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Signs You Need to Hire a Tax Planning Specialist as Part of Your Financial Planning Strategy


May 23, 2018

Taxes are always stressful, whether you’re filing them for yourself or for a small business. There are dozens of regulations to remember, deductions to take, and countless forms to fill out throughout the year to ensure your records are up-to-date. However hectic tax season is, working with an experienced financial advisor and accounting firm can help streamline your recordkeeping and tax filing year after year. Unfortunately, many people aren’t sure when it’s time to hire an experienced tax planning specialist and we wanted to help. Here are a few simple signs that it’s time to hire a tax planning expert to help you get the most out of your return.

You Have More Than One Job

These days, working more than one job is becoming increasingly normal, especially among younger generations. Though that extra income can help increase your savings and make your budget easier to bear, it can also make your tax situation more complicated. When not properly calculated, you may end up paying more in taxes than you expected. An experienced accountant will help you get the most out of your tax return, finding deductions you didn’t know you qualified for. When combined with the help of an experienced tax planning specialist, you’ll be able to keep more money in your pocket as your investments and savings will be tailored to help reduce your tax liability rather than adding to it.

You’re Saving for Retirement

Whether you’ve opened an IRA on your own or are contributing to an employer-sponsored 401(k), saving for retirement can change your tax liability. If you’re not familiar with how each type of retirement account can impact how much you’ll owe or save on your taxes, you need to speak with a tax planner. They’ll be able to explain which accounts contribute to reducing your tax liability and help you identify ways to further reduce how much you owe at the end of the year. Best of all, with help from your financial planner, they’ll be able to help you develop a tax-saving strategy for your retirement accounts, letting you save more and pay less to the government over time.

Tax Credits are Confusing

Many people qualify for some type of tax credit, whether you’re paying for your child’s education or covering the costs of tuition for your continuing education. However, determining which tax credits you qualify for can be difficult, especially if you’re earning a mid to high-level income each year. Accountants and tax planning specialists understand which credits can be applied to each specific situation legally. By working with a tax planner, you’ll know you’re taking the maximum number of available tax credits while still satisfying the legal requirements to avoid an audit.

Your Finances Have Grown Rapidly

Being thrust from one tax bracket into a higher one is proof that you’re doing something right with your finances. However, it does mean that you’ll need to find a way to reduce your tax liability as much as possible. Often people transitioning to a higher tax bracket end up paying more in taxes, often reducing their available income significantly. Letting a tax planning team work with your accountant will help you establish a strategy to save as much as possible on your taxes, further increasing your savings and available income at the end of the fiscal year.

You’ve Been Audited in the Past

Nothing increases stress around tax season like the fear of an audit. If you accidentally claimed too many deductions or tax credits in the past and were subjected to an audit from the IRS, you’ll do almost anything to avoid it in the future. Working with a dedicated tax planning team in conjunction with your accountant will ensure that your finances and your return are as accurate as possible. Since the only deductions you’ll take will be the ones you’re qualified for, you won’t have to worry about the stress off an audit. Should the IRS need to look at your accounts, you’ll have the peace of mind knowing that everything was handled properly while also having the backing of industry experts.

You Have Multiple Streams of Income

Investment earnings, interest on certain savings accounts, and other income earned throughout the year is subject to taxes, just like your salary. Understanding which withdrawals and contributions are tax-free or subject to standard federal and state taxes can be difficult. Working with a tax planning expert will help you better plan your investments to keep more money in your pocket rather than going to your annual tax liability. You’ll be able to make the most of your additional income for years to come, setting you and your family up for financial success.

You Have More Important Things to Do Than Comb Through Tax Law

Tax law is confusing at best and when you’re trying to maximize your tax return while working a full-time job, and fitting in your active social life, you likely won’t have enough hours in the day to accomplish everything you need to do. Working with a CPA and a tax planner will let you free up your busy schedule so you’ll have more time to do the things you love doing. Certified public accountants understand the ins and outs of tax law, no matter how complicated your tax situation may seem. What might take you hours to clarify will often only take them a few minutes. Best of all, you do not have to be present in the office when they’re preparing your return. They’ll even be able to work with your tax planner to ensure that your investments are as optimized as possible. This allows you to keep more money in your pocket and gives you the freedom to spend your weekends relaxing rather than worrying about your taxes.  

If you’re looking for help managing your savings and planning for your retirement, contact Foxstone Financial today. Our in-house tax experts can help you find the best financial solutions to maximize your return on investments, whether you’re just starting out or have been saving for years.
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Financial Planning Tips for Young Adults with a Family


May 9, 2018

Saving and planning for your financial future can be a difficult task that often includes a great amount of stress. This process can seem intimidating and impossible for many individuals, especially young adults who are juggling the task of providing for themselves and their families. It can seem like a challenging and murky field to navigate, but it does not have to be include excessive hardship or unnecessary worry. If you are a young adult with a family and are in need of assistance with financial planning for your future, here are a number of helpful strategies to employ to ensure you and your family are on solid ground.

Saving for Retirement Should Not be Neglected

If you’re like many families, retirement can seem like a prospect that is far into the future. The idea of no longer having to work and being able to relax in our golden years is the dream many of us have for our futures, yet we often neglect to plan for this moment. Instead, we are focused on the present moment, specifically paying for the basic necessities and all of the purchases that accompany raising children.

It’s no secret that modern life includes a large amount of expenses, many of which are unforeseen and difficult to plan for. Retirement is one particular expense that seems difficult to address, especially when it seems like a million miles away. But one of the best times to start planning for retirement is very early in one’s career.

Compounding interest is one of the biggest things that a person should seriously consider taking advantage of, as the benefits of this aspect increase dramatically the earlier a person starts contributing to a retirement fund. Whether this is a 401k, IRA, or other type of retirement account, taking advantage of compounding interest is essential in maximizing your ability to retire at a reasonable age with a significant sum of money saved.

Compounding interest is the interest that is accumulated on the principle as well as interest accrued from this amount. If you invest $100, you will begin earning returns not only on the initial amount that you put into the account, you will also be receiving money from the interest gained from that initial investment. A small amount of money over time can eventually become a substantial amount with this factored in.

Always have an Emergency Fund on Hand

No matter how good a person is at paying their bills on time and making sure their financial house is in order, inevitably an event will occur which significantly alters their usual fiscal pattern. This can be an event such as a job loss, an injury that restricts a person’s ability to work, a reduction in hours at work, or another event that causes financial stress to the family.

This is why having an emergency fund saved up is essential in order to prevent such an event from completely devastating your financial situation. Experts recommend having at least 3 months worth of bills and expenses available in the event that such an incident takes place. This fund should be kept separate from other funds in order to prevent a person from using these funds to pay for other bills. If only one person in your household is earning an income, it is recommended to have at least 6 months worth of funds on hand.

Plan for the Worst-Case Scenario

The death of a loved-one, specifically a person that is the head of the household, is a devastating event for any family to have to deal with. This event can be greatly exacerbated if that person did not have a living will to direct where savings and assets will be transferred to. An all too common scenario that results from such a tragic incident is that families will fight over an estate, causing serious stress and hardship as well as wasting precious funds by having to go to court to settle the case.

For this reason, it is absolutely essential for a family to have a clear living will set up in order to adequately designate who will get what in the unfortunate event that someone passes away unexpectedly. It is also important to designate who will look after the children in the event that both parents die unexpectedly, as children will need a sense of stability in the face of great turmoil.

Build a College Savings Plan

The price of college continues to grow with each passing year, making this process increasingly intimidating for students looking to attend higher levels of education. A parent can significantly lighten their child’s load by properly planning for their future educational needs, and this means finding a college savings plan that will help a person reach their potential without being saddled with excessive amounts of student loan debt upon graduation.

Many states offer college savings plans that help a family save for college. 529 plans offer an efficient way for a family to pay for college at a reduced cost to their child. Often referred to as a ‘prepaid tuition plans’ offer the opportunity to pay for future college credits at current rates, allowing a family to remove the possibility that their child will have to pay exponentially more than what the current rate of tuition is. While the initial cost may seem like a lot, the overall savings you will receive by paying for college at current rates are substantial. It is highly recommended to take advantage of such plans if you have future college students in your family.

If your family is in need of financial planning advice, Foxstone Financial is your trusted source for navigating this critical area of life. Whether you are in need of retirement advice, are looking to plan for your child’s future college needs, or just have questions about how you can be fully prepared in the face of uncertainty, we are your trusted financial experts. Contact us today and allows to help you get started on the road to financial freedom.
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How Younger Investors Can Maximize Their Financial Planning Strategy Early On


April 11, 2018

For many younger investors, the thought of saving for retirement is the furthest thing from their minds. After all, there’s student debt to pay, rent to meet, and food to put on the table. It’s not uncommon for younger investors to put off saving for their future for years until they’re already well-established in their careers. Though common, it’s far from the best idea. In fact, the younger you start building your financial planning strategy, the better off you’ll be when you start approaching retirement age. Here are a few simple tips to help get you started, no matter how far along you are in your career.

Take Advantage of Employer-Offered Retirement Plans

Many employers offer retirement plans, both matched and unmatched, to help you start saving for your future. Typically, the service fees on these accounts are minimal and you’re allowed to contribute as much or as little as you want each month. To further simplify your finances, the amount you choose to contribute is automatically deducted from your paycheck, so you won’t have to worry about remembering to make a monthly contribution. If your employer matches your contributions, your savings will grow even faster, making it worthwhile investment.

Don’t Be Afraid to Take Risks

Low risk investments may be the safe way to go, but they offer very small return on your money. When you’re younger, you have more years between making the investment and when you retire, giving you more risk tolerance than your older coworkers. The higher the risk, the higher the potential for return on your investment. Though you will want to balance your portfolio with both high and low risk investments, it’s important to avoid playing things too safe. Take a few risks, consult with your financial advisor, and invest in the options that you believe in most. Even if you lose a little bit of money every once in a while, you’ll still see an increased return over time.

Diversify

The key to a great wealth management strategy is diversification. Rather than investing in a single stock or bond, make sure you diversify your portfolio. The more types of investments or different index funds you work with, the better. This will hedge against unexpected loss and keep the negative events in a single industry from damaging your portfolio beyond repair. Diversification helps balance your risk and makes your portfolio better established for the future. As the saying goes, “don’t put all of your eggs in one basket!”

Avoid Taking Early Withdrawals from Retirement Accounts

Your retirement funds grow more quickly when you leave money in them. Taking early distributions from your retirement account not only decreases your overall rate of return—it also can cost you hundreds of dollars in fees. When you withdraw money from a 401(k) before the age of 55, you’ll have to pay an early withdrawal tax on the amount you take out. Depending on how much you’re withdrawing, that number could be well over $1000. If you’re worried about having enough money to cover emergency expenses, speak with your wealth management advisor to discuss how best to create a safety net of savings.

Incorporate Investments Into Your Budget

Often, you need to spend money to make money and if you don’t budget for your investments properly, allocating those funds to grow your portfolio can be difficult. Look at your current finances and see how much money you can reasonably set aside both for savings and for your investments. Remember, when you’re first starting out, every little bit helps. If you can only set aside 20 dollars a month, start with that. You may not be able to buy much in the way of stocks, but if you keep saving 20 dollars month after month, you’ll be able to start investing by the end of the year. As your income increases, start saving more and investing more. This will set you up for success over the long-run.

Use Your Tax Refund Wisely

After doing your taxes, receiving that refund check can be exciting. You can use the money to go on vacation, buy that new TV, or treat yourself to a nice dinner. Though those things may seem appealing, they’re not the best investment in your future. Rather than spending your tax refund on material goods immediately, invest it. Contribute to your 401(k) or IRA. Use it to purchase stocks you’ve had your eye on for most of the year. Either way, you’ll be using money to benefit your future rather than adding more physical possessions to your home.

Seek Advice and Seek It Often

Understanding market trends and portfolio performance can be difficult, especially if you’re just starting out investing in your future. Rather than trying to puzzle it out on your own, ask for help. Work with a wealth management professional to help you understand how your portfolio is growing, which areas need improvement, and what can be changed to help you meet your goals more quickly. The more involved you are in your retirement planning, the better off you’ll be.

Don’t Get Stagnant

Smart investing takes work and consistent review to make sure your portfolio is growing in the way you want. Though you may see success with a single strategy for several years in a row, you’ll still want to actively monitor your performance and make adjustments as needed. Making even minor adjustments to reflect the changes in the economy and your chosen industries will help you reduce the likelihood of an underperforming portfolio. Keep in mind that frequent review is always a good idea, it doesn’t have to be done each week. Instead, check in on your performance every month to three months. This will be enough to ensure that you’re keeping up with the changing market and give you the opportunity to adjust before losing a significant amount of your investment.

If you’ve been saving for a few years and are ready to take the next step in retirement planning, contact us today. Our experienced team may be able to help you develop a strategy to help you reach your financial goals both today and in the future.
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Financial Planning: Are Your Investments “Final Four” Ready?


March 26, 2018

It’s the time of the year when college basketball fans and even non-fans both come together in order to fill out brackets as numerous teams vye for the national basketball championship. Critically acclaimed national experts and those who have not even watched a single game in ages both will come together and fill-in their brackets in hopes of potentially winning some money, bragging rights, or simply seeing how close they can get to predicting a perfect bracket. The term “March Madness” was coined for the event and such upsets which remarkably can also pertain to financial planning and investments that run a similar parallel to the widely recognized tournament.

Both in terms of preparation from an individual teams standpoint and those emotions felt by fans watching their schools compete, can both be anticipated feelings derived from investing into your future. However, with excellent coaching, a dose of patience, and proper direction you can avoid the roller coaster ride that having your money be subject to all varying market influences can cause. The ideal picks are made with a detailed plan in place for success and a fixed goal in sight - just like every team as they prepare for their first, next, or last game - hopefully, the championship - in the tournament.

In order to ensure that your investments are “Final Four” ready, the plan of attack begins with an attainable goal for which to aim and then a step-by-step approach for reaching the stated goal. By following these steps, consistency will be key combined with ensuring you receive an ample return on the investments to which you are committed.

The American College of Financial Planning institutes a well-rounded five component approach to monetary planning which will help you to achieve your desired goals related to financial freedom. This is essentially the playbook responsible for your success, similar to a team’s own playbook which holds the actions and components necessary for execution in order to win the game or achieve their goals.

These areas include each of the following characteristics: investment and risk management with income tax, estate, and goal planning. By properly establishing a method for each of these five components, the investments for which you are responsible will be ready to perform for you on a consistent and regular basis.

INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT

More simply, money management, as the term accurately relates to how individuals or their designees typically handle all of the reported investments within a given portfolio. Knowing where and when to make these investments in order to generate the most return is critical to having a long-term success throughout your opportunity. Any changes which may also relate to an increase in the profitability of an investment should also be considered as these moves will benefit an investor long-term.

These factors are also commonly associated with asset allocation, financial statement analysis, consistent monitoring and a directive for stock selection. The first of five steps, investment management is only a part of the entire process but extremely important to ensuring the intended success.

RISK MANAGEMENT

Of equal importance is protecting all of your investments through proper risk management procedures. Just as the investments may be in a constant state of flux, your risk management capabilities must also be adjusted to keep up with the impending investment returns and guard against any unwanted or unforseen shortfalls.

Patience is key but having insurance capabilities for unanticipated actions or a plan for all aspects will make the investment process easier and considerably more enjoyable. Always have a backup plan, just as the teams involved in the tournament have to adjust their plays, matchups, and possessions as the game is occuring. Knowing where to turn in any given situation at a moments notice, helps to make dealing with these adjustments and potential changes accordingly.

INCOME TAX PLANNING

There exist two certainties in life, “death and taxes” and a failure to plan for Uncle Sam getting their share of an investment opportunity could leave you feeling slighted when the time comes to retrieve you money.

Always make certain there is a plan in place from the beginning to account for what percentage of your money will be taxable, depending on your investment type by following these tax tips for investors.

ESTATE PLANNING

Just as you plan for any uncertainties with risk management practices for monies invested into different areas, a proper estate plan to guard your assets is also of equal importance. No matter your current financial situation, know that there are individuals and entities out there who will come for your possessions once able and should they see an opportunity.

This planning helps to keep your money in the family and with those who you have intended to benefit from its use instead of being squandered away and used for unintended purposes.

GOAL PLANNING

An umbrella term encapsulating the foundation of this entire process, goal planning is vital to the success of any investment opportunity. Having a desired outcome and knowing what steps must be taken in order to achieve it, in addition to a detailed timeline, will help aid during the time consuming process.

Again, patience is a key factor associated with investing and knowing where you are in the process in terms of reaching your final goal is important. The basketball tournament is often compared to a marathon, multiple games over the course of a month to claim the ultimate prize - not one single game for all of the glory, until then end. Investing is a similar experience.

If you’re ready to create a plan for investing in order to achieve your life goals then let the financial planning experts at Foxstone Financial, Inc. be your guide today. Their willingness to offer a detailed review of your individual situation in regards to each of the five previously mentioned principles will leave you on the right path to financial freedom. Get on track for the life you wish to live and gain control of your finances with their expert advice and knowledgeable staff. Contact us or call 1-866-988-5443 to put the plan in place so your investments can not only be “Final Four” ready but able to hoist the championship.
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The Trusted Denver Wealth Management Team Shares Some Fascinating Facts About Roth IRAs


March 14, 2018

Planning for retirement is one of the most important things every working individual can do, regardless of age, marital status, or where they’re at in their career. However, for many people, deciding on the right method to save for retirement and the right type of account to invest in can be tough. An IRA may be the best option for your needs, but if you’re not familiar with these retirement accounts, understanding just how they’ll benefit your financial planning efforts can be a bit confusing. Here are a few interesting facts about Roth IRAs so you can better understand how these  accounts will help you get ready for retirement with ease.

Roth IRAs are becoming more and more popular

Believe it or not, Roth IRAs can be used in conjunction with a 401(k), making them ideal for individuals looking to utilize their employer-matched retirement fund at the same time. These plans allow you to ultimately save more each year towards your retirement, helping set you up for success when the time comes to leave the workforce. IRAs are also a simple way to maximize your tax refund, giving you a tax break each year that you contribute to the account.

Roth IRAs ask you to pay taxes up-front

Traditional IRAs allow you to contribute to the account with pre-tax income. You’ll only pay taxes once you start taking distributions from the IRA. When you contribute to Roth IRAs, however, you’ll be expected to pay taxes on the money you contribute. Though it may seem like a downside, paying taxes now can help save you money in the future, especially if you believe you’ll be in a higher tax bracket as you progress in your career. Once you do start taking distributions, that money is paid to you tax-free—you’ve already paid tax on the funds. Keep in mind that you can only contribute to a Roth IRA if you make under $133,000 singly or $196,000 as a couple.

Income limits can be overcome

Though on the surface it seems that high-income earners are barred from participating in or opening a Roth IRA, it’s not entirely true. In fact, the IRS will let high earners convert a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA once a year in a process known as the back-door approach. While you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of the Roth IRA once you convert a traditional account, you will have to pay taxes on the funds used in the conversion when you initiate the process.

You can contribute at any age

Though saving for retirement may not be a priority when you’re first starting your career, it’s still important. Luckily, you can enroll in a Roth IRA at any time and make contributions of up to $5500 per year while you’re under age 49. Once you get closer to retirement, you’re allowed to contribute a maximum of $6500 each year to speed up your retirement savings. When you combine contributions with those made to a 401(k), you’re setting yourself up for a financially successful and stable retirement with reliable income.

There are no minimum distribution requirements for the account-holder

With traditional IRAs, you’re required to take minimum distributions once you reach 70 ½ years of age. However, Roth IRAs do not have a minimum distribution requirement, allowing you to grow your savings for your beneficiaries. If you’re looking to leave a legacy for your family, this account-type is a wonderful addition to your savings plan. Keep in mind that your beneficiaries will have to take required minimum distributions once you pass, so the money you save will not be able to roll over into another IRA in their name.

You can withdraw contributions

Roth IRAs earn gains on the contributions you make. However, unlike other funds, you’re free to take your contributions out of the fund at any time. There are no penalties or additional taxes to pay, making it ideal for individuals wanting to save for their retirement, but are hesitant to lose access to their money. Keep in mind, you’ll only be able to remove your contributions, not the gains earned on the money. The gains stay in the account until you have access to them at the age of 59 ½.

There’s no such thing as a joint IRA account

You share everything with your spouse, so it makes sense that you’d want a joint retirement account, right? While it would be convenient, you cannot share a Roth IRA with your spouse. By having separate accounts, you can maximize your retirement savings and simplify tax reporting at the end of the year. However, you will be able to list your spouse as the beneficiary of your IRA, so you’ll both be able to enjoy the distributions no matter what happens when you retire.

Investment gains are not distributed immediately

Roth IRAs are great retirement planning options, but there are a few regulations they follow that differ from other types of retirement accounts. Though your contributions earn interest as soon as they’re placed into the investment pool, you won’t be able to have access to the gains on the contribution until 5 years after the money was put in the account.

Early withdrawal is available—with a catch

Unlike other retirement accounts that penalize you for taking money out prior to retirement age, Roth IRAs allow you to make an early withdrawal for qualifying reasons. For example, if you need money to pay medical bills which cost more than 7 percent of your gross income for the year, you’ll be able to request an exemption. The full list of exemptions will be available from you financial planner should you ever need access to the money.

Ready to open a Roth IRA? Contact Foxstone Financial today. Our dedicated financial planners will help you establish a retirement plan designed to meet the needs of you and your loved ones. We’ll get to know you, your goals, and your risk tolerance to ensure that you’re comfortable with every investment strategy we utilize. Call 303-988-5443 to schedule a financial planning consultation with our team.
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