By CHAS P. SMITH, CPA/PFS and Derek M. Oxford

Excerpts Published Thursday, March 5, 2015 by Lakeland Ledger

Non-qualified (non-retirement plan) variable annuities allow investors to stash an unlimited amount of cash for retirement.  Also, that money grows tax-deferred until you withdraw it.  Funds invested in variable annuities are insurance products and may be creditor proof in some states. Annuity contracts do have the advantage over mutual funds to defer income taxes until withdrawals occur.  You can switch portfolio allocations, rebalance your account, or even conduct a 1035 exchange from one annuity to the other without paying any taxes at all.   Variable annuities (VA) are one of the fastest-selling investment product on the market.  It’s no mistake why these insurance products seems so enticing to investors. (more…)

For most young investors, tax filing consists of a single W-2 and possibly some student loan interest deductions.  What many young investors aren’t doing, however, is taking advantage of workplace 401(k) contributions and IRA contributions.  These are just two simple solutions to help young investors lower their taxable income while saving money to reach financial freedom (financial independence) in the future.

Besides contributing to an IRA before the April 15 tax deadline, below are a few simple tips to help with this year’s income tax. (more…)

A good family relationship starts with good communication.  A family should be able to talk about important topics like wealth and money.  It might not be in your interest to divulge specifics about wills, wealth transfer percentages, or who gets what material item, but it is a good idea to let your family members know that you have a plan in place when the time comes.

Below are a few good habits for you to include in your family discussions about wealth transfer.  These conversations can be difficult and emotional.  Being open and honest will create an atmosphere where everyone is comfortable.  (more…)

A new year is here and a bright future inspires many resolutions, and if you haven’t already done so, make 2015 the year to get your financial house in order.  As the newness of 2015 slips away, I am reminded of a line by John Lennon, “Life is what happens while we are making other plans.”  Financial planning may seem like a daunting task, but it really parallels the structure of a fitness program. (more…)

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