Thursday, December 31, 2015

Your Checklist to Year-End Financial Planning

The best financial decisions are made with the benefit of time, thoughtful consideration, and trusted professional advice. As tax time approaches, take the time to prepare for sound, long-term financial decisions to minimize expenses, taxes, and the headache of organizing your finances at the last minute.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

A Christmas Greeting from Mark Kemp

Merry Christmas Eve!
Let me take this opportunity to express my warmest wishes—from all of us here at Kemp Harvest Financial Group—for a joy-filled Christmas season.  The holidays are a great time to get together with extended family and friends, but it can get busy, and quickly. Our family has a few traditions we make certain we celebrate that hold meaning to us and the holiday season. At Thanksgiving, when we have our family and friends (who are more like family) around the table, we share what we are thankful to God for—usually things from the past year.  Christmastime brings about the story of the First Christmas, the simple truth of Jesus’ miraculous birth, which our family always reads together. Merrymead’s Live Nativity is something we visit every year, and our family is always rolling on the floor with laughter after the annual reading of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barb Robinson. You can bet my family knows my Christmas theme song is “I’m Getting Nuttin’ For Christmas” and if you ask them, they’ll tell you why.
One more tradition that serves for both our home and office: we participate in Operation Christmas Child. This is a once-a-year gift-giving effort to provide a shoebox full of toys, school supplies and hygiene items to children around the world who could never expect to receive a Christmas present otherwise.
Finally, let me leave you with my prayer that your holidays (no matter which ones you cherish and celebrate) will be blessed.
With Gratitude,
Mark Kemp & Family

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Setting Your Lifestyle Ceiling

As we approach the holidays each year, it becomes a wonderful time to spend with family and friends. It also becomes a time to step back, count our blessings, and reflect on how fortunate we are. You might also find that your budget is tighter this time of year, and a little concerned about how that will impact 2016. Let’s take a moment to quiet those concerns, and talk about lifestyle ceilings.

Imagine yourself as a high school senior (which may be painful, depending on how you styled your hair back then), and consider your options for after graduation. College could’ve been an option, but it wouldn’t necessarily have been a guarantee. Chances are, the likelihood of entering the workforce was much higher. Today, it’s pretty much expected that anyone who wants to attend college can. They might end up with student loans, they might have to work their way through it, they might even live at home to save costs, but it’s very much a given.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Gift Taxes: What to Expect

With only two weeks until Christmas, gifts seem to be high on everyone’s radar. While this article is about gift-giving, it’s not necessarily about those presents wrapped under the tree. Gifts, in the IRS’ mind, qualify as any transfer made without receiving full (or any) value in return. The gift tax is applied on these transfers, whether or not the giver intends for it to be a gift. This might sound like a damper on the holiday season, but the gift tax may not be exactly what you expect.

The Basics
The federal government imposes a substantial tax on gifts of money or property above certain levels. Without such a tax, someone with a sizable estate could give away a large portion of their property before death and escape estate taxes altogether. For this reason, the gift tax acts more or less as a backstop to the estate tax. Yet few people actually pay a gift tax during their lifetime. A gift program can substantially reduce overall transfer taxes; however, it requires good planning and a commitment to proceed with the gifts.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Deck the Halls (and Save Your Money)

Christmas is a time of togetherness and tradition – but it can too easily turn into a financial nightmare. If you’re buying gifts, planning parties, decorating the house, baking cookies, singing carols, and trying to make sure everyone’s happy, Christmas gets a little overwhelming. We’ve gathered a few tips to help you de-stress, save money, and enjoy the season.