Sunday, April 20, 2014
   
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CNBC Andy discusses the effect on the markets of the upcoming Congressional deadlines to fund the government and raise the debt ceiling on CNBC’s Power Lunch.

View the CNBC video here.
The Washington Post "In an era of talking heads and politicized television shows, he seeks to stay objective and talks about how people can improve their investment returns."

Read the full Washington Post article here.
Research Magazine "Andrew Friedman is keeping the advisor lecture circuit abuzz with highly specific prognoses on how Washington policy affects finance." 

View the full article by clicking here.
Jeff Bush "...our clients really appreciated your insights, opinions and thought provoking suggestions. Your involvement helped make our event a huge success!"

— Scott Welch, CIMA®
Senior Managing Director
Investment Research & Strategy
Fortigent, LLC
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The Washington Update from Andy Friedman

White Papers

Midterm Elections

The Midterm Elections (And a Peek Toward 2016)

With fiscal deadlines out of the way for 2014, attention is now turning toward the 2014 midterm elections. This white paper covers a variety of Washington political matters: the reason for rampant partisanship in Washington and what it means going forward, what is likely to happen in the midterm elections, and a glimpse toward the presidential election of 2016.  Read more...

 

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Congress Raises the Debt Limit: Is This the End of the Budget Battles?

Congress has passed legislation permitting the federal government to continue to borrow funds through March 15, 2015. Coupled with the agreement reached last December to fund the government through September 30, 2015, this action eliminates the prospects of additional fiscal showdowns for at least the remainder of 2014. But these battles are likely to return next year.
Read more...

 

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Important Dates to Watch in 2014

Looking forward into 2014, four dates – February 7, March 31, April 15, and November 4 – stand out as pivot points for events that could affect the markets, particular industries, and tax and financial planning. This white paper discusses why these dates are important and how investors can prepare now for changes that are likely to occur.  Read more...

 

Andy Friedman Washington whitepapers

A Budget Compromise is Reached, But Unresolved Issues Remain

Congressional negotiators have reached a modest agreement to fund the federal government for the next two years. The agreement does not, however, raise the nation’s borrowing limit, leaving an important issue unresolved for 2014. This paper describes the compromise and the fiscal issues remaining for Congressional action in 2014.  Read more...

 

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Health Care Reform Takes Effect:
What Choices Do Businesses and Individuals Have?

The Administration has announced that it will not penalize businesses for failing to provide health insurance to employees before January 2015. This action represents a significant deferral of the one of the key requirements of health care reform (“Obamacare”). But the remaining parts of the law – including the requirement that uncovered individuals purchase health insurance – remain scheduled to begin in January 2014. This white paper explains, in an easy-to-read four pages, the parts of the health care reform law that affect businesses and individuals, and what individuals and businesses must do – and the decisions they must make -- before the law takes effect in January 2014. The paper also explains the purported goals of the health care reform law and the extent to which the law is likely to achieve those goals. Members may read the white paper here.   Read more...

 

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The Upcoming Debt Limit Debate:
What Tax and Entitlement Changes are in Store?

The United States government has once again hit its borrowing limit.  The government was permitted to borrow only through May 18, after which it can continue to operate without additional borrowing for about four months.  Sometime this fall, Congress will have to raise the debt limit to prevent the United States defaulting on outstanding debt.  The Republicans are demanding changes to entitlement programs – Social Security and Medicare – as a quid pro quo for their approval to raise the borrowing limit.  President Obama has provisionally accepted these changes, if the Republicans agree to new taxes.  The President has proposed a number of tax changes he wants to see enacted.  This white paper discusses the proposed entitlement changes, provides a detailed analysis of the proposed tax changes, and predicts the likelihood of the eventual Congressional passage of each.  Read more...

 

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Combining Trusts and Life Insurance to Avoid Tax In the Wake of the Fiscal Cliff Compromise

To minimize estate taxes, investors often transfer assets to an irrevocable trust.  Assets transferred grow outside of the donor’s taxable estate, and thus pass to heirs entirely free of estate tax.  But investment earnings in an irrevocable trust are subject to income tax at the highest tax rate.  And that maximum tax rate has risen substantially in the wake of the compromise reached last December to avoid the “fiscal cliff”.  This white paper discusses how investors may reduce income taxes imposed on an irrevocable trust while still using the trust to reduce estate and gift taxes due.  Read more...

 

US Capitol

The Sequester Cuts Take Effect: Now What Happens?

Congress has permitted the government spending cuts, known as the sequester, to begin on March 1. But Congress faces other deadlines that could affect the implementation of those cuts. This paper discusses the background of the sequester cuts, their implementation, and how Congress is likely to handle the other approaching deadlines.  Read more...

 

Behind the Fiscal Cliff Compromise

Behind the Fiscal Cliff Compromise

This paper summarizes the elements of the fiscal cliff compromise reached on New Year’s Eve, and discusses how the compromise affects future income tax rates and wealth transfer.  Read more...

 

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Still Poised on a Cliff: Wealth Transfer Opportunities after the Fiscal Cliff Compromise

At the eleventh hour on New Year’s Eve, Washington negotiators reached a compromise to avoid the “fiscal cliff” – the looming combination of tax increases and spending cuts that threatened to throw the country back into recession.  The fiscal cliff compromise included a number of favorable estate and gift tax provisions.  However, the compromise also left Congress with a short-term need to address other deadlines and a lingering desire to enact comprehensive tax reform.  Addressing those matters is likely to lead to further wealth transfer tax changes, some of which might restrict current gifting techniques.  This white paper discusses the elements of the compromise, estate and gift tax changes that might be upcoming, and how individuals can begin to plan in light of these developments.  Read more...

 

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Investing in a Rising Tax Environment:
The Roth Conversion Opportunity

Tax rates are likely to rise at year end as Washington considers whether to permit some or all of the Bush tax cuts to expire. On the other hand, tax reform efforts in 2013 could reduce rates. Fluctuating tax rates provide an interesting arbitrage opportunity for Roth IRA conversions in 2012. Investors who expect to remain in the same tax bracket in retirement might wish to convert their IRA to a Roth IRA this year, so that they can receive future earnings tax-free. If tax rates then fall next year, they can act before October 2013 to re-convert back to the traditional IRA. This white paper discusses the rules governing Roth IRA conversions (and re-conversions) and identifies the types of investors who might be well-advised to pursue this strategy.  Read more...

 

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A Unique Opportunity to Transfer Wealth Without Tax:
Combining Trusts, Life Insurance, and Annuities

Investors have an unprecedented opportunity to transfer wealth to future generations free of gift and estate taxes, provided they act before the end of 2012. By using a trust and taking advantage of unusual investment opportunities, the gifted assets can grow free of income taxes as well as estate taxes, providing an even greater legacy for heirs in future years. This white paper explains how investors can take advantage of this new opportunity.  Read more...

 

tax compromise

Investing in a Rising Tax Environment 2012

The Bush tax cuts are slated to expire at the end of 2012 and it is quite unclear Congress and the Administration will agree to extend them -- at least for affluent families -- in this election year. This white paper reviews strategies investors and advisors can consider now that may blunt the effects of future tax increases.
Read more...

 

moneytree_tbPreparing for a Secure Retirement: The 401(k) Rollover

Recent years have seen a decline in retirement asset values, the elimination of many corporate pension plans, and threats to the long-term viability of the Social Security system.  Now more than ever it is important that retirement assets be invested wisely in vehicles that can produce a reliable income stream, have the potential for appreciation, and can lower downside risk.  Unfortunately, 401(k) plans may not offer the sort of sophisticated investment choices that can best achieve these results.  This white paper discusses how investors may take control of their retirements by moving their 401(k) assets to IRAs that provide a broader array of investment choices, and in what circumstances they are well-advised to do so.  Read more...

 

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Investment Opportunities and The High Federal Budget Deficit

The federal budget deficit is projected to reach a new high in 2011, exceeding even the record deficits of recent years. The high deficit may portend ominous consequences for the economy and the government’s ability to continue to function in its present state. But it also provides opportunities for investors. This white paper describes the extent to which Washington is likely to address the federal budget deficit and how investors can profit from -- or at least blunt the negative effects of -- the current fiscal situation.  Read more...

 

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Jeff Bush discusses the budget situation in Washington D.C. and its impact on the future direction of taxes.

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