Blog

‘Bunching’ Concept for Giving Can Result in Tax Savings

As the last in a series on creative means of making charitable contributions, this blog looks at “bunching,” Donor-Advised Funds (DAFs), and Charitable Checking Accounts.

Given recent tax laws regarding itemized deductions, it well may be that one’s charitable giving in single year would have little positive effect on one’s taxes.  However, if one were to consider “bunching,” or bundling a number of years’ worth of charitable contributions in one year, the tax savings in that year might be significant.

More Creative Options for Charitable Giving

My last blog, which described a charitable remainder trust, was the first in a series aimed at exploring ways to financially support charitable organizations while deriving some type of tax or other benefit in the process. 

Before outlining a few more options, I want to reiterate that these strategies are designed for those who have “charitable intent” – those who desire to contribute to a charity.  For those with no such interest, they would hold little appeal.

With that in mind, let’s explore a few more options:

Charitable Giving Can Be ‘Win-Win’ For Donor and Recipient

I am both fortunate and proud to have many clients who seek to help others by financially supporting the good work of various charitable organizations.

When it comes to charitable giving, people generally think of a straight cash contribution, most often in the form of a check payable to the specific organization of one’s choice.  Such contributions are tax deductible.  Recent tax laws, however, have emphasized higher standard deductions and placed more limits on itemized deductions, in many cases reducing the charitable giving tax incentive.

Lessons from Australia: International Investing

In my last blog, I shared some thoughts gathered on a recent trip to Australia with the Financial Planning Association of the United States.

 

One of the reasons it's important for me, as an advisor, to have these kinds of experiences is that half of the world's stock market exists outside of the US.

 

We learned that financial advisors in Australia are used to recommending investments outside their country in order to achieve diversified portfolios.  In part, this is because Australia -- a much smaller country than the US -- has fewer options for domestic investing.   As a result, more than half of an Australian’s equity portfolio frequently will be made up of investments in foreign companies. 

 

Observations from My Trip to Australia

In late summer, I traveled to Australia on a ten-day trip under the auspices of the Financial Planning Association of the United States.

Because our primary objective was to better understand how the financial planning profession operates in that country, we met with Australian financial advisors, money management and investment firms, university professors, regulators, and accountants and attorneys who work in the field of financial planning.  By the way, the professors we met were teaching students who were working to earn a degree in financial planning.

One of my first impressions was that, as much as we are different, we are very much the same.  The main difference is in regulatory structure.  But, in talking with the financial advisors, we found their clients have the same general concerns and objectives as clients in the United States:  having enough resources to maintain their lifestyle in retirement, not outliving their money, owning their own homes, and so forth.

And, the Australian financial planners share the same challenges as the advisers in our travel contingent – ensuring their clients set realistic goals and then save enough money to meet them.

 

 

How to Create A Spending Plan

My previous blog discussed the value of having a spending plan.  Let’s look now at how to create one. 

To start, you need to know where your money is being spent, and you can begin by separating fixed expenses from discretionary ones.   Fixed expenses are easy to identify.  These are the things you pay for every month, like mortgage or rent, utilities, groceries, and so on.

Thanks to You, It Will Be A Happier Thanksgiving for Many

Thanksgiving is a special time in America, an occasion when we pause to reflect on the blessings in our lives.

 

This week, we at Thorley Wealth Management pause to give thanks to you, our many clients, and thank all those who helped gather 21 food boxes to provide a holiday meal to needy families through the Small Business Council of Rochester’s “2018 SBC Cares 3000+ Thanksgiving Appeal.”

Have a Spending Plan? Here’s Why You Should

In accordance with full disclosure, I’ll admit right away that a spending plan is another name for a budget – but with a more positive connotation.  (Kind of like referring to a diet as an eating plan.)  Although a spending plan is meant to achieve the same ends as a budget, it somehow doesn’t feel quite so restrictive.

I am frequently surprised when I begin working with clients who are setting up their first general financial plan or a retirement financial plan.  Too often, it seems, they find the idea of a budget – or spending plan – quite foreign to them.  And perhaps there is a historical explanation.

Do Upcoming General Elections Matter to Your Portfolio?

At this time of year, a good deal of attention naturally is paid to the upcoming mid-term elections.  We find articles and essays attempting to correlate what might happen to various investments depending on the outcome, especially in terms of congressional results.

A fair question is:  “Does it really matter to one’s portfolio?”

More States Looking Into Offering Retirement Plans

In recent years, legislatures at both the federal and state levels have continued to pay attention to what might be called “the retirement coverage gap,” meaning a large number of people in the United States are not financially prepared for their older years -- a situation that could cause future problems for the country as a whole.

In my last blog, I noted that many people do not have ready access to retirement savings options, such as those offered through most large employers, and the federal government is exploring ways to address the problem.   One possible solution is a bill that would permit multiple employer retirement plans (MEPs), which would enable small employers to join together to offer such plans.