The Source @ AXA Equitable

A Trio of Financial Gifts that Show Great Thoughtfulness – and May Reduce Taxes

Posted December 3rd, 2013 at 11:57 AM EST

This time of year, many people start to wonder about two questions: what kind of gift can I give a loved one that will never wind up in a garage sale, and how can I prepare for my annual check-in with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on April 15, 2014?

Charitable giving could be the answer. While the most cherished gift might be one that’s hand-made, AXA Equitable has some ideas for people who can’t sew, bake holiday morsels, or write music or poetry, but still want to show extraordinary thoughtfulness and generosity (while sometimes helping to reduce taxes!).

#1 Monetary Gifts Tax-Free up to $14,000
Currently, the IRS will allow gifts up to $14,000 (or $28,000 if you give jointly with a spouse) per calendar year to as many people you have on your holiday list in cash, investments, and/or property without regard to the recipient’s age and without triggering a mandatory filing of Gift Tax Form 706.

#2 Custodial Account for a Child
This can allow you to establish a savings or investment account in a child’s name to help him or her with college costs that are already running into the five figures annually. The money also can be used for expenses such as marriage or buying a house. These gifts can be very beneficial for adults looking to minimize their estate taxes.

Your options for a custodial account include savings accounts, Series EE U.S. Savings Bonds, mutual funds, or securities, the latter including stocks, T-bills, and zero-coupon bonds. These benefits are provided under the Uniform Gift to Minors Act (UGMA) and Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA). If you are considering establishing such a custodial account, please read this article on financial gifts and consider consulting with a tax advisor about your financial situation.

#3 Life Insurance Charitable Legacy Rider
If you are thinking of leaving money to charity, AXA Equitable offers clients a Charitable Legacy Rider with certain permanent life insurance policies that provide an additional 1 percent death benefit to a recognized charity of the donor’s choice. The rider, which can be attached to policies of $1 million or more, is flexible and can be changed and spread across multiple qualified charities. In addition, the rider adds no additional costs to the policy, does not increase the premium, and does not reduce cash values or cause a reduction in the death benefit. Read this article on charitable giving to learn more, and consult your financial professional.

INFOGRAPHIC: Charitable Giving around the World
Click here to download an infographic on the state of charitable giving around the world.

More information on charitable giving can be found on www.axa-equitable.com

Additional Considerations Before You Act
Some drawbacks exist to these gifting vehicles, such as reducing the amount of financial aid a student may be eligible for. In addition, once the child reaches the age of majority under state law, he or she may have access to the entire UGMA/UTMA account and may not be legally obliged to use the money for educational expenses.

If you suspect that your child or grandchild might not handle education savings responsibly and therefore hesitate to give a large gift directly to a recipient, the IRS allows you another avenue: you may pay a person’s college or other expenses, such as medical costs, on a gift-tax-exempt basis and with no dollar limits attached. Simply make out a check directly to the institution.

Another thing to keep in mind is that an adult gift recipient is fully responsible for payment of any capital gains tax on the appreciation of the gift’s value.

About AXA Equitable
In business since 1859, AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company (NY, NY) is a leading financial protection company and one of the nation’s premier providers of life insurance, annuity, and financial products and services. The company’s products and services are distributed to individuals and business owners through its retail distribution channel, AXA Advisors, LLC (member FINRA, SIPC) and to the financial services market through its wholesale distribution channel, AXA Distributors, LLC.
AXA Equitable, a subsidiary of AXA Financial Inc., is part of the global AXA Group, a worldwide leader in financial protection strategies and wealth management with 102 million clients in 57 countries as of December 31, 2012. “AXA Group” refers to AXA, a French holding company for an international group of insurance and financial services companies together with its direct and indirect consolidated subsidiaries. Find AXA Equitable on Facebook and Twitter. For more information, visit www.axa-equitable.com.

AXA Equitable and AXA Advisors do not provide tax or legal advice. Please consult with your professional tax and legal advisors regarding your particular circumstances.
GE 90060 (11/13)(Exp 11/15)

Read More

Women Bringing Home the Bacon

Posted June 6th, 2012 at 6:50 PM EST

Nearly half (42%) of the women in New York State are their families’ main breadwinners, according to data released by U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s office, based on the Joint Economic Committee “Mother’s Day Report” dated May 9, 2012.

Despite the vital role women play in our macro economy and in their families’ micro-economies, a persistent gender pay gap remains. Women in New York State make, on average, about 14.6 percent less than men, according to the report.

This gap lowers a woman’s earnings over her career and reduces her long-term assets and those of her family.

The typical woman loses nearly half a million dollars in pay over a 40-year career*.

With these wages lost, every penny needs to count. Women though are often faced with specific challenges and have distinct needs from men when it comes to financial planning strategies, especially when it comes to retirement.

Becoming aware of these differences can help women and their families take control of their hard-earned dollars. See Why Women Need To Save More Than Men.

How about you?
Are you a woman and your family’s main breadwinner? How are you managing your family’s finances? Do you have tips to share? We invite you to comment on The Source.

* The typical woman loses $431,000 in pay over a 40-year career. http://www.bpwfoundation.org/documents/uploads/EqualPayDayFactSheet2012.doc)

AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company (NY, NY) GE- 69019 (6/12)

Read More

Source Readers Score High in Financial Literacy Survey

Posted April 20th, 2012 at 4:57 PM EST

Last week The Source at AXA Equitable explored the concept of “financial literacy,” highlighting the research of two academic experts – Drs. Annamaria Lusardi and Olivia S. Mitchell.

Lusardi and Mitchell have identified three economic concepts that individuals should understand when making financial decisions:

• Compound Interest
• Inflation
• Risk Diversification

Based on these concepts, they developed three questions to measure financial literacy around the world. In support of National Retirement Planning Week 2012, we posted these three questions on The Source and invited readers to test their financial know how.

So far, the results indicate that Source readers are a financially savvy bunch with a good understanding of compound interest, inflation and risk diversification.

Click here to get the answers and results!

When it comes to financial knowledge, you can never have enough. For information and resources on a wide range of financial topics from managing family finances to saving for retirement, visit AXA Equitable’s online Learning Center.

Although we used the questions devised by Drs. Lusardi and Mitchell, the answers reported in our survey are not based on a random sample of participants and only represent the answers given by readers of the Source who opted to complete the survey.

AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company (NY, NY)

GE-68278 (4/12) (exp. 4/14)

Read More

What does it mean to be “financially literate?”

Posted April 13th, 2012 at 10:28 AM EST

The term “financial literacy” is used often, but not always clearly defined. A recent editorial in InvestmentNews (“Setting a Standard for Financial Literacy,” March 4, 2012) drew attention to this fact, pointing out how several U.S. government organizations, including the Government Accountability Office, National Financial Educators Council and the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy, all define the term “financial literacy” differently.

Having many definitions of “financial literacy,” the editorial argued, is “confusing and self-defeating for all those with an interest in making Americans become smarter about investing and managing money.”

It’s time for clarity. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has reportedly been mandated to study the existing level of “financial literacy” among retail investors and report its findings to Congress by July 21, 2012. (Source: SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION [Release No. 34–64306; File No. 4–626] Comment Request on Existing Private and Public Efforts To Educate)

Meanwhile, two academic experts on the topic – Drs. Annamaria Lusardi and Olivia S. Mitchell – are working on clarifying how to measure financial literacy. In their report, “Financial Literacy Around the World: An Overview,” (Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, June 2011) they identify three economic concepts that individuals should understand when making financial decisions:

• Compound Interest

• Inflation

• Risk Diversification

Based on these three concepts, Lusardi and Mitchell developed three questions to measure financial literacy. According to their report, “financially literate” individuals are more likely to plan for retirement.

In the support of National Retirement Planning Week 2012, AXA Equitable is highlighting Lusardi and Mitchel’s three questions, and we hope you will take a minute to anonymously answer these questions. We will post the results of the survey and the actual answers next week.

One week isn’t enough to plan for retirement, but it’s enough to start. We hope our suite of retirement planning apps, tools and online resources will help.

GE 68144 (4/12)(Exp 4/14)

Read More

The Bugaboo in the Background: Inflation

Posted March 16th, 2012 at 6:30 PM EST

News Brief from AXA Equitable: Highlights from recent notable market news reports
March 16, 2012

Better-than-estimated economic and corporate reports spurred the S&P 500 to rise above 1,400 this week for the first time in almost four years. The index is on pace for the best quarter since 1998.

So, where’s the party you ask?

Not so fast….By week’s end, both stocks and the sentiment of some experts seemed tempered by inflation concerns, fueled by rising oil and consumer prices.

“The bugaboo in the background is oil prices,” Madelynn Matlock, of Huntington Assets Advisors, told Bloomberg. “Things are improving at a slow, but steady pace. If oil prices pop up, it will be a different story.” (Bloomberg: “Most U.S. Stocks Decline as Oil Rally Bolsters Concern,” by Rita Nazareth, March 16, 2012).

Popping oil prices triggered the cost of living to increase in February by the most it has in 10 months, foreshadowing this week’s reports of consumer confidence unexpectedly falling in March.

Robert Arnott, chairman of Research Affiliates, a Pimco subadviser, warned in an InvestmentNews interview this week that the real story on inflation will soon be told.

“We’ve been protected by a sputtering economy,” he said. “If the economy regains traction and we get slow to moderate growth, we’ll see higher inflation sooner than we’d like.” (InvestmentNews: “Real Story on Inflation will soon be Told,” by Dan Jamieson, March 15, 2012)

IMPORTANT — AXA Equitable, AXA Advisors, LLC (member SIPC) and their affiliates do not provide tax/legal advice, or investment or market research. The quotes provided in this News Brief have been excerpted from media reports for general informational purposes only and do not represent the opinions of AXA Equitable, AXA Advisors or their affiliates, associates or employees. AXA Equitable and its affiliates make no representation as to the accuracy or completeness of any statements, statistics, data, opinions, forecasts, or predictions provided herein, nor will this information necessarily be updated or supplemented at any time. Any reference to market or index performance is for informational purposes only. It is not possible to invest directly in an index. This material is not intended, and should not be relied upon, as investment or financial advice and does not constitute an offer or solicitation of any kind.

Read More

The Source @ AXA Equitable

Information and inspiration about financial protection and retirement preparedness.

RSS Feed