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Biz Brain: You Or An Accountant? Prepping For Tax Time

NJ.com - 2/22/2017

As you start to gather all your documents to prepare your tax returns, this is the perfect time to ask. It all has to do with your personal situation and how comfortable you are with the tax law, its quirks and the forms you'd need to complete. If your tax returns are not too complex, then you may be able to do your tax returns on your own, said Patricia Daquila, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. read more »

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You Or An Accountant? Prepping For Tax Time

NJMoneyHelp - 2/22/2017

“If you have a W-2 and not too many other sources of income or deductions, then it is possible,” Pat Daquila, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence said. “However, there are many complexities in the income tax law may benefit you to have a tax professional prepare your returns.” Daquila said there are several factors that you should consider. read more »

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Biz Brain: Trump's Tax Plan And Your Tax Return

NJ.com - 2/13/2017

The Trump tax plan involves a major rewriting of the tax code, but it does not include personal exemptions at all. The plan would eliminate the personal exemption all together and increase the standard deduction for joint filers to $30,000 (up from $12,600) and to $15,000 for single filers, said Laurie Wolfe, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. read more »

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Trump's Tax Plan And Your Tax Return

NJMoneyHelp - 2/13/2017

There is nothing in Trump’s plan that indicates a change in the way retirement contributions are treated, but the lowering of overall tax rates does affect the value of the deduction — or pre-tax treatment in paychecks, Laurie Wolfe, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence said. She offered this example: If you are in the 25 percent bracket now, your $18,000 401(k) contribution, net of federal taxes, is $13,500. This is the amount your pay will decrease in order to get $18,000 into the plan. If your tax rate decreases to 12 percent, your pay will decrease by $15,840 ($18,000 X (1-.12)). read more »

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Biz Brain: Can I Deduct My Home Gym?

NJ.com - 2/9/2017

The IRS defines medical expenses as payments for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, or payments for treatments affecting any structure or function of the body. Sometimes, exercise equipment can qualify as a valid medical expense, said Cynthia Fusillo, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. read more »

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Can I Deduct My Home Gym?

NJMoneyHelp - 2/9/2017

“You would have to have a doctor advise you that it’s necessary,” Cynthia Fusillo, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence said. “Assuming you did get doctor’s orders, you would then have valid substantiation to purchase a piece of equipment and deduct the cost as a medical expense.” Note that a piece of exercise equipment you already owned prior to your injury would not qualify, she said. read more »

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Special Report: Trump's Exec Orders, Your Wallet

NJMoneyHelp - 2/3/2017

Undoing the fiduciary standard puts investors and consumers at risk, said Diahann  Lassus, a certified financial planner and certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. She said “fiduciary” is a much higher standard than the “suitability” standard brokers have typically operated under. “‘Suitability’ only requires that the recommendation be appropriate to the client’s objectives rather than being in the client’s best interest,” Lassus said. “This is something that is needed today when individuals are struggling to save enough to retire with a 401(k) and IRAs because pension plans are quickly disappearing. read more »

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Memories From NJCC's 80 Years Of The Walk To Washington

New Jersey Chamber of Commerce - 2/1/2017

“In the early years when I did the Walk to Washington, I was able to spend quite a bit of time with Sen. Frank Lautenberg [who passed away in 2013]. He was always one of my favorites because he supported women in business and women’s rights. He was a true believer in equality. It’s an incredible opportunity for connections. You have so many intelligent, driven people all in one place. That doesn’t happen very often." - Diahann Lassus read more »

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Special Report: Dow 20,000. What's Next?

NJMoneyHelp - 1/26/2017

The Dow hitting 20,000 is important as a symbol of markets moving up, but for long-term investors it’s a reason to smile for a moment but nothing more,” said Diahann Lassus, a certified financial planner and certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. “And the reality is that we could see Dow 20,000 many more times over the next few years as we go through corrections and then work our way back up over time.” read more »

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Biz Brain: When Christie's Gone, Will Estate Tax Return?

NJ.com - 01/20/2017

We can't predict what will happen when the new governor -- whoever that will be -- takes office in January 2018. Here's what we do know. In the fall of 2016, Gov. Christie signed into law the reduction and repeal of the New Jersey estate tax. "As of Jan. 1, 2017, the New Jersey estate tax exemption increased from $675,000 to $2 million," said Patricia Daquila, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. "This means when a New Jersey resident dies during 2017, then his or her estate would not be subject to New Jersey estate taxes unless the value of their estate was greater than $2 million." read more »

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When Christie's Gone, Will Estate Tax Return?

NJMoneyHelp - 1/20/2017

If the resident dies on or after Jan. 1, 2018, there would be no state estate tax due. The deceased’s estate could owe estate taxes on the federal level, but only if the estate is worth more than $5.49 million in 2017. That exemption amount is adjusted annually for inflation. Even though the state estate tax changed, the bill did not eliminate the state’s inheritance tax, Patricia Daquila, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence said. read more »

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Biz Brain: The Lower Sales Tax Isn't Much For Consumers

NJ.com - 01/16/2017

In terms of whether there's a real savings for the consumer, you're correct. There isn't much. Laurie Wolfe, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence said the savings on a $10 purchase is one penny, so unless you have a big ticket item, you are not going to feel it. The savings to be seen is being sold by its promoters as having the potential to offset the gasoline tax, Wolfe said. "The average cost to the consumer of the gas tax is often cited at $150 to $200, with the savings from the sales tax being said to average about $100 per household," Wolfe said. "So it may be helpful to think more in terms of annual savings than on specific purchases." read more »

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The Lower Sales Tax Isn't Much For Consumers

NJMoneyHelp - 1/16/2017

Pennies do matter, and the state's website does directly address this issue. Their answer to the dilemma is to round to the nearest cent, said Laurie Wolfe, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. "The tax is calculated to the third decimal point. If that digit is five or higher, you round up to the next penny," Wolfe said. "If it is lower than five, you round down. In this way, the hope is to average out the fractional amounts overall." read more »

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Biz Brain: When Your Fund Makes A Big Change

NJ.com - 01/12/2017

Your investment, the Financial Select Sector SPDR (XLF), is an exchange-traded fund that eliminated its exposure to real estate via a special dividend paid to XLF shareholders, said Jodi Cirignano, a certified financial planner with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. She said XLF shareholders received 0.139146 shares of the Real Estate Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLRE) for each XLF share owned. This special dividend is partially taxable, Cirignano said. read more »

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When Your Fund Makes A Big Change

NJMoneyHelp - 1/12/2017

“Based on current estimates, 35 percent of the dividend is taxable as ordinary income and 65 percent as a non-taxable return of capital to XLF shareholders,” she said. “When corporate actions such as this one trigger a change affecting the tax basis of securities, the issuer must file a Form 8937 to provide additional tax information.” The issuer, XLF, filed Form 8937, which can be found at www.spdrs.com, she said. According to Form 8937, the total dividend per XLF share was $4.5292, with $2.9588 representing a non-taxable return of capital per XLF share, Jodi Cirignano, a certified financial planner with Lassus Wherley in New Providence said. read more »

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Biz Brain: About The New Tax Savings For N.J. Seniors

NJ.com - 01/04/2017

Your question is about that last one, the retirement income exclusion. Married couples -- who are both either at least 62 years of age or disabled and who file jointly -- could exclude the first $20,000 in retirement income on their New Jersey returns, said Cynthia Fusillo, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. For single, qualifying widow/widower and heads of household filers, the exclusion was up to $15,000, Fusillo said. Single filers could exclude up to $10,000. read more »

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Tax Savings For NJ Seniors

NJMoneyHelp - 1/04/2017

“The new law increases this exclusion up to $100,000, which will be phased in over a four-year period for married joint filers, $50,000 for married separate filers, and $75,000 for everyone else,” Cynthia Fusillo, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence said. “This is a positive change that will affect many taxpayers and, coupled with the elimination of the estate tax in 2018, it is hoped to keep folks in state longer.” New Jersey has always been one of the most expensive places for retirement, and with the estate tax, the state was one of the most expensive places to die. Seems times are changing. read more »

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Biz Brain: Trump, Volatility And The Stock Market

NJ.com - 01/02/2017

Some sectors of the stock market have done well in anticipation of President-elect Donald Trump's administration, but market watchers say uncertainty is the key phrase in play. That's because Trump and his team haven't given many details about his policies. Generally speaking, the markets don't like uncertainty, and the more uncertainty we have, the higher the likelihood of continued volatility, said Charles Pawlik, a certified financial planner with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. read more »

 

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Trump, Volatility And The Stock Market

NJMoneyHelp - 1/02/2017

Some sectors of the stock market have done well in anticipation of President-elect Donald Trump’s administration, but market watchers say uncertainty is the key phrase in play. That’s because Trump and his team haven’t given many details about his policies. Generally speaking, the markets don’t like uncertainty, and the more uncertainty we have, the higher the likelihood of continued volatility, said Charles Pawlik, a certified financial planner with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. read more »

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How To Avoid Holiday Credit Card Debt

NJMoneyHelp - 12/22/2016

The holidays are always a very tough time to control spending. The sales begin with Black Friday and continue even past the holidays with after-Christmas sales. But you can control your spending. It takes a little planning and a lot of self-control. Studies have shown that people spend more money when using their credit cards, said Patricia Daquila, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. If you want to avoid the danger of overspending, you may want to consider paying for your purchases by using either cash or a debit card, Daquila said. read more »

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How To Value Items You Give To Charity

NJMoneyHelp - 12/19/2016

Donating goods to charitable organizations is something many of us have done at one time or another, and if comes in handy when it’s tax time. Whether the items consist of clothing, books, toys or other household goods such as appliances and furniture, valuing such items should not be a daunting task if certain guidelines are followed, said Cynthia Fusillo, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. read more »

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Hiring Someone To Manage Your Money

NJMoneyHelp - 12/12/2016

“When you work with an advisor that operates under a fiduciary standard, that advisor is legally required to act in your best interests and put your needs before their own needs or that of their firm,” said Charles Pawlik, a certified financial planner with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. “This is in contrast to advisors that operate under a `suitability’ standard, which requires only that an investment is suitable for a client at the time the investment is made.” Pawlik said a fiduciary is also required to be transparent about and disclose all potential conflicts of interest that may be present when making investment recommendations to you. read more »

wsj-thumb.jpgThe Despondent Voter's Guide To Trump And Money

Crain's Wealth - 11/23/2016

“There’s nothing wrong with making your portfolio a little more conservative, if that makes you sleep at night,” said Diahann Lassus, president of wealth management firm Lassus Wherley, based in New Providence, N.J., which has clients on both sides of the political aisle. With the S&P in the stratosphere, many portfolios are probably due to be rebalanced from stocks into bonds, anyway." read more »

wsj-thumb.jpgFinancial Planners Play Therapist To Paralyzed Liberals

Financial Advisor - 11/22/2016

“There’s nothing wrong with making your portfolio a little more conservative, if that makes you sleep at night,” said Diahann Lassus, president of wealth management firm Lassus Wherley, based in New Providence, N.J., which has clients on both sides of the political aisle. With the S&P in the stratosphere, many portfolios are probably due to be rebalanced from stocks into bonds, anyway." read more »

wsj-thumb.jpgFinancial Planners Play Therapist To Paralyzed Liberals

Bloomberg - 11/22/2016

“There’s nothing wrong with making your portfolio a little more conservative, if that makes you sleep at night,” said Diahann Lassus, president of wealth management firm Lassus Wherley, based in New Providence, N.J., which has clients on both sides of the political aisle. With the S&P in the stratosphere, many portfolios are probably due to be rebalanced from stocks into bonds, anyway." read more »

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As Markets Panic Over Trump Win, What Should You Do?

New Jersey 101.5 - 11/9/2016

It’s all about uncertainty. And uncertainty breeds volatility. “We saw a violent knee-jerk reaction overnight to election results that were a complete surprise and totally against what the financial markets had expected leading up to the election,” said Diahann Lassus, a certified financial planner and certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. read more »

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An NJMoneyHelp.com Special Election Report

NJMoneyHelp - 11/9/2016

Now isn’t the time to panic and flee the stock market with your long-term money. You probably won’t sell in time to avoid significant losses today, and as long as you don’t sell, those losses are only on paper. Diahann Lassus, a certified financial planner and certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence said if you’re a long-term investor, you should continue to think long-term and don’t let the current uncertainty drive you to make decisions you may regret. “We have been through many different periods and presidents and we have managed to survive them all whether we agree with them or not,” she said. “So take a deep breath and step back from your portfolio for now.”read more »

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How To Estimate Taxes For Freelancers

New Jersey 101.5 - 11/4/2016

The general rule is that an individual is required to make payments of estimated taxes if the amount of tax they pay through withholding will not cover their tax liability, said Laurie Wolfe, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. You said you work as a freelancer, which implies that you will be treated as an independent contractor — as opposed to an employee who would be subject to withholding tax, Wolfe said. read more »

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Estimated Tax Payments For Freelancers

NJMoneyHelp - 11/4/2016

If you do not make the required estimated payments, you will be charged a penalty based on a percentage of the underpayment for each of the four quarters. In order to avoid an underpayment of estimated tax penalty each quarter, Laurie Wolfe, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence said, you must pay 25 percent of either 90 percent of the current year’s tax liability, or 100 percent of the prior year’s tax liability. You’d have to pay 110 percent of the prior year’s liability if you are married and make more than $150,000 per year, or if you are single and make more than $75,000 per year, she said. ead more »

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How You Can Hunt Down An Old Pension

New Jersey 101.5 - 10/26/2016

For most people, the first step in finding information about pension benefits at a former job would be to contact the human resources department at the former employer, said Jodi Cirignano, a certified financial planner with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. But your case is not as clear cut because Pantry Pride went through several ownership changes and has been out of business for almost three decades, Cirignano said. read more »

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Tracking Down An Old Pension

NJMoneyHelp - 10/26/2016

The next best step would be to contact the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), she said. “The PBGC is an agency of the U.S. government that protects employees participating in private-sector defined benefit plans,” she said. “In the event that an employer-sponsored plan becomes insolvent, the PBGC guarantees a basic level of pension benefits to participants.”  read more »

A Snowbird Flight Plan

Money - 10/25/2016

"You may not want to make a permanent exit from a locale where friends and family are near. But as the weather cools, many people in colder states start daydreaming about a retirement that includes months-long fun in the sun as a snowbird. "You can live a more relaxed lifestyle, " says Diahann Lassus, president of Lassus Wherley, a financial-advisory practice in New Providence, N.J. and Bonita Springs, Fla., that counts many snowbirds among its clients. It's a big change in your life and finances, so spend at least one full season renting before you buy." read more »

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Teaching Teens About Money

New Jersey 101.5 - 10/25/2016

Clare Wherley, a certified financial planner and certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence said if you decide to go ahead, you can plan fun “no money dates” with the teens, and it will give you teachable moments. “`No money dates’ can be whatever you want them to be,” she said. “The objective is to show the teens that it is possible to have fun with little or no money.” read more »

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Avoiding Fights, Teaching Teens About Money

NJMoneyHelp - 10/25/2016

If you get into fights with your brother because you want to talk to his teenagers about money, there may be deeper triggers for your brother when talking about money, said Clare Wherley, a certified financial planner and certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. “With that being said, depending on how much you want to help your nephews, ask yourself are you willing to deal with the repercussions of your brother,” Wherley said. “If your answer is yes, then offer advice, don’t lecture, and be genuine and truthful in what you tell them.” read more »

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Women In The Workplace: A 'Business Imperative' For Companies That Want To Succeed

Enterprise-New Jersey Chamber of Commerce - 10/17/2016

“Women make up more than 50% of the population. If you want to have a company that is marketing to this huge marketplace, then you have to create a workforce that is representative of that, " said Diahann W. Lassus, president of Lassus Wherley, a financial services firm in New Providence, NJ and Bonita Springs, FL. read more »

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Can You Use That IRA To Invest In A Business?

New Jersey 101.5 - 9/29/2016

“It would seem, at first blush, that this is a great idea,” said Cynthia Fusillo, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. “The money, after all, is yours.” And, she said, your own business venture is not on the list of prohibited investments. She said life insurance, certain derivatives, real estate, coins and antiques/collectibles are all no-nos in IRAs. read more »

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Can My IRA Invest In A Business?

NJMoneyHelp - 9/29/2016

“Not only are there prohibited investments in IRAs, but there are also prohibited transactions, which we tend to hear less about,” Cynthia Fusillo a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New providence said. “These include taking a loan from your IRA, using it as collateral for a loan, or buying personal use property with IRA funds, to name a few.”The bottom line is if you use IRA money to invest in a business, it will be considered a prohibited transaction and the IRS will consider the funds used as a distribution to you, Fusillo said. read more »

njMoneyHelp-thumb.jpgYes, Donald Trump--You Actually Can Learn A Lot From Tax Returns

Money - 9/28/2016

Knowing what a person earns is helpful, but understanding where the income is coming from is the cornerstone of a financial plan, says Diahann Lassus of Lassus Wherley, a financial planning firm with offices in New Jersey and Florida. "What is the largest source of income? Is it earned income or a trust they don’t have any control over? That can drive a lot of the other information," Lassus. read more »

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3 Most Important Things We Can Learn From Donald Trump's Tax Returns

Fortune - 9/28/2016

Knowing what a person earns is helpful, but understanding where the income is coming from is the cornerstone of a financial plan, says Diahann Lassus of Lassus Wherley, a financial planning firm with offices in New Jersey and Florida. "What is the largest source of income? Is it earned income or a trust they don’t have any control over? That can drive a lot of the other information," Lassus says. read more »

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Column: You Can Learn A Lot From Tax Returns

Reuters - 9/28/2016

Knowing what a person earns is helpful, but understanding where the income is coming from is the cornerstone of a financial plan, says Diahann Lassus of Lassus Wherley, a financial planning firm with offices in New Jersey and Florida. "What is the largest source of income? Is it earned income or a trust they don’t have any control over? That can drive a lot of the other information," Lassus says. read more »

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What Should I Do If My 401(k) Stinks?

CBS News - 9/15/2016

“Since you’re bearing all the risk, it’s important that you choose wisely.” Lisa McKnight a certified financial planner with Lassus Wherley in New Providence said. Although you are limited to the funds within the plan, you do have control over which ones and the types of investments to use. These should be based on your risk tolerance and investment horizon, she said. read more »

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What To Do When Your 401(k) Stinks

New Jersey 101.5 - 9/9/2016

There’s a lot to consider here. If your employer offers a 401(k) and will match a percentage of your contributions, you should definitely take advantage of it, said Lisa McKnight, a certified financial planner with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. She said most employers offer a matching contribution up to a certain percentage of your salary. read more »

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When Your 401(k) Investments Stink

NJMoneyHelp - 9/9/2016

As you noted, in a company-provided 401(k), you are limited to choosing among the investment choices, typically mutual funds, that the plan offers. “While your company may give you information about the funds, you’ll need to figure out which ones are best for you,” Lisa McKnight a certified financial planner with Lassus Wherley in New Providence said. “Since you’re bearing all the risk, it’s important that you choose wisely.” McKnight said although you are limited to the funds within the plan, you do have control over which ones and the types of investments to use. read more »

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Options For Inherited IRA Distributions

New Jersey 101.5 - 9/6/2016

Before you set aside additional dollars into an individual IRA, Jodi Cirignano a certified financial planner with Lassus Wherley in New Providence, recommends you evaluate your cash needs and reserves. “As a general rule of thumb, maintaining a reserve of three to six months of expenses is a sound practice,” she said. “You may need more or less than this level depending on your individual circumstances, such as job stability and your financial responsibilities, so it’s important to review your cash needs periodically.” As for your inherited IRA, this is a special type of IRA, and you have some distribution choices that can work to your advantage. read more »

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Options For Inherited IRA Distributions

NJMoneyHelp - 9/6/2016

First, saving a portion of your salary in your company’s 401(k) plan is a great financial habit to help prepare for your non-working years, said Jodi Cirignano, a certified financial planner with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. She said the government strongly supports this habit and offers tax incentives to encourage people to save in 401(k)s and in other retirement accounts such as IRAs. “However, the government also imposes penalties to discourage use of the funds prematurely, so it’s important to have a cash reserve so you don’t have to tap retirement accounts for living expenses or emergencies,” she said. read more »

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When Your Child Works For A Charity

NJMoneyHelp - 9/1/2016

The IRS says that certain amounts are not deductible as charitable contributions, and one category of these is a gift to an individual, said Cynthia Fusillo, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. Unfortunately, she said, your situation falls within this category. read more »

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How A 'Lifetime Catch-Up Contribution Works'

New Jersey 101.5 - 7/21/2016

Catch-up contributions were added to the tax code by Congress in response to a fear that baby boomers were not saving enough for retirement. They allow taxpayers turning 50 in a calendar year to make an additional contribution for that year — and subsequent years — to certain retirement plans, said Cynthia Fusillo, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. read more »

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What Is A "Lifetime Catch-Up Contribution?"

NJMoneyHelp - 7/21/2016

“The plans that potentially offer these catch-up contributions are 401(k), 403(b), 457 plans — all of which we will refer to as employer-sponsored plans — as well as IRAs,”Cynthia Fusillo, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence said. “Currently the catch-up amount is up to $6,000 annually for the employer-sponsored plans and up to $1,000 annually for IRAs.” Fusillo said that employer plans are not required to permit catch-up contributions, although statistics show that over 90 percent of them do. read more »

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How To Handle Paying Taxes On A Summer Job

New Jersey 101.5 - 7/19/2016

In order to avoid an underpayment of estimated tax penalty each quarter you must pay 25 percent of the following: 1. 90 percent of the current year’s tax liability. 2. 100 percent of the prior year’s tax liability (or 110 percent if you are married and make more than $150,000 per year, or if you are single and make more than $75,000 per year).  Laurie Wolfe, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence said an alternative calculation is allowed where an individual earns income unevenly throughout the year. read more »

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Paying Taxes On A Summer Job

NJMoneyHelp - 7/19/2016

The general rule is that an individual is required to make payments of estimated taxes if the amount of tax they pay through withholding will not cover their tax liability, said Laurie Wolfe, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. She said if you do not make the required amount, you will be charged a penalty based on a percentage of the underpayment for each of the four quarters. read more »

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Deducting A Part-Time Rented Home

New Jersey Coalition For Financial Education - 7/15/2016

In order to figure out the tax treatment of a residence you rent out, you have to add up the number of rental days and the number of personal days. If the number of personal days you used the property exceeds the greater of 14 days or 10 percent of the number of days you rented the property out, then the property is considered to be used as a home,” said Laurie Wolfe, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. read more »

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Deducting A Part-Time Rented Home

New Jersey 101.5 - 7/12/2016

If you do not use your property enough for it to be considered a home under this test, then the property is considered primarily a rental property, with some personal use, Laurie Wolfe, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence said. The expenses are still allocated between the rental piece and the personal piece. read more »

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Deducting A Part-Time Rented Home

NJMoneyHelp - 7/12/2016

In order to figure out the tax treatment of a residence you rent out, you have to add up the number of rental days and the number of personal days. If the number of personal days you used the property exceeds the greater of 14 days or 10 percent of the number of days you rented the property out, then the property is considered to be used as a home,” said Laurie Wolfe, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. read more »

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Understanding Credentials For CFPs And CPAs

New Jersey 101.5 - 6/3/2016

“CPAs are trained to integrate the income and estate tax implications of financial decisions into a client’s overall planning, helping client’s optimize their after-tax income and returns,” Jodi Cirignano, a certified financial planner with Lassus Wherley in New Providence said. “Many CPAs also have experience in advising business owners on issues such as personal and business financing, business succession issues and cash flow management.” read more »

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CFP? CPA? The Lowdown On Credentials

NJMoneyHelp - 6/3/2016

Financial planners who are certified financial planners, or CFPs, have extensive experience and education in comprehensive financial planning, including the areas of insurance, investment, income tax, retirement and estate planning, said Jodi Cirignano, a certified financial planner with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. When you choose to work with a CFP who is a licensed certified public accountant, or CPA, you may obtain access to an even broader range of services and subject matter expertise, particularly in the areas of business planning, tax planning and tax preparation, Cirignano said. read more »

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Deciding On When To Take Social Security

New Jersey 101.5 - 5/31/2016

The age at which you can start receiving Social Security benefits can range from as early as 62 — it can be earlier, but only if you are a survivor or on disability — to age 70, said Lisa McKnight, a certified financial planner with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. read more »

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When Should I Take Social Security?

NJMoneyHelp - 5/31/2016

The decision of whether to delay Social Security is a trade-off. You’d give up benefits now in exchange for higher payments in the future. Choosing to receive your Social Security benefits at age 62 could mean a reduction of benefits of up to 30 percent compared to what you would receive at your fill retirement age,” Lisa McKnight, a certified financial planner at Lassus Wherley in New Providence said. read more »

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Understanding The Taxation Of Unemployment Benefits

New Jersey 101.5 - 5/23/2016

“Many folks don’t realize that their unemployment income is, in fact, federally taxable and are surprised when they file their returns, so your accountant is correct in that you should request federal withholding,” Cynthia Fusillo, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence NJ, said. Fusillo said if you believe your actual liability on this income will exceed 10 percent, you can supplement the amount by making quarterly estimated tax payments.  read more »

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Taxation Of Unemployment Benefits

NJMoneyHelp - 5/23/2016

You may have federal income tax withheld from your unemployment compensation on a voluntary basis, said Cynthia Fusillo, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. In order to do so, you must complete and submit IRS form W-4V, Voluntary Withholding Request, Fusillo said. However, there is only one option if you do choose to have federal tax withheld: 10 percent.; read more »

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How To Help Set A College Freshman's Budget

New Jersey 101.5 - 5/19/2016

On top of the thousands of dollars we are paying for tuition, room and board, fees, meal plans, computers and books, it can be very hard to imagine that your student will require even more money, said Lisa McKnight, a certified financial planner with Lassus Wherley in New Providence.read more »

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How To Set A College Freshman's Budget

NJMoneyHelp - 5/19/2016

“Freshmen will need money for personal items such as toiletries, dorm accessories, school supplies, cash for the laundry room, as well as money for outside meals, snacks and entertainment (movies or a concert),” Lisa McKnight, a certified financial planner with Lassus Wherley in New Providence said. “Even if your freshman has an unlimited meal plan they certainly will want to break the monotony of institutional food with a meal out with friends now and then.”read more »

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New Providence Council Honors Lassus Wherley

TAPinto - 5/5/2016

Mayor Al Morgan complemented the company for being “a great community partner.” He continued: “Anything that this town does you are always in the forefront helping us out.”read more »

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Tax Return Extensions: What You Really Need To Know

New Jersey 101.5 - 5/5/2016

An important thing to note is that an extension does not allow more time for you to pay what you owe,” Cynthia Fusillo, a certified public accountant at Lassus Wherley in New Providence, said. “Your tax balance for 2015 was still due to be postmarked by April 18, 2016. read more »

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What Tax Return Extensions Really Mean

NJMoneyHelp - 5/5/2016

First, let’s clarify what an extension actually is. The IRS and State of New Jersey allow for a six month extension of time to file your tax return, said Cynthia Fusillo, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. Filing an extension will give you until Oct. 17, 2016 to complete your 2015 return. read more »

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How NJ Taxes Your Retirement Accounts

New Jersey 101.5 - 5/2/2016

You accumulate basis when you make a contribution to a tax-deferred retirement account and you do not get a tax deduction for that contribution, said Patricia Daquila, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. She said certain retirement accounts are not tax deductible for New Jersey, and you would have basis for those contributions.read more »

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How NJ Taxes Your Retirement Accounts

NJMoneyHelp - 5/2/2016

But your federal basis can differ from your New Jersey basis, Patricia Daquila, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence said, therefore the taxable amount of your distributions for federal tax may differ from the state. “Contributions to a 401(k) plan are tax deferred for New Jersey if the contributions were made after Jan. 1, 1984,” Daquila said. “However, 401( k) contributions made prior to Jan. 1, 1984 were not tax deductible and you would have accumulated basis for those contributions.” read more »

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DOL’s Conflict Of Interest Rule: NAPFA Responds

NAPFA Advisor - April 2016

It is a major step forward for the financial planning profession, and I couldn’t be more excited to see this take place. The elevation of the standard for advice under this rule could be the single biggest event in the profession to date, and it is definitely a tremendous win for professional financial planners, Diahann W. Lassus, President of Lassus Wherley in New Providence NJ and NAPFA-Registered Financial Advisor said. read more »

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Explaining Value Investing

New Jersey Coalition For Financial Education - 4/22/2016

The basic idea surrounding value investing is very much what it sounds like: a focus on purchasing stocks that an investor believes to represent good “value” as far as the purchase price, said Charles Pawlik, a certified financial planner with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. It is very much akin to going shopping and trying to find a good discount on your purchase, he said. read more »

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Taxes On Retirement Account Withdrawals

New Jersey 101.5 - 4/21/2016

Typically, the contributions made to a 401(K) plan are done on a pre-tax basis, said Laurie Wolfe, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. This means that you are not paying income taxes on the earnings you use to make the contribution — though you will pay Social Security taxes on this, Wolfe said. read more »

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Taxes On Retirement Account Withdrawals

NJMoneyHelp - 4/21/2016

It is possible to contribute to a 401(K) on an after-tax basis if the plan allows. This is not typical, especially in light of the availability of Roth contributions. Any monies you take out of a 401(K), if all contributions were made on a pre-tax basis, are fully taxable at ordinary income tax rates, Laurie Wolfe, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence said. Further, if you are under the age of 59 1/2, you will pay a 10 percent early withdrawal penalty unless you meet certain exceptions. read more »

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Explaining Value Investing

New Jersey 101.5 - 4/18/2016

“It is very much akin to going shopping and trying to find a good discount on your purchase, Charles Pawlik, a certified financial planner with Lassus Wherley in New Providence said.“Value investing aims to invest in stocks that are currently trading below what an investor determines to be/believes to be the actual value of the stock,” he said. read more »

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What Is Value Investing?

NJMoneyHelp - 4/18/2016

The basic idea surrounding value investing is very much what it sounds like: a focus on purchasing stocks that an investor believes to represent good “value” as far as the purchase price, said Charles Pawlik, a certified financial planner with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. read more »

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Bamboozled: Understanding N.J.'s Misunderstood 'Exit Tax'

NJ.com - 3/24/2016

The exit tax has probably reached the status of "urban legend," said Cynthia Fusillo, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. "Much of the folklore surrounds the 'exit' of New Jersey residents retiring to states with lower or no state income tax," Fusillo said. "The exit tax is not an additional tax, a special tax or even a new tax, but merely a prepayment of the tax owed on the sale of real property by non-residents." read more »

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You'll Roll A Gutter Bowl Trying To Deduct Those Bowling League Fees

New Jersey 101.5 - 3/22/2016

“If you pay over and above the cost of the bowling activity as a gift to the organization, then that portion could be deductible.” Laurie Wolfe, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence said. If that’s the case, she recommends you seek an acknowledgement from the organization that spells out the charitable portion of your payment. read more »

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Are Bowling League Fees Deductible?

NJMoneyHelp - 3/22/2016

A payment to a religious organization is only a deductible charitable donation if it is a gift to, or for the use of, a qualified organization, said Laurie Wolfe, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. read more »

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Some Great Tips For Your First Job

New Jersey 101.5 - 3/21/2016

A major component to future success is establishing good financial habits now and sticking to them to benefit you throughout your career and into your retirement, said Clare Wherley, a certified financial planner and certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. read more »

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Smart Tips For Your First Job

NJMoneyHelp - 3/21/2016

“While saving is personal, and every person has different financial circumstances, developing a budget and starting to save now can help you take charge of your financial future,” Clare Wherley, a certified financial planner and certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence said. read more »

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Should You Hold Stocks Long Term Through Market Volatility?

New Jersey 101.5 - 3/15/2016

Charles Pawlik, a certified financial planner with Lassus Wherley in New Providence, said assuming you have a well-diversified portfolio of mutual funds, history tells us that you typically are not well-served by repositioning your portfolio in reaction to market volatility, despite the fact that it can be tempting to do so. “By selling out of stock investments during a downturn, you effectively lock in the losses that you have on paper by selling at lower prices,” he said. “If you aren’t invested in the market as it recovers, you don’t give yourself the opportunity to get back the dollars you have lost.” read more »

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Stocks: Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

NJMoneyHelp - 3/15/2016

To weather choppy markets, you should make sure that both the stock and bond funds you are invested in are well-diversified across both U.S. and international markets, said Charles Pawlik, a certified financial planner with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. He said you need to remember that diversification doesn’t just amount to owning a lot of different mutual funds. read more »

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Measuring Happiness Versus Financial Concerns

New Jersey 101.5 - 3/11/2016

Lisa McKnight, a certified financial planner with Lassus Wherley in New Providence, said other factors such as culture and values, career opportunities and work-life balance may be more important than the pay. Salary may not be the primary focus if you are making a career change and will be gaining a new set of skills and experiences that will in the long term pay off with higher income and potential, McKnight said.read more »

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If Money Can't Buy Happiness, Then What?

NJMoneyHelp - 3/11/2016

Since the beginning of time, human beings have had to work and have sought meaning in their work, said Lisa McKnight, a certified financial planner with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. That’s why it takes more than a healthy paycheck for employees to be happy on the job. read more »

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Knowing The Rules To 529 Accounts

New Jersey 101.5 - 3/7/2016

Section 54A: 6-25 of the New Jersey Gross Income Tax Act (revised statutes) states that gross income shall not include qualified distributions from a state tuition program, (including plans pursuant to section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code), said Cynthia Fusillo a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence NJ. "Qualified distributions include those used for qualified higher education expenses." "Since New Jersey does not offer credits for higher education expenses there is nothing to pro-rate and your earnings distribution would be non-taxable."read more »

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NJ Tax Treatment Of 529 Plan Earnings

NJMoneyHelp - 3/7/2016

Tax-free college accounts can be confusing when mixed with other tax benefits. The Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 turned 529 plans from tax-deferred college savings plans into tax-free college savings plans, said Cynthia Fusillo, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. read more »

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How To Report A Tax Cheat

New Jersey 101.5 - 2/12/2016

“If your sister isn’t reporting all her income, she’s not complying with tax laws and could be subject to penalties, fines and even criminal prosecution, Patricia Daquila a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence said. “You may want to discuss this with your sister and suggest that she reports her income to the IRS,” she said. “She could then go back and amend her prior year taxes to include the income.” There is a way you can report her. read more »

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How To Report A Tax Cheat

NJMoneyHelp - 2/12/2016

Of course lying to the IRS is wrong, but whether or not you should get involved with your sister’s situation is a dicey question. Your sister should be reporting all of her income from any source including her side business to the IRS, said Patricia Daquila, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. read more »

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Tax Deductions For College Students

New Jersey 101.5 - 2/8/2016

“Cynthia Fusillo, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence said 529 plans are already tax-advantaged plans allowing you to put money aside for education purposes, with the intent to later withdraw the funds tax-free. Therefore, the various education tax breaks that are available will not apply to you if you use 529 plan withdrawals to pay for these education expenses. For expenses paid by other means, several possible tax breaks exist, she said. read more »

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No Double-Dipping On College Tax Breaks

NJMoneyHelp - 2/8/2016

There is almost always a no double-dipping rule when it comes to tax benefits. Education tax credits and deductions are no different, said Cynthia Fusillo, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. read more »

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NJ Tax Tips: Is It Better To File As Head Of Household?

New Jersey 101.5 - 2/6/2016

“The other major advantage to this status is that the tax brackets are more generous to the HOH status, Laurie Wolfe a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence said. That means you will have more money taxed at the lower tax rates than if you filed single status. For example, your first $13,150 of taxable income is taxed at 10 percent, compared to $9,225 for single status filers, she said. read more »

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Should I File As Head Of Household?

NJMoneyHelp - 2/5/2016

There may be many advantages to filing head of household, or HOH. For starters, for 2015, the standard deduction for those filing with HOH status was $9,250, said Laurie Wolfe, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. That’s almost $3,000 more than if you filed using a single status. read more »

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Beware Of Lost Opportunities With Your 401(k) Savings

New Jersey 101.5 - 1/27/2016

“Once the year has ended, any underpayments are lost opportunities,” Clare Wherley, a certified financial planner and certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence said. Before we discuss your other option, we want to make sure you don’t make the same error this year. “Having had this experience, it will be important to monitor your year-to-date contributions on a periodic basis to ensure the maximum is being deferred,” Wherley said. “Establish specific dates and put them on your calendar to make sure you stay on top of this in future years.” read more »

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No Re-Do For 401(k) Savings

NJMoneyHelp - 1/27/2016

We’re afraid you’re out of luck with making additional 401(k) contributions for last year, but not all is lost. By definition, an employee’s contributions into a 401(k) plan are amounts deferred from the employee’s pay, said Clare Wherley, a certified financial planner and certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. read more »

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Making Retirement Plans For A Small Business

New Jersey 101.5 - 1/19/2016

“Both of these plans offer flexibility with regards to timing of contributions, which makes sense for a business with profits that tend to fluctuate from year to year,” Laurie Wolfe, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence said. “Both plans need to be set up by Dec. 31 of the year you wish to make contributions, but deposits can be made all the way up to the filing deadline of the tax return — including extensions.” read more »

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Retirement Plans For Small Businesses

NJMoneyHelp - 1/19/2016

Contributions to both of these retirement plans are tax deductible by the business and neither has a minimum amount that you must contribute each year, said Laurie Wolfe, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. read more »

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Things To Know When Hiring A CPA

New Jersey 101.5 - 1/11/2016

“Perhaps you have other work you’re looking to farm out that doesn’t fall under the tax prep umbrella,” Cynthia Fusillo, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence said. “You would want to determine how those other services will be billed.” You also need to know if you’d be billed, and how, if you call throughout the year with questions.“ read more »

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How To Choose A CPA

NJMoneyHelp - 1/11/2016

Understanding a pro’s fee structure is also important, said Cynthia Fusillo, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence. She said you should find out if you’ll be billed hourly or if there’s a flat fee for the preparation of a tax return.read more »

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Do Your US Mutual Funds Have Too Much Overseas Exposure?

New Jersey 101.5 - 1/6/2016

“Foreign exposure allows U.S. based companies to take advantage of the growth in emerging markets like China, India and Latin America, and earn more profits than if they were solely dependent on the U.S. economy,” Lisa McKnight, a certified financial planner with Lassus Wherley in New Providence, said. “For this reason, if you own U.S. stocks or mutual funds, you are getting considerable exposure to overseas economies.” read more »

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U.S. Mutual Funds And Overseas Exposure

NJMoneyHelp - 1/6/2016

Many large U.S. companies have lots of foreign exposure, and if you’re talking about mutual funds with hundreds of holdings, it’s going to be tough to find a set percentage for overseas exposure. But you can do some research to have a better understanding of how much business the companies in your fund do overseas. Globalization has been a boon for some of the biggest U.S. companies, said Lisa McKnight, a certified financial planner with Lassus Wherley in New Providence."read more »

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