Insider Guide

November, 2022

reminders

You're invited

Save the date – Client Santa drop-in event for families and kids to come and hang out with Santa  and have your picture taken at our office on Friday, December 9th, 5pm -7pm.  There will be hot chocolate and sweet treats, plus you will be able to schedule a time slot so you don’t have to wait around.  Invitation coming soon!  We will be supporting Hope For Christmas this year – more details to come.

Charitable Giving:

The end of the year is traditionally a time when many people look to make charitable donations, and charities rely heavily on our generosity during this season. We would like to share a few thoughts regarding this, because generosity is an important part of the heartbeat of GIA, which is included in our mission statement:  “To lead people to financial peace, independence, and generosity.”

1. The most common way to make donations is to simply send a check. Depending on whether it is for a 501(c)(3) organization and the amount given, and whether you itemize deductions or claim the standard IRS deduction, you could deduct the charitable gift from our taxable income. This method does not reduce the Adjusted Gross Income (AGI), but it could reduce the Taxable Income.
2. For retirees 70½ or older, there is an option to make Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD). You can donate up to a limit of $100,000 per year directly from your IRA. This method of giving reduces your AGI “above the line”, and still enables you to take the greater of the standard deductions or the sum of your other itemized deductions.
3. Here at GIA we have helped many clients implement giving strategies using a Donor-Advised Fund (DAF): This is an account into which you can deposit cash or long-term appreciated assets (the full value of the contribution is tax-deductible), and then you can control how the funds are invested and distributed (donated to 501(c)(3) organizations) over the next years. Donating appreciated assets can be extremely beneficial if you have some securities with a low cost basis, such as stock that increased significantly in value. If you had sold the appreciated assets and then given away the proceeds, you could have unnecessarily triggered capital gains tax. But by using the DAF method, you avoid realizing the capital gains and the potential for capital gains tax.
Another DAF strategy is an opportunity to “bunch” your charitable contributions, i.e. donating several years’ worth of donations at once, which may be beneficial for tax purposes. For example, you could make a large DAF deposit in one year (exceeding the IRS standard deduction), and itemize your deductions in that year. Then in subsequent years, you can take the IRS standard deduction, while gradually distributing the DAF to the various 501(c)(3) charities as you deem appropriate. So you get the tax benefit, and you can still spread out the donations over time. Here is a helpful video on bunching.
Fidelity Charitable Endowment Program is something to consider as you are looking into this and it is really helpful in creating a giving legacy that could continue in perpetuity. This program lets you set up recurring grant recommendations to up to six charities for a minimum of five years. This lets your Giving Account remain open to donations from your estate (such as personal property or other assets), which can help offset estate taxes while also ensuring support for the causes you care about.

real estate market update  – Sharon Brewer

– October 31, 2022

The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage rose to 7.08% as of October 27th, from 6.94% last week, and compared to 3.14% a year ago, according to a survey of lenders by mortgage giant Freddie Mac.  We may see that rate increase further following the Federal Reserve’s announcement on Nov 2nd of an additional 0.75% rate increase for their short-term rates.

As expected, the increased mortgage interest rates have reduced the number of buyers in the market. Combined with some sellers being unwilling to give up their current 3% interest rates, the result is a further slowing of the housing market.

“Persistent inflation has proven quite harmful to the housing market,” said NAR  (National Association of Realtors ) Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. Yun noted that new home listings are down compared to one year ago since many homeowners are unwilling to give up the rock-bottom, 3% mortgage rates that they locked in prior to this year.

“The new normal for mortgage rates could be around 7% for a while,” Yun added. “On a $300,000 loan, that translates to a typical monthly mortgage payment of nearly $2,000, compared to $1,265 just one year ago – a difference of more than $700 per month. Only when inflation is tamed will mortgage rates retreat and boost home purchasing power for buyers.”

schedule a meeting with your advisor

January and February are busy months for us!  Schedule your annual meeting with your advisor now if you haven’t done so already — we want to see you!  We just know it might be frustrating if it is hard to find an available time slot with us at the beginning of the year!

taxes – new income tax brackets and inflation adjustments

On October 18, 2022, the IRS announced the tax year 2023 annual inflation adjustments for more than 60 tax provisions.

key takeaways:

The IRS has released higher federal tax brackets for 2023 to adjust for inflation. This adjustment means lower tax rates for some in 2023. Filers whose salaries have not kept pace with inflation could see savings on their federal income tax bills.

The standard deduction will also increase in 2023, rising to $27,700 for married couples filing jointly, up from $25,900 in 2022. Single filers may claim $13,850, an increase from $12,950.

Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) – Social Security and SSI (Supplemental Security Income) have been adjusted by 8.7% in 2023 – so your paycheck could be going up, which is exciting news!

There are also changes to the alternative minimum tax, estate tax exemption, earned income tax credit, and flexible spending account limits, among others.

The IRS boosted figures for dozens of other provisions, such as the alternative minimum tax, a parallel system for higher earners and the estate tax exemption for wealthy families.
There’s a higher earned income tax credit, bumping the write-off to a maximum of $7,430 for low- to moderate-income filers. And employees can funnel $3,050 into health flexible spending accounts.
*For the full details here is the Revenue Procedure 2022-38. These changes will just help you plan ahead for tax year 2023 and filing in 2024. For filing in 2023 here is a comprehensive tax guide.

101 google reviews – WOW!

We presently have 101 reviews!!!!  Thanks to all of you who have left us a review and shared your honest experience with us and how we have made you feel. If you have not done so yet, please share your thoughts here so we can help guide others like you.  If you have any family or friends that you know could benefit from our help, we would love to meet them and get to know their story. You can forward this link to them and they can set up a free intro call with Tara Bruce or Reid Trego, depending on their needs.

blog update

Our recent blog series is centered around navigating life transitions. The upcoming topics we plan to cover are changing careersbecoming an empty nester,  retirementchanging offices, and moving. These are specific topics that our staff has walked through recently or are currently walking through. The retirement video is of Tim’s dad, Fred Goodwin.  We thought it would be fun to share stories and some insight on how to navigate these milestones.

reeves house event

Reeves House

Are all your friends too busy on this date? You’re still invited!

We’ve had a few clients ask if they can come without a friend, and we wanted to clear the air… yes!  Even if you can’t find someone to introduce to us, we still want YOU to come!  Please RSVP here. 

Drop in on Friday, November 11th from 7-9pm
734 Reeves St, Woodstock, GA 30188

  • Enjoy art created by local artists
  • Live music
  • Charcuterie
  • Beer, wine, coffee and non-alcoholic beverages
click here to RSVP

hygge

hygge – the art of coziness

Hygge is pronounced “hue-guh” and is a Danish word meaning comfort, well-being; enjoying life’s simple pleasures alone or with loved ones.  This is a Danish art of experiencing happiness, which allows you to bring unlimited joy into your daily life. This is a philosophy and daily practice that encourages you to feel contentment and coziness by living in the moment, or being fully present and engaging with your surroundings fully with all of your senses.

As the weather gets colder, we tend to want to get cozy with warm mugs of tea or coffee and snuggle by a fire under a blanket with a loved one, or a good book. These are some examples of feeling cozy or experiencing hygge. Hygge is such an embodied part of Danish culture and despite winters with only six hours of daylight and really cold temperatures of -30 C (-22 F), the Danes are ranked as some of the happiest people in the world. Here’s how we can learn from them.

Some ways to take in pleasure from the presence of gentle and comforting things are:

1. Candlelight -light a candle. In the book Anam Cara by Celtic poet John O’Donahue, he talks about the mystery that exists in candlelight. He says, “Candlelight perception has the finesse and reverence appropriate to the mystery and autonomy of soul. Such perception is at home at the threshold.” He reminds us of the beauty in the mystery and how our soul feels at home in the reverence and kindness of candlelight.

2. creating moments of just BEING  – by choosing simple pleasures. Listen to a record, watch the snow fall outside your window, and feel the weight of a quilt surround you as you nestle by the fire. Eat warm and hearty foods that are tied to childhood memories, or just make you feel good on the inside. Engage with your senses by fully seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting, and smelling everything around you with gratitude.

3. linger longer –  Linger after your meal at the table a while longer before rushing to clean up. Decide to be still before moving on to the next thing on your list and just appreciate the goodness in each moment.

4. nature is grounding  – Spend time in nature even if it is cold and feel how it invigorates you. Being in nature is so good for your mental and physical health.

5. create a space to nourish your soul –  You want your home to feel like a cozy nook after a hard day at work. Add textures and blankets and pillows to create the sense of being snuggled or held in your space. Keep the fire going, and add elements to affect the mood and ambiances like music, candles, and incense.

6. experience gratitude by expressing it  – Being grateful is the number one way to remove fear from your brain and also move you into a state of contentment and bliss which is the highest frequency or vibrational state we can exist in. Did you know when you live out of such a state of gratitude it is hard to have dis-ease because your body is at complete “ease?” A simple way to express and feel gratitude is when you wake up every morning–think of one person in your life who you can send a note expressing your gratitude for them. Not only will this make you feel good, but you are also helping someone else to feel good!

Disclosure:
The comments above related to tax impact of charitable giving and the impact of the recent Federal  Reserve and IRS announcements are based on our best understanding, but you should consult with your CPA to determine the impact in your unique situation. The comments about hygge are based on our thoughts and experience, but your experience may be different. All investment carries risk, and we cannot guarantee performance or results. Please contact us for any questions relating to the content above, or to discuss your specific situation.