Quotes 2019

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Stocks may not climb much higher this year. But you can still make these smart money moves

CNBC - 10/24/2019

"The biggest thing we focus on, particularly in volatile markets, is if there are cash needs, to make sure cash is available,” said Diahann W. Lassus, president of Lassus Wherley, a subsidiary of Peapack Gladstone Bank.  read more »​

njMoneyHelp-thumb.jpgCan a divorced dad afford college and retirement?

NJMoneyHelp- 12/5/2019

“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 college funding years, college education expense years and the years between early retirement and age 70, when minimum required distributions will begin.”read more »

njMoneyHelp-thumb.jpgIf I move to N.J., will the state tax my pension?

 NJmoneyhelp.com - 11/8/2019

“First, when you move to New Jersey, of course you may owe federal taxes, but for state taxes, you would only pay taxes on your retirement income to New Jersey.”

On January 10, 1996, Congress enacted the Pension Source Tax Act. This law states that non state can impose a tax on any retirement income of an individual who is not a resident of that state,”read more »

njMoneyHelp-thumb.jpgWill the IRS audit our family limited partnership?

 NJmoneyhelp.com - 11/1/2019

“A family limited partnership (FLP) is a sophisticated wealth transfer and management technique that allows for the division of illiquid, indivisible assets, such as real estate, into units available for gifting, said Jodi Cirignano, a certified financial planner and certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley, a subsidiary of Peapack Gladstone Bank, in New Providence.” read more »

njMoneyHelp-thumb.jpgMedicare and Social Security after a divorce?

 NJmoneyhelp.com - 9/23/2019

“If you are married and get divorced this will impact your SSI payments, Brown said. Instead of the couple benefit, you would receive the single benefit as long as you still meet all the SSI eligibility requirements, she said.

Medicare is different. It’s a health insurance program for people over age 65 and people under 65 with certain disabilities.” read more »

njMoneyHelp-thumb.jpgWhat taxes and fees are owed on this home sale?  

 NJmoneyhelp.com - 9/16/2019

“There are a couple of issues at play here.

First, as a non-resident, you clearly have a principal residence somewhere outside of New Jersey.

Therefore, the sale of your property in New Jersey will be fully taxable if you realize a gain and you will not be able to use the exclusion of gain provision normally afforded to principal residence sales, said Cynthia Fusillo, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley, a subsidiary of Peapack-Gladstone Bank, in New Providence.” read more »

njMoneyHelp-thumb.jpgHow does New Jersey tax my out-of-state pension?  

 NJmoneyhelp.com - 9/11/2019

“The tax law says: “No state may impose an income tax on any retirement income of an individual who is not a resident or domiciliary of such State.”

In short, Wolf said, this law prohibits any state from taxing non-residents for pensions even if they were earned within the state.  Because of this law, your pension income will be taxed by New Jersey.” read more »

njMoneyHelp-thumb.jpgShould my mom take out a reverse mortgage?  

 NJmoneyhelp.com - 8/21/2019

“If your mom does not need the money, then a reverse mortgage is probably not for her.” read more »

njMoneyHelp-thumb.jpgWorried about another recession? Don’t panic, say financial advisors, but do be prepared

 cnbc.com - 8/15/2019

“Check your cash reserves — do you have enough to weather a downturn?"

“You want to make sure you have the cash you need so you don’t have to sell things at the worst possible time,” like after your stocks, mutual funds or 401(k) have already lost a lot of value, said Lassus.

Therefore, try to increase the amount of money you are saving each month, if you can.” read more »

njMoneyHelp-thumb.jpgMy daughter got a scholarship. How can she avoid taxes?

 NJmoneyhelp.com - 8/8/2019

“There are many issues that could come into play here. First, scholarships in general are tax-free if they are for qualified education expenses, said Laurie Wolfe, a certified financial planner and certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley, a subsidiary of Peapack-Gladstone Bank, in New Providence. “Qualified expenses include tuition, fees and course-related expenses, such as fees, books, supplies and equipment that are required,” she said. “They do not include room and board, travel, research, clerical help or other equipment and expenses that aren’t required for enrollment.” Additionally, scholarship money that represents compensation for teaching or other services provided by the student are not tax-free, Wolfe said.”  read more »

njMoneyHelp-thumb.jpgHow to solidify your financial plan in case a trade war sparks a recession  

 cnbc.com - 8/6/2019

“The first thing you want to do is take a look at what you’re really spending, said Diahann Lassus, president and chief investment officer at Lassus Wherley, a subsidiary of Peapack-Gladstone Bank in New Providence, New Jersey.” read more »

njMoneyHelp-thumb.jpgI’m confused about how long to keep financial records

 NJmoneyhelp.com - 8/1/2019

“It’s not as simple as just giving you a number. It depends on the circumstances. How far back the IRS can go is referred to as the statute of limitations.”  read more »

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Getting Ready to Retire?  Don’t make these 11 costly retirement planning mistakes.

NJ.com - 7/30/2019

“A health issue may force you to retire or an employer may decide to downsize,” said Diahann Lassus, a certified financial planner and certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley, a subsidiary of Peapack-Gladstone Bank, in New Providence. “Then you have to scramble to figure out how to make finances work.”  read more »

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How do life insurance companies know I had a baby? 

NJ.com - 7/5/2019

Before your baby was born, you probably did some research for the baby. Each trimester offers an opportunity for insurance marketers to target new parents who are online looking for information or shopping for the baby, said Betty Thomas, a chartered financial consultant and certified financial planner with Lassus Wherley, a subsidiary of Peapack-Gladstone Bank, in New Providence. read more »

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Cringeworthy money mistakes advisors have seen their clients make

CNBC - 7/3/2019

“A client was spending so much on supporting their adult children that they started depleting their retirement savings. It didn’t happen all at once but started out with smaller dollars and maybe a one-time contribution to college for grandchildren, which didn’t really impact the overall plan. Then, later, the dollars began to increase and it became very evident that the investment portfolio wouldn’t be able to keep pace with the spending. Even though we advised them not to continue to provide the support because they were depleting capital, it is ultimately the client’s choice.” read more »

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When an advisor has to deliver some bad news to a client

CNBC - 7/2/2019

“After many years of cautioning a client about spending more than they were earning, I had to tell them that in another year or so they would run out of money. We advised reducing expenses and worked with them to better manage their resources but they continued to deplete assets. This client started with very low assets and income and we worked with her to stretch the dollars.” read more »

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Here’s the best financial advice these 10 advisors ever received

CNBC - 7/1/2019

“When I was in high school, I was told that if you know what your income is and you know what your expenses are, you are in control of your savings plan. It certainly worked for me in my younger years. Really understanding those two things allowed me to pay my way through graduate school, save for specific purchases and begin a savings program in my late 20s. That savings program ultimately helped finance starting Lassus Wherley. “Many people avoid tracking expenses because it takes too much time or it is too much trouble. The reality is that it doesn’t have to be scientific to help you plan. You already know what your regular monthly expenses are, like rent or a mortgage, utilities and telephone. The real challenge is figuring out those discretionary expenses or the choice expenses you can decide whether or not to spend, such as travel, eating out, buying clothes and entertainment. “Those are the areas you have to pay attention to over time to make sure they don’t get out of control. After many years, I still monitor monthly total expenses to make sure they are in line. No matter what phase of life you are in, understanding where you are is the most critical element in planning for the future.” read more »

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I’m a nurse but I can’t afford my $1100 monthly student loans.  What can I do?

NJ.com - 6/26/2019

First, the delinquency will go on your credit report, McKnight said. “It will generally stay on for seven years, damaging your credit score and making difficult for you to borrow or even rent an apartment,” she said. “Your lender can send your debt to a collections agency that will likely contact you to try to get repayment.” Before the statute of limitations on lawsuits is up, the lender may file suit against you for repayment, she said. “If a court judgement is granted the lender can obtain a wage garnishment order, which in New Jersey could be as high as 25 percent of disposable pay,” McKnight said. “They can also seize assets and place liens against your property.”  read more »

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Can I claim the veteran exemption after my husband died?

NJ.com - 6/24/2019

Beginning with the 2017 tax year, a new veteran’s exemption in the amount of $3,000 was made available to qualifying taxpayers in New Jersey. In order to qualify, a taxpayer must have been in the military and honorably discharged from active duty, said Cynthia Fusillo, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley, a subsidiary of Peapack-Gladstone Bank, in New Providence. read more »

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Will my in-laws owe the exit tax on this sale? 

NJ.com - 5/30/2019

You’re referring to the so-called exit tax, which has been a source of confusion for many home sellers. First, we should establish one key fact: The exit tax is not a tax imposed on residents of the state, but only on non residents, said Cynthia Fusillo, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley, a subsidiary of Peapack-Gladstone Bank, in New Providence  read more »

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Can a retired police officer receive unemployment and a pension? 

NJ.com - 5/27/2019

The answer is maybe. In New Jersey, if you lose your job while you are collecting a pension, you may be able to collect unemployment compensation, said Laurie Wolfe, a certified financial planner and certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley, a subsidiary of Peapack-Gladstone Bank, in New Providence. She said it all depends on who contribution into the pension plan. This could reduce, wipe out or have no effect on the amount of your unemployment compensation.> read more »

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How can someone have $70,000 in student loans? Aren’t there limits? 

NJ.com - 5/23/2019

There are limits to what can be borrowed, but the limits are pretty high. It’s actually far easier to get caught up in the student loan debt trap than you might think. For many, the high price of college forces students to take on large student loans to fund their education. There are both federal student loans, which are offered by the government, and private student loans that a student can apply for from a bank or a financial institution, said Patricia Daquila, a certified financial planner and certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley, a subsidiary of Peapack-Gladstone Bank, in New Providence. > read more »

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A Roth 401(k) offers tax advantages. Here’s how it works

CNBC - 4/23/2019

When you contribute to a Roth 401(k), the contribution won’t lower your taxable income today. But when you eventually take the money out, similar to a Roth IRA, it’s completely and utterly tax-free. A Roth 401(k) allows you to save significantly more than a Roth IRA. You can only contribute $6,000 to a Roth IRA for the tax year 2019. If you’re age 50 or older, you can save an additional catch-up contribution of $1,000. The 401(k) plan world is more liberal with what you can save: up to $19,000 a year to a 401(k) in 2019, and Roth 401(k) plans share that limit. If you are over age 50, you can save an additional $6,000. read more »

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Here’s the bad news 5 tax experts are delivering to New Jersey residents (plus some tips)

NJ.com - 4/4/2019

Clare Wherley is a certified financial planner and certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley, a subsidiary of Peapack-Gladstone Bank, in New Providence. She said things were looking good for her AMT clients - at first. “I had not one client who fell into AMT this year until finally, it hit,” she said. The client had a $1.5 million capital gain and other income that was less than $200,000, and was assessed AMT of nearly $9,000. What happened? > read more »

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Do we qualify for the pension exclusion?

NJMoneyHelp - 3/26/2019

You need only be 62 on the last day of the tax year in order to meet the age requirement for claiming the pension exclusion, said Cynthia Fusillo, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley, a subsidiary of Peapack-Gladstone Bank, in New Providence. If only one spouse reaches 62 by year end, New Jersey still allows you to claim the maximum exclusion – $80,000 for 2019 – but only against the pension, annuity or IRA income of the age-qualified spouse, she said. > read more »

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I'm 62. My wife isn't. Do we qualify for the pension exclusion?

nj.com - 3/26/2019

You didn’t say how much your income is, but that’s just as important. “There is also an income limit of $100,000 for claiming the exclusion and it is a cliff,” Cynthia Fusillo, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley, a subsidiary of Peapack-Gladstone Bank in New Providence said. “So even one dollar over $100,000 means no exclusion.” > read more »

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Stocks fall again based on bad jobs report. Here's what you should do.

nj.com - 3/8/2019

Investors in financial markets hate uncertainty, and that’s leading to a lot of concern around these issues, said Diahann Lassus, a certified financial planner and certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley, a subsidiary of Peapack-Gladstone Bank, in New Providence. “The reality is that most of these issues and/or challenges are long term and aren’t going to be ‘fixed’ overnight,” Lassus said. “That means speculation about what is happening will continue to generate headlines and lead to ongoing short-term volatility in the financial markets.”read more »

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What happens to the Homestead Rebate and my tax return?

NJMoneyHelp - 3/4/2019

The Homestead Rebate is something the IRS would call an itemized deduction recovery, said Laurie Wolfe, a certified financial planner and certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley, a subsidiary of Peapack-Gladstone Bank, in New Providence. “Generally, if you received a benefit from the deduction of property taxes in one year and later receive a refund or rebate of those taxes, then the rebate is included in income,” Wolfe said. “If you did not itemize deductions in the year that the rebate pertains to, instead taking the standard deduction, then this does not apply to you. The rebate is not taxable.” read more »

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How does my Homestead Rebate count on my federal and state tax returns?

nj.com - 3/4/2019

“In recent years however, New Jersey has provided the Homestead Rebate in the form of a credit against the property taxes due in May of the current year,” Laurie Wolfe, a certified financial planner and certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley, a subsidiary of Peapack-Gladstone Bank, in New Providence said. “In this case, if you are itemizing, you simply add up your four quarterly payments and deduct the actual cash you paid out in the year.”For the 2018 tax year, however, things have changed. Because of the new tax plan limiting the so-called SALT deduction, which includes state and local income and property taxes, you may not be able to deduct all of your property taxes. You’re up against a $10,000 limit per year, Wolfe said. read more »

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How does the Senior Freeze work for multi-unit homes?

NJMoneyHelp - 2/25/2019

In general, the Senior Freeze is a property tax reimbursement program in New Jersey. It reimburses seniors and disabled persons for property tax increases, said Patricia Daquila, a certified financial planner and certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley, a subsidiary of Peapack-Gladstone Bank, in New Providence. She said the amount of property taxes paid in the current year must be more than the “base year.” In your case, you have both a multi-unit property and multiple owners of the property, Daquila said. read more »

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How does the Senior Freeze work for multi-unit homes?

nj.com - 2/25/2019

“If you own a property that was your principal residence with someone other than your spouse or civil union partner, then your property tax reimbursement is based on your percentage of ownership in the year that you apply,” Patricia Daquila, a certified financial planner and certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley, a subsidiary of Peapack-Gladstone Bank, in New Providence said. “In addition, if your principal residence was a unit in a multi-unit property that you owned, then you would enter for each year the proportionate share of the property taxes for the unit you occupied and owned as your principal residence.”read more »

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After a divorce, who gets these deductions?

nj.com - 2/20/2019

IRS publication 504 says that if your divorce or separation instrument states that you must pay all of the mortgage payments and your home is jointly owned, then you can deduct and your spouse must include as alimony half of the total payments," Laurie Wolfe, a certified financial planner and certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley, a subsidiary of Peapack-Gladstone Bank, in New Providence said. "You can claim the other half as mortgage interest expense, if the home is a qualified home."Your home is a qualified home if it is your main home or a second home, Wolfe said.If your divorce or separation instrument does not state that you must pay this, then you would deduct all of the mortgage interest you paid as an itemized deduction and none of it would be considered alimony, Wolfe said. read more »

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Will you get a smaller refund? Probably. But are you really paying more in tax?

nj.com - 2/13/2019

The tax professionals we surveyed said they haven't seen any real trends yet, but they are seeing surprises. "Employees had more take-home pay because this was sold as a middle income tax cut, but it doesn't seem to be working out that way," said Cynthia Fusillo, certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley, a subsidiary of Peapack-Gladstone Bank, in New Providence. She said she's only completed two returns so far this season. One was for a 64-year-old single filer who lost $15,862 in itemized deductions and $4,050 of an exemption. The taxpayer had a lower adjusted gross income (AGI), but taxable income was higher, and he ended up with a $656 higher tax bill. Patricia Daquila, also a certified public accountant and certified financial planner with Lassus Wherley, which prepares 500 personal returns a year, said changes in the law, beyond the withholding changes, aren't all working out for her clients. "In general, it seems that the middle income taxpayers are getting hit harder due to the loss of miscellaneous deductions and [deductions for] state and local taxes over $10,000," Daquila said. read more »

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Trump State of the Union: What advisers want to hear

InvestmentNews - 2/5/2019

Mr. Trump should avoid attacks on Democrats and instead offer constructive proposals on immigration and other issues that have roiled Congress, said Diahann Lassus, president of Lassus Wherley in New Providence, N.J. "I would like to hear something that's true and positive out of President Trump," she said. In terms of specific issues, Ms. Lassus would like Mr. Trump to revisit the 2017 tax reform law that ended breaks for state and local taxes — a change that has hurt her clients in New Jersey and New York. "It would be helpful if they go back and look at tax reform measures and reinstate many of the deductions that were eliminated," she said. read more »

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It makes financial sense to downsize your home as you prepare for retirement. Here's why.

USAToday - 2/4/2019 (Open in Google Chrome to view article)

Now’s the time to change your lifestyle, says Diahann Lassus, president of wealth management firm Lassus Wherley with offices in New Providence, New Jersey, and Bonita Springs, Florida. “Figure out what is it you want to do in the next stage of your life,” Lassus says. read more »

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How to wean grown kids off your payroll, freeing up more retirement cash

USAToday - 1/28/2019 (Open in Google Chrome to view article)

“The challenge is to wean kids from your payroll to their own,” explains Diahann Lassus, president of Lassus Wherley, a wealth management firm with offices in New Providence, New Jersey, and Bonita Springs, Florida. Here’s a few tips to offloading your children's bills: Before you stop paying the kids’ bills completely, make sure they have the financial know-how and resources to weather the transition. If they learn to be fiscally responsible from the outset, they’re less likely to end up back at home. “Just like when they are young, you don’t just toss them into a pool without swim lessons," say Lassus. "You have to help them to transition so they don’t sink.” That means teaching them some basic personal finance techniques, such as avoiding credit card debt, basic budgeting, how interest rates impact monthly payments on cars and homes, and the benefits of saving early for retirement in a 401(k) or other investment savings plan. read more »

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When a Parent Plus co-signer dies

NJMoneyHelp - 1/10/2019

This is a tough one because it will depend on the specifics of the loan agreement. As an endorser or co-signer, you are not entitled to all of the same benefits as a Direct PLUS loan borrower and not all of the terms and conditions apply, said Patricia Daquila, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. read more »

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What happens to a Parent Plus loan if a co-signer dies?

nj.com - 1/10/2019

In the case of a Parent PLUS loan, the loan would be discharged upon the death or permanent disability of the parent who took out the loan, or the death of the student on whose behalf the loan was taken out, Patricia Daquila, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence said. Proof of death or disability would need to be given to the servicer in order to discharge the loan. However, in this case, your dad is the co-signer."Therefore, I would recommend reviewing the loan agreement and looking for a specific clause that mentions the co-signer or even the death of a co-signer," Daquila said. "Many private lenders have clauses that would make the entire balance payable in full if the co-signer dies or is disabled." read more »

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Are other state 529 plans better than N.J.'s?

NJMoneyHelp - 1/10/2019

Virtually every state offers a 529 plan, said Betty Thomas, a financial planner with Lassus Wherley, a subsidiary of Peapack-Gladstone Bank, in New Providence. She said each plan may be unique to each state, with some offering incentives if students are residents and attend college in the state. Thomas said the NJBEST 529 plan offers a tax-free scholarship up to $1,500 if students attend a college or university in New Jersey. read more »

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Are other states 529 Plans better than N.J.'s?

NJ.com - 1/10/2019

Some state plans offer tax deductions for residents who contribute to their state's plan, but neither New Jersey nor Alaska do. So how can you decide which plan is best for you? Betty Thomas, a financial planner with Lassus Wherley, a subsidiary of Peapack-Gladstone Bank, in New Providence said a good starting point would be to review the investment options for the 529 plan to make sure they align with your risk tolerance. "Generally, 529 plans offer age-based portfolios, meaning the allocation will adjust based on the age of the child over time," she said. read more »

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Empty nester? Here's what to do to get your finances back on track

USAToday - 1/7/2019

When it comes to money, the focus for empty nesters must quickly shift from making ends meet to setting up for a better future, says Diahann Lassus, president of Lassus Wherley, a wealth management firm with offices in New Providence, New Jersey, and Bonita Springs, Florida. “Empty nesters have to manage their money more closely and identify the best use of every dollar they have,” Lassus says. “Allocate those saved dollars to buckets of things that are important,” such as your 401(k) or emergency fund. It’s important to prepare your children to be on their own without needing a financial lifeline from you later, adds Lassus. That means going over the basics of personal finance with them, hammering home fundamentals like not living above their means, sticking to a budget, saving some money each month and not running up credit card debt. “It’s all about educating them to make sure they get off to the right start,” Lassus says. read more »

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Can my wife be charged more for Medicare?

NJMoneyHelp - 1/3/2019

First, higher-income Medicare enrollees pay an “Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amount” (IRMAA) surcharge in addition to the standard Medicare Part B and D premiums, said Jodi Cirignano, a certified financial planner and certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley, a subsidiary of Peapack-Gladstone Bank, in New Providence.Cirignano said the IRMAA surcharge is based on a household’s modified adjusted gross income (MAGI), which includes income from wages, investment income, business income, IRA distributions, pensions, Social Security and several other items. read more »

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My wife is being charged more for Medicare. Is it fair?

NJ.com - 1/3/2019

"The IRMAA surcharge is based on a household's prior-prior year MAGI," she said. "So for 2019, Social Security would use information from your 2017 tax return to determine if you have to pay an IRMAA surcharge in addition to your standard Medicare Part B and D premiums."Your spouse won her Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) appeal and received a lump sum for past-due benefits. This lump sum was reportable as taxable income and substantially increased your 2017 MAGI, Cirignano said. "Had the benefits been paid out over a multi-year period instead of a single year, you believe that the IRMAA surcharge would not have applied to your household in 2019," she said. read more »

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