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Gaming the 529 Plan

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009, by

Just when you think you’ve thought of everything… The Feds set up 529 college savings plans for the express purpose of encouraging savings for college by making these accounts tax advantaged. Nothing wrong with that.  It’s the same principle that animates investing in IRA, 401k, and Health Savings Accounts.  Not to mention it’s poor cousin, […]

When Work Doesn’t Pay

Monday, October 12th, 2009, by

That’s the title of a provocative essay in the October 5, 2008 Forbes, by Janet Novack and Stephane Fitch. If the title doesn’t grab you…the subtitle will…”Roughing up the Middle Class.” You’d best go to the source to get the full treatment. What the authors have done is to line up all the tax and […]

Mark Your Calendars – Deadline Approaching

Friday, September 18th, 2009, by

Is it just me, or have you noticed how stressed out your tax preparer is every new year…until the April 15th filing deadline? I try not to add to their preparation work during those frantic early months.  Going back decades now, we always file automatic extensions on all family and business returns.  This allows us […]

Flight Capital

Friday, August 28th, 2009, by

That’s what they call the seepage of hard currency and portable wealth assets as they flee confiscatory regimes. Think of the collapse of Czarist Russia in 1917, or China under Mao in 1949, or Venezuela under Hugo Chavez. And then think of London.  Right now. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal, “New UK […]

Thinking the Unthinkable, Part II

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009, by

So, what is the root cause of the municipal debt crisis? Simply this: The drivers of deficit municipal spending are not subject to any market discipline. Businesses can be extinguished by involuntary bankruptcy, but the powerful municipal unions know that their concentrated lobbying pressure is more effective with legislators than the generalized pain endured by […]

Asset Location Strategy

Friday, July 24th, 2009, by

The modern portfolio construct of asset allocation has been grievously wounded during the recent market mauling. There was no shelter from the storm.  Virtually all asset classes declined, leaving the experts befuddled. But there is another tool available to investors that allows them to arbitrage their way through the thicket of the tax burden…and that […]

Tax Reform You Can Believe In, Part II

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009, by

Now that we’ve solved the dilemma of funding universal health care, let’s move on to remedy another gaping hole in the tax collecting bucket. The real estate lobby has enshrined residential real estate as the most sacred and untouchable of all exemptions and deductions. Some actually make sense to me.  Of course, real estate taxes […]

Tax Reform You Can Believe In, Part I

Monday, June 29th, 2009, by

Health care will become a universal entitlement sometime this year. The only question now…is how to pay for it. My proposal is hardly original.  It was, in fact, a cornerstone of the McCain campaign last year. And that would be to tax health care benefits paid to employees by their employers. Since fairness is the […]