Year-End Tax Planning Should Anticipate 2015
Source: Schwab Impact 2014, Nov. 4, 2014
MURRAY COLEMAN, REPORTER, FINANCIAL ADVISOR IQ: This is Murray Coleman with FA-IQ. I’m here today with Jane Newton of RegentAtlantic.
Jane, what are your top estate-planning tips for women executives, heading into the year-end?
JANE NEWTON, PARTNER AND WEALTH ADVISOR, REGENTATLANTIC: So, sure, we’re at that time of year where people have got to make a lot of decisions, and my job is to bring them suggestions that are worthy of their consideration — things that would help them advance their goals.
So, if I may tick through some that are not just estate planning, but tax planning and other year-end tips?
MURRAY COLEMAN: Sure.
JANE NEWTON: So, first and foremost, I would say this is that time of year where we’re all getting the option to make our benefits decisions, right? And most people have no clue what to do. Do they just keep re-upping what they’ve done before? At the same time, their options are changing: their life insurance; their health-insurance decisions; how much compensation they defer. So that’s really important to address in a thoughtful way and make sure that you’re meeting your goals for where you are at this time, not what used to work for you for the last five years.
So, for example, are you maxing out on your health savings account, if you have a high-deductible health plan? An HSA account, as they’re known, is kind of like another retirement account. Great thing to max out on that and take advantage of some of the tax benefits that offers.
MURRAY COLEMAN: Do you find a lot of women just pass that up?
JANE NEWTON: I think it’s not just the women; it’s the men, too. They’re all so busy; and they don’t really have anybody to guide them on those decisions, other than maybe their colleagues — so they’re all kind of blundering through. And they’re busy. It’s not something they really enjoy doing. That’s the stuff that I love guiding my clients on.
So, benefits decisions are staring us in the face right now, including what to do with the bonus you may get. I work with a lot of Wall Street women, and those bonuses are significant dollars. And those decisions need to be taken really seriously.
A second area is there’s a lot of tax-driven decisions that one wants to make or may consider making right now.
MURRAY COLEMAN: You work with CPAs on that, right?
JANE NEWTON: Sure, I want to bring in my clients’ CPAs and their estate-planning and other attorneys, and other advisors. We’re not supposed to give tax advice, and I want that accountant to weigh in as well. My point is that it’s really important now to do tax projections. For the client to work with us and the accountant to map out not just this year’s projected income-tax situation, but next year’s. Because you may have an opportunity to take more income or deductions this year, or maybe it’s to your advantage to delay them into next year. So we’re talking to clients about Roth IRA conversions, about stock-options exercises for the executives, about gifting strategies to charity and to family — and it’s really important to take a two-year, multi-year view and decide how much do you do this year, how much next? And make a smart decision based on tax projections.
MURRAY COLEMAN: Okay, well, thank you very much for your time today, Jane.
JANE NEWTON: Thanks, Murray.