How Changes in Bypass Trusts and Portability Rules could affect your Federal Estate Tax and Planning

While something of a ‘wait and see’ game, the portability rules governing a spouse’s unused estate tax exemption signed into (temporary) law in 2010 were all but guaranteed to become permanent in the new year. They provided an easier alternative to Bypass Trusts, which essentially became an extra step in securing estate funds that could […]

Financial Advice That’s Too Good To Be True

I tell my kids that if something seems too good to be true, it usually is. That logic surrounded a discussion I had in my office last week with a very nice couple from Marstons Mills, Don and Kathy. They had read an article I wrote on variable annuities highlighting questions to ask before purchasing […]

Backdoor Roth IRA: Appropriate Or Not?

Last week I received a phone call from a very nice young woman, Stephanie. She is a faithful Cutter Family Finance reader who wants to stay financially fit.   Stephanie wants to contribute to a Roth IRA. She is concerned about taxes rising in the future and she does not want to bear that burden. […]

‘Free’ College Loans? Nope . . . You Pay!

Decisions have consequences. Some things just don’t work out the way we plan.   Who has heard of the Income-Based Repayment (IBR) plan the US government has implemented for federal student loans? The truth is: not many. More than 12 percent of student loan borrowers are defaulting, even while there are other options—such as Income-Based […]

‘Set It And Forget It’ Investing . . . Are You Nuts?

I have crazy sleep patterns. Oftentimes I wake up in the middle of the night . . . just thinking about things. When I cannot sleep, I like “channel surfing” to check out the infomercials on TV.   The other night, I was channel surfing and came across an ad for a rotisserie and barbecue […]

Social Security – It’s Complicated!

A sound retirement plan consists of three essential pieces: an advanced tax plan (ATP), an income plan, and an investment plan. While the investment plan should be the nucleus, proper income and tax plans are critical and are often overlooked.   Social Security is a very important piece of the income strategy. Over the past […]

Common Portfolio Misconceptions

Lately, I have met a slew of folks all wanting to have the same old discussions about allocation strategies, historical performance, top mutual fund managers, price to earnings (PE) ratios, or whatever else their brokers deem to be the hot topic of the day in the shark-infested shallows of the stock market noise. And although […]

Where’s The Beef?

Last week I traveled to Des Moines, Iowa. It was a great opportunity. I was asked to speak to a group of financial advisors on effective financial strategies to use in a challenging financial environment. While I hate being away from Jill and the kids, I like flying alone because I am able to read […]

Trusts As Beneficiaries: Why?

Often when I am performing a financial review for folks, I am asked whether they should name a trust as the beneficiary of an IRA. The first question I ask anyone who is thinking of naming a trust as an IRA beneficiary is . . . Why?   Naming a trust as an IRA beneficiary […]

Are The Markets Rigged?

Last week John and his very lovely wife Stephanie, from Sandwich, came to my office seeking advice. They have been “do it yourselfer” investors using a big Boston brokerage house for almost twenty years. They said that they were “hurt” in down years such as 2001, 2002, and 2008, but not nearly as much as […]