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WALSH & ASSOCIATES BLOG

When preparing for our financial planning meetings, we occasionally ask clients for various financial statements - be it insurance statements, tax returns, etc. At times, we’ll request to see documents that go a few years back. And during tax season? If you’ve ever been audited by the IRS, you better believe they’re going to ask for anything and everything they…
Thinking about risk in investing can elicit a number of emotions. Does it mean the opportunity for great returns? Or does it bring up thoughts of being left with nothing? Or to you is investment risk not exciting at all, just an inevitable part of the investment process? Asking these types of questions can help you better understand what your…
Let’s take a step back in time – where were you in 1980? Remember it like it was yesterday? In 1980 the average cost of a new car was $7,210. Today on average you’ll pay about $33,000! And we’re sure you’ve noticed the substantial change in gas prices. These staggering price differences are due to inflation – and it can…
At Walsh & Associates, one of the most valuable services we offer is our Red Flag Audit® (RFA®). Just as a red flag indicates that conditions are unsafe, our Red Flag Audit® is an opportunity for us to show our clients those things in their financial environment that could be “unsafe”. Over the years of providing this service, we’ve come…
The IRS has released a new rule that will simplify the method for estates to obtain an extension of time to make the estate tax portability election.  Known as Revenue Ruling 2017-34, this new rule will ease up on surviving spouses who failed to take advantage of their deceased spousal unused exclusion amount (DSUE) in a timely manner.  Background on…
Though oddly named, a QTIP trust is used by many wealthy couples to protect their assets and provide for the surviving spouse. The catchy QTIP acronym stands for Qualified Terminable Interest Property, which is property in a decedent’s estate that can still qualify for the estate tax marital deduction (with certain restrictions). QTIP can also be property that is given…
The Department of Labor’s Fiduciary Rule will officially kick into effect on June 9, 2017, with full implementation by January 1, 2018. As of June 9, all advisors to retirement investors must adhere to “impartial conduct standards”, meaning they must give investment advice that is in the best interest to the client, charge for reasonable compensation, and make no misleading…
Before diving in, we’ll start with the basics of a health savings account, or HSA. A health savings account offers those who have health insurance with high deductibles the chance to save pretax funds to use for medical expenses. If there are any unused funds in the HSA at the end of the year, they roll over to the next…
In today’s high-tech world, technology has produced a new form of property that we need to think about in our estate documents. Digital assets are now an essential part of the estate planning process, but some people may still overlook them! It’s important to not only remember your digital assets when working with your estate planner, but also understand the…
Some potential charitable donors are faced with quite the dilemma: how to give to charity while still maintaining wealth and financial security for their own family. The concern is that a substantial charitable gift could end up depriving their family members of funds they may need for future emergencies. But the longer the potential donor stalls, the longer their charity…
According to conventional, or modern, financial theory, people are generally rational and predictable investors. Some popular conventional finance theories are the Capital Asset Pricing model, which explains the relationship between systematic risk and expected return, and the Efficient Market Hypothesis, a theory that claims it is impossible to beat the market because stocks always trade at fair value. And while…
Free Financial Planning Classes – Money Smart Week 2017 You can’t afford to miss this opportunity! As proud participants in this year’s Money Smart Week, Walsh and Associates will be offering free courses on four different personal finance topics. Money Smart Week is coordinated by the Federal Reserve and Northern Illinois University – taking place April 22nd through April 29th…
For those of you who have 529 plans, you may be asking how your contributions to the plan will affect your tax return. While for the most part they’re relatively low-maintenance, there are definitely a few times when your 529 plan could come into play during tax season. What to Do with Your 1099-Q? Let’s say you took a distribution…
American Opportunity Credit The American Opportunity credit gives students the chance to reduce the cost of attending college. Students must meet several requirements to be eligible for the credit. To be eligible for the credit, the student must be enrolled at least half time, for at least one semester in designated tax year, and be working towards a degree. If a…
Americans are an incredibly charitable group. According to a 2015 study done by The Giving Institute1, Americans donated $373 billion to charitable causes, and $268 billion of that was given by individuals. To benefit these charitable individuals, the IRS provides a charitable contribution deduction. But be aware, there are some very specific stipulations that must be followed, or your charitable…
Our Spring 2017 class lineup is here! We’re excited to offer ten free classes to the community on popular personal finance topics. Classes will be held Monday through Friday, March 20th to the 31st. According to the 2015 National Capability Study1 by the FINRA Foundation, nearly two-thirds of Americans could not pass a basic financial literacy test, meaning they could…
For some, planned giving can be an important component of their estate plan. Planned giving is the practice of making a substantial charitable gift part of a donor’s estate plan, which can either be distributed during the donor’s lifetime or after their death. Often times, smart planned giving involves combining a few different vehicles, such as a donor advised fund,…
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