I am a backpacker (noun). That is, I regularly hike or travel carrying everything I may need in a backpack. I go backpacking (verb) because I love being outside and exploring areas best seen on foot. I am also a CPA (nerd) and I am forced to spend extended periods of time indoors in an office. I love backpacking. I also love (love-hate) my profession – especially when I get to help others improve their financial quality of life. It feeds my soul to be able to turn off the spreadsheets, throw on my backpack and head into the wilderness.
The Treasury Department has issued proposed guidance that clarifies eligibility for the Qualified Business Income, or QBI, deduction under Internal Revenue Code Section 199A. Prior to the proposed guidance, there was some confusion over whether insurance brokers would be considered a specified service business, subject to additional QBI deduction limitations. Treasury has proposed that the full 20 percent deduction for pass-through businesses be made available to a broad spectrum of small businesses, including insurance agents and brokers. This is welcomed news.
I must admit that the new savings account for disabled individuals did not catch my attention for a while. I am intimately familiar with Section 529 plans, having three college-aged sons and serving on the Alabama College Counts 529 Savings Plan Board. When our state Treasurer Young Boozer got behind these accounts early on and continued to support expanded legislation for them, I started researching them in earnest. The 529 ABLE account was signed into law on December 19, 2014, along with the tax extenders package for that year. The legislation is called the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, and it expanded the tax code under Section 529 (529A). How could legislation with a name like that not capture my attention? As a practicing CPA, I focused on the year end extenders and did not spend any time on the ABLE accounts. Now that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has become law, the ABLE accounts have not only been spared, they are now more robust.
Governor Ivey recently re-appointed Ron Stokes, CPA, to the Alabama College Counts 529 Plan Board. Stokes was originally appointed to the board by then-Governor Riley in 2010. Governor Ivey has re-appointed Stokes to a full 4-year term. The Alabama College Counts 529 Plan is one of the leading college savings plan in the nation.
In early August, I traveled to northern Belize for phase 2 of the financial stewardship and reporting project. I worked one-on-one with five parochial schools and the general manager’s administrative office to finish building an accounting and financial reporting system using QuickBooks software. These schools are in the Orange Walk Town and Corozal areas of Belize. On average, the schools have approximately 110 students and New Life Elementary School has almost 250 students. Only five years ago, New Life School had to close due to lack of financial support. Through the leadership of principal Ruth Ku, the community of Orange Walk, and The Belize Project in Nashville, the school is now full of students, the teachers are getting paid to serve, and the building itself is a striking presence! With a financial accounting and reporting system in place, the schools can more effectively manage resources and can apply for much needed grants from the government of Belize. I am humbled to serve the wonderful people of Belize and I look forward to a long-standing relationship with the schools as they grow and prosper.
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By Stewart Welch, reposted from AL.com:
How would you like to help your child blaze a path towards becoming a multimillionaire and teach them the value of hard work and the importance of saving for the future all at the same time? Here’s a concept that I call The Roth-Child Strategy… a play on words related to the famous Rothschild family. You may remember that during the 1800’s the Rothschild family accumulated what was believed to be the largest private wealth in the world. Their name is synonymous with wealth even today. The Roth-Child Strategy harnesses the combined power of the Roth IRA along with the power compounding of investment returns over long periods of time. Here’s an example of how it might work: