I’m not sure there is much that I can add to the commentary surrounding the events of the past week. I’m a tax professional, and I’ve found it wise to “stay in my lane” during these kinds of events, while still caring deeply about it all.
And so I’m grateful for the voices that are urging unity, and also grateful to those who remind us that there is so much more yet to be done before we get to the place of healing and truth. Indeed — some people are called to raise their voices right now, and I say this is all for the good. Let’s make it a priority to learn from one another during this kind of national moment … and let’s do it locally, here.
Well, moving on (and in the interest of “staying in my lane”), here a few things for you to consider, from a tax perspective right now…
We’re just past the midyear mark, and with months instead of just days left to act, you can make a substantial difference in your tax liability for 2016. There are simple steps you can take such as adjusting your payroll withholding and getting organized in advance (so next tax season is simpler).
A bit more trouble, but definitely worth it, are things such as contributing to a tax-deferred or tax-free retirement account and evaluating your investment portfolio NOW with an eye on how to take full tax advantage of capital gains and losses.
Or you can think really big and look into buying a home with its many tax breaks or making tax-saving alternative energy improvements to the house you already have. Sure, these tax moves might cut into your beach time a bit. But make the time, because they also could cut your tax bill.
We’re here to help! (916) 481-0584
Now, onto my primary Note … and feel free to forward this along to families who might come to mind, and let them know that we can certainly assist them with their unique situation.
Three Key Decisions For California Families With Special Needs Children
“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” -Jim Rohn
Here is the standard thinking, in regards to setting up your affairs with children who have special needs:
California families realize that they have to support these children for the rest of their lives. So, they typically write wills and take out significant term life insurance policies. They are careful to name a trust as the beneficiary, because if their child has more than $1,000 in assets upon reaching age 18, he/she will no longer be eligible for some government benefits.
However, while these families are indeed on the right track, parents with special needs children also need to:
1. Set up a second trust. The purpose of this additional trust would be so that friends and family members can contribute to the child’s care while the family is still alive–without causing the child to lose eligibility for federal disability benefits.
2. Increase savings. These families need a much larger emergency fund than most, and they also need to create a “reserve fund”. They should concentrate on savings–rather than paying off debt–especially if interest rates on loans are low.
3. Plan for three retirements. These California families not only have to plan for their retirements, but also for the child’s long-term care. They should maximize their savings and take an aggressive approach with their portfolio to maximize returns over the long run.
These steps are so important that if you find yourself in this situation, you should raise them with whomever is helping you manage your affairs.
And, as I mentioned, we’re here to help.
Jim and Mike Ornelas
Ornelas & Associates