Powerball: To Play or Not to Play

FullSizeRenderSubmitted by George Taylor

Ok, I understand the odds. If you don’t play, you can’t win. If you play, you probably won’t win. For the 5th time in my life, I bought a lottery ticket. About as many cavities as I have had.

I felt very stupid as I have little experience in playing the lottery.  I headed to my dear friend Peter Aziz’s gas station to buy the tickets where I learned that one ticket was $2. The staff was helpful in explaining how this particular game worked. I was told you could buy a multiplier but it doesn’t increase your chances of winning or make the jackpot bigger. Being a former math major, I calculated the odds were in my favor by buying one ticket. By buying one ticket,my odds went from 0 to something like 1 in 292 million. Much better odds!!!!

I have made plans of what I am going to do with the money. Being a financial advisor, I will set up trusts for my kids, make some cool investments, take care of debts, etc. I don’t think I will retire but I will take some cool vacations. I’ll also invest in some of many investments I have access too.

Since I am planner I have to think about what happens if I don’t win. My backup plan is to find the lucky person(s) who did win and convince them that we should be their advisors. Then I would make the recommendations that I have been trained to do as a Sudden Money advisor by the amazing Susan Bradley. Don’t make any big moves while you develop your strategy. Set up a GST trust to hold the money, probably coupled with an LLC. Don’t promise everyone who comes out of the woodwork claiming that they need help or want to borrow a couple thousand dollars or has a great investment idea. Take some time and make careful planned out decisions. Decide who you are going to take care of and who you are not.

Now if I don’t find that person or they don’t find me, I will leave my dreams and go back to my current reality. Just hope that person finds the right advisor so their life does not spin out of control.

I guess that I will go back to figuring out how big of a problem China is in the current market…

Gilead Watch

photo credit: Pills via photopin (license)
photo credit: Pills via photopin (license)

 

As we watch the unfolding earnings season, we are anxiously awaiting Gilead (GILD) to report later this month.

The biotech giant has underperformed the Biotech indices thus far this year, but we are encouraged by analysts expectations. Citigroup analysts Yaron Werber and Kumaraguru Raja indicate that the company’s Hep C sales are tracking ahead of schedule for 1Q2015 and they have issued a buy rating with a $120 price target.

We are curious to see how the accounting will be done for discounts on Hep C drugs, this seems to be a point of contention among analysts.

Consensus has Gilead earning $2.16 a share for the quarter with total revenue of $7.9 Billion.

Gray Divorce and Social Security

photo credit: Question of money via photopin (license)
photo credit: Question of money via photopin (license)

 

Gray divorce is a term that describes couples who split up later in life.  It is not uncommon and it presents some challenging questions for financial planning professionals.

This article from Investment News answers some very common questions like “How much are spousal benefits worth?” and “Can divorced spouses who remarry collect survivor benefits if their ex spouse dies?”

Take a look and, as always, let us know if you have any questions about your situation.

Interest Rate Outlook for 2015

photo credit: bhautikjoshi via photopin cc
photo credit: bhautikjoshi via photopin cc

 

We get two big questions every year: 1) What do you think the market is going to do? 2) What are interest rates going to do?

One is easier to predict than the other. Long term, both go up from here. Though historically, rates had been falling for 30 years and can only go up and the market goes down for short periods but has always recovered.

Back to question #2. What are interest rates going to do? Kathy Jones, a fixed income specialist at Charles Schwab, sees rocky times ahead in the fixed income markets. Tighter fed policy implies that real and inflation-adjusted rates will rise.

“The liquidity party of the last 6 years appears to be coming to an end.”

Give us a call to discuss how this might impact your planning.

Tax 529 plans? Hold on there Mr. President

photo credit: Tax Credits via photopin cc
photo credit: Tax Credits via photopin cc

 

When the idea of taxing 529 College Saving Plans came up, we collectively thought, “So soon?” It was just a matter of time before someone looked at that pot of gold and decided to raid it.

Our second thought? “It will never happen.”

The idea of offering college free to everyone is noble, but it is not free. Someone has to pay for it. Fortunately, it won’t be taxes on 529 plans that funds free college for the masses.

It seems both parties asked the President to back off of this intent. (Congress never would have passed it anyhow. Can you imagine?)

What’s next? ROTH Ira’s?

 

Should I Convert IRA to a Roth?

photo credit: StockMonkeys.com via photopin cc
photo credit: StockMonkeys.com via photopin cc

 

Well, we get this question probably more than any other. There is no hard and fast rule, but conversion should certainly be considered.

A ROTH IRA is a great tool, as it allow tax free withdrawals (as long as you are over 59 ½ and have had the ROTH for at least 5 years). If you are interested in turning your regular IRA into a ROTH, here are some things to consider.

Let us know if you would like help considering your conversion.

Student Loan Debt at All Time High

photo credit: Herkie via photopin cc
photo credit: Herkie via photopin cc

 

According to the Wall Street Journal, , the class of 2014 is the most indebted class to ever graduate college, with the average graduate owing $33,000. Wow!

An interesting trend is that more students are taking on debt than ever. Little over 70% of graduates will leave school with loans.

There are many ways to save for your child’s education. Ask us to do a free college funding analysis!

 

IRS Increases Retirement Plan Contribution limits for 2015!

This is something to get excited about. The IRS is increasing the amounts that we can put away in many our favorite retirement plans!

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Photo Credit: www.aag.com

 

Elective deferral maximum contributions have been increased from $17,500 to $18,000 in 401(k), 403(b)s, most 457 plans and the federal Thrift Saving Plan. The “catch up” limit for participants in these same plans who are over the age of 50 has been increased from $5,500 to $6,000. This is especially exciting for all of our 401(k) sponsors and participants!

Unfortunately, IRA annual contributions remain unchanged at $5,500 and the catch up remains at $1,000 for those over 50. But this is still way better than $2,000 just a few years ago! (Ask us how to maximize your IRA/ROTH contributions).

Also, regarding IRA deductions: if you are single or a “head of household” taxpayer, who is also covered by an employee workplace retirement plan, your phase-out range moved to a modified AGI between $61,000 and $71,000 from $60,000 to $70,000 in 2014. For couples filing jointly, the phase-out range moved up $2,000 and is now $98,000 to $118,000.

These adjustments, while seemingly minor, can really boost your retirement savings. Please ask us for a free consultation to determine if you are doing everything you can to maximize savings for your future.