Newsletters

Old North State Trust publishes a monthly newsletter in conjunction with Broadridge Forefield as a service to clients and friends. The information contained in these publications is intended to provide general information about issues related to trust, investment, and estate related topics.  Readers should be aware that the facts may vary depending upon individual circumstances.  The information contained in these publications is intended solely for informational purposes, is proprietary to ONST and is not guaranteed to be accurate, complete or timely.

Quiz: Test Your Interest Rate Knowledge

In December 2015, the Federal Reserve raised the federal funds target rate to a range of 0.25% to 0.50%, the first rate increase from the near-zero range where it had lingered for seven years. Many economists viewed this action as a positive sign that the Fed had finally deemed the U.S. economy healthy enough to […]

Ten Year-End Tax Tips for 2016

Here are 10 things to consider as you weigh potential tax moves between now and the end of the year.   1. Set aside time to plan Effective planning requires that you have a good understanding of your current tax situation, as well as a reasonable estimate of how your circumstances might change next year. […]

Top Financial Concerns of Baby Boomers, GenXers, and Millennials

Many differences exist among baby boomers, Generation Xers, and millennials. But one thing that brings all three generations together is a concern about their financial situations. According to an April 2016 employee financial wellness survey, 38% of boomers, 46% of GenXers, and 51% of millennials said that financial matters are the top cause of stress […]

What are my health-care options if I retire early?

If you’re eligible for an early-retirement package from your employer, determine whether post-retirement medical coverage is included.These packages sometimes provide medical coverage until you reach age 65 and become eligible for Medicare. Given the high cost of medical care, you might find it hard to turn down an early-retirement package that includes such coverage. If […]

Should I accept my employer’s early-retirement offer?

The right answer for you will depend on your situation. First of all, don’t underestimate the psychological impact of early retirement. The adjustment from full-time work to a more leisurely pace may be difficult. So consider whether you’re ready to retire yet. Next, look at what you’re being offered. Most early-retirement offers share certain basic […]

I’m thinking about asking my parents to move in with me and my family. Is there anything I need to consider?

Many members of the “sandwich generation”–a group loosely defined as people in their 40s to 60s who are “sandwiched” between caring for their own children and aging parents–find themselves in the position of raising a family and looking after the needs of aging parents. If the time has come when you and your parents think […]

Understanding the Net Investment Income Tax

It’s been around since 2013, but many are still struggling to come to grips with the net investment income tax. The 3.8% tax, which is sometimes referred to as the Medicare surtax on net investment income, affected approximately 3.1 million federal income tax returns for 2013 (the only year for which data is available) to […]

Be Prepared to Retire in a Volatile Market

In an ideal world, your retirement would be timed perfectly. You would be ready to leave the workforce, your debt would be paid off, and your nest egg would be large enough to provide a comfortable retirement–with some left over to leave a legacy for your heirs.   Unfortunately, this is not a perfect world, […]

Investors Are Human, Too

In 1981, the Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Shiller published a groundbreaking study that contradicted a prevailing theory that markets are always efficient. If they were, stock prices would generally mirror the growth in earnings and dividends. Shiller’s research showed that stock prices fluctuate more often than changes in companies’ intrinsic valuations (such as dividend yield) […]

Common Financial Wisdom: Theory vs. Practice

In the financial world, there are a lot of rules about what you should be doing. In theory, they sound reasonable. But in practice, it may not be easy, or even possible, to follow them. Let’s look at some common financial maxims and why it can be hard to implement them.   Build an emergency […]

Step-Up GRATs and QPRTs

A traditional grantor retained annuity trust (GRAT) or a traditional qualified personal residence trust (QPRT) can be used to obtain a valuation discount for federal gift tax purposes while removing the trust property from your estate for federal estate tax purposes (if you survive the trust term). By modifying a few trust provisions, a step-up […]

Life Insurance Options After Retirement

Life insurance can serve many valuable purposes during your life. However, once you’ve retired, you may no longer feel the need to keep your life insurance, or the cost of maintaining the policy may have become too expensive. In these cases, you might be tempted to abandon the policy or surrender your life insurance coverage. […]

Four Reasons Why People Spend Too Much

You understand the basic financial concepts of budgeting, saving, and monitoring your money. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re in control of your spending. The following reasons might help explain why you sometimes break your budget.   1. Failing to think about the future   It can be difficult to adequately predict future expenses, […]

Should You Buy or Lease Your Next Vehicle?

Buying considerations Leasing considerations Ownership When the vehicle is paid for, it’s yours. You can keep it as long as you want, and any retained value (equity) is yours to keep. You don’t own the car–the leasing company does. You must return the vehicle at the end of the lease or choose to buy it […]

Projecting a Happy Retirement

A 2015 study found that 41% of households headed by someone aged 55 to 64 had no retirement savings, and only about a third of them had a traditional pension. Among households in this age group with savings, the median amount was just $104,000.1   Your own savings may be more substantial, but in general […]

Can I make charitable contributions from my IRA in 2016?

Yes, if you qualify. The law authorizing qualified charitable distributions, or QCDs, has recently been made permanent by the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015.   You simply instruct your IRA trustee to make a distribution directly from your IRA (other than a SEP or SIMPLE) to a qualified charity. You must […]

Can I name a charity as beneficiary of my IRA?

Yes, you can name a charity as beneficiary of your IRA, but be sure to understand the advantages and disadvantages.   Generally, a spouse, child, or other individual you designate as beneficiary of a traditional IRA must pay federal income tax on any distribution received from the IRA after your death. By contrast, if you […]

What are some tips for organizing financial records?

Organizing your financial records is a cyclical process rather than a one-time event. You’ll need to set up a system that helps you organize incoming documents and maintain existing files so that you can easily find what you need. Here are a few tips.   Create your system: Where you should keep your records and […]

How long should I keep financial records?

There’s a fine line between keeping financial records for a reasonable period of time and becoming a pack rat. A general rule of thumb is to keep financial records only as long as necessary. For example, you may want to keep ATM receipts only temporarily, until you’ve reconciled them with your bank statement. But if […]

Nearing Retirement? Time to Get Focused

If you’re within 10 years of retirement, you’ve probably spent some time thinking about this major life change. The transition to retirement can seem a bit daunting, even overwhelming. If you find yourself wondering where to begin, the following points may help you focus.   Reassess your living expenses   A step you will probably […]

Four Lessons Grandparents and Grandchildren Can Learn Together

If you’re a grandparent, maintaining a strong connection with your grandchildren is important, but that may become harder over the years as they leave for college or become busier building their careers and families. While they’re just starting out financially, you have a lifetime of experience. Although you’re at opposite ends of the spectrum, you […]

Understanding Stock Market Indexes

No doubt you’ve seen headlines reporting that a particular stock index is up or down. But do you know what an index is, and how understanding the nuts and bolts of a specific index may be helpful to you?   An index is simply a way to measure and report the fluctuations of a pool […]

How can I manage the net investment income tax?

If you are subject to the 3.8% net investment income tax, there are strategies that may help you manage that tax. The tax is applied to the lesser of your net investment income or the amount by which your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) exceeds the applicable income tax threshold. MAGI is basically adjusted gross […]

Do I have to pay an additional tax on investment income?

You might, depending on a few important factors. A 3.8% net investment income tax is imposed on the unearned income of high-income individuals. The tax is applied to an amount equal to the lesser of: Your net investment income The amount of your modified adjusted gross income (basically, your adjusted gross income increased by an […]

Can You Get to a Million Dollars?

Often in life, you have investment goals that you hope to reach. Say, for example, you have determined that you would like to have $1 million in your investment portfolio by the time you retire. But will you be able to get there?   In trying to accumulate $1 million (or any other amount), you […]

Cost of Living: Where You Live Can Affect How Rich You Feel

Do you find yourself treading water financially even with a relatively healthy household income? Even with your new higher-paying job and your spouse’s promotion, do you still find it difficult to get ahead, despite carefully counting your pennies? Does your friend or relative halfway across the country have a better quality of life on less […]

Rates on the Rise: Strategies for Fixed-Income Investors

A long period of low yields has been challenging for many fixed-income investors, but owning bond investments in a rising interest-rate environment could become even trickier. When interest rates go up, the prices of existing bonds typically fall. Consequently, the Federal Reserve’s rate-setting decisions could affect the entire fixed-income market.   Still, bonds are a […]

Should I delay taking my first RMD?

Your first RMD from a traditional IRA and an employer retirement plan must be taken for the calendar year in which you turn 70-1/2. However, if you’re still working, you can delay RMDs from your current employer’s plan until the year you retire (but only if allowed by the plan and you are not a […]

What are required minimum distributions (RMDs)?

Traditional IRAs and employer retirement plans such as 401(k)s and 403(b)s offer several tax advantages, including the ability to defer income taxes on both contributions and earnings until they’re distributed from the plan.   But, unfortunately, you can’t keep your money in these retirement accounts forever. The law requires that you begin taking distributions, called […]

Quiz: Which Birthdays Are Financial Milestones?

When it comes to your finances, some birthdays are more important than others. Take this quiz to see if you can identify the ages that might trigger financial changes.   Questions   1. Eligibility for Medicare coverage begins at what age? a. 62 b. 65 c. 66   2. A child can stay on a […]

Filing Your 2015 Federal Income Tax Return

Whether you’re preparing your own tax return or paying someone to do it for you, tax season can be a stressful time of year. Make things easier on yourself by pulling all your information together sooner rather than later–that includes a copy of last year’s tax return, W-2s, 1099s, and any deduction records you have. […]

Changes to Social Security Claiming Strategies

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 included a section titled “Closure of Unintended Loopholes” that ends two Social Security claiming strategies that have become increasingly popular over the last several years. These two strategies, known as “file and suspend” and “restricted application” for a spousal benefit, have often been used to optimize Social Security income […]

What is compound interest?

When Benjamin Franklin died in 1790, he left the equivalent of $4,400 each to the cities of Boston and Philadelphia in his will, under the condition that the money be loaned and invested. He stipulated that the cities would have access to a portion of the funds after 100 years and receive the remaining funds […]

Give Your Retirement Plan an Annual Checkup

Financial professionals typically recommend that you review your employer-sponsored retirement savings plan annually and when major life changes occur. If you haven’t revisited your plan yet in 2015, the end of the year may be an ideal time to do so.   Reexamine your risk tolerance   This past year saw moments that would try […]

Periodic Review of Your Estate Plan

An estate plan is a map that explains how you want your personal and financial affairs to be handled in the event of your incapacity or death. It allows you to control what happens to your property if you die or become incapacitated. An estate plan should be reviewed periodically.   When should you review […]

When a Saver Marries a Spender, Every Penny Counts

If you’re a penny pincher but your spouse is penny wise and pound foolish, money arguments may frequently erupt. Couples who have opposite philosophies regarding saving and spending often have trouble finding common ground. Thinking of yourselves as two sides of the same coin may help you appreciate your financial differences.   Heads or tails, […]