August 24, 2016

About Megan Russell

Megan Russell+ is the Chief Operating Officer for Marotta Wealth Management. She studied Cognitive Science at the University of Virginia and now specializes in explaining the complexities of economics and finance. Megan loves formal logic, creative writing, and kittens.

5 Reasons to Have Some Cash Equivalents

5 Reasons to Have Some Cash Equivalents

There are at least five reasons to hold cash. Without a good reason to hold cash, you may be holding too much.

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Roth Recharacterization: May Change Your Required Minimum Distribution

Roth Recharacterization: May Change Your Required Minimum Distribution

A Roth recharacterization is a true undo; it is as though you never converted those assets in the eyes of the IRS. This includes recalculating your RMD had you not converted the assets.

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Roth Conversion: Take Your Required Minimum Distribution Out First

Roth Conversion: Take Your Required Minimum Distribution Out First

A simple summary of how to meet your Required Minimum Distribution in the same year as you perform a Roth Conversion is the axiom: RMD dollars must come out first.

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Narrowly Framed Questions Fail to Meet Life Goals

Narrowly Framed Questions Fail to Meet Life Goals

Purchasing investment products in isolation from the larger context of your specific situation is like pushing random buttons on a vending machine in order to provide a Thanksgiving dinner for your family.

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Qualified HSA Funding Distribution

Qualified HSA Funding Distribution

There is an obscure tax rule that allows a one-time Traditional IRA-to-HSA conversion called a Qualified HSA Funding Distribution (QHFD).

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A Guide to Investing in REITs

A Guide to Investing in REITs

REITs are one way to get some of the benefit of investing in real estate without as much of the risk.

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Digital Estate Plan: Facebook Legacy Contact

Facebook Legacy Contact

Facebook added the “Legacy Contact” feature that allows you to grant a Facebook Friend access to your Facebook page after you have passed away.

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Can I Contribute to Both a SEP and a 401(k)?

Can I Contribute to Both a SEP and a 401k?

SEP plans offer a powerful way to provide for your own retirement in the same way that 401ks do.

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The Happy Habits of Appreciation and Gratitude

The Happy Habits of Appreciation and Gratitude

Life planning begins as thoughts and ultimately shapes our entire destiny.

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Free Advanced Medical Directives from the Virginia State Bar

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The Virginia State Bar has even made a few variations of a simplified Advanced Directive free to the public on their website.

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How Cookie-Cutter Powers of Attorney Fail

How Cookie-Cutter Power of Attorneys Fail

This style of Power of Attorney certainly gets the job done, but there are a few ways that the cookie-cutter POA most frequently fails to meet people’s wishes.

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How to Pay Off Student Loans While Building Wealth

How to Pay Off Student Loans While Building Wealth

While your student loans may be a daunting sum, it is still possible to build wealth even while paying off student debt.

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What Is Settlement Date And Why Does It Matter?

What Is Settlement Date And Why Does It Matter?

Most investors think that whenever you buy or sell a security the money is immediately deducted or deposited into your account. This is not true.

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Guidelines for Using Margin

Guidelines for Using Margin

Too much leverage is risky because it endangers meeting your goals.

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What is Margin?

What is Margin?

We don’t normally recommend being on margin, but we recommend having the option in case it is needed.

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Gifts, Taxes, and IRS Form 709

Gifts, Taxes, and IRS Form 709

Most people are unaware that giving a gift can be a taxable event because they themselves have not yet experienced the tax.

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Department of Labor’s New Fiduciary Ruling

Department of Labor's New Fiduciary Ruling

Any legislation which can include FINRA’s commission-based advisors will dilute what it means to be a fiduciary.

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Tax Loss Harvesting and Wash Sales

Tax Loss Harvesting and Wash Sales

Wash sale rules need to be followed when realizing capital losses for taxes but can be burdensome to track and monitor.

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How Long Should I Give An Investment Plan?

How Long Should I Give An Investment Plan?

Even the most brilliantly crafted investment plan has to be given time to work.

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The Complete Guide to Creating an Investment Plan

The Science of the Rebalancing Bonus

This is a summary of the six steps required to create a well-crafted investment plan.

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Streamline Your Finances with Schwab Checking

Streamline Your Finances with Schwab Checking

This Schwab checking account provides six impressive services not true for most local banks.

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Why We Do Not Use Active Management

Why We Do Not Use Active Fund Managers

Index investing seeks to track the return of a portion of the market. The opposite is active management.

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Nine Unfortunate Facts of Health Savings Accounts

9 Unfortunate Facts of Health Savings Accounts

An HSA is one of many accounts used in comprehensive wealth management for tax optimization and planning.

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How Roth Conversions Are Reported to the IRS

How Roth Conversions Are Reported to the IRS

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is notorious for misunderstanding the recharacterizations of Roth conversions.

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Asset Allocations for UVA Retirement Plans at Fidelity

Asset Allocations for UVA Retirement Plans at Fidelity

The University of Virginia plan includes funds sufficient to produce these excellent portfolios.

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Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs) from IRAs

Qualified Charitable Distributions

QCDs allow individuals age 70 1/2 or older to give directly to a charity from your IRA without counting the distribution as taxable income.

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Marotta’s 2016 Vanguard Gone-Fishing Portfolio

Marotta’s 2016 Vanguard Gone-Fishing Portfolio

Here is a review of Marotta’s 2015 Vanguard Gone-Fishing Portfolio and a description of our changes for 2016.

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Marotta’s 2016 Gone-Fishing Portfolio

Gone Fishing

The gone-fishing portfolio provides suggested asset allocations for investors up to age 70 and up to $1 million.

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Why Invest In Chile?

Why Invest In Chile?

Adding a little bit of Chile to your portfolio can boost returns and reduce volatility.

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Six Creative Beneficiary Designation Ideas

Six Creative Beneficiary Designation Ideas

These are just some examples of the creative beneficiary designations, but the important part is to dream big about what your wishes are.

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A Fund Selection Case Study

A Fund Selection Case Study

We’ve written about how to select securities but in this article we are going to apply those principles to the process of selecting a specific fund for a specific sector of the economy.

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Should I Buy Commercial Real Estate?

Should I Buy Commerical Real Estate?

Here is a simple way to think about commercial property.

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Gifting Appreciated Stock To Family Members

Gifting Appreciated Stock To Family Members

For children with lower incomes, there is an opportunity to give them appreciated stock to shift the capital gains to a lower tax bracket.

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What is the Kiddie Tax?

What is the Kiddie Tax?

The kiddie tax was first added to the tax code in 1986 for children under age 14. Now, it can burden them until they are 23.

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Financial Christmas Gift Ideas

Colorful Gift Wrapping

Financial Christmas gifts don’t need to be a piggy bank. They can be more serious and more meaningful than that.

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Utilizing Uncommon Beneficiary Designations

Utilizing Uncommon Beneficiary Designations

Will substitutes sacrifice some of the customization of trusts but avoid the accounting complexities.

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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2

The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2

I encourage you to read the books and watch the film.

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Understanding Your IRA Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs)

Understanding Your IRA Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs)

After you reach the age of 70 1/2, the IRS requires you to begin taking minimum distributions from your traditional retirement accounts.

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Safe Withdrawal Rate Adjustments

Safe Withdrawal Rate Adjustments

Assumptions about these adjustments to your net worth should be made carefully and conservatively.

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How to Factor Social Security into Your Safe Withdrawal Rate

How to Factor Social Security into Your Safe Withdrawal Rate

Carefully computing and adding your Social Security early retirement safe withdrawal rate can safely boost your early retirement standard of living without jeopardizing your future finances.

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Why You Should Use a Donor Advised Fund

Why You Should Use a Donor Advised Fund

We highly recommend a Donor Advised Fund for generous investors.

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Can I Write My Own Estate Plan?

Can I Write My Own Estate Plan?

The shortest answer is yes, you can. But just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

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How Frequently Should I Redo My Estate Plan?

How Frequently Should I Redo My Estate Plan?

Here are the most common reasons that your plan might need to be updated or revised and what to do about them.

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How To Correct Excess Roth IRA Contributions

How To Correct Excess Roth IRA Contributions

Regardless of the reason, if you have put too much money in your Roth IRA, the solution is the same.

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What is a Backdoor Roth?

What Is A Backdoor Roth?

Even over the income threshold, you may still be able to add funds to your Roth IRA with what is called a backdoor Roth.

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When Should You Stop Funding Your HSA?

When Should You Stop Funding Your HSA?

You’ve opened your HSA and funded it for several years. When should you stop funding it?

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How to Avoid a Down Payment on a Mortgage

How to Avoid a Down Payment on a Mortgage

If you prefer to keep your down payment money invested in the markets for longer, there are two alternatives.

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How to Keep Your Identity Safe Online

How to Keep Your Identity Safe Online

Here are some rules for handling your digital security.

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Which Retirement Account Should I Fund?

Which Retirement Account Should I Fund?

Which account you should fund depends on your circumstances, but here are some general guidelines you can follow to make your decision.

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How Much Umbrella Insurance Do I Need?

How Much Umbrella Insurance Do I Need?

Umbrella insurance covers you for liability that goes above and beyond your auto and homeowners insurance.

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