The Caledonia Argus http://hometownargus.com The Caledonia Argus covers community news, sports, current events and provides advertising and information for the cities of Caledonia, Eitzen, and Brownsville; Independent School District 299 and Houston County, Minnesota. Fri, 27 Feb 2015 19:04:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Merlin “Slim” Dehning http://hometownargus.com/2015/02/27/merlin-slim-dehning/ http://hometownargus.com/2015/02/27/merlin-slim-dehning/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 19:04:25 +0000 http://hometownargus.com/?p=37339 Merlin “Slim” G. Dehning, 85, of Caledonia, Minnesota, died Thursday, February 26, 2015, at Caledonia Care and Rehab.

Funeral services will be at 11 a.m., Monday, March 2, 2015, at St. John’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Caledonia. Burial with military honors will follow in Wilmington Lutheran Cemetery, Wilmington Township, Houston County, Minn. A visitation will be from 2 until 5 p.m., Sunday and from 10 a.m., until the time of service Monday, both at the church. A complete obituary will follow. Jandt-Fredrickson Funeral Homes and Crematory, Caledonia Chapel, is in charge of arrangements.

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Higher Estate Taxes: Bad Idea http://www.adviceiq.com/content/higher-estate-taxes-bad-idea http://www.adviceiq.com/content/higher-estate-taxes-bad-idea#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 16:00:20 +0000 http://hometownargus.com/?guid=166e080a538263d9ac8752407ec3536e Boosting the tax on inherited wealth is a perennial goal of some politicians. And while the White House’s latest plan to boost the levy on estates faces a dim future in a GOP-controlled Congress, the concept will continue to pop up. There’s a lot wrong with this idea.

President Barack Obama’s budget wants to see an increase in the rate of what some call the death tax from 40% to nearly 60%, when you apply his proposed higher capital gains tax of 28% to what’s left after paying the death levy.

Under current law, when you inherit an asset and wish to sell it, you figure out what’s called your basis. When your parents, or whoever bequeathed you the asset, were alive, the basis was what they originally paid for it. If you inherit your parents’ home, you can bet it’s worth more upon their death than they paid for it. For you as the heir, current law says the basis rises to the property’s fair market value – what it would sell for today.

But under the new proposal, when you inherit an asset, your basis will simply be the decedent's original basis.

Example: Dad buys a house for $10,000. He dies and leaves it to you. The fair market value on the date of death is $100,000, which is the new basis. You sell it for $120,000. Under current law, you have a capital gain of $20,000 (sales price of $120,000 less step-up in basis of $100,000).

Under the Obama plan, you have a capital gain of $110,000 (sales price of $120,000 less original basis of $10,000). If you live in a state with high property values, this could result a substantial tax burden. In California, a state with very high home prices, the average beneficiary would probably be forced to sell their parents' home just to pay the taxes due.

I believe this proposal has very little chance of becoming law. Change that to I hope this proposal has very little chance of becoming law.

The Obama plan contains exemptions for some households, but an enormous number of people still would get slammed. The whole reason we have step-up in basis is because we have a death tax. If assets are liable for tax when Dad owned them, it’s unfair to treat them as liable for tax again when the inheritor sells it. This adds yet another redundant layer of tax on savings and investment. It's a huge tax hike on family farms and small businesses.

This is like a second tax. The first one has a top tax rate of 40% and a standard deduction of $5.3 million ($10.6 million for surviving spouses). Conceivably, an accumulated capital gain could face a 40% death tax levy and then a 28% capital gains tax on what is left. That equals an integrated federal tax of just under 60% on inherited capital gains.

Note that Dad’s original purchase of stocks, bonds and property with after-tax dollars. In other words, Dad earned money and paid taxes on those earnings. With the money he had, after he paid Uncle Sam, he (and perhaps Mom) bought the asset the beneficiary now must pay taxes upon Dad’s death. I know, it’s capital gain taxes. However, when I sell asset that has appreciated, I pay capital gain taxes.

If this proposal – or something like it – becomes law, and my wife and I die, my daughter confronts a very large tax burden.

When I choose to sell an asset, I normally pay capital gain taxes. I can do some tax planning accordingly. Under the Obama proposal, my daughter cannot take advantage of any planning options to attempt tax reduction that would be available to me, if alive.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Phillip Q. Shrotman is founder and president of Principal Planning Service, Inc. in Long Beach, Calif. He was a professor in the Business Division at Long Beach City College for over 29 years, where he held the position as Coordinator for Financial Planning and Insurance for the college. He holds a Community College Instructors Credential from the University of California at Los Angeles and a master’s from the University of San Francisco. He also holds the profession designations of General Securities Principal of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Series 7 and 24. He has appeared as a guest on KABC Talk Radio and various television and radio programs.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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Boosting the tax on inherited wealth is a perennial goal of some politicians. And while the White House’s latest plan to boost the levy on estates faces a dim future in a GOP-controlled Congress, the concept will continue to pop up. There’s a lot wrong with this idea.

President Barack Obama’s budget wants to see an increase in the rate of what some call the death tax from 40% to nearly 60%, when you apply his proposed higher capital gains tax of 28% to what’s left after paying the death levy.

Under current law, when you inherit an asset and wish to sell it, you figure out what’s called your basis. When your parents, or whoever bequeathed you the asset, were alive, the basis was what they originally paid for it. If you inherit your parents’ home, you can bet it’s worth more upon their death than they paid for it. For you as the heir, current law says the basis rises to the property’s fair market value – what it would sell for today.

But under the new proposal, when you inherit an asset, your basis will simply be the decedent's original basis.

Example: Dad buys a house for $10,000. He dies and leaves it to you. The fair market value on the date of death is $100,000, which is the new basis. You sell it for $120,000. Under current law, you have a capital gain of $20,000 (sales price of $120,000 less step-up in basis of $100,000).

Under the Obama plan, you have a capital gain of $110,000 (sales price of $120,000 less original basis of $10,000). If you live in a state with high property values, this could result a substantial tax burden. In California, a state with very high home prices, the average beneficiary would probably be forced to sell their parents' home just to pay the taxes due.

I believe this proposal has very little chance of becoming law. Change that to I hope this proposal has very little chance of becoming law.

The Obama plan contains exemptions for some households, but an enormous number of people still would get slammed. The whole reason we have step-up in basis is because we have a death tax. If assets are liable for tax when Dad owned them, it’s unfair to treat them as liable for tax again when the inheritor sells it. This adds yet another redundant layer of tax on savings and investment. It's a huge tax hike on family farms and small businesses.

This is like a second tax. The first one has a top tax rate of 40% and a standard deduction of $5.3 million ($10.6 million for surviving spouses). Conceivably, an accumulated capital gain could face a 40% death tax levy and then a 28% capital gains tax on what is left. That equals an integrated federal tax of just under 60% on inherited capital gains.

Note that Dad’s original purchase of stocks, bonds and property with after-tax dollars. In other words, Dad earned money and paid taxes on those earnings. With the money he had, after he paid Uncle Sam, he (and perhaps Mom) bought the asset the beneficiary now must pay taxes upon Dad’s death. I know, it’s capital gain taxes. However, when I sell asset that has appreciated, I pay capital gain taxes.

If this proposal – or something like it – becomes law, and my wife and I die, my daughter confronts a very large tax burden.

When I choose to sell an asset, I normally pay capital gain taxes. I can do some tax planning accordingly. Under the Obama proposal, my daughter cannot take advantage of any planning options to attempt tax reduction that would be available to me, if alive.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Phillip Q. Shrotman is founder and president of Principal Planning Service, Inc. in Long Beach, Calif. He was a professor in the Business Division at Long Beach City College for over 29 years, where he held the position as Coordinator for Financial Planning and Insurance for the college. He holds a Community College Instructors Credential from the University of California at Los Angeles and a master’s from the University of San Francisco. He also holds the profession designations of General Securities Principal of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Series 7 and 24. He has appeared as a guest on KABC Talk Radio and various television and radio programs.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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Elizabeth “Liz” Von Arx http://hometownargus.com/2015/02/27/elizabeth-liz-von-arx/ http://hometownargus.com/2015/02/27/elizabeth-liz-von-arx/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 15:20:14 +0000 http://hometownargus.com/?p=37333 ElizabethVonArx_rgbElizabeth M. “Liz” Von Arx passed away Tuesday, February 24, at Caledonia Care and Rehab Center.

She was born on April 12, 1927, to Theodore and Madelle (Taylor) Fregin. She attended St. John’s Grade School and graduated from Aquinas High School.

She married George A. Von Arx on April 19, 1949. They lived in Caledonia, where she worked as a legal secretary for William Von Arx. She was known for her gardening, sewing and cooking. Liz enjoyed fishing, winemaking and traveling, visiting Israel, England, Switzerland, New York and going on several cruises.

She is survived by her children, Victoria (Albin Zak) Von Arx, Niskayuna New York; Deborah (Roger Lacher) Von Arx, Winona Minnesota; George (Nancy) Von Arx, Holmen Wisconsin; Ellen Von Arx-Roland, Winona; Michael Von Arx, Prior Lake Minnesota; grandchildren, Jessie (Paul) Howe, Lisa (Rod) Hudson, James Waters, John Waters, Aaron (Karrie) Lacher, Kevin (Britt) Von Arx, Elsa Lacher and Mike Von Arx; great-grandchildren Katie and Tom Howe, Sam, Gabe and Skyler Waters and Colette Lacher; sisters, Frannie (Francis) Von Arx, Hokah, Minnsota; Theodora “Teddy” Von Arx, Caledonia; and V. Susan Sanford, Northport Alabama; sisters-in-law, Betty Von Arx, Rita Von Arx, Marguerite Sheehan, Delores Benz, Rita Hayes; and many nieces and nephews.

Preceding her in death were her husband, George, who passed away in 1986; a son, Anthony “Tony” Von Arx; her daughter-in-law, Carol Von Arx; brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, Richard Sanford, Alfred (Evelyn) Von Arx, Otto (Marge) Von Arx, Paul Von Arx, Bernice (Don) Cavanaugh, Walter Von Arx, Les Sheehan, Jake (Jean) Von Arx, Helen (Bill) Hoskins, Joe (Phyllis) Von Arx, Don Benz, Bill Hayes and William Von Arx.

Mass of Christian Burial will be 11 a.m. Saturday at St. Mary’s Catholic Church with burial in Calvary Cemetery, both in Caledonia. Father Matt Fasnacht will officiate. Visitation will be from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday at the church. McCormick Funeral Home is assisting the family and online condolences maybe given at mccormickfuneralhome.net

The family requests memorials for St. Mary’s School.

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Money Moves for Gen Y (Pt. 1) http://www.adviceiq.com/content/money-moves-gen-y-pt-1 http://www.adviceiq.com/content/money-moves-gen-y-pt-1#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 22:00:35 +0000 http://hometownargus.com/?guid=9def41a3879f5e3e79f210504ce4f88e Some young adults seem stuck: Baby boomers took the best of what’s available and those nearing middle age always stand in line just ahead of millennials. If you’re a millennial, born between 1980 and 2000, you just need to change habits and work harder on your finances.

Among good moves:

Set at least one financial goal for this year. This goal must be fairly substantial yet doable in the remaining months of 2015.

Point is, if you successfully achieve one goal, you can achieve others. Start slow and work up. I also review my goals every quarter.

Create a three-year plan. A plan differs from a goal because you set an objective – usually several objectives at the same time. You also allow yourself a specific amount of time to accomplish them and create a series of steps to make them happen.

Have as many individual goals within your plan as you like. For example, your plan can include getting out of debt, starting or increasing your retirement savings or building an emergency fund of six months’ expenses. Set the plan for three years and create strategies for achieving each objective within that time.

Write your plan, even type it. Then you refer to it regularly until your action steps become second-nature.

Save for retirement right now. A lot of people feel overwhelmed at the money needed to set up a retirement plan. But starting one is pretty easy.

Sign up for your employer-sponsored retirement plan at work. If your job doesn’t offer a plan, set up an individual retirement account such as a Roth IRA, which provides tax-free growth and allows you to contribute up to $5,500 a year.

You can fund either with payroll deductions automatically taken out of your paycheck. Your contribution can be small; just get started now.

Nudge your plan contribution. If you currently save 6% of your pay – typically about the maximum to take advantage of your employer’s matching contributions, if any – increase to 7% this year. Next year, increase to 8%, and so on.

Expanding your contributions in small increments usually means you hardly notice the drop in your paycheck, particularly if you get annual pay raises of at least 2%.

Tune out doom and gloom. The world always tells us to worry. Be concerned, not worried, and sufficiently concerned to take action that makes the worries go away.

Pay off one credit card and then one more. If you carry a lot of debt, you probably already realize that you won’t get out of it anytime soon – and you don’t have to.

Pick one of your credit cards and plan how to pay it off as soon as possible. Start with the card with the smallest balance. Once you pay off that first card, target another, possibly the card with the second-smallest balance.

Once you pay off two cards, your debt cutting snowballs. Keep going until all of your credit cards are paid off, even if it takes several years.

Set bills for auto pay. More than just annoying, paying bills can strain your emotions if your budget is tight. Spare yourself the aggravation and set up your bills for automatic payment from your bank account. You do have to do this with each creditor but once most or all are set up this way, you enjoy more time for everything else – not to mention a lot less stress.

Create financial affirmations. Affirmations are brief sayings that resonate with you. They can deal with the benefits of certain actions, helping you to create a mindset to achieve a goal or simply restate your plan. Some examples: “In five years (or four, or three – your choice) I will be free of debt,” or “I’m a saver, not a spender.”

Write these down and place them in areas of your home you go to frequently. For example, placing affirmations on your bathroom mirror guarantees that you see them every day.

Read at least one good financial book. Ideally, you read one every month. If you usually fall short of that, settle for getting through just one good money book, no matter how long that takes. Investigate and read as many as possible, and become a regular follower of a few financial blogs.

Volunteer. Sometimes a little perspective goes a long way in getting the upper hand on your finances. Helping people who are in worse situations than you can make you realize your good fortune.

Drop a free-spending friend. If undisciplined spenders dominate your social circle, they might unintentionally sabotage your efforts at greater financial responsibility. In a potentially major step in your financial independence, find a few new friends who spend more conservatively.

Teach your kids about money. Maybe you want to shield your young kids from the sometimes-harsh realities of personal finance. But if your parents did that with you, you may struggle with the result even now.

Make your kids aware of money’s effect on their lives as early as possible. An allowance is a good start, particularly one tied to chores.

(Our next article looks at controlling spending and credit, as well as ways non-financial improvements can help your money management.)

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Jeff Rose, CFP, is the founder of Alliance Wealth Management in Carbondale, Ill., and also is the founder of the website Good Financial Cents and Life Insurance by Jeff.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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Some young adults seem stuck: Baby boomers took the best of what’s available and those nearing middle age always stand in line just ahead of millennials. If you’re a millennial, born between 1980 and 2000, you just need to change habits and work harder on your finances.

Among good moves:

Set at least one financial goal for this year. This goal must be fairly substantial yet doable in the remaining months of 2015.

Point is, if you successfully achieve one goal, you can achieve others. Start slow and work up. I also review my goals every quarter.

Create a three-year plan. A plan differs from a goal because you set an objective – usually several objectives at the same time. You also allow yourself a specific amount of time to accomplish them and create a series of steps to make them happen.

Have as many individual goals within your plan as you like. For example, your plan can include getting out of debt, starting or increasing your retirement savings or building an emergency fund of six months’ expenses. Set the plan for three years and create strategies for achieving each objective within that time.

Write your plan, even type it. Then you refer to it regularly until your action steps become second-nature.

Save for retirement right now. A lot of people feel overwhelmed at the money needed to set up a retirement plan. But starting one is pretty easy.

Sign up for your employer-sponsored retirement plan at work. If your job doesn’t offer a plan, set up an individual retirement account such as a Roth IRA, which provides tax-free growth and allows you to contribute up to $5,500 a year.

You can fund either with payroll deductions automatically taken out of your paycheck. Your contribution can be small; just get started now.

Nudge your plan contribution. If you currently save 6% of your pay – typically about the maximum to take advantage of your employer’s matching contributions, if any – increase to 7% this year. Next year, increase to 8%, and so on.

Expanding your contributions in small increments usually means you hardly notice the drop in your paycheck, particularly if you get annual pay raises of at least 2%.

Tune out doom and gloom. The world always tells us to worry. Be concerned, not worried, and sufficiently concerned to take action that makes the worries go away.

Pay off one credit card and then one more. If you carry a lot of debt, you probably already realize that you won’t get out of it anytime soon – and you don’t have to.

Pick one of your credit cards and plan how to pay it off as soon as possible. Start with the card with the smallest balance. Once you pay off that first card, target another, possibly the card with the second-smallest balance.

Once you pay off two cards, your debt cutting snowballs. Keep going until all of your credit cards are paid off, even if it takes several years.

Set bills for auto pay. More than just annoying, paying bills can strain your emotions if your budget is tight. Spare yourself the aggravation and set up your bills for automatic payment from your bank account. You do have to do this with each creditor but once most or all are set up this way, you enjoy more time for everything else – not to mention a lot less stress.

Create financial affirmations. Affirmations are brief sayings that resonate with you. They can deal with the benefits of certain actions, helping you to create a mindset to achieve a goal or simply restate your plan. Some examples: “In five years (or four, or three – your choice) I will be free of debt,” or “I’m a saver, not a spender.”

Write these down and place them in areas of your home you go to frequently. For example, placing affirmations on your bathroom mirror guarantees that you see them every day.

Read at least one good financial book. Ideally, you read one every month. If you usually fall short of that, settle for getting through just one good money book, no matter how long that takes. Investigate and read as many as possible, and become a regular follower of a few financial blogs.

Volunteer. Sometimes a little perspective goes a long way in getting the upper hand on your finances. Helping people who are in worse situations than you can make you realize your good fortune.

Drop a free-spending friend. If undisciplined spenders dominate your social circle, they might unintentionally sabotage your efforts at greater financial responsibility. In a potentially major step in your financial independence, find a few new friends who spend more conservatively.

Teach your kids about money. Maybe you want to shield your young kids from the sometimes-harsh realities of personal finance. But if your parents did that with you, you may struggle with the result even now.

Make your kids aware of money’s effect on their lives as early as possible. An allowance is a good start, particularly one tied to chores.

(Our next article looks at controlling spending and credit, as well as ways non-financial improvements can help your money management.)

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Jeff Rose, CFP, is the founder of Alliance Wealth Management in Carbondale, Ill., and also is the founder of the website Good Financial Cents and Life Insurance by Jeff.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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Finding Every Deduction http://www.adviceiq.com/content/finding-every-deduction http://www.adviceiq.com/content/finding-every-deduction#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 20:30:08 +0000 http://hometownargus.com/?guid=131106aa6f9793c32c42620a4b870ead Every possible tax deduction can help when your money is tight. Yet many available legal deductions go unclaimed each year simply because most taxpayers still don’t know the breaks exist. From eyeglasses to airline baggage fees, you might qualify for at least one often-forgotten deduction – and maybe more than one.

The Internal Revenue Service allows you to take the cost of certain items, known as itemized deductions, off your tax bill if you qualify. You should itemize deductions if they add up to more than your standard deduction, the IRS advises.

Itemizing also makes sense if you can’t use the standard deduction. Did you have large uninsured medical and dental expenses, or casualty or theft losses? Or pay interest or taxes on your home? Or have large unreimbursed employee business expenses? Or make large charitable contributions?

For filing your taxes, you itemize deductions on IRS Schedule A. If you itemize, don’t overlook these categories:

Job-hunting. Did you spend out-of-pocket to travel to interviews, or shell out for stationery for resumes and cover letters? Deducting these items can make a big dent at tax time.

You don’t have to be officially unemployed, either: Expenses that you incur searching for a better job, even while fully employed, qualify. Other applicable deductions include food and lodging for overnight stays, cab fares and fees you pay to employment agencies.

Moving. If that new job is your first job, you may be able to deduct incurred moving expenses. To qualify, your first job must be 50 or more miles from your previous job or residence, and you must work full-time for about 39 of the first 52 weeks in your new location.

If you qualify to deduct the cost of moving and if you drove your own vehicle for the move, deduct 23.5 cents a mile plus parking and tolls. If you kept excellent records and receipts, you can instead deduct actual driving expenses such as gas and oil.

To calculate this deduction, use IRS Form 3903.

Medical items. You probably realize that you can deduct necessary medical items like wheelchairs and hearing aids. Guess what? While designer eyeglasses, contact lenses or magnifying devices from your local drug store may not seem like medical devices, the IRS does allow these deductions.

Giving to charity. Qualifying donations constitute one of the most common ways that Americans gain tax deductions. Many other acts of charity also qualify.

You can deduct such out-of-pocket expenses as the cost of paint and poster board for a school fundraiser, for example, or the cost of delivering meals or chauffeuring other volunteers, for example. Mileage deductions are at a rate of 14 cents per mile plus parking and toll fees.

Generally, deductions of more than $250 for individual donations require a written acknowledgement from the charity.

Military service. Members of the National Guard or military reserve may deduct travel expenses for attending drills or meetings; you must travel more than 100 miles from home on an overnight trip. Applicable deductions include lodging, meals and 56 cents per mile plus parking and toll fees.

Jury duty. Your employer may be one of the many that pays employees during jury duty but requires employees to turn over jury pay later as recompense. To even things out, you can deduct the amount you give to your employer.

In such cases, the write-off goes on line 36 of your IRS Form 1040, the line totaling up deductions. Add your jury fee total to your other write-offs and write “jury pay” directly to the left.

Baggage fees. The American traveling public rarely recognizes these fees, which can add up quickly. If self-employed and traveling on business, you can tag on those costs as legitimate deductions.

Home energy conservation. Many tax credits for energy-saving home improvements expired but the most valuable credits still exist until 2016. These can effectively refund 30% of the cost of alternative energy upgrades such as solar hot water heaters and geothermal heat pumps.

Loan interest. In most cases, you can only deduct mortgage or student-loan interest if you’re legally required to repay the debt. If you’re a non-dependent student who still receives help from mom and dad, your parents’ generosity may help at tax time in a different way.

If mom and dad pay your loans, the IRS treats the money as a gift to you, the child, who in turn used the money to pay the debt. A non-dependent child can qualify to deduct up to $2,500 of student-loan interest paid. Note: Mom and dad cannot claim the interest deduction.

To get the most out of your tax deductions, stay organized and do your research. No one likes getting audited – though if the IRS does red flag you, some costs of professional advice to defend yourself are, in fact, deductible.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Kimberly J. Howard, CFP, CRPC, ADPA, is a Certified Financial Planner and the owner of KJH Financial Services, a Fee-Only practice located in Newton, Mass. and Denver (781-413-4879). Please visit us at www.kjhfinancialservices.com or email Kim at kim@kjhfinancialservices.com. Follow on Twitter at @kimhowardcfp.
 
AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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Every possible tax deduction can help when your money is tight. Yet many available legal deductions go unclaimed each year simply because most taxpayers still don’t know the breaks exist. From eyeglasses to airline baggage fees, you might qualify for at least one often-forgotten deduction – and maybe more than one.

The Internal Revenue Service allows you to take the cost of certain items, known as itemized deductions, off your tax bill if you qualify. You should itemize deductions if they add up to more than your standard deduction, the IRS advises.

Itemizing also makes sense if you can’t use the standard deduction. Did you have large uninsured medical and dental expenses, or casualty or theft losses? Or pay interest or taxes on your home? Or have large unreimbursed employee business expenses? Or make large charitable contributions?

For filing your taxes, you itemize deductions on IRS Schedule A. If you itemize, don’t overlook these categories:

Job-hunting. Did you spend out-of-pocket to travel to interviews, or shell out for stationery for resumes and cover letters? Deducting these items can make a big dent at tax time.

You don’t have to be officially unemployed, either: Expenses that you incur searching for a better job, even while fully employed, qualify. Other applicable deductions include food and lodging for overnight stays, cab fares and fees you pay to employment agencies.

Moving. If that new job is your first job, you may be able to deduct incurred moving expenses. To qualify, your first job must be 50 or more miles from your previous job or residence, and you must work full-time for about 39 of the first 52 weeks in your new location.

If you qualify to deduct the cost of moving and if you drove your own vehicle for the move, deduct 23.5 cents a mile plus parking and tolls. If you kept excellent records and receipts, you can instead deduct actual driving expenses such as gas and oil.

To calculate this deduction, use IRS Form 3903.

Medical items. You probably realize that you can deduct necessary medical items like wheelchairs and hearing aids. Guess what? While designer eyeglasses, contact lenses or magnifying devices from your local drug store may not seem like medical devices, the IRS does allow these deductions.

Giving to charity. Qualifying donations constitute one of the most common ways that Americans gain tax deductions. Many other acts of charity also qualify.

You can deduct such out-of-pocket expenses as the cost of paint and poster board for a school fundraiser, for example, or the cost of delivering meals or chauffeuring other volunteers, for example. Mileage deductions are at a rate of 14 cents per mile plus parking and toll fees.

Generally, deductions of more than $250 for individual donations require a written acknowledgement from the charity.

Military service. Members of the National Guard or military reserve may deduct travel expenses for attending drills or meetings; you must travel more than 100 miles from home on an overnight trip. Applicable deductions include lodging, meals and 56 cents per mile plus parking and toll fees.

Jury duty. Your employer may be one of the many that pays employees during jury duty but requires employees to turn over jury pay later as recompense. To even things out, you can deduct the amount you give to your employer.

In such cases, the write-off goes on line 36 of your IRS Form 1040, the line totaling up deductions. Add your jury fee total to your other write-offs and write “jury pay” directly to the left.

Baggage fees. The American traveling public rarely recognizes these fees, which can add up quickly. If self-employed and traveling on business, you can tag on those costs as legitimate deductions.

Home energy conservation. Many tax credits for energy-saving home improvements expired but the most valuable credits still exist until 2016. These can effectively refund 30% of the cost of alternative energy upgrades such as solar hot water heaters and geothermal heat pumps.

Loan interest. In most cases, you can only deduct mortgage or student-loan interest if you’re legally required to repay the debt. If you’re a non-dependent student who still receives help from mom and dad, your parents’ generosity may help at tax time in a different way.

If mom and dad pay your loans, the IRS treats the money as a gift to you, the child, who in turn used the money to pay the debt. A non-dependent child can qualify to deduct up to $2,500 of student-loan interest paid. Note: Mom and dad cannot claim the interest deduction.

To get the most out of your tax deductions, stay organized and do your research. No one likes getting audited – though if the IRS does red flag you, some costs of professional advice to defend yourself are, in fact, deductible.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Kimberly J. Howard, CFP, CRPC, ADPA, is a Certified Financial Planner and the owner of KJH Financial Services, a Fee-Only practice located in Newton, Mass. and Denver (781-413-4879). Please visit us at www.kjhfinancialservices.com or email Kim at kim@kjhfinancialservices.com. Follow on Twitter at @kimhowardcfp.
 
AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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Cora Grace Meyer & Belle Faith Meyer http://hometownargus.com/2015/02/26/cora-grace-meyer-belle-faith-meyer/ http://hometownargus.com/2015/02/26/cora-grace-meyer-belle-faith-meyer/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 19:31:06 +0000 http://hometownargus.com/?p=37326 Cora Grace Meyer and Belle Faith Meyer, infant twin daughters of Dustin and Rachel (Meiners) Meyer, passed away Monday, February 23, 2015, and Wednesday, February 25, 2015, respectively.

Funeral services will be on a later date and will be private. Jandt-Fredrickson Funeral Homes and Crematory, Caledonia Chapel, is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences may be sent at www.jandtfredrickson.com.

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Dumb Rules on Tapping IRAs http://www.adviceiq.com/content/dumb-rules-tapping-iras http://www.adviceiq.com/content/dumb-rules-tapping-iras#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 16:30:07 +0000 http://hometownargus.com/?guid=2800a67c55c9617273e2fb7f8b8f510c IRA distribution rules are extremely shortsighted. They punish taxpayers in the short run and gain the government less in the long term. To see how, let’s examine how Washington compels people to withdraw money from these popular retirement plans.

Benjamin Franklin said the only two certainties in life are death and taxes. The Internal Revenue Service takes that truism to heart by first obligating you to calculate when you are likely to die, and then making you pay taxes accordingly.

Congress created the individual retirement account to help people save for retirement in a tax-advantageous way. With a Roth IRA, your contributions come from already taxed money. Retirement withdrawals are not taxed. With a traditional IRA, contributions reduce your current taxable income, but future withdrawals during retirement are taxable.

Roth IRAs benefit those in low tax brackets now. Traditional IRAs benefit those who will be in a lower tax bracket during retirement.

But IRA contributions, distributions and even ownership can be challenging. The IRS instructions for the accounts, Publication 590, is 114 pages long. The section on withdrawing assets from traditional IRAs alone is 50 pages. The algebra required to comply with the IRA rulings is beyond many citizens. Yet failure to abide by these complex calculations results in a punitive 50% tax.

Among the most complicated and frustrating IRA rules are required minimum distributions (RMDs). The IRS tells us, “You cannot keep funds in a traditional IRA indefinitely.”

RMDs are required on all traditional IRA accounts once the owner turns 70½. If you inherit an IRA, RMDs are also obligatory in the year after the previous owner’s death.

You must calculate a new RMD every year. In its simplest form, this year’s RMD is based on the value of the IRA at the end of last year and the life expectancy of the owner. In other words, it changes every year.

However, figuring out the RMD of inherited IRAs is significantly more complex. Many fund sponsors will determine traditional IRA RMDs for you. But the inherited IRA calculation is so onerous that account owners or their advisors must compute it manually.

David’s mother, an incredible woman who is greatly missed, died on April 1, 2002. She generously left a portion of her IRA to each of her children. David’s share was put into an inherited IRA. The following year and every year after that, it requires RMDs.

To calculate the RMD, first you must determine the end-of-year value of all of the cash and holdings in the inherited IRA. This is not as simple as looking at your custodian’s end-of-year report. An account value may differ from the final number on your December statement. For example, late dividends are often back posted after yearend, a fee for a trade in December might not be withdrawn until January and any money moving back into the account adjusts the prior year’s ending value.

Next, you report the date of the person’s death. That date is required every year, so the IRS does not let the bereaved forget it.

David uses that date to report his age the year after his mother died (43) and how many years have elapsed since the year after her death (12).

Using this information, he looks up his “Life Expectancy Factor” from one of three IRS life expectancy tables that show how many years the IRS says he can expect to live.

As the beneficiary of an inherited account, David uses the Single Life Expectancy Table. At age 43, he was only expected to live an additional 40.7 years.

He then subtracts from that number the number of years since the year after his mother’s death (40.7 – 12 = 28.7).

After calculating both the end-of-year value and this modified life expectancy number, David must divide the end-of-year value by his modified life expectancy number to calculate his RMD for the year. Then he has to ensure that at least this amount is distributed from the account. He also must report this withdrawal on his taxes and pay tax at ordinary income tax rates.

Thus David must face his mother’s loss again every year, noting how many years it has been, how likely he is to die and how much of his inheritance remains in the account. This is a cruel rule.

All of this work, just so the government can grab its tax money early. It is counterproductive for everyone involved.

Most people contribute to their traditional IRAs throughout their working career, while they are young and in a lower tax bracket. So the government only misses out on a very small amount of tax. Then IRAs grow for decades at market rates of return.

Some traditional IRA owners may find themselves in a higher tax bracket at retirement. But even if the IRA owner’s tax bracket is lower at the time of distributions, the government has gained from the arrangement.

By deferring the taxation of these accounts, the traditional IRA essentially forces the government to save and invest – in that what the Internal Revenue Service eventually will collect is sitting in an IRA. By the time the owner is ready to distribute, the value of the IRA is significantly larger. Thus every year Washington allows its citizens to delay taxation of their retirement assets, the government’s portion of the account grows at market rates of return.

This deferred taxation is one of the only forms of saving and investing in which the government has ever participated.

But obliging IRA participants to harvest taxation earlier for the government via RMDs actually can lower its revenue. Look at what happened in the wake of the financial crisis.

Just for 2009, the government suspended the RMD rules to encourage individuals with lower end-of-year balances, due to the 2008 financial meltdown, to leave the money in and let their account balances recover.

Many retirees did not take withdrawals that year. When their account balances rebounded in 2010, the IRS collected more in taxes than it would have if it had insisted on enforcing RMD regulations the year before. By being more patient, the IRS was better off.

What was good for the government on a large scale in 2009 is also good for the government on a smaller scale annually. Every year the government allows IRA accounts to appreciate at market rates of return, it ends up collecting more money in the long run.

Retirement assets passed $23 trillion last year with over $6.5 trillion held in IRAs. At a 10% market rate of return, that would add $650 billion to the amount the government will ultimately tax for every year it encourages account holders not to take distributions.

In addition to forcing IRA owners to dwell on their deaths and the loss of their loved ones to complete the calculation, the RMD itself robs both the taxpayer and ultimately the government of wealth in the long run. All this, so the government can have money now.

A better idea would be to abolish the RMD. Then the government would collect taxes on distributions when investors choose to take them. By waiting until then, the IRS would receive a lot more money, and people would be spared the headaches and heartaches of premature, mandated withdrawals.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

David John Marotta, CFP, AIF, is president of Marotta Wealth Management Inc. of Charlottesville, Va., providing fee-only financial planning and wealth management at www.emarotta.com and blogging at www.marottaonmoney.com. Both the author and clients he represents often invest in investments mentioned in these articles. Megan Russell is the firm’s system analyst. She is responsible for researching problems and challenges, and finding efficient solutions for them.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

 

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IRA distribution rules are extremely shortsighted. They punish taxpayers in the short run and gain the government less in the long term. To see how, let’s examine how Washington compels people to withdraw money from these popular retirement plans.

Benjamin Franklin said the only two certainties in life are death and taxes. The Internal Revenue Service takes that truism to heart by first obligating you to calculate when you are likely to die, and then making you pay taxes accordingly.

Congress created the individual retirement account to help people save for retirement in a tax-advantageous way. With a Roth IRA, your contributions come from already taxed money. Retirement withdrawals are not taxed. With a traditional IRA, contributions reduce your current taxable income, but future withdrawals during retirement are taxable.

Roth IRAs benefit those in low tax brackets now. Traditional IRAs benefit those who will be in a lower tax bracket during retirement.

But IRA contributions, distributions and even ownership can be challenging. The IRS instructions for the accounts, Publication 590, is 114 pages long. The section on withdrawing assets from traditional IRAs alone is 50 pages. The algebra required to comply with the IRA rulings is beyond many citizens. Yet failure to abide by these complex calculations results in a punitive 50% tax.

Among the most complicated and frustrating IRA rules are required minimum distributions (RMDs). The IRS tells us, “You cannot keep funds in a traditional IRA indefinitely.”

RMDs are required on all traditional IRA accounts once the owner turns 70½. If you inherit an IRA, RMDs are also obligatory in the year after the previous owner’s death.

You must calculate a new RMD every year. In its simplest form, this year’s RMD is based on the value of the IRA at the end of last year and the life expectancy of the owner. In other words, it changes every year.

However, figuring out the RMD of inherited IRAs is significantly more complex. Many fund sponsors will determine traditional IRA RMDs for you. But the inherited IRA calculation is so onerous that account owners or their advisors must compute it manually.

David’s mother, an incredible woman who is greatly missed, died on April 1, 2002. She generously left a portion of her IRA to each of her children. David’s share was put into an inherited IRA. The following year and every year after that, it requires RMDs.

To calculate the RMD, first you must determine the end-of-year value of all of the cash and holdings in the inherited IRA. This is not as simple as looking at your custodian’s end-of-year report. An account value may differ from the final number on your December statement. For example, late dividends are often back posted after yearend, a fee for a trade in December might not be withdrawn until January and any money moving back into the account adjusts the prior year’s ending value.

Next, you report the date of the person’s death. That date is required every year, so the IRS does not let the bereaved forget it.

David uses that date to report his age the year after his mother died (43) and how many years have elapsed since the year after her death (12).

Using this information, he looks up his “Life Expectancy Factor” from one of three IRS life expectancy tables that show how many years the IRS says he can expect to live.

As the beneficiary of an inherited account, David uses the Single Life Expectancy Table. At age 43, he was only expected to live an additional 40.7 years.

He then subtracts from that number the number of years since the year after his mother’s death (40.7 – 12 = 28.7).

After calculating both the end-of-year value and this modified life expectancy number, David must divide the end-of-year value by his modified life expectancy number to calculate his RMD for the year. Then he has to ensure that at least this amount is distributed from the account. He also must report this withdrawal on his taxes and pay tax at ordinary income tax rates.

Thus David must face his mother’s loss again every year, noting how many years it has been, how likely he is to die and how much of his inheritance remains in the account. This is a cruel rule.

All of this work, just so the government can grab its tax money early. It is counterproductive for everyone involved.

Most people contribute to their traditional IRAs throughout their working career, while they are young and in a lower tax bracket. So the government only misses out on a very small amount of tax. Then IRAs grow for decades at market rates of return.

Some traditional IRA owners may find themselves in a higher tax bracket at retirement. But even if the IRA owner’s tax bracket is lower at the time of distributions, the government has gained from the arrangement.

By deferring the taxation of these accounts, the traditional IRA essentially forces the government to save and invest – in that what the Internal Revenue Service eventually will collect is sitting in an IRA. By the time the owner is ready to distribute, the value of the IRA is significantly larger. Thus every year Washington allows its citizens to delay taxation of their retirement assets, the government’s portion of the account grows at market rates of return.

This deferred taxation is one of the only forms of saving and investing in which the government has ever participated.

But obliging IRA participants to harvest taxation earlier for the government via RMDs actually can lower its revenue. Look at what happened in the wake of the financial crisis.

Just for 2009, the government suspended the RMD rules to encourage individuals with lower end-of-year balances, due to the 2008 financial meltdown, to leave the money in and let their account balances recover.

Many retirees did not take withdrawals that year. When their account balances rebounded in 2010, the IRS collected more in taxes than it would have if it had insisted on enforcing RMD regulations the year before. By being more patient, the IRS was better off.

What was good for the government on a large scale in 2009 is also good for the government on a smaller scale annually. Every year the government allows IRA accounts to appreciate at market rates of return, it ends up collecting more money in the long run.

Retirement assets passed $23 trillion last year with over $6.5 trillion held in IRAs. At a 10% market rate of return, that would add $650 billion to the amount the government will ultimately tax for every year it encourages account holders not to take distributions.

In addition to forcing IRA owners to dwell on their deaths and the loss of their loved ones to complete the calculation, the RMD itself robs both the taxpayer and ultimately the government of wealth in the long run. All this, so the government can have money now.

A better idea would be to abolish the RMD. Then the government would collect taxes on distributions when investors choose to take them. By waiting until then, the IRS would receive a lot more money, and people would be spared the headaches and heartaches of premature, mandated withdrawals.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

David John Marotta, CFP, AIF, is president of Marotta Wealth Management Inc. of Charlottesville, Va., providing fee-only financial planning and wealth management at www.emarotta.com and blogging at www.marottaonmoney.com. Both the author and clients he represents often invest in investments mentioned in these articles. Megan Russell is the firm’s system analyst. She is responsible for researching problems and challenges, and finding efficient solutions for them.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

 

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Gifting via Roth IRAs http://www.adviceiq.com/content/gifting-roth-iras http://www.adviceiq.com/content/gifting-roth-iras#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 21:00:16 +0000 http://hometownargus.com/?guid=dfbe1fa27629dc15a472f5426bad4621 You want to leave money to your heirs. When you do so, you don’t want to pay any more to Uncle Sam than necessary. Here’s what to know.

Under rules for this year, American taxpayers can make financial gifts of up to $14,000 to any other U.S. citizen. These gifts are tax-free for the donor and the recipient provided the gifts are of present interest, meaning your heir can immediately begin using the gift asset without restrictions.

Roth individual retirement accounts might make a good place for your gift. For example, provided your child didn’t put money into another IRA in 2014 and does have $5,500 or more of income ($6,500 if 50 or older), he or she can make 2014 contributions to a Roth IRA until April 15.

A Roth IRA provides tax-free growth but comes with some strict limits on the amount you can contribute: only $5,500 a year or $6,500 if the account holder is 50 or older. Though it doesn’t apply to the scenario below, these contributions are limited to account holders with modified adjusted gross income less than $114,000 (if single) or $181,000 (if married).

One common problem: Your kid has no money left, a frequent issue for low-income earners of all ages. Here your gift of $14,000 or less comes into play. Money put into a Roth IRA doesn’t need to come from the account owner’s paycheck.

Better yet, let’s say that a year ago you bought a stock or shares in an exchange traded fund (ETF) or mutual fund and the holdings substantially increased in value. Let’s also assume that at some point you want to help financially with a wedding or some other life event for your child or grandchild.

The Roth gifting strategy may be perfect, allowing you to contribute to the IRA up to the amount that your child earned (and paid income tax on) last year. These accounts also offer handy liquidity; you can make withdrawals tax-free any time.

Note: To avoid a 10% penalty, you must generally let contributions remain in the Roth for at least five years and until the account holder reaches age 59½. But the money always remains available and, far down the road – depending on current tax laws staying the same – your child can continue making contributions even after turning 70½, unlike with a traditional IRA.

For example, if I give my granddaughter $5,500, which is less than $14,000, no taxes are due. If she places the money in a Roth IRA, it counts as a contribution and she may retrieve the money any time. I can also decide to gift her $5,500 worth of appreciated stock instead of cash. If her marginal tax bracket is 15% or less, she will pay zero capital gains on the eventual sale of the stock in her name.

With one financial move in this perfect-world example, I pay no taxes on capital gains, allow my grandchild to start a tax-free retirement plan and help pre-fund her anticipated future expenses. Now that’s a gift.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Joseph “Big Joe” Clark, CFP, is the managing partner of the Financial Enhancement Group LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Advisory firm in Indiana. He teaches financial planning at Purdue University and is the host of Consider This with Big Joe Clark, found on WQME and iTunes. He is a Registered Principal offering Securities and Registered Investment Advisory Services through World Equity Group, Inc, member FINRA/SIPC. Big Joe can be reached at bigjoe@yourlifeafterwork.com, or (765) 640-1524. Follow him on Twitter at @Big Joe Clark and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/FinancialEnhancementGroup.

Securities offered through and by World Equity Group Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services can be offered by the Financial Enhancement Group (FEG) or World Equity Group. FEG and World Equity Group are separately owned and operated.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

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You want to leave money to your heirs. When you do so, you don’t want to pay any more to Uncle Sam than necessary. Here’s what to know.

Under rules for this year, American taxpayers can make financial gifts of up to $14,000 to any other U.S. citizen. These gifts are tax-free for the donor and the recipient provided the gifts are of present interest, meaning your heir can immediately begin using the gift asset without restrictions.

Roth individual retirement accounts might make a good place for your gift. For example, provided your child didn’t put money into another IRA in 2014 and does have $5,500 or more of income ($6,500 if 50 or older), he or she can make 2014 contributions to a Roth IRA until April 15.

A Roth IRA provides tax-free growth but comes with some strict limits on the amount you can contribute: only $5,500 a year or $6,500 if the account holder is 50 or older. Though it doesn’t apply to the scenario below, these contributions are limited to account holders with modified adjusted gross income less than $114,000 (if single) or $181,000 (if married).

One common problem: Your kid has no money left, a frequent issue for low-income earners of all ages. Here your gift of $14,000 or less comes into play. Money put into a Roth IRA doesn’t need to come from the account owner’s paycheck.

Better yet, let’s say that a year ago you bought a stock or shares in an exchange traded fund (ETF) or mutual fund and the holdings substantially increased in value. Let’s also assume that at some point you want to help financially with a wedding or some other life event for your child or grandchild.

The Roth gifting strategy may be perfect, allowing you to contribute to the IRA up to the amount that your child earned (and paid income tax on) last year. These accounts also offer handy liquidity; you can make withdrawals tax-free any time.

Note: To avoid a 10% penalty, you must generally let contributions remain in the Roth for at least five years and until the account holder reaches age 59½. But the money always remains available and, far down the road – depending on current tax laws staying the same – your child can continue making contributions even after turning 70½, unlike with a traditional IRA.

For example, if I give my granddaughter $5,500, which is less than $14,000, no taxes are due. If she places the money in a Roth IRA, it counts as a contribution and she may retrieve the money any time. I can also decide to gift her $5,500 worth of appreciated stock instead of cash. If her marginal tax bracket is 15% or less, she will pay zero capital gains on the eventual sale of the stock in her name.

With one financial move in this perfect-world example, I pay no taxes on capital gains, allow my grandchild to start a tax-free retirement plan and help pre-fund her anticipated future expenses. Now that’s a gift.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Joseph “Big Joe” Clark, CFP, is the managing partner of the Financial Enhancement Group LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Advisory firm in Indiana. He teaches financial planning at Purdue University and is the host of Consider This with Big Joe Clark, found on WQME and iTunes. He is a Registered Principal offering Securities and Registered Investment Advisory Services through World Equity Group, Inc, member FINRA/SIPC. Big Joe can be reached at bigjoe@yourlifeafterwork.com, or (765) 640-1524. Follow him on Twitter at @Big Joe Clark and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/FinancialEnhancementGroup.

Securities offered through and by World Equity Group Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services can be offered by the Financial Enhancement Group (FEG) or World Equity Group. FEG and World Equity Group are separately owned and operated.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

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Advisors: Bad-Move Backstop http://www.adviceiq.com/content/advisors-bad-move-backstop http://www.adviceiq.com/content/advisors-bad-move-backstop#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 21:00:06 +0000 http://hometownargus.com/?guid=a8cd9a0dd8eb0f3d303cedef6e0df4f1 Suppose your heart’s set on using half of your retirement savings to buy each of your grandchildren a new car. Or suppose you panic over falling markets and want to sell all your stocks and buy gold. How do you address these perfectly understandable goals and potentially bad mistakes – and how can your financial advisor help?

How far should your advisor go to try to keep you from blundering with your money? It’s important for your planner to respect your competence and ability to make your own life decisions. Your planner also needs to help you get what you want, not get what your advisor might want or think you ought to want.

On the other hand, if your advisor is any good, he or she isn’t going to stand by and watch you walk off the edge of a perceived financial cliff. But what is the legal responsibility of an advisor who believes you’re about to do yourself financial harm?

Part of the answer to this dilemma stems from a planner’s legal obligation.

Advisors can come in one of two types: 1) Commission-based, which means they earn money based on your investment and planning choices. 2) Fee-only, which means you pay them an agreed-upon fee for their services and they  earn nothing extra based on your investment decisions.

Let’s say that you, my client, are about to take a financial action that a court might view as legally extreme or imprudent, such as putting all your money into one asset class like gold, cash or penny stocks. At the minimum, I need to carefully fulfill my legal responsibilities to protect myself: Make certain that I emphasized to you that your actions might hurt you financially given research and data available; and make sure you fully understood and took responsibility for your actions.

In the broader aspect of what financial advisors owe clients, meeting this legal obligation falls short of total service, in my view. Planners’ obligation to put clients’ interests first includes an ethical responsibility to do no harm. Sometimes this responsibility requires that planners give clients unpalatable information.

As your advisor focuses on your goals, he or she must also make sure you have all the information you need. This gives us advisors a responsibility to educate ourselves so our advice is as sound as possible.

If you do hover on the edge of a financial cliff, typically you are about to act out of such strong emotions as fear. You often can’t take in financial advice until you can move through that fear. Your advisor shaming, bullying or abandoning you to your fears only makes things worse.

With the right support, you can almost always get past the fear that fuels imprudent money decisions. Your advisor’s role is not merely to do no harm, but also to use all tools to help you act in your own best interests.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq

Rick Kahler, MSFP, ChFC, CFP, is a fee-only planner and author. He is president of Kahler Financial Group in Rapid City, S.D. Find more information at KahlerFinancial.com. Contact him at Rick@KahlerFinancial.com, or 605-343-1400, ext. 111.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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Suppose your heart’s set on using half of your retirement savings to buy each of your grandchildren a new car. Or suppose you panic over falling markets and want to sell all your stocks and buy gold. How do you address these perfectly understandable goals and potentially bad mistakes – and how can your financial advisor help?

How far should your advisor go to try to keep you from blundering with your money? It’s important for your planner to respect your competence and ability to make your own life decisions. Your planner also needs to help you get what you want, not get what your advisor might want or think you ought to want.

On the other hand, if your advisor is any good, he or she isn’t going to stand by and watch you walk off the edge of a perceived financial cliff. But what is the legal responsibility of an advisor who believes you’re about to do yourself financial harm?

Part of the answer to this dilemma stems from a planner’s legal obligation.

Advisors can come in one of two types: 1) Commission-based, which means they earn money based on your investment and planning choices. 2) Fee-only, which means you pay them an agreed-upon fee for their services and they  earn nothing extra based on your investment decisions.

Let’s say that you, my client, are about to take a financial action that a court might view as legally extreme or imprudent, such as putting all your money into one asset class like gold, cash or penny stocks. At the minimum, I need to carefully fulfill my legal responsibilities to protect myself: Make certain that I emphasized to you that your actions might hurt you financially given research and data available; and make sure you fully understood and took responsibility for your actions.

In the broader aspect of what financial advisors owe clients, meeting this legal obligation falls short of total service, in my view. Planners’ obligation to put clients’ interests first includes an ethical responsibility to do no harm. Sometimes this responsibility requires that planners give clients unpalatable information.

As your advisor focuses on your goals, he or she must also make sure you have all the information you need. This gives us advisors a responsibility to educate ourselves so our advice is as sound as possible.

If you do hover on the edge of a financial cliff, typically you are about to act out of such strong emotions as fear. You often can’t take in financial advice until you can move through that fear. Your advisor shaming, bullying or abandoning you to your fears only makes things worse.

With the right support, you can almost always get past the fear that fuels imprudent money decisions. Your advisor’s role is not merely to do no harm, but also to use all tools to help you act in your own best interests.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq

Rick Kahler, MSFP, ChFC, CFP, is a fee-only planner and author. He is president of Kahler Financial Group in Rapid City, S.D. Find more information at KahlerFinancial.com. Contact him at Rick@KahlerFinancial.com, or 605-343-1400, ext. 111.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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Social Security for Singles http://www.adviceiq.com/content/social-security-singles http://www.adviceiq.com/content/social-security-singles#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 16:30:38 +0000 http://hometownargus.com/?guid=c9a8aaee82db1a9c082cd7dc9b22b65f Single folks who were never married have fewer Social Security filing options. Still, you should understand what they are and which fits your needs best.

Most Social Security filing strategies focus on those who are married, divorced or widowed. The never-married seem to get short shrift. The reason is not because the decisions are any less important; it’s because there are very few things single people can do strategically when filing for Social Security.

The primary options for a single person are:  

1. Delay. To increase your Social Security benefit amount, you can delay your filing. When you reach 62, you have the option of beginning to receive your money. But doing so causes a lifetime reduction of benefits - 25% if your full retirement age is 66 (as it is for most boomers). If you wait just one more year, your benefits increase 5%. Delaying another year nets an increase of 6.66%, and so forth for each year until you are 66.

Delaying beyond full retirement age gives you even higher benefits. Your benefits grow 8% for every year you wait. If your full retirement age is 66, you receive 32% more in benefits when you first take them at 70.

2. Continue to work. While you receive Social Security benefits, you can keep working and increase your benefits if you report higher earnings than the indexed earnings from the years earlier in your career. When your later earnings are greater than earlier ones, the Social Security Administration recalculate your benefits based on this greater income.

However, if you’re under your full retirement age, it may not make sense to file for Social Security while you still work. There is a limit to the amount of money you can earn while receiving benefits. In 2015, the limit is $15,720. The SSA withholds $1 for every $2 you earn above the annual limit. If your earnings are significant, you’ll be giving back most of your benefit anyhow.

3. File and suspend. This is a common strategy for married or previously married folks, but can be beneficial for singles as well. You can file for Social Security but immediately suspend receipt of benefits. If you change your mind later, you can receive benefits retroactively to the date you file.

For example, Tom, who has never been married, has a benefit of $2,000 per month available to him at his full retirement age, 66. He filed and suspended his benefits at 66, intending to delay until 70, when his benefits grow to $2,640 per month.

Unfortunately, Tom falls upon hard times when he’s 68. His health problems render him unable to work. Tom can file for his benefits now and receive about $2,320 per month (16% delay credits before cost-of-living adjustments). Or, since Tom suspended benefits at 66, he can retroactively receive two years’ worth of benefits, $48,000 in a lump sum. Then he continues to receive a monthly benefit of $2,000 from this point forward.

The other reason that a single person might use this strategy is to provide benefits for a dependent. Suppose Tom has two young children with his live-in girlfriend Ruth. Before he files for his Social Security, Ruth and the children cannot receive dependents’ benefits based upon his record. By filing and suspending payments, Tom can provide dependent’s benefits while leaving his benefits untouched to grow.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Jim Blankenship, CFP, EA, is an independent, fee-only financial planner at Blankenship Financial Planning in New Berlin, Ill. He is the author of An IRA Owner’s Manual and A Social Security Owner’s Manual. His blog is Getting Your Financial Ducks In A Row, where he writes regularly about taxes, retirement savings and Social Security.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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Single folks who were never married have fewer Social Security filing options. Still, you should understand what they are and which fits your needs best.

Most Social Security filing strategies focus on those who are married, divorced or widowed. The never-married seem to get short shrift. The reason is not because the decisions are any less important; it’s because there are very few things single people can do strategically when filing for Social Security.

The primary options for a single person are:  

1. Delay. To increase your Social Security benefit amount, you can delay your filing. When you reach 62, you have the option of beginning to receive your money. But doing so causes a lifetime reduction of benefits - 25% if your full retirement age is 66 (as it is for most boomers). If you wait just one more year, your benefits increase 5%. Delaying another year nets an increase of 6.66%, and so forth for each year until you are 66.

Delaying beyond full retirement age gives you even higher benefits. Your benefits grow 8% for every year you wait. If your full retirement age is 66, you receive 32% more in benefits when you first take them at 70.

2. Continue to work. While you receive Social Security benefits, you can keep working and increase your benefits if you report higher earnings than the indexed earnings from the years earlier in your career. When your later earnings are greater than earlier ones, the Social Security Administration recalculate your benefits based on this greater income.

However, if you’re under your full retirement age, it may not make sense to file for Social Security while you still work. There is a limit to the amount of money you can earn while receiving benefits. In 2015, the limit is $15,720. The SSA withholds $1 for every $2 you earn above the annual limit. If your earnings are significant, you’ll be giving back most of your benefit anyhow.

3. File and suspend. This is a common strategy for married or previously married folks, but can be beneficial for singles as well. You can file for Social Security but immediately suspend receipt of benefits. If you change your mind later, you can receive benefits retroactively to the date you file.

For example, Tom, who has never been married, has a benefit of $2,000 per month available to him at his full retirement age, 66. He filed and suspended his benefits at 66, intending to delay until 70, when his benefits grow to $2,640 per month.

Unfortunately, Tom falls upon hard times when he’s 68. His health problems render him unable to work. Tom can file for his benefits now and receive about $2,320 per month (16% delay credits before cost-of-living adjustments). Or, since Tom suspended benefits at 66, he can retroactively receive two years’ worth of benefits, $48,000 in a lump sum. Then he continues to receive a monthly benefit of $2,000 from this point forward.

The other reason that a single person might use this strategy is to provide benefits for a dependent. Suppose Tom has two young children with his live-in girlfriend Ruth. Before he files for his Social Security, Ruth and the children cannot receive dependents’ benefits based upon his record. By filing and suspending payments, Tom can provide dependent’s benefits while leaving his benefits untouched to grow.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Jim Blankenship, CFP, EA, is an independent, fee-only financial planner at Blankenship Financial Planning in New Berlin, Ill. He is the author of An IRA Owner’s Manual and A Social Security Owner’s Manual. His blog is Getting Your Financial Ducks In A Row, where he writes regularly about taxes, retirement savings and Social Security.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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Free College: Time Has Come http://www.adviceiq.com/content/free-college-time-has-come http://www.adviceiq.com/content/free-college-time-has-come#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 16:30:34 +0000 http://hometownargus.com/?guid=23bae9d1a46ac1f9d8f4817d1888f615 Today’s pop quiz has only one question: Is free college the best hope for the future of the American economy? Some say yes and some say no. Who’s right?

President Barack Obama recently proposed making two years of community college free for anyone willing to work for it. Advocates say the idea stands to benefit some 9 million students per year, as well as eventually boost the entire economy; opponents believe the notion will do nothing to dent the American education gap and actually save middle-class families little.

I believe that I know something about community colleges, having served for 30 years as a professor of business administration at Long Beach City College in California. And as a former community college student myself, I experienced the unique benefits this education provides.

The complex mission of the California Community College system – the largest such higher education network in the country – did always impress me. Preparing students to transfer to a university and offering vocational-certification skills and adult coursework are expansive undertakings.

Add remedial and specialized instruction you have a supermarket of educational services right in most California communities. Other states utilize community colleges to similar benefit.

Some who qualify academically for college likely can’t afford it. The College Board reports that a “moderate” budget for an in-state public college for the 2013–2014 academic year averaged $22,826 (almost twice that at a private university). Cost of higher education in the U.S. jumped 1,225% over the last 36 years, again almost twice the rate of supposedly out-of-control medical costs over the same period.

I strongly agree that to qualify for the president’s proposed free tuition, standards (like those proposed) must be established. Students need to maintain a 2.5 grade point average and enroll at least half-time and make progress toward degrees.

Those who benefit from a free two-year college education must demonstrate that they deserve such a financial break.

Obama’s bold proposal is the most encouraging idea for higher education to emerge from Washington in decades. Like the original GI Bill of Rights that helped returning World War II veterans attend college – aka the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944 – our president’s plan potentially adds two years of school to many young adults’ education. Few can argue against that.

The idea’s right on time: We are witness to an historical and widening gap in America between the very rich and the ever-shrinking middle class. Critics, for instance, assailed most recent job creation, pointing out that the jobs created paid relatively little and required lower-level skills. The proposal, America’s College Promise, can be a vital tool in reversing this trend.

It might make entering the pipeline to higher education and to four-year degrees easier for untold numbers of students. The White House estimates that a full-time, deserving community college student stands to save an average of $3,800 a year. In my state, more students ought to use community college as a pathway to schools like the University of California.

Note: In fall 2013, UC enrolled more than 15,500 students who transferred from community colleges; their performance is largely indistinguishable from students who enter UC as freshmen.

Education is the key to our future. The Promise program, still to pass a Republican-controlled Congress, has the potential to knit together support across the political, racial and class divides that split our nation. It will send a much-needed message to millions of motivated citizens that they can share the American dream – or at least start on the road to it.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Phillip Q. Shrotman is founder and president of Principal Planning Service, Inc. in Long Beach, Calif. He was a professor in the Business Division at Long Beach City College for over 29 years, where he held the position as Coordinator for Financial Planning and Insurance for the college. He holds a Community College Instructors Credential from the University of California at Los Angeles and a master’s from the University of San Francisco. He also holds the profession designations of General Securities Principal of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Series 7 and 24. He has appeared as a guest on KABC Talk Radio and various television and radio programs.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

]]>
Today’s pop quiz has only one question: Is free college the best hope for the future of the American economy? Some say yes and some say no. Who’s right?

President Barack Obama recently proposed making two years of community college free for anyone willing to work for it. Advocates say the idea stands to benefit some 9 million students per year, as well as eventually boost the entire economy; opponents believe the notion will do nothing to dent the American education gap and actually save middle-class families little.

I believe that I know something about community colleges, having served for 30 years as a professor of business administration at Long Beach City College in California. And as a former community college student myself, I experienced the unique benefits this education provides.

The complex mission of the California Community College system – the largest such higher education network in the country – did always impress me. Preparing students to transfer to a university and offering vocational-certification skills and adult coursework are expansive undertakings.

Add remedial and specialized instruction you have a supermarket of educational services right in most California communities. Other states utilize community colleges to similar benefit.

Some who qualify academically for college likely can’t afford it. The College Board reports that a “moderate” budget for an in-state public college for the 2013–2014 academic year averaged $22,826 (almost twice that at a private university). Cost of higher education in the U.S. jumped 1,225% over the last 36 years, again almost twice the rate of supposedly out-of-control medical costs over the same period.

I strongly agree that to qualify for the president’s proposed free tuition, standards (like those proposed) must be established. Students need to maintain a 2.5 grade point average and enroll at least half-time and make progress toward degrees.

Those who benefit from a free two-year college education must demonstrate that they deserve such a financial break.

Obama’s bold proposal is the most encouraging idea for higher education to emerge from Washington in decades. Like the original GI Bill of Rights that helped returning World War II veterans attend college – aka the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944 – our president’s plan potentially adds two years of school to many young adults’ education. Few can argue against that.

The idea’s right on time: We are witness to an historical and widening gap in America between the very rich and the ever-shrinking middle class. Critics, for instance, assailed most recent job creation, pointing out that the jobs created paid relatively little and required lower-level skills. The proposal, America’s College Promise, can be a vital tool in reversing this trend.

It might make entering the pipeline to higher education and to four-year degrees easier for untold numbers of students. The White House estimates that a full-time, deserving community college student stands to save an average of $3,800 a year. In my state, more students ought to use community college as a pathway to schools like the University of California.

Note: In fall 2013, UC enrolled more than 15,500 students who transferred from community colleges; their performance is largely indistinguishable from students who enter UC as freshmen.

Education is the key to our future. The Promise program, still to pass a Republican-controlled Congress, has the potential to knit together support across the political, racial and class divides that split our nation. It will send a much-needed message to millions of motivated citizens that they can share the American dream – or at least start on the road to it.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Phillip Q. Shrotman is founder and president of Principal Planning Service, Inc. in Long Beach, Calif. He was a professor in the Business Division at Long Beach City College for over 29 years, where he held the position as Coordinator for Financial Planning and Insurance for the college. He holds a Community College Instructors Credential from the University of California at Los Angeles and a master’s from the University of San Francisco. He also holds the profession designations of General Securities Principal of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Series 7 and 24. He has appeared as a guest on KABC Talk Radio and various television and radio programs.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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January 20 http://hometownargus.com/2015/02/25/january-20-2/ http://hometownargus.com/2015/02/25/january-20-2/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 12:11:11 +0000 http://hometownargus.com/?p=37311 SCHOOL DIST #299
ABBREVIATED BOARD MEETING MINUTES JANUARY 20, 2015
The Board of Education of Independent School District No. 299, Caledonia, Minnesota, met in a regular school board meeting in the Middle/High School Media Center. The meeting was called to order by Chair Kelley McGraw at 6:00 p.m. The Pledge of Allegiance was said. The school board members present were Jared Barnes, Amanda King, Kelley McGraw, Michelle Werner, Jimmy Westland, Spencer Yohe and student school board representatives Emily Ranzenberger and Brenna Werner. Also present were Superintendent Ben Barton, Principals Paul DeMorett and Gina Meinertz, Simoine Bolin, Nancy Runningen, Barb Meyer, Karen Schiltz, Dan McGonigle, Janelle Field Rohrer, and Josh Gran. Absent was Director Jean Meyer.
Moved by Amanda King, seconded by Jared Barnes to approve the agenda as amended to include a discussion about scheduling a school board retreat. Motion carried by a unanimous vote. Moved by Michelle Werner, seconded by Jimmy Westland to approve the minutes of the December 15, 2014, regular school board meeting and the January 5, 2015, organizational school board meeting. Motion carried by a unanimous vote. Moved by Jared Barnes, seconded by Amanda King to approve the electronic transfers and bills due and payable amounting to $1,517,225.96 including check numbers 57982 through 58124 along with electronic transfers from MSDLAF to Merchants Bank in the amount of $1,550,000.00. Motion carried by a unanimous vote. Moved by Michelle Werner, seconded by Jared Barnes to approve the Memorandum of Understanding between Mr. Paul DeMorett, Middle/High School Principal, and Independent School District No. 299, regarding the additional $3,500.00 as the Activities Director stipend amount beginning the 2013-2014 school year. Motion carried by a unanimous vote. Moved by Michelle Werner, seconded by Amanda King to ratify the spring sport coaching contracts for the 2014-2015 school year contingent upon participation numbers in each of the sports. Motion carried by a unanimous vote. Moved by Spencer Yohe, seconded by Michelle Werner to approve the leasing of approximately 1/2 acre of tillable land located north of Warrior Avenue to Eric Johnson beginning April of 2013, through December of 2016, at rental amount of $240 per acre ($120) with the payment date of May 15th each year. Motion carried by a unanimous vote. Moved by Jared Barnes, seconded by Spencer Yohe to adopt the Family and Medical Leave Policy #410 as presented. Motion carried by a unanimous vote. Moved by Michelle Werner, seconded by Jimmy Westland to adopt the Harassment and Violence Policy #413 as presented. Motion carried by a unanimous vote. Moved by Amanda King, seconded by Jared Barnes to adopt the Mandated Reporting of Child Neglect or Physical or Sexual Abuse Policy #414 as presented. Motion carried by a unanimous vote. Moved by Spencer Yohe, seconded by Jimmy Westland to adopt the Mandated Reporting of Maltreatment of Vulnerable Adults Policy #415 as presented. Motion carried by a unanimous vote. Moved by Jared Barnes, seconded by Michelle Werner to adopt the Student Discipline Policy #506 as presented. Motion carried by a unanimous vote. Moved by Spencer Yohe, seconded by Jared Barnes to adopt the Bullying Prohibition Policy #514 as presented. Motion carried by a unanimous vote. Moved by Michelle Werner, seconded by Jared Barnes to adopt the Student Sex Nondiscrimination Policy #522 as presented. Motion carried by a unanimous vote. Moved by Jared Barnes, seconded by Jimmy Westland to adopt the Internet Acceptable Use and Safety Policy #524 as presented. Motion carried by a unanimous vote. Moved by Jimmy Westland, seconded by Spencer Yohe to adopt the Crisis Management Policy #806 as presented. Motion carried by a unanimous vote. Moved by Spencer Yohe, seconded by Jared Barnes to adopt the Health and Safety Policy #807 as presented. Motion carried by a unanimous vote. Moved by Jimmy Westland, seconded by Michelle Werner to hold the Tuesday, February 17th and Monday, March 16th regular school board meetings in the elementary media center. Motion carried by a unanimous vote.
Moved by Spencer Yohe, seconded by Michelle Werner to adjourn the meeting at 8:10 p.m. Motion carried by a unanimous vote.
Published in
The Caledonia Argus
February 25, 2015
352443

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Annual Meeting & http://hometownargus.com/2015/02/25/annual-meeting-18/ http://hometownargus.com/2015/02/25/annual-meeting-18/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 12:10:58 +0000 http://hometownargus.com/?p=37309 CROOKED CREEK TOWNSHIP
Notice of Annual meeting and election of officers is hereby given to the qualified voters of Crooked Creek Township, Houston County and State of Minnesota, that the Annual meeting and election will be held Tuesday March 10, 2015 at the Crooked Creek Town Hall. In case of inclement weather the election and meeting may be postponed until the third Tuesday of March.
The annual election polls will open at 2:00 pm and will close at 8:00 pm.
The following offices are up for election:
(1) Township Supervisor, 3-year term.
(1) Township Treasurer, 2-year term.
The annual meeting will convene at 8:15 pm to conduct all business as prescribed by law.
The Board of Canvass will meet March 10, 2015 following the Annual Meeting to canvass the election results.
Andre Moen, Clerk
Published in
The Caledonia Argus
February 25, March 4, 2015
353559

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Annual Meeting & http://hometownargus.com/2015/02/25/annual-meeting-17/ http://hometownargus.com/2015/02/25/annual-meeting-17/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 12:10:30 +0000 http://hometownargus.com/?p=37307 JEFFERSON TOWNSHIP
Notice of Annual Election
Notice is hereby given to the qualified voters of Jefferson Township, County of Houston, State of Minnesota, that the Annual Election of Town Officers and Annual Town Meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 10, 2015. In case of inclement weather, the meeting and election may be postponed until the third Tuesday in March. The Election Poll hours will be from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm, at which time the voters will elect one supervisor (3 year term) and one treasurer (2 year term). The Annual Meeting will commence at 8:00 PM to conduct all necessary business presented by law. The Annual Election and Meeting and will be held at the Jefferson Township Hall, 2646 County Road 5, Eitzen MN.
Published in
The Caledonia Argus
February 25, March 4, 2015
351733

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Annual Meeting & http://hometownargus.com/2015/02/25/annual-meeting-16/ http://hometownargus.com/2015/02/25/annual-meeting-16/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 12:10:26 +0000 http://hometownargus.com/?p=37305 MOUND PRAIRIE TOWNSHIP
ANNUAL ELECTION AND MEETING
Notice is hereby given that Mound Prairie Township, Houston County, Minnesota will, on Tuesday, March 10, 2015, conduct its Annual Election and Town Meeting at the town hall located at 9749 Highway 21, Mound Prairie, MN.
The election polls will be open from 4:00pm to 8:00pm to election one supervisor for a three-year term, one clerk for a one-year term, and one treasurer for a two-year term.
The Annual Town Meeting, at which qualified electors will vote on the Township tax levy for 2016 and will transact other business prescribed by MN statute, will convene after 8:00pm, as soon as the Board of Canvass has counted the votes.
In case of bad weather, the Annual Town Meeting will be held at the same time and place on March 17.
Teresa McElhiney, Clerk
507-895-3111
Published in
The Caledonia Argus
February 25, March 4, 2015
351498

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Annual Meeting & http://hometownargus.com/2015/02/25/annual-meeting-15/ http://hometownargus.com/2015/02/25/annual-meeting-15/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 12:10:19 +0000 http://hometownargus.com/?p=37303 WINNEBAGO TOWNSHIP
Election & Meeting
The annual township election and meeting of Winnebago Township will be held Tuesday, March 10, 2015, at the Eitzen Fire Station meeting room (west door). Polls will be open from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. to elect one Supervisor for a 3-year term and one Treasurer for a 2-year term. Business meeting at 8:05 p.m. In case of inclement weather the election and annual meeting will be held on the third Tuesday in March.
Joyce Staggemeyer, Clerk
Published in
The Caledonia Argus
February 25, 2015
351312

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Annual Meeting & http://hometownargus.com/2015/02/25/annual-meeting-14/ http://hometownargus.com/2015/02/25/annual-meeting-14/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 12:10:15 +0000 http://hometownargus.com/?p=37301 UNION TOWNSHIP
NOTICE OF ANNUAL MEETING AND ELECTION OF OFFICERS
Notice is hereby given to the qualified voters of Union Township, County of Houston, State of Minnesota, that the Annual Election of Town Officers and Annual Town Meeting will be held on Tuesday March 10th 2015 at Union Township Hall. In case of inclement weather, the meeting and election may be postponed until March 17th 2015. The election poll hours will be open from 5p-8p at which time the voters will elect one Treasure for a two year term and one supervisor for a 3 year term. The Annual meeting will convene at 4p.m. to conduct all necessary business prescribed by law.
Dennis Conniff, Clerk Union Township
Published in
The Caledonia Argus
February 25, March 4, 2015
351049

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Annual Meeting & http://hometownargus.com/2015/02/25/annual-meeting-13/ http://hometownargus.com/2015/02/25/annual-meeting-13/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 12:10:03 +0000 http://hometownargus.com/?p=37299 CALEDONIA TOWNSHIP
Notice of Election
and Annual Meeting
The Township Election will be held on Tuesday March 10, 2015 at the City Hall Council Chambers. The voting hours will be from 3:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. Offices to be voted on are: One Supervisor for a three year term and one Treasurer for a two year term. The Annual meeting will follow the Election at 8:15 P.M. The Board of Canvass will meet after the Annual Meeting at 9:30 P.M. In case of inclement weather, the Election, Annual Meeting and Canvassing Board will be held one week later on March 17, 2015.
Holly Klankowski
Clerk
Published in
The Caledonia Argus
February 25, March 4, 2015
350918

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Annual Meeting & http://hometownargus.com/2015/02/25/annual-meeting-12/ http://hometownargus.com/2015/02/25/annual-meeting-12/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 12:09:58 +0000 http://hometownargus.com/?p=37297 SHELDON TOWNSHIP
NOTICE OF ANNUAL MEETING AND
ELECTION OF OFFICERS AND
BOARD OF CANVASS MEETING
Notice is hereby given to qualified voters of Sheldon Township, Houston County, State of Minnesota, that the Annual Township Meeting and Annual Election of Town Officers will be held on Tuesday, March 10, 2015. In case of inclement weather, the meeting and election may be postponed until the third Tuesday in March.
The Annual Meeting will commence at 3:00 p.m. to conduct all necessary business prescribed by law.
The Election Poll Hours will be open from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., at which time the voters will elect:
One (1) Township Supervisor 3 year term
One (1) Township Clerk 1 year term
One (1) Township Treasurer 2 year term
The Annual Meeting and Election will be held at the Sheldon Town Hall.
The Board of Canvass will meet on March 10, 2015, (following the elections) to certify the official election results.
Sandra Ask
Sheldon Township Clerk
Published in
The Caledonia Argus
February 25, March 4, 2015
350912

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March 13 http://hometownargus.com/2015/02/25/march-13-2/ http://hometownargus.com/2015/02/25/march-13-2/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 12:09:52 +0000 http://hometownargus.com/?p=37295 BROWNSVILLE TOWNSHIP
The March regular meeting of the Brownsville Town Board will be held at the Brownsville Community Center, 104 N. 6th St., Brownsville, MN. Friday, March 13, 2015 at 7:00 p.m.
Doris Mitchell,Clerk
Published in
The Caledonia Argus
February 25, 2015
350740

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