The Dow industrials and the S&P 500 continued to set all-time records with an eighth consecutive week of gains for both. And though the Nasdaq remained far from its all-time high, it finally managed to surpass the 4,000 threshold last seen more than 13 years ago. Meanwhile, the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield remained stable.Read More
Women can face special challenges when saving for retirement. Generally speaking, women tend to spend less time in the workforce, and when they do work, they typically earn less than men in comparable jobs. As a result, women’s retirement plan balances, Social Security benefits, and pension benefits are often lower than their male counterparts. In addition, women generally live longer than men, so they typically have to stretch their retirement savings and benefits over a longer period of time.Read More
If you’re currently enrolled in Medicare, you’ve probably begun receiving information about your coverage. That’s because the annual enrollment period for Medicare runs from October 15 through December 7. During this period, you can make changes to your Medicare coverage that will be effective on January 1, 2014. If you’re satisfied with your current coverage you don’t need to make changes, but you should review your options before you decide to stay with your current plan.Read More
While the Affordable Care Act (ACA) became law in 2010, several of the more substantive provisions of the law don’t take effect until 2014. Here’s a review of some of the key parts of the ACA that are scheduled to begin in 2014.
The ACA imposes a shared responsibility mandate, which requires that most U.S. citizens and legal residents of all ages (including children and dependents) have minimum essential health coverage or pay a penalty tax, unless otherwise exempt. The monthly penalty is equal to the greater of a declared dollar amount ($95 in 2014) or a percentage of the individual’s gross income.
Note: The employer’s mandate to provide coverage for employees was also scheduled to begin in 2014; however, the requirement will not be enforced until January 2015.
Today’s large gift tax applicable exclusion amount, low gift tax rates, depressed property values, and low interest rates create a favorable environment for making certain gifts.
Federal gift tax basics
Annual exclusion. Each year, you can give a certain amount ($14,000 in 2013 and 2014) to as many individuals as you like gift tax free.
Qualified transfers exclusion. You can give an unlimited amount on behalf of any individuals for tuition or medical expenses gift tax free. You must pay the amount directly to the educational or medical care provider.
Applicable exclusion amount. Gifts can also be sheltered by the applicable exclusion amount, which can protect gifts of up to $5,340,000 (in 2014, $5,250,000 in 2013). The dollar limit applies to all taxable gifts you make during your lifetime and to your estate at your death for federal estate tax purposes.Read More