Q: A friend of mine recently sold personal items (such as jewelry). Will she be she taxed on these items as income? Is there a dollar amount under which she can avoid being taxed?
A: According to the IRS, if you sell a personal item for more than the original cost of the item, then it should be considered a capital gain on which you pay capital gains taxes. However, only the gain is taxable, so if the items were sold for less than their original cost, then it would not be a taxable event.
Q: Can my spouse start her full Social Security when she turns 66 and when I start my Social Security when I turn 67 can she shift hers to a Restricted Application for Spousal Benefit only? We are considering this as a strategy. After that, when she turns 70, can she go back to her own claim and, if so, will it have continued to grow at 8% per year or will it be only what she started claiming before she switched to the Spousal Benefit?
A: I recommend we discuss your question over the phone so I can have a better handle on your spouse’s Full Retirement Age Benefit at 66 and your Full Retirement Age Benefit at 66.
To answer your question, your wife cannot file for her lifetime benefit at 66 and then switch to her spousal benefit only when you turn 67, and then switch back to her lifetime benefit at age 70.
You have the following two options to consider:
You file for your lifetime benefit at 66
Your wife files for her spousal benefit at 66
Your wife switches to her lifetime benefit at age 70 (which has grown by 8% each year from 66 to 70)
Your wife files for her lifetime benefit at 66
You file for your spousal benefit at age 67
You file for your lifetime benefit at age 70 (which has grown by 8% each year from 67 to 70)
These two options are mutually exclusive. This means that you can only do one or the other, but you can’t do both. If you would like to schedule a phone call with me, I can run an optimization for you to help you make a decision on the best way to file.
Q: I have been watching a particular stock for years. I continued to watch it but I still haven't bought it. What are your thoughts? Do you think it's too late for me to buy it?
A: I know it's tempting when you look at a stock like this. I typically feel the same way when looking at a stock that I feel like I missed. It's frustrating. But in my mind, unless I'm an early adopter, I feel like it's too late and I'm jumping on a crowded trade. Take comfort in the fact that you own other great franchises, and that investing is a long slow, boring game. Unless you're one of the founders of that stock, Facebook, or were buddies with Bill Gates in 1976… The only people that really get rich in investing are those that patiently adhere to the marathon.
Q: I have a question about asset location. I currently have 85% in equity and 15% in bond allocation. I understand that bonds are not tax-efficient and that it's best to keep them in tax-advantaged accounts. I have a much larger percentage of my portfolio that is taxable, so that means that my tax-deferred accounts are almost entirely in bonds. That means that my tax-deferred accounts will most likely grow at a much lower rate than my taxable which is all equities. This doesn't sit well with me. Is this the proper approach?
A: We build income-focused portfolios for our clients with a buy and hold, long term time horizon in mind. With this in mind, we allocate fixed income to Qualified Accounts (IRA and 401k) because this shields the client from paying ordinary income taxes on the income being generated on a monthly or quarterly basis. They only pay the ordinary taxes when taking withdrawals from the account, as needed, not when the income is actually received. We allocate our stocks and ETF’s in Taxable brokerage accounts because we are buying stocks and ETFs to be held for a very long time, which may reduce the overall tax liability because the capital gains tax will only be realized when a stock or ETF is sold. We recommend you sit down with a financial advisor to talk about this in more detail for specific recommendations catered to you.
Your Wealth Questions are common questions we receive from our “Ask an Advisor” tool. The Q&A’s are provided for informational purposes only and should not be viewed as investment advice or recommendations. This information is not intended to, and should not, form a primary basis for any investment decision that you make. As always, please contact us to discuss your specific situation.