Blog

Why Become a CFP® Certificant?

By Bruce Starks, CPA, CFP®

The Financial Planning profession is expected to grow dramatically in the near term according to a recent CFP Board newsletter. The Board expects the need for personal financial advisors to shoot up by some 41% in the near term and continue leading the average occupation growth through 2020. If you are currently practicing as a…

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Student Question of the Week: The Applicable Exclusion Amount

By Bruce Starks, CPA, CFP®

Student Question from Andy MCourse: Estate Tax Planning Student Question: A correct response to a question in the textbook reads, “If an individual does not use the Unified Credit, it cannot be TRANSFERRED to others for their use.” Although the 2014 Unified Credit of $2,081,800 is not the same as the $5,340,000 Applicable Exclusion Amount,…

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Student Question of the Week: Buy-Sell Agreements

By Dan Madden, CFP®

Student Question from Holly SCourse: Income Tax Planning Student Question: Hi Dan. On this page, step 6 of the Stock Redemption steps seems incorrect. My understanding from a prior lesson was that the remaining owner % would be unchanged (stay at 33% in this example) since the corporation bought the deceased owner’s shares. What am…

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Student Question of the Week: Emergency Fund

By Dan Madden, CFP®

Student Question from Sophie LCourse: Fundamentals of Financial Planning Student Question: Hi Dan, The adequate amount for an Emergency Fund is 3 months for married clients who both have substantial and reliable income. What is the generally accepted level, if any, for “substantial income”? In Question 3, I considered that $60,000 per spouse was not…

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Bipartisan Solutions for America’s Broken Tax Code

By Bruce Starks, CPA, CFP®

Congressman Dave Camp (R-MI), Chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, recently released draft legislation dubbed The Tax Reform Act of 2014 (TRA 2014). TRA 2014 aims at job growth, a simpler and fairer tax code, and putting more hard-earned income back into the hands of taxpayers.  Laudable goals all, but the bigger news…

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Student Question of the Week: Ownership of EE Bonds

By Dan Madden, CFP®

Student Question from Pam FCourse:  Fundamentals of Financial Planning Student Question: Hello, My question deals with a situation where a grandparent buys EE bonds for a grandchild and both the grandparent’s name and the grandchild’s name are listed as owners on the bonds.  In that situation, would the bonds be counted as the child’s asset…

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Student Question of the Week: Entering Negative Numbers

By Dan Madden, CFP®

Student: Question from Natalie PCourse:  Fundamentals of Financial Planning Student Question: Hello,  What is the general rule for using a negative number when entering payments? I am calculating the second problem on this web page and am having trouble determining why I need to use a negative when entering payments. Thanks so much! Charles has…

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Secrets of the Roth IRA

By Bruce Starks, CPA, CFP®

It would be a mistake to consider the Roth IRA (or Designated Roth account) merely for the income tax-free qualified distributions. There’s more, much more, to the Roth and we’ll reveal a condensed thumbnail of just three commonly overlooked benefits. 1) Minimize the 3.8% Net Investment Income Tax (NIIT) Because the NIIT is based in…

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Student Question of the Week: 3.8% Medicare Surtax

By Dan Madden, CFP®

Student Question from Leslie GCourse:  Fundamentals of Insurance Planning Student Question: Hi Dan, I’m confused on how I would know whether or not to apply the 3.8% Medicare surtax in the following CFP Board released question.  How can I know without knowing their AGI? Your client’s federal marginal tax rate is 35% and the state…

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