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Primer on Individual Taxes

October 2016  By: JULIA BUTLER, CFP®, JD, MBA, CFEI

Tax planning to minimize tax liability and maximize after-tax returns starts with an understanding of Form 1040, the tax return filed annually by individual taxpayers. My goal in this article is to give the reader a “primer” on Form 1040 and the key considerations that will impact your tax liability. Status: The first thing you as…

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The Reemergence of the Blue Chip Nifty Fifty

July 2016  By: MALCOLM BUTLER, JD

“A blue-chip stock is the stock of a large, well-established and financially sound company that has operated for many years. A blue-chip stock typically has a market capitalization in the billions, is generally the market leader or among the top three companies in its sector, and is more often than not a household name. While…

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Navigating Macro Choppiness

July 2016  By: JOEL GOODMAN, CFA, SCOTT McGHIE, CFA, CPA

At the 2016 Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting, Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger were asked about the impact of negative interest rates when valuing a business. Warren’s answer touched on the peculiarity of the current environment and how it impacts decision-making at Berkshire Hathaway. Charlie, who’s known for his one-liners, said the following: “If you’re not…

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Gift and Estate Planning

July 2016  By: JULIA BUTLER, CFP®, JD, MBA, CFEI

Whenever you transfer assets to another person, whether during your lifetime or at death, there are potential federal and state tax consequences. Good financial planning can help minimize taxes and also help you better accomplish your gifting objectives. Although most households will not face Gift and Estate Tax due to the current high Applicable Exclusion…

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Long-Term Thinking

April 2016  By: JOEL GOODMAN, CFA, SCOTT McGHIE, CFA, CPA

The sideways market of 2015 became even more indecisive in the first quarter of 2016. The S&P 500 Index stumbled out of the gates, and was down more than 10% by early February. In the ensuing weeks, the Index made a strong turn higher, ending the first quarter up marginally. At quarter end, the Index…

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It’s a Mixed-up Investment World!

April 2016  By: MALCOLM BUTLER, JD

Source: Strategas The most successful investment theme in 2015 centered on investing in high growth stocks like Alphabet (formerly Google), Amazon, Facebook and Netflix. In a slow growth economy, investors placed a premium on companies that could deliver high revenue growth. Thus far in 2016, by contrast, we have seen many slower growing—but good dividend-paying…

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The Silver Lining

January 2016  By: MALCOLM BUTLER, JD

Two thousand and fifteen was a challenging year for investors. Outside of some very large companies with high growth rates (Amazon and Facebook, among a few others), the majority of stocks in the S&P 500 ended the year with negative returns. U.S. small cap stocks also suffered as did most international and emerging market stocks….

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Legacy Planning

January 2016  By: JULIA BUTLER, CFP®, JD, MBA, CFEI

Within the last year, my husband and I revisited our estate plan. In the end, we felt confident that we’d accomplished all the usual objectives—protecting and preserving financial assets for future generations, minimizing taxes, and so forth. But recently a colleague introduced us to another concept we had not really addressed in planning for our…

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How Much Do I Need for Retirement?

December 2015  By: JULIA BUTLER, CFP®, JD, MBA, CFEI

Legg Mason posed the question “how much do you need for retirement?” to a group of “mass affluent” investors (aged 40 – 75 with more than $200,000 in investable assets). Those surveyed said they would need at least $2.5 million to maintain their current standard of living. According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), households…

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Entrepreneurial Estate Planning 

July 2015  By: MALCOLM BUTLER, JD

Over the years, a number of clients and friends have approached me to assist them with their estate planning needs. Because my legal license is inactive, I don’t draft estate planning documents. However, with over 30 years of experience in administering estates and trusts, I can often bring an insightful vantage point to the estate…

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