Single Point of View

Single Point of View is our way to occasionally share planning ideas relating to personal finance. Our goal is to pass along concepts that you may not be exposed to on a daily basis.

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Track Your Home Improvements Now to Save on Taxes Later

We all know that when you sell a stock you pay a tax on the profit (the difference between what you paid for it, and, what you sold it for).  This is referred to as a capital gain.  The same principal holds true for the sale of a property, be it an investment property or your personal residence. One caveat to this is if you have a capital gain from the sale of your main home, you may qualify to exclude up to $250,000 of that gain from your income. You may qualify to exclude up to $500,000 of that gain if you file a joint return with your spouse (*see the note at the bottom for more detail). Even with these exclusions, if you own your property for a long enough period of time, there is a good chance that some tax could be owed upon sale.  The below guidelines...
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MA now offers tax deduction for 529 contributions

If you live in Massachusetts, and are currently utilizing a 529 plan for college savings, you should consider reviewing which plan you are using.   Effective January 1, 2017 through the 2021 tax year, contributions to Massachusetts 529 plans of up to $1,000 per year by an individual, and up to $2,000 per year by a married couple filing jointly, are deductible in computing Massachusetts taxable income.   The catch is you have to use the MA state sponsored plan.  Luckily, this is a good plan managed by Fidelity its called the U.Fund).  They have improved the plan over the years, including lowering fees on the investment options (through the Fidelity Index Funds available in the plan).   Prior to this change in tax law, we helped clients choose the right plan for them based on a number of factors.  This becomes one of the factors in deciding the appropriate plan...
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Important Changes to Financial Aid Process

If you have a child in college, or, will have one entering college in fall of 2017, I've got your weekend plans all lined up.  The process for filing FAFSA (Free Application for federal Student Aid) has changed.  The most important thing to know is that starting this Saturday (October 1) you can access the FAFSA forms and submit your application.  So, if you have college-aged children, plan to get started on it this weekend. In past years the forms weren't available until January and required previous year tax return information.  This often left parents scrambling to file their tax returns early in order to better understand how much aid you could plan for (which is often a big factor in choosing which school your child will attend).  The process now allows you to use tax return information from the prior, prior year.  So, for the school year 2017-2018, you will...
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Estimated Tax Payments - Online Payment Option

With tomorrow being June 15th, we wanted to update this post from last year as a reminder to pay your quarterly tax estimates.  Below are the links to simplify things and make these payments online.   For many of us who have income that is not subject to tax withholding (for example: earnings from self-employment, interest, dividends, rents, alimony, etc.) April 15th, June 15th, September 15th and January 15th represent a day of writing checks to the IRS. These are known as estimated tax payments.  If you've ever found yourself scrambling to find your vouchers, or, the address to mail them to on the due date there is a simpler way.     Did you know you could make these payments to the IRS using their "Direct Pay" service?   For Federal payment, use this link for the IRS site: http://www.irs.gov/Payments/Direct-Pay   If you are in MA, you can also make your...
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Elf Spotting, Financial Advisors & Fiduciaries


Thank you John Oliver for explaining the problems in the financial advice industry in a way that I never could (with a lot of swears and humor).     That bowl of soup explains better than I ever could exactly why we act as fiduciaries for our clients.Oliver outlines the reality of the impact of fees (most of which are hidden).  This is exactly why we have moved to a flat fee model for our Personal CFO relationships.  We want you to know what you pay (in dollars) for the advice/guidance we provide. He discussed the new Department of Labor ruling which I wrote about in a recent blog post.  Here are my ‘boring’ thoughts: http://spcfo.com/single-point-of-view-blog/entry/singlepointofview/thoughts-on-the-recent-dol-ruling.html When the lobbyist for the big financial institutions are fighting this hard against a change, you know it is for a reason (hint: it probably isn't because they truly believe it is best for you).  The...
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