Armstrong Financial Strategies
Morris Armstrong founded Armstrong Financial Strategies in 2001 as fee-only firm. The firm does not accept commissions or referral fees and the only source of its income is from the client. Morris has taught at Marymount College in Tarrytown, NY and has written extensively on the subject of investments, taxes and planning for Multex Investors, which Reuters purchased in 2003.
Morris has also been active in the field of divorce planning, and in 2008, the Connecticut Law Tribune recognized his efforts. The lawyers in the state voted him as one of the top three planning firms in the state.
Morris has written for and been quoted in numerous publications including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Financial Planning magazine, Wealth Manager Magazine and Yahoo Finance. His investment philosophy has been shaped by both John Bogle and Eugene Fama, and is his portfolios, which are a blend of passive and active vehicles, reflect this.
While he enjoys divorce planning, it can be draining and he prefers not to work with those couples who believe that “War of the Roses” was a manual for divorce. He enjoys his role as an Enrolled Agent helping people resolve their issues with the IRS, whether it is a notice or something more involved such as an audit or offer in compromise.
BBA, Banking, Pace University
Assets Under Management:
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Good news, life insurance proceeds paid as a death benefit are generally exempt from income tax. There are very few instances where it is taxable and those tend to be business related.
The proper procedure is to take the distribution as soon as possible after the fact. You already did this. The income is reported on your 2018 return. When you complete the 5329 make sure that you state why you failed to take it and the corrective action that you took. The penalty is 50% of the RMD and that is the amount which you ask to have waived. I would not include the penalty in the tax payment since it is very likely that the waiver will be granted.
The good old doomsday scenario! If that were to happen you would need something hard to trade with and that could include bullion coins in various sizes, non-perishable foods ( no Spam and Twinkie jokes please) and a strong personality. How much of your resources should be devoted to that depends on your conviction. That scenario, while possible is barely plausible and you would not like to have put all of your eggs in the wrong basket. Personally, I think that a 5 percent allocation to precious metals is good for a normal portfolio and for a dooms dayer, then that should be in physical form, not a tracking security.
I am sure that you mean a fee-based adviser and that is a common dilemma. Are you separating the investment management from the planning aspects of your life? What is your personal situation? Married, complex estate issues? Single, not much of a portfolio? One plan can likely be done on 2 sheets of paper and the other could easily take over 100. Remember when they released Mitt Romney's income tax return and it involved a few trusts, businesses and all? The time and knowledge it took to prepare that was substantially more than a common 1040 and I am positive was priced accordingly.
If the person is having you fill out a questionnaire and not going in-depth with the questions, looking for motives and attitudes, I would think that the fee may be on the high side.
If that also includes assets management then it really depends on how large is your portfolio. Many people who are used to dealing with commissioned investments are sometimes uncomfortable in paying for advice.
I like that question and unlike some others, I think I understand what you may be asking. I have clients who speak to me about many things because they want to follow a path and "not do anything stupid" (their words, not mine). I think that you can have plans which do not necessarily focus on retirement or for that matter, any financial goals.
For instance, younger people often ask simply how much of their income should they be saving/investing. If you consistently save about 20% of your income and invest it prudently, you will have a nest egg in the future. Is that earmarked for retirement or other goals? Does it matter? Well, it could if you need to access it early, so then you have to decide when you may want to access the fund and make sure it is in the proper bucket, (tax-deferred or taxable). Estate planning is for everyone, you should have a will and power of attorney and health care directives. If you are 25 years young and healthy and get in a horrible accident, who has the right to make a health care decision for you? Do you want people guessing or having to get a court order to be able to help you? Likely not, so get those simple documents completed.
While many people may plan with a terminal date, I can also see why some people may want a simple check-in and making sure that they are not doing anything considered financially "dumb."