Let’s talk about Social Security correctly

Social Security is not ‘going bust,’ as the media would have you believe.

Every year, trustees of the Social Security trust funds issue an annual report. And every year, the media overreact and misreport to the American public what the trustees have to say. Here are a few headlines, which I feel are misleading: “The Social Security Trust Fund Goes Bust” — The Wall Street Journal, June 7, […]


What should you do about the Equifax data breach?

If you think there has been a breach into your accounts or your identity has been stolen, contact IdentifyTheft.gov for help.

Who is Equifax, and why are they in the news? Equifax is one of the leading consumer credit reporting agencies. Earlier this month, they announced a major loss of data. Hackers gaining access to Equifax data have left 143 million consumers vulnerable to identify theft and credit fraud. It’s hard to believe, but with this […]


8 planning steps to take before the year ends

8 year-end planning steps for 2016

Another year is coming to a close. So much has happened of late — England voted to “Brexit” the European Union, the Chicago Cubs ended their 108-year World Series draught and Donald Trump was elected President of the United States. With all that’s going on it might be easy to forget about your year-end financial […]


Muni bonds still make sense

Muni bonds have significantly lower default rates than corporate bonds.

I’ve written about municipal bonds in the past. Now is a good time to update my thoughts on this asset class. Municipal bonds and muni bond funds have historically been an effective way of generating tax-free income. In high school, you may have learned about the 1819 U.S. Supreme Court case, McCulloch v. Maryland. That […]


The Panama Papers and you

The Panama Papers leak revealed names of people who had previously been anonymous owners of shell companies.

It was the topic this spring that everyone talked about — except for some lawyers and bankers who generated the talk. The Panama Papers, an April 2016 leak of 11.5 million documents from a Panama-based law firm, revealed the murky world of tax havens and offshore companies and identified by name some very wealthy people […]


The ‘IRS’ is on the phone asking for money? Hang up

the Angry IRS Caller

If you’re like me, you’ve probably received abusive phone calls from people purporting to be from the IRS, or a bank or credit card company. Abusive phone scammers call my home frequently. A very common scam, one that is going on a lot right now, is the Angry IRS Caller. They speak with a stern […]


Hollywood estate planning lessons

Have you been putting off estate planning? I know you know it’s important so this month I’ve decided to peek at the estates of Robin Williams, Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando. There are a number of lessons we can learn. Robin Williams Robin Williams was a comic genius who won four Golden Globes, two Emmys […]


How do taxes in America really work?

A few weeks before the presidential election, my friend Ted sent me a link to a YouTube video that had a strong political bias. Since I’d never known Ted to be a particularly political guy, I started watching out of curiosity just to see what he’d found so intriguing. The gist of the video was […]


Take advantage of 529 college-savings plans and the related gift tax loophole

When it comes to saving for a child’s college education, I know two things: It’s bloody difficult to pay for college. It’s just ridiculously expensive, and one ought to start saving for it right away, the sooner the better. Anytime you saved in the past you had to deal with taxes. So, how would you […]


Some Section 179 deductions to end this year

If you own a profitable business, and you plan to purchase property, vehicles or equipment for the business, you may want to act quickly. The increased section 179 expense deduction limit of $500,000 expires by the end of 2011. Also, the definitions of section 179 property will be changing after this year. What does this […]