FA Insights is a daily newsletter from Business Insider that delivers the top news and commentary for financial advisors.
America’s view on taxes (Think Advisor)
With the April 15th tax deadline just three weeks away, Pew Research asked the American public for their views on taxes. Of those surveyed, 53% say their share of taxes is appropriate for the benefits they receive from the federal government while 40% believe they pay too much.
Interestingly, 64% of the sample was bothered ‘a lot’ about corporations not paying enough and 61% had a similar feeling towards the wealthy. Perhaps not unexpected, 50% of Republicans and 30% of Democrats felt they paid more than their fair share of taxes.
The ins and outs of the 529 plan (Wealth Management)
The 529 plan is becoming more popular as education costs continue to rise. Wealth Management discusses what you need to know about the plan. Withdrawals from the plan are tax exempt as long as the student is at a qualified institution (most 2 or 4 year schools qualify), and the proceeds can be applied to the cost of tuition, books, fees and mandatory supplies and materials.
However, Wealth Management notes, “If the account is completely liquidated, the loss may qualify as a miscellaneous itemized deduction on Schedule A of the account owner’s 1040 tax form.” Families should be aware it may be more beneficial to take a portion of the money out each year as student loans may become more expensive over the course of the education and additional tax savings may become available.
Northwestern Mutual buys LearnVest (InvestmentNews)
Northwestern Mutual has purchased online advice platform LearnVest for its technology and comprehensive planning capabilities. InvestmentNews notes, “As part of the deal, Northwestern Mutual will be bringing on 1.5 million LearnVest users, plus 25,000 clients through LearnVest at Work, a year-old program where the company works directly with employers to provide financial planning services to employees.” Financial terms were not disclosed.
Doing your taxes is taking longer (Bloomberg)
More and more Americans are taking longer to do their taxes. In 2013, 13 million Americans filed for an extension, up 20% from 2011. Why are more and more Americans getting their taxes done later? Bloomberg delays can be attributed to not have the correct forms, waiting for other people, and a more complex tax code.
The impact of currencies on stocks (WisdomTree)
Continued US dollar strength is likely to pose problems for multinationals while providing a tailwind for foreign companies earning revenue in the US. WisdomTree compared US-based Proctor & Gamble with European-based Unilever and noted investors should be mindful that American Depository Receipts (ADRs), which are often used to trade foreign-listed companies, do not provide a hedge against currency risk. “While Unilever’s stock price has appreciated 41.0% cumulatively over the past year, the ADR price has appreciated only 9.0%. Why? The euro’s exchange rate versus the U.S. dollar depreciated 23.5% over this period; the ADR’s appreciation was thus significantly mitigated by the euro’s depreciation.”
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