Until The Twelfth of Never

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Gray Easterling
Gray Easterling

I think I remember that Johnny Mathis sang a song by this title in the 60’s. It was, and remains, a slow dance love song that promises a long lasting relationship. I was at a wedding this past weekend, and the same emotions were plainly in view. The happy moment of making a vow is—and should be—a powerful anchor in a couple’s life together. Even in the glow of true love, some couples may think that perhaps, if only for accountability, they should keep their financial assets separate and apart from the person they just committed to “until the twelfth of never, and that’s a long, long time.” An article in the November 11, 2013 Wall Street Journal listed some talking points that may help with this important decision.

 

The account that has your name on it alone may not be separate property under the law. In Louisiana, assets you acquire after marriage are generally the property of both parties, according to this article. If you are not sure, consult with your attorney and tax advisor if your intent is to keep certain assets as separate property. Having individual accounts may encourage management of those accounts in isolation rather than as part of an overall financial strategy. Discussing financial objectives and tolerance for risk will give your financial advisor some direction as he works to provide balance in your holdings. On another level, separately owned property may be a greater risk in a bankruptcy or lawsuit. Joint ownership may be a deterrent for creditors or litigants going after your property because, if successful in their action, they will end up owning a half interest in an asset. Liquidating is much more difficult without control. Finally, having separate owned assets can create additional headaches after the death of one spouse. There can be challenging administrative hurdles that could delay simple tasks, like bill paying. There are reasons for maintaining separate accounts or properties. My suggestion is that you discuss your individual situation with an experienced estate attorney before any final decisions are made.

 

Here are a few 2014 tax facts that will make your day. The Social Security wage base increases to $117,000, up $3,300 from the cap in 2013.  If your modified adjusted gross income for 2012 exceeded $170,000, you will pay higher Medicare Part B and D premiums. Your standard mileage rate declines to 56 cents per mile from 56.5 cents per mile. Figure that one out. Finally, only $25,000 of business assets can be expensed. The 50% bonus depreciation has ended.

 

I don’t remember shedding a tear while serving in Vietnam. Now, I have evolved into a crybaby. Last night, the ACM Salute to the Troops shown was on TV. The show had active duty armed force participants singing with well-known country singers. Awesome! Tears rolled down my cheeks feeling and watching the love and support this audience gave these troops. You may not agree with the mission, but you have to (hopefully) believe that these men and women are doing their almighty best to protect us from known and unknown enemies. What these troops do for this country, God does for us. Each and every moment, He is watching over us. From Psalm 103: “As a father cares for his children, so does the Lord care for those who fear him. For he himself knows whereof we are made; he remembers that we are but dust.” And dust is what I have in my house as we are re-doing a bath. So, for Beverly, from Zach Brown Band: “when you drive and the years go flying by, I hope you smile if I ever cross your mind. It was a pleasure of my life and I cherished every time and my whole world, it begins and ends with you.”

 

Although this information has been gathered from sources believed to be reliable, it cannot be guaranteed.  This material is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed or acted upon as individualized tax, legal or investment advice.  FSC Securities Corp does not offer tax or legal advice.   Securities, insurance and investment advisory services offered through FSC Securities Corporation, member FINRA/SIPC and a registered investment advisor 3416 North Blvd, Alexandria, LA 71301, (318) 448-3201.  The views expressed are not necessarily the opinion of FSC Securities Corporation.