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Resolve to Get Your Financial House in Order

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The holidays and New Year are right around the corner. It is now the time to start thinking about what you can do to get your financial house in order for the coming year. The turn of the year is typically a time of reflection and planning to right areas that you may have let go astray in the previous year.

Implementing a financial plan is our top financial item you should resolve to address in the coming year. This vital item could have a tremendous impact on your financial future; not only for yourself in the coming year, but also for generations to come. 

The coming year should be used to design, develop, and implement a financial plan. Think about the amount of time that you spent last year in researching, booking, and mapping out your vacation. Was more time spent on planning your vacation or your financial future? I would argue that, in most cases, vacation won this battle. 

A financial plan is more than just a budget, reviewing your investment gains/losses, or even having a 180 page document that sits on a shelf or in a drawer. Your financial plan should be a living and breathing document. We have met with many clients over the years that have let us know they already have a financial plan, and we ask to review it with them. It is rare that we encounter someone with a plan that was completed recently and/or that they have actually looked at in the last few years. This is not a plan; this is merely a snapshot of their situation at a particular time.

The plan should reflect your current circumstances and address your future needs, wants, and wishes. At a minimum, the plan should review your retirement, education funding, estate planning, risk management, asset management, and emergency fund strategies. Ultimately, these are all fluid areas and simply taking a snapshot of where things stand today will not define your ability to get where you want to be in the future.  Some of the most important work that goes into a plan is the monitoring and updating of the plan over time.

In most cases, putting a plan together and reviewing your progress over time can consume a good deal of your time. We would recommend that you consider hiring a fiduciary advisor that can help you get started and monitor this process over time.

According to the CFP Board's Financial Planning Practice Standards, financial planning is a six step process as outlined here:

  1. Establishing and defining the client-planner relationship
  2. Gathering client data, including goals
  3. Analyzing and evaluating the client’s current financial status
  4. Developing and presenting recommendations and/or alternatives
  5. Implementing the recommendations
  6. Monitoring the recommendations

This process is a comprehensive overview of what a financial plan entails, and we cannot express enough the importance of step 6. You cannot develop a plan without monitoring and adjusting it as needed over time.

Mitlin Financial, Inc. believes this should not wait another year, and that you should start on your path to building your financial future. Be sure to contact us regarding your own situation and set up an appointment to see if we are a fit for you. Give us a call at (844) 4-MITLIN x12 and allow Mitlin Financial, Inc. to facilitate your financial future!

Disclaimer: This article represents the opinion of Mitlin Financial Inc. It should not be construed as providing investment, legal and/or tax advice.

5 Tax Planning Steps to Take Before the Year Ends

As we enter the final quarter of 2017 (yes the last three months of the year are here), I am sure you feel the same way we do and cannot believe how fast this year has gone by. Keep in mind that the year is not going to slow down and there are several things you should be thinking about as the final days of the year pass us.

We are going to provide you with five things that you should review in the next couple of weeks to ensure that you are prepared for 2018 and filing your 2017 tax returns.

     1) Take caution before making investments in a non-qualified (or non-retirement) account(s). This time of year mutual funds begin to announce their plans to distribute capital gains to their shareholders. The last thing you want to do is make a significant investment in a mutual fund and then get hit with large capital gains after only owning the fund for a few weeks. Does this mean you should or should not invest in these types of accounts until January 1st? No, you can certainly invest between now and the end of the year, but you must be aware of the potential consequences. In addition, there are strategies that you can use to invest your funds now and avoid these capital gains distributions before the end of the year.

      2) Review your non-qualified account mentioned above. Take note of your year-to-date capital gains or losses due to sales of investments over the course of the year. You may want to sell some of the investments that are not performing well in your portfolio (take the loss) to offset gains you currently have in your account year-to-date. Another option may be to take some gains in your account if you have a net loss for the year thus far. This type of review will allow you to put yourself in a better tax position for the year.

      3) Do you have carryover losses from previous years on your tax return? You may want to take some profits in some of your holdings if you have carryover losses reported on your return. The IRS only allows you to take a loss of $3,000 after you net out your gains and losses, so utilizing this strategy will allow you to capture a gain without tax liability to the extent you have a carryover loss.

     4) Take a look at your retirement plan(s) and see if you are on course to maximize the benefits of the plan(s). Although you can make IRA, Roth IRA, SEP IRA contributions in 2018 for 2017, your 401(k) contributions (in most cases) need to be contributed in the 2017 calendar year. You should review the extent to which you have contributed this year vs. the maximum contribution allowed ($18,000 if you are under 50 years old, and $24,000 if you are over 50). You may want to increase this contribution towards the maximum if you are going to be in need of a tax deduction.

      5) Stay alert.....Tax reform is being spoken about on almost a daily basis at this point. There have been debates as to whether this reform will go through in 2017, retroactive back to January 1, 2017, or will we see it passed in 2018. It is important to stay alert because we do not know what tax reform will look like or what it will mean to you because it is so fluid at the moment. You will want to know what it means for you when (or if) it is passed. Pay attention because this may have an impact on your tax obligation for 2017.

Mitlin Financial, Inc. believes that working with a team is an important part of getting the best outcomes for our clients. It is important that the strategies above are reviewed and evaluated for your own personal facts and circumstances. Being that we do not provide tax advice, we welcome the opportunity to work with your CPA to review your situation and make sure that you are doing everything you should be in order to be prepared for your 2017 tax filing and mitigating the tax impact from your investments as well. Be sure to contact us regarding your own situation as we enter the end of the year. Feel free to give us a call at (844) 4-MITLIN x12 and allow Mitlin Financial, Inc. to facilitate your financial future!

Disclaimer: This article represents the opinion of Mitlin Financial Inc. It should not be construed as providing investment, legal and/or tax advice.

Keith Milano Memorial Fund Makes Donation to the American Foundation For Suicide Prevention's Project 2025

Mitlin Financial's President, Lawrence Sprung, and his family are proud to announce that the Keith Milano Memorial Fund has made a financial commitment to the American Foundation For Suicide Prevention's Project 2025.  As many of you know, Keith was Larry's brother in law and this is a cause he has been very passionate about.  You will also see that the Sprung family has also made a personal donation along with the donation from the fund.  We offer a huge Thank You to everyone that has helped us make the donation and raise awareness for this important cause. Here is a copy of the full press release:

 

Suicide Prevention Organization Receives Large Donation for Project 2025

           

Donation Supports the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Project 2025

Goal to Reduce the Annual Suicide Rate 20 Percent by 2025

“We knew when we launched Project 2025 that it would take generous donations like this one from the Keith Milano Memorial Fund to meet our bold goal of reducing the suicide rate. It is for people like Keith, and those he left behind, that we continue our work – by investing in Project 2025 the Sprung family is contributing to helping us save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide,” said Robert Gebbia, AFSP CEO.

Keith Milano grew up on Long Island where he attended Newfield High School. He went on to the University of Buffalo, and then to Stony Brook University where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Geology. After graduation, he worked as a hydrogeologist for EnviroTrac. Denise Milano Sprung, Keith’s older sister by three years, also attended Newfield High School and the University of Buffalo. Denise and her husband Larry run the Keith Milano Memorial Fund in honor of her younger brother. The Sprung family also made a personal donation to Project 2025 and have been generous contributors to AFSP for many years. 

More about Project 2025

Launched in October 2015, Project 2025 uses a dynamic systems model approach based on what the evidence tells us about suicide. The model has already revealed four areas for critical action including: (1) firearms and suicide prevention, (2) healthcare systems, (3) emergency departments, and (4) justice systems. Through collaborating with other organizations, accrediting bodies, professional associations, and leaders in other industry sectors, AFSP is focusing its prevention efforts on the kinds of programs, policies and interventions in these four areas that will save the most lives in the shortest amount of time.

 About the Keith Milano Memorial Fund

The Keith Milano Memorial Fund was established to help raise awareness about the devastating deadly disease that is mental illness. Keith’s spirit and laughter is kept alive through our efforts to increase awareness about mental illness and to raise money for education and imperative research. Keith often struggled with society’s perception of mental illness. Our hope is that by having the strength to say that Keith was “Bipolar” we can strip away the stigma and help others to be more open about their disease.

 About AFSP

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide. AFSP creates a culture that’s smart about mental health through education and community programs, develops suicide prevention through research and advocacy, and provides support for those affected by suicide. Led by CEO Robert Gebbia and headquartered in New York, and with a public policy office in Washington, D.C., AFSP has local chapters in all 50 states with programs and events nationwide. AFSP celebrates 30 years of service to the suicide prevention movement. Learn more about AFSP in its latest Annual Report, and join the conversation on suicide prevention by following AFSP on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

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Mitlin Financial Inc. Blog Named "100 Best Personal Finance and Investing Blogs for Beginners"

We are pleased to annouce that the Mitlin Financial Blog was selected as one of the "100 Best Personal Finance and Investing Blogs for Beginners" by Insider Monkey.

Here is a preview of our selection and you can view the entire list here: http://mitlin.us/InsiderMonkey

#58. Mitlin Financial Blog

Mitlin Financial blog isn’t really dedicated to absolute beginners in the world of finance, but their articles do have a dose of insight only an insider can provide and are worth reading.

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It is a tremendous accomplishment to be named and it is something we take great pride in.  Please be sure to share our blog with others that you may know that have an interest in their Financial Future!

Disclaimer: This article represents the opinion of Mitlin Financial Inc. It should not be construed as providing investment, legal and/or tax advice.

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