Asset Planning, Inc Blog

The latest from the team.

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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Internet Security

Padlock

When browsing the internet and logging into certain sites, it's become almost habit to look for the little green padlock to make sure that you are entering a secure website. well, unfortunately a lot of phishing sites have started using the green padlock as well to try to fool the average user. These phishing sites try to copy a legitimate site, pose as an online retailer or other trusted site. Their goal is for you to trust them and enter your personal information, so it can be sold on the dark web and used for identity theft. It's important to always remember to look for the https:// displayed in front of the web address. The padlock by itself means nothing.

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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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Jury Scam in Orange County

Apparently there is a new scam going around in Orange County. Imposters are calling and claiming that they are from the Orange County Superior Court. They are claiming that you will be facing prosecution for missing jury duty and attempt to obtain your social security number. Read here for more details

The bottom line is, never ever under any circumstances give out any of your personal information such as social security number, birth date etc. to anyone who is calling you that you do not recognize. No reputable company is going to call you out of the blue to ask you for this information. Scammers will stop at nothing to get this valuable information from you so be vigilent in protecting it.

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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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Changes to TD Ameritrade's advisorclient.com

Dear Clients with TD Ameritrade accounts

Please read the below announcement from TD Ameritrade detailing the changes to advisorclient.com especially the part about the new two-step security log in option.  

Please be aware the updates to the website have caused some log in problems. TD Ameritrade technical support is aware and working on correcting the issues. You may not be able to log in temporarily.

  

 
 

 

New Login Page

The login page has been redesigned. You will continue to access the site using the same web address, www.AdvisorClient.com. Once logged in, the experience will remain unchanged for now.

TD Ameritrade Institutional

 

New Two-Step Security Feature

The new two-step security feature will allow you to replace your security questions with either a text-based alert or phone call in order to validate your identity. To set this up, you will need to access the new AdvisorClient site by clicking the "Try the new AdvisorClient site now" banner on the current site. Once on the new site, all you have to do is click your name on the top right of the website, and select My Profile. Under the Security and Preferences section, you can click Two-Step Verification and then follow the instructions.

Streamlined Client Enrollment Process

If you do not already have a login, you can enroll at www.advisorclient.com/getstarted. All you need is your account number and access to the phone number we have on file at TD Ameritrade Institutional.


Try Out the New AdvisorClient Experience

If you already have a log in for advisorclient.com, you can try out the new AdvisorClient experience by clicking the "Try the new AdvisorClient now" banner once logged in to the current website. New features include:

 

Upcoming cash activity: Provides details on upcoming cash disbursements and deposits

 

Retirement information: Contributions, distributions, and RMD information are easily found on the landing page

 

Position level gain/loss information: Sourced directly from our cost basis engine, Gainskeeper

 

Tax document e-delivery enrollment: Clients have the ability to opt into electronic delivery of tax statements in lieu of receiving a paper mailing

 

Balance history chart: Provides a historical depiction of the clients account value over time

 

The new AdvisorClient site can be set as your default view by clicking "Set as default" from the green banner on top of the screen.

Let us know if you have any questions about the new AdvisorClient website. Just call TD Ameritrade Institutional Technology Services at 800-400-3500 option 3 and they'll be able to help.

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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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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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