The Forest Lake Times http://forestlaketimes.com The Forest Lake Times covers community news, sports, current events and provides advertising and information for Forest Lake, Minnesota. Sun, 01 Mar 2015 14:08:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Pleski claims state title http://forestlaketimes.com/2015/02/28/pleski-claims-state-title/ http://forestlaketimes.com/2015/02/28/pleski-claims-state-title/#comments Sun, 01 Mar 2015 05:51:44 +0000 http://forestlaketimes.com/?p=62099 Senior James Pleski celebrates after clinching the 145-pound state wrestling championship on Saturday, Feb. 28. Photo by Kat Ladwig

Senior James Pleski celebrates after clinching the 145-pound state wrestling championship on Saturday, Feb. 28. Photo by Kat Ladwig

 

Forest Lake senior James Pleski earned his first state championship at the Xcel Energy Center on Saturday evening in the 145-pound weight class.

Pleski captured the title by beating Miles Patton of Rochester Mayo by a 3-2 decision in the championship matchup.

The Ranger, in his fifth trip to the Class AAA state tournament, started off his final state showing with a 4-1 win over second-ranked Taylor Venz of Farmington before fighting his way through a quarterfinal battle against third-ranked Brock Morgan of Apple Valley. Pleski defeated Morgan, 3-2, in triple overtime.

In the semifinals, Pleski beat Kenny O’Neil of Prior Lake with a 7-4 decision.

Pleski closed his senior season with an overall record of 46-2.

 

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Your Year’s Money Checklist http://forestlaketimes.com/2015/02/27/your-years-money-checklist/ http://forestlaketimes.com/2015/02/27/your-years-money-checklist/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 21:30:19 +0000 http://forestlaketimes.com/?guid=617b29f2f4208539c9a986a0c2c656c6 As winter fades, it’s time to seriously gear up to make your financial goals for 2015 real. They range from the simple and quick to the complex and long-term. Here’s a checklist to get you started and keep you going.

Pay yourself first. This concept, often pontificated, is relatively easy to understand and simple to implement. When you get paid, have a certain portion of your earnings (we recommend at least 10%) automatically deducted from your check and deposited into your 401(k), 403(b), 457 or other retirement plan at your work.

Contribute enough of a percentage to get your employer match. Your employer doesn’t offer a plan? Set up and automatically save to an individual retirement account. If you’re ambitious, you can actually contribute to both.

Pay down debt. Want a guaranteed rate of return? Simply pay off your debt early and you save yourself that interest rate tacked onto the balance, rather than paying it to the lender.

The type of debt matters. Some also argue whether to pay off a mortgage early; that choice is yours. Consider paying off consumer debt such as credit card balances and student and car loans as soon as possible.

Give yourself a raise. This probably isn’t too hard to do, especially since organizing documentation for tax time looms.

Go through your 2014 receipts and credit card and bank statements and look for purchases that were entirely discretionary that you didn’t need to buy. See which you may be able to eliminate for this year, such as excessively dining out or picking up an expensive coffee every day, to name just two.

Use the excess cash to fund your retirement plan and or pay down debt.

Check insurance. Prior to institution of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), which was billed as seeking to expand coverage and improve affordability of health-care coverage, nearly 32 million underinsured persons younger than 65 were in households spending a high share of income on medical care – as many as a third of residents in states like Idaho, Florida, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas. Nationally, more than half of people with low incomes and 20% of those with middle incomes were either underinsured or uninsured in recent years.

Some of these folks likely just can’t afford insurance; others are probably just negligent about their policies. Check your health-care as well as your auto, homeowners, life and other insurance to make sure you remain properly covered or even carry excess coverage such an umbrella policy.

Research ways to make coverage more affordable. Many times you can raise the deductibles on your auto and home policies or, if you drive an older car, remove comprehensive (which protects you from such mishaps as theft, natural disasters and vandalism) or collision to reduce premiums.

Do you qualify for more life insurance through work? Consider getting as much coverage from your employer as you can, including other available types of policies such as disability (in case you become unable to work). It’s cheap and generally requires no underwriting.

Get a financial checkup. Talk with a professional regarding your finances and see if he or she recommends ideas.

Invest in yourself. Read at least one personal finance book every few months, and build from there. Keep yourself informed and prepared to ask your advisor – not to mention yourself – about your financial situation.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Sterling Raskie, MSFS, MBA, CFP, is an independent, fee-only financial planner at Blankenship Financial Planning in New Berlin, Ill. He is an adjunct professor teaching courses in math, finance, insurance and investments. His blog is Getting Your Financial Ducks in a Row, where he writes regularly about investments, retirement savings and financial planning.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

]]>
As winter fades, it’s time to seriously gear up to make your financial goals for 2015 real. They range from the simple and quick to the complex and long-term. Here’s a checklist to get you started and keep you going.

Pay yourself first. This concept, often pontificated, is relatively easy to understand and simple to implement. When you get paid, have a certain portion of your earnings (we recommend at least 10%) automatically deducted from your check and deposited into your 401(k), 403(b), 457 or other retirement plan at your work.

Contribute enough of a percentage to get your employer match. Your employer doesn’t offer a plan? Set up and automatically save to an individual retirement account. If you’re ambitious, you can actually contribute to both.

Pay down debt. Want a guaranteed rate of return? Simply pay off your debt early and you save yourself that interest rate tacked onto the balance, rather than paying it to the lender.

The type of debt matters. Some also argue whether to pay off a mortgage early; that choice is yours. Consider paying off consumer debt such as credit card balances and student and car loans as soon as possible.

Give yourself a raise. This probably isn’t too hard to do, especially since organizing documentation for tax time looms.

Go through your 2014 receipts and credit card and bank statements and look for purchases that were entirely discretionary that you didn’t need to buy. See which you may be able to eliminate for this year, such as excessively dining out or picking up an expensive coffee every day, to name just two.

Use the excess cash to fund your retirement plan and or pay down debt.

Check insurance. Prior to institution of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), which was billed as seeking to expand coverage and improve affordability of health-care coverage, nearly 32 million underinsured persons younger than 65 were in households spending a high share of income on medical care – as many as a third of residents in states like Idaho, Florida, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas. Nationally, more than half of people with low incomes and 20% of those with middle incomes were either underinsured or uninsured in recent years.

Some of these folks likely just can’t afford insurance; others are probably just negligent about their policies. Check your health-care as well as your auto, homeowners, life and other insurance to make sure you remain properly covered or even carry excess coverage such an umbrella policy.

Research ways to make coverage more affordable. Many times you can raise the deductibles on your auto and home policies or, if you drive an older car, remove comprehensive (which protects you from such mishaps as theft, natural disasters and vandalism) or collision to reduce premiums.

Do you qualify for more life insurance through work? Consider getting as much coverage from your employer as you can, including other available types of policies such as disability (in case you become unable to work). It’s cheap and generally requires no underwriting.

Get a financial checkup. Talk with a professional regarding your finances and see if he or she recommends ideas.

Invest in yourself. Read at least one personal finance book every few months, and build from there. Keep yourself informed and prepared to ask your advisor – not to mention yourself – about your financial situation.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Sterling Raskie, MSFS, MBA, CFP, is an independent, fee-only financial planner at Blankenship Financial Planning in New Berlin, Ill. He is an adjunct professor teaching courses in math, finance, insurance and investments. His blog is Getting Your Financial Ducks in a Row, where he writes regularly about investments, retirement savings and financial planning.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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Money Moves for Gen Y (pt. 2) http://forestlaketimes.com/2015/02/27/money-moves-for-gen-y-pt-2/ http://forestlaketimes.com/2015/02/27/money-moves-for-gen-y-pt-2/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 21:30:04 +0000 http://forestlaketimes.com/?guid=6b56cc41a207868c738928c85c450b2f Our first article looked at how adults born between 1980 and 2000, Generation Y, must use more innovation, attention and creativity to build a financial future. Here are additional ideas.

Save your next windfall. This simple concept becomes hard when the check is in your hand. Yet rather than spend your next tax refund or salary bonus, deposit it into your emergency fund or your individual retirement account, converting temporary income into permanent savings.

Entertain yourself more simply. Entertainment likely constitutes the biggest black hole in the average household budget: $70 to $80 to take a family of four to the movies; $200 to attend a professional baseball game; $100 per ticket for the concert of a hot band or performer.

Look for attractions closer to home and more basic. Spend more time with family and (your more frugal) friends, take up hobbies such as reading and gardening or learn to window shop. Don’t completely swear off more pricey forms of entertainment, but keep them to a minimum.

Learn to cook. Picking up this domestic skill kills several financial birds with one stone:

  • You eat in more, which means you eat out less, saving a small fortune on restaurants.
  • You create another activity to occupy your time so you’re not out spending and filling the hours with high-priced entertainment.
  • You make hosting family and friends easier in your home, saving even more on entertainment.

Visualize being debt-free then write it down. This entirely mental activity can pack a punch. Imagine how freedom from debt will feel, particularly the absence of stress in combination with greater freedom. That gives you something real to aim for. Refer to what you write down as frequently as necessary.

Keep your clunker another year. Most people want a new car, but don’t necessarily need one. Unless your car is certified for the scrapheap, keep it: one more year without a car payment, one more year to save money for a larger down payment (and lower monthly payment) on your next vehicle.

Brainstorm with someone whose financial goals resemble yours. If you establish money goals different from what you had, you need company to help stay on track. Find someone with similar goals and regularly – try for at least monthly – brainstorm various ways to make your plans work.

Start exercising. Spending money sometimes substitutes for more productive pastimes. If you start a regular exercise program, you’ll probably find that you feel better about yourself and will have less time – or need – to spend. You also improve your health and become less dependent on costly medical care.

Spend less than you earn. No progress is possible unless you arrange your budget to squeeze out extra money each month: the source of capital you’ll use to increase savings and investments and pay off debt.

Get serious about your emergency fund. Your retirement fund is not for emergencies and credit lines only lead you deeper into debt (which in turn sets up your next money emergency). Pump even more into your pot meant to cover six months’ expenses and, once you have the fund, tap it for legitimate emergencies only.

Lighten up TV time. How does your watching television affect your finances? Maybe everything: A major purpose of TV is advertising; advertising gets you to buy things. The less time you watch TV, likely the less money you spend.

Buy big through craigslist. Your nearest box store is quick, hassle-free – and expensive. Before you buy anything big brand-new, check what’s for sale on craigslist or a similar site that offers many items at a fraction of retail prices. You may not be able to cut spending on every major purchase this way, but just a few can save you a lot.

Release past sins. Do you agonize over your financial mistakes? The failed business, previous bankruptcy or the bygone job with the salary you never made again? Move forward and create the best life possible – a harder task if you still ruminate over mistakes you made years ago.

Shop without credit cards. Use your debit card for routine shopping and save credit cards for when absolutely necessary, like when you need travel insurance on airline tickets or a buyer’s protection plan on a major item. This keeps your card balances from ballooning after impulse buys.

Earn extra cash via the Web. Multiple income streams become more important as job security generally continues to fade in our economy. One of the best places to begin making extra money: the Internet.

In addition to managing social media freelance for other sites and companies, you can use the Web to find and market your own services, from dog walking to selling your own handmade crafts.

Learn at least one new work-related skill. List the skills that might make you more valuable to your employer or to a future employer. Choose one that is most valuable or easiest for you now and begin work to master it. Do this every year from now on.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Jeff Rose, CFP, is the founder of Alliance Wealth Management in Carbondale, Ill., and also is the founder of the website Good Financial Cents and Life Insurance by Jeff.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

]]>
Our first article looked at how adults born between 1980 and 2000, Generation Y, must use more innovation, attention and creativity to build a financial future. Here are additional ideas.

Save your next windfall. This simple concept becomes hard when the check is in your hand. Yet rather than spend your next tax refund or salary bonus, deposit it into your emergency fund or your individual retirement account, converting temporary income into permanent savings.

Entertain yourself more simply. Entertainment likely constitutes the biggest black hole in the average household budget: $70 to $80 to take a family of four to the movies; $200 to attend a professional baseball game; $100 per ticket for the concert of a hot band or performer.

Look for attractions closer to home and more basic. Spend more time with family and (your more frugal) friends, take up hobbies such as reading and gardening or learn to window shop. Don’t completely swear off more pricey forms of entertainment, but keep them to a minimum.

Learn to cook. Picking up this domestic skill kills several financial birds with one stone:

  • You eat in more, which means you eat out less, saving a small fortune on restaurants.
  • You create another activity to occupy your time so you’re not out spending and filling the hours with high-priced entertainment.
  • You make hosting family and friends easier in your home, saving even more on entertainment.

Visualize being debt-free then write it down. This entirely mental activity can pack a punch. Imagine how freedom from debt will feel, particularly the absence of stress in combination with greater freedom. That gives you something real to aim for. Refer to what you write down as frequently as necessary.

Keep your clunker another year. Most people want a new car, but don’t necessarily need one. Unless your car is certified for the scrapheap, keep it: one more year without a car payment, one more year to save money for a larger down payment (and lower monthly payment) on your next vehicle.

Brainstorm with someone whose financial goals resemble yours. If you establish money goals different from what you had, you need company to help stay on track. Find someone with similar goals and regularly – try for at least monthly – brainstorm various ways to make your plans work.

Start exercising. Spending money sometimes substitutes for more productive pastimes. If you start a regular exercise program, you’ll probably find that you feel better about yourself and will have less time – or need – to spend. You also improve your health and become less dependent on costly medical care.

Spend less than you earn. No progress is possible unless you arrange your budget to squeeze out extra money each month: the source of capital you’ll use to increase savings and investments and pay off debt.

Get serious about your emergency fund. Your retirement fund is not for emergencies and credit lines only lead you deeper into debt (which in turn sets up your next money emergency). Pump even more into your pot meant to cover six months’ expenses and, once you have the fund, tap it for legitimate emergencies only.

Lighten up TV time. How does your watching television affect your finances? Maybe everything: A major purpose of TV is advertising; advertising gets you to buy things. The less time you watch TV, likely the less money you spend.

Buy big through craigslist. Your nearest box store is quick, hassle-free – and expensive. Before you buy anything big brand-new, check what’s for sale on craigslist or a similar site that offers many items at a fraction of retail prices. You may not be able to cut spending on every major purchase this way, but just a few can save you a lot.

Release past sins. Do you agonize over your financial mistakes? The failed business, previous bankruptcy or the bygone job with the salary you never made again? Move forward and create the best life possible – a harder task if you still ruminate over mistakes you made years ago.

Shop without credit cards. Use your debit card for routine shopping and save credit cards for when absolutely necessary, like when you need travel insurance on airline tickets or a buyer’s protection plan on a major item. This keeps your card balances from ballooning after impulse buys.

Earn extra cash via the Web. Multiple income streams become more important as job security generally continues to fade in our economy. One of the best places to begin making extra money: the Internet.

In addition to managing social media freelance for other sites and companies, you can use the Web to find and market your own services, from dog walking to selling your own handmade crafts.

Learn at least one new work-related skill. List the skills that might make you more valuable to your employer or to a future employer. Choose one that is most valuable or easiest for you now and begin work to master it. Do this every year from now on.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Jeff Rose, CFP, is the founder of Alliance Wealth Management in Carbondale, Ill., and also is the founder of the website Good Financial Cents and Life Insurance by Jeff.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

]]>
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Higher Estate Taxes: Bad Idea http://forestlaketimes.com/2015/02/27/higher-estate-taxes-bad-idea/ http://forestlaketimes.com/2015/02/27/higher-estate-taxes-bad-idea/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 15:31:43 +0000 http://forestlaketimes.com/?guid=166e080a538263d9ac8752407ec3536e Boosting the tax on inherited wealth is a perennial goal of some politicians. And while the White House’s latest plan to boost the levy on estates faces a dim future in a GOP-controlled Congress, the concept will continue to pop up. There’s a lot wrong with this idea.

President Barack Obama’s budget wants to see an increase in the rate of what some call the death tax from 40% to nearly 60%, when you apply his proposed higher capital gains tax of 28% to what’s left after paying the death levy.

Under current law, when you inherit an asset and wish to sell it, you figure out what’s called your basis. When your parents, or whoever bequeathed you the asset, were alive, the basis was what they originally paid for it. If you inherit your parents’ home, you can bet it’s worth more upon their death than they paid for it. For you as the heir, current law says the basis rises to the property’s fair market value – what it would sell for today.

But under the new proposal, when you inherit an asset, your basis will simply be the decedent's original basis.

Example: Dad buys a house for $10,000. He dies and leaves it to you. The fair market value on the date of death is $100,000, which is the new basis. You sell it for $120,000. Under current law, you have a capital gain of $20,000 (sales price of $120,000 less step-up in basis of $100,000).

Under the Obama plan, you have a capital gain of $110,000 (sales price of $120,000 less original basis of $10,000). If you live in a state with high property values, this could result a substantial tax burden. In California, a state with very high home prices, the average beneficiary would probably be forced to sell their parents' home just to pay the taxes due.

I believe this proposal has very little chance of becoming law. Change that to I hope this proposal has very little chance of becoming law.

The Obama plan contains exemptions for some households, but an enormous number of people still would get slammed. The whole reason we have step-up in basis is because we have a death tax. If assets are liable for tax when Dad owned them, it’s unfair to treat them as liable for tax again when the inheritor sells it. This adds yet another redundant layer of tax on savings and investment. It's a huge tax hike on family farms and small businesses.

This is like a second tax. The first one has a top tax rate of 40% and a standard deduction of $5.3 million ($10.6 million for surviving spouses). Conceivably, an accumulated capital gain could face a 40% death tax levy and then a 28% capital gains tax on what is left. That equals an integrated federal tax of just under 60% on inherited capital gains.

Note that Dad’s original purchase of stocks, bonds and property with after-tax dollars. In other words, Dad earned money and paid taxes on those earnings. With the money he had, after he paid Uncle Sam, he (and perhaps Mom) bought the asset the beneficiary now must pay taxes upon Dad’s death. I know, it’s capital gain taxes. However, when I sell asset that has appreciated, I pay capital gain taxes.

If this proposal – or something like it – becomes law, and my wife and I die, my daughter confronts a very large tax burden.

When I choose to sell an asset, I normally pay capital gain taxes. I can do some tax planning accordingly. Under the Obama proposal, my daughter cannot take advantage of any planning options to attempt tax reduction that would be available to me, if alive.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Phillip Q. Shrotman is founder and president of Principal Planning Service, Inc. in Long Beach, Calif. He was a professor in the Business Division at Long Beach City College for over 29 years, where he held the position as Coordinator for Financial Planning and Insurance for the college. He holds a Community College Instructors Credential from the University of California at Los Angeles and a master’s from the University of San Francisco. He also holds the profession designations of General Securities Principal of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Series 7 and 24. He has appeared as a guest on KABC Talk Radio and various television and radio programs.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

]]>
Boosting the tax on inherited wealth is a perennial goal of some politicians. And while the White House’s latest plan to boost the levy on estates faces a dim future in a GOP-controlled Congress, the concept will continue to pop up. There’s a lot wrong with this idea.

President Barack Obama’s budget wants to see an increase in the rate of what some call the death tax from 40% to nearly 60%, when you apply his proposed higher capital gains tax of 28% to what’s left after paying the death levy.

Under current law, when you inherit an asset and wish to sell it, you figure out what’s called your basis. When your parents, or whoever bequeathed you the asset, were alive, the basis was what they originally paid for it. If you inherit your parents’ home, you can bet it’s worth more upon their death than they paid for it. For you as the heir, current law says the basis rises to the property’s fair market value – what it would sell for today.

But under the new proposal, when you inherit an asset, your basis will simply be the decedent's original basis.

Example: Dad buys a house for $10,000. He dies and leaves it to you. The fair market value on the date of death is $100,000, which is the new basis. You sell it for $120,000. Under current law, you have a capital gain of $20,000 (sales price of $120,000 less step-up in basis of $100,000).

Under the Obama plan, you have a capital gain of $110,000 (sales price of $120,000 less original basis of $10,000). If you live in a state with high property values, this could result a substantial tax burden. In California, a state with very high home prices, the average beneficiary would probably be forced to sell their parents' home just to pay the taxes due.

I believe this proposal has very little chance of becoming law. Change that to I hope this proposal has very little chance of becoming law.

The Obama plan contains exemptions for some households, but an enormous number of people still would get slammed. The whole reason we have step-up in basis is because we have a death tax. If assets are liable for tax when Dad owned them, it’s unfair to treat them as liable for tax again when the inheritor sells it. This adds yet another redundant layer of tax on savings and investment. It's a huge tax hike on family farms and small businesses.

This is like a second tax. The first one has a top tax rate of 40% and a standard deduction of $5.3 million ($10.6 million for surviving spouses). Conceivably, an accumulated capital gain could face a 40% death tax levy and then a 28% capital gains tax on what is left. That equals an integrated federal tax of just under 60% on inherited capital gains.

Note that Dad’s original purchase of stocks, bonds and property with after-tax dollars. In other words, Dad earned money and paid taxes on those earnings. With the money he had, after he paid Uncle Sam, he (and perhaps Mom) bought the asset the beneficiary now must pay taxes upon Dad’s death. I know, it’s capital gain taxes. However, when I sell asset that has appreciated, I pay capital gain taxes.

If this proposal – or something like it – becomes law, and my wife and I die, my daughter confronts a very large tax burden.

When I choose to sell an asset, I normally pay capital gain taxes. I can do some tax planning accordingly. Under the Obama proposal, my daughter cannot take advantage of any planning options to attempt tax reduction that would be available to me, if alive.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Phillip Q. Shrotman is founder and president of Principal Planning Service, Inc. in Long Beach, Calif. He was a professor in the Business Division at Long Beach City College for over 29 years, where he held the position as Coordinator for Financial Planning and Insurance for the college. He holds a Community College Instructors Credential from the University of California at Los Angeles and a master’s from the University of San Francisco. He also holds the profession designations of General Securities Principal of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Series 7 and 24. He has appeared as a guest on KABC Talk Radio and various television and radio programs.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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Wyoming preps for road work http://forestlaketimes.com/2015/02/27/wyoming-preps-for-road-work/ http://forestlaketimes.com/2015/02/27/wyoming-preps-for-road-work/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 13:42:14 +0000 http://forestlaketimes.com/?p=62014 Before the Wyoming City Council meeting Feb. 17, there was a public hearing related to the 2015 street and utility improvement project. Most questions from city residents were about the cost of the project for individual property owners.

City Engineer Mark Erichson reviewed the scope of the work for the two sections of the city included in the project and the timetable for completion. The first part of the project is east of Forest Boulevard and west of Fenwick north of 263rd Street. It includes 264th, 266th through 270th streets; Felton, Fenwick, Finley, Flintwood, Forli, Foxboro, Freisland and Railroad avenues; Flintwood Circle; Flintwood Lane; and Freeport Court.

The second area is also east of Forest Boulevard but south of Wyoming Trail. Streets included in this area are 261st, 263rd, 264th, Flint Trail Flint Court, Galen Drive, Freeport Avenue and Glen Oak Drive.

Within each area, the proposed improvements include full pavement reclamation and paving of rural streets. Sanitary sewer repairs will be made based on televised reports. Some fire hydrants will be replaced, and others will be added. Drainage improvements will also be made. The lift station on Railroad Avenue will be upgraded.  The project includes a total of 4.1 miles of streets to be repaired in the first area, as well as 1.74 miles of streets in the second area.

The total cost of the project is $5.1 million. About $3.3 million of that will go toward street improvements, with the rest split between improvements to sanitary sewers, water mains, storm sewers and lift stations.

Erichson explained that there may be some improvements to ditches so flow is better during rain events.

Most of the area is sandy, so water drains in quickly and there are no plans to add curb and gutter. Those who live on corner lots will only be assessed one as one unit. Residents will only be assessed for improvements if their driveway is on a project street. The assessment portion of the property tax bill is not a tax deductible expense.

City Administrator Craig Mattson explained that the city is assessing the minimum amount allowable for the project (20 percent). The assessment policy will be applied to the surface improvement cost ($3.3 million) for the project area.

The total number of assessable units in the project area is 359.5. Dividing the estimated surface improvement cost by the units, the average assessment per unit is $1,845.84.

According to Mattson, the final assessment numbers are dependent upon the actual bids, when the city needs the money to make payments, interest-rate at the time of the bond sale and the term of the payback. He estimated that the term of the assessment payments will be about five to seven years, with the bank that is buying the bonds setting the interest rate. An assessment hearing will be held in the fall of 2015, when the exact amount of the assessments for each parcel will be known.

Letters will be sent to residents in and near the project areas informing them of when and where the work will be in progress on their respective streets.

In other news, the council also approved the appointment of former Councilman Roger Elmore as a member of the Park Board group. This brings the number on the board to five. Councilwoman Lisa Iverson questioned Elmore’s appointment when there was another interested volunteer. Chairman Frank Storm explained that Elmore was the choice of those sitting on the board. The vote to approve the appointment was split 3-2, with Iverson and Linda Yeager voting no.

In other business, the council:

- After extensive discussion, tabled until the next meeting a decision about a council retreat and strategic planning session for themselves.

- Requested Attorney Mark Vierling to review a letter to Minnesota Public Utilities Commission regarding the Geronimo Energy Aurora Solar Project. It relates to zoning in the city.

- Approved an application for St. Paul Lutheran Church to conduct a gambling raffle on Sunday, April 19.

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Open Forum for Feb. 26, 2015 http://forestlaketimes.com/2015/02/27/open-forum-for-feb-26-2015/ http://forestlaketimes.com/2015/02/27/open-forum-for-feb-26-2015/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 13:03:59 +0000 http://forestlaketimes.com/?p=61982 EDITOR’S NOTE: Letters will be accepted for the Open Forum for publication in the next available issue after receipt. Letters may be sent to Forest Lake Times, 146 N. Lake St., Suite 125, Forest Lake, or by e-mail to ryan.howard@ecm-inc.com. Letters should not exceed 250 words and must be signed with the writer’s name, address and telephone number. Deadline is noon Monday. The newspaper reserves the right to edit letters and assure that rules of libel and good taste are not violated.

Speak out for life

Society’s values must surely appear contradictory to young people.  One the one hand, we are protecting the environment with restrictions on the capture of certain birds and animals, and on the other, we are allowing the destruction of human life with legalized abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy!

High school juniors and seniors, if you were given five minutes to explain exactly why human life deserves protection, what would you say?

Our local Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life Pro-Life Oratory Contest offers a unique opportunity to share your thoughts. This competition is open to high school juniors and seniors who research, write and present a 5-7 minute pro-life speech on abortion, infanticide, euthanasia or stem cell research. Our Forest Lake chapter will be holding the 25th annual contest on Friday, March 20 at 7 p.m. in the choir room, Room 545, at Forest Lake Area High School. For registration information, call 651-464-5260.

Diane Paffel

Forest Lake

Music was a blessing

Every year, Mattson Funeral Home & Cremation Service tries to find a way to help widows and widowers in our community celebrate their loved one on Valentine’s Day. We invite those persons, along with a guest, to join us for a meal and entertainment while remembering their loved one that has died. This year, we were honored to have the Tri-M Music Honor Society from Forest Lake High School provide our guests with beautiful musical entertainment. Our community is very blessed with such talented musicians from this group. Many of our attendees commented that they felt they were in the Twin Cities to hear the orchestra play. Thank you, Dave Livermore and your talented group, for joining us last week and giving each person a night they will never forget. Your music touched their hearts and left them feeling uplifted. Your kindness will never be forgotten.

Susan M. Hutchison

Mattson Funeral Home & Cremation Service Director

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Just a buck, change their luck http://forestlaketimes.com/2015/02/27/just-a-buck-change-their-luck/ http://forestlaketimes.com/2015/02/27/just-a-buck-change-their-luck/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 12:51:18 +0000 http://forestlaketimes.com/?p=61965 Peace Team
The Scandia Elementary Peace Team held their annual “Just a Buck, Change Their Luck” fundraiser for Northwoods Humane Society in Forest Lake. The Peace Team raised $406 and collected three large boxes of supplies. The students learned about kindness, respect and compassion for animals and people. Peace Team members will take a field trip this spring to experience the animal shelter firsthand and learn about the animals they have helped.

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Scandia Farmers Market accepting summer 2015 applications http://forestlaketimes.com/2015/02/27/scandia-farmers-market-accepting-summer-2015-applications/ http://forestlaketimes.com/2015/02/27/scandia-farmers-market-accepting-summer-2015-applications/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 12:35:23 +0000 http://forestlaketimes.com/?p=61957 market-1038

img_1198Organizers of the Scandia Farmers Market are inviting applications from farmers, producers, crafters, artisans, and other vendors who are interested in selling vegetables, fruits, baked goods, canned goods, plants, flowers, arts, and crafts.
The market will be held 4 to 7 p.m. every Wednesday June 10 through Sept. 30 at the Gammelgården Museum, 20880 Olinda Trail, Scandia. Visit scandiafarmersmarket.com for downloadable applications. Early bird full-season vendor applications are due by April 1, 2015 and single market/occasional market vendor applications will be accepted through the summer. Call Cathy at 651-271-4734 or email info@scandiafarmersmarket.com for more information.

 

 

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FL upset in opening round http://forestlaketimes.com/2015/02/26/fl-upset-in-opening-round/ http://forestlaketimes.com/2015/02/26/fl-upset-in-opening-round/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 05:02:37 +0000 http://forestlaketimes.com/?p=62091 The Forest Lake boys basketball team suffered an upset by sixth-seeded Cambridge-Isanti tonight, Thursday, Feb. 26, on the Ranger home court.

The Rangers, seeded third in Section 7AAAA, lost 52-51 in the opening round of section play.

Senior Connor Knutson led Forest Lake with 27 points as the sole Ranger to score double digits. Junior Noah Alm recorded eight points, followed by senior Andrew Kezar and junior Matt Wallner with six points apiece. Senior Brent Kinder added four points.

Three Bluejackets scored 10-plus points to move on to the section semifinals. Cambridge-Isanti will next face second-seeded Anoka at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, March 3 at North Branch High School.

Forest Lake closed its 2014-15 run with an overall record of 11-16 while going 4-12 in the Suburban East Conference and 3-1 against section opponents.

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Money Moves for Gen Y (Pt. 1) http://forestlaketimes.com/2015/02/26/money-moves-for-gen-y-pt-1/ http://forestlaketimes.com/2015/02/26/money-moves-for-gen-y-pt-1/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 22:30:05 +0000 http://forestlaketimes.com/?guid=9def41a3879f5e3e79f210504ce4f88e Some young adults seem stuck: Baby boomers took the best of what’s available and those nearing middle age always stand in line just ahead of millennials. If you’re a millennial, born between 1980 and 2000, you just need to change habits and work harder on your finances.

Among good moves:

Set at least one financial goal for this year. This goal must be fairly substantial yet doable in the remaining months of 2015.

Point is, if you successfully achieve one goal, you can achieve others. Start slow and work up. I also review my goals every quarter.

Create a three-year plan. A plan differs from a goal because you set an objective – usually several objectives at the same time. You also allow yourself a specific amount of time to accomplish them and create a series of steps to make them happen.

Have as many individual goals within your plan as you like. For example, your plan can include getting out of debt, starting or increasing your retirement savings or building an emergency fund of six months’ expenses. Set the plan for three years and create strategies for achieving each objective within that time.

Write your plan, even type it. Then you refer to it regularly until your action steps become second-nature.

Save for retirement right now. A lot of people feel overwhelmed at the money needed to set up a retirement plan. But starting one is pretty easy.

Sign up for your employer-sponsored retirement plan at work. If your job doesn’t offer a plan, set up an individual retirement account such as a Roth IRA, which provides tax-free growth and allows you to contribute up to $5,500 a year.

You can fund either with payroll deductions automatically taken out of your paycheck. Your contribution can be small; just get started now.

Nudge your plan contribution. If you currently save 6% of your pay – typically about the maximum to take advantage of your employer’s matching contributions, if any – increase to 7% this year. Next year, increase to 8%, and so on.

Expanding your contributions in small increments usually means you hardly notice the drop in your paycheck, particularly if you get annual pay raises of at least 2%.

Tune out doom and gloom. The world always tells us to worry. Be concerned, not worried, and sufficiently concerned to take action that makes the worries go away.

Pay off one credit card and then one more. If you carry a lot of debt, you probably already realize that you won’t get out of it anytime soon – and you don’t have to.

Pick one of your credit cards and plan how to pay it off as soon as possible. Start with the card with the smallest balance. Once you pay off that first card, target another, possibly the card with the second-smallest balance.

Once you pay off two cards, your debt cutting snowballs. Keep going until all of your credit cards are paid off, even if it takes several years.

Set bills for auto pay. More than just annoying, paying bills can strain your emotions if your budget is tight. Spare yourself the aggravation and set up your bills for automatic payment from your bank account. You do have to do this with each creditor but once most or all are set up this way, you enjoy more time for everything else – not to mention a lot less stress.

Create financial affirmations. Affirmations are brief sayings that resonate with you. They can deal with the benefits of certain actions, helping you to create a mindset to achieve a goal or simply restate your plan. Some examples: “In five years (or four, or three – your choice) I will be free of debt,” or “I’m a saver, not a spender.”

Write these down and place them in areas of your home you go to frequently. For example, placing affirmations on your bathroom mirror guarantees that you see them every day.

Read at least one good financial book. Ideally, you read one every month. If you usually fall short of that, settle for getting through just one good money book, no matter how long that takes. Investigate and read as many as possible, and become a regular follower of a few financial blogs.

Volunteer. Sometimes a little perspective goes a long way in getting the upper hand on your finances. Helping people who are in worse situations than you can make you realize your good fortune.

Drop a free-spending friend. If undisciplined spenders dominate your social circle, they might unintentionally sabotage your efforts at greater financial responsibility. In a potentially major step in your financial independence, find a few new friends who spend more conservatively.

Teach your kids about money. Maybe you want to shield your young kids from the sometimes-harsh realities of personal finance. But if your parents did that with you, you may struggle with the result even now.

Make your kids aware of money’s effect on their lives as early as possible. An allowance is a good start, particularly one tied to chores.

(Our next article looks at controlling spending and credit, as well as ways non-financial improvements can help your money management.)

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Jeff Rose, CFP, is the founder of Alliance Wealth Management in Carbondale, Ill., and also is the founder of the website Good Financial Cents and Life Insurance by Jeff.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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Some young adults seem stuck: Baby boomers took the best of what’s available and those nearing middle age always stand in line just ahead of millennials. If you’re a millennial, born between 1980 and 2000, you just need to change habits and work harder on your finances.

Among good moves:

Set at least one financial goal for this year. This goal must be fairly substantial yet doable in the remaining months of 2015.

Point is, if you successfully achieve one goal, you can achieve others. Start slow and work up. I also review my goals every quarter.

Create a three-year plan. A plan differs from a goal because you set an objective – usually several objectives at the same time. You also allow yourself a specific amount of time to accomplish them and create a series of steps to make them happen.

Have as many individual goals within your plan as you like. For example, your plan can include getting out of debt, starting or increasing your retirement savings or building an emergency fund of six months’ expenses. Set the plan for three years and create strategies for achieving each objective within that time.

Write your plan, even type it. Then you refer to it regularly until your action steps become second-nature.

Save for retirement right now. A lot of people feel overwhelmed at the money needed to set up a retirement plan. But starting one is pretty easy.

Sign up for your employer-sponsored retirement plan at work. If your job doesn’t offer a plan, set up an individual retirement account such as a Roth IRA, which provides tax-free growth and allows you to contribute up to $5,500 a year.

You can fund either with payroll deductions automatically taken out of your paycheck. Your contribution can be small; just get started now.

Nudge your plan contribution. If you currently save 6% of your pay – typically about the maximum to take advantage of your employer’s matching contributions, if any – increase to 7% this year. Next year, increase to 8%, and so on.

Expanding your contributions in small increments usually means you hardly notice the drop in your paycheck, particularly if you get annual pay raises of at least 2%.

Tune out doom and gloom. The world always tells us to worry. Be concerned, not worried, and sufficiently concerned to take action that makes the worries go away.

Pay off one credit card and then one more. If you carry a lot of debt, you probably already realize that you won’t get out of it anytime soon – and you don’t have to.

Pick one of your credit cards and plan how to pay it off as soon as possible. Start with the card with the smallest balance. Once you pay off that first card, target another, possibly the card with the second-smallest balance.

Once you pay off two cards, your debt cutting snowballs. Keep going until all of your credit cards are paid off, even if it takes several years.

Set bills for auto pay. More than just annoying, paying bills can strain your emotions if your budget is tight. Spare yourself the aggravation and set up your bills for automatic payment from your bank account. You do have to do this with each creditor but once most or all are set up this way, you enjoy more time for everything else – not to mention a lot less stress.

Create financial affirmations. Affirmations are brief sayings that resonate with you. They can deal with the benefits of certain actions, helping you to create a mindset to achieve a goal or simply restate your plan. Some examples: “In five years (or four, or three – your choice) I will be free of debt,” or “I’m a saver, not a spender.”

Write these down and place them in areas of your home you go to frequently. For example, placing affirmations on your bathroom mirror guarantees that you see them every day.

Read at least one good financial book. Ideally, you read one every month. If you usually fall short of that, settle for getting through just one good money book, no matter how long that takes. Investigate and read as many as possible, and become a regular follower of a few financial blogs.

Volunteer. Sometimes a little perspective goes a long way in getting the upper hand on your finances. Helping people who are in worse situations than you can make you realize your good fortune.

Drop a free-spending friend. If undisciplined spenders dominate your social circle, they might unintentionally sabotage your efforts at greater financial responsibility. In a potentially major step in your financial independence, find a few new friends who spend more conservatively.

Teach your kids about money. Maybe you want to shield your young kids from the sometimes-harsh realities of personal finance. But if your parents did that with you, you may struggle with the result even now.

Make your kids aware of money’s effect on their lives as early as possible. An allowance is a good start, particularly one tied to chores.

(Our next article looks at controlling spending and credit, as well as ways non-financial improvements can help your money management.)

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Jeff Rose, CFP, is the founder of Alliance Wealth Management in Carbondale, Ill., and also is the founder of the website Good Financial Cents and Life Insurance by Jeff.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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