New Tax Rules? We Got You Covered

Tax Resources at Your Fingertips With the Tax Guide App

Access important tax rates, reference tables and Social Security information on the go with our Tax Guide App. Based on our popular tax reference sheet, the app includes the same valuable tables with the addition of easy-to-use tax calculators to help you evaluate specific scenarios for your clients. Our 2020 Tax Guide App includes updated indexed numbers.

Tax Calculators

For RMDs, marginal tax rates, estate tax liabilities, deductibility of IRA contributions and more

Reference Tables

For income tax brackets, AMT exemption amounts, estate tax rates and exclusions, IRA, pension plan limits and more

Social Security

Information including loss of benefits and taxation of benefits calculators

clic tax guide app updates 2019

Download the Tax Guide App Today

Stay up to date on important tax rates and information that can help you guide your clients through different tax scenarios. Our Tax Guide App is available for download on iOS and Android mobile devices.

download from the apple app store get it on google play available at amazon appstore
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SECURE ACT of 2019 (pt. #1)

We have a new law! The “Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act of 2019.” That is a mouthful for sure but it did pass on December 20, 2019 and President Trump signed it into law. The Act includes a number of retirement savings and employee benefit changes. Rather than go into the whole act in this one post…I thought it would be best to focus on one piece at a time. Hence the “pt. #1” of the title.

Pt. # 1

One of the key changes is the modifications to the Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) Rules. That is the age where you are required to start taking money from your traditional IRA’s. The age which was formerly set at age 70 1/2 is increased to age 72. This will be effective and applicable to distributions required to be made after December 31, 2019, with respect to individuals who attain age 70 1/2 after that date. Other plans that also are modified include 401(k), 403(b) and governmental 457 (b) plans.

The RMD rules have also changed for the beneficiaries of IRA’s and defined contribution plans. The new law states that payments to non-spousal beneficiaries must be completed by the 10th calendar year following the year of the participants death. This is regardless of whether RMD’s began before death. This effectively eliminates the “stretch RMD” option often utilized to mitigate the tax effect.

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Are You a High Net Worth Investor?

Many of our reps deal with “High Net Worth Investors.” High-net-worth investors face investment challenges that some would consider unique to their financial status. The fundamental tenets of investing apply equally to them as with any other investor, but the affluent investor needs to be mindful of issues that typically arise only from substantial wealth.

Let’s examine a few of these.

Being Too Conservative — When an individual has more assets than they think they’ll ever spend, there can be a tendency toward conservative investment. This may result in lower long-term returns that may shortchange the impact of bequests to charities or the wealth that will transfer to the next generation.

Collectibles — The affluent have a tendency to invest in their passions, and many collectibles have performed well over the years. However, one common mistake is not keeping up-to-date appraisals on record, which may have adverse consequences with regard to estate liquidity and taxes.¹

Concentrated Equity — Some senior executives accumulate large stock positions in the company that employs them.² This creates a unique risk and potentially can be managed in several ways.

DIY Mentality — Some wealthy investors have achieved a high level of success in their careers in large measure due to their intelligence, hard work, and self-confidence. This very success often carries over to the belief that building or managing successful enterprises is not dissimilar to managing great wealth. In fact, it can be quite different, requiring a whole different body of knowledge and experience.

Too Many Advisors — Affluent investors often place their investment assets with multiple advisors thinking that better results will arise from that. However, many of the key needs for larger portfolios such as risk management and tax efficiency will suffer, since there is no overarching view into the larger picture of an individual’s entire portfolio. The independent actions by separate advisors, all with the best of intentions, may actually work to sub-optimal outcomes.

With increasing wealth come even more unique challenges beyond those covered by this discussion. Consequently, if you are dealing with specific challenges with affluent investors, we encouraged you to call us for guidance that may be best suited for your clients particular needs and circumstances.


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Struggling To Find the Right Gift?

‘Tis the holiday season when many of us look forward to the upcoming festivities only to find ourselves tugged into the whirlwind of over-booked calendars, copious amounts of sugar, and the crazy rush of shopping malls. The following observation by writer and social critic James Baldwin might describe how many of us feel:

If the hope of giving
is to love the living
the giver risks madness
in the act of giving.

The Real Point of Gift-Giving

During the holidays many of us find ourselves drawn into the “madness” of gift-giving because it’s simply holiday custom. But beyond the mere ritual of gift-giving is the larger purpose, as Baldwin points out, to “love the living,” or to show appreciation.

Of course, this is how “madness” and anxiety ensue as we throw ourselves into the dizzying process of determining which gift best expresses the appreciation we’re hoping to convey.

Sadly, even as we decide which gift is the right one, we might still fail at fully accomplishing the real point in giving it.

In his article, “The Real Point of Gift-Giving,” Peter Bregman points out that the act of giving presents is based on a common misconception. The misconception being: “The bigger, more valuable the gift, the more it expresses our appreciation.”

But why isn’t this the case?

“Because gifts don’t express appreciation, people do. And when people don’t express it, neither do their gifts.”

Appreciation Is Rare in Corporate Culture

If the point of giving gifts is to show appreciation, then why don’t we simply express it directly?

One reason may be that this kind of appreciation is uncommon. Unfortunately, many of us fail to see people beyond the ways they do or don’t make our lives better. This is especially true in organizations where people are hired to fulfill certain roles and serve specific functions.

Tony Schwartz suggests that another reason we fail to show appreciation is because “we’re not fluent in the language of positive emotion at the work place”…to the point that their expression can seem awkward, contrived, or dripping with disingenuous sentimentality. Sadly, we’re more likely to be practiced at expressing negative emotions such as frustration, defensiveness, and blame.

And yet, as Schwartz observes, “Whatever else each of us derives from work, there may be nothing more precious than the feeling that we truly matter.” That we matter as people; that we matter simply for being.

A Note of Appreciation

This holiday season take a break from the hustle of the commercial mall. Instead spend a quiet night with a stack of thank you cards and write why you appreciate your co-workers. Here are a few suggestions Bregman offers about expressing appreciation:

Tell them why you appreciate them.

Not for what they do for you. Not for what they help you accomplish. Not even for what they accomplish themselves. Just for being who they are.

If you’re hesitant — maybe you think it’s too touchy-feely, too sappy — just think about what it would feel like to receive that type of note from the people around you.

Once you’ve written your notes of appreciation, all that’s left is to deliver them.

Appreciation can save us from holiday madness and, “if the hope of giving is to love the living,” might be gift enough for us all.

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So You Want to Write a Blog?

I have been writing my blog for over 3 years now. It has been a great experience for me as I learn to find my voice, reach my audience and share information on a much broader level than I ever did before. The feedback I have gotten from my peers, my clients and my contemporaries has all been positive. Many of them ask me the same question – How can I begin to write my own Blog?

With that in mind, I wanted to share some of the important lessons I have learned. Of course the most important is – “Start Now” – it is easy to set up a blog site (I use WordPress but there are many other great services available) but the hard part is just writing. Begin. Start now…that is my best advice. Other lessons I have learned include:

  1. Don’t Write in Vain – Make sure the topics you cover on your blog are backed up by actual prospect needs and pain points. Remember, people do not search for brands…they search for answers.
  2. Focus on Readability – Divide your content into concise sections if you can help it. This makes content more digestible for your audience and makes it easier for them to find the information they are looking for.
  3. Break Up Your Copy – Use bulleted lists, poll questions, embedded social media posts, graphs, charts, videos and other media to support your text and make your long form blog content seem less intimidating and more engaging.
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Are IUL Multipliers Worth the Risk?

IUL Multipliers: Upside Potential and Downside Risk
Multipliers are the buzzword of the IUL industry. While these new features can greatly improve the upside potential of an IUL, is downside protection from market loss turning into downside risk due to the fees associated with multipliers? Watch this video from Columbus Life to find out.
Watch Now
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Buy Sell Planning


Help clients protect their business – The Principal Way!

Do your clients have a strategy in place to transfer their business to the right people, at the right time, for the right amount of money? A buy-sell agreement with proper funding can be key to helping ensure the people who depend on the future of the business are protected.

Start the conversation

  • Use the quick reference guide with clients to outline the three most common buy-sell options—cross purchase, entity purchase and wait and see—as well as some things to consider.
  • Show this infographic to demonstrate the importance of funding the buy-sell agreement with adequate life and disability insurance.
  • Share business succession in 6 steps with clients to walk them through the steps a heating and cooling company took to ensure their business thrived though a transition in ownership.



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