Latest Posts

Retirement Plans for Individuals & Businesses

by Brandon Miller on Apr 18, 2018

Retirement Planning, Education, Small Business

Households are saving too little for the future. According to one new analysis, 41% of Gen Xers and 42% of baby boomers have yet to begin saving for retirement. In a recent financial industry survey, 35% of small business owners said they were planning to use the sale proceeds from their company for a retirement fund, an idea which comes with a flashing question mark.1,2
Do you need to build retirement savings? Take a look at these retirement plans:

The Move Toward Fee-Based Advisory Accounts

by Brandon Miller on Apr 11, 2018

Fee-Based, Education, Financial Planning

A major shift has occurred in the financial world. More and more financial professionals have moved away from the industry’s traditional compensation model to a new one – in the eyes of many of them, a better one.
Increasingly, financial professionals are introducing their clients to fee-based accounts. This means a change in the way a financial advisor is paid for some or all services. It also implies a meaningful change in the advisor-client relationship. 

An Update to the Fiduciary Standard

by Brandon Miller on Apr 6, 2018

Fiduciary, Fee-Based, Education

This year, the Department of Labor intends to introduce a new rule regarding retirement plan accounts, with full implementation envisioned by 2018. 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

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.