• $ You will live Longer and need More money, how to improve your 401-k and IRA

    Dear Friends, It's more and more likely you will live to be over 100, and healthy. But you will still want to retire at 65 :) Will you have enough money (assets) ? This isn't just your CPA talking, this is becoming accepted in financial planning. Investments with just 3% less expenses (or gains) will be several Hundred Thousand Dollars more after thirty years of compounding. Imagine the compounding if you made just 5% more per annum on your assets? Now imagine you have money invested for another 60 years. Can you afford to just "ride through" many 10% or 20%, or more, stock market and investment "corrections", which will likely be occurring more often than recent markets were? Sometimes lasting a year? Sometimes lasting several years? What if there is a decade of just up and down? Where would you be then? At someone's mercy? How about just doing something simple like just avoiding investments in the likely "lesser performing" stock market sectors? Thereby improving the rate of return on your mutual funds? And then compounding that effect over many years? Those sectors change some every year but it's not too hard to forward guess ahead if you know what Tools to use to Self-Manage your 401k or IRA. Generally stock markets, the "smart money", will move more money into Money Market Cash Mutual Funds, and sometimes bond funds, about a year before an actual recession is being felt in the real economy. Once a recession actually starts is actually the about the exact date that the stock market will begin to finally start moving up again. So to move out of Cash and back into Stocks can "feel" painful. But there are market "tells" for when that week, or month, or even year, is. Or : You could at least learn the Tools and Techniques to at the Very Least avoid the most serious times. Which of course you will need to be able to tell ahead of time, And if you want to move slow that's fine, even just a month ahead of severe market troubles can help you a lot. Just having re-allocated investments and sat on the market sidelines in Money Market Funds or in bonds for 1 year, mid 2008 to mid 2009, or even 2008 to 2011, or 2001 and 2002, would have, compared to buy-and-hold, would have Doubled your future retirement funds! Maybe even More than doubled. I have the skills and experience to teach people who do their own investment selections how to use proper tools and proper investment money management and allocations to, at the least be able, to know when it is best to sit on the sidelines in cash or bonds, when to be 50% invested in stocks, and when to be 100% invested in stocks. This information will help you for the rest of your life. And help make sure you aren't eating cat food in later retirement :) This is not investment advice. I am a Tax CPA, Certified Public Accountant, who during the non-tax season months use widely accepted tools and concepts to self-manage my own IRA and pension fund accounts. I can teach you how, quickly and easily. I am not a stock broker or investment advisor. You will need to determine your own investment risk tolerance and how easy or not it is for you to sleep at night during investment assets gyrations. But there are tools available to help you with that if you want to choose your own investments. Which so many of you do. Although I do recommend that everyone, including myself, should use the services of a Certified Financial Planner. If you can't attend Saturday I have several of these tools and methods for you just email me at LakeAustinTaxPro.com or call[masked]. I hope you can attend, you will gain education and information that will last you a lifetime, and especially these next coming few years, and will improve your financial health and knowledge. Don't forget, "One of the most powerful forces in the world is the compounding power of money" - Dr. Albert Einstein. Best always, Doug Tidwell, Your Meetup Organizer

  • The Basics of Personal Financial Planning

    Wheatsville Coop

    As a CPA I've learned basic financial planning, not as thorough as a Certified Financial Planner which is always my recommendation, and I'm not an investment advisor, but I do personally subscribe to the Jim Cramer and Suzy Orman styles of basic investment and financial management and strategic financial planning. If you haven't had time to read a ton of books on the subject then please stop by the cafe at Wheatsville Coop Saturday Aug 25 and I'll share some of the general strategies and tips I've learned in over 20 years as a Certified Public Accountant. This is purely for informational and education purposes and not investing advice. Just a chance to share some of my personal knowledge and experiences with you.

  • Business and Real Estate Insurance, Tips and Tricksters

    I've seen business people, and landlords, mess up their insurance buying. I'm a business CPA not an insurance agent but in my early career as Assistant Comptroller and then Comptroller for 2 midcap public stock exchange traded companies I was involved in the buying process for commercial business and real estate insurances. This isn't legal or insurance advice but purely for educational purposes. Learn some terminologies and tips and options and some agency tricks and other things to avoid if you can. Come join us at Radio Coffee Shop Saturday at noon, or come at 11 am for the other business and real estate and personal financial planning topics

  • IRA, Roth, SEP, 401k, HSA? What's best for your situation? Can you combine?

    Ever wonder about all the differences between IRAs, Roth's, HSA's, SEP,s, 401k and Solo 401k? Which is best for you depends on your specific situation. Today you will learn how to choose between all the options and look at your best choices for employees and self-employeds. Come join us at Radio Coffee Shop Saturday at 11:30, or come at 11 am for the other business and real estate and personal financial planning topics on Saturday

  • How to successfully appeal your Property Tax Bill + 4 other topics

    Please don't believe it that you should accept the 10% cap increase on your property tax every year and that that's the best you can do. Take it from a tax CPA that decision will catch up with you in a very bad way, especially compounded over years. Very bad. You can save easily $800 to $1,600 a year in property taxes, plus much more over time and compounded, by always filing an appeal with the Travis County Appraisal District. It's best to use my free "3 Prong Method" to taxable value because the appraisal person will likely reject 2 of them. They do mildly argue back. So ideally for success you can present 3 different ways of comparing or valuing your home and even make all 3 about equal so the appraiser has no choice but to, and in a friendly non-confrontational manner, accept your large discount amount, and they will happily pick which one for you they can justify in their system. Using the 3 prong method is fool-proof and has saved me thousands of dollars so far, and thousands more in future years. For a total time investment of about 2 hours annually. It's a really good return on your investment. Come down to Radio Coffee shop, have some coffee and a snack or lunch, and learn "The 3 Prong Method" to successfully change your home property taxes. Saturday August 18, 11am. Radio Coffee, Ben White/Hwy 290 at the South Lamar/Manchaca Rd intersection.

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  • New Tax Changes and the changes are still coming out

    Wheatsville Coop

    Details of the new tax law are still coming out with analysis of all the details and caveats. A couple of last-day changes slipped in by congress. There was some brief confusion in the CPA community about whether you can pre-pay property tax into 2017 tax year that won't be billed until Oct 2018. There was last-minute language in the final tax law that seemed to be meant to not allow that, not worded quite clearly as relates to state income tax. It appears this has been cleared up and you can can pre-pay 2018 home property tax if your 2018 combined Sales tax and Property Tax would be over $10,000, then you'd likely want to pre-pay by Dec 31 in whatever amount would get you to $10,000 for the Dec 2018 or Jan 2019 home property tax payment. There is confusion among CPAs, and apparently congress, as how this applies to various tax jurisdictions. In Texas property taxes are assessed for the 2018 tax year based on the value at Jan 1, 2018, and the bill is due when billed in Oct and payable up to Jan 31 of 2019. But the assessment is for the calendar year of 2018 according to how title companies prorate the taxes at closing. So there are Treasury Regs that allow cash basis taxpayers to deduct advance payments for things that don't exceed the following calendar year. Like paying the insurance on a rental home on Dec 15 for the period covering to Dec 15 of the following year, the owner deducts in the year paid. But IRS issued their opinion on Dec 27, 2017 that you can't deduct a prepayment on taxes not yet Assessed. My thinking is that congress will pass a technical corrections bill to clear this up. And I doubt they will do something harmful in an election year. The law as of today clearly states that local Income tax cannot be prepaid. The new law is silent on property tax, although by stating specifically Income tax one might assume they meant property tax was ok, or was their intent to prevent advance payments and they just didn't word it according to their intent? I suspect IRS is trying to throw this issue back on congress. But Travis County is accepting advance payments as Deposits, meaning if the prepayment isn't allowed, you will be considered to have paid in fully deductible for 2018. I suspect congress will fix this, but it is too early to say anything for sure. The penalty for no health insurance doesn't stop until January 1, 2019 despite people saying it had been cancelled. The exchanges closed 5 hours after they made the proposed law public on Dec 15. However they did extend the deadline for people in Travis County because it's part of the hurricane Federal Disaster Area so the online market is still open if you want to do that. You can't rely on regular news for tax details, and especially how things might relate to you. Even professional tax publishing services are struggling to get all the buried details and caveats listed. There will absolutely be more to follow, especially for businesses and rentals and investments, all of which also have a Variety of effective dates, some going back to last September. Also home equity loan interest will be non-deductible, same with mortgage insurance, but you can likely still use "interest-tracing rules" to allocate the HELOC interest expense to a business or rental property. Mortgage insurance on a rental should still be a deductible expense against the rental income. There are some big tax savings changes for business owners, and also some big and beneficial items related to real estate investments. But there are also some caveats and restrictions in those new business and real estate laws.

  • Do this in December to Save Tax Monies in 2017

    Wheatsville Coop

    The new tax law is expected to pass, and many of you will lose the Itemized Deductions in exchange for a higher Standard deduction. $24,000 for married people and $12,000 for single tax payers. Therefore your Mortgage Interest, Property Tax, Sales tax, and Donations will most likely Have No Effect on your 2018 tax return, for more than half of married people is my guess based on Austin home values and tax returns. Obviously single people can probably clear the 12,000 threshold with mortgage and property tax and sales tax and donations. But single people can also still benefit by taking these actions in December 2017. If you are married and your Itemized Deductions (Form 1040 line 40) are less than $24,000, (single homeowners less than 12,000) then be sure to: 1) Pay your property tax before Dec 31, call your loan escrow if needed, the county bills show Jan 31 as the final due date. They should pay that now for your 2017 tax deduction. Even if they paid it in Jan 2017. Go ahead an put two taxes in your 2017 tax return now. In 2018 the maximum property and sales taxes combined deduction will be $10,000. 2) Pre-pay your Jan 1 mortgage payment so the lender receives it before 12/31. 3) Buy a new or used car to deduct the Sales Tax on your 2017 tax return. 4) Accelerate your normal Donations from 2018 into 2017. Especially if you tithe quite a bit, try to get two years into 2017. 5) Maximize your employee 401k contributions going into year end. The 2017 maximum is 18,000 for the year, or if over age 50 then it's 24,000. Also, medical and other sales people with $500,000 W-2's and 50k or 90k in travel and entertainment expenses paid for and tax deducted by the sales person, the "employee" job expenses deduction is slated to go away. You will want to ask your employer to reimburse you those expenses and lower your W-2 income by that amount starting in 2018. (ie instead of gross then net of expenses for tax, just take the net as taxable from your employer). There are some changes for Rental Real Estate, buyers and sellers will both likely be beneficial to defer closing till after Dec 31. Also pay prop tax in Dec on rentals. One extra note re Property Tax: if your 2016 tax return Form 1040 had an Alt Min Tax on line 45 then paying more or extra fast property tax won't help, so pay half the prop tax in Dec and the other half in Jan. That method will probably maximize your tax benefits for 2017 and 2018. (due to the additional likely 10k cap of property/sales tax, so there are 2 things going on for you in 2018). Especially if you bought a car or boat and have an extra sales tax deduction coming in 2017. Those two items get lumped together in AMT. So try splitting your home prop tax into 2 tax years for maximum tax benefit. Generally, for businesses and individuals, the normal tax planning still applies, try to defer income into 2018 and accelerate deductions into 2017. My lobbyist clients are keeping me updated almost daily, all these items above appear to be solidly in the expected final version of the new tax laws, which could get passed next week. Sunday we'll also discuss the Basics of Personal Financial Planning and investment allocations and wealth growth and family planning like college and aging parents and such at our Meetup, I hope you can attend. Best Wishes, Doug Tidwell, CPA

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  • Community LEADERSHIP Game Night

    Hampton Inn

    You are INVITED! What an opportunity to connect with fellow community leaders in this FUN, highly interactive experience. o Team Building Using a Fun, Engaging Tool The Leadership Game is a game that allows everyone to gather around the table. It is the best team-building tool…ever! o Open Sharing and Communication Every question and discussion card is designed to trigger open, honest discussion. o Leadership Skills assessment The Game challenges your team members to embrace who they are as leaders, business owners, parents, volunteers. o Stronger Relationships By the end of the Game, you will learn to appreciate one another and forge community relationships – a winning edge for any business! LIMITED SEATING: Sign up today! http://bit.ly/2viDQl1

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  • Community LEADERSHIP Game Night

    Hampton Inn

    You are INVITED! What an opportunity to connect with fellow community leaders in this FUN, highly interactive experience. o Team Building Using a Fun, Engaging Tool The Leadership Game is a game that allows everyone to gather around the table. It is the best team-building tool…ever! o Open Sharing and Communication Every question and discussion card is designed to trigger open, honest discussion. o Leadership Skills assessment The Game challenges your team members to embrace who they are as leaders, business owners, parents, volunteers. o Stronger Relationships By the end of the Game, you will learn to appreciate one another and forge community relationships – a winning edge for any business! LIMITED SEATING: Sign up today! http://bit.ly/2viDQl1

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