Up & Coming Weekly

November 03, 2020

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM 16 UCW NOVEMBER 4-10, 2020 MONEY As we enter the last two months of 2020, you might wonder how you can improve your tax situation — especially in terms of your invest- ments. Here are a few year-end ideas to consider: Be a tax-loss harvester. In taxable investment accounts, you could sell investments that have lost value and use the losses to offset income from any capital gains you might have from selling investments that have appreciated. If you have an overall net capital loss for the year, you can deduct up to $3,000 of that loss against other kinds of income, including your salary and interest income. Unused net capital losses can carry over to future years. This strategy works best if you're in a higher tax bracket now than you expect to be in the future. Take into account any costs asso- ciated with selling investments and be aware of the IRS' "wash sale" rules, which prohibit you from clai- ming the losses if you purchase a "substantially identical" security 30 days before or after the sale of a position sold at a loss. You may want to work with a financial professional to find a replacement investment to keep you invested in the market. See your tax advisor before embarking on this type of tax-loss "harvesting." Avoid mutual funds about to pay out taxable distributions. In December, many mutual funds pay out dividends and capital gains that have accrued over the year. If you're planning to buy shares of a mutual fund in a taxable investment account, avoid purchasing funds on the verge of paying large taxable distributions. Instead, consider a more tax-efficient exchange-traded fund or mutual funds that aren't expecting large payouts. Conversely, if you were planning to sell a fund any way, you could possibly reduce taxes by selling before the dividends are distributed. Boost your tax-favorable contri- butions. If you haven't maxed out your contributions to your employ- er's retirement plan, health savings account, and/or IRA, make addi- tional contributions for 2020 if you can. If your employer suspended 401(k) matches this year and you can afford it, consider increasing your contribution to make up for the lost amounts. Traditional pre-tax contributions are deductible and reduce your taxable income in 2020, while Roth contributions will gene- rally reduce your taxable income in future years, when you take with- drawals from Roth accounts. Consider strategies in a year wit- hout RMDs. If you're older than 72 (or 70½ if you were born before July 1,1949), you typically need to take annual taxable withdrawals — tech- nically called required minimum distributions, or RMDs — from your traditional IRA or 401(k). However, you got some relief this year, as RMDs are not required because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nonetheless, you may want to consult with your financial advisor and tax professional to determine if a distribution from a traditional/ pre-tax account still makes sense. If you're in a lower tax bracket this year than you expect to be in future years, you may benefit from taking advantage of lower rates. Alternatively, if you don't need the distribution to cover expenses, you might explore if a Roth conversion makes sense. Your key motivator, in all invest- ment-related decisions, should be whether your choices will help you achieve your long-term goals. Within this framework, taxes do matter — so, do what you can to control them. EVENT Year-end tax-smart moves to consider submitted by DEBBIE BEST DEBBIE BEST, Financial Advisor at Edward Jones Investments. COM- MENTS? 910-488-7535 The Master Gardeners Virtual Gardening Symposium promises fresh ideas from gardening experts, a bounty of information and some fun for viewers. The event is packed with presentations, raff les and friendly faces. The Nov. 7 event, scheduled 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., is sponsored by the Cumberland County Master Gardener Volunteer Association. The event features guest spea- kers Joe Lamp'l, creator, executive producer and host of the Emmy- award-winning national PBS series "Growing a Greener World;" Kerry Ann Mendez, an award-winning garden educator, author and design consultant whose international gardening webinars are enjoyed by thousands; and Jason Weathington, NC State/Cumberland County Extension urban horticulture agent and landscape architect. Lamp'l will share behind-the-sce- nes tips from 9 seasons of his show. Mendez will present "The Right Size Flower Garden." Weathington will present "The Outdoor Room." "The focus of my talk will give people the confidence to go out and create an amazing space, which I think everyone desires to have but very few know how to create," said Weathington. "It's important to go back to basic landscape elements and how you can use them to our advantage. Most of us need to learn some of the basics. The event is a fundraiser to support local horticulture efforts and scholarships for Fayetteville Technical Community College hor- ticulture students. "We give two scholarships at $1,500," said Cumberland County Master Gardener Symposium Chairperson Judy Dewar. "We also offer grants to teachers who offer horticulture classes. And we strive to find ways to educate our county residents." Dewar added that this event is for every level of gardener. "There is something from the most adept gardener to the one who has never planted a seed." To register, visit w w w.eventbrite. com/ and search "Cumberland County" and select the event. Participants can also click the link https://w w w.eventbrite. com/e/cumberland-county-mas- ter-gardener-rescheduled-gar- dening-symposium-2020-ti- ckets-120442509789?aff=ebdssbe- ac&f bclid=IwAR2DyFB-H_1ysh- gyTpP7WL22TdzJd63dJaO- pA2HTMmBSyD0S1pLiqOCpjiU See what's blooming at the Master Gardeners Symposium a STAFF REPORT The Master Gardener Virtual Gardening Symposium offers presentations from experts, raff les and fresh ideas. The syposium is scheduled 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Nov. 7. The end of the year of fers an opportu- nit y to review your tax situation.

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