Blog

Welcome to Our Blog

We intend to be active in providing blogs on topics that are focused on helping people understand and deal with specific issues involving personal finances, including planning for the future, the nature and scope of financial services, and managing your portfolio in today’s market without losing sight of your future goals.

We believe there is a need for sound financial advice delivered in a timely manner from people you trust. The team at St. John and Associates has deep financial experience, and we are pleased to share that experience with you.

Greg, Bryan, guest writers and I will be posting things regularly that we hope you will find useful in your financial life. As always, feel free to contact us directly by phone or email with any questions.

Sincerely,
Richard St. John, Founder

2018 Tax Changes

by St. John & Assoc on May 10, 2018

Tax Cut and Job Act of 2017, Taxes, 2018 Taxes, Changes in taxes, deductions, standard deduction, tax bracket

Now that most of us have our 2017 tax returns behind us, focus is on to 2018. The Federal tax code was substantially changed for this year. You should be aware how it is likely to affect you and plan accordingly. The Tax Cut and Job Act of 2017 was made effective by a 50% majority vote (rather than 2/3%) of Congress and as such will expire in 2026 unless extended or ratified by a 2/3% vote by both houses of Congress. Here are the major changes involving individual returns:

NEW MEDICARE SCAM

by St. John & Assoc on Apr 18, 2018

Medicare, Medicare Part D, Scam, Medicare Scam, Cards, Medicare Cards, Identity Theft, Beneficiary Identifier

For those of you who are approaching 65 or are already under Medicare, please know that Medicare is issuing new ID cards by replacing the social security number with an 11-digit code.  This will be referred to as MBI or Medicare Beneficiary Identifier.  These new cards will be coming to you via mail sometime between April 2018 and April 2019 and they don’t have a charge associated with them. 

529s Become More Flexible in 2018

by St. John & Assoc on Feb 20, 2018

529, college savings, 2018 tax law, regulations, saving for college, private school, private school tuition, vocation, trade school

There have been a number of changes brought to us by the 2018 Tax Law regulations. Some of them are not yet well known.

One of these changes is the increase in the flexibility of 529’s. Prior to 2018 the use of these funds tax-free was limited to paying qualified college expenses. Under the 2018 Federal tax regulations these funds may also be used for private school tuition (kindergarten to 12th grade) up to $10,000 per year.

Growing Concerns for Conservative Investors

by St. John & Assoc on Dec 8, 2017

Stocks, Inflation, Investing, Conservative investment, bonds, equities, interest rates, equity returns

There are some growing concerns for conservative investors having to choose between bonds and equities. Current bond returns today are minimal, and returns on cash are even less. Since most conservative investors are holding bonds for security and cash to live on, the weighting in these segments are pulling this part of your current portfolio’s gain down to 2% or less. Bonds offer little comfort even in those considered highly rated and safe.

Why Should I Consider a ROTH Conversion?

by St. John & Assoc on Dec 1, 2017

Roth conversion, Tax savings, IRA to ROTH, maximize tax savings

Each year there is the opportunity to convert some or all of your IRA account assets to a ROTH account. The purpose in doing so is to eliminate the Federal and State tax on any future distribution amounts and enable you to withdraw funds earlier without penalty. Funds including gains held in ROTH account can be distributed tax-free subject to some manageable restrictions.

Savings Rates on the Decline

by St. John & Assoc on Nov 22, 2017

saving, Savings, savings rate, consumption

You don’t hear much about America’s personal savings rate these days, and the reason may be because the news is discouraging: collectively, the percentage of our income that we save is trending downward again, and may be about to hit record lows. The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis tracks the U.S. personal savings rate, going back to the late 1950s, when people were setting aside around 11% of what they made. Americans achieved a record 17% savings rate in the mid-1970s before a long decline set in.

What's the Difference between Commissions and Advisory Fees?

by St. John & Assoc on Nov 22, 2017

commission, advisor, advisory fees, fees, fee only, financial advisor, financial advisor firm

There is much confusion by consumers in understanding the term “financial advisor” and how they are paid. Today there is no legal definition, regulation or restriction as to who can use this designation, but there is a big difference in the services different financial advisors provide and how their fees are collected.

Why all the commercials this year about Medicare Part D?

by St. John & Assoc on Nov 8, 2017

Medicare Part D, Part D, Enrollment, Retirement, Prescription Drug Benefit, Medicare

Are you wondering why in the world there are so many television advertisements this time of the year about Medicare Part D?  Is this something I should be worried about, because I already have coverage?  Why all the fuss? Because it can be, and often is confusing!