Personal Finance 101 – The Tax Management Triangle

Don’t you wish that you had a crystal ball to know what the tax rates will be 20 years from now?   In 1970, the top tax marginal tax rate was at 70%.   In 1980, the top marginal tax rate was still at 70%.   In 1990, the top marginal tax rate hit a historical low of 28%.   In 2000, that top marginal tax rate had moved back up to 39.6%.   Just one year ago in 2010, the top marginal tax rate settled at 35%. (source: taxfoundation.org)  With all the uncertainty going on with our debt and taxes, how can you best plan your finances for the certainty of uncertainty when it comes to income taxes? Over the years, we’ve adopted a tax triangle methodology around taxes and investing.  This allows an individual investor or business owner to think about where they place their investments and tax strategy upon the accumulation and distribution phase.  Here are the three sides to the triangle. ...

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Personal Finance 101 – Retirement Planning – Getting Income From The Water Faucet

Last week in Retirement Planning 101, I discussed the different types of investments used in retirement plans. If you do a good job saving during your working career, the most difficult phase of retirement planning in my opinion is the distribution phase. Since most people who think they are ready to financially retire worry about running out of money, figuring out the right way to take income from your investments is crucial during retirement.  I think about retirement asset distribution much like the water faucet you have at home. You need to know which spicket to turn on in order to minimize taxation while you take home the most net income possible. Remember that the first couple of years of retirement will generally result in a slightly larger amount of income needed before you settle into your regular expense mode for retirement income.  We have found over the years that clients will spend more in the beginning of retirement filling ...

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