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The Secure Act Eligible Designated Beneficiaries

Before the Secure Act, an IRA beneficiary could use the Life Expectancy Rule. Under the Life Expectancy Rule, he an IRA beneficiary could keep his inherited IRA invested for his lifetime subject to Required Minimum Distributions (RMD). Every year, the beneficiary would have to take a RMD based on his life expectancy. The younger the beneficiary, the less the distribution. The distribution would be taxable as income. But the balance of the…

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The Rules Have Changed Under the Secure Act: The Ten-Year Rule Replaces the Life Expectancy Stretch-Out

The primary feature of a retirement plan is that it can grow tax free. But when the owner is a certain age, previously age 70 ½, but under the Secure Act effective January 1, 2020, age 72, the owner must withdraw Required Minimum Distributions (RMD). The RMD is based on the owner’s age and the IRS mortality tables. Simply put, once you hit the required age, now 72, the IRS makes you…

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Random Thoughts in the Times of the Corona

One of the best sermons I have ever heard was by Pastor David Bisgrove at Redeemer Church NYC West Side in today's service.  God's grace is sufficient for you and his power is made perfect in our weakness. You can watch the service here. What has become my favorite movie is a must watch, especially for dads. /li> Following the plot requires a suspension of disbelief: men in the family can go…

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How to Choose a Career You Will Love


I often get asked by high school and college kids for career advice. Over the years, I’ve distilled it down to two steps. This is what I tell them:

There are two steps to choosing a career. If you do the work on each, you will exponentially increase your chances of having a career you will love.

First, identify people who do what you think you want to do and follow them around. Don’t stalk them, volunteer to help them for a month or two. Give them free labor in return for learning about their work.

I know what you’re thinking, duh, of course. But this obvious first step is often skipped.

How may college graduates jump to law school, business school or other graduate school and invest countless hours and money into their studies only to realize two or three years later that they hate being a lawyer, teacher, accountant or financial advisor? But now they’re in big debt and have lost two to three years of earning capacity.

Make a serious effort to shatter your misconceptions. Bring a big hammer. Find out what the work is really like by shadowing someone who does it. You will

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Congress May be Changing Your Retirement Plan

Congress may actually be passing legislation. In May 2019, the House of Representatives passed, by a 417-3 margin, the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act of 2019. The Senate has not yet voted on a similar bill, the Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act (RESA). If the House and Senate reconcile and pass the bill and the President signs it, I'm proposing a new name (WTFGSD) When They Finally Got…

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Forgot to Transfer Assets to Living Trust

What if your parents had a living trust, but one or more of their assets was not titled in the trust when they died. Now what? Will you have to take their estate through probate? You’ve heard about how probate is expensive and time consuming. Is there an alternative? If the value of the assets not in the trust is less than $150,000, then the estate is considered a “small estate” and…

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Estate Planning and Family

The best way to make sure your estate plan will work is to invest time with your family. Just like investing money yields rewards, so does investing in your family. Most of the family fights over a parent's estate come from dysfunctional families. While no family is perfect, the better the relationships within the family, the more likely the distribution of assets on a parent's passing can go smoothly without conflict.

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Team Celebrate and Lizzie Allison

My daughter, Lizzie Allison, will be accepting the Carter Award for Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy in San Antonio, Texas, this weekend. The International Award, presented by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), honors a young person with a proven record of exceptional generosity who demonstrates outstanding civic and charitable responsibility and whose philanthropy encourages others to engage on a community, national, and/or international level. In 2017, Lizzie won the Sacramento AFP Youth…

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Estate Planning Can Be Easy

Two of my new estate planning clients this week told me they were pleasantly surprised at how easy we made it to set up their revocable living trust estate plan. We hear this a lot. Often attorneys make things complicated because, well, they are attorneys. If you are in your first marriage and want to leave your estate to your spouse and then to your children, estate planning should be easy. If…

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Friday’s Random Thoughts March 22, 2019

I took my family to see Hamilton in San Francisco last month. It was by far the best theatre production I have ever seen. The actors were world class. The writing, lyrics and music were contemporary, witty and fun. Completely entertaining and inspirational. Hard work, taking opportunities, human frailties and the miracle of America infused the production. Four weeks later and I still can't stop listening to the soundtrack. Phenomenal. The Golden…

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