Latest Posts

Own a home? Here's how the new tax "cut" affects you.

by Brandon Miller on Feb 16, 2018

Homeowners, Financial Planning, Education, Tax

Let’s face it. The cost of owning a home in the Bay Area is crazy high. We pay taxes on top of taxes—at some of the top rates in the nation. Our state taxes alone are the highest of any state in the Union, according to the Federation of Tax Administrators.

But every April 15, homeowners could find a little relief in the form of tax deductions. We could deduct the full amount paid for personal (non-business) state and local property taxes. And that was on top of being able to deduct every dime paid in state and local income tax.

Ah, the good old days.

Tax Deductions Gone in 2018

by Brandon Miller on Jan 23, 2018

Financial Planning, Taxes, Education

Are the days of itemizing over? Not quite, but now that H.R. 1 (popularly called the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act) is the law, all kinds of itemized federal tax deductions have vanished.
   
Early drafts of H.R. 1 left only two itemized deductions in the Internal Revenue Code – one for home loan interest, the other for charitable donations. The final bill left many more standing, but plenty of others fell. Here is a partial list of the itemized deductions unavailable this year.1
  

The Rise of the Fee-Based Financial Professional

by Brandon Miller on Dec 13, 2017

Financial Planning, Fiduciary, Fee-Based

A wave of change is transforming the financial services profession. The shift has been gradual, but noticeable. 
  


In the days before the Internet and gourmet coffee on every corner, compensation usually resulted from product sales. A client opened up an investment, and the broker who “sold” that investment received a commission as an outcome.  
   

Talking to Your Heirs About Your Estate Plan

by Brandon Miller on Dec 4, 2017

Estate Plan, Retirement, Wealth

Talking about "the end" is not the easiest thing to do, and this is one reason why some people never adequately plan for the transfer of their wealth. Those who do create estate plans with help from financial and legal professionals sometimes leave their heirs out of the conversation.

Have you let your loved ones know a little about your estate plan? This is decidedly a matter of personal preference: you may want to share a great deal of information with them, or you may want to keep most of the details to yourself. Either way, they should know some basics.

The Fiduciary Standard

by Brandon Miller on Dec 1, 2017

Financial Planning, Retirement Planning, Fiduciary

This year, there has been a lot of talk about the Department of Labor (DOL) Fiduciary Rule which was to be initially implemented by the start of 2018, but has been delayed until July 2019. Under this new rule, financial professionals who consult retirement savers will be held to a fiduciary standard of care. In other words, they will have an ethical and legal obligation to always act in a client’s best interest.1,2

How To Find Transparency in Your Financial Relationship

by Brandon Miller on Nov 22, 2017

Financial Planning, Retirement, Fiduciary

Choosing a financial advisor is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make. After all, this individual or team will have access to your life’s savings — and you have to trust them to guide you toward the future you desire.
 
But, amidst all the industry hype and jargon, understanding how to identify a true financial ally can be incredibly challenging.
 
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