Real Estate

The Journey: Changes in Tax Law Lead to Shifts in Giving

(TNS)—Older retirees may save Christmas for charities.

Donors gave a record $410 billion to nonprofit causes last year, according to Giving USA Foundation, in part because taxpayers were bunching contributions ahead of this year’s higher standard income tax deduction, experts say. That led to worries that 2018 might be a down year for philanthropy. The higher standard deduction means fewer people will likely itemize and claim charitable deductions.

Enter older retirees, who typically have more conservative portfolios, so thus may not be feeling the recent stock market plunges as keenly as younger people. They also may be feeling generous after a recent tax law overhaul left in place the ability to donate their required minimum distributions from IRA funds directly to charity tax-free.

Darin Shebesta, a financial advisor in Scottsdale, Ariz., recently advised a client in her mid-70s that she could save about $5,000 in taxes by donating her required distributions directly to a half-dozen charities. Of course, the tax savings only makes sense if retirees don’t need the funds for expenses.

One of the recipients was a nonprofit dance school she attended 60 years ago, but still remembered fondly.

“We got her connected back to the school, and she donated the funds in honor of her husband,” who died about two years ago, Shebasta says. “She had been underspending her withdrawal strategy and she had no kids,” so the money had been earmarked for friends after her death. The idea of seeing the money put to work now at an organization that mattered to her gave her a chance to, in effect, enjoy the money during her lifetime, he says.

Financial advisors say charitable giving strategies can be a way for them to better connect to clients, which has obvious marketing appeal—but it can also help retirees clarify their overall financial goals, prioritize spending and generally feel good about putting their life savings to work after focusing for decades on saving.

After working for 14 years in nonprofit fundraising, Juan Ros became a financial advisor about six years ago.

“I make it a point with every prospective client to talk about their charitable objectives,” he says. Not everyone has them, which came as a bit of a surprise to Ros after spending so many years around donors. The conversations produce a broad sense of a client’s interests in the world at large, he says, a point of learning that can help him frame retirement timing and spending plans, in addition to understanding charitable goals.

Other advisors, meanwhile, say clients are flocking to donor-advised funds this year as a result of the new tax law. The vehicles allow donors to take the standard deduction one year and then itemize the next year, spreading out the actual gifting of money to the charities at the donor’s leisure.

Advisor Mark Wilson encourages clients to donate appreciated securities equaling two years’ worth of donations to donor-advised funds. This allows them to avoid the capital gains taxes due on the investments (which are in taxable accounts) and control the timing of the gifts, he says. 

©2018 Tribune Content Agency
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post The Journey: Changes in Tax Law Lead to Shifts in Giving appeared first on RISMedia.

Categories: Real Estate

The Journey: Changes in Tax Law Lead to Shifts in Giving

Daily Real Estate News - 3 hours 48 min ago

(TNS)—Older retirees may save Christmas for charities.

Donors gave a record $410 billion to nonprofit causes last year, according to Giving USA Foundation, in part because taxpayers were bunching contributions ahead of this year’s higher standard income tax deduction, experts say. That led to worries that 2018 might be a down year for philanthropy. The higher standard deduction means fewer people will likely itemize and claim charitable deductions.

Enter older retirees, who typically have more conservative portfolios, so thus may not be feeling the recent stock market plunges as keenly as younger people. They also may be feeling generous after a recent tax law overhaul left in place the ability to donate their required minimum distributions from IRA funds directly to charity tax-free.

Darin Shebesta, a financial advisor in Scottsdale, Ariz., recently advised a client in her mid-70s that she could save about $5,000 in taxes by donating her required distributions directly to a half-dozen charities. Of course, the tax savings only makes sense if retirees don’t need the funds for expenses.

One of the recipients was a nonprofit dance school she attended 60 years ago, but still remembered fondly.

“We got her connected back to the school, and she donated the funds in honor of her husband,” who died about two years ago, Shebasta says. “She had been underspending her withdrawal strategy and she had no kids,” so the money had been earmarked for friends after her death. The idea of seeing the money put to work now at an organization that mattered to her gave her a chance to, in effect, enjoy the money during her lifetime, he says.

Financial advisors say charitable giving strategies can be a way for them to better connect to clients, which has obvious marketing appeal—but it can also help retirees clarify their overall financial goals, prioritize spending and generally feel good about putting their life savings to work after focusing for decades on saving.

After working for 14 years in nonprofit fundraising, Juan Ros became a financial advisor about six years ago.

“I make it a point with every prospective client to talk about their charitable objectives,” he says. Not everyone has them, which came as a bit of a surprise to Ros after spending so many years around donors. The conversations produce a broad sense of a client’s interests in the world at large, he says, a point of learning that can help him frame retirement timing and spending plans, in addition to understanding charitable goals.

Other advisors, meanwhile, say clients are flocking to donor-advised funds this year as a result of the new tax law. The vehicles allow donors to take the standard deduction one year and then itemize the next year, spreading out the actual gifting of money to the charities at the donor’s leisure.

Advisor Mark Wilson encourages clients to donate appreciated securities equaling two years’ worth of donations to donor-advised funds. This allows them to avoid the capital gains taxes due on the investments (which are in taxable accounts) and control the timing of the gifts, he says. 

©2018 Tribune Content Agency
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post The Journey: Changes in Tax Law Lead to Shifts in Giving appeared first on RISMedia.

Categories: Real Estate

Flood Insurance Still Available

NAR Daily News Magazine - December 7, 2018 - 12:00am

End-of-year negotiations among lawmakers have resulted in another short-term extension of the National Flood Insurance Program.

Categories: Real Estate

Fewer Investors Are Flipping Homes as Profits Weaken

NAR Daily News Magazine - December 7, 2018 - 12:00am

This marks the third consecutive quarter for year-over-year decreases in home flips. Find out which areas are still managing to eke out some profits.

Categories: Real Estate

Mortgage Rates Are Easing

NAR Daily News Magazine - December 7, 2018 - 12:00am

This week was “a welcome relief to prospective home buyers who have recently experienced rising rates and rising home prices,” says a Freddie Mac spokesman.

Categories: Real Estate

Builder Sales Rep Found Dead in Suburban Model Home

NAR Daily News Magazine - December 7, 2018 - 12:00am

Police are investigating the murder of a builder sales rep who was found dead inside a model home he was trying to sell in Hanover, Md.

Categories: Real Estate

Average Homeowner Equity Gain in Third Quarter: $12K

NAR Daily News Magazine - December 7, 2018 - 12:00am

Homeowners are still finding plenty of equity in their homes, but the gains are slowing.

Categories: Real Estate

Real Estate’s Top 6 Challenges Now and in the Future

NAR Daily News Magazine - December 6, 2018 - 12:00am

These are the most significant short- and long-term obstacles all practitioners need to watch.

Categories: Real Estate

More Americans Are Moving South

NAR Daily News Magazine - December 6, 2018 - 12:00am

Consumers are migrating within—and out of—their home states, according to a new LendingTree analysis.

Categories: Real Estate

How Homeowners Are Funding Home Renovations

NAR Daily News Magazine - December 6, 2018 - 12:00am

Upgrading a house can be pricey. Here’s how owners are paying the bill.

Categories: Real Estate

‘Real Estate Insider Trading’ Allegations Ignite From Amazon HQ2

NAR Daily News Magazine - December 6, 2018 - 12:00am

A New York senator is proposing legislation to ban insider trading in housing transactions following accusations that some employees may have purchased properties prior to the retail giant’s official double headquarters announcement.

Categories: Real Estate

Weekday Mornings Are Hot for House Hunting

NAR Daily News Magazine - December 6, 2018 - 12:00am

A new survey finds home shoppers are likely searching online for homes during their workday.

Categories: Real Estate

Gift-Giving Guilt: Nearly Half of Americans Have Felt Pressured to Overspend During the Holidays

RisMedia Todays Top Consumer Stories - December 5, 2018 - 3:56pm

(TNS)—For many Americans, the holidays mean family, food and overspending.

More than two in five gift shoppers feel pressured to reach deeper into their wallets than they’re comfortable with, according to the 2018 Bankrate Holiday Gifting Survey.

Despite budget constraints, there are some lines most people refuse to cross to save money. Buying used and regifting are generally considered to be on the naughty list, the survey finds.

Feeling anxiety around providing a “magical” gift or exceeding someone’s expectations is natural, says Suzanne Degges-White, Ph.D., chair and professor of the Department of Counseling, Adult and Higher Education at Northern Illinois University.

“If you let yourself forget that Hallmark had it right when their tagline became, ‘It’s the thought that counts,’ you can be swindled into spending a lot more than you can afford in your efforts to prove your affection and devotion,” Degges-White says.

The survey was conducted online in Ispos’ Omnibus. The sample consists of 1,000 nationally representative interviews, conducted between October 12-14.

Parents and middle-income earners more likely to feel holiday pressure. More than half (54 percent) of respondents with children reported feeling pressure to overspend during the holidays, according to the Bankrate survey.

“I always tell parents to step back and recognize that we all have too much stuff. Let’s face it: Kids are going to outgrow their clothes and out-mature their toys. So, if you’re going to spend, spend wisely and be savvy about it,” says Nora Yousif, vice president and financial adviser at RBC Wealth Management.

Yousif recommends spending on intangibles, like contributions to college funds or shares in an innovative company. Or, families could do what she and her loved ones do and spend on a group vacation. This year, they’re going to Savannah, Ga.

“There’s nothing wrong with getting old-school,” Yousif says. “Not to sound like Scrooge, but teaching your children to want what they have is a valuable lesson, too. It may not be what the neighbors are gifting their child, but if you’re gifting yours something that will benefit them down the line, like contributions to their college fund, that’s the smarter, savvier gift in the long run.”

Middle-income earners may feel pressured to keep up with the Joneses during the holidays. More than half of those earning between roughly $50,000 and $75,000 felt pushed to overspend—a higher percentage than their peers, according to the Bankrate survey.

The people in the middle are really squeezed for income, says Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate.

“In some ways, they have the worst of both worlds because there is at least the perceived pressure to spend and also some capability,” Hamrick says. “What’s universally true for all income levels is the need for everybody to have a plan and stick to it.”

Hamrick recommends people create a budget that looks at how much money they’re bringing in from work and other revenue sources each month, as well as how much cash is going out for bills and other expenses. If there’s money left over, people can use the cash to buy gifts. To make it easier, people can open dedicated savings accounts with strong interest rates and set money aside each month leading up to the holidays.

However, if there’s no money available after expenses, people should not reach for their credit cards and take on debt to buy gifts.

“If you’re overspending to try and maintain a certain quality to a friendship or family relationship, then that’s not sustainable,” Hamrick says. “Ultimately, if someone’s world is grounded in something that’s counter to the true spirit of the holidays, then there probably needs to be a reckoning for everybody.”

Overall, spending is expected to reach record levels during the holiday season, moving past the $1 trillion mark for the first time, according to an estimate from the market research firm eMarketer. Consumers are expected to spend an average of $638 on gifts during the holiday season, according to the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.

Saving Money on Gifts During the Holidays
The vast majority of us won’t opt for the nuclear option to save money during the holidays; 13 percent of respondents said they were willing to skip or boycott gift-giving altogether during the upcoming holiday season, according to the Bankrate survey.

Other options that remain largely unpopular with shoppers looking to save include buying used or secondhand items and regifting, the survey shows. The stigma of picking up gifts from thrift shops might be lessening as consumers learn more about the environmental and eco-friendly reasons for looking beyond new gifts, Degges-White says.

The social taboo against regifting probably comes from the worst-case scenarios we’ve experienced, she says.

“They might have noticed gift tags that gave evidence that the gift was originally given to the giver; clothing items that were stained, wrinkled or noticeably outdated; or gifts that they had given the giver in the past,” Degges-White says. “Regifting isn’t inherently a bad practice, but when it’s done without grace or respect for the recipient, then it can create hard feelings.”

Most respondents looking to save money indicated they felt most comfortable limiting who they’re buying for or actively seeking out coupons and store sales to save money. People get creative in providing a great gifting experience without unwrapping their personal budget. Yankee Swap, Secret Santa and other games are popular for many families and friend groups.

This year, more than 10 million people are expected to use Elfster, an online version of Secret Santa, according to the California-based company.

“Elfster is a great way to save money during the holidays,” says Michael Johnson, spokesman for the company. “I have two main recommendations: First, make sure you set a spending limit that everyone in your group will be comfortable with. Second, make sure everyone gets a great gift. Why spend time and money getting a gift they don’t love? Try using the wish lists and our anonymous Secret Santa questions to make sure everyone gets a gift they will love. That can be a lot of fun and a great way to connect that you don’t experience with more traditional gift-giving.”

©2018 Bankrate.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post Gift-Giving Guilt: Nearly Half of Americans Have Felt Pressured to Overspend During the Holidays appeared first on RISMedia.

Categories: Real Estate

Gift-Giving Guilt: Nearly Half of Americans Have Felt Pressured to Overspend During the Holidays

Daily Real Estate News - December 5, 2018 - 3:56pm

(TNS)—For many Americans, the holidays mean family, food and overspending.

More than two in five gift shoppers feel pressured to reach deeper into their wallets than they’re comfortable with, according to the 2018 Bankrate Holiday Gifting Survey.

Despite budget constraints, there are some lines most people refuse to cross to save money. Buying used and regifting are generally considered to be on the naughty list, the survey finds.

Feeling anxiety around providing a “magical” gift or exceeding someone’s expectations is natural, says Suzanne Degges-White, Ph.D., chair and professor of the Department of Counseling, Adult and Higher Education at Northern Illinois University.

“If you let yourself forget that Hallmark had it right when their tagline became, ‘It’s the thought that counts,’ you can be swindled into spending a lot more than you can afford in your efforts to prove your affection and devotion,” Degges-White says.

The survey was conducted online in Ispos’ Omnibus. The sample consists of 1,000 nationally representative interviews, conducted between October 12-14.

Parents and middle-income earners more likely to feel holiday pressure. More than half (54 percent) of respondents with children reported feeling pressure to overspend during the holidays, according to the Bankrate survey.

“I always tell parents to step back and recognize that we all have too much stuff. Let’s face it: Kids are going to outgrow their clothes and out-mature their toys. So, if you’re going to spend, spend wisely and be savvy about it,” says Nora Yousif, vice president and financial adviser at RBC Wealth Management.

Yousif recommends spending on intangibles, like contributions to college funds or shares in an innovative company. Or, families could do what she and her loved ones do and spend on a group vacation. This year, they’re going to Savannah, Ga.

“There’s nothing wrong with getting old-school,” Yousif says. “Not to sound like Scrooge, but teaching your children to want what they have is a valuable lesson, too. It may not be what the neighbors are gifting their child, but if you’re gifting yours something that will benefit them down the line, like contributions to their college fund, that’s the smarter, savvier gift in the long run.”

Middle-income earners may feel pressured to keep up with the Joneses during the holidays. More than half of those earning between roughly $50,000 and $75,000 felt pushed to overspend—a higher percentage than their peers, according to the Bankrate survey.

The people in the middle are really squeezed for income, says Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate.

“In some ways, they have the worst of both worlds because there is at least the perceived pressure to spend and also some capability,” Hamrick says. “What’s universally true for all income levels is the need for everybody to have a plan and stick to it.”

Hamrick recommends people create a budget that looks at how much money they’re bringing in from work and other revenue sources each month, as well as how much cash is going out for bills and other expenses. If there’s money left over, people can use the cash to buy gifts. To make it easier, people can open dedicated savings accounts with strong interest rates and set money aside each month leading up to the holidays.

However, if there’s no money available after expenses, people should not reach for their credit cards and take on debt to buy gifts.

“If you’re overspending to try and maintain a certain quality to a friendship or family relationship, then that’s not sustainable,” Hamrick says. “Ultimately, if someone’s world is grounded in something that’s counter to the true spirit of the holidays, then there probably needs to be a reckoning for everybody.”

Overall, spending is expected to reach record levels during the holiday season, moving past the $1 trillion mark for the first time, according to an estimate from the market research firm eMarketer. Consumers are expected to spend an average of $638 on gifts during the holiday season, according to the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.

Saving Money on Gifts During the Holidays
The vast majority of us won’t opt for the nuclear option to save money during the holidays; 13 percent of respondents said they were willing to skip or boycott gift-giving altogether during the upcoming holiday season, according to the Bankrate survey.

Other options that remain largely unpopular with shoppers looking to save include buying used or secondhand items and regifting, the survey shows. The stigma of picking up gifts from thrift shops might be lessening as consumers learn more about the environmental and eco-friendly reasons for looking beyond new gifts, Degges-White says.

The social taboo against regifting probably comes from the worst-case scenarios we’ve experienced, she says.

“They might have noticed gift tags that gave evidence that the gift was originally given to the giver; clothing items that were stained, wrinkled or noticeably outdated; or gifts that they had given the giver in the past,” Degges-White says. “Regifting isn’t inherently a bad practice, but when it’s done without grace or respect for the recipient, then it can create hard feelings.”

Most respondents looking to save money indicated they felt most comfortable limiting who they’re buying for or actively seeking out coupons and store sales to save money. People get creative in providing a great gifting experience without unwrapping their personal budget. Yankee Swap, Secret Santa and other games are popular for many families and friend groups.

This year, more than 10 million people are expected to use Elfster, an online version of Secret Santa, according to the California-based company.

“Elfster is a great way to save money during the holidays,” says Michael Johnson, spokesman for the company. “I have two main recommendations: First, make sure you set a spending limit that everyone in your group will be comfortable with. Second, make sure everyone gets a great gift. Why spend time and money getting a gift they don’t love? Try using the wish lists and our anonymous Secret Santa questions to make sure everyone gets a gift they will love. That can be a lot of fun and a great way to connect that you don’t experience with more traditional gift-giving.”

©2018 Bankrate.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post Gift-Giving Guilt: Nearly Half of Americans Have Felt Pressured to Overspend During the Holidays appeared first on RISMedia.

Categories: Real Estate

Wildfire Victims, Left Homeless, Struggle With Next Moves

NAR Daily News Magazine - December 5, 2018 - 12:00am

REALTOR® associations help residents with emergency needs, but long-term solutions amid massive housing losses are elusive.

Categories: Real Estate

Look Near Big Cities for Top Retiree Neighborhoods

NAR Daily News Magazine - December 5, 2018 - 12:00am

Find out GoBankingRates’ picks for the top places to buy a home and spend your golden years.

Categories: Real Estate

A Slowdown Is Now Striking the Luxury Market Too

NAR Daily News Magazine - December 5, 2018 - 12:00am

The luxury market has mostly felt immune to the housing slowdown. But that could be changing.

Categories: Real Estate

5 Home Design Trends to Watch in 2019

NAR Daily News Magazine - December 5, 2018 - 12:00am

Homebuilder Taylor Morrison reveals its list of hot home trends that it’s incorporating into its homes in the new year.

Categories: Real Estate

Buyers Aren’t Giving Up, But Their House Hunts Are Lasting Longer

NAR Daily News Magazine - December 5, 2018 - 12:00am

If a home buyer is unable to find a home over the next few months, here’s their plan B.

Categories: Real Estate

Resources for Buyers Struggling With Down Payments

NAR Daily News Magazine - December 4, 2018 - 12:00am

There are plenty of options for down payment assistance, and in some cases, buyers might not even need to put money down. Help your clients learn where to look.

Categories: Real Estate