The Bottom Line

The amount of “noise” pouring in from the financial press can be overwhelming. My goal is to break past all of that noise and simplify the issues of the day as I see it.

From the blog

COVID-19 and 2019 Taxes

These are incredibly trying times for all of us. A month ago, the term "social distancing" meant nothing to me. I'm not sure I had ever even heard it before. Now it is a term used daily by us all. This virus has wreaked havoc on how we live our [...]

March 19, 2020|

Happy Holidays

December 20, 2018|

To all of our clients, vendors and everyone we interact with on a regular basis, I would like to wish you all a happy holiday season whatever it is that your family celebrates.  I also wish each of you a prosperous and healthy 2019 and look forward to our interactions [...]

Last Call for Year End Tax Planning

December 14, 2018|

As I say every year, tax planning can't be done retroactively.  Once the calendar reads January, planning opportunities for 2018 income taxes are gone (with some minor exceptions).  And 2018 being the first filing year under the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) makes planning more unusual than any [...]

Woods Financial Services, LLC

December 12, 2018|

What Has Changed You may soon notice that we are rebranding our firm as Woods Financial Services, LLC.  This is done to better reflect the totality of service offerings we provide our clients.  We often heard clients mention that "We didn't know you offered that service".  Our goal is to [...]

October Stock Market Blues

November 7, 2018|

There is no sugar coating it...October was the worst month for the S&P 500 since September 2011.  The results in the tech heavy NASDAQ were worse and resulted in that index's biggest loss since November 2008. In the midst of this October selloff, there was no shortage of media pundits [...]

Retirement Crisis

October 29, 2018|

The title of this post are not my words...they are the words of SEC Commissioner Kara Stein.  She compares current retirement income trends as a "tsunami...that is fast approaching". Retirement Crisis Tsunami In the not so distant past, retirement income was comprised of the so called "three-legged stool" of Social [...]

Year End Tax Planning 2018

October 22, 2018|

As everyone knows by now, the 2018 tax landscape is a marked shift from prior years.  Virtually every taxpayer's return will look different in some way come next tax filing season.  Here is a Money magazine chart displaying the impact of the tax change across differing income and filing statuses [...]

Taxes Paid Deduction

October 17, 2018|

Probably the provision from last December's Tax Cut and Jobs Act (TCJA) I hear the most questions about is the deductibility of taxes paid.  This issue has even been in the news quite a bit recently.  Several states (MD included) have sued over the perceive as an unfair reduction in [...]

Overlooked Tax Planning Opportunities

August 27, 2018|

I am frequently asked about various tax saving ideas and schemes.  Often these ideas are overheard at cocktail parties, read on Facebook or from a cousin's neighbors accountant.  The reality is that most of these schemes are not real and often are illegal.  There really are no magic bullets and [...]

Opportunity Zones–0% Capital Gains!

August 20, 2018|

I hesitate to even write this post because so much of the details are still unknown.  But I would be doing clients a disservice if I didn't at least broach the subject.  This post is a broad overview of designated Opportunity Zones and their associated benefits. What the heck are [...]

It’s not a Straight Ride Up

July 17, 2018|

Netflix (NFLX) reported it's Q2 numbers after Monday afternoon's close to much disappointment and hand wringing.  Immediately, in after hours trading, the stock plummeted ultimately opening this morning down about 15%.  The stock pared its losses as of mid day by more than half but this performance of NFLX today [...]

Passport Denial for Unpaid Tax

July 12, 2018|

Congress passed a new law in late 2015 that allows the State Department to deny passports to individuals that owe in excess of $51,000 in federal back taxes.  This law, implemented in February,  has already resulted in some passports being denied.  Roughly 400,000 US citizens are expected to be impacted. [...]

Phishing Scam

June 26, 2018|

I have read a number of articles about the current scam making it's way around the investment world.  The custodian I read being hit most consistently is Charles Schwab. But I suspect the same scheme could be run for TD Ameritrade where most of our client's assets are custodied as [...]

Tax Season Review

May 1, 2018|

As I sit to write this the calendar shows a May date, nearly two week removed from the end of tax filing season.  It was a tough year that seemed back-loaded with work in late March through the deadline.  But now that my head is clearer and my body is [...]

Tax Season Deadline 2018

March 19, 2018|

It's hard to believe but we are well on our way to the April 17 tax deadline.  While some days it seems to us like it will never end, my guess is that it will be here before we know it.  As always, if we have all of your tax [...]

Be Careful Out There!

March 3, 2018|

For those as old as me you likely remember this line from the 80's police drama Hill Street Blues.  And while the admonishment Sergeant Esterhaus closed every meeting with was intended to keep his fellow officers safe in the fictional Hill Street precinct, the warning equally applies to investors.  It [...]

Market “Certainty”

February 12, 2018|

As I read through the financial blogs, tweets and traditional media outlets this weekend one thing that was obvious is that there are no shortage of opinions of why last week's volatility happened.  As I detailed last Monday, there are a host of reasons why investors (or traders) sell.  And [...]

Market Drawdowns

February 5, 2018|

A couple of the headlines I've seen this afternoon: While neither of these Twitter posts are technically incorrect, they are presented without proper context.  On a percentage basis, today's ~4.6% drop in the Dow doesn't even come close to rating in the top 10 days.  In fact, todays percentage loss [...]

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act-Part II Business Tax

January 9, 2018|

While not explicitly sold in this way, I believe this round of tax reform was largely driven by the desire to reduce corporate level income tax.  The perception is that US corporate tax rates were among the highest in the developed world.  This tax bill is intended to remedy that [...]

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act-Individual Tax

January 8, 2018|

After much back and forth between the House and Senate, both houses passed the TCJA on Dec. 20, 2017 and was signed into law by the President two days later.  Thanks to social media and the 24 hour news cycle, we actually got to see how the sausage is made. [...]

Happy Holidays!

December 19, 2017|

I will be out of the office for the next 2 weeks but will follow with a more in depth review of the tax bill when I return (assuming it passes tonight).  There is a lot to chew on with issues affecting a wide range of taxpayers. Happy holidays and [...]

2017 Tax Legislation

December 8, 2017|

I hesitate to write a review of the Senate tax bill that passed last weekend as it is unclear (1) that the House and the Senate can agree to the differences in their respective bills and (2) that both houses of Congress will retain enough votes to approve the final, [...]

Choosing A Financial Adviser

November 27, 2017|

I don't always agree with some of these life coach types and their philosophies but I thought this Marketwatch article on choosing  advisers was interesting.  Of course, all brokers are NOT inherently biased or unethical (not by a long shot) but I do think the brokerage model is a dying [...]