For Immediate Release Glassboro, NJ— HFM Investment Advisors, LLC, has expanded its Annual Gloucester County Coat Drive to support the broader South Jersey region, including Salem and Cumberland counties. This is their ninth year of collecting coats beginning October 15, 2018, and lasts through January 31, 2019.
So far HFM has collected and donated more than 15,200 coats to South Jersey residents in need over the past eight years. Last year, HFM amassed a record 3,006 coats. This year, HFM plans to top that record and surpass over 18,000 total coats collected.
Drop-off sites include HFM’s Glassboro, NJ office, all local Gloucester County Library System branches, the Margaret E. Heggan Public Library in Washington Twp., NJ, plus 30 additional locations. The Public can find a full list of the 30-plus drop-off locations at www.HFMadvisors.com/our-committment.
HFM guides others by helping them make effective financial decisions—but it cares about much more than numbers and charts. HFM supports its community through fundraisers, board memberships, nonprofit sponsorships, and more.
It achieves this goal through partnering with the Heart of South Jersey (www.heartsj.org), which distributes the donated coats to more than 20 nonprofit organizations that share one goal: helping others. As HFM extends its donation reach, Heart of South Jersey provides coats to veterans, children, families, and the homeless. The Y.A.L.E school of Cherry Hill provides volunteers to help count, sort and deliver coats throughout the drive.
“I’m eager to see the number of coats we collect this year grow with the help of your generous donations and more drop off box locations from last year. Our mission is to provide a coat for every man, woman, and child in need in South Jersey,” said HFM President Michael Pallozzi.
About HFM Investment Advisors, LLC.
HFM Investment Advisors is an independent, fee-based investment management and financial planning firm that empowers its clients through coaching and discipline. With a look-you-in-the-eye commitment, its goal is to keep clients educated, involved and confident in every financial decision they make. Learn more at www.HFMadvisors.com or call 856 232-2270.
An important part of financial planning is Tax Planning. With so many changes to the tax code this year HFM is highly encouraging everyone to review their tax plan or make a tax plan this summer with their CPA or tax advisor. Don’t get caught in April 2019 with a potentially higher tax bill than 2017. Now is the time you should consider making changes to your withholding NOT in December 2018. Read the latest news from the IRS.gov on what to do and we remind you to consult with your tax adviser as well.
IR-2018-145, June 28, 2018
Washington, DC – Taxpayers who owed additional tax when they filed their 2017 federal tax return earlier this year can avoid another unexpected tax bill next year by doing a “paycheck checkup” as soon as possible, according to the Internal Revenue Service.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the tax reform legislation passed in December, made major changes to the tax law, including increasing the standard deduction, removing personal exemptions, increasing the Child Tax Credit, limiting or discontinuing certain deductions and changing tax rates and brackets.
These far-reaching changes could have a big impact on the tax refund or balance due on the tax return people file next year. The IRS encourages every employee to do a “paycheck checkup” soon to ensure they have the correct amount of tax taken out of their pay.
Checking and adjusting withholding now can prevent an unexpected tax bill and penalties next year at tax time. The IRS Withholding Calculator ( https://www.irs.gov/individuals/irs-withholding-calculator) and Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax, can help.
The IRS encourages taxpayers to be proactive:
Taxpayers can get more information on these topics at www.irs.gov/withholding. For information on steps taxpayers can take now to get a jump on next year’s taxes, including how the new tax law may affect them, visit IRS.gov/getready.
Social Security is running out. But perhaps it should be discussed even more, as the latest report from the Social Security Board of Trustees implies, as of yet, little is being done to reverse its fate.
In line with last year’s projection, the Board foresees full funding for the 83-year-old program to only last until 2034. At that time, 79 percent of benefits are expected to remain payable—a trivial boost from last year’s estimate of 77 percent.
What’s worse, the total annual cost of the program will likely exceed its income in 2018—and it’s anticipated that this trend will persist year-after-year. To make up for the shortfall, the program will need to dip into its reserves for the first time since 1982.
“People are living longer than any time in history and birthrates are declining. This phenomenon known as ‘population aging’ is financially straining government-sponsored retirement benefits,” Catherine Collinson, CEO and president, Transamerica Institute, Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, and executive director, Aegon Center for Longevity and Retirement, explained in a statement about retiring in the 21st Century.
“Simultaneously, employers have been replacing traditional defined benefit pension plans with employee-funded defined contribution retirement plans,” she said. “Today, individuals are expected to take on increasing risk and responsibility in self-funding a greater portion of their retirement income.”
A recent study examining retirement income strategies found that almost half (49 percent) of those surveyed said Social Security will be their top source of income when they exit the workforce.
Theoretically, Millennials should be doing better than older generations when it comes to retirement planning. In a separate study comparing generational trends, only 22 percent said they are factoring Social Security into their retirement planning. But sadly, they’re doing little to make up for it. Almost 40 percent still aren’t saving on their own.
Closest to retirement age, Baby Boomers are doing better at socking away money. Nine in 10 are saving on their own in a 401k or other account. Their nest egg might not be enough though, considering around 80 percent are counting on Social Security to supplement it.
Thankfully, it’s doubtful the program will collapse entirely during Boomers’ lifetime. Younger workers, on the other hand, are right to be concerned. Social Security experts say the government just might end up increasing payroll taxes and decreasing benefits in the coming years in order to rescue the program—less than stellar news for an already struggling younger generation of workers.
Summing up the Board’s report, Nancy A. Berryhill, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, said, “The Trustees’ projected depletion date of the combined Social Security Trust Funds has not changed, and slightly more than three-fourths of benefits would still be payable after depletion. But the fact remains that Congress can keep Social Security strong by taking action to ensure the future of the program.”
Filling out a bracket for the NCAA championship basketball tournament is an annual highlight for sports fans like myself. Like most people, I don’t watch much of the regular season games, but every March I start reading expert picks and researching bracket strategy in preparation for pools with my family and friends.
The process reminds me so much of investing because filling out a bracket balances expertise, risk, reward and future expectations. Winning a pool also requires some luck along the way.
With that in mind, here are five lessons from March Madness that apply to the world of investing.
The odds of filling out the perfect bracket are 1 in 9,223,372,036,852,775,808. Let’s just round that to 1 in 9 quintillion. The odds of consistently selecting market beating investments over a long period of time are equally daunting.
The key to successful investing is about focusing on the things you can control. From an investment perspective that means building a portfolio that is positioned to capture return premiums (such as size, value, and profitability) that improve risk-adjusted returns. Other areas of focus that are within your control include asset allocation, keeping investment costs low, minimizing taxes, optimal asset location, etc.
It is easy to let a team’s recent success influence your bracket picks, but last year’s tournament was last year’s tournament. Similarly, investors should never assume that their best pick (asset class, sector, country, or stock) from last year will have a repeat performance.
In addition, the winner of your bracket pool might be skillful, but he/she might also just be lucky – there is no reason to believe that success will be repeated in the future. The same goes for mutual fund managers, their outperformance in any given period may be the result of skill or luck – in fact, it is quite common to see funds that have outperformed in a given period proceed to underperform in the subsequent period.
The more you watch the NCAA tournament, the more emotional you become about the outcomes. Watching the drama of March Madness is a great form of entertainment, but watching the market closely almost never helps an investor.
Myopic loss aversion tells us that the more you watch the markets, the more susceptible you become to making poor investment decisions. The best investors stay as detached as possible from daily stock fluctuations.
Humans are hardwired to see patterns and our tendency to only remember the times they work only engrains that pattern seeking behavior. For example, I always pick a #10 seed to upset a #7 seed based on my perceived frequency of that type of first round upset occurring in the past, but not based on any background knowledge of the skill sets of the opposing teams. Another example is picking your alma mater or a local school to advance further than what evidence and probability suggest.
Investment decisions should not be based on technical indicators, patterns or hunches. Instead, a quality decision making process emphasizes evidence-based investment theory and research. A quality decision making process should also protect us from our faulty mental hardwiring that causes us to misinterpret (or ignore entirely) probabilities, find patterns where none exist and elicit emotional responses.
Chances are that many winners will attribute their success to skill and leave out the role that luck played in the outcome. For example, some people who win their pool by taking an extremely risky approach of picking lots of low probability upsets and having several come to fruition by chance. People that take this approach every year will frequently finish near the bottom of the standings, but they never mention those bad years.
Other winners might fill out multiple brackets, compete against only a handful of people or simply make their picks by blending together multiple expert brackets. Still, all of these people will undoubtedly share their success through the lens of skill when a conversation arises about March Madness. Conversations on investing in social situations work much of the same. I always hear people talking at social gatherings about their investment successes, but never do I hear about their failures.
From Forbes March 2017 Peter Lazarof, https://www.forbes.com/sites/peterlazaroff/2016/03/17/5-investing-lessons-from-march-madness/#ebcbba62b752
Here is a easy-to-read-summary of the new tax laws:
Congress has just passed the most sweeping tax code overhaul in decades. The majority of its provisions kicked in on January 1st and many of the changes will expire after 2025. The tax law changes should have almost no effect on your 2017 tax return.
Let’s take a look at some of the more important provisions within the new law, and the likely effect on your taxes:
The new law keeps seven tax brackets but changes the tax rates, which shifts income into lower tax brackets. The long-term capital gains tax rates remain essentially unchanged, and short-term capital gains will be taxed at the new ordinary income tax rates.
Most (although not all) taxpayers will owe less under the new rules, according to analyses by various independent think tanks, including the Tax Foundation and the Tax Policy Center. The impact of the changes will vary based on each taxpayer’s income level, amount of itemized deductions and other factors.
Former ordinary income tax brackets compared with brackets in the new law for tax year 2018.
Source: Schwab Center for Financial Research.
The new law nearly doubles the standard deduction, to $12,000 from $6,350 for single filers, and to $24,000 from $12,700 for married filers. About 70% of taxpayers claim the standard deduction, so most taxpayers claiming this deduction likely will benefit from this change.
If you’re a low- or middle-income household, an increased standard deduction combined with an increased child tax credit should lower your tax bill.
The new law reduces or eliminates many itemized deductions in favor of a higher standard deduction. These include:
Here are the itemized deductions that remain relatively unchanged:
All else being equal, if you’re in a high-income household in a high-tax state, with a mortgage and high property taxes, these changes could end up increasing your tax liability. However, if you don’t normally itemize your deductions these changes won’t be an issue, and the increased standard deduction should end up benefiting you.
The new law increased the child tax credit to $2,000 from $1,000, and the income level of households eligible for the credit. The tax credit is fully refundable up to $1,400, and begins to phase out for married/joint filers at income of $400,000 and for single filers at $200,000.
Tax credits are generally better than tax deductions, because credits reduce your taxes dollar-for-dollar, while deductions only lower your taxable income. This change should benefit low- and middle-income households with children.
The new law eliminates the $4,050 personal exemption and dependent deduction. When combined with the increased standard deduction and increased child tax credit, lower- and middle-income households should see a net benefit despite the elimination of these deductions.
However, higher-income taxpayers could see an increased tax bill from this proposal if they have large families and don’t qualify for the child tax credit, because of the income phase-outs within the tax bill.
The new law increases both the exemption and the exemption phase-out amount for the individual AMT. Beginning in 2018 and ending in 2025, the AMT exemption amount is increased to $109,400 for married taxpayers filing a joint return and $70,300 for all other taxpayers. The phase-out thresholds are increased to $1 million for married taxpayers filing a joint return, and $500,000 for all other taxpayers.
These changes should benefit many middle- and high-income households that were previously affected by this tax.
The Senate tax bill had a provision that would have required investors to use the “first-in, first-out” (FIFO) method to calculate cost basis for investment sales. Investors can breathe a sigh of relief, as this provision was not included in the new tax law.
This is a complex area of tax law, and the new law includes numerous changes to the taxation of income from pass-through entities such as S corporations, limited-liability corporations and partnerships. In general, the new law allows businesses to exclude 20% of their net income from taxation, subject to certain limitations. The deduction could also be limited or disallowed for specified service trades—such as lawyers, doctors and accountants—based on an income threshold.
Overall the changes to the taxation of pass-through entities will be beneficial to many business owners, but a lot of service businesses won’t get to enjoy all the benefits of these changes.
The new tax law reduces the corporate tax rate to flat 21% from the highest 35% rate in the prior system. Lowering the corporate tax rate will increase the profits of many companies, which could provide additional capital for business expansion, increase dividends to shareholders and make the U.S. a more attractive place for foreign businesses to open operations.
Early on in the tax debate, it was rumored that there could be changes to the deductions taxpayers receive for contributing to tax-deferred retirement accounts, such as IRAs or 401(k) retirement plans. The new tax law did not include changes to tax deferred accounts.
It’s important to remember that the impact of any of these changes on your personal tax liability will depend on your specific circumstances. In addition, the individual components of your tax bill, including earned income, credits, deductions and other factors work together, like interacting cogs. Therefore, each factor should not be assessed solely in isolation.
Authored by the US House Ways and Means Committee https://www.scribd.com/document/367282583/GOP-tax-bill-highlights#from_embed
Albert Einstein is synonymous with genius. Yet, when talking with his friend and personal tax account, he once said, “The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax.” His story reveals two things: First, filing taxes can be difficult. Second, even geniuses consult financial planners.
Because filing taxes can be a complicated process, people are more likely to make small errors that can have costly consequences. But, there are steps you can take to simplify the process, avoid mistakes and save money.
There are steps available to avoid mistakes while potentially saving you more money.
We also recommend following Albert Einstein’s example and consult a Pro- A tax professional and a financial advisor. They can help you better understand your options.
From Taxation without Complication Copyright ©2017, Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
SNJ Today featured HFM Investment Advisors, Inc. for launching its 8th Annual Coat Drive. By spreading the word and informing more people of our goal to keep South Jersey citizens warm this coming winter, HFM hopes to collect a record-setting amount of coats.
To find out how you can help, where you can donate a coat, and who the donations benefit, click here: Help Your Community
Small business owners pay their taxes all year long, so they should be focusing on tax planning all year long. That doesn’t mean small business owners should make financial decisions based solely on tax considerations. But it does mean they should never make important financial decisions without at least considering the tax consequences.
Many freelancers needlessly overpay their taxes because they’re unaware that the law entitles them to deduct 100 percent of their spending for medical insurance premiums (including qualifying long-term coverage) for themselves and their spouses and dependents.
They take the health insurance deduction “above the line” on Line 29 on the front of the 1040 form, thereby reducing their adjusted gross income (AGI), Line 37.
This is a big break for freelancers and other self-employed individuals, regardless of whether their unreimbursed medical expenses aren’t high enough to claim as itemized deductions on Schedule A of Form 1040, notes the New York Times of Feb. 19, 2017.
There’s an exception for people 65 and older. Their threshold is 7.5 percent. This break went off the books at the close of 2016, though there’s bipartisan support in Congress to extend it beyond 2016.Long-standing rules forbid itemizers from writing off all of their medical outlays. Itemizers can claim their expenditures just to the extent they exceed 10 percent of AGI. No deduction for anything below the 10-percent-of-AGI threshold.
Tax-savvy freelancers know they have two ways to write off their outlays for purchases of equipment – for instance, computers and file cabinets.
Freelancers who go the “standard” route recover the cost through depreciation deductions over a period of years. Their other option is the frequently overlooked tactic of “expensing,” meaning they deduct a specified amount of equipment in the year of purchase.
To illustrate, a self-employed person’s equipment purchases include $10,000 for cameras, computers, copiers, tape recorders, and the like. Instead of depreciating them over five years, they can be immediately expensed under Code Section 179. A $10,000 write-off lowers taxes by $3,000 for an individual in a top federal and state bracket of 30 percent.
Do your children help out with some of the chores connected with your business? Could they? Then a savvy way to take care of their allowances or spending money – at the expense of the IRS – is to pay them wages for work they do on behalf of the business. This holds true whether it’s a full-time, long-established operation or just a new, part-time sideline.
Putting your children on the payroll is a perfectly legal way to keep income in the family, while shifting some out of your higher bracket and into their lower bracket. IRS auditors require this kind of expense to pass a two-step test:
Section 3121(b)(3)(A) authorizes another break. It permits you to sidestep Social Security taxes on the wages you pay your children under the age of 18. To qualify for the exemption, you must operate as a sole proprietorship, meaning the lone owner of a full-time or part-time business that’s not formed as a corporation or partnership, or do business as a husband-wife partnership. Put another way: No exemption for a family business that’s incorporated or a partnership with a partner other than a spouse.
Another break for business owners is that write-offs for equipment purchases and wages save more than just income taxes. They also reduce self-employment taxes owed.
Attorney and author Julian Block is frequently quoted in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post. He has been cited as “a leading tax professional” (New York Times), an “accomplished writer on taxes” (Wall Street Journal), and “an authority on tax planning” (Financial Planning magazine). More information about his books can be found at julianblocktaxexpert.com.
From 3 Key Tax Strategies for Small Business Owners, Copyright ©2017, Sift Media.
It’s one thing to build up your retirement savings so you can retire. But remember, every dollar you save in tax-deferred plans, including 401(k)s and traditional IRAs, will be taxed when you withdraw money after retirement. It’s also important to plan so that you can minimize that tax bite after retirement.
If you haven’t thought about tax planning yet, it’s not too late. Here are eight strategies to consider as you approach and enter retirement:
(1) Know what you spend. Many people believe their expenses will go down in retirement, but the reality depends on the lifestyle you want. Do you plan to travel? Take classes or start a new hobby? Help out your children and grandchildren? These activities will cost money. And don’t forget about healthcare costs. Understand what Medicare and supplemental health policies will provide and what you’ll be paying out of pocket. Once you have a firm grasp on your expenses, you can strategically plan your withdrawals.
(2) Know your tax bracket. Staying in a low tax bracket can help retirees minimize the tax they pay on their withdrawals. When your income reaches specified thresholds, you pay gradually higher amounts of tax on the additional income. Check out the tax rate schedules, tax tables and cost-of-living adjustments for certain tax items for 2017. If your withdrawal plan puts you into a higher tax bracket by a hair, you might want to lower the amount you plan to pull out.
(3) Diversify. Having a variety of accounts that are taxed differently can provide flexibility when it comes to taking withdrawals in retirement. Your retirement savings may include a pension, IRAs, a 401(k) account and stocks, and bonds and mutual funds not held in tax-deferred accounts. Consider drawing from different buckets. Taking funds from already taxed accounts, like Roth IRAs or Roth 401(k)s, may be better than withdrawing from all accounts equally. Leaving your tax-deferred accounts, like traditional IRAs, to grow reduces taxable income. One caveat: If you are 70 ½ or older, you must take minimum distributions.
If you don’t have a Roth IRA or Roth 401(k) you might want to consult an accountant, a CFP® professional, or your human resources department about opening one, or even transferring some of your retirement savings into one. If you have had a Roth IRA for more than five years and are older than 59 ½, you can withdraw money tax-free.
(4) Think about using a Roth IRA, but be careful. If you don’t have a Roth, and you’re a high earner and therefore precluded from opening a new Roth, you can still establish one by putting $5,500 in a traditional nondeductible IRA and then converting it to a Roth later on. But there’s an important trap to avoid. If you have other IRA accounts that were funded with deductible contributions, the amount converted to the Roth is considered to have come pro-ratably from all your IRAs, and not just from the nondeductible IRA you set up to convert to the Roth. As a result, some of your conversion may be taxable.
(5) Plan to delay withdrawals. If financial markets are rising, enjoy the ride and wait to withdraw. You’ll pay taxes on the gains later. If you don’t need to pull money from IRAs, 401(k) and other tax-deferred accounts, hold off as long as you can or until you must take distributions at 70 ½. Let those accounts continue to build up on a tax-deferred basis until you need them.
(6) Know the rules for Social Security. The stark reality is it does not generally pay to claim Social Security retirement benefits before full retirement age. That’s age 66 for people born between 1943 and the end of 1954. The retirement age increases in two-month increments until age 67, for those born in 1960 or later.
Here’s why this is important. If you were born in July 1955 (age; 62) and will earn $100,000 for 2017, the Social Security quick benefit calculator displays how your benefit jumps from $1,421 to as much as $2700 per month if you delay social security income.
|Retirement age||Monthly benefit amount1|
|62 and 6 months in 2017||$1,739.00|
|63 in 2018||$1,805.00|
|70 in 2025||$3,126.00|
|1Assumes no future increases in prices or earnings.|
If you are married, widowed, or divorced having been married for more than 10 years, your claiming strategy gets a bit more complicated, but making the right choice can be even more profitable. Talk to a CFP® professional or another financial professional about strategies you should consider. Your Social Security income is also taxable, depending how much income you receive from other sources, including withdrawals from retirement accounts.
(7) Decide where to live. For many, the ideal place to retire is someplace with a warmer climate, more affordable housing, and close to family or friends. But another important factor to consider is how your income and assets will be taxed. Some states have no income taxes for individuals; others don’t tax Social Security benefits and most income from pensions and retirement accounts. Check out the 10 Most Tax-Friendly States for Retirees.
(8) It all starts with a plan. It’s important to have a plan in place before you retire. But even if you’re close to retirement, it’s not too late to take advantage of the benefits of tax planning. A financial planning professional can help you identify your goals and develop a personalized plan that will maximize your income and reduce your taxes in retirement. A financial planning professional will also work hand in hand with your accountant to ensure your plan is executed properly.
But remember, unexpected circumstances can arise and tax laws are constantly changing. Meet with your advisors on a regular basis to make sure you remain on track. Balance your need for income against what you truly in enjoy in life, so that you can avoid paying unnecessary taxes.