The Investment Scientist

Posts Tagged ‘medical expenses

ImageMany middle aged Americans are caught between a rock and a hard place financially. They are the so-called sandwich generation, having to take care of both kids and parents at the same time.

This has recently been a subject of discussion with clients of mine. They are a self made millionaire couple. their parents however, are relatively poor. They have enough to live on by themselves, but if they ever got sick, they would be financially dependent on their children for care.

To that end, my clients have set aside $1m just in case.

I suggested they fork over a few hundred a year to pay for their parents’ gym memberships. If their parents actually use the memberships, my clients may never need to spend the million.

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FSA: It’s all about flexibility

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) are benefits offered by some employers. Money put in the accounts is exempted from income tax, payroll tax, and in most cases state and local taxes.

There are generally two types of FSA: health care FSA and dependent care FSA. As the names imply, money in a health (dependent) care FSA can only be used towards eligible health (dependent) care expenses.

Take my wife as an example; she put $2,000 into her health FSA and another $5,000 into her dependent care FSA. Since we are in the highest tax bracket and we live in a high tax state, the total tax saving is close to $3,500, or 50%.

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Author

Michael Zhuang is principal of MZ Capital, a fee-only independent advisory firm based in Washington, DC.

Twitter: @mzhuang

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