Monday, July 15, 2019

Could the "woke" left manipulate a coming debt ceiling deadline (before Congress returns in September) to demand means testing of the wealthy now?

Mnuchin warned that the US will run up against the debt ceiling before Sept. 9, 2019, when Congress returns from vacation.

Bloomberg warns that the “woke progressives” may try to hold the debt ceiling hostage to get their way, whereas in the past we worried that Trump could hurt people and send them to the shame of beginning on GoFundMe to get his way.

While most legal arguments seem to say that (despite Flemming v Nestor) the Social Security Trust fund is likely to remain protected and safe, there is a bit of a concern about people with inheritances. 

The Woke Left could try to raid them with rather sudden implementation of means testing as a stunt.  
  When you inherit something you didn’t earn it, so it can be taken away from you and you make not get it back. So much for the rule of Law with the radical Left.

Thursday, July 04, 2019

Anderson Cooper says he doesn't believe in inheritance -- could he use his to run for president?

Anderson Cooper, the meticulous and openly gay journalist who has a major evening show AC360 on CNN, and whose political views tend to be centrist and moderate (relative to the Democratic Party) has said that he doesn’t believe in inheritance, after learning he had inherited most of his late mom’s $200 million estate. 

Anderson can say he paid his dues as a journalist as a younger man by reporting from Southeast Asia.  Sebastian Junger can make similar claims with his own life.

In fact, Anderson’s knowledge of policy is so extensive that he could have been a logical candidate for president (joining Buttigieg?)   Could the fortune make him think about this? Should a journalist run for president? What if Sebastian were to run?

Market Watch, this morning, notes that most kids need their family inheritances to get through life, an unsustainable situation. 
Market Watch has another article showing how wealthier parents can help their kids earn inheritances.   Gloria Vanderbilt did it right with Anderson.
If you look at kids who do well (John Fish, Jack and Luke Andraka, Taylor Wilson-scientist) they all had parents who inspired them to be productive and think through their own goals, apart from tribes or the opinions of others – a bit of Ayn Rand individualism.  Fish has a video explaining that his father (in Canada) is a physics teacher, so that certainly gives him an edge.
I can remember, however, that some on the extreme Left want to expropriate and do away with inherited wealth.  I saw this with the People’s Party of New Jersey back in 1972.  It happened to Andy Ngo’s parents in Vietnam in the 1970s (as it went all communist in 1975). 

Saturday, June 08, 2019

Social Security Medicare premium processing error may leave seniors stranded; a financial planner explains Medicare premium means testing and how Roth IRA's can help

Retiree customers of some Medicare advantage programs may find out that they suddenly owe premiums because Medicare had not been properly deducting premiums from their benefit checks and sending them to insurance companies, typical story.

About 250,000 people are affected.  Some seniors might not have noticed and not have the money to pay the premiums.

The video above from Heritage Wealth Planning and Jack Scandlen warns about how Medicare premiums are means tested, which I remember hearing and had forgotten about.

He warns that if you are over 70-1/2 and don’t take out the required RMD (required minimum distribution) in time (your bank should to this for you automatically) with tax withholding, you can pay a 50% penalty.  The RMD is required except from any company you still work for.

Your RMD divisor goes down as you get older based on actuarial life expectancy. At 10:00 the video explains how the premium goes up with modified adjusted gross income. This is fairly complicated and may require a CPA to manage.  The speaker recommends Roth IRA’s

Saturday, June 01, 2019

Did you know you can work from home as a "virtual juror"?

To start out Pride month, well, a post for retirees:

Interesting list of telecommuting, work-from-home jobs for retirees. 

The Virtual Juror is interesting.  I didn’t know that lawyers hire them.

I do not want to be a fundraiser for a non-profit, because I’m staying away from playing favorites right now.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Reason Magazine seems to have supported Social Security means testing for existing retirees

I saw this Reason article linked on Twitter, from Nic Gillespie and Veronique de Rugy, “Generational Warfare”, even with a cartoon picture of a gun (somewhat objectionable by today’s standards).

The writers maintain that wealthier seniors have more political clout and have convinced politicians to treat Social Security FICA contributions as like “annuity premiums” even though legally they are not.  They also see some seniors as almost sociopathic in stiffing the young with dead-ends and college debt, which is more like an argument from the Left. 

Flemming v. Nestor” had maintained that the FICA tax supports existing retirees, it is not your own savings.
So the authors seem to be calling for means testing even of existing retirements. 

I didn’t notice at first that this article dates back to 2012, sometime after the angry debt ceiling crisis in the summer of 2011 with all its partisan bickering.

I think that the article is an indirect argument for the privatization of social security benefits, even if that would be impossible without stiffing some retirees (Harry Browne had pointed that out in the 1990s).  And the political argument against privatization is, you guessed it, still about the Rich and the Poor (like the Tenderloin in San Francisco, shown above). 

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Be careful with working with inherited portfolios with old securities with no cost basis

I wanted to make note of another situation that may happen if you inherit part of an estate, and then decide to sell a security for cash.

I did that in 2017, and suddenly got a huge and incorrect tax settlement proposal yesterday, with about three weeks to answer.  

The problem is that the bond had been purchased before the person’s death and before it came to me. 
UBS showed “information not available” on the cost basis, and I didn’t see it in early 2018 when doing the taxes.

Bond funds earn interest, which is then reinvested.  This portion was OK and had been properly reported.  The newer reinvested portions did have a cost basis. But the portion that had been there before 2011 did not.

Most of this bill will go away when I supply a cost basis, which I think I can get from the transaction report when the fund came to me in 2011.  It’s supposed to be taken from a day about six months after the death of the person.

Here are a couple of references:  Motley Fool, Investopedia, Zacks.

You need to be careful when you inherit a fund to make sure it is unqualified (not a 401K). Otherwise you would have to pay all the tax on it (although you would need to redistribute it at 5% a year once you reach 70-1/2.  
There was also a problem in that the HRBlock system seems to have included only the basis amounts in building its totals, I don’t know why.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Doris Day's "no funeral" may be starting as a trend

Liz McNeil and Alexia Fernandez report for People that Doris Day had declared that she would not have a funeral, a marker, or memorial. 

She doesn’t like to  commemorate death.

I rather feel that way.  My own mother had an internment one week after her death (cremation) and a memorial service a month later.

I have said that this is the case were my death to be violent or the result of crime, war or terrorism.  I don’t think victimhood should be pimped. Sacrifice is just that. 

This view is becoming more common.  Other people have said this.

In the soap opera "Days of our Lives" EJ didn't get a funeral when he was murdered.