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Snowball or Avalanche? Choosing the best debt repayment strategy

Ballast Advisors is a fee-based financial planning firm.  Our financial advisors serving the Twin Cities and Southwestern Florida can help you reach your retirement and financial goals.  Our offices are located in Woodbury, MN, Arden Hills, MN and Punta Gorda, FL.

Data Privacy and Your Financial Planner

              Data Privacy and Your Financial Planner Data privacy week is January 24 – 28, 2022.  Here are some tips to help investors safeguard  personal information when it comes to working with a financial advisor. 2021 was a record year for the number of data breaches publicly reported, according … Read more

2022 Key Numbers

A popular tool, the 2022 Key Numbers document is a comprehensive list of tax bracket and deductions information to assist you as you consider your financial plan for the year. It contains the relevant numbers for:

Individual Income Tax Planning: Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), Charitable deductions, Child tax credit, Classroom expenses of elementary and secondary school teachers, Earned income tax credit (EITC), Expatriation, Foreign earned income, Itemized deductions, Kiddie tax, Medicare tax (additional payroll tax and unearned income contribution tax), Nanny tax, Personal exemption amount, “Saver’s Credit,” Standard deductions, Standard mileage rates, 2022 Federal Income Tax Rate Schedules (Individuals, Trusts, and Estates), 2021 Federal Income Tax Rate Schedules (Individuals, Trusts, and Estates), Adoption Assistance Programs

Business Planning: Earnings subject to FICA taxes (taxable wage base), Health insurance deduction for self-employed, Qualified transportation fringe benefits, Section 179 expensing, Small business tax credit for providing health-care coverage, Standard mileage rate (per mile), Special additional first-year depreciation allowance

Education Planning: American Opportunity and Lifetime Learning Credits, Coverdell education savings accounts, Deduction for qualified higher education expenses, Deduction for student loan interest, Gift tax exclusion, Kiddie tax, U.S. savings bonds interest exclusion for college expenses;

Protection Planning: Eligible long-term care premium deduction limits, Per diem limit, Archer Medical Savings Accounts, Flexible spending account (FSA) for health care, Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)

Estate Planning: 2021 and 2022 gift and estate tax rate schedule

Government Benefits:Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid

Retirement Planning: Employee/individual contribution limits, Employer contribution/benefit limits, Compensation limits/thresholds

Investment Planning: Maximum tax on long-term capital gains and qualified dividends, Unearned income Medicare contribution tax (“net investment income tax”)

 

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Ballast Advisors is a fee-based financial planning firm.  Our financial advisors serving the Twin Cities and Southwestern Florida can help you reach your retirement and financial goals.  Our offices are located in Woodbury, MN, Arden Hills, MN and Punta Gorda, FL.

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES The opinions expressed herein are those of Ballast Advisors, LLC and are subject to change without notice. The third-party material presented is derived from sources Ballast Advisors consider to be reliable, but the accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Nothing contained herein is an offer to purchase or sell any product. This material is for informational purposes only and should not be considered investment advice. Ballast Advisors reserve the right to modify its current investment strategies and techniques based on changing market dynamics or client needs. Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. does not provide investment, tax, legal, or retirement advice or recommendations. The information presented here is not specific to any individual’s personal circumstances. To the extent that this material concerns tax matters, it is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by a taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by law. Each taxpayer should seek independent advice from a tax professional based on his or her individual circumstances. These materials are provided for general information and educational purposes based upon publicly available information from sources believed to be reliable — we cannot assure the accuracy or completeness of these materials. The information in these materials may change at any time and without notice. Ballast Advisors, LLC is a registered investment advisor under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended. Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. More information about the firm, including its services, strategies, and fees can be found in our ADV Part 2, which is available without charge upon request

Plan Your Finances as You Would Your Exercise

You exercise to benefit from your sweat equity in the future, right?

Waking up early in the dark mornings of winter to exercise comes hard. Once your workout ends, though, you often begin the day with the payoff of a tremendous energy boost. Can the same process apply to your finances?

If you’re like most people, you exercise for many reasons but expect to benefit from your sweat equity in the future, not just in the current moment. We will all encounter health issues at some time and the medical world assures us that we’ll deal better with problems if we get – and stay – physically fit. Preparation matters.

So, what does exercise have in common with financial planning and investing? The answer: Very few individuals prepare to invest, except maybe when selecting from choices in a retirement plan.

Or not: One study shows that in 2020 – in the teeth of the COVID-pandemic and perhaps the most volatile market year since maybe 2008 – most 401(k) retirement plan participants made no changes to their contributions.

planning your finances

Exercise Helps Limit Our Injuries

Getting back to the fitness analogy, exercise’s greatest benefits come from the stress we intentionally place on our muscles so that when a health problem arises, our bodies are in better condition to deal with the situation. Regarding investments, if you choose to go it alone, you need a methodical (and regularly visited) regimen for taking in and processing market data. You also need a strategy to accommodate unforeseen yet inevitable future events, such as market downturns.

Don’t let random financial news clips guide your decisions when determining how to act. For the record, you need not re-allocate asset classes or otherwise change your portfolio just because something in the market changed.

You do need to be prepared to consider adjustments when the information dictates that conditions shifted, such as stocks increasing to a higher portion of your portfolio than you want.

Your Planning Routine

We call this an investment policy statement or some prefer the term “investment playbook.” The playbook outlines your holdings and specifies how you intend to respond to change with a disciplined approach aimed at particular objectives – as opposed to the usually heated emotions most of us feel in a suddenly rough market.

How are your holdings doing against benchmarks such as the S&P 500 Index? At specifically what point will market shifts make you re-allocate percentages of stocks and bonds in your portfolio?

Your playbook also describes what you’re trying to achieve as an investor – pay for retirement or for college tuition, for example – and how you’ll react to market changes. You might plan to sell or buy only if the S&P 500 hits a certain number or invest in oil if the cost per barrel drops to a pre-set price. A well-designed playbook keeps you from panicky decisions or from freezing up during Wall Street roller coasters.

Your playbook needs to clearly document your investment information sources, the technology involved in your investing and why you bought a particular investment. Remember: Great stock or mutual fund opportunities may arise and shimmer, but if they don’t match your playbook, you pass.

At the gym, you can wander among the clanking weights or plan exactly how to invest your energy. You know which method works better.

Investing is no different

Copyright © 2021 FMeX. All rights reserved. Distributed by Financial Media Exchange. Originally posted March 2, 2021

This material is provided for general information and educational purposes only and should not be considered as investment advice. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Nothing contained herein constitutes as an offer or recommendation to buy or sell a particular security or investment product. Ballast Advisors, LLC is a registered investment advisor under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended. Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training.