A charitable transfer of stock is a way sell into the rally without adverse tax consequences, as well as generating a tax deduction.

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The market has provided an opening for tax-smart transfers.

Just a quick note for ultra-high net worth investors doing year-end tax planning. The market is up 4.7 percent from its recent low on November 23rd.  In pre-market trading, the S&P 500 looks likely to open up another 1.5 percent today.  If you have unfulfilled charitable commitments for 2018, today would

be a good day to fund them. As I've written about in my Tax Alpha blog post, a smart way to rebalance portfolios is to make charitable donations of appreciated assets.  This has the effect of reducing your exposure to the asset that has outperformed while avoiding the tax consequences of…

Structure should come last in estate planning.  What should come first, and what is actually much harder, is thinking deeply about what values, capabilities, skills, and ways of thinking the trust creator wants her heirs to develop.

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Don't do your estate planning this way.

Over the past few decades, estate planning has evolved from focusing on tax-efficient transfers, to asset protection, and is now set to evolve again.  This is my first post in a series looking at how estate planning is evolving to focus on the beneficiaries. Why Most Estate Planning is Done

Backwards Creating an estate plan that results in no estate taxes is a fairly trivial exercise.  Any good estate planning attorney can do it. However, solving for estate tax minimization is a mistake because it puts the focus on the assets and structures instead of the beneficiaries.  Indeed, it is…

The most optimal tax alpha portfolio can be built with a custom index of 60 to 100 stocks that tracks an index.

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This Greek letter is remarkably hard to find.

I've written previously about how taxes are a killer of investment returns, why investors should focus on minimizing their three "partners", and the generation of planning alpha. In this post, I want to focus on six ways to generate tax alpha.  By "tax alpha", I mean excess returns generated by using

tax strategies that minimize capital gains and income taxes and maximize the benefits from realizing losses. Tax Alpha Focus on where you own your assets As I've written about, you want to own fixed income in tax-advantaged accounts such as IRAs and 401(k)s and not in taxable accounts.  This…

All investors have three partners. They are all bad partners and their involvement in investments should be actively minimized.

As I've written about in previous blog posts, investment fees and taxes are wealth confiscators that have serious negative compounding effects on capital appreciation. One way to think about this is that every investor has three partners: their advisor, the investment manager, and the government. Three Partners Wealth Confiscation The advisor

and investment manager take a percentage of the account returns (or principal in down years) in the form of asset management fees and/or commissions.  The government operates a non-consensual profit sharing arrangement where it takes a percentage of the realized gains and gives an offset for losses to be…

Only highly crafted writing, presented in a beautiful layout, can effectively convey the full meaning of the writer.

aesthetics in financial planning

SEC example of bad design

Aesthetics in financial planning may seem like a trivial topic, but it isn't.  A lot of bad investment decisions are the direct result of bad document design, especially in disclosure and planning documents.  By “design”, I mean the layout, typeface, and graphic elements of the documents. The bad design of

these documents results in client incomprehension and disinterest.  This can only lead to problems for both clients and their advisors down the road. Disinterested clients miss important details about costs, risks, and tax consequences, to name a few.  In many family situations, poorly designed documents result in the less financially…