Category Archives: Investing

How Stepped-Up Basis Affects a 1031 Exchange

How Stepped-Up Basis Affects a 1031 Exchange

It may make the case for replacing a property far less compelling.

  

Provided by Terri Fassi, CPA, MBA, CDFA

 

Have you inherited a home or income property? If so, you may be weighing your options: you could hang onto it, you could sell it, or you could replace it through a 1031 exchange. One major factor affecting your choice will be the property’s tax basis – the value of that real estate in the eyes of the tax collector.1

The tax basis of a property changes over time, and it can change dramatically when a property is inherited or gifted. Usually, the basis is “stepped up.” Let’s explain what that phrase means.3

When you buy real estate, your starting tax basis is known as the cost basis. The cost basis is defined as the full purchase price for the property. If you buy a home for $300,000 (with or without financing), your initial tax basis is the cost basis of $300,000.1

When you inherit real estate, your basis is not the original owner’s cost basis. Instead, it is the fair market value of the property at the time of the owner’s death. This adjustment is known as a “step-up,” and it provides many heirs with a nice tax break.1,2

As an example, say someone inherits a 12-unit apartment building. The full purchase price of the building was $300,000 in 1990, but the fair market value of the building was $600,000 at the owner’s death. The heir sells the building for $620,000. Her tax basis is $600,000, which means her total taxable profit on the sale will be only $20,000 instead of $320,000. Correspondingly, she faces capital gains tax on $20,000 of profit rather than $320,000 of profit.1

When basis is stepped up, there may be much less incentive to replace a property (and defer tax on the gain) through a 1031 exchange. Selling the property may be the better option.

A 1031 exchange – an alternative to a conventional sale – offers you a legal way to replace an unwanted property with a more desirable one, without triggering capital gains taxes in the year of the swap. These like-kind exchanges are facilitated with the assistance of a third party – a qualified intermediary who can help you complete the exchange within 180 days of the initial property transfer (and before you file your 1040 for the tax year involved).3    

If you want to quickly sell inherited real estate, the case for a 1031 exchange weakens. If your goal is to unload the property within a few months, it may not appreciate much (or at all) in that time. The taxable profit above the stepped-up basis may be small or nonexistent, so capital gains tax may not be much of a concern. If you decide to hang onto the property for a couple of years, then the case for initiating a like-kind exchange grows stronger.3

What variables factor into the decision to sell or exchange? First, the fair market value of the property has to be determined. Take the original total purchase price of the property, add the value of any improvements, and subtract any depreciation taken. That is your adjusted basis.1,2

Once you have that number, plug it into the middle of another equation: Projected Sale Price – (Adjusted Basis + Projected Agent Commission + Projected Title Fees + Any Other Probable Closing Costs) = Realized Taxable Gain.2

Now onto determining the tax due. As a simple rule of thumb, multiply the depreciation that will be taken from the realized taxable gain by 25% to estimate recaptured depreciation. Then apply federal capital gains tax, state capital gains tax, and (in some circumstances) county capital gains tax to the remaining balance to arrive at the recognized gain, or the total capital gains tax you are projected to owe. If that total capital gains tax is not burdensome to you, you may opt to just sell the property rather than exchange it.2

Before making any move, be sure you confer with a tax professional or a real estate professional to evaluate these options.

 

Terri Fassi may be reached at 970-416-0088 or terri@fassifinancialnetwork.com

 

 

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

  

Citations.

1 – nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/determining-your-homes-tax-basis.html [9/13/16]

2 – atlas1031.com/blog/1031-exchange/bid/82182/1031-Exchange-and-Stepped-Up-Basis [2/19/13

3 – cincinnati.com/story/money/2016/05/05/property-exchange-can-defer-avoid-tax/83982782/ [5/5/16]

 

How Millennials Can Get a Good Start on Retirement Planning

How Millennials Can Get a Good Start on Retirement Planning

Some simple steps may make a major financial difference over time.

 

Provided by Terri Fassi, CPA, MBA, CDFA

 

If you are younger than 35, saving for retirement may not feel like a priority. After all, retirement may be 30 years away; if your employer does not sponsor a retirement plan, there may be less incentive for you to start.

Even so, you must save and invest for retirement as soon as you can. Time is your greatest ally. The earlier you begin, the more years your invested assets have to grow and compound. If you put off retirement planning until your fifties, you may end up having to devote huge chunks of your income just to catch up, at a time when you may have to care for elderly parents, fund college educations, and pay off a mortgage. 

Do your part to reject the financial stereotype that the media places on millennials. Are you familiar with it? According to the mainstream media, millennials are wary of saving and investing; they are just too indebted, too pessimistic, and too scared get into the market after seeing what happened to the investments of their parents during the Great Recession.

In truth, savers of all ages were traumatized by the 2007-09 bear market. Last month, Gallup asked American households if they had any money in equity investments; just 52% said yes. That compares to 65% in April 2007. In 2014, Gallup asked Americans if investing $1,000 in equities was a good idea or a bad idea; 50% of those surveyed called it a bad one.1

A recent study from HowMuch.Net found that 52% of Americans aged 18-34 have less than $1,000 in savings. Well, guess what: another study from Go Banking Rates reveals that 62% of all Americans have less than $1,000 in savings.2

Now is the time to take some crucial financial steps. According to a poll taken by millennial advocacy group Young Invincibles, only 43% of 18-to-34-year-olds without access to a workplace retirement plan save consistently for retirement; whether your employer sponsors a plan or not, though, you can still make some wise moves before you turn 40.3

Make saving a top priority. Resolve to pay yourself first. That is, direct money toward your retirement before you do anything else, like pay the bills or spend it on needs or wants. Your future should come first.

Invest some or most of what you save. Investing in equities is vital, because it gives you the potential to grow and compound your money to outpace inflation. With interest rates so low right now, ultra-conservative fixed-income investments are generating very low returns, and most savings accounts are offering minimal interest rates. Thirty or forty years from now, you will probably not be able to retire solely on your savings. If you invest your retirement money in equities, you have the opportunity to retire on the earnings and compound interest accumulated through both saving and investing.

The effect of compounding can be profound. For example, suppose you want to retire with $1 million in savings. (By 2050, this may be a common goal rather than a lofty one.) We will project that your investments will yield 6.5% a year between now and the year you turn 65 (a reasonably optimistic assumption) and, for the sake of simplicity, we will put any potential capital gains taxes and investment fees aside. Given all that, how early would you have to begin saving and investing to reach that $1 million goal, and how much would you have to save per month to reach it?

If you start saving at 45, the answer is $2,039. If you start saving at 35, the monthly number drops to $904. How about if you start saving at 25? Only $438 a month would be needed. The earlier you start saving and investing, the more compounding power you can harness.4

Strive to get the match. Some companies reward employees with matching retirement plan contributions; they will contribute 50 cents for every dollar the worker does or, perhaps, even match the contribution dollar-for-dollar. An employer match is too good to pass up.

Invest in a way you are comfortable with. In the mid-2000s, some Wall Street money managers directed assets into investments they did not fully understand, a gamble that contributed to the last bear market. Take a lesson from that example and avoid investing in what seems utterly convoluted or mysterious.

Realize that friends and family may not know it all. The people closest to you may or may not be familiar with investing. If they are not, take what they tell you with a few grains of salt.

Getting a double-digit annual return is great, but the main concern is staying invested. The market goes up and down, sometimes violently, but there has never been a 20-year period in which the market has lost value. As you save for the long run, that is worth remembering.2

 

Terri Fassi may be reached at 970-416-0088 or terri@fassifinancialnetwork.com

 

 

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

  

Citations.

1 – gallup.com/poll/1711/stock-market.aspx [4/28/16]

2 – usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2016/02/04/7-ways-millennials-can-get-jump-start-retirement-planning/78310100/ [2/4/16]

3 – marketwatch.com/story/the-real-reason-many-millennials-arent-saving-for-retirement-2016-02-17 [2/17/16]

4 – tinyurl.com/zmncqz6 [4/27/16]

An Introduction to The Stock Market

AN INTRODUCTION TO THE STOCK MARKET

What it is, how it works, and how to get started.

 

Provided by Terri Fassi, CPA, MBA, CDFA

 

Confused or unsure? You’re not alone. It’s amazing to me how many adults, many of them college grads, know practically nothing about the stock market. Many schools simply don’t offer or don’t require the classes that cover it. If you’ve been holding off on investing because you simply didn’t know enough about it … that’s probably wise. But rather than delay any longer, here’s some information to get you started:

The nuts and bolts. Basically, if you own a stock, you own a part of a company. You’ve invested in that company. If the company does well, the value of your stock rises. If the company does poorly, the value of your stock falls. That is the stock market in the simplest terms.

The market. Think of it like a flea market. Rather than travel all over town, a flea market offers you a central location where buyers and sellers can meet up. The stock market isn’t all that different. Stock markets are simply gathering places for stock owners to buy and sell stock securities.

Exchanging? Trading? These are terms you hear frequently in regard to stocks, but they can be misleading … and perhaps this is one reason there is so much confusion. You’re not actually exchanging stocks, and you’re not really trading stocks. You are buying them or selling them.

How much does it cost to buy or sell a stock? Actually, there are two costs to consider … 1) The cost of the stock, and 2) the cost of the “trade”. The price of the stock varies hugely from company to company and can change from moment to moment, so that’s a question I can’t answer for you. But there’s also a fee to buy or sell a stock (or “share”). The amount of the fee depends on which stock brokerage you use. Generally these fees can range from under $10 to $20 or even up to $100 per “trade”. Keep in mind you will pay a fee when you buy your stock, and again when you sell it.

What is a brokerage? A broker is a conduit for the buying and selling of stocks. For example, let’s say you want to buy a stock that’s listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Well, that stock is bought and sold on the floor of the NYSE. So, unless you are authorized to trade at the exchange and want to travel to New York, you instead enlist the services of a broker to take care of your buying and selling for you. Brokerages pay fees to become members of a stock exchange and access the “floor” of an exchange for trading. They then buy and sell stocks on behalf of their clients.

So, how do you get started? There are all kinds of ways to get started and a myriad of brokerage choices, including discretionary dealing (where the brokerage chooses stocks on your behalf), advisory dealing (where the brokerage gives you advice, but leaves the decisions up to you), and execution-only brokerages (where you will be entirely self-directed). Most brokerages have a minimum deposit you must make to get started, so you’ll want to look into that as well. If you’re serious about investing and want to do it frequently and avidly, read up on the markets and consider taking a class to educate yourself.

Before you make any big decisions, though, think about enlisting the assistance of a qualified financial professional who can give you insight and perspective on the financial markets.

 

Terri Fassi may be reached at 970-416-0088 or terri@fassifinancialnetwork.com

 

These are the views of Peter Montoya, Inc., not the named Representative or Broker/Dealer, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named Representative or Broker/Dealer give tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your Financial Advisor for further information.

 

Saving Early & Letting Time Work For You

Saving Early & Letting Time Work for You

The earlier you start pursuing financial goals, the better your outcome may be.

 

Provided by Terri Fassi, CPA, MBA, CDFA

 

As a young investor, you have a powerful ally on your side: time. When you start saving and investing for retirement in your twenties or thirties, you can put it to work for you. 

The effect of compounding is huge. Most people underestimate it, so it is worth illustrating. We will use reasonable annual return rates to do so – we will assume an investor can earn an average of 6-7% a year on his or her portfolio.

What if you invest $500 a month at age 25 & realize a 6% annual return? Under those hypothetical conditions, you would become a millionaire at age 65. To be precise, you would need to invest $499.64 per month starting at age 25 and keep it up for 40 years.1

At age 25, saving and investing $500 each month may seem like a luxury. It is closer to a necessity. In 2055, having $1 million or more saved up for retirement may be essential. Over 40 years, inflation will make $1 million worth less than it is today. The good news is that if your investments return more than 6% in a year, you could reach and surpass that $1 million mark faster.

It need not take 40 years for compounding to make a difference for you. Shortening the timeline of this hypothetical example, after ten years of saving and investing $500 a month at a 6% annual return, you would end up with $81,939.67 compared to the $60,000 you would realize from merely saving the cash sans investment.2

The earlier you start, the greater the compounding potential. If you start saving and investing for retirement in your twenties, you gain a definite compounding advantage over someone who waits to save and invest until his or her thirties. Another comparison bears this out.

Take two investors, both contributing $200 per month into their retirement accounts. One does this for 40 years starting at age 25. The other does this for 30 years starting at age 35. Again, we assume a 6% annual return for each account. The investor who starts at 25 winds up with $402,492 at age 65, while the one who started at 35 amasses just $203,118 over 30 years.3

Just ten years of difference in the start time, yet the money almost doubles by age 65. This is a compelling argument for starting to save for retirement (and other goals) as early as possible.

Even if you start early & then stop, you may out-save those who begin later. What if you contribute $5,000 to a retirement account yearly starting at age 25 and then stop at age 35 – no new money going into the account for the next 30 years? That is hardly ideal, yet should it happen, you still might come out ahead of someone who begins saving for retirement later.

As J.P. Morgan Asset Management research notes, an investor who consistently directs $5,000 a year in a retirement account from age 25-35 with a 7% continued annual return ends up with $602,070 at age 65 even if contributions cease after age 35. The really startling part: that investor actually amasses more retirement savings than an investor who steadily contributes $5,000 a year from age 35-65 at the same rate of return – he or she realizes just $540,741.1

This is all worth noting, because many millennials seem wary of investing. This spring, a Bankrate MoneyPulse survey indicated that only 26% of Americans under age 30 are investing in equities. In July 2014, another Bankrate survey found that Americans 18-29 favored cash investments (i.e., bank accounts and bank-based investment vehicles) above all others. Student loans and child-rearing costs reduce investing potential for many millennials, but as these survey results hint, some are cynical about the whole investment process.4,5

If you were born in the late eighties to early nineties, you are old enough to remember the dot-com bust of the early 2000s and the crushing bear market of 2007-09. This may have given you an early negative view of equities; these events are clear examples of how risk plays a part in this type of investment.

The reality, though, is that most people planning for retirement need to build wealth in a way that outpaces inflation. Equity investing offers a route toward this objective, one many investors have successfully taken. Directing your savings into equities can be helpful, because broadly speaking, you will not retire merely on the contributions you make to your retirement accounts. You will retire on the compounded earnings those invested assets achieve.

 

Terri Fassi may be reached at 970-416-0088 or terri@fassifinancialnetwork.com

 

 

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

    

Citations.

1 – businessinsider.com/amazing-power-of-compound-interest-2014-7 [7/8/14]

2 – quickenloans.com/blog/investing-101-how-to-get-started [8/27/15]

3 – businessinsider.com/saving-at-25-vs-saving-at-35-2014-3 [3/25/14]

4 – cnbc.com/2015/08/24/more-millennials-say-no-to-stocks-and-advisors-adapt.html [8/24/15]

5 – bankrate.com/finance/consumer-index/financial-security-charts-0714.aspx [7/21/14]

 

Estate Planning vs Advanced Estate Planning

ESTATE PLANNING vs. ADVANCED ESTATE PLANNING

Who needs what? What’s the difference?

 

Provided by Terri Fassi, CPA, MBA, CDFA

Everyone has an estate. Rich or poor, it doesn’t matter. When you die, you leave behind an estate. For some, this can mean property, cash money, assets and more. For others it could be as simple as the $10 bill in their wallet and the clothes on their back. Either way, what you leave behind when you die is considered to be your “estate”.

Why plan? Well, even if you’re just leaving behind the $10 bill in your wallet, who will inherit it? Do you have a spouse? Children? Is it theirs? Should it go to just one of them, or be split between them? This (quite simply) is what estate planning is all about. Estate planning determines how your money and assets (property – both real and personal) will be distributed after your lifetime.

Who needs estate planning? While it is absolutely possible to die without planning your estate, I wouldn’t say it is advisable. If you die without an estate plan, your family could face major legal issues and (possibly) bitter disputes. So in my opinion, everyone should do some form of estate planning. Your estate plan could include wills and trusts, life insurance, disability insurance, a living will, a pre- or post-nuptial agreement, long-term care insurance, power of attorney and more.

Why not just a will? Did you know that your heirs may need to file a petition to probate your estate … even if you have a will? Basically, a will tells the world what you’d like to have happen, but other items (like properly prepared and funded trusts) can provide the tools to make things happen, and help your heirs to avoid probate.

So, what is “advanced” estate planning? Advanced estate planning is generally something those with a very high net worth should consider. For example, if you are single and your net worth exceeds $1.5 million dollars, or if you are married and (as a couple) your net worth exceeds $3.5 million dollars, you should consider advanced estate planning. The main purpose of advanced estate planning is to reduce taxes. The use of unified credit, gifting strategies, trusts and more can help your heirs receive the highest benefits possible under federal and state laws.

Where do you begin? Whether you need basic or advanced estate planning, I would advise you to speak with qualified professionals. A Financial Advisor can refer you to a good estate planning attorney and a qualified tax professional, and lead a team effort to assist you in drafting your legal documents. Many financial professionals have relationships with attorneys and accountants, so the advisor you consult may be able to refer you to the right specialists.

 

Terri Fassi may be reached at 970-416-0088 or terri@fassifinancialnetwork.com

 

These are the views of Peter Montoya, Inc., not the named Representative or Broker/Dealer, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named Representative or Broker/Dealer give tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your Financial Advisor for further information.

 

* As of 2006

Bonds and Interest Rates

Bonds and Interest Rates

A look at how one can greatly affect the other.

 

Provided by Terri Fassi, CPA, MBA, CDFA

 

Is the bond bull history? Bond titan Bill Gross called an end to the 30-year bull market in fixed income back in 2010, and he has repeated his opinion since. Legendary investor Jim Rogers predicted an end to the bond bull in 2009, and he still sees it happening. This belief is starting to become popular – the Federal Reserve keeps easing and more and more investors are leaving Treasuries for equities.1,2,3

If the long bull market in bonds has ended, the final phase was certainly impressive. During the four-year stretch after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, $900 billion flowed into bond funds and $410 billion left equities.2

In 2013, you have bulls running, an assumption that Fed money printing will start to subside and the real yield on the 10-year TIPS in negative territory. Assuming the economy continues to improve and appetite for risk stays strong, what will happen to bond investors when inflation and interest rates inevitably rise and bond market values fall?

Conditions hint at an oncoming bear market. When interest rates rise again, how many bond owners are going to hang on to their 10-year or 30-year Treasuries until maturity? Who will want a 1.5% or 2.5% return for a decade? Looking at composite bond rates over at Yahoo’s Bonds Center, even longer-term corporate bonds offered but a 3.5%-4.3% return in late March.4

What do you end up with when you sell a bond before its maturity? The market value. If the federal funds rate rises 3%, a longer-term Treasury might lose as much as a third of its market value as a consequence. It wasn’t that long ago – June 12, 2007, to be exact – when the yield on the 10-year note settled up at 5.26%.5

This risk aside, what if you want or need to stay in bonds? Some bond market analysts believe now might be a time to exploit short-term bonds with laddered maturity dates. What’s the trade-off in that move? Well, you are accepting lower interest rates in exchange for a potentially smaller drop in the market value of these securities if rates rise. If you are after higher rates of return from short-duration bonds, you may have to look to bonds that are investment-grade but without AAA or AA ratings.

If you see interest rates rising sooner rather than later, exploiting short maturities could position you to get your principal back in the short term. That could give you cash which you could reinvest in response to climbing interest rates. If you think bond owners are in for some pain in the coming years, you could limit yourself to small positions in bonds.

The Treasury needs revenue and senses the plight of certain bond owners, and in response, it has plans to roll out floating-rate notes by 2014. A floater backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government would have real appeal – its yield could be adjusted per movements in a base interest rate (yet to be selected by the Treasury), and you could hold onto it for a while instead of getting in and out of various short-term debt instruments and incurring the related transaction costs.6

Appetite for risk may displace anxiety faster than we think. In this bull market, why would people put their money into an investment offering a 1.5% return for 10 years? Portfolio diversification aside, a major reason is fear – the fear of volatility and a global downturn. That fear prompts many investors to play “not to lose” – but should interest rates rise significantly in the next few years, owners of long-term bonds might find themselves losing out in terms of their portfolio’s potential.

Terri Fassi may be reached at 970-416-0088 or terri@fassifinancialnetwork.com

 

This material was prepared by MarketingLibrary.Net Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

 

Citations.

1 – www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-10-27/fed-easing-likely-to-mark-end-of-30-year-bull-market-for-bonds-gross-says.html [10/27/10]

2 – online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390443884104577645470279806022.html [9/15/12]

3 – www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-02-07/u-s-30-year-bond-losses-pass-5-as-fed-price-gauge-rises.html [2/7/13]

4 – finance.yahoo.com/bonds/composite_bond_rates [3/27/13]

5 – www.treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=yieldYear&year=2007 [2/6/13]

6 – online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324590904578287802587652738.html [2/6/13]