Blog

Market Update – Forecast: Cloudy with Showers and Thunderstorms

Over the last several months, the U.S. equity markets have staged impressive rebounds to recoup most of the losses that occurred in late February and March.  After a peak-to-tough decline of approximately 37% for the Dow, 30% for the Nasdaq, and 34% for the S&P 500, the major indexes have rallied approximately 38%, 40%, and…

Market Update – Keep the Big Picture in Mind

Over the last several weeks we have seen a dramatic turn of events in the financial markets. After a relatively calm start to 2020, the current environment has been characterized by uncertainty, fear, nervousness, and high volatility surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak and its resultant impact on the economy and financial markets. Despite our best efforts…

2019 Social Security Updates

Benefit Increase. Monthly benefit checks have been increased for 2019 by a cost of living adjustment. The cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) is based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers. Due to these increases, the average monthly retirement check will have been increased $39 from the 2018 level.  The maximum…

Obscure Tax Facts You Probably Didn’t Know

1. “Uncle Sam wants you to be healthy! If you quit smoking, you can write off any smoking cessation products or programs. Have a life-threatening medical condition like diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease? If a doctor signs off on it, you can write off diet/fitness products, classes, and programs. One person was able…

Aging in Place

At Raskob Kambourian, one of our goals is to help people anticipate life’s changes. One important life change we all have in common is aging. The question is – Can we realistically plan on staying in our own home as our medical and physical abilities decline? When asked, many express a strong desire to “Age…

Personal Exemption and Standard Deduction Tax Law Changes for 2018-2025

No More Personal and Dependent Exemption Deductions: For 2018-2025, the new tax law eliminates personal and dependent exemption deductions, which would have been $4,150 each for 2018. More Generous Child Tax Credit Rules: The new tax law increases the maximum child credit to $2,000 per qualifying child under the age of 17.  Up to $1,400…

To Everything There is a Season – Except Tax Scams

Many people don’t really think about taxes once the tax season is over…but people promoting scams do.  Each year, the IRS releases the top 12 scams, known as the Dirty Dozen. The schemes range from simple refund inflation to technical tax shelter deals. Here’s a review of this year’s Dirty Dozen: Phishing: Taxpayers should watch…

Nonprofit Tax Quandary

An interesting feature of the 2018 tax bill is the 21% excise tax to be imposed on salaries and “parachute payments” (severance payments) in excess of $1 million paid by tax exempt organizations.  This currently applies to charities, universities, churches etc. – all tax exempt organizations.  For example, the University of Alabama which pays football…

Is Someone Using Your Identity?

Every year, millions of lives are financially destroyed due to identity theft.  Watch for warning signs that it might be happening to you. Even though you have good credit, your loan or credit card application is rejected or if you lose out on a new job at the last minute, check your credit rating. Your…

What Costs More?

Inflation has been pretty benign over the last 20 years, right?  The U.S. Consumer Price Index has ranged from negative 0.4% in 2009 to a high of 3.8% in the awful 2008 economic year.  In 13 of those 20 years, the CPI was below 2.5%, which is hardly comparable to the double-digit inflation rates that…