Financial Planning Newsletter
As we near the end of 2010, I wanted to touch on a number of topics that might be of interest to you.
It's the season for giving and many of you may be considering year end charitable contributions for tax purposes. There is no shortage of organizations that you can contribute to, but how do you know your donations are truly going to a good purpose? One way to find out is to do a little research on the non-profit prior to sending your check. The two websites below offer you a way to review the efficiency and legitimacy of the organization:
Long Term Care issues:
A few recent news headlines in the financial press have gotten my attention. The first was that John Hancock was raising premiums on all new LTC policies by as much as 40% and stopping enrollment on any new group plans. The second news headline was that MetLife was pulling out of the Long Term Care insurance space completely. It seems that the companies underestimated the lifespan of the population and the cost of care when designing the policies years ago.
With fewer insurance companies competing for the LTC business, changes will begin to appear: The first being that other LTC insurers will probably follow suit with Hancock and begin to raise premiums for all new policies going forward. The second is that this may spur more creative ways to cover LTC illnesses with hybrid Life policies and/or annuity type conversions. I will keep you posted as I hear of any changes. If you have an existing policy more than likely you will be unaffected, the changes will be for future policyholders.
Taxes: will they or won't they?
Everybody seems to be watching and waiting regarding the expiration of the Bush tax cuts. Since the elections several weeks ago there was talk that an extension of the tax rates would be put in place. Seems an awful lot like the estate tax debate this time last year, no one thought that Congress would actually let the estate tax lapse in 2010 and then revert back to 2002 levels in 2011, however that is what has transpired so far. What this means for you is that if you have long term capital gains to take watch closely, if an extension is not put in place soon you will want to claim those gains this year. If not you will be paying 5% more in taxes next year on those same gains.
One last note for clients:
This year has been a techie one for the practice. The Web Portal was rolled out this past summer and now to follow it is the adoption of Web Conferencing. For clients that are to busy to come into the office or for those that are out of state, we can now meet online. I have incorporated Fuze Meeting into the practice which allows me to share my desktop with you to review financial plans, investment reports or any other financial documents. Best yet it is easy to use, all you have to do is log into a website - nothing to download.
I hope that you have a great Holiday Season. As always if you have any questions about this months topics feel free to email.