Quotes 2017

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Getting your adult child out of the house

NJMoneyHelp - 12/15/2017

Your son is very fortunate to have very supportive parents. Some might argue you’ve been a little too supportive. It sounds like it’s time to prepare him to be on his own. As you choose to make changes in your lives, you should keep him informed of your decision, said Dawn Brown, a certified financial planner with Lassus Wherley in New Providence.This will give him time to prepare, and you can continue to help him by supporting him towards independence, she said. read more »

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Biz Brain: Getting your adult child out of the house

NJ.com - 12/15/2017

Your son will need to start speaking to a realtor and friends who may know about apartment rentals or people who are looking to share an apartment, Dawn Brown, a certified financial planner with Lassus Wherley in New Providence said. "Once he understands the prices of rentals, which will be a lot higher than what he pays you, he will hopefully realize that he will have to seek a more permanent job solution," Brown said. "His rental cost may be lower if he can share with someone or rent a studio apartment." Brown said while your son only had to cover the cost of rent, and not food and utilities, he perhaps did not have the incentive to seek a more permanent job. read more »

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Home down payment vs. retirement money

NJMoneyHelp - 12/12/2017

You and your daughter are smart to be asking this question and thinking long-term. Both are important goals. The younger you are when you start contributing to a retirement account, the longer compounding interest will work for you, said Lisa McKnight, a certified financial planner with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. At the same time, she said, many would like to own a home before they turn a certain age, get married, or have kids and generally, a down payment of 10 to 20 percent is the norm, she said. read more »

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Biz Brain: Home down payment vs. retirement money

NJ.com - 12/12/2017

"If you must choose between retirement savings and saving for a down payment, we suggest focusing on retirement first," Lisa McKnight, a certified financial planner with Lassus Wherley in New Providence said. "Funding retirement will be her largest liability and the one that is the most difficult to fund."Once she has a retirement savings plan and gets this under control, then she can concentrate on saving for a house, McKnight said.In the meantime, she said, your daughter can continue to rent and if you are thinking rent is wasted money, think again. read more »

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Why domestic partnership can help

NJMoneyHelp - 12/7/2017

Before same sex couples could marry and before civil unions, establishing a domestic partnership was the closest thing to marriage New Jersey had to offer. The Domestic Partnership Act was signed into law on Jan. 12, 2004 and was effective on July 10, 2004. It was created to provide basic legal and economic protections to all couples who cohabitated — same sex couples as well as opposite sex couples that were 62 or older. When Civil Union became effective in February 2007, same sex couples could no longer establish new domestic partnerships, but those existing before civil unions remain valid, said Betty Thomas, a financial planner with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. read more »

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Biz Brain: Why domestic partnership can help

NJ.com - 12/7/2017

New Jersey has not eliminated the Domestic Partnership Act, Betty Thomas a financial planner with Lassus Wherley in New Providence said. It remains an available option to opposite sex couples (62 and older) that choose to establish them. "Opposite sex couples choosing a domestic partnership status and same sex couples that have chosen to remain domestic partners have their reasons for doing so," Thomas said. "It could be as simple as they don't want to get married but want some sort of formal commitment, it could be for financial reasons, it could be anything." read more »

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5 Resolutions For Managing Money

NJ.com - 12/5/2017

Think about what you want to accomplish in 2018 and how you can save to get there. Maybe you want to take a vacation or make a down payment on a new car. Whatever it is, put your savings on auto-pilot. "Out of sight, out of mind. Divert funds into the savings category automatically and regularly," says Clare Wherley, a certified financial planner and certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. "Getting funds out of a 'spending' pot reduces the urge to use it." read more »

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Mom never told Social Security dad died

NJMoneyHelp - 11/7/2017

Dealing with the death and funeral arrangements of a loved one may be a lot to cope with emotionally for some people, and making a call or going to the Social Security office to report a death could be just as emotional, said Dawn Brown, a certified financial planner with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. Often when making funeral arrangements, the family will ask the funeral home to contact Social Security to report the death of their loved one, Brown said. Perhaps, your mother did not contact Social Security about your father’s death because she asked the funeral home to do it. "Although it has been almost a year since his death, contact the funeral home and ask if they reported his death," Brown said. "If they did not, contact your local Social Security office to report it or call (800) 772-1213 to speak to a Social Security representative directly." read more »

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Biz Brain: Mom never told Social Security dad died

NJ.com - 11/7/2017

Dawn Brown, a certified financial planner with Lassus Wherley in New Providence said if your father's death was not reported, the benefits received by your mother would have to be paid back to Social Security and she would not receive any further benefits until the full amount was returned. "Once Social Security receives the death report, they would then calculate the survivor benefit that your mother is entitled to," she said. "These dollars would be paid to her retroactively from the date she became eligible for survivor benefits, but again, not until she has paid back benefits received prior to reporting." read more »

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Lessons in probate and executor duties

NJMoneyHelp - 10/31/2017

When a resident of New Jersey dies, their will is probated in the surrogate county court in the area they resided when they died, said Dawn Brown, a certified financial planner with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. She said the will and a certified copy of a death certificate has to be brought to the court to start the probate process. “The person named as the executor in the will is responsible for completing the probate process with the court,” she said. “Sometimes one spouse names the other as the executor of their estate.” read more »

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Biz Brain: Lessons in probate and executor duties

NJ.com - 10/31/2017

The feds and the state won't simply tell you the estate taxes due, if any. "The executor is responsible for working with a lawyer and accountant to file the decedent's income and estate tax returns," Dawn Brown, a certified financial planner with Lassus Wherley in New Providence said. "The accountant/lawyer will calculate the total gross value of the estate and review all the beneficiaries of an estate to determine if an estate tax return has to filed." The value of savings bonds will be included in the calculation of the total estate when determining the value of the estate, she said. read more »

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Does Mom have liability for her kids' cars?

NJMoneyHelp - 10/26/2017

The laws regarding parental liability for injuries or damages caused by a child in an auto accident or in any other incident vary by state, said Jodi Cirignano, a certified financial planner and certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence.“We recommend that you contact the insurance agent for your auto and homeowner’s policies to discuss your particular situation and what steps you can take to manage and reduce your personal liability,” she said.Those steps could include retitling the cars in your children’s names, having each child to procure their own auto insurance and increasing your liability coverage, she said. read more »

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Biz Brain: Does Mom have liability for her kids' cars?

NJ.com - 10/26/2017

As a general rule, a car titled in your name is your property. "If one of your children caused an accident and injured another person with your car, there is strong chance that the injured party will sue your child, the person who caused the accident, and you, the owner of the auto -- as well as the person most likely to have financial resources," Jodi Cirignano, a certified financial planner and certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence said. "Accordingly, retitling the cars in your children's names may be a prudent step." read more »

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Taxes differ for pre- or post-tax IRAs

NJMoneyHelp - 10/17/2017

Congrats and happy birthday! First, let’s talk about whether or not you need to take your distribution when you think you do. If you are still working at the employer where the 401(k) is, you may not be required to take a distribution until you actually retire, said Jodi Cirignano, a certified financial planner and certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. read more »

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Biz Brain: Taxes differ for pre- or post-tax IRA distributions

NJ.com - 10/17/2017

"This is the 'still working' rule and is met if you are considered employed throughout the entire year and are not a more than 5 percent owner of the company," Jodi Cirignano, a certified financial planner and certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence said. Then, your first RMD must occur by April 1 following the calendar year in which you turn 70 1/2, so for you that would be no later than April 1, 2019, she said. read more »

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When you don't qualify for the Senior Freeze

NJMoneyHelp - 9/20/2017

Here’s the clarity you’re looking for. The program looks at two years of income in order for seniors and the disabled to qualify, said Cynthia Fusillo, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. read more »

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Biz Brain: When you don't qualify for the Senior Freeze

NJ.com - 9/20/2017

You've indicated an out of the ordinary bump in income for the 2017 year, but Cynthia Fusillo a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence said the income threshold determining qualification has not yet been set for the 2017 year. "However, once it is, and assuming that your inheritance bumps you beyond that established figure, then yes, unfortunately, you would need to establish a new base year," she said. "Once your income has stayed below the qualifying amount for the second year in a row, you would again be eligible." read more »

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Can Divorced Dad Afford College And Retirement?

NJMoneyHelp - 8/23/2017

Laurie Wolfe, a certified financial planner and certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence, reviewed Bill’s finances for NJMoneyHelp.com. “Bill’s consistent discipline for saving, his focus on controlling expenses, and his investment savvy are all important components of a successful financial plan,” Wolfe said. “One of Bill’s biggest challenges will be to manage his cash flow during the college funding years, college education expense years and the years between early retirement and age 70, when minimum required distributions will begin.” read more »

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Commissions vs. Fees For Advisors?

NJMoneyHelp - 8/18/2017

It’s great to look for a financial advisor as you near retirement. Before we get to how advisors are paid — which is a very important consideration — there are other issues, too. Defining what you want to accomplish will help you determine what role you need an advisor to play in assisting in the development of a plan for your retirement, said Dawn Brown, a certified financial planner with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. read more »

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Biz Brain: Commission vs. Fees When Choosing An Advisor

NJ.com - 8/18/2017

Once you are clear on the type of advice you need, then you can start the search for an advisor, Dawn Brown a certified financial planner with Lassus Wherley in New Providence said. And sometimes, the search for an advisor will help you focus on what you are trying to accomplish. Now, how advisors are paid. One determination is if the advisor is just focused on investments or if they offer broader planning services, Brown said. "When an advisor charges you based on commissions, it may seem that the cost is less but the full cost is usually not transparent," Brown said. read more »

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A Steep Price for Medicare

Financial Planning Magazine - 8/8/2017  

“Planner Diahann Lassus concurs that she pays attention to clients’ Medicare Part B premiums and the MAGI level that drives the calculation. We have found that one of the most effective ways of managing these costs is by transitioning dollars from regular IRAs to Roth IRAs,” says the president and co-founder of Lassus Wherley, a wealth management firm in New Providence, New Jersey, and Bonita Springs, Florida. “This sometimes temporarily increases the cost, but if we can reduce the IRA required minimum distributions over the longer term, it makes sense. read more »

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Pension Planning When You Have A Spouse

NJMoneyHelp - 7/28/2017

At first glance, it would seem fair that you receive the larger benefit as the plan participant if your spouse dies first. But that’s not how pension payouts are calculated. The specific rules related to qualified pension plans that were enacted to provide protection to the spouses of qualified plan participants require the survivor’s annuity to be no less than 50 percent of the participant’s annuity, said Laurie Wolfe, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. read more »

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Biz Brain: Pension Planning When You Have A Spouse

NJ.com - 7/28/2017

Laurie Wolfe, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence said the amount of the benefits payable both to the participant and to the surviving spouse are determined by an actuary and are based on the actuarially-determined life expectancies of both spouses. "This results in expected payments in excess of what a single beneficiary would receive," she said. "This means that a married couple could receive a higher pension benefit than a single person, even though both may have had the same income as employees." When actually retiring, the decision of what option to choose results in the establishment of an annuity contract based on the life expectancy assumptions, Wolfe said. Once the contract is established, it cannot be changed. read more »

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Homestead Rebate vs. Senior Freeze

NJMoneyHelp - 7/25/2017

Apply away. If you qualify for both programs, you can get benefits from both. The Senior Freeze program offers a property tax reimbursement to eligible seniors — 65 and older — or disabled individuals, said Cynthia Fusillo. a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. “To qualify you must be a homeowner or mobile homeowner and satisfy income limitations for a particular year,” she said. “Currently this income limit is set at $70,000 for the year.” Other requirements include that you must have lived in New Jersey for the past 10 years and in your current home for at least the last three, Fusillo said, adding that applications for the Senior Freeze are paper filed. read more »

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Biz Brain: Homestead Rebate vs. Senior Freeze

NJ.com - 7/25/2017

Then there's the Homestead Rebate, which has undergone a lot of changes over the years. Today, eligibility is stricter than ever. "While it is not limited to seniors/disabled, it no longer includes renters, as it used to, and income limits have shrunk over the years to no more than $75,000 -- or as much as $150,000 if 65/disabled," Cynthia Fusillo, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence said. The benefit only applies to principal residences. "The rebate is in the form of a credit on your property tax bill," she said, noting applications are filed online or by phone. read more »

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Biz Brain: Can I Get Out Of Paying Social Security Tax?

NJ.com - 7/20/2017

"At this rate, it is projected that the Social Security trust fund is fully funded until 2034," Lisa McKnight, a certified financial planner with Lassus Wherley in New providence said. But also remember that Social Security taxes are not the only money flowing into the system. The trust fund is invested in Treasury securities, which earn interest. "Social Security brings in billions each year in interest income," she said. "Additionally, if the system runs out of reserves in 2034 as forecast, then the money flowing in -- taxes and income -- will still be able to cover about 75 percent of scheduled benefits." McKnight said a complete dissolution is highly unlikely given that tax inflows and interest income into the system will sustain it for many years. read more »

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Can I Get Out Of Paying Social Security Tax?

NJMoneyHelp - 7/20/2017

Probably not. Unless you are a member of the clergy or part of a very select group of state or federal workers, Social Security taxes are mandatory. Given that Social Security is experiencing deficits that threaten its existence, it’s not unreasonable for you to think that benefits may not be there for you when you retire. There is simply not enough money flowing into the system to cover all the benefits promised to retirees, said Lisa McKnight, a certified financial planner with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. read more »

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Special Report: Are We Headed For A Downturn?

NJMoneyHelp - 7/14/2017

Diahann Lassus, a certified financial planner and certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence, said she isn’t sure the higher market is Trump-specific because stock performance tends to be good in election years in general. read more »

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Planes, Trains And Kayaks. When Business Is At Stake, Top Execs Will Meet Anywhere, Anytime

Edge-New Jersey Chamber of Commerce - June 2017

You have to figure out the best way to fit meetings into your schedule, and their schedule. I once met clients at their house and I met their three-month-old. By setting up meetings with clients, no matter how tricky, you demonstrate how much you care - and we do care, said Diahann W. Lassus, President, Lassus Wherley and Associates, a financial services firm in New Providence, NJ and Bonita Springs, FL. read more »

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Biz Brain: Leaving Life Insurance To A Family Trust

NJ.com - 5/25/2017

Your gross estate includes all property that you own. This would include any policy insuring your life if you're the owner of the policy. As long as you have "incidents of ownership," the policy would be included in your taxable estate, said Betty Thomas, a financial planner with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. "Incidents of ownership" allows you to borrow against a policy, assign or cancel, revoke an assignment, name or change a beneficiary, Thomas said. read more »

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Leaving Life Insurance To A Family Trust

NJMoneyHelp - 5/25/2017

When a person dies and has an ownership interest in the life insurance policy, the value of the policy will be included in the deceased person’s estate, Betty Thomas, a financial planner with Lassus Wherley in New Providence said.This may increase the value of the estate to the point where either federal or state estate or inheritance taxes could be owed, she said.If the ownership of the policy is changed to the trust, then all “incidents of ownership” have been forfeited, Thomas said.The distinction here is the ownership of the life insurance policy, she said.“By changing ownership to an irrevocable trust, you have essentially made a gift to the trust and the gift cannot be revoked,” she said. “The policy is then removed from your taxable estate.” read more »

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From Olympic Organizer to Wealth Manager

NJCPA - May/June 2017

Diahann W. Lassus, CFP®, CPA, PFS, was in charge of AT&T's customer service operation in New Orleans when she was approached by Clare E. Wherley, CPA, CFP®, then a director at AT&T, to run the Olympic Field Operations Team in Los Angeles in 1984. read more »

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Biz Brain: Risk And A Pre-Retiree's Portfolio

NJ.com - 4/26/2017

For most, there has been a belief that as we near retirement, we should reduce our exposure to stocks and increase bonds, said Betty Thomas, a financial planner with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. Thomas said there are several reasons for the widespread belief: because investors figure if they're retiring and won't be able to contribute to retirement plans anymore; if the market has significant losses our portfolios may not have time to recover if invested in stocks; we want the income generated from bonds to supplement income while in retirement; and we want safety. They're all valid reasons. read more »

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Risk And A Pre-Retiree's Portfolio

NJMoneyHelp - 4/26/2017

Betty Thomas, a financial planner with Lassus Wherley in New Providence said although you have a significant portion of your account allocated to stocks, there are a few things to consider before moving to a less aggressive portfolio. First, she said, think about what your needs will be during retirement. How will your life differ once you are no longer working? How will your expenses change? Will you do more or less? What other assets have you set aside in addition to the 401(k) plan to supplement income? If you retired tomorrow, how long would your assets last? read more »

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Biz Brain: Paying For College When You Haven't Saved Enough

NJ.com - 4/21/2017

The first option to look at is scholarships, said Lisa McKnight, a certified financial planner with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. Free money is the best money, she said. "Consider schools where you child stands out academically for your best bet at scholarship offers," she said. "You should also consider the many scholarships found within your local community." McKnight said high schools typically have resources for students to help them find scholarships. One other resource is The College Board, which has an extensive database of scholarships. read more »

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Paying For College If You Haven't Saved Enough

NJMoneyHelp - 4/21/2017

Next, your student should investigate work/study programs or working during school, Lisa McKnight, a certified financial planner with Lassus Wherley in New Providence said. “Student employment via a federal work/study program, or even part time work outside of a work/ study, is a great way to have the student help finance their education,” McKnight said. “It’s important to balance working with academics, so you will need to determine if you’re student is someone who can make both work.” read more »

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Biz Brain: When Will My FDIC Protection Run Out?

NJ.com - 4/18/2017

The FDIC's standard deposit insurance amount is $250,000 per depositor and per FDIC-insured bank, said Jodi Cirignano, a certified financial planner and certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. But, she said, a depositor may qualify for more than $250,000 of FDIC coverage if he or she owns accounts in different ownership categories at the same bank. read more »

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When Will My FDIC Protection Run Out?

NJMoneyHelp - 4/18/2017

“The $250,000 of coverage applies to each of the ITF accounts established for your grandchildren,” Jodi Cirignano, a certified financial planner and certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence said. “By virtue of identifying a different account beneficiary, each ITF has a unique ownership structure and qualifies for FDIC coverage on a standalone basis.” As for your individually-owned checking and savings accounts, they, too, represent a separate ownership category, and combined, these deposits are insured for up to $250,000, she said. read more »

barron'sAdvisors Ditch 'No-Politics' Rule Online

Barron's - 4/13/2017

“I don’t really think about losing clients over my political views,” said Diahann Lassus, president of Lassus Wherley. “The reality is that if they believe they can’t work with my firm because we don’t have the same political views they probably wouldn’t have hired us in the first place.” read more »

wsj-thumb.jpgWhy Many Financial Advisers Aren't Worried About Posting Anti-Trump Opinions

MarketWatch - 4/13/2017

Others say their clients actively look to them for context and information about what political news and other current affairs mean and appreciate their input. “Whether they agree with me or not isn’t really the point,” said Diahann Lassus, president of Lassus Wherley, another adviser who has shared posts critical of President Trump. “The point is that we can express our thoughts in a rational way and help them work through their concerns.” read more »

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Biz Brain: Tax Treatment Of Health Savings Accounts

NJ.com - 4/12/2017

Health Savings Accounts are a great way to cover your medical expenses. HSA contributions through payroll deductions are made on a pre-tax basis. These contributions would not be deductible on your tax return because you have already received the benefit through your pay, said Laurie Wolfe, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. read more »

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Tax Treatment Of Health Savings Accounts

NJMoneyHelp - 4/12/2017

And you are correct: New Jersey does not allow tax-deferred contributions to HSAs. “You can deduct from New Jersey gross income the medical expenses that you paid for that were not reimbursed by your insurance,” Laurie Wolfe, a Certified Public Accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence said. “You would include any expenses that were reimbursed by your HSA because you did not receive a benefit when you put the money into the HSA.” So, she said, New Jersey looks at your actual medical expenses, not your contribution to the savings account. read more »

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New Providence Borough Council Honors Local Businesses

TAPinto - 3/14/2017

The Borough Council honored the New Providence business community at its Monday, March 13 meeting for their continued contribution to the community. “The town wouldn’t be what it is without you,” Mayor Al Morgan said. read more »

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Biz Brain: Can I Roll Over Part Of My 401(k)?

NJ.com - 3/21/2017

It sounds like you're still working for this employer and looking to rollover funds. This is not permitted, said Cynthia Fusillo, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. "Rollovers of an employer 401(k) plan can only happen upon separation of service," she said. read more »

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Can I Roll Over Part Of My 401(k)?

NJMoneyHelp - 3/21/2017

Additionally, and assuming we fast forward the clock and you are no longer with this employer, it is not permissible to rollover only your after-tax contributions when you also have pre-tax 401(k) contributions in there, Cynthia Fusillo, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence said. “The IRS says that any partial plan distribution will include some of your pre-tax amounts as well,” she said. “Assuming you still wanted to roll over all of your post-tax contributions, you could take a complete distribution and rollover your pre-tax balance to a traditional rollover IRA and the post-tax balance to a Roth IRA.” read more »

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Biz Brain: Trump's Tax Plan And Your Tax Return

NJ.com - 2/13/2017

The Trump tax plan involves a major rewriting of the tax code, but it does not include personal exemptions at all. The plan would eliminate the personal exemption all together and increase the standard deduction for joint filers to $30,000 (up from $12,600) and to $15,000 for single filers, said Laurie Wolfe, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. read more »

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Trump's Tax Plan And Your Tax Return

NJMoneyHelp - 2/13/2017

There is nothing in Trump’s plan that indicates a change in the way retirement contributions are treated, but the lowering of overall tax rates does affect the value of the deduction — or pre-tax treatment in paychecks, Laurie Wolfe, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence said. She offered this example: If you are in the 25 percent bracket now, your $18,000 401(k) contribution, net of federal taxes, is $13,500. This is the amount your pay will decrease in order to get $18,000 into the plan. If your tax rate decreases to 12 percent, your pay will decrease by $15,840 ($18,000 X (1-.12)). read more »

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Biz Brain: Can I Deduct My Home Gym?

NJ.com - 2/9/2017

The IRS defines medical expenses as payments for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, or payments for treatments affecting any structure or function of the body. Sometimes, exercise equipment can qualify as a valid medical expense, said Cynthia Fusillo, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. read more »

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Can I Deduct My Home Gym?

NJMoneyHelp - 2/9/2017

“You would have to have a doctor advise you that it’s necessary,” Cynthia Fusillo, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence said. “Assuming you did get doctor’s orders, you would then have valid substantiation to purchase a piece of equipment and deduct the cost as a medical expense.” Note that a piece of exercise equipment you already owned prior to your injury would not qualify, she said. read more »

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Special Report: Trump's Exec Orders, Your Wallet

NJMoneyHelp - 2/3/2017

Undoing the fiduciary standard puts investors and consumers at risk, said Diahann  Lassus, a certified financial planner and certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. She said “fiduciary” is a much higher standard than the “suitability” standard brokers have typically operated under. “‘Suitability’ only requires that the recommendation be appropriate to the client’s objectives rather than being in the client’s best interest,” Lassus said. “This is something that is needed today when individuals are struggling to save enough to retire with a 401(k) and IRAs because pension plans are quickly disappearing. read more »

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Memories From NJCC's 80 Years Of The Walk To Washington

New Jersey Chamber of Commerce - 2/1/2017

“In the early years when I did the Walk to Washington, I was able to spend quite a bit of time with Sen. Frank Lautenberg [who passed away in 2013]. He was always one of my favorites because he supported women in business and women’s rights. He was a true believer in equality. It’s an incredible opportunity for connections. You have so many intelligent, driven people all in one place. That doesn’t happen very often." - Diahann Lassus read more »

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Special Report: Dow 20,000. What's Next?

NJMoneyHelp - 1/26/2017

The Dow hitting 20,000 is important as a symbol of markets moving up, but for long-term investors it’s a reason to smile for a moment but nothing more,” said Diahann Lassus, a certified financial planner and certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. “And the reality is that we could see Dow 20,000 many more times over the next few years as we go through corrections and then work our way back up over time.” read more »

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Biz Brain: When Christie's Gone, Will Estate Tax Return?

NJ.com - 01/20/2017

We can't predict what will happen when the new governor -- whoever that will be -- takes office in January 2018. Here's what we do know. In the fall of 2016, Gov. Christie signed into law the reduction and repeal of the New Jersey estate tax. "As of Jan. 1, 2017, the New Jersey estate tax exemption increased from $675,000 to $2 million," said Patricia Daquila, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. "This means when a New Jersey resident dies during 2017, then his or her estate would not be subject to New Jersey estate taxes unless the value of their estate was greater than $2 million." read more »

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When Christie's Gone, Will Estate Tax Return?

NJMoneyHelp - 1/20/2017

If the resident dies on or after Jan. 1, 2018, there would be no state estate tax due. The deceased’s estate could owe estate taxes on the federal level, but only if the estate is worth more than $5.49 million in 2017. That exemption amount is adjusted annually for inflation. Even though the state estate tax changed, the bill did not eliminate the state’s inheritance tax, Patricia Daquila, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence said. read more »

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Biz Brain: The Lower Sales Tax Isn't Much For Consumers

NJ.com - 01/16/2017

In terms of whether there's a real savings for the consumer, you're correct. There isn't much. Laurie Wolfe, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence said the savings on a $10 purchase is one penny, so unless you have a big ticket item, you are not going to feel it. The savings to be seen is being sold by its promoters as having the potential to offset the gasoline tax, Wolfe said. "The average cost to the consumer of the gas tax is often cited at $150 to $200, with the savings from the sales tax being said to average about $100 per household," Wolfe said. "So it may be helpful to think more in terms of annual savings than on specific purchases." read more »

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The Lower Sales Tax Isn't Much For Consumers

NJMoneyHelp - 1/16/2017

Pennies do matter, and the state's website does directly address this issue. Their answer to the dilemma is to round to the nearest cent, said Laurie Wolfe, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. "The tax is calculated to the third decimal point. If that digit is five or higher, you round up to the next penny," Wolfe said. "If it is lower than five, you round down. In this way, the hope is to average out the fractional amounts overall." read more »

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Biz Brain: When Your Fund Makes A Big Change

NJ.com - 01/12/2017

Your investment, the Financial Select Sector SPDR (XLF), is an exchange-traded fund that eliminated its exposure to real estate via a special dividend paid to XLF shareholders, said Jodi Cirignano, a certified financial planner with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. She said XLF shareholders received 0.139146 shares of the Real Estate Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLRE) for each XLF share owned. This special dividend is partially taxable, Cirignano said. read more »

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When Your Fund Makes A Big Change

NJMoneyHelp - 1/12/2017

“Based on current estimates, 35 percent of the dividend is taxable as ordinary income and 65 percent as a non-taxable return of capital to XLF shareholders,” she said. “When corporate actions such as this one trigger a change affecting the tax basis of securities, the issuer must file a Form 8937 to provide additional tax information.” The issuer, XLF, filed Form 8937, which can be found at www.spdrs.com, she said. According to Form 8937, the total dividend per XLF share was $4.5292, with $2.9588 representing a non-taxable return of capital per XLF share, Jodi Cirignano, a certified financial planner with Lassus Wherley in New Providence said. read more »

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Biz Brain: About The New Tax Savings For N.J. Seniors

NJ.com - 01/04/2017

Your question is about that last one, the retirement income exclusion. Married couples -- who are both either at least 62 years of age or disabled and who file jointly -- could exclude the first $20,000 in retirement income on their New Jersey returns, said Cynthia Fusillo, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. For single, qualifying widow/widower and heads of household filers, the exclusion was up to $15,000, Fusillo said. Single filers could exclude up to $10,000. read more »

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Tax Savings For NJ Seniors

NJMoneyHelp - 1/04/2017

“The new law increases this exclusion up to $100,000, which will be phased in over a four-year period for married joint filers, $50,000 for married separate filers, and $75,000 for everyone else,” Cynthia Fusillo, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence said. “This is a positive change that will affect many taxpayers and, coupled with the elimination of the estate tax in 2018, it is hoped to keep folks in state longer.” New Jersey has always been one of the most expensive places for retirement, and with the estate tax, the state was one of the most expensive places to die. Seems times are changing. read more »

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Biz Brain: Trump, Volatility And The Stock Market

NJ.com - 01/02/2017

Some sectors of the stock market have done well in anticipation of President-elect Donald Trump's administration, but market watchers say uncertainty is the key phrase in play. That's because Trump and his team haven't given many details about his policies. Generally speaking, the markets don't like uncertainty, and the more uncertainty we have, the higher the likelihood of continued volatility, said Charles Pawlik, a certified financial planner with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. read more »

 

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Trump, Volatility And The Stock Market

NJMoneyHelp - 1/02/2017

Some sectors of the stock market have done well in anticipation of President-elect Donald Trump’s administration, but market watchers say uncertainty is the key phrase in play. That’s because Trump and his team haven’t given many details about his policies. Generally speaking, the markets don’t like uncertainty, and the more uncertainty we have, the higher the likelihood of continued volatility, said Charles Pawlik, a certified financial planner with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. read more »

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