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Explore: The Closing Donut Hole

The Closing Donut Hole

The Closing Donut Hole

If you haven’t been really, really sick in the last few years, you may not have ever heard of the “donut hole” in Medicare Part D prescription drug plans.  This is the common name in the medical field for a quirky coverage gap where, if you incurred $3,750 worth of drug costs in any given year, you would suddenly be paying for a significant portion of your drug expenses out-of-pocket.  Last year, patients who breached that threshold would have to pay 35% of the cost of brand-name drugs and 44% of generic drugs until their out-of-pocket spending reached $5,000.  After that, they would pay no more than 5% of their drug costs for the rest of the year.  Of course, not everybody knew about the donut hole until they suddenly had to pay a significant fraction of the high cost of rare prescription drugs, and their expenses skyrocketed.

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Tax Scams to Watch Out For

Tax Scams to Watch Out For

While tax scams are especially prevalent during tax season, they can take place any time during the year. As a result, it’s in your best interest to always be vigilant so you don’t end up becoming the victim of a fraudulent tax scheme.

Here are some of the more common scams to watch out for.

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Key Retirement and Tax Numbers for 2019

Key Retirement and Tax Numbers for 2019

Every year, the Internal Revenue Service announces cost-of-living adjustments that affect contribution limits for retirement plans and various tax deduction, exclusion, exemption, and threshold amounts. Here are a few of the key adjustments for 2019.

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Talking to Your Teen About Money

You probably feel comfortable talking to your teen about things like school, sports, and clothing. But how do you feel about talking about money? While it may be a tricky topic to broach, odds are that your teenager will rely on you to learn basic financial management skills. And the teenage years can be a critical learning period. According to a report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, it’s important to establish strong financial decision-making habits in the teen years because it will help your child better navigate his or her financial life as an adult.1

Prepare your teenager for the financial challenges of adulthood by talking to him or her about the following topics.

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Giving Day

Many Americans consider Thanksgiving and Black Friday to be the unofficial start of the Holiday season.  What many Americans don’t know however, is that the Tuesday after Thanksgiving is internationally known as “Giving Tuesday.” Started in 2012 by 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation as a response to commercialization and consumerism in the post-Thanksgiving season, “Giving Tuesday” has quickly caught on in the philanthropic community. Last year, a total of $274 million dollars was raised on “Giving Tuesday,” with several large charities and companies such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Facebook offering limited matching to participating donations.

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IRS to Raise Contribution Limits for 2019

IRS to Raise Contribution Limits for 2019

Many investors are aware of the impact that inflation can have on our ability to purchase goods and services in the future. Assuming a modest rate of 2% inflation, a car that costs $30,000 today will sell for over $45,000 by 2040. To help mitigate these rising costs, the IRS periodically increases the limits on contributions to tax-advantaged retirement accounts which can be accessed penalty-free after age 59½ and in some cases even earlier than that. To account for inflating wages, the IRS also raises the levels of income at which various tax benefits are available, otherwise known as phase-outs. The first table outlines the new 2019 limits for some of the more popular retirement contributions along with a brief description of each. The second table shows the 2019 phase-out ranges for deducting Traditional IRA contributions and saving inside of a Roth IRA. The Traditional IRA phase-outs only apply if the individual participates in a retirement plan at work.

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Charitable Contribution Rules: 10 Years in the Making

Charitable Contribution Rules

Ten years ago, the Internal Revenue Service proposed regulations that would define how to value (and prove the actual value) of non-cash donations to charity.  The regs involved things like artwork, jewelry and other possessions whose value is often in the eye of the beholder.

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Correction: We’re Saving More Than We Realized

Saving

Quick: What’s America’s national savings rate? A generation ago, you might have guessed 10% and been pretty close to the market. More recently, there has been a lot of hand-wringing about a precipitous decline in how much of their income Americans are saving—down, according to the U.S. government’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, to just over Continue reading “Correction: We’re Saving More Than We Realized”

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Tax Simplification That Really Is

Simplification

One of the biggest misnomers coming out of Washington is the idea of “tax simplification,” where Congress purportedly makes it easier for all of us to fill out our tax returns by adding several thousand pages of new rules, rates and lists of things we can and cannot deduct under new lists of circumstances. Continue reading “Tax Simplification That Really Is”

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