Will The President Tax Your Education Savings? | CNN Newsroom

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Many of you were quite taken aback when you heard about the President’s new plan to tax the gain in 529 education savings accounts, and understandably so.

If you’re like a number of my clients, you’ve been saving for your children’s education with the understanding that your withdrawals would be tax free as long as the proceeds were used for qualified education expenses.

So, to hear that the benefit may no longer apply, is a like getting punched in the gut.

But, before we get too upset, let me shed some light on his proposal.

The proposal is unlikely to pass

To get straight to the punchline, the proposal doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance in an oven of passing.

With a Republican controlled House and Senate there’s very, very little chance of this proposal passing, particularly since the move is aimed at the rich.  Which brings me to the next point:

 

The proposal isn’t about education, it’s about wealth inequality

The White House says that 70% of the balances in 529 plans are owned by families that make more than 200k, so most of the benefits of the tax break are going to wealthy families that do not need the break to send their kids to college.

Well, wealthy people like tax breaks, so sure, they have taken advantage of it too.  Ironically, the POTUS and FLOTUS contributed a total of $240,000 into 529 plans for their daughters in 2008. Clearly they understand the benefit of the plans for themselves and middle class families.

Seems like a little cutting off your nose to spite your face going on here.

In my opinion, what the president wants the conversation during his last two years in office to be focused on the success, or lack thereof, of middle class families.  And he seems to be succeeding.

When he can get conservatives like Rand Paul, Paul Ryan and Mitt “I found a way to stash $100 inside of a tax-deferred IRA account” Romney to acknowledge and discuss wealth inequality, I’d say he’s making good political moves by making them play on his home field.

Ultimately, benefit may be left for some

If the goal truly is for this proposal to go anywhere, there may be a compromise by putting an income limit on the tax break, similar to the limit put on the deduction of student loan interest.

Taxpayers can only deduct interest on their student loans if they earn less than $80,000 or $160,000 if married filing jointly.

It seems logical that if the President truly wants the middle class to get out from underneath the $1 Trillion in student debt they are carrying, he won’t take away the incentive to save your own money to pay for college.

 

Two key questions remain

The debate over this issue is surely not over, and I’ll be sure to update you as it progresses.  But, in my mind, the discussion really raises two important questions:

1) How can we address wealth inequality in a way that doesn’t simultaneously penalize the middle class and,

2) Why is there a seemingly sole focus on college as the means to a successful life? Should we expand our horizons give all of the new tools and technology available for learning in demand skills?

Two important questions indeed.  We’ll tackle those soon.

 

 

Whoa, I was on the Tom Joyner Morning Show!

Yes, I 6:30am might be a bit early for you, especially when you might have been on your holiday break, but I was extremely honored to be a featured guest on the nationally syndicated Tom Joyner Radio Show!

I had the opportunity to fill in (twice!) for the amazing Mellody Hobson, president of Ariel Capital Management, as she normally provides the show with the content for its popular Money Monday segment. (Of course that was right up my alley!)

Rob Wilson on the Tom Joyner Morning Show

 

 

Here’s my segment on Smart Year End Financial Moves

Here’s my segment on How to Achieve Your Financial Goals in 2015

Enjoy!

Smart Year End Financial Moves

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Don’t be one of those people that shuts down during the holiday season and says, “I’ll get back on it in the new year.”

Keep the momentum going by making these smart financial moves before the ball drops so you can start the new year with a full head of financial steam.

Check out my tips on this segment from NBC10 in Philadelphia.

Step 1 – Minimize Your Taxes

Defer Income & Accelerate Deductions – If you’re fortunate enough to be able to push some of your income into the next year, you’ll lower next’s year’s tax bill.

Obtain Health Insurance – The ACA requires most Americans to be covered by a health insurance policy, or pay a penalty.

Use Your Flex Spending Account – Know your company’s policy, it might be “use it or lose it.”

Donate to Charity – The organization gets much needed resources, and you get a tax deduction.

Step 2 – Review Your Investments

Analyze Your Portfolio – Are you positioned they way you want to be?

Sell Losing Investments – Use your losses to offset other gains, or apply up to $3,000 in losses against your income.

Contribute to your Current 401k – This will reduce your taxable income dollar for dollar.

Roll Over Old 401k Into an IRA – There’s no need to leave it at your old job. Roll it into and IRA and manage it more closely.
Retired or Inherited an Account? Don’t Forget to Take Your Required Minimum Distribution

Step 3 – Maximize Your Income

Review Your Goals – Did you hit your goals this year? What can you do better next year?

Talk to Your Boss – Find out if your boss is happy with your performance. Discuss opportunities for you to earn more next year.

Start Setting January Appointments – Get ahead on your goals for next year by setting appointments with those hard-to-get customers now.

Consider Additional Streams of Revenue – Brainstorm ideas on how you can add at least one additional stream to your income sources. You should never be dependent on one source for all of your income.

My Favorite Financial Things for 2014

2014 brought more great financial things into our lives. Here are a few of my favorites:

Earn More Money:

Turn your car into a taxi with Uber and Lyft
http://www.uber.com
http://www.lyft.com

Turn your house into a hotel with Airbnb
http://www.airbnb.com

Babysit someone’s dog
http://www.dogvacay.com

Save More Money

Borrow money at lower interest rates using peer-to-peer lending
http://www.lendingclub.com

Pay less for healthcare by staying active with the Nike Fuelband

http://www.nike.com/us/en_us/c/nikeplus-fuelband

Make More Money:

Get access to Wall Street IPOs with Loyal3.com
http://www.loyal3.com

Invest your spare change using Acorns.com
http://ww.acorns.com

Smart Financial Gifts for the Holidays

Gift giving during the holiday season doesn’t have to be all about consumerism.

Here’s my smart list of financial holiday gifts that can be used to help teach your kids about money, help out friends and family, and even give yourself a treat.

How to Win the Game in the 4th Quarter

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Remember how awesome that first quarter drive was in your favorite football team’s 6th game of the season last year?

No? Me either.

But what I do remember is the amazing feeling I had watching my Steelers defeat the Arizona Cardinals in the Superbowl with an amazing pass and catch in the corner of the endzone with :35 remaining in the 4th quarter.

Now THAT’s something to remember.

See, whether it’s in sports or in life, quite often legends are made and championships are won in the 4th quarter.

It’s easy to play hard at the beginning of the game, or work hard at the beginning of the year when you feel like you have a fresh start.

Champions of sport play hard until the final whistle. Champions in life work tirelessly to make their dreams come true while others shut down and say “I’ll get started the first of the year.”

Check out this episode of #MoneyMonday for advice on how to get focused during the final quarter of the year so you can achieve your goals win your game.

How to Spend Less, Make More During the Holiday Season

There’s rabbit season. There’s duck season.  Then there’s assault-on-your-wallet season otherwise known as the holidays.

And though retailers are going to try their best to separate you from your hard earned money during the last few months of the year, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Check out this episode of #MoneyMonday for tips on how to manage your holiday spending plus advice on how to take advantage of other people’s spending to make more money for yourself this time of year.

 

Are You Playing the Wrong Game?

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Will LeBron James ever skate to center ice to accept the MVP award of the National Hockey League?

Will Tiger Woods ever hoist the Lombardi trophy after leading a fourth quarter drive to win a Super Bowl Championship?

Will Peyton Manning ever throw a complete game no hitter to win the World Series?

Though all of the aforementioned individuals are extremely talented in their own right, the answer to all three questions is an emphatic “No!”

Why?

Because they are playing the wrong game.

When I ask those questions to people that come to see me for a wealth coaching session, just about everyone (unless they are totally not into sports) gets this concept pretty easily.  They’ll say things like, “Hey Rob…Duh! LeBron plays basketball, not hockey.  Of course he’ll never win the NHL MVP!”

Or, “Rob, Tiger is a great golfer, not a quarterback. Of course there is no Superbowl in his future!”

Or, “Rob, are you out of your mind?  Peyton Manning throws strikes, but he’s a football player not a baseball player.  There’s no way he could win the World Series!”

And I get it.  I use those questions to make the concept easy to understand.

Yet, when I move on and ask these same individuals to apply the concept to their own lives, suddenly they can’t grasp it as well.

See, in my experience as a financial advisor, I’ve come across many individuals who say that they want <INSERT SOME GREAT LIFE GOAL HERE>, yet they aren’t currently playing, or seem to have any plans to play in the near future, the game that will afford them opportunities to achieve said goal.

There’s the young professional that confidently states that she wants to be financially independent by age 40, but has been stuck for years in a job with no advancement opportunities, a mediocre salary and only cost-of-living increases each year.

There’s the mid career manager that says she wants to be a best selling author, but is too busy in her dead end job to schedule time to actually write the book.

Oh, and I can’t forget about the gentleman who says he has a burning desire to become an entrepreneur and be his own boss, but can’t get around to actually starting a business because he keeps pursuing additional degrees.

These individuals often come back to my office angry, frustrated, exhausted and confused as to why they haven’t achieved the level of success they so desire.

My answer to all of them?

You’re playing the wrong game.

Remember that time in 1993 when Michael Jordan led the Chicago Bulls to the first NBA Championship 3-peat in 27 years, won his 3rd consecutive NBA Finals MVP, and set a Finals record by averaging 41 points per game, then followed that up by retiring from basketball to pursue a career in baseball?

Yeah, I scratched my head too.

Sure, trying new things can be rewarding, but Jordan must have realized that his destiny would not be found on a baseball diamond.  He soon returned to the court, won three more championships in a row, three more Finals MVP awards and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.

He realized that if his true desire was to be remembered as the greatest basketball player in history then for those two years he played baseball, he was playing the wrong game.

Similarly, if you say that you want financial independence at a young age, but you’re playing the “I’ll-have-to-work-here-for-fifty-years-save-every-penny-invest-and-pray-that-I’ll-have-enough-money-when-I’m-sixty-five” game, how can you really expect to achieve your desired result?

Unless you’re aiming to invent the book the writes itself, not spending time writing will never get you on the bestseller list.

If your chief aim isn’t to break the Guinness World Record for time spent in a classroom, collecting degrees won’t suddenly turn you into a risk taking business owner.

The things you say you want in life have to be congruent with the game you’re playing in order to achieve them. Working hard in the wrong game is simply a waste of time.

“There is surely nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency that which should not be done at all.” – Peter Drucker

What game are you playing?

I understand.  It can be difficult to determine if you’re playing the wrong game.

Many times you’re so focused on the next play, that you don’t realize that you’re on the wrong field, in the wrong stadium, in the wrong league.

One of the best ways to determine if you’re playing the right game is to simply pick your head up and look around you.

Take a look at your boss for example. Is he financially independent?  Does she take 10 weeks of vacation every year?  Has he achieved the goal you’re after?

No?

Well, guess what, that’s the path you’re likely headed on and it looks like it leads to a place you don’t want to be.

You need to start playing the right game, pronto.

If you apply this simple three-step framework, I believe that you will get yourself back on the right “track” in no time.

1. Decide What It Is You Truly Want

You must always start here.  Period. You’ll never be able to choose the right game if you have no idea what reward you want to pursue.

Unfortunately, many people get to the 7th inning stretch of life only to find out that baseball doesn’t hand out the Superbowl trophy they’ve been looking for.

Decide what it is that you want.  Now.  If you want to win the Indy 500, you better be driving a racecar everyday.

Similarly, once you decide that you want to build real wealth, you’ll soon realize that had better be on an accelerated track in a position with high income potential, have a sales job or other role such as a banker or lawyer that affords high commissions on transactions, or own your own business.

If you will be 100% honest with yourself about what it is that you want, the game that you need to play will become readily apparent to you.

2. Identify Your Superpower

Average players don’t make the hall of fame.

You don’t have to be outstanding at every aspect of the game, but in order to be great, you need to identify the one or two things you are better at than anyone else, and focus on them.

It’s not enough to want to be a great baseball player.  Will you be a great pitcher or a great hitter?  Will you hit for power or for average? Will you steal bases or drive in runs?

What’s your competitive advantage?

Are you a great designer of products?  Are you an amazing communicator?  Can you organize large revenue generating events in a single bound?

You may not think of yourself as a super hero. You might not have someone who is constantly telling you how great you are at what you do. But I can almost guarantee that you have a particular set of skills that you perform so flawlessly and naturally that you don’t even realize you’re doing it.

That’s your superpower.

In order to be wildly successful, you must identify this superpower and work tirelessly to accentuate it and use it to your advantage.

Babe Ruth wasn’t the fastest player in major league history, but when you blast the ball over the outfield wall 714 times, you can take your time rounding the bases.

3. Set a Deadline

Once you’re playing the right game, and you’ve determined the type of player you are going to be, you must set a deadline for yourself on obtaining your desired outcome.

Do you want to be financially independent by age 40? You’re going to have to start making more sales calls than you would if you were ok waiting until you are 68 for financial independence.

Do you want to be CEO of your company by age 37? Waiting for feedback during your annual review isn’t going to cut it.  You need to be proactively seeking out high profile projects that will lead to your skills being rewarded.

You must know that “one day” is not a deadline.  You can’t circle “one day” on a calendar.

If you’re indifferent as to the time it should take to achieve your goal, you are, in fact, indifferent about even achieving the goal all together.

Your goal will require you to be very deliberate about playing the right game with an understanding that you are also racing against the clock.

After all, the time you have to play the game is not indefinite.

And you can’t cement your standing as the best basketball player of all time while you’re playing baseball.

What to Read (And Take Action On) This Summer

You know by now that I believe that reading is FUNDamental! If you read what others don’t, you’ll gain insights that others don’t have, and that will ultimately help you create the financial life you are striving for.

Here are my recommendations for what you should read this summer while you TAN (Take Action Now)!

Creativity for Sale, Jason SurfrApp


51a871nHVhL-1._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Jason was the very first guest on the Movers & Shakers Podcast, and we were lucky to have him.  He dropped tons of knowledge in that episode, and now he’s taken it a step further by releasing first book, Creativity for Sale.

If you’re new here or you missed the episode, Jason is the guy that first figured out how to make 66 grand wearing sponsored t-shirts everyday for a year.  Then he sold his last name for 50k. Finally he has this entire book sponsored before he finished, and he breaks down how you can do the same.

Stop waiting for someone else to pay you.  Get creative.  Make your own money.

ACTION ITEM: As you read the book and get inspired.  Write down your 5 wildest, most creative (and legal) ways you can come up with to make money. Don’t hold back.

 

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, Gary Vaynerchuk

1386138745Never before in the history of mankind have there been more tools available to help you reach and audience of potential customers. FB, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. etc. But, you can’t build a house with a plunger.  Similarly, social media tools won’t be of much use to you if you don’t use them properly.

That’s where Gary comes in. He is definitely a trailblazer in the social media space.  He gets in and masters these tools, and makes money from them before you even know they exist.  But that’s ok, you can benefit from his knowledge. What’s the overall secret? JJJRH stands for Give, Give, Give, Then Ask (for the sale).

Read JJJRH to help you take the creative idea you developed and build a community of potential buyers using social media.

ACTION ITEM: Pick ONE idea from action item 1, and pick TWO (and only two for now) social media tools and develop a strategy to build a community around your new creative product or service.

 

Launch, Jeff Walker

Book_JeffWalkerYou have an idea. You’ve built a community of people who like what you have to say. Now it’s time to sell your product.

But you can’t just put up a post on FB and say, “Hey, here’s my product, you can buy it now…if you feel like it.” This isn’t Field of Dreams.  You can’t just build it and think they will come.

There’s an art to completing the sale. It’s a skill that can be learned. Jeff will teach you.  He’s made millions of dollars online, and has taught others to do the same (to the tune of more than $500M of products sold by his students) by using his Product Launch Formula.

Build anticipation around your product (ever notice how movies are promoted?) Help your customer understand that they have a problem. Help them solve it even if they don’t buy from you. Then describe how you can save them time and energy buy letting you solve the problem for them.

ACTION ITEM: Once you’ve picked and idea and built up a small community, use the techniques in Launch to get your product out there, start making sales, and then make the product better over time.

Oh, and to help jumpstart your action taking, I’m giving away a few of Jason’s books.  Go here to find out how you can win!