Asset Planning, Inc Blog

The latest from the team.

Wishing you a Happy Easter and Happy Passover!

Easter and Passover 2019.

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FSA Eligible Items on Amazon

There is now a whole section of Flexible Spending Account eligible items available on Amazon. In case you don't know what an FSA is, it is an account that you put pre-tax money into that you use to pay out-of-pocket health care costs with. The limit per person each year is $2,650 and most plans require that you use up that amount each year. Even though there is a limit of $2,650 a year you are not required to contribute that much. You can estimate what you think you spend per year and only contribute that amount. People use their FSA accounts to pay for copays, deductibles and prescriptions but there is a lot of over the counter products that meet the eligibility requirements ranging from blood pressure testers all the way to sunscreen and lotion.

Most of the time FSA owners will pay for these out of pocket expenses and then submit a claim form to be reimbursed but there is another option. You can now request a debit card for your FSA and pay directly for these expenses using that card. If you would like to order from Amazon, you would enter your FSA credit card information and select that card as your form of payment. When I was looking on Amazon I simply searched for FSA eligible items and was amazed at all of the products that were available and that I would be able to use for my family on a daily basis. This is a great way to use up the funds in your FSA account.

If you do not have a Flexible Spending Account, it may be something to look into. Not all employers offer them, but it doesn't hurt to ask your human resources department. Remember whatever you do contribute will reduce your taxable income because the contributions are made pre-tax. It's really a great way to pay for your out-of-pocket health care costs.

When googling FSA eligible products, I noticed that there were a lot of other stores that offer them as well. I just love the convenience and delivery options of Amazon, especially if you're a Prime member.

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19 Hits

Internet Security

Padlock

When browsing the internet and logging into certain sites, it's become almost habit to look for the little green padlock to make sure that you are entering a secure website. well, unfortunately a lot of phishing sites have started using the green padlock as well to try to fool the average user. These phishing sites try to copy a legitimate site, pose as an online retailer or other trusted site. Their goal is for you to trust them and enter your personal information, so it can be sold on the dark web and used for identity theft. It's important to always remember to look for the https:// displayed in front of the web address. The padlock by itself means nothing.

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IRA Contributions

While we are deep in the midst of tax season, we thought it was a good idea to remind our clients to get in their 2018 IRA contributions. If you are planning on dropping off a check to us the deadline to get them in is Wednesday, April 10th. This will ensure that your contribution is made before the April 15th tax deadline.

2018 contribution limits are $5,500 or $6,500 if you are over the age of 50

Also, now is as good a time as any to get in your 2019 contributions especially because the limits have been increased. The sooner you get these in the longer they have to grow in your IRA which means more retirement funds for you!

2019 contribution limits are $6,000 or $7,000 if you are 50 years of age or older

When it comes to non-deductible IRA contributions please be sure that you are keeping a record of these contributions by completing tax form 8606 for each year you make a non-deductible contribution. We have run into a few cases where no record is kept, and our clients are left scrambling to find that information when it is time to take distributions from their IRAs. This information will be needed to figure out what amount of your distributions will be counted as taxable income to you, so it is very important.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call us.

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Earthquake App for L.A. County

Check out the new earthquake app called ShakeAlertLA. This new app gives you an alert 20 seconds before an earthquake hits in L.A. County.

The app doesn't predict earthquakes, but it does know when an earthquake happens and when it's on its way to you and every second counts!

The app is available to Apple and Android users.

Here are a couple images of what the alerts look like.

ShakeAlertLA

 

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55 Hits

Happy Holidays!

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Christmas 2018 Blog Photo

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71 Hits

Jury Scam in Orange County

Apparently there is a new scam going around in Orange County. Imposters are calling and claiming that they are from the Orange County Superior Court. They are claiming that you will be facing prosecution for missing jury duty and attempt to obtain your social security number. Read here for more details

The bottom line is, never ever under any circumstances give out any of your personal information such as social security number, birth date etc. to anyone who is calling you that you do not recognize. No reputable company is going to call you out of the blue to ask you for this information. Scammers will stop at nothing to get this valuable information from you so be vigilent in protecting it.

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Deadline for Medicare Open Enrollment is Today

Just a quick reminder that the deadline for Medicare's Open Enrollment is today. If you were planning on making any changes to your plans today is the last time to do that until next October.

Here is a chart with a quick summary of the changes you can make. For more details click on this link.

Medicare Open Enrollment

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63 Hits

Changes to TD Ameritrade's advisorclient.com

Dear Clients with TD Ameritrade accounts

Please read the below announcement from TD Ameritrade detailing the changes to advisorclient.com especially the part about the new two-step security log in option.  

Please be aware the updates to the website have caused some log in problems. TD Ameritrade technical support is aware and working on correcting the issues. You may not be able to log in temporarily.

  

 
 

 

New Login Page

The login page has been redesigned. You will continue to access the site using the same web address, www.AdvisorClient.com. Once logged in, the experience will remain unchanged for now.

TD Ameritrade Institutional

 

New Two-Step Security Feature

The new two-step security feature will allow you to replace your security questions with either a text-based alert or phone call in order to validate your identity. To set this up, you will need to access the new AdvisorClient site by clicking the "Try the new AdvisorClient site now" banner on the current site. Once on the new site, all you have to do is click your name on the top right of the website, and select My Profile. Under the Security and Preferences section, you can click Two-Step Verification and then follow the instructions.

Streamlined Client Enrollment Process

If you do not already have a login, you can enroll at www.advisorclient.com/getstarted. All you need is your account number and access to the phone number we have on file at TD Ameritrade Institutional.


Try Out the New AdvisorClient Experience

If you already have a log in for advisorclient.com, you can try out the new AdvisorClient experience by clicking the "Try the new AdvisorClient now" banner once logged in to the current website. New features include:

 

Upcoming cash activity: Provides details on upcoming cash disbursements and deposits

 

Retirement information: Contributions, distributions, and RMD information are easily found on the landing page

 

Position level gain/loss information: Sourced directly from our cost basis engine, Gainskeeper

 

Tax document e-delivery enrollment: Clients have the ability to opt into electronic delivery of tax statements in lieu of receiving a paper mailing

 

Balance history chart: Provides a historical depiction of the clients account value over time

 

The new AdvisorClient site can be set as your default view by clicking "Set as default" from the green banner on top of the screen.

Let us know if you have any questions about the new AdvisorClient website. Just call TD Ameritrade Institutional Technology Services at 800-400-3500 option 3 and they'll be able to help.

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Earned Income and Social Security Tax

We came across an article on InvestmentNews.com written by Mary Beth Franklin. It gives a great explanation as well as examples and limits on how Social Security benefits are taxed if you are planning on working while collecting social security. Definitely worth a read if you have any income from other sources while collecting Social Security.

 

Click here to read the full article

 

 

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171 Hits

IRA & 401k Contributions Increase for 2019

2019 annual contribution limits for eligible tax filers:

401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans, and Thrift Savings Plan is increased from $18,500 to $19,000.

IRA contributions increased from $5,500 to $6,000 per year. The age 50+ catch-up contribution limit remains at $1,000.

Tax deduction and Income limitations for 2019:

Taxpayers can deduct contributions to a traditional IRA if they meet certain conditions. If during the year either the taxpayer or their spouse was covered by a retirement plan at work, the deduction may be reduced, or phased out, until it is eliminated, depending on filing status and income. (If neither the taxpayer nor their spouse is covered by a retirement plan at work, the phase-outs of the deduction do not apply.) Here are the phase-out ranges for 2019:

If single or joint married taxpayers are not covered by a work retirement plan, they may fully deduct traditional IRA contributions. Other tax filers may partially or fully deduct contributions if they meet the below exceptions:

  • Single taxpayers covered by a work retirement plan, can fully deduct if modified Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) is below $64,000. A partial deduction is allowed if modified AGI is between $64,000 to $74,000
  •  Married Joint taxpayers, where the spouse making the IRA contribution is covered by a workplace retirement plan, can fully deduct if modified AGI is below $103,000. A partial deduction is allowed if modified AGI is between $103,000 to $123,000
  • Married Joint taxpayers, where the spouse making the IRA contribution is not covered by a workplace retirement plan, but the other spouse is, can fully deduct if modified AGI is below $193,000. A partial deduction is allowed if modified AGI is between $193,000 to $203,000

The Modified AGI phase-out range for Roth IRA contributions is $122,000 to $137,000 for singles and heads of household, $193,000-203,000 for married couples filing jointly.

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2019 Medicare and Social Security Changes

Medicare just released the new premiums, deductibles and coinsurance amounts for 2019.

The standard monthly premium for Medicare Part B enrollees will be $135.50 for 2019, an increase of $1.50 from $134 in 2018.

The annual deductible for all Medicare Part B beneficiaries is $185 in 2019, an increase of $2 from the annual deductible $183 in 2018.

If your modified adjusted gross income as reported on your IRS tax return from 2 years ago is above a certain amount, you'll pay the standard premium amount and an Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA)

Here is a chart for reference

Medicare Premium Chart 2019

Social Security announced that in 2019 there will be a 2.8% Cost of Living Adjustment(COLA).

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****Newsletter Correction****

In the Large Vacation and Purchase planning article the married couples income would need to be over $170,000, not 107,000 to see an increase in premiums. So sorry for any confusion this may have caused.

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196 Hits

Wedding Bells!

Kats Wedding Family Web

From left to right-Kimberly, Dexter, me, Kat, Luke, Jorge, Kyle

The highlight of my summer was the wedding of my youngest daughter, Kat, to my new son-in-law, Luke. They were married at Old Ranch Country Club in Seal Beach and it was a beautiful day! He is from Australia and we had quite a fun wedding with the visiting Aussie relatives. The whole family was involved in the wedding, even Dexter (our dog) – he was the flower dog! The planning and details that go into planning a wedding are intense and if you ever need any referrals for photographer, florist, etc. just let me know. We had a great team.    

 

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213 Hits

Trump's Proposes to Extend RMD Age

President Trump issued an executive order directing the Treasury Department to extend the age for required minimum distributions from retirement accounts. Currently the age is 70 1/2. His reasoning is that people are working and living longer. This can be good news for some of our clients who don't necessarily need to take the withdrawals at 70 1/2. Here is an articles from Forbes with some pros and cons to the proposed change.

Read Here

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199 Hits

Informed Delivery by the United States Postal Service

I just found out about a very useful service that the United States Postal Service offers and one that Sandy has been using for a while. It is called Informed Delivery and it sends you a daily email with an image of the mail you will be receiving each day. It is completely free and easy to sign up. I went to USPS.com, logged into my existing account (If you do not already have an account you will need to create one) and under user preferences you can opt into the service. They do verify your identity so no one else can sign up to see your mail. They ask specific questions about you, where you have previously lived etc. This is a great way to know if anything ever goes missing from your mailbox. They even have a link in your daily email to report a piece of missing mail.

Here's an example of my dashboard on the site.

USPS Informed Delivery Dashboard

Signing up for this service is another way to stay one step ahead of identity theft that is so prevalant right now.

Have a great Holiday Weekend!

Melani

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226 Hits

Not Just Tourists- Volunteer Opportunity and Suitcase Donation Drive

Not Just Tourists is a non-political, non-religious, volunteer run program that collects unused medical supplies for those in countries who can't afford them. They collect these supplies from hospitals, clinics, medical suppliers and individuals, pack them in a suitcase and send them with a person traveling to a country in need. The travelor checks the suitcase in on their flight and then delivers the suitcase to a local clinic in the country that they are traveling to. When we heard about this program we just knew that we would have clients who would be interested in helping out during their travels.

Ways you can help:

Volunteer

Donate Suitcases

Donate Medical Supplies

Take Supplies

We will be collecting suitcases at our office to donate to the Orange County Chapter of Not Just Tourists. They prefer donations of full-sized suitcases, but they welcome carry-on size as well. Suitcases should be clean, not too heavy or large, close easily and not be broken or badly torn.

The deadline to drop off your suitcases to our office is Thursday, August 30th.

Our Address

Asset Planning, Inc

10833 Valley View St, Ste 470

Cypress, CA

90630

For more information about the program or to sign up to take a suitcase of supplies with you please go to their website Not Just Tourists.

There you will find detailed FAQ page with any questions you may have.

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224 Hits

Update: REAL ID Act

Back in June we notified you of a new Federal act that goes into effect October 1, 2020. This act will require anyone boarding domestic flights, entering military bases or federal facilities to have a REAL ID. It can either be a REAL ID driver license or a REAL ID identification card and they are issued by the California DMV.

We are being told by clients that appointments to get a new REAL ID are now being scheduled two months out. I just tried to schedule my appointment this morning and the next available appointment is not until October 1st. That's not even including the time it will take for the ID to get to you in the mail.

We strongly urge you to take a moment to schedule your appointment today. You probably won't realize how many places you will need this ID to get into until the act goes into effect. Better to be safe than sorry!

 

 

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Pictures from Our 2nd Annual Ice Cream Social

We had an absolute blast catching up with our clients at our ice cream social on Tuesday. The weather was beautiful, the ice cream was delicious and the company was fantastic! Thank you for all of you who attended. We love the moments when we can sit and chat with you all. Our photo booth pictures were so much fun! Hope to see you all at the next one.

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2nd Annual Ice Cream Social

It was so great catching up with all of you at our last ice cream event that we decided to have another one.

Come beat the heat and grab something sweet to eat!

Bring your friends, neighbors and kids! We'd love to see everyone there!

 

Ice Cream Flyer 2018

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309 Hits

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