Financial Resources & News

IRS Releases Standard Mileage Rates for 2024

Due to recent increases in the price of fuel, the IRS has increased the optional standard mileage rates for computing the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business purposes for 2024. However, the standard mileage rates for medical and moving expense purposes are reduced for 2024. The standard mileage rate for computing the deductible costs of operating an automobile for charitable...

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Monthly Market Update (January 2024): 3 Things You Need to Know

The resilience of the U.S. economy will likely be a continuing theme in the months to come, as will be the Fed’s timing (the Fed elected to hold interest rates steady at the first Federal Open Market Committee meeting of the year on January 31st). Here are 3 things you need to know: The S&P 500 recorded new highs and was up +1.59% in January. The Magnificent 7 accounted for 45% of the...

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SECURE 2.0 Provides New Retirement Savings Options in 2024

The SECURE 2.0 Act, passed in December 2022, made wide-ranging changes to U.S. tax laws related to retirement savings. While some provisions were effective in 2023, others did not take effect until 2024. Here is an overview of some important changes for this year. Matching student loan payments Employees who make student loan repayments may receive matching employer contributions to a workplace...

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Is Investing in the Stock Market Akin to Gambling?

Many prospective clients that we work with do not have any investments saved since they believe that the stock market is akin to gambling. I would like to take some time to illustrate why that sentiment is wrong and how probability, Roulette, and financial planning are all (somehow) related to each other. The chart below highlights the fact that the stock market had a 53.6% chance of having an...

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Monthly Market Update (December 2023): 3 Things You Need to Know

The excitement about potential cuts to interest rates continued in the markets and investors had much to cheer as the year closed out with the S&P 500 index approaching its all-time high (4797 level). Here are 3 things you need to know: Gains in the broader market were largely driven by the “Magnificent 7” (Alphabet, Amazon, Nvidia, Meta, Apple, Tesla, and Microsoft). They accounted for...

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Key Estate Planning Documents You Need

There are five estate planning documents you may need, regardless of your age, health, or wealth: Durable power of attorney Advance medical directives Will Letter of instruction Living trust The last document, a living trust, isn't always necessary, but it's included here because it's a vital component of many estate plans. Durable Power of Attorney A durable power of attorney (DPOA) can help...

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Important Medi-Cal Changes Effective in 2024

As we wrap up 2023, it’s important to be introspective and think about what’s on the horizon for 2024. If your brain associated “2024” with “the November 2024 US presidential election”, don’t worry. I’m not going to be discussing that because I don’t want to go down that rabbit hole and I’m in a good mood today. What I do want your mind to associate “2024” with is the positive change to Medi-Cal...

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Tax Alert: Transfer of Clean Vehicle Tax Credits Starting in 2024

Federal tax credits may be available to help offset your cost to purchase certain clean vehicles (including electric, plug-in hybrid, and fuel cell vehicles). Starting in 2024, you may be able to elect to transfer the new and previously owned clean vehicle tax credits to dealers who are eligible to receive advance payments of either credit. You will receive an immediate financial benefit from...

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Melissa Ronnie – Welcome to the Team!

Please join us in welcoming Melissa Ronnie to Benefit Financial Services Group (BFSG). Melissa joins the BFSG team as a Client Service Specialist. She focuses on the client relationship experience and provides clients with account assistance. We are looking forward to the positive impact she is going to make at BFSG and for our clients. Welcome Melissa!

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What is a Qualified Dividend and How Does it Work?

In the landscape of investments, dividends play a significant role, particularly for investors seeking steady income. Among the various types of dividends, "qualified dividends" stand out due to their favorable tax treatment.  Let's explore what qualified dividends are, how they work, and see an example to better understand their impact. What is a Dividend? As a stock shareholder, you are...

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New Short-Term Rental Tax Filing for California

Starting in 2024, California is mandating owners of short-term rental properties to file the new personal property tax statement (Form BOE 51-STR– page 32-33). According to the California Senate Bill No. 60, Chapter, 307, a “short-term rental” in the state refers to any residential property or portion of a residential property that is rented to an individual or group for 30 consecutive days or...

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Monthly Market Update (November 2023): 3 Things You Need to Know

Markets closed November in a positive mood thanks to tentative signs of economic moderation in the U.S. and falling inflation across developed markets. Here are 3 things you need to know: The S&P (+9.1%) saw the best month since July 2022, and reversed three months of losses. It was the best month for the Bloomberg US Bond Aggregate Index (+4.53%) since May 1985. Real estate’s (U.S. REITs)...

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College Cost Data Released for 2023-2024

Every year, the College Board releases new college cost data and trends in its annual report. The figures published are average cost figures based on a survey of approximately 4,000 colleges across the country. Over the past 20 years, the average price for tuition, fees, and room and board has increased 38% at public colleges and 29% at private colleges over and above increases in the Consumer...

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Maximizing Impact: The Benefits of Year-End Charitable Gifting

Imagine all the peopleSharing all the worldYou You may say I'm a dreamerBut I'm not the only oneI hope someday you'll join usAnd the world will live as one John Lennon - Imagine On this GivingTuesday, many people can use help this year given the geopolitical events around the world and here in the U.S. as people are still trying to deal with the impact of inflation. Reimagine a world built upon...

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A Changing Landscape: California Home Insurance

As wildfires in California become more frequent and intense, considering the need for wildfire insurance has never been more important. For homeowners and residents in high-risk areas, understanding how this insurance works is crucial to safeguarding your real estate investment and for peace of mind. The Basics Most standard homeowner's insurance policies include coverage for fire damage,...

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