117 E Elm Street
We probably all hate paying Federal income tax. We think about government waste, misuse of funds, what are (and are not) the constitutionally acceptable roles for the Federal government, and a hundred other things. We also think about how that money could be used if it were not ‘lost’ to taxation. We could enhance personal spending or savings, we could give charitably to some of the same causes that the government feels it needs to fund (the poor, community development and outreach, etc.) or – at the very least – the funds could be taxed closer to home to be used on a city- or state-wide level.
The interesting thing about Federal income tax, whether you are a proponent of it or not, is that you only pay tax when you are earning. You typically must have earned income or earnings from investments (or in more recent years, income from Social Security) to even face taxation, and then, at varying levels.
According to the Brookings Institute, 47% of Americans do not pay Federal income tax. For the most part, this is not the rich avoiding taxes. It is people who live paycheck to paycheck. “The vast majority of people who pay no federal income tax have low earnings, are elderly or have children at home…About half of these households don’t pay federal income tax simply because their incomes are low. More than one-fifth are retirees who benefit from tax breaks for seniors, including an exemption for most Social Security benefits. And another one-seventh are working families with children whose income tax liability is eliminated because of the child tax credit, the EITC, or the child and dependent care credit. Together, these three groups of taxpayers account for almost 90 percent of the households that pay no federal income tax.” (1 Brookings Institute)
That means that you are actually blessed to be among the 53% of Americans who pay Federal income tax! That doesn’t mean that the system doesn’t need fixed, that spending doesn’t need to be corralled and redirected to constitutionally appropriate things, etc. It definitely does. Taxes shouldn’t be an onerous burden for anyone. But take a minute to thank God that you have income significant enough to be taxed. That is no small thing and it is by the grace of God!
Taxes & Investing
Investing is a rewarding and necessary component of your financial plan. Unfortunately, the cost of taxes is also a necessary component of your financial plan. Paying taxes is not, from my perspective, the most exciting part of investing but having to pay taxes is not a bad thing (when you realize the blessing of income.)
When it comes to investing and earnings, you will have a tax bill. The key then is being tax efficient with your investments. Not all investments are taxed the same. Taxes on investments vary depending on the holding period (short- or long-term gains) as well as on the account type.
Some investments can create significant tax burdens when utilized in an account that does not have tax advantaged features. Generally, tax advantaged account types include employer retirement plans like pensions, 401k, 403b, 457, etc. as well as Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) and Roth IRAs. Some employer plans have Roth options in the account. Basically, these types of accounts allow taxes to be deferred when there are earnings from the investments held in the account. This means, you do not have to pay any taxes until you take money out of the account. Over time, this can be a significant benefit to wealth creation.
Roth accounts are unique. If you satisfy all the rules for Roth accounts, you never have to pay taxes on any growth and earnings. This can be quite a significant detail for your investment plan. Being tax efficient with your investments and account types can help you increase your bottom line when it comes time for your tax bill.
We recognize that you have many responsibilities in life and managing your investments may not be one of your areas of expertise. It is what we do for a living. We understand the importance of managing taxes and we can help analyze your current holdings to see if you can improve your current or future tax situation. There is no cost or obligation for a review of your investments. We do ask for some basic information and to see your current statements, so that we can make an accurate assessment. But you are not obligated in any way by asking for a review. Call us today!
Progress in Bluffton office
We are excited to announce the addition of a conference room in our front office. By adding a second conference room, we are able to serve clients better, offer better handicap accessibility, and create a warm, inviting environment at our Main Street entrance. We are growing to serve you!
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Inflation, as a very basic definition, is an overall increase in the price of goods and services consumed by households. It is generally felt that inflation is caused by pumping additional money into the economy, such as has been done by the stimulus packages and printing too much currency in a short timeframe. Our economy has been set up for a “perfect storm” that isn’t so perfect—COVID lockdowns, labor shortages so significant they’ve been dubbed “The Great Resignation,” excessive stimulus monies which have increased national debt, pipeline closures, and unprecedented number of people living off of government money (including unemployment, food subsidies, stimulus payments, welfare, and more.)
All of this leads to high prices in many sectors, low purchasing power, and instability in many families and households. What can you do to “shore up” your personal financial situation?
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Have things changed for you — new home, new phone number or email, new child, family changes? Do you need to change your beneficiaries? Please email email@example.com
We may simply need to update our files, but certain types of information should also be reported to the companies who hold your investments. Let us help you stay up-to-date! If you don’t wish to receive our mailings, you can email the address above to opt out.
Young families: Consider cutting back on discretionary spending, such as subscriptions, eating out, and travel. Network with friends for date nights (exchange babysitting, cook meals for each other, etc.)
Up your contributions to your retirement accounts if you can. With the market in decline, investments are essentially “on sale” right now.
Families with older children/empty nesters: Hold a family meeting to discuss finances. This is a great opportunity to educate your older children about what is happening in the world and how it affects finances. Encourage your children to get (or keep) a part-time job and help them see the benefits of working to support themselves. Set expectations about what they will pay for from their income, now and when they are in college, etc.
Contact our office for a “second opinion” of your investments. Do you have specific goals for your various pots of money (such as income in retirement) and is the money invested in a way that helps you meet that goal in the future? We offer reviews without cost or obligation.
Within 5 years of retirement: This is the right time to “get your house in order.” Get rid of things you don’t need or want. Simplify. Weed out unnecessary expenses as much as possible and invest as much as you can.
This is the time to start assessing how much income your investments can produce in retirement. Are the investments ready to do the important job you have assigned for them? You may want them to produce steady income, to protect you from long-term care expenses, to give you a “safety net” for unexpected expenses or future inflation, etc. Make sure they are invested well to do the job(s) they need to do for you. We can help!
Already retired: If you are on a fixed income in retirement (whether from Social Security, pensions, guaranteed income, etc.) inflation can be upsetting. It puts a pinch on your budget.
Even when you have discretionary money, it can be hard to spend so much more on basic items for living such as heating or cooling bills, fuel, groceries, etc.
Perhaps you need to re-assess your income plan. Is there a way to get more income from your accounts? Do you have your money working to your best advantage? When the economy changes, it can sometimes be helpful to change your income strategy. Helping people understand what they have and using those funds to their advantage is what we specialize in.
Inflation is when you pay $15 for the $10 haircut you used to get for $5 when you had hair. - Sam Ewing
PRACTICAL TIPS for a tight budget…
1) Use GasBuddy app to check for cheapest gas prices within a reasonable drive. You can sometimes save $.30-.50/gallon
2) Buy what is in season or “in reason.” Certain fruits and vegetables are cheaper at different times of the year. If you can buy fresh those things that are reasonably priced, you can often get other items frozen at a better price.
3) Plan a staycation that keeps you closer to home. Involve family and friends to arrange a BBQ, a game night, trips to local attractions, etc.
4) Request access to our software called FIS Home. FIS Home can help you track your spending, savings, and other investment accounts so that you know what is coming and going. It is easier to “stop leaks” in your budget when you know what is really happening. We offer this free to clients and friends on our mailing list. Call or email us to sign up!
Advisory services are provided through Creative Financial Designs, Inc., a Registered Investment Adviser. Securities are offered through cfd Investments, Inc., a Registered Broker/Dealer, Member FINRA & SIPC. Faith Investment Services is independently owned and is not affiliated with the CFD companies. Neither Faith Investment Services, LLC nor the CFD companies offer legal or tax advice.