June 20, 2022 Weekly Update

We do love it when someone refers a family member or friend to us.  Sometimes the question is, “How can we introduce them to you?”   Well, there are multiple ways but a very easy way is to simply forward them a link to this webpage.

Here are this week’s items:

Portfolio Update:  Murs and I have recorded our portfolio update for June 20, 2022 

This Weeks Podcast -Steven Jarvis – Mid-Year Tax Strategies

Are you committed to having a tax-planning conversation outside the tax season? The only way to win in the tax game is to have a proactive approach when it comes to tax planning.

It’s important to be committed to having some kind of tax-planning conversation on any topic, especially…

 

This Weeks Blog –Tax Planning For Retirement

Mid-Year Tax Strategies You Should Consider

We recently sat down with one of our good friends Steven Jarvis CPA to discuss tax strategies everyone should be considering whether they’re currently in the middle of retirement planning or trying to secure their retirement.

In one of our previous podcasts, we also sat down with Steven to discuss taxes.

In fact, many of our clients also started working with Steven, and one thing that we continue hearing is that he helps eliminate the stress of taxes. According to him, the stress comes from stressing about doing taxes in April rather than engaging in tax planning throughout the year.

Steven and his team work intensely after-tax season to ensure that their clients follow the recommended tax strategies. So, we’re going to pick Steven’s brain to see what he recommends for your mid-year tax strategies.

First, Don’t Be Under the Impression That There’s Nothing You Can Do About Your Taxes

Before going any further, how did you feel about your taxes this year? Did you feel like you did your duty, paid your taxes and there was nothing else that you could do? If so, you’re like a lot of people that accept taxes as being a part of life.

And they are.

But you shouldn’t leave the IRS a tip because you’re not leveraging tax strategies. Taking a proactive approach to your taxes means that you’ll minimize your tax burden as much as legally possible.

Since it’s the middle of the year, it’s time to start thinking about them to lower your coming tax burden.

A few options available are:

Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs)

QCDs are one of the tax strategies that we often see with our clients. Steven explains that a QCD works by:

  • Taking money directly from your IRA
  • Sending the money straight to the charity
  • Meeting the QCD requirement of 70 1/2

The money cannot be made out to you or hit your bank account to benefit from a QCD. Instead, this is a process we look at in conjunction with handling your required minimum distributions (RMDs).

QCDs are powerful because when you take money from your bank account and donate it to a charity, there’s a 90% chance you’re not benefitting from it come tax season. 

Why?

Ninety percent of people do not itemize their tax returns, so they’re unable to deduct their donations.

QCDs allow you to:

  • Gift directly to charity
  • Benefit from lower income and tax rates

Another advantage of a QCD is that it lowers your adjusted gross income, too. Why is having a lower adjusted gross income important? Your Medicare benefit costs will be lower if your AGI is lower.

So, you’re:

  • Paying less in healthcare costs
  • Lowering your taxes
  • Donating to a cause you care about

QCDs are a great way to give back and receive a benefit from it, too. However, if you’re not 70-1/2 or the standard deduction is more beneficial than itemizing your taxes, what can you do?

Use a donor advised fund.

Donor Advised Funds and How They Work

A donor advised fund (DAF) is something to consider when you can’t use QCDs. DAFs allow you not to tip the IRS and still take a standard deduction. These funds will enable you to:

  • Lump multiple years of donations into a fund
  • Taxpayers still control the funds
  • Eventually use the funds for charitable purposes
  • Get your donations above the standard deduction to itemize

For example, if you donate $10,000 a year, you may not have enough to itemize and take the deduction. Instead, you may decide to put $30,000 into a DAF and immediately benefit by being able to itemize your taxes.

You don’t even need to distribute all the funds to a charity today and can simply opt to give every year to a charity of your choice. The key is to send these funds to a charity at some point.

So, this year, you put $30,000 into a DAF, itemize your taxes, and lower your tax burden.

Next year, you’ll likely go back to the standard deduction, so you’re paying less taxes this year and not paying any additional taxes for years you don’t contribute to a DAF.

However, there are also Roth conversions, which may help you with your tax strategies, too.

Roth Conversions to Lower Your Tax Burden

A Roth conversion converts a non-Roth account into a Roth. You take money out and pay taxes on it now, and let it grow tax-free in the future. You’ll pay more taxes this year, but your money grows tax-free afterward, which is great as your retirement accounts gain interest over the years.

Should you do a Roth conversion? 

We believe everyone should consider a Roth conversion, but what does Steven think? We asked him.

  • Everyone should consider a Roth conversion if they have IRA dollars.
  • Conversions aren’t the right option for everyone.
  • Roth conversions this year happen at a discount because of the markets.

In 2026, taxes are set to go up if nothing else changes, so putting money into a Roth account protects you from higher tax burdens.

If you’re in your peak earning years, it may not be in your best interest to go into a Roth conversion.

Steven states that the only way you’re worse off is if taxes go down. But are you really convinced that taxes will go down in the near future? Most people respond with no.

In this case, a Roth conversion is beneficial.

You’ll need to make your Roth conversion by 12/31 of the year.

Finally, Steven recommends having tax conversations outside of the tax season. You need to take a proactive approach to your taxes, work with a CPA and develop tax strategies to save money on your upcoming taxes.

If you wait until March or April to think about your taxes, it’s too late.

Sit down with a professional, discuss your options and determine what tax strategies you can use this year to lower your taxes – or not leave the IRS a tip.

Click here to learn more about our book: Secure Your Retirement: Achieving Peace of Mind for Your Financial Future.

Tax Strategies for Non-IRA Brokerage Accounts

Tax strategies come into play a lot in retirement planning. Retirees, or future retirees, want to keep as much money in their pockets as possible, and strong tax planning can do just that. When dealing with non-IRA accounts, such as a brokerage account, you’ll even receive a 1099, which takes a lot of people by surprise.

We’re going to walk you through a strategy that will outline taxes on brokerage accounts.

Taxes on Brokerage Accounts or Non-IRA Accounts

An IRA is the ideal way to not have to pay taxes, but these accounts are limited. Most people will have a brokerage account of some form created to leverage other financial investments. Understanding how a brokerage account is taxed is the first step in really understanding how these taxes work.

How Taxes on a Brokerage Account Work

When you have a brokerage account, whether it be Charles Schwab, TD Ameritrade or others, taxes always work the same. Brokerage accounts are often opened when you have money in the bank that really isn’t working for you.

You want to make this money grow, so you open a brokerage account and start investing in stocks, mutual funds and other financial vehicles.

As the money grows, you’ll have gains.

With brokerage accounts, or a non-qualified account, you’ll be paying taxes on the gains in the account. Let’s assume that you put $100,000 into the account and now you have $200,000 in the account, or $100,000 in gains.

There are a few things that can happen here in terms of taxes:

  1. If dividends are paid and then reinvested, you’ll still receive a 1099, which means you’ll have to pay taxes on these dividends even if you simply kept investing the money you were paid out.
  2. If you own stock and then sell it, you’ll generate a taxable gain on the sale of the stock. There are two main ways that these gains will be taxed:
    1. Short-term: If you hold the stock for less than a year, you’ll pay a short-term capital gains tax, which is in your income category.
    2. Long-term: If you hold your stock for a year and a day, or longer, you fall into the long-term capital gains category. This is favorable, right now, because you’ll pay a lower tax rate. You can view the tax rate on the IRS’ website, but as of right now, you would be taxed at a rate of 15%[1] if your taxable income was $100,000.

We have a lot of clients who are trying to secure their retirement, and they may not want to sell off a stock that they held for a long time due to the tax bracket that they would fall into. This is where it can get tricky for a lot of people when trying to figure out the best time to sell.

There are pros and cons to investment management.

Positives and Negatives with Investment Management

Investment management will often turn into managing risks or taxes. For example, let’s assume that you don’t want to pay taxes on your Tesla holdings, and the stock is booming. You hold on to the stock for years, and natural market fluctuations occur.

Your stock holdings may have been worth 30% more three years ago, but you wanted to avoid paying taxes, so you didn’t sell.

In this case, you managed your taxes rather than your investment and the risk is that the stock went down. You’ll still have to pay taxes if and when you sell your holdings, and you lost significant value in the process.

It’s not an easy conversation to have because no one wants to pay taxes, but there’s no way to avoid them completely.

You need to decide:

  • Do you want to protect your investments?
  • Do you want to shelter against taxes?

We deal with this scenario a lot, and it “sounds” like it actually goes against what we’ve said in the past. But you have to keep reading because this is a strategy that works well if you’re stuck debating on what to do with your brokerage account taxes.

What’s the strategy? A variable annuity.

Yes, we did an entire episode on variable annuities, and we don’t like them personally. Why? You’ll be paying fees of 3% to 5% per year, but then you have to pay additional fees on top of this.

We still wouldn’t put IRA money into an annuity because it doesn’t make sense.

Wait! Is There Really an Option in the Variable Annuity World?

Yes, even though we’ve given you a bunch of negatives to think about with these variable annuities, this is one of the rare circumstances where they may have some benefit. We’ve found a positive in variable annuities when you don’t want to pay capital gains taxes.

Why?

Your goal is to save on taxes and not have to pay taxes on the brokerage account. We want to be able to alleviate the tax gain while protecting it, too. The simple plan is to put your money into a tax-sheltered product like an annuity.

In this case, you can:

  • Avoid surrender charges
  • Avoid having to pay commission
  • Liquidate the fund immediately

The only thing that you will have to pay is a $20 monthly fee. You only need to think about taxes when you make a withdrawal, which can be 10, 15 or even 20 years from now. You can do everything that you can with a brokerage account with this variable annuity.

For a small $240 fee a year with this particular annuity, you can avoid having to pay short-term capital gains or when you need to make withdrawals.

The account can even have beneficiaries that you leave the account to if you die.

If you’re interested in this type of account, please contact us to find out whether it’s a good option for you. Again, not all annuity accounts work in the way that we described above, so this is a special option that we’re using with our clients.

Not sure how to begin to secure your retirement? Click here to access our 4 Steps to Secure Your Retirement Course.

Resources

  1. https://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc409