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.

04 Mar
March 04, 2020

Albert Einstein said, “The most powerful force in the Universe is compound interest.” He referred to it as one of the greatest “miracles” known to man.

Compound interest is interest added to the principal of your investment so that from that moment on, the added interest also earns interest. This addition of interest to the principal is called compounding, and the outcome can be very powerful.

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27 Feb
February 27, 2020

Your chance of being born on February 29 is 1 in 1,461. The chance is 1 in 4 that any given year will be a Leap Year. Every four years we get an extra 24 hours because our calendar year is not perfectly 365 days long. It takes the earth 365 days, plus six hours, to travel around the sun. Therefore, the purpose of February 29 is to keep our calendar aligned with the earth’s revolutions around the sun. But

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21 Feb
February 21, 2020

With the change of the calendar year, individual taxes tend to come into focus as the tax return deadline quickly approaches. While the thought of income taxes and income tax filing can be stressful to most, taking a simplified approach, while being methodical and proactive in filing, and planning for future taxes can reduce this burden. Here are some tax tips for 2020 to help manage potential challenges.

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18 Feb
February 18, 2020

10 Lessons From a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional Who Did It Himself

I lived most of my life in the Midwest – born and raised in Minnesota, college in Michigan and then 15 years in Chicago. My family was finally ready to get out of the cold, so we embarked on a two-year journey that ended with us settling into our new life in Phoenix.

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30 Jan
January 30, 2020

Most families are surprised when they see their personal Net Worth Statement documented for the first time. Often, total net worth is larger than they had thought! As we go through life, we tend to collect many possessions which fill our houses, garages, and closets. Similarly, with our financial lives we collect accounts, assets, and debts and never put in the effort to see how the puzzle fits together and how to best build a financial plan.

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28 Jan
January 28, 2020

Every January I head down to Orlando for the Heckerling Conference on Estate Planning. Imagine thousands of attorneys and CPAs all congregating to discuss the latest complicated estate and tax planning strategies the best and brightest had dreamt up… yes, it is exactly as big of a nerd fest as you are imagining. I always come back with these amazing ideas that I can’t wait to share as they relate to people’s estate plans.

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21 Dec
December 21, 2019

Do you hear what I hear??? It’s new legislation coming out of Washington this Christmas season!  Heading into the New Year the Federal Government has just released legislation that will have far reaching implications for nearly all individuals.  You may have heard rumblings of something called the SECURE Act throughout the year.  It passed with near unanimity in the House back in May but was met with a frosty response once it moved to the Senate. 

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19 Dec
December 19, 2019

You may have spent the last 30 years (or more) working tirelessly and are now beginning to realize that retirement is staring you right in the face. All those years of saving, putting your kids through college, and delaying traveling with your spouse are now over (oh wait – maybe that’s just me and my spouse? Please don’t tell her). It’s now time when these goals, whatever they may be, start to become a reality.

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18 Dec
December 18, 2019

Slow Down and Pay Attention

We all have hectic lives. From caring for young children, to helping our aging parents, along with balancing a busy career and community commitments, it seems that there is never enough time. However, when it comes to your financial security, it is important to slow down and think about what is important to you.

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11 Dec
December 11, 2019

Taxes are complicated and so is retirement. When you combine the two, it can get a bit overwhelming. The silver lining is that people who are retired, or are on their way to being retired, have some incredible opportunities to implement tax savings strategies that could benefit them for the rest of their lives. Here are five Tax-Smart Retirement strategies to consider.

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26 Nov
November 26, 2019

In 1954, renowned management consultant Peter Drucker wrote a book called The Practice of Management, in which he introduced a process known as management by objectives (MBO). MBO was a simple yet groundbreaking way for business managers to define and convey specific objectives to the organization’s team members, as well as to prioritize these objectives and achieve them on time.

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07 Nov
November 07, 2019

Did you know there are 47.5 million people around the world living with dementia? Of those, 5.8 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s dementia. Alzheimer disease is the most common form of dementia. Although dementia mainly affects older people, it is not a normal part of aging. Over 16 million people in the U.S. care for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia. While the caregiving journey can be rewarding, it is no secret that it can also be overwhelmingly challenging.

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11 Oct
October 11, 2019

Do You Have Too Much Coverage?

An important part of my job as a financial planner is to identify and mitigate financial risks through insurance. For example, the sudden death of a family member could derail your family’s goals, making it a serious risk to your family’s financial well-being. This risk can be reduced through life insurance.

Although it’s important to have insurance to protect against these risks, there is a cost (not just in dollars) to being over-insured. Here are a

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02 Oct
October 02, 2019

If you have a son or daughter who is a high school junior or senior, chances are you have been guiding them through quite a bit of paperwork lately. From college applications and scholarship essays to requests for transcripts and recommendation letters, it seems that there is a never-ending stream of forms to be completed in the college application process.

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30 Sep
September 30, 2019

As a financial advisor, it’s easy for me to focus on helping people who I perceive to need it the most. These individuals tend to be close to retirement (1-3 years) or already in retirement. Most know them as the “Baby Boomer” generation (commonly born 1946-1964). At the same time, there’s a huge push in the media to discuss, and sometimes even criticize, the millennial generation (commonly born 1981-1996) for loving to spend $8 on avocado toast (crazy, right?!).

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14 Aug
August 14, 2019

As summer comes winding to an end, many families are preparing to send their children off to college. For a first year college student this is often a very exciting time in their life with the opportunity and freedom to live on their own for the first time. However, with great freedom comes great financial responsibility.

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12 Jul
July 12, 2019

With the 2018 tax year closed, most taxpayers saw a decrease in their refunds, and some even owed taxes when they usually receive refunds.  This was due to the adjusted withholding tables that came into effect in February 2018, lowering the amount of taxes taken out of taxpayers’ paychecks.  Since less tax was paid throughout the year, many saw a tax bill larger than they anticipated when filing their tax returns.

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02 Jul
July 02, 2019

What is Non-Qualified Deferred Compensation or NQDC?

Non-Qualified Deferred Compensation, or NQDC, is compensation that has been earned by an employee but has not yet been transferred from the employer to the employee. Because the employer still has ownership of the compensation, it is not included in the employee’s earned income and therefore is not considered taxable income. This allows an employee to postpone or defer compensation and receive it sometime in the future, usually for purposes of retirement income.

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02 Jul
July 02, 2019

Over time, as your individual and family circumstances change, you may find that you own an annuity or cash value life insurance policy that no longer suits your needs.

If you have such holdings within your portfolio, there are attractive ways to repurpose such assets where they again can play a role in your overall financial plan such as for long-term care insurance protection.

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26 Jun
June 26, 2019

One of the major aspects of a business sale is whether the business will be sold as an asset or as stock. An owner might be thinking, “Does it really matter as long as I get the highest sales price?” Well, as you’ll see below, there are plenty of circumstances that can make a lower sales price more attractive.

To highlight some of the key differences between an asset and stock sale, let’s review some important tax, business liability, and complexity considerations.

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25 Jun
June 25, 2019

According to a recent study done by Fidelity, the average total costs of healthcare for a retired couple, aged 65 and living until ages 85/87, will be $285,000!¹ When people think about their retirement goals, they often overlook the expenses associated with keeping up their health. Being aware of your options and how you can fund this goal in retirement can help mitigate the possibility of having to give up your current lifestyle.

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20 Jun
June 20, 2019

As more women work “side hustles” outside of their regular employment (e.g., Uber, Postmates, Task Rabbit, etc.), there is an opportunity for them to establish their own Solo 401(k) plan, defer taxable income, and save for retirement.

A Solo 401(k) plan consists of an employer contribution and an employee contribution.

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