Tax Act Overview
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which we will simply call the “Tax Act”, is not retroactive except for a very few unique expensing provisions, so for nearly everyone, your upcoming income tax filing due this spring for the 2017 tax year filing will NOT be effected. However, the changes are more significant than most realize, so now is the time to implement tax planning for 2018 to optimize the greatest tax advantages for your 2018 income tax filing. Below you will find a quick rundown of a few of the significant changes for both individuals and businesses. Be sure to visit our website for a slightly more comprehensive picture.

Also, be aware that many of provisions of the Tax Act are temporary and thus will revert in the future unless Congress takes action to make them permanent. Most of the individual tax changes expire December 31st, 2025. We recommend you contact your Congressman and encourage them to address the temporary nature of much of the Tax Act now. List of Congress members.

Finally, keep in mind that some of the old tax law provisions are grandfathered or may phase in after 2018; to clarifiy, some of the new tax provisions only apply to actions or transactions made starting in 2018 or may not start until after 2018.

Individual Tax . . . the more comprehensive picture of the Tax Act.
Business Tax . . . the more comprehensive picture of the Tax Act.
The Tax Act itself . . . . a direct link to the actual full language.

Tax Act for Individuals – for details visit the links above

Tax Act for Businessfor details visit the links above

  • Corporate Tax Rate – Graduated 15% and 35% removed; now 21% (Learn More)
  • Passthrough Deduction – New deduction; up to 20% for certain small business incomes (Learn More)
  • Bonus Depreciation – Up to 100% (Learn More)
  • Real Property – Reduce REcovery Period (Learn More)
  • Section 179 Expensing – Increased and qualified real property definition expanded  (Learn More)
  • Business Interest Deduction – New limit of 30% of adjusted taxable income (Learn More)
  • 1031 Exchange – Now excludes property held primarily for sale (Learn More)
  • Excessive Employee Compensation – exceptions to compensation over $1 million repealed (Learn More)
  • Loss Carry Back – Repealed in most cases (Learn More)
  • Corporate AMT – Repealed (Learn More)
  • Domectic Production Deduction –  Repealed (Learn More)
  • Entertainment Expenses Deduciton – Disallowed in most cases though meals remain (Learn More)

As a consumer, you’ve probably visited a franchise at least once in the last month. But have you ever thought about owning one? If you’re the entrepreneurial type and looking for a career change or another income stream, it might be worth considering. This kind of business venture allows you to be your own boss and offers more structure than a startup. There are pros and cons to owning a franchise, of course, and some questions to ask yourself before taking the plunge.

Which brand is right for me?
While all franchises follow a similar high-level model, no two businesses are alike. It’s critical to select one that seems truly invested in their franchisees’ success. Ranked lists of the best and worst franchises can shed light on what to look for (e.g., creative marketing) and what to avoid (e.g., high fees).

How can I acquire information?
Once you’ve identified a potential franchise, you’ll want to deepen your understanding of the day-to-day operations and learn all of the ins and outs. Attend a Discovery Day, a soft sales event where you can interact face-to-face with franchisors, ask questions and get a better sense of the brand. And they’ll want to get to know you, as well, before moving forward.

Who can assist me?
Of course, investing in a franchise is a big commitment and life event. When it comes to financial decisions of this scale, it’s wise to consult a business law attorney to review your franchise agreement before you sign. And you’ll want to look at the money side of things with an expert to help you frame your expectations and evaluate how this new business will impact other areas of your financial plan. Think a franchise might be for you? Get in touch.

The information provided in Eddleman’s Economic Insight is not intended to be used as investment advice; rather it is provided as general economic news and information for your awareness or for discussions with your investment professional. Please consult your investment professional or CPA for advice specific to your situation! Past performance is not indicative of future results.

No matter how much fun your summer is shaping up to be, it’s no time to put your finances on pause. Take a look at the past six months to gauge how you can adjust your strategic or tactical actions to ensure you’re making steady progress toward your financial goals.

Check In With Your Cash Flow
Is your spending under control, leaving you with a chunk of untouched income each and every month? If not, take a deep dive into your budget to see what your dollars are doing, and tighten that proverbial belt. And make sure your emergency fund is full so you’re not tempted to reach for short-term, high-interest debt when an unexpected need arises.

Look at Long-Term Goal Progress
If your cash flow and emergency fund are in good shape, point that unspent monthly chunk toward larger goals like retirement, kids’ college funds or other investment vehicles. Research has shown that time in the market may be more effective than trying to time the market. Now is an optimal opportunity to diligently and consistently fund investment accounts linked to your long-term goals.

Make Adjustments Based on Life Changes
Have there been any births, deaths, breakups, job promotions or other notable life changes since 2017 began? Milestone events can impact your financial plan and priorities in many ways.

You may need to tweak your insurance coverage, amend your estate planning documents or revisit the beneficiaries listed for your various accounts and policies. Let the appropriate professionals know; they will have the best guidance for each situation, but only if they’re aware of these changes in the first place.

The information provided in Eddleman’s Economic Insight is not intended to be used as investment advice; rather it is provided as general economic news and information for your awareness or for discussions with your investment professional. Please consult your investment professional or CPA for advice specific to your situation! Past performance is not indicative of future results.

If your family is gearing up to make a college decision in the coming months, a tour of prospective campuses may be on your agenda. Here are a few strategic tips to help you compare higher education choices and get the most from your visit.

Explore Your Tour Options Well in Advance
Every college and university is different, and so are their visitation opportunities. Are you looking for an on-site overnight stay or the ability to meet with certain professors or departments? Check with the admissions office of each campus to determine your options. Candid, face-to-face time with current students can also provide a valuable look into everyday collegiate life.

Budget Appropriately
Like any trip, you can expect to spend on travel and meals, even if the campus tours are available at no cost. From a budget perspective, treat a college visitation like a vacation; explore the city as well as the neighborhoods surrounding the school to get an authentic feel for the overall environment.

Gather Details to Review Later
You can maximize the experience by putting the technology you’ve got on hand to work for you. Use your smartphone to record interviews with current students and faculty and take snapshots or video footage to keep the visit fresh in your mind. Don’t let the excitement of an institution’s grandeur overshadow the importance of capturing the information that will factor into a final acceptance decision.

Higher education is a serious financial investment. Despite all the research you do online, nothing beats going to the source, so make those firsthand moments count.

The information provided in Eddleman’s Economic Insight is not intended to be used as investment advice; rather it is provided as general economic news and information for your awareness or for discussions with your investment professional. Please consult your investment professional or CPA for advice specific to your situation! Past performance is not indicative of future results.

Looking for a vacation that offers a spiritual break or the opportunity for introspection? Embarking on a pilgrimage where you walk historic paths and visit sacred sites may be the perfect vacation alternative. Here are a few historically significant options, whether you’re looking to go near or far.

International Destinations
Taking the time to explore other cultures on foot can put you in the frame of mind to savor nuanced details. Here are a few pilgrimage options:

  • Shikoku, the smallest of Japan’s southerly islands, is home to an ancient pilgrimage trail honoring Buddhist monk Kukai. The approximately 750-mile course, which can take as many as 60 days to complete, features 88 intricate temples.
  • The Camino de Santiago, also known as the “Way of St. James,” leads to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain, where legend says the apostle is buried. The trail contains several branches, though the last 62 miles of the Camino Frances is the most popular.
  • Take in the English countryside on a roughly 53-mile walk (including detours) along the Great Stones Way, which includes a stop at the prehistoric Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England.

Domestic Pilgrimages
You don’t have to look outside the U.S. to find a pilgrimage path. There are several across the country, including the following:

  • Navigate part of the Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail, which begins in Nauvoo, Illinois, and leads to Salt Lake City, Utah. More than 70,000 Mormons traveled this 1,300-mile, five-state path in the mid-1800s to escape religious persecution.
  • If you’d like to make a journey by car, venture through the Texas Hill Country and stop by the area’s historic painted churches. These Czech- and German-inspired beauties built in the mid- to late 1800s feature intricate artisanal handiwork and bold colors.

Craving the kind of getaway that helps you hit the reset button in a deep, meaningful way? Find a pilgrimage that resonates with you.

The information provided in Eddleman’s Economic Insight is not intended to be used as investment advice; rather it is provided as general economic news and information for your awareness or for discussions with your investment professional. Please consult your investment professional or CPA for advice specific to your situation! Past performance is not indicative of future results.

True wealth is more than what you earn; what you retain and maintain also matters. Proper insurance coverage helps by protecting your assets from risks that can subtract value or cause costly harm. But do you have ample coverage? High net worth individuals often don’t. Many experience an insurance gap and require attention that’s above and beyond the scope of traditional mainstream products.

Umbrella Coverage for Reduced Liability
Sometimes those with significant wealth can be attractive litigation targets, even after less severe situations like a simple fender bender. Consider adding another layer of protection with an umbrella policy. This additional coverage picks up where your existing insurance leaves off to give you extra security and peace of mind.

Extensive Coverage for Real Estate
Whether you monetize them as rental homes or enjoy them as vacation getaways, having multiple properties in your portfolio can pose unique complications when it comes to homeowners insurance. Review your situation with a fine-toothed comb to properly insure personal property, and keep in mind that high-dollar items, like jewelry and art, may require additional endorsements.

Individualized Attention to Insurance Needs
Sophisticated asset protection may require different types of coverage. If you’re working directly with an agent who’s beholden to a single insurance company, you may be missing out on better, more protective alternatives from other insurers. An independent personal insurance manager can pick and choose policies from multiple insurers to get you coverage that’s customized to your needs.

Just because you’re adept at acquiring assets doesn’t mean you’re as savvy when it comes to protecting them. Choosing the right policies to insure your property will help guard your net worth against unexpected drops in value due to accident, theft and more.

The information provided in Eddleman’s Economic Insight is not intended to be used as investment advice; rather it is provided as general economic news and information for your awareness or for discussions with your investment professional. Please consult your investment professional or CPA for advice specific to your situation! Past performance is not indicative of future results.

A long-term savings strategy like planning for retirement relies on small steps taken over an extended period of time. Make sure you’re on track by avoiding these common mistakes.

Underfunding Retirement Accounts
Are you among the 71 percent of Americans who aren’t putting enough away for retirement? The most effective determining factors of a well-funded retirement are how early you start and how much you save. Aim to contribute the maximum amount allowable into your retirement accounts each year. If that’s a stretch, commit to increasing contributions to retirement accounts any time your income climbs, whether it’s from annual raises or salary boosts when you change jobs.

Ignoring Tax Ramifications
If you’re early in your wealth-building journey or you anticipate a lower-than-usual income this year, it may be worthwhile to take advantage of your lower tax rate and make Roth contributions in your retirement accounts. Just make sure your employer-sponsored retirement plan has a Roth option. If your income disqualifies you from making Roth IRA contributions, consider Roth conversions.

Concentrating Your Investments Too Narrowly
Many Americans who held most of their funds in a single company or sector of stocks learned this harsh lesson during the dot-com bubble. When the bubble burst between 1999 and 2001, so did a portion of those portfolios. And the same concern goes for tying up the bulk of your wealth in your principal residence. Not only is it time-consuming and costly to convert a home to cash, but you’ll also have the added stress of finding a new place to live. Diversification is key to avoiding this mistake.

Whether retirement is a few decades away or just around the corner, the goal is to make steady progress in the right direction as you prepare for life after work.

The information provided in Eddleman’s Economic Insight is not intended to be used as investment advice; rather it is provided as general economic news and information for your awareness or for discussions with your investment professional. Please consult your investment professional or CPA for advice specific to your situation! Past performance is not indicative of future results.

Vacations allow you to escape the routine of your everyday life. Making the most of your time away from home is up to you. If you’re interested in springing for once-in-a-lifetime hotel accommodations, here are a few unusual options.

Relax in Luxury
Looking to indulge beyond the traditional hotel and continental breakfast? A well-appointed retreat that makes you the focus can help you recharge your mind, body and spirit. One option: the art-centric Hotel Marques de Riscal in northern Spain, which was designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry and sits on an established vineyard of the same name.

Or you can add a little adventure to your luxury getaway. At Oberoi Vanyavilas in Ranthambore, India, guests can sip champagne from the observation tower and spot royal Bengal tigers at a nearby watering hole, along with other indigenous wildlife.

Travel off the Beaten Path
If a real escape sounds like music to your ears, consider a remote destination where you can avoid real-world interruptions. How about a quiet island retreat off the east coast of Africa? The Manta Resort on Zanzibar’s Pemba Island offers privacy and romance and the option to stay in an underwater room surrounded by untouched coral reefs and their inhabitants.

If that’s not remote enough, consider White Desert’s Whichaway Camp in Antarctica. From November through January, travelers can experience the South Pole and all of its beauty in comfort and style.

Go With What Speaks to You
Finding a one-of-a-kind stay isn’t as hard as you may imagine; just give some thought to your personal interests. Car enthusiast? The 4.5-star, auto-themed V8 Hotel in Stuttgart, Germany, may speak to you. Nature lover? Sleep among the clouds in one of the treetop rooms in Sweden’s aptly named Treehotel. Your options for unconventional lodging across the globe are nearly limitless.

The information provided in Eddleman’s Economic Insight is not intended to be used as investment advice; rather it is provided as general economic news and information for your awareness or for discussions with your investment professional. Please consult your investment professional or CPA for advice specific to your situation! Past performance is not indicative of future results.

Like estate planning, long-term care insurance is a critical component of a financially secure future, but many people tend to put it off or actively avoid it. Planning ahead helps you avoid burdening your family and loved ones with the mental and financial costs of providing care. Read on for more about adding a long-term care policy to your overall wealth portfolio and what to consider along the way.

  • Chances are high you may benefit from this coverage. Thanks to modern medicine, we’re living longer than ever. But that also means we’re more susceptible to cognitive impairment as we age, and that often makes daily activities difficult enough to require assistance. Hiring help to perform activities of daily living can be costly, particularly if conditions persist indefinitely, since Medicare payments cease if your stay in a skilled nursing facility exceeds 100 days. From Day 101 on, you will be responsible for all costs.
  • Long-term care insurance policies aren’t getting better. The unfortunate reality is that this kind of coverage is an increasing loss leader for insurance companies. When long-term care is needed, it’s usually necessary until death, which means extended payout periods for insurance companies. Fewer companies offer long-term care contracts, and many of those that do have significantly increased premiums on existing policies. If you’re interested in long-term care coverage, consider shopping sooner rather than later.
  • Buy early, or put an alternative plan in place. Those in their 30s and 40s with a few decades to spare may look into alternate ways of paying for long-term care. Having more options to address future needs, like a health savings account or long-term care annuities, can provide security and flexibility as the insurance industry continues to evolve.

Before biting the bullet on long-term care coverage, weigh your options to come up with the strategy that best fits your lifestyle and needs.

The information provided in Eddleman’s Economic Insight is not intended to be used as investment advice; rather it is provided as general economic news and information for your awareness or for discussions with your investment professional. Please consult your investment professional or CPA for advice specific to your situation! Past performance is not indicative of future results.

Whether it’s tied to performance, holiday profits or a tax refund, nothing beats the joy of receiving a bonus. But resist the temptation to blow it all on something that could be short-lived. Instead, consider the following, all of which can have a lasting impact.

  • Pay down debt. If you’re carrying a credit card balance or another high-interest, short-term debt, here’s a chance to reduce it. With average credit card debt at nearly $8,000 per household, even a modest holiday bonus can make a serious dent and minimize the snowball effect.
  • Refresh your emergency fund. Are you one of the 63 percent of Americans who doesn’t have the savings to cover an unexpected $500 expense? Consider building a cash cushion that will help prevent you from reaching for your credit card at the next emergency.
  • Superfund your retirement savings. Take this opportunity to max out your IRA or 401(k). Using a bonus to put more long-term money into tax-advantaged accounts lets you avoid the end-of-year funding rush.
  • Leap ahead a few payments. Overpaying your usual mortgage amount means you’re shaving down the principal faster, which results in less interest. You can do the same with student loans and other long-term payments, just make sure there isn’t a prepayment penalty.
  • Don’t just treat yourself; invest in yourself. Reserve 10 to 20 percent of your bonus for a home, health or education upgrade. Spending in areas that are likely to generate more money in the future is a smart way to rationalize a purchase since you’re putting the unexpected funds to good use.

Consider dividing your bonus among multiple categories, giving higher percentages to your more urgent priorities. Using this strategy for a lump-sum windfall can turbocharge your existing short-term and long-term financial goals while still giving you a little breathing room to enjoy your reward.

The information provided in Eddleman’s Economic Insight is not intended to be used as investment advice; rather it is provided as general economic news and information for your awareness or for discussions with your investment professional. Please consult your investment professional or CPA for advice specific to your situation! Past performance is not indicative of future results.