The Benefits—and Risks—of Gifting Before Year-End

With gift and estate taxes poised to rise meaningfully and the exemption scheduled to plummet, high-net-worth families should consider giving to family and philanthropy this year, even if that’s sooner than they’d anticipated. 

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Tax Cliff Enhances Potential Benefit of Roth IRA Conversion

With US federal tax rates poised for a potential hike next year, now is a good time to consider converting retirement assets to a Roth IRA. Conversions are now available to all investors, with no income ceiling in place.

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Preparing for the Tax Cliff Ahead: Diversifying Concentrated Positions

With US tax rates potentially rising sharply in January, now is a good time to consider taking gains on concentrated stock positions and exercising stock options.

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Challenges in Today’s Municipal Market

Most fixed-income investments carry two key risks: interest-rate risk and credit risk. Both affect a bond’s value in the market. But before the 2008 financial crisis, interest-rate risk was the primary concern of many investors and investment managers—credit risk was much less of a consideration. My colleague Michael Brooks explains why.

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Minimizing Taxes on Your Executive Compensation

Given the likelihood of higher US tax rates starting in January 2013, you’ll want to review the way you manage your compensation. Your cash bonus, executive stock options and large holdings of company stocks deserve careful review, as my colleague Richard Weaver explains below.

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As the Fed Twists, Seize Opportunity to Transfer Wealth

It remains to be seen whether the Federal Reserve can stimulate the economy with its latest “twist” strategy for lowering interest rates, but today’s ultralow rates create one clear opportunity: if you have personal wealth that you intend to leave to family or charity, now is the best time in decades to initiate certain wealth-transfer [...]

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