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Many Factors Go into Decision As to When to Claim Social Security Benefits

On the surface, deciding when to claim Social Security benefits might seem a straightforward matter – reach a certain age and file for Social Security.  However, it turns out to be quite a bit more complicated than that, and at Thorley Wealth Management we spend a good deal of time helping clients make the right decisions.

Not Everyone Pays the Same Premium for Medicare Part B

I suspect some readers will find the headline surprising, if not shocking, because, in fact, until 2007 everyone did pay equal premiums for Medicare Part B.

However, the rules have changed and ever since 2007, one’s income is a factor in determining one’s Medicare premiums.  And I must emphasize that the difference in premiums can be quite substantial. 

Growth vs. Value Investing: Is One Better Than the Other?

Discussions – not to say debates – have long been held as to whether it is better to invest in value stocks or growth stocks. 

I have a firm opinion on this question, but let’s start with two brief definitions. Value stocks are those deemed to be trading below what they are really worth and potentially can provide superior returns once they trade at their true value.  Growth stocks are those that have the potential to outperform the market over time because of their future potential. 

‘Bunching’ Concept for Giving Can Result in Tax Savings

As the last in a series on creative means of making charitable contributions, this blog looks at “bunching,” Donor-Advised Funds (DAFs), and Charitable Checking Accounts.

Given recent tax laws regarding itemized deductions, it well may be that one’s charitable giving in single year would have little positive effect on one’s taxes.  However, if one were to consider “bunching,” or bundling a number of years’ worth of charitable contributions in one year, the tax savings in that year might be significant.

More Creative Options for Charitable Giving

My last blog, which described a charitable remainder trust, was the first in a series aimed at exploring ways to financially support charitable organizations while deriving some type of tax or other benefit in the process. 

Before outlining a few more options, I want to reiterate that these strategies are designed for those who have “charitable intent” – those who desire to contribute to a charity.  For those with no such interest, they would hold little appeal.

With that in mind, let’s explore a few more options:

Charitable Giving Can Be ‘Win-Win’ For Donor and Recipient

I am both fortunate and proud to have many clients who seek to help others by financially supporting the good work of various charitable organizations.

When it comes to charitable giving, people generally think of a straight cash contribution, most often in the form of a check payable to the specific organization of one’s choice.  Such contributions are tax deductible.  Recent tax laws, however, have emphasized higher standard deductions and placed more limits on itemized deductions, in many cases reducing the charitable giving tax incentive.

Lessons from Australia: International Investing

In my last blog, I shared some thoughts gathered on a recent trip to Australia with the Financial Planning Association of the United States.

 

One of the reasons it's important for me, as an advisor, to have these kinds of experiences is that half of the world's stock market exists outside of the US.

 

We learned that financial advisors in Australia are used to recommending investments outside their country in order to achieve diversified portfolios.  In part, this is because Australia -- a much smaller country than the US -- has fewer options for domestic investing.   As a result, more than half of an Australian’s equity portfolio frequently will be made up of investments in foreign companies. 

 

Observations from My Trip to Australia

In late summer, I traveled to Australia on a ten-day trip under the auspices of the Financial Planning Association of the United States.

Because our primary objective was to better understand how the financial planning profession operates in that country, we met with Australian financial advisors, money management and investment firms, university professors, regulators, and accountants and attorneys who work in the field of financial planning.  By the way, the professors we met were teaching students who were working to earn a degree in financial planning.

One of my first impressions was that, as much as we are different, we are very much the same.  The main difference is in regulatory structure.  But, in talking with the financial advisors, we found their clients have the same general concerns and objectives as clients in the United States:  having enough resources to maintain their lifestyle in retirement, not outliving their money, owning their own homes, and so forth.

And, the Australian financial planners share the same challenges as the advisers in our travel contingent – ensuring their clients set realistic goals and then save enough money to meet them.

 

 

How to Create A Spending Plan

My previous blog discussed the value of having a spending plan.  Let’s look now at how to create one. 

To start, you need to know where your money is being spent, and you can begin by separating fixed expenses from discretionary ones.   Fixed expenses are easy to identify.  These are the things you pay for every month, like mortgage or rent, utilities, groceries, and so on.

Thanks to You, It Will Be A Happier Thanksgiving for Many

Thanksgiving is a special time in America, an occasion when we pause to reflect on the blessings in our lives.

 

This week, we at Thorley Wealth Management pause to give thanks to you, our many clients, and thank all those who helped gather 21 food boxes to provide a holiday meal to needy families through the Small Business Council of Rochester’s “2018 SBC Cares 3000+ Thanksgiving Appeal.”