Client Memos

Asset Allocation Review

As the stock market continues to reach all-time highs, we want to encourage you to review your investable assets to make sure your asset allocation is still appropriate based on your goals and risk tolerance.

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Estate Taxes

“Tis impossible to be sure of any thing but Death and Taxes”  – Christopher Bullock (1716)

Federal estate taxes, gift taxes, and generation-skipping taxes compose our current “transfer” tax system.  Estate taxes are imposed upon and paid by the taxable estate before distribution (or transfer) to the beneficiaries.  In contrast, inheritance taxes are imposed upon and paid by the beneficiaries for assets inherited. The federal tax system has used each method in the past but currently uses the “estate” tax system, while the states generally use the “inheritance” tax system.

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Planning for Long-term Care

In light of our population’s current demographics and projected longevity, there is a heightened need for long-term care planning.  More people than ever before are expected to require long-term care services and rely on those services for a greater period of time.  In addition, health care costs tend to rise more quickly than general inflation which raises the question of how to pay for long-term care services.  Can you self-insure or should you purchase insurance coverage?  How will you manage a long-term care need?

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Planning for Incapacity

Estate planning is an integral part of any financial plan and encompasses more than just the distribution of assets at death.  Advance healthcare directives and financial powers of attorney are crucial components of any estate plan as they permit trusted individuals to manage your medical, financial, or legal affairs in the event of your incapacitation. As a sudden illness or an accident may make these documents immediately necessary, now is the time to create or review your incapacity planning documents.

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Don’t Waste A Low Tax Bracket

A low tax bracket is a terrible thing to waste!

When calculating your income tax liability, there are three core components:

  • Gross income, which includes income from all sources
  • Adjustments to income, which include items such as IRA contribution deductions and student loan interest deductions
  • Deductions, which consist of either the standard deduction or itemized deductions such as medical expenses, mortgage interest, state and local taxes, and charitable deductions.
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GJIC named to the CNBC Financial Advisor Top 100 list

It is with great pride we announce that Gamble Jones Investment Counsel has been named to the CNBC FA 100 list.  The CNBC FA 100 celebrates the financial advisory firms that top the list when it comes to offering “the best, most comprehensive planning and financial services to help clients navigate their financial lives.”

Gamble Jones ranked 15th on the list of the top 100 firms in the nation.  We want to take this opportunity to thank our clients for putting their trust in Gamble Jones for the last 64 years.  We will continue to strive to offer outstanding service to help you and your loved ones reach your financial goals.

To see the entire FA 100 list, please visit

Employer Benefits

Are you obtaining the maximum utility from your employer benefits?  Whether you are a new employee or are approaching retirement, it is important to understand and utilize the benefits provided by your employer.  

Generally, employer benefits include retirement plans, health care-related benefits, group insurance options, education assistance, and vacation benefits.

Retirement Plan Benefits: If your employer offers a pension plan, you will likely be automatically enrolled.  In some cases, you will have a choice between two different pension options that will accrue benefits using different methodologies.

In lieu of, or in addition to a pension, many employers offer salary deferral arrangements, such as 401(k) and 403(b) plans.  Is there an employer match, and are you maximizing this benefit?  Are you taking advantage of “catch-up” contributions at age 50?  Are you trying to decide between a pre-tax deferral or a post-tax (Roth) deferral? Do you understand the pros and cons of each? 

Do you have access to a deferred compensation plan or incentive stock options?  If so, what are the rules, restrictions, and tax considerations?

Health Care Benefits: While you likely have access to a group health care plan, do you have access to a flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA)?  Are you aware of the tax benefits and accumulation restrictions?  If you have young children, do you have access to a dependent care flexible spending account?

Group Insurance Policies: Does your employer offer group life, disability, or long-term care insurance?  Before obtaining a policy in these areas, research the options through your employer as you may qualify for lower rates and less stringent underwriting requirements.

Education Assistance: Many companies provide tuition assistance or tuition reimbursement programs.  In addition, as a result of the CARES Act, in 2020 employers may pay employees up to $5,250 for student debt repayments, and the payments will not be taxable to the employee.

Vacation Benefits: Is your plan subject to a “use it or lose it” rule, or are you paid-out at the end of the year or the end of employment? Don’t forget to review your vacation benefits and use your vacation time.

As a part of our financial planning process, we will help you make the most of your employer’s benefits, so contact us today to start your financial plan.