Planned Giving News and Information
April, 2015
The following is intended as general information and does not represent legal or tax advice. The information presented is the view of the author. Individual circumstances vary - please consult your legal and tax advisors about your specific situation. To return to the general planned giving pages, please close this browser window. This News and Information section has been compiled by Future Focus.

No person was ever honored for what he received.  Honor has been the reward for what he gave.  

Calvin Coolidge

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Don’t Let These 401(k) and IRA Mistakes Ruin Your Retirement Finances
Tax-advantaged retirement plans provide many workers with a chance to save for the future and reduce their tax bill at the same time. Employer-sponsored retirement plans are easy to use, and many contributions are deducted from paychecks, so the investing becomes automatic. However, retirement accounts also require workers to make important decisions, and many investors make mistakes that can reduce their ability to build wealth. Here are some serious retirement plan errors to avoid:
Read more.

Ways To Keep Your Money Safe
More than "middle seat," "lost reservation" or "canceled flight," the two words that have the power to rattle even the most intrepid traveler are, "Stop, thief!" You may have the inside scoop on where to find the best deals on hotels and how to pack like a million-miler, but knowing how to keep your money safe while traveling is both an art and a science. For a worry-free journey, follow this advice from frequent jetsetters and travel experts. Read more.

Claiming a Tax Deduction for Medical and Dental Expenses
Your medical expenses may save you money at tax time, but a few key rules apply. Here are some tax tips to help you determine if you can claim a tax deduction:
You must itemize.  You can only claim your medical expenses that you paid for in 2014 if you itemize deductions on your federal tax return. If you take the standard deduction, you can’t claim these expenses. Read more

Nonprofit Tax Changes Are Possible This Year, Says House Aide
Nonprofits could see important changes in tax policy from Congress during the current session even though a broad tax overhaul is unlikely to advance this year, according to a leading tax expert in the House.
The Obama administration and many members of Congress have indicated a preference to proceed only with business-related tax changes, rather than opening up the entire tax code for debate. That means provisions like the charitable deduction are unlikely to change this year. But other areas of charitable tax policy are up for grabs, said Harold Hancock, tax counsel for the House Ways and Means Committee. Read more.

Six Bad Reasons To Makes Changes To Your Portfolio
The bull market is about to enter its seventh year and it seems like a lot of investors are just itching to make a change to their portfolio or investing habits.
Giving in to the feeling of the seven-year itch is bad news for most investors because they haven’t yet had a six-year rally. They didn’t see this coming — no one did — and were so shaken by the implosion of the financial crisis that they weren’t in on this bull run at the beginning.
Now many people are looking at a reason to get out before the party is over. Depending on who you talk with, however, the party is far from over. Read more.

Spousal Benefits Can Provide Found Money
Social Security’s spousal benefit was created in 1939, at a time when women, by and large, didn’t work outside their homes. So, even though they had never received a paycheck, it was a way for the government to recognize women’s unpaid contribution for raising children and running a household.
Today, both spouses often work, and the spousal benefit is providing an unintended reward for married couples. In fact, there are stories of three divorced wives all collecting the spousal benefits from their marriages to the same man. A few years ago, academics and financial advisors started touting the benefit as “found money.” In fact, this benefit strategy has been so well-publicized that the Obama administration has proposed ending it, reportedly because the benefit is taken mainly by wealthier workers. Read more.

Obama Budget Would Upend Estate Plans
Just when you thought the estate tax laws were permanent, President Barack Obama comes out with a comprehensive plan for changes that would take away many strategies that save wealthy families taxes. GRATs, annual exclusion gifts, generation-skipping trusts, you name it, it’s on the list of tax-saving strategies under attack in the FY2016 budget. And the bigger picture: Obama wants to turn the clock back to 2009 when the estate tax exemption was $3.5 million per person, the lifetime gift/GST exemptions were just $1 million per person, and the top tax rate was 45%. There’s real money at stake. Read more.

Don't Be a Statistic: Preventing Diabetes
The numbers are staggering. An estimated 29 million Americans are diabetic, and an additional 86 million suffer from prediabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Half of all seniors over the age of 65 suffer from prediabetes, which means that blood-glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. People with prediabetes are at an increased risk for developing Type 2 diabetes and for heart disease and stroke. Diabetes is something to take seriously, because, if left untreated, diabetics can suffer from kidney damage, blindness, hearing impairment, amputation, stroke and heart disease. The good news is that, because so many Americans either have the disease or are at risk for it, research and government programs are eager to find solutions and offer support. One of the most effective prevention methods is a CDC program that offers weekly group sessions. Read more.


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Please note, individual financial circumstances will vary. The information on this site is meant as general information and does not represent legal or tax advice. The information presented is the view of the author. As with all tax and estate planning, please consult your attorney or estate specialist. All material is copyrighted and is for viewing purposes only. This News and Information section has been compiled by Future Focus. Please report any problems to webmaster.