Goodbye Marriage Penalty - Almost

by Andy Byron on Aug 29, 2018

Tax Planning, Blog
One of the unexpected gifts from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 was the virtual elimination of the so-called “marriage penalty.” But at the same time, the new tax regime imposes a new “stealth” marriage penalty which will show up for taxpayers in higher-tax states. The marriage penalty is roughly defined as assessing higher federal taxes on married couples with two incomes than would be assessed on the same couple if they had filed individually. 

Spotting and Preventing Elder Financial Abuse

by Andy Byron on Aug 16, 2018

Blog, Senior Care, Elder Abuse
Guest Post by Kirsten Howe: The population of seniors in the United States is growing rapidly. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau indicates that people 65 and older will make up 20 percent of our country’s population by 2030. Along with this increasing population come increasing reports of elder financial abuse. It is only going to become more and more important for all of us, professionals, friends and family members, to be aware of this problem and be prepared to recognize it and respond appropriately.

Kiddie Tax - The Tax Simplification That Really Is

by Andy Byron on Jun 18, 2018

Blog, Tax
But one actual reduction in complexity came with reform to the so-called “Kiddie Tax.” Under the old law (get ready for some real complexity) a dependent child under the age of 18, or under 19 who provides less than 50% of his/her support, or a full-time student under the age of 24 would divide his/her income into two buckets: earned and unearned (investment) income.

Cyber Security Update

by Andy Byron on Jun 5, 2018

Cyber Security, Blog
Recently, a number of our clients have been tricked into giving cybercriminals access to their computers. In a typical scam, a pop-up screen will appear on a user’s computer indicating that the computer has a problem that needs to be fixed. A phone number or link will be provided to “access a certified technician” supposedly from Microsoft or Apple. In some schemes, victims will receive a phone call rather than see a pop-up screen. In either case, the fraudster will attempt to gain your trust and offer to help.

Should You Schedule A Family Meeting?

by Andy Byron on May 15, 2018

Blog, Estate, Legacy Planning
Sometimes our older clients ask us if they should hold a family meeting to educate their child or children about the family’s financial and estate plans. We think this is a great opportunity for clients to also talk to their family members about their legacy and values, and traditions they’d like to see continued. We recently received this email from one of our clients who just completed a very successful family meeting.

The Trade War that Isn’t—Yet

by Andy Byron on Apr 9, 2018

Blog, Investments
So when President Trump declares a “trade war” against the world’s second-largest economy, it’s natural that many people—including, apparently, a large number of investors—would feel spooked about what’s to come in our collective future.  This explains why every escalation of words, and new lists of things that will be taxed at U.S. and Chinese borders, has provoked sharp downturns in the markets. But what, exactly, is a “trade war?”  Beyond that, what is a “trade deficit” and why are we trying to “cure” America’s trade deficit with China?

Sustainable Investing

by Andy Byron on Apr 6, 2018

Blog, ESG, Investments
We are excited to offer ESG Investing options at HC Financial. Individual stock portfolios are the best way to customize portfolios for clients who would like to avoid specific industries. Although we don’t currently use an ESG screen for individual stock holdings, we are happy to report that almost all HC Financial individual stock holdings pass an ESG screen. We have also assembled a list of ESG mutual funds that can be used in portfolios, both in the core large capitalization U.S.-based companies and the small capitalization and international investments.

Tips for Preventing Fraud

by Andy Byron on Jan 30, 2018

Blog, Cyber Security
Cyber criminals exploit our increasing reliance on technology. Methods used to compromise a victim’s identity or login credentials – such as malware, phishing, and social engineering – are increasingly sophisticated and difficult to spot. Following best practices and applying caution when sharing information or executing transactions makes a big difference.

Navigating a Homeowner’s Insurance Claim

by Andy Byron on Nov 13, 2017

Blog, Insurance

Suppose you’re the victim of a huge natural disaster like Hurricane Harvey, or have experienced some more local damage, like a tree falling on your house. What are the best practices for filing a claim for the damages your home and property have suffered?

Recently, the Consumer Federation of America offered tips on how to get all you’re entitled to from your insurance company.

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