Five Investment Tasks to Tackle by Year-End

Market turbulence in 2020 may have wreaked havoc on your investment goals for the year. It probably also highlighted the importance of periodically reviewing your investment portfolio to determine whether adjustments are needed to keep it on track. Now is a good time to take on these five year-end investment tasks.

1. Evaluate Your Investment Portfolio

Continue reading “Five Investment Tasks to Tackle by Year-End”

Key Numbers Projected for 2021

Key Numbers Projected for 2021

Even though the official numbers have not yet been published by the IRS, we wanted to send over the projected key tax figures for 2021. When the official numbers are released, we’ll share an update with an associated Email Alert.

Standard deduction
2020 Projected for 2021
Married filing jointly $24,800 $25,100
Head of household $18,650 $18,800
Single $12,400 $12,550
Married filing separately $12,400 $12,550
Standard deduction for dependent Greater of $1,100 or $350 + earned income Greater of $1,100 or $350 + earned income
Additional standard deduction for blind or aged (65 or older)
Single/Head of household $1,650 $1,700
All others $1,300 $1,350
Taxable income threshold for top 37% income tax bracket
2020 Projected for 2021
Married filing jointly $622,050 $628,300
Head of household $518,400 $523,600
Single $518,400 $523,600
Married filing separately $311,025 $314,150
Long-term capital gain 20% threshold (based on taxable income)
2020 Projected for 2021
Married filing jointly $496,600 $501,600
Head of household $469,050 $473,750
Single $441,450 $445,850
Married filing separately $248,300 $250,800
Alternative minimum tax (AMT)
2020 Projected for 2021
Maximum AMT exemption amount
Married filing jointly $113,400 $114,600
Single/Head of household $72,900 $73,600
Married filing separately $56,700 $57,300
Exemption phaseout threshold
Married filing jointly $1,036,800 $1,047,200
Single/Head of household $518,400 $523,600
Married filing separately $518,400 $523,600
26% on AMTI* up to amount, 28% on AMTI above amount
Married filing separately $98,950 $99,950
All others $197,900 $199,900

*Alternative minimum taxable income

Kiddie tax: Child’s unearned income
2020 Projected for 2021
Above this amount taxed using parents’ tax rates $2,200 $2,200
IRAs
2020 Projected for 2021
Contribution limits
Traditional and Roth IRAs (combined) $6,000 ($7,000 if age 50 or older) $6,000 ($7,000 if age 50 or older)
Roth IRA income phaseout range (contributions)
Single/Head of household $124,000 to $139,000 $125,000 to $140,000
Married filing jointly $196,000 to $206,000 $198,000 to $208,000
Married filing separately $0 to $10,000 $0 to $10,000
Traditional IRA income phaseout range (deductibility)
1. Covered by an employer-sponsored plan and filing as:
Single/Head of household $65,000 to $75,000 $66,000 to $76,000
Married filing jointly $104,000 to $124,000 $105,000 to $125,000
2. Not covered by plan but filing joint return with covered spouse $196,000 to $206,000 $198,000 to $208,000
3. Married filing separately and either spouse is covered by plan $0 to $10,000 $0 to $10,000
Estate planning
2020 Projected for 2021
Top gift, estate, and generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax rate 40% 40%
Annual gift tax exclusion $15,000 $15,000
Noncitizen spouse annual gift tax exclusion $157,000 $159,000
Gift tax and estate tax applicable exclusion amount $11,580,0001 + DSUEA2 $11,700,0001 + DSUEA2
GST tax exemption $11,580,000 $11,700,000

1Basic exclusion amount

2Deceased spousal unused exclusion amount

 

Continue reading “Key Numbers Projected for 2021”

A little bit of insight to share

Here are some bullet points that came across my desk today.  I hope they help make some senses out of the passage of the recent Acts.

Highlights of the SECURE Act include:

Age restrictions on contributions to a Traditional IRA have been eliminated

  • For clients born on or after July 1, 1949, the age for starting required minimum distributions
  • (RMDs) has been increased to 72
  • Beneficiary distribution choices for deaths that occur starting in 2020 have been changed/updated
  • Distributions for qualified birth or adoption expenses are penalty-free up to $5,000

Highlights of the CARES Act include:

  • RMDs, including those from Beneficiary IRAs, have been waived for 2020
  • Coronavirus-related distributions (CRDs) are penalty-free up to $100,000 through December 30,
  • 2020
  • CRDs can be repaid over three years, or taxes can be spread over three years

7 Reasons to Be Happy Even if Things Aren’t Perfect Now

By Lori Deschene

“Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. It means you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.” ~Unknown

Even though I couldn’t possibly care less about oil-based raincoats, I listened to him talk for about fifteen minutes one rainy morning last week.

This little guy, with his colorful button-down shirt and funny-looking hat makes my day most mornings. He works at the 7-11 where I get my coffee. And he always seems happy.

At first I thought he was just putting on a good face, making the best of a tough situation. After all, he couldn’t possibly enjoy working at a convenience store, right? Continue reading “7 Reasons to Be Happy Even if Things Aren’t Perfect Now”

Turbulent Times: Bear Markets Come and Go

The longest bull market in history lasted almost 11 years before coronavirus fears and the realities of a seriously disrupted U.S. economy brought it to an end.1

Bear markets are typically defined as declines of 20% or more from the most recent high, and bull markets are sustained increases of 20% or more from the bear market low. But there is no official declaration, so often there are different interpretations and a fair amount of debate regarding when these cycles begin and end.  Continue reading “Turbulent Times: Bear Markets Come and Go”

Debit or Credit? Pick a Card

Americans use debit cards more often than credit cards, but they tend to use credit cards for higher-dollar transactions. The average value of a debit-card transaction in 2018 was just $36, while credit-card transactions averaged $89.1

This usage reflects fundamental differences between the two types of cards. A debit card acts like a plastic check and draws directly from your checking account, whereas a credit-card transaction is a loan that remains interest-free only if you pay your monthly bill on time. For this reason, people may use a debit card for regular expenses and a credit card for “extras.” However, when deciding which card to use, you should be aware of other differences.  Continue reading “Debit or Credit? Pick a Card”

How Women Are Different from Men, Financially Speaking

Women today have never been in a better position to achieve financial security for themselves and their families. What financial course will you chart?

We all know men and women are different in some fundamental ways. But is this true when it comes to financial planning? In a word, yes.

Everyone wants financial security. But women often face unique obstacles that can affect their ability to achieve it. Let’s look at some of these potential headwinds. Continue reading “How Women Are Different from Men, Financially Speaking”