The federal government imposes a substantial tax on gifts of money or property above certain levels. Without such a tax someone with a sizable estate could give away a large portion of their property before death and escape death taxes altogether. For this reason, the gift tax acts more or less as a backstop to the estate tax. And yet, few people actually pay a gift tax during their lifetime. A gift program can substantially reduce overall transfer taxes; however, it requires good planning and a commitment to proceed with the gifts.
Financial planning means something different to everyone. For some, it's about getting by on their paycheck, for others it's about watching the stock market each day.
Unfortunately, very few of us feel prepared to meet our ongoing financial obligations and objectives. Worries about money have become one of the greatest anxieties of our day.
A college education is an investment that pays off. According to The College Board's annual report, Trends in College Pricing, median annual income for bachelor's degree recipients is 80 percent higher than median income for those with only a high school diploma. Over a lifetime that difference exceeds $1,000,000.
One of new products that came out of the Budget Reconciliation Act of 1996 is the Coverdell ESA. The Coverdell ESA offers the potential for tax-free growth when you use the account to fund a child's qualified higher education expenses.
If you find yourself in trouble financially, there are usually no easy answers -- but there are many ways out for those willing to commit to changing their financial habits.
Your ability to pay your bills can be affected by situations beyond your control such as serious illness, divorce or the sudden loss of a job. Poor financial management can also threaten your economic security. You may be able to juggle your creditors for a time, but eventually you may come to realize you need help in resolving your financial problems.
Saving for college isn't easy, but the earlier you start the better off you'll be. For example, if you save $60 a month for 17 years earning 8% per year, you will have over $25,000 by the time college begins! Taxes will reduce the amount of the portfolio.
There are several savings and investment strategies that can help you accrue money for college.
A revocable living trust provides financial protection in the event you are no longer able to manage your financial affairs yourself. You can be trustee while you are healthy, but if you have a stroke or become otherwise incapacitated, your successor trustee would manage your assets in the trust.
A will is a legal document that transfers what you own to your beneficiaries upon your death. It also names an executor to carry out the terms of your will and a guardian for your minor children, if you have any.
Your signature and those of two witnesses make your will authentic. Witnesses don't have to know what the will says, but they must watch you sign it and you must watch them witness it.