Wealth Management

Phishing Texts Appearing to be from Schwab

We have received reports of a recent SMS/text phishing campaign that impacts both Schwab and non-Schwab clients who are receiving text messages that purport to be from Charles Schwab. Recipients have been directed to click on a link that pulls up a faked Schwab website, prompting them to enter their credentials.  Schwab has contacted the site administrator and the site is being removed.

Please do not click on the link or provide any information.  Delete the text immediately.

Top 8 Year-End Tax Tips

Click the link below to learn what the top 8 year-end tax tips are in order to maximize your tax refund or minimize the taxes you own.  With the proposed changes to the tax code, consulting with your tax preparer is more important now than ever.

https://turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tips/tax-planning-and-checklists/top-8-year-end-tax-tips/L5szeuFnE

Retirement & Estate Limits for 2018

The IRS issued notices, updating retirement plan limits and estate plan limits for the year 2018.  Here are some of the highlights:

  • Salary Deferral Limit for 401(k), 457(b), 403(b) Plans:  Increasing by $500 to $18,500.  The catch-up contribution (age > 50) remains $6,000.
  • Max contribution to a defined contribution plan increases to $61,000 for 2018, which is the sum of $55,000 plus the catch-up contribution of $6,000.
  • Traditional IRA & Roth IRA contribution limits remained the same in 2018 ($5,550 with a $1,000 catch-up contribution).  However, the deduction and contribution phase-outs increased.
  • SEP-IRA Maximum Contribution Limit:  Increasing by $2,000 to $55,000.
  • The maximum contribution to a SIMPLE IRA in 2017 and 2018 is $28,000, which would require compensation of at least $416,667.
  • Annual Gift Tax Exclusion:  Increasing by $1,000 to $15,000
  • Applicable Gift & Estate Tax Exclusion:  After adjusting for inflation the amount increases to $5,600,000

Social Security Cost of Living Adjustments

Social Security Recipients take Note!  The Social Security Administration (SSA) has announced the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for 2018 will be 2%, the biggest increase since 2012.  Congratulations on your raise!

Employees take Note!  The SSA also announced the maximum amount of earnings on which you will have to pay Social Security taxes will increase to $128,700 from the current level of $127,200.  You will continue to pay 6.2% in payroll taxes on wages up to the earnings cap, and all of your wages are subject to the Medicare payroll tax of 1.45%.  Since 2013, individuals with earned income of more than $200,000 ($250,000 for married couples filing jointly) pay an additional 0.9% in Medicare taxes.

Medicare Recipients take Note!  Medicare Part B premiums for 2018 have not yet been announced, but are expected to remain stable at $134/month for most people.  Those with higher incomes are subject to the Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA) premium surcharge.  The definition of “higher income” has been lowered, so more Medicare recipients will be caught by IRMAA next year.  Watch out! Medicare premiums for 2018 should be announced in November.

Anaheim Hills Office Re-opened

Please be advised that the Anaheim Hills office is open again and fully staffed.  We want to especially thank our public safety personnel who have gone above and beyond to keep our community safe.