Savant Blog

Savant offers perspective on a variety of topics. Entries range from current events to timeless insights in the world of finance and investments.

21 Jan
January 21, 2008

Yes it is true!  For 2008 through 2010, the long-term capital gains* rate for some investors will drop to zero. But before you start planning a fire sale of your stocks and mutual funds, make sure you’ll be eligible for this tax break.  The zero-percent capital gains tax rate will only apply to those individuals who are in a 10% and 15% tax bracket.

Currently, the top long-term capital gains rate is 15% compared to a maximum ordinary income tax rate

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04 Jan
January 04, 2008

We are in the heart of college football bowl season and right on the verge of the NFL playoffs. You hear a lot of talk by the commentators about winning coaches and the value they add. Interestingly enough, this logic of a “winning coach” doesn’t apply in the world of investing. Check out the attached video clip to see behind the scenes. Savant, long ago, decided to embrace the inherent efficiency that is the market.

http://cosmos.bcst.yahoo.com/ver/250.1/popup/index.php?cl=5299309

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28 Dec
December 28, 2007

Did you see a big dip in your mutual fund values this month?  This was either an actual market drop (things HAVE been bouncy lately), or not.  Likely, at least one of this month’s dips was due to your mutual fund distributing capital gains and dividends.  These mutual funds are really just a collection of stocks.  When stock shares (held inside the fund) are sold for a profit, the funds must distribute 90 percent of realized capital gains and dividends

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19 Dec
December 19, 2007

There are only a few more weeks left in 2007 – Yikes!  If you are currently enrolled in edicare Part D you have until December 31st to review your current plan and possibly change to a new plan.  This annual review is critical!Unfortunately, there are major changes in the Medicare drug plans for 2008, including some significant movements in premiums as well as major changes to the structure of the drug formularies.  According to Avalere Health, the Centers for Medicare

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12 Dec
December 12, 2007

Do you want to simplify your charitable giving plan?  Do you want the benefits of a family foundation without all of the complicated regulations?  If you answered yes, you may want to consider using a Donor Advised Fund (DAF).

DAFs have become very popular in recent years. The concept is quite simple.  An investor (donor) can open an account at a sponsoring company.  Fidelity and Vanguard each offer DAF accounts.  Our local community foundation also offers a DAF.  Once

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10 Dec
December 10, 2007

I will never forget the year Mom received “Buttercup.”  She had religiously collected every ornament from Hallmark’s Mary’s Angels Collection.  But she missed Buttercup one year.  She had come to accept the fact her collection would never be complete.  When she opened her gift and identified the lost treasure, she cried tears of joy.

Ask any child if they would prefer to get a gift or give a gift, the answer becomes abundantly clear.  However, as we mature into young adults

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19 Nov
November 19, 2007

Welcome to SAVANTips!  I am excited to post the inaugural message on my and my Savant colleagues’ new blog.  We intend to opine on a variety of investment, financial, lifestyle, and other topics of interest.  Some postings will discuss current events while others will convey timeless wisdom.  We will also try to capture the thoughts and concerns on our advisory clients’ minds and share them with all our readers.

We hope SAVANTips will be unique.  While I will share an occasional

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11 Jan
January 11, 2007

Did you know that the federal government has established guidelines for gift tax exemptions and gift tax rates for all property? While these guidelines are generous– everyone has a lifetime gift tax exemption of $1,000,000– it’s still important for you to understand them.

In 2007 and 2008, the IRS determined that gifts under $12,000 per person, per year, were exempt from a federal gift tax.  Gifts over the annual $12,000 per person limit are called “taxable gifts.”  In the

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