SAFETY NET

In an ideal world, investors should have at least six months, and as much as two years, of living expenses set aside before they invest in stocks. Although you may not be there yet, it is a worthwhile goal. Having a sufficient cash reserve – in good times and bad – should provide flexibility and allow you to make rational, unforced financial decisions. The first step is to create a budget so that you can make saving a habit. The amount of this emergency fund should be based on your circumstances.

YEAR-END GIFTING

For 2020, you can make a tax-free gift of up to $15,000 ($30,000 if you and your spouse elect to split gifts on your federal tax return) to an unlimited number of individuals. A gift of an appreciated security is also a great way to transfer wealth while possibly reducing your future tax liability.


HSA: A TRIPLE-TAX ADVANTAGE

A Health Savings Account (HSA) is only offered in conjunction with a High-Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) – the plan type, if available, you elect during your employer’s health insurance open enrollment period. An HSA can offer much more than just an interest-bearing account to help cover out-of-pocket medical costs. It should be considered as a potential long-term vehicle to cover future medical expenses. Automatic payroll deductions present an excellent way of forced savings into an HSA and the HSA offers a triple-tax advantage: 1. Tax deduction 2. Tax-deferred growth 3. Tax-free withdrawal if used for medical expenses There are more advantages to consider. Additionally, it is good to check with the HSA’s trustee to review your investment options.

ESTATE PLANNING REVIEW

It is a sound practice to review your estate planning documents and account beneficiaries regularly to ensure that they reflect the desired distribution of your affairs. These documents include health care proxies, powers of attorney, last will and testament, and trusts. If you have not had these documents prepared or reviewed by an estate planning attorney, we encourage you to do so to ensure that your objectives will be fulfilled.

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Thomas O. Putnam founded Fenimore in 1974 with two passions: conduct in-depth, firsthand, independent investment research and serve investors with excellence and integrity. Today Fenimore Asset Management, manager of the FAM Funds, is nationally recognized, yet locally rooted and independently owned. Decades have passed, but our approach endures.

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