taxable income because the contributions are made pre-tax. It's really a great way to pay for your out-of-pocket health care costs.

When googling FSA eligible products, I noticed that there were a lot of other stores that offer them as well. I just love the convenience and delivery options of Amazon, especially if you're a Prime member.

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IRA Contributions

While we are deep in the midst of tax season, we thought it was a good idea to remind our clients to get in their 2018 IRA contributions. If you are planning on dropping off a check to us the deadline to get them in is Wednesday, April 10th. This will ensure that your contribution is made before the April 15th tax deadline.

2018 contribution limits are $5,500 or $6,500 if you are over the age of 50

Also, now is as good a time as any to get in your 2019 contributions especially because the limits have been increased. The sooner you get these in the longer they have to grow in your IRA which means more retirement funds for you!

2019 contribution limits are $6,000 or $7,000 if you are 50 years of age or older

When it comes to non-deductible IRA contributions please be sure that you are keeping a record of these contributions by completing tax form 8606 for each year you make a non-deductible contribution. We have run into a few cases where no record is kept, and our clients are left scrambling to find that information when it is time to take distributions from their IRAs. This information will be needed to figure out what amount of your distributions will be counted as taxable income to you, so it is very important.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call us.

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Earthquake App for L.A. County

Check out the new earthquake app called ShakeAlertLA. This new app gives you an alert 20 seconds before an earthquake hits in L.A. County.

The app doesn't predict earthquakes, but it does know when an earthquake happens and when it's on its way to you and every second counts!

The app is available to Apple and Android users.

Here are a couple images of what the alerts look like.

ShakeAlertLA

 

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Happy Holidays!

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Christmas 2018 Blog Photo

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Deadline for Medicare Open Enrollment is Today

Just a quick reminder that the deadline for Medicare's Open Enrollment is today. If you were planning on making any changes to your plans today is the last time to do that until next October.

Here is a chart with a quick summary of the changes you can make. For more details click on this link.

Medicare Open Enrollment

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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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****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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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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223 Hits

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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308 Hits

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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344 Hits

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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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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241 Hits

Ebook: Tips to Planning a Successful Retirement

Check out our new Ebook! In it you will find some valuable tips and guidance for retirement planning from our CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERS®.

Tips_to_Planning_a_Successful_Retirement.pdf

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265 Hits

Thanks for Your Support!

We would like to thank everyone who donated pet supplies and medications to our cause! Animals are near and dear to our hearts and it means a lot to have so many clients show support with their generous donations. We are so happy that these donations will go to pets in need, especially those affected in Puerto Rico and the disaster areas.

Pet Donation 3

                                                                                                                         Samantha and Melani dropping off the pet supplies to the SPCALA

                         

                                                                                                                       

 

 

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API Anniversary Dinner

The API girls out celebrating API's 20th anniversary. We couldn't do it without our wonderful clients!

API Anniversary Dinner

From left to right: Carol, Joanne, Sandy (Top), Erin, Samantha and Melani

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