Atlanta Financial Newsroom

What is the SECURE Act and does it matter to me?

What is the SECURE Act and does it matter to me?

The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (“SECURE”) Act was signed into law on December 20, 2019.  With all of the discussion in the news around the political uncertainty, impeachment, and the looming trade war, one of the largest changes to retirement savings laws in recent years was passed with very little fanfare.  However, some of the changes will be significant.  I have tried to highlight what may impact the majority of our clients and readers.

The Act has a lot of positives such as simplifying rules and making 401k plans potentially available to more workers, pushing back the RMD age, and allowing contributions to IRAs past age 70.  The negative impact I see is the elimination of the stretch IRA which is a clear move by the government to raise tax revenues by forcing money out of inherited IRAs sooner.  I will discuss in more detail below, but this should be a time to review beneficiaries and discuss whether any change in your legacy planning should be made in response to the new laws. What do you need to pay attention to?

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Baby Steps: Financial Moves for Every Decade of Life

Baby Steps: Financial Moves for Every Decade of Life

Recently, my husband and I took care of our 12-month old granddaughter while our daughter and son-in-law took a much-needed vacation together.  When they dropped her off, their parting words were, “She is almost ready to walk, but make sure she waits until we get home!”

Famous last words…  Of course, as soon as they left the house, she was trying to walk – literally everywhere.  And after about 24 hours she was taking her first baby steps.  By the time they arrived back three days later, she was walking (a little unsteadily but walking none-the-less) and was very proud of herself.  Great strides in just a few days but predicated on all of the trial and error and lessons learned in the months before.

Financial planning is a little like this.  You’ll make mistakes along the way – everyone does.  But you will do a lot of things right as well and the important thing to remember is that your financial health is based on doing the little things right, all along the way.

So, what should you be doing when you are 22, 52 or 72?  Here are three important tips for each decade.

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WCA_Financial_Advisor_2019

Cathy Miller Receives the Women’s Choice Award® as Highly Recommended Financial Advisor by Women for Women for Seventh Consecutive Year

Atlanta – November 19, 2019 – Atlanta Financial Associates, an independent financial advisory firm, recently announced that Cathy Miller, MBA, CFP® , CRPS®, CDFA™, has received the Women’s Choice Award® for Financial Advisors and Firms.

As the leading advocate for female consumers, WomenCertified Inc. selected Miller based on rigorous research and specific objective criteria; she has received this recognition every year since 2013. 

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9 Year-End Tax Tips

9 Year-End Tax Tips

This year marks our second year living with the sweeping tax law changes passed at the end of 2017, known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.  How did you fare under the new tax law, or do you know?

Many tax payers had pleasant surprises when they filed their 2018 returns, with smaller tax bills and/or larger refunds than usual.  But some tax payers felt like they didn’t benefit from the tax cuts at all.  As we met with clients in 2019, we found that for some of those clients the total tax paid was in fact higher, but due to higher income levels (from a strong economy and stock market), while tax rates actually did decline from pre-2018 levels. Unfortunately, for a significant minority of our clients, both rates and taxes paid were higher due to limitations on mortgage interest deductions, the elimination of personal exemptions and the cap on state and local tax deductions (the so called “SALT” deductions). 

Regardless of which camp you found yourself in after filing your 2018 taxes, there is still time to minimize what you will owe for 2019 with smart planning.  We have listed 9 tips to consider between now and year-end.

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Billfolds and Babies

Billfolds and Babies

A baby changes the game in so many ways. I think back to the first time I heard my little boy say “peeeez, Daddy.” I would have handed that little guy nearly anything he wanted with little remorse just because of how cute it was. It makes me think about how as parents, we naturally want to not just meet, but exceed the wants and needs of our children; however, accomplishing that can be quite a challenge. With so much time focused on getting ready mentally, spiritually, and physically for a new baby, it is also fact that soon-to-be parents can especially end up feeling a bit unprepared financially because it is so tough to judge how expensive life as a growing family will be.

Knowing personally and professionally that the fiscal changes associated with parenthood are a gracious plenty, I’ve laid out a few things below that will hopefully make the experience of welcoming a new baby less of a learn-on-the-fly education.

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