Friday Financial Five – December 6th, 2013
Friday, December 06, 2013
GDP revision and jobless claims
Gross Domestic Product was revised from 2.8 percent to an annualized rate of 3.6 percent for the third quarter. The revision was heavily influenced by an increase in business inventories. GDP isn’t expected to sustain this level as businesses curtail spending. The unemployment situation is caught in continued stagnation despite a recent reduction in jobless claims. Entry level positions are getting eliminated and worker hours are getting reduced. This is not only harming individuals, it’s affecting small businesses as consumer spending will continue to lag.
Year-end tax strategies
With the holidays coming, now is the time to put last minute tax strategies into action before it’s too late. For investors, that means reviewing your taxable portfolio to offset winners with losers and reduce capital gains. Consider selling long term bond funds or commodity funds that may have lost this year. Business owners should consider capital expenditures that will qualify for the 179 tax deduction, such as certain SUVs, trucks and vans. For high income earners, it’s time to project 2013’s AGI being mindful of the possible Medicare high-earner tax, the possible investment tax of 3.8% and any itemized deduction limitations.
Bitcoin a “bubble” according to Greenspan
Alan Greenspan opined that Bitcoin pricing is a bubble, due to a lack of intrinsic value. There’s a certain irony as Greenspan has, for the most part, disagreed with the assertions that his easy money policy of the early 2000’s contributed to the housing bubble that burst shortly after his tenure with the Fed ended. His position on Bitcoins would seem to reinforce the legitimacy of the Federal Reserve. Current Fed chairman Ben Bernanke has stated there is no plan for the Federal Reserve to regulate the virtual currency.
Medicare open enrollment period ends this week
Most retirees don’t pay a premium for Medicare Part A, which covers inpatient hospital stays. Part B, which covers outpatient services, comes with a premium. With open enrollment ending this week, there is a rare bit of good news for retirees. Next year, the Part B premium will remain $104.90 and the annual deductible will remain constant at $147. For those turning 65 who are newly eligible for Medicare, the initial enrollment period may extend past the deadline of December 7th (Larry Bird’s birthday).
The “millionaire’s tax break” coming under scrutiny
The IRS routinely revisits the voluminous tax code for possible revenue streams in the form of unnecessary deductions. Those thinking the ultra wealthy need to pay more will be happy to know that an oldie but goodie tax break is under the microscope, according to Bloomberg. Currently, some real estate owners can take a deduction for a “conservation easement”. The owners keep the land, but donate the value of a perpetual promise to leave the property alone, and then take a deduction for it. It doesn’t sound much like a deduction that benefits the public good, and it overwhelmingly benefits the very wealthy.
Dan Forbes is a regular contributor on financial issues. He is a CFP Board Ambassador. He leads the firm Forbes Financial Planning, Inc in Providence, RI and can be reached at email@example.com.
Related Slideshow: 10 Great Homes in Central MA Under $250K
122 Broadmeadow Street
2 beds, 2 baths
Pride of ownership and terrific style abound in this stunning, well maintained condo at The Willows. Great commuter location and close to shopping, restaurants and parks. Beautiful hardwood floors and porcelain tile throughout first floor. Bright, spacious rooms, fireplaced living room with slider to deck and backyard. King sized master bedroom offers two walk-in closets and full bath. Second bedroom with skylight, vaulted ceiling and quaint nook offers privacy and room to spare. Huge loft with skylights and vaulted ceiling is great for a media, family or game room. Kitchen boasts all stainless steel, upgraded appliances and plenty of cabinets and counter space. Freshly painted interior, newer carpet in bedrooms and stairways. Tastefully updated baths. Newer furnace, water heater and A/C unit. Nothing to do but move in to this beautifully updated home.
1 Central Avenue
3 beds, 1 bath
Located within walking distance of two beaches, this sparkling renovated ranch home touts 3 bedrooms, 1 full, and one half baths. It features a living room with fireplace and a loft with storage room. Great for year round or summer home. Looks like a new home.
24 High Street
3 beds, 3 baths
Located on a quiet residental street, this brand new bright and sunny home comes with cathedral ceilings, an open floor plan, 3 bedrooms, and 3 full baths Many up grades in this new construction home include hardwood flooring, maple cabinets, granite countertops, and oversized 2 car garage. There's also a finished family room in lower level.
48 Vernon Avenue
3 beds, 2 baths
Privately set home on over 23 acres with frontage and access to the Ware River. This 3 bedroom, 2 Bath Cape features a farmer's porch and wrap around deck with river views. Home features hardwoods, fireplace, beadboard wainscoting in living room and dining room, cathedral ceiling with skylight and first floor bedroom/den with new carpeting. Walk-out basement with wood stove chimney flue, attached 2 car garage, separate barn/animal shelter plus storage shed. Areas of level, open yard with fruit trees and spaces that were at one time fenced for animals.
11 Country Lane
4 beds, 1 bath
Situated on a .96 acre lot, this spacious and gracious Colonial features a farmer's front porchand a private deck. Kitchen offers center island opening to dining room with hardwood floors. Living room features pellet stove and opens with french doors to family room. Second floor features four bedrooms, one could be used as a home office and full bath. Updates included roof (2009), back up generator, septic system (d-box & leachfield), water softener (2008) (APO). Fabulous flat backyard with shed and somewhat wooded.
19 Sawmill Drive
3 beds, 1 bath
Raised ranch offers fabulous acre lot situated as the last home on a dead end street. Sun drenched living room with cathedral ceiling, updated, eat-in kitchen opening to formal dining area, two bedrooms, oversized full bath, spacious master bedroom with remodeled half bath with granite. Lower level offers a large family room with brick hearth fireplace and a half bath & laundry area- walk out just a plus. Great for entertaining, this home features a wonderful screened in porch off the kitchen that overlooks the beautiful, private, fenced in backyard abutting woodlands. Updates include replacement windows and garage doors.
24 Leach Street
3 beds, 1 bath
Lovely Colonial in a wonderful neighborhood of higher valued homes. A little TLC would make this home shine. Spacious foyer leading to a large living area for entertainment. Good size bedrooms on second level with a walk up attic. Just steps away from the serenity of Halloran Park. Washer, dryer and refridgerator included in sale.
144 Mendon Street
3 beds, 2 baths
Large custom ranch offering 3 large bedrooms and 2.5 baths. Loads of features include updated eat in kitchen, large living room with fireplace and bow window, fireplaced family room, sunroom with pine paneling and separate entrance to back yard, 3 bedrooms with hardwood floors and ceiling fans. Finished lower level offers a large play room, office, 1/2 bath and full laundry room. There is lots of storage space in the unfinished portion of the basement. The screen porch and deck overlook the private backyard.
25 Cotton Mill Way
2 beds, 2 baths
Freshly painted and brand new carpeting and tile. Contemporary town house featuring, two-story glass foyer with curved staircase, fabulous master suite with fireplace in sun room/sitting room. Large master bathroom with whirlpool tub, double sinks, central air and central vacuum system. Large kitchen opening to dining area and expansive basement.
283 Bolton Street
3 beds, 1 bath
Cozy ranch conveniently located just north of downtown Marlborough. Perfect location for commuters who need access to Rt. 20 or I-495. This young ranch is in overall good condition; paint and carpet will go a long way towards updating it. Large lot. Walking distance to middle school and high school. This is the only house in Marlborough built after 1965 for under $250,000
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