Articles for December 2019

Ringing In the New Year!

It is almost time to ring in the New Year! As December makes way for January, you may be excited thinking about new possibilities. Perhaps you want to take a moment to “refresh and reset” or make a resolution or two. Or perhaps, you just want to spend time in great company, among the friends and family members you cherish. Enjoy the holiday, and as the saying goes. May you be happy, wealthy, and wise in the year ahead.
We wish you a wonderful, successful, and memorable 2020.

Mike & Judy Moffitt and Staff

Season’s Greetings

‘Tis the season – not only to give gifts but to rejoice in the gift of God’s love. As the year ends, we celebrate the birth of the pure and gentle Christ, the savior who offers us the greatest gift of all and the greatest love of all. As we wait in long lines, hunt for parking spots, and try and find that special something online or on the shelf, it is worth remembering that the best gift in life is free.

May the peace and joy of Christ fill your home this Christmas. We hope you have a wonderful holiday season and a happy and blessed new year.

Sincerely,

Mike & Judy Moffitt & Staff

What if You Get Audited?

What the I.R.S. looks for and why.

“Audit” is a word that can strike fear into the hearts of taxpayers.

However, the chances of an Internal Revenue Service audit aren’t that high. In 2017, the most recent statistics available, show the I.R.S. audited 0.5% of all individual tax returns.¹

Being audited does not necessarily imply that the I.R.S. suspects wrongdoing. The I.R.S. says that an audit is just a formal review of a tax return to ensure information is being reported according to current tax law and to verify that the information itself is accurate.

Remember, this article is for informational purposes only, and is not a replacement for real-life advice. So make sure to consult your tax, legal and accounting professionals before modifying your tax strategy.

The I.R.S. selects returns for audit using three main methods.

Random Selection. Some returns are chosen at random based on the results of a statistical formula.

Information Matching. The I.R.S. compares reports from payers – W-2 forms from employers, 1099 forms from banks and brokerages, and others – to the returns filed by taxpayers. Those that don’t match may be examined further.

Related Examinations. Some returns are selected for an audit because they involve issues or transactions with other taxpayers whose returns have been selected for examination.

There are a number of sound tax practices that may reduce the chances of an audit.

Provide Complete Information. Among the most commonly overlooked information is missing Social Security numbers – including those for any dependent children and ex-spouses.

Avoid Math Errors. When the I.R.S. receives a return that contains math errors, it assesses the error and sends a notice without following its normal deficiency procedures.

Match Your Statements. The numbers on any W-2 and 1099 forms must match the returns to which they are tied. Those that don’t match may be flagged for an audit.

Don’t Repeat Mistakes. The I.R.S. remembers those returns it has audited. It may check to make sure past errors aren’t repeated.

Keep Complete Records. This won’t reduce the chance of an audit, but it potentially may make it much easier to comply with I.R.S. requests for documentation.

Mike Moffitt may be reached at ph# 641-782-5577or email:  mikem@cfgiowa.com

Website:  www.cfgiowa.com

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

Securities and Registered Investment Advisory Services offered through Silver Oak Securities, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. Silver Oak Securities, Inc. and Cornerstone Financial Group are separate entities.

Citations.

1 – irs.gov/statistics/enforcement-examinations [1/30/19]

 

Creating a Retirement Strategy

Most people just invest for the future. You have a chance to do more.

Across the country, people are saving for that “someday” called retirement. Someday, their careers will end. Someday, they may live off their savings or investments, plus Social Security.  They know this, but many of them do not know when, or how, it will happen. What is missing is a strategy – and a good strategy might make a great difference.

A retirement strategy directly addresses the “when, why, and how” of retiring. It can even address the “where.” It breaks the whole process of getting ready for retirement into actionable steps.

This is so important. Too many people retire with doubts, unsure if they have enough retirement money and uncertain of what their tomorrows will look like. Year after year, many workers also retire earlier than they had planned, and according to a 2019 study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, about 43% do. In contrast, you can save, invest, and act on your vision of retirement now to chart a path toward your goals and the future you want to create for yourself.1

Some people dismiss having a long-range retirement strategy, since no one can predict the future. Indeed, there are things about the future you cannot control: how the stock market will perform, how the economy might do. That said, you have partial or full control over other things: the way you save and invest, your spending and your borrowing, the length and arc of your career, and your health. You also have the chance to be proactive and to prepare for the future.

A good retirement strategy has many elements. It sets financial objectives. It addresses your retirement income: how much you may need, the sequence of account withdrawals, and the age at which you claim Social Security. It establishes (or refines) an investment approach. It examines tax implications and potential tax advantages. It takes possible health care costs into consideration and even the transfer of assets to heirs.

A prudent retirement strategy also entertains different consequences. Financial advisors often use multiple-probability simulations to try and assess the degree of financial risk to a retirement strategy, in case of an unexpected outcome. These simulations can help to inform the advisor and the retiree or pre-retiree about the “what ifs” that may affect a strategy. They also consider sequence of returns risk, which refers to the uncertainty of the order of returns an investor may receive over an extended period of time.2

Let a retirement strategy guide you. Ask a financial professional to collaborate with you to create one, personalized for your goals and dreams. When you have such a strategy, you know what steps to take in pursuit of the future you want.

Mike Moffitt may be reached at ph# 641-782-5577 or email:  mikem@cfgiowa.com.

Website:  www.cfgiowa.com

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

Securities and Registered Investment Advisory Services offered through Silver Oak Securities, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. Silver Oak Securities, Inc. and Cornerstone Financial Group are separate entities.

Citations.

1 – ebri.org/docs/default-source/rcs/2019-rcs/rcs_19-fs-2_expect.pdf?sfvrsn=2a553f2f_4 [2019]

2 – investopedia.com/terms/m/montecarlosimulation.asp [6/10/19]

 

Can You Put Your IRA into a Trust?

What you should know about naming an IRA beneficiary.

Can your IRA be put directly into a trust? In short, no. Individual retirement accounts (IRAs) cannot be put directly into a trust. What you can do, however, is name a trust as the beneficiary of your IRA. The trust would inherit the IRA upon your passing, and your beneficiaries would then have access to the funds, according to the terms of the trust.1

Can you control what happens to your IRA assets after your death? Yes. Whoever was named the beneficiary will inherit the IRA. But you also can name a trust as the IRA beneficiary. In other words, your chosen heir is a trust. When you have a trust in place, you control not only to whom your assets will be disbursed, but also how those assets will be paid out.2

Using a trust involves a complex set of tax rules and regulations. Before moving forward with a trust, consider working with a professional who is familiar with the rules and regulations.

The trust can dictate the how, what, and when of income distribution. A trust will allow you to specify an amount your heir may receive. Or, you could include language that requires your heir to take monthly or annual distributions. You can even stipulate what the money should be spent on and how it should be spent.2

Why would I use a Trust instead of a Will? There are a couple reasons. The biggest is that a will always passes through probate. That means a court oversees the administration of your will and ensures that the bequeathed assets are correctly distributed. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that this may lead to an expensive, slower process. A living trust, on the other hand, can help certain assets avoid probate. This may save your estate and heirs both time and money. Finally, for those who would like to keep their arrangements discreet, a trust can remain private whereas a will is a matter of public record.2

That sounds complicated. If decisions about your IRA are complicated, it may be best to review your choices with a trusted financial professional who can explain the pros and cons of naming a beneficiary to your account.3

Mike Moffitt may be reached at ph# 641-782-5577 or email: mikem@cfgiowa.com

Website:  www.cfgiowa.com

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

Securities and Registered Investment Advisory Services offered through Silver Oak Securities, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. Silver Oak Securities, Inc. and Cornerstone Financial Group are separate entities.

Citations.

1 -irs.gov/retirement-plans/plan-participant-employee/retirement-topics-beneficiary [10/17/19]

2-elderlawanswers.com/understanding-the-differences-between-a-will-and-a-trust-7888#:~:targetText=Both%20are%20useful%20estate%20planning,soon%20as%20you%20create%20it. [9/19/19]

3 -bankrate.com/investing/what-is-a-trust/ [6/4/19]