IRS Pushes For 6 Years To Audit! – Robert W. Wood – The Tax Lawyer – Forbes

This piece by Robert Wood is a "must read" for anyone who dreads a tax audit... in other words, everyone. Yes, this headline is meant to sound frightening.  The good news is that most of the time, the IRS has only three years after you file your tax return to audit you and that rule is not changing.  See Even The IRS Has Time Limits.  With your tax return due April 15, the statute of limitations should normally run three years later.   If you file early, the statu...
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‘Safe’ Strategies Can Be Their Own Risks

Joe Mont explains how so-called 'safe' strategies avoid certain investment risks but introduce others.  Investors and their advisors must consider investment objectives, constraints and time horizon in evaluating the overall riskiness of a strategy.  If one has very short-term investment needs and goals, the investment strategy should provide for well-defined outcomes and low volatility. On the other hand, a long-term plan must must consider a broader range of scenarios, and the inve...
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Today Is Good Entry Point for High-Yield Munis – Not in My View

Excerpted below is a portion of Miriam Sjoblom's interview with Rafael Costas, during which Costas makes a case for investing in high-yield munis. The underlying problem with the analysis is that muni fund managers like Costas live in a world of relative performance. If their picks and their funds do better than the average, then they win, even if munis happen to be the worst performing asset class. In order for today to be a "good entry point" for an investor with alternative investment choi...
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Making Up for Retirement Shortfalls

View Article Morningstar's Esther Pak offers several ideas for making up retirement shortfalls. I distilled them as follows: (1) Work longer; (2) Spend less now (and save more); (3) Spend less later (during retirement); (4) Reallocate your assets; (5) Delay drawing social security. The first three of these recommendations seem like common sense. If you save more and spend less while you are working, you will have more savings in retirement. Americans seem to be taking at least s...
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Starting a Business? Don’t Neglect Retirement Planning

View Article via news.morningstar.com Christine Benz of Morningstar gives some retirement planning tips for individuals who are starting a business. The benefits of starting early are significant, the costs are substantially less than you might expect, and the variety of high quality offerings has never been better. North Capital helps start-ups and existing small and medium size businesses develop employee retirement plans to help attract and retain quality employees, while keeping contro...
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Mutual Fund Fees and What You Don’t Know

Don Phillips, a Managing Director at Morningstar,  writes about the current debate regarding 12b1 fees.  He believes, as I do, that investors deserve better transparency than they currently get through the mutual fund disclosure rules.  HIdden costs,  kickbacks (in the form of so-called soft dollars), and generally poor transparency in mutual fund fees and expenses are the norm, not the exception.  Unfortunately, the retail brokerage industry and mutual fund managers con...
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Christine Benz and Miriam Sjoblom of Morningstar discuss the rout in the municipal bond market

Quotes "...it could be that all of the negative headlines about credit quality could have, in addition to some price volatility could have prompted some retail muni investors to take their money out. Retail investors are a huge part of the municipal bond market. It’s a little different from the taxable bond market where retail investors own about two-thirds of the municipal bonds markets. So it could have an effect on impacting investors’ perceptions." -- "...A bigger issue is...
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