The Investment Scientist

Archive for the ‘Charitable’ Category

images-83As 2014 draws to a close, my wife and I have sprung into action to save on our 2014 taxes. Here are a few things we do. We are no CPAs, so what we do is pretty easy to mimic.

Donate all the garbage. I couldn’t believe how many items in my household we literally didn’t touch, not even once, in the whole of 2014. Things like that are immediate candidates for donation. Things that fall into this category could be electronics, furniture, books, clothes, kitchenware, bedroom sets, used toothbrushes, etc. Ok, maybe not used toothbrushes, but just about anything you don’t use, you can find a better home for, and get a tax deduction for doing so. In some years, we’ve gotten $10,000 worth of deductions. Read the rest of this entry »

ImageI bet you didn’t know that this week, the third week of October, is … drum roll please … National Estate Planning Awareness Week!

Seriously! Congress established it in 2008 in House Resolution 1499.

I only know this after getting an email from my estate planning attorney friend. I think you should read it as well.

According to the resolution passed by Congress, “Many Americans are unaware that lack of estate planning and financial illiteracy may cause their assets to be disposed of to unintended parties by default through the complex process of probate.” The resolution goes on to state that “careful planning can greatly assist Americans in preserving assets built over a lifetime for the benefit of family, heirs, or charities.”

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ImageI go to great lengths to meet with my clients regularly. For instance, many of my clients live across the country. I fly to them.

Some might ask: what value is there in meeting regularly? There can be about $100k of value in it, let me tell ya!

Meeting regularly allows me to uncover hidden issues and potential opportunities, thereby helping my clients make smart financial decisions.

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Tax planning tips

Tax planning tips

Last week, I went to a luncheon seminar hosted by Fidelity Charitables, a division of my custodian company Fidelity Investments.

I went there because 30% of my clients are business owners. I know that one-third of them have strong charitable intent, and helping them do well by doing good is part of my responsibility.

Part of the dilemma of successful business owners who have charitable intent is this: They make a lot of money when they are running their business, and especially at the time they sell their business. But they give away their money to the causes they care about usually in retirement when they do not have as much income to write off. Without careful charitable planning, they will end up paying a lot more in taxes and have a lot less to give to charity.

Here comes the rescue plan: Donor Advised Fund (DAF).

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How Can I Help?

How Can I Help?

“What makes you smile every day? What fills up your tank?”

These are questions a friend of mine asked me recently. For my wife, it is hosting dinner parties. She loves seeing people come together and enjoys conversations with friends. She does this almost every week now. It is also a great way for me to see her doing the thing she loves.

For me, it is learning improv and performing comedy on stage. English is not my first language, and I never thought I could do that. Now, I regularly go on stage to make people laugh.

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Tax planning tips

[Guest Post By Cal Klausner] Charitable contributions should be timed so as to obtain the maximum tax benefits, either in 2012 or 2013. If a taxpayer plans to make a charitable contribution in 2013, he should consider making it this year instead if speeding up the deduction would produce an overall tax saving, e.g., because the taxpayer will be in a higher marginal tax bracket in 2012 than in 2013.

On the other hand, a taxpayer who expects to be in a higher bracket in 2013 should consider deferring a contribution until that year. This task is more difficult than in prior years because of uncertainty over whether rates will rise next year under the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act (EGTRRA) sunset.

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At 2:24pm on 11/5/2011, my second son Caden arrived in the world. Upon seeing his face, my heart sank since there appeared to be a tiny piece of flesh dangling from his nose.

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Author

Michael Zhuang is principal of MZ Capital, a fee-only independent advisory firm based in Washington, DC. He is also a regular contributor to Morningstar Advisor and Physicians Practice. To explore a long-term wealth advisory relationship, schedule a discovery meeting (phone call) with him.



You may also get his monthly newsletter, or join his Facebook page for regular wealth management insights. Michael's email is info[at]mzcap.com.

Twitter: @mzhuang

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