Archive - September 7, 2009

1
When Opportunity Knocks
2
Changes You Need to Know About the Gift Tax Law
3
What are STRIP Bonds?

When Opportunity Knocks

When Opportunity KnocksMany financial planners – including me – will tell you that market timing is not a good idea.  But that doesn’t mean that we should all bury our heads in the sand and ignore opportunities.  It’s a fine line, but there is a difference.

One example is the current mortgage rate environment.  Look at whether it makes sense to refinance your mortgage while rates are still low.  Whether you want to lower your payment, stretch out your payments over a longer time, or let a lower rate so you can get the mortgage paid off more quickly, now is a …

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Changes You Need to Know About the Gift Tax Law

Much the same as the Estate tax, there are some significant changes coming in the next few years for the Gift tax. I’ve listed out the provisions by year so that you can follow the changes:

2009

Today, the top gift tax rate is 45%.  This is assessed on gifts given during your lifetime, with some provisions.  You are allowed to give any individual up to $13,000 (2009 limit) per year with no tax considerations.  Any amount above that $13,000 annual limit is applied to your lifetime gift tax exclusion, which is $1 million.  Any amount above that $1 million …

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What are STRIP Bonds?

Bonds called Treasury Strips have buttressed many portfolios during the recent stock market downturn. As fear replaces greed as the driving force in the market, panicked investors are seeking safety, and one of the safest investments is a U.S. Treasury bond. Investors compete to buy these bonds, driving up their price. This is normal when the economy is moving toward deflation. A key reason for owning Treasury Strips is to protect portfolios in deflationary times.

Strips are modifications of regular Treasury bonds. Regular Treasuries consist of two components. The principal component is a promise to pay a fixed sum at …

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