Archive for the ‘Wes Moss’ Category

Wes Moss: How to handle likely market swings

Certified financial planner Wes Moss provides personal finance advice and accessible investment strategies. His guest post appears here weekly.

Wes Moss hosts 'Money Matters' Sunday mornings on AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB.

Wes Moss hosts 'Money Matters' Sunday mornings on AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB.

As Washington transitions from a lame-duck Congress to a new session and a second term for President Barack Obama, little has changed from an investor’s point of view:

• The “fiscal cliff” still looms — $700 billion worth of federal spending cuts and tax hikes that will take place in the new year if Congress doesn’t act on some type of fiscal reform. This essentially represents the deal leftovers from the debt ceiling debate earlier this year, along with the last few years of political wrangling. If left unresolved, it would affect unemployment benefits, payroll taxes, defense spending and the alternative minimum tax — a combined 4.4 percent drag on gross domestic product in 2013.

• Expiration of the Bush tax cuts would mean $220 billion-plus in new …

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Wes Moss: Is your money safe during a market shutdown?

Certified financial planner Wes Moss provides personal finance advice and accessible investment strategies. His guest post appears here weekly.

Wes Moss hosts 'Money Matters' Sunday mornings on AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB

Wes Moss hosts 'Money Matters' Sunday mornings on AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB

Imagine visiting your bank on a weekday morning to make a withdrawal only to be told you could not access your money until further notice. That would cause you some anxiety, wouldn’t it? That’s exactly what happened to investors this past week.

In a rare occurrence, the New York Stock Exchange and other major stock exchanges were closed on Monday and Tuesday thanks to Hurricane Sandy. Flooding, power outages and subway closures made it impossible for Wall Streeters to get to work.

While the vast majority of stock trading is now done electronically, human beings are still critical to that process — no people, no trading. And no trading means no access to your money. Once a skeleton crew was able to reach the Exchange, trading was back up and …

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Wes Moss: Teacher retirement deadline looming

Certified financial planner Wes Moss provides personal finance advice and accessible investment strategies. His guest post appears here weekly.

Wes Moss hosts 'Money Matters' Sunday mornings on AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB.

Wes Moss hosts 'Money Matters' Sunday mornings on AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB.

Hey GA Teachers, Listen Up!

The deadline to make this call is fast approaching. I decided to re-post this today, because I’ve talked to three teachers this morning who are contemplating this very issue.

Work past 2012 and suffer a three percent tax on your pension income or pull the trigger now and be grandfathered in? Either way, here’s the situation, keep reading…

Georgia teachers are among the state’s richest citizens. If you’re an educator, you may chuckle at that notion, but it’s true. First, teachers derive great emotional wealth from their work, which shapes our young people and, as a result, our future.

Second, they have a killer dual-engine retirement program.

Georgia’s Teacher Retirement System (TRS) requires educators to …

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Wes Moss: Washington’s affect on economy is limited

Certified financial planner Wes Moss provides personal finance advice and accessible investment strategies. His guest post appears here weekly.

Wes Moss hosts 'Money Matters' Sunday mornings on AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB.

Wes Moss hosts 'Money Matters' Sunday mornings on AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB.

Is your wallet ready for Nov. 6? The presidential race has dominated conversations in our media, kitchens and workplaces. It’s practically the only thing clients and callers to my radio show want to talk about: What’s going to happen to my money, post-election? (Among my recent posts: How a “fiscal cliff” would affect you and Can the economy predict the election?)

This obsession with the election is understandable. We’re angry that Washington — paralyzed by unparalleled partisan gridlock –- seems unable to make  headway on our economic problems. It’s no surprise public approval of Congress has fallen to just 10 percent — the lowest level since Gallup started keeping track in 1974.

But here’s the thing: The economy and the stock market seem oblivious to …

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Wes Moss: How you can avoid a retirement nightmare

Certified financial planner Wes Moss provides personal finance advice and accessible investment strategies. His guest post appears here weekly.

Wes Moss hosts 'Money Matters' Sunday mornings on AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB.

Wes Moss hosts 'Money Matters' Sunday mornings on AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB.

The greatest dangers in life aren’t always the most obvious or dramatic. What do you suppose causes the most car accidents? Drunken driving? Texting while driving?

Neither. Under-inflated tires — the result of not tending to a slow leak — are the biggest culprit.

Americans face a similarly insidious danger on the road to financial security. Our retirements are terribly under-funded. And that’s going to come back to haunt both individuals and the nation if we don’t do something about it.

The savings rate in America was nearly flat for much of the 2000s. Americans failed to save for retirement and took on a level of debt that will take years to pay off. The result: 30 percent of workers surveyed in a study this year said they had less than $1,000 saved …

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Wes Moss: Main Street investors finally get a break

Certified financial planner Wes Moss provides personal finance advice and accessible investment strategies. His guest post appears here weekly.

Wes Moss hosts 'Money Matters' Sunday mornings on AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB.

Wes Moss hosts 'Money Matters' Sunday mornings on AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB.

There is a new race to the bottom on Wall Street, and for once that’s a good thing. Charles Schwab last week said it is going to lower the expense ratios on its ETFs — exchange-traded funds, similar to mutual funds — which are already low to begin with. This announcement comes a few weeks after Blackrock, the parent company of iShares, said it plans to make strategic expense cuts on some of its ETFs.

Schwab and Blackrock are slashing fees in an effort to remain cost competitive against Vanguard, which is the low-cost leader in the ETF marketplace. This is great news for investors for two reasons. Most obviously, lower fees will boost portfolio performance by allowing investors to keep more of what they earn.

But perhaps more importantly, the downward …

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Wes Moss: How would a ‘fiscal cliff’ affect you?

Certified financial planner Wes Moss provides personal finance advice and accessible investment strategies. His guest post appears here weekly.

Wes Moss hosts 'Money Matters' Sunday mornings on AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB.

Wes Moss hosts 'Money Matters' Sunday mornings on AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB.

You’ve probably heard of the “fiscal cliff” our economy could face at year’s end. If Congress doesn’t address several tax issues, $540 billion would be sucked out of our pockets and into government coffers. Congress’ own financial analysts have warned this would almost certainly trigger a recession in 2013.

This could cause other problems for the stock market and investors. A big part of this tax increase – about $220 billion — would come from expiration of the Bush tax cuts, including what amounts to a hike in taxes on capital gains and dividends.

Dividends currently get preferential tax treatment: The highest tax you now pay on a traditional stock dividend is 15 percent — even if you are in the 35 percent income tax bracket. The same policy applies …

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Wes Moss: Can economic numbers predict this election?

Certified financial planner Wes Moss provides personal finance advice and accessible investment strategies. His guest post appears here weekly.

Wes Moss hosts 'Money Matters' Sunday mornings on AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB.

Wes Moss hosts 'Money Matters' Sunday mornings on AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB.

In the presidential horse race, the Gallup Poll serves as the track announcer, bellowing out a steady stream of numbers detailing who is ahead and by how much. No modern day president (since Dwight Eisenhower) has won re-election without at least a 50 percent approval rating heading into the election.

At the end of last work week, Gallup’s election poll had President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney deadlocked at 47 percent each, with Obama’s approval rating also at just 47 percent. (Gallup updates its polling page at 1 p.m. daily.)

But there are other, less-familiar numbers we should be watching as the campaigns move toward the final stretch: numbers related to the economy.

Unemployment rate: No modern-era president has won re-election with the jobless …

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Wes Moss: How Georgia’s film-TV biz could cut your taxes

Certified financial planner Wes Moss provides personal finance advice and accessible investment strategies. His guest post appears here weekly.

Wes Moss hosts 'Money Matters' Sunday mornings on AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB.

Wes Moss hosts 'Money Matters' Sunday mornings on AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB.

Can you guess who I had dinner with earlier this month? Denzel Washington. Well, not really, but he did sit at the restaurant table next to ours.

And guess who might get a welcome-t0-the-neighborhood casserole from the Moss family: Owen Wilson. I’m told if I play my cards right I might also get to hang out with other Hollywood A-listers like Vince Vaughn and Cuba Gooding Jr.

I’m not just name-dropping here. If you earn a lot of money, this sudden influx of movie stars could have a serious impact on your tax bill.

Georgia’s Entertainment Industry Investment Act of 2008 gives tax credits of up to 30 percent to companies “producing feature films, television series, music videos and commercials, as well as interactive games and animation,” in the state. …

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Wes Moss: Some guidelines for charitable giving

Certified financial planner Wes Moss provides personal finance advice and accessible investment strategies. His guest post appears here weekly.

Wes Moss hosts 'Money Matters' Sunday mornings on AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB.

Wes Moss hosts 'Money Matters' Sunday mornings on AM750 and 95.5FM News/Talk WSB.

Georgians are incredibly generous. We give about $4.8 billion to charity every year. While much of that comes from major philanthropists and foundations, state residents give an average of $3,396 a year to worthy causes. That’s an average of 6.2 percent of our discretionary income — comparing very favorably with the 3.2 percent national average.

Giving makes us feel good — like we’re part of something bigger than ourselves, something that might outlast us. For wealthy families, giving can also be an important part of tax and estate planning strategy.

Making a smart charitable contribution is a lot like planning for retirement. Some tips from Georgia-based philanthropic advisor Eileen Snow Price:

• Clarify your values: What causes and issues are …

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