I was listening to the latest episode of the "Animal Spirits" podcast with Michael Batnick and Ben Carlson, and they mentioned a statistic in this (paywalled) Wall Street Journal article: just 2% of the 285,000 professionals giving financial advice in the United States are fee-only financial advisors, who are held to a fiduciary standard that requires them to put the interests … [Read more...] about Why do so few people use non-conflicted financial advisors?
Archives for March 2018
Like aircraft flying at very low altitudes, the US tax code does strange things when very low incomes are involved. Most people know about, or have at least heard of, the earned income credit, which phases in quickly as "earned income" (which includes wage and self-employment income) rises, then phases out somewhat more slowly. I think that's bad program design, since it … [Read more...] about Basics of IRA recharacterizations
This week I wrote about the prepaid tuition plans offered by Washington state and Virginia. To close out the week I wanted to share a brief roundup of the other prepaid tuition programs still out there. First, take a look at the overview, then I'll offer some brief commentary: State Plan Premium (discount) to current tuition In-state public benefit In-state … [Read more...] about Prepaid tuition plan roundup
Yesterday I described the best prepaid tuition plan I know of, Washington state's Guaranteed Education Tuition plan, which allows you to place a tax-free bet on the trajectory of tuition inflation at Washington public universities. It's a weird investment vehicle, but you could see how it might play a speculative role in the portfolio of a sufficiently wealthy person, … [Read more...] about How to think about prepaid tuition plans: Virginia Prepaid529
I've written extensively about 529 college savings plans, which are a way for the wealthy to permanently shield intergenerational transfers of appreciated assets from taxation while also allowing those assets to internally compound tax-free. However, there's a second kind of investment vehicle conceived of by section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code: prepaid tuition … [Read more...] about How to think about prepaid tuition plans: Washington’s Guaranteed Education Tuition plan