Thiesen Dueker Group | Extra Point eUpdate 
Thiesen Dueker News & Updates


We would like to take a moment to wish you a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year!  A New Year can bring a new outlook, and new opportunities - new chances to improve your financial standing. As we look to the year ahead, many of us make resolutions to accomplish objectives that are important to us, our families, and futures.  Why not resolve to plan for a better, financially secure retirement, or make sure that you and your family are properly protected in the event of an unexpected health emergency.    
Studies show three of the top New Year financial resolutions are saving more for retirement, paying off debt, and spending less.  Other financial resolutions may include saving for college or building an emergency fund.
Saving more for retirement can mean increasing your employer retirement plan contributions (such as a 403(b), 457, 401(k), etc.), as well as adding other investment vehicles such as IRAs to your retirement portfolio.  It is also essential to review your investment allocation to make sure it is suitable for your current goals. You want your retirement savings to last throughout your golden years so it is important to preserve those assets.  There are many insurance options that provide financial protection for you and your loved ones in the event of a long-term illness or disability.  
Spending less and paying off debt can be challenging, but creating a budget to follow throughout the year can help.  Review your essential and discretionary monthly expenses to see what you can reduce or eliminate.  This will make more funds available to save, as well as help you control debt.  Credit card debt can be the most critical to pay off when trying to reduce debt.  Review interest rates and consolidate debt to help you make a plan to pay it down.  Once your balances are gone, you can allocate more towards other financial resolutions, or you can use some of that surplus toward things you enjoy (but make sure not to charge more than you can afford to pay off at the end of the month).
The start of a year is the right time to work on a dream or two. It is also a good time to adjust or refine a financial strategy.  May 2018 be a great year for you and those you love - a year of happiness, good times, good health and great memories. 
Thank YOU!

Because of the generosity of our clients and friends, we were able to donate nearly $58,000 to various charitable organizations around the valley in 2017. In addition, over 400 toys were dropped off in our office and at our Toy Drive for Toys For Tots. 

Please join us for our events this year as we raise money
for several local organizations that are near and dear to our hearts!
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March 21st, 2018: Leading Your Financial Future: A Woman's Guide to Financial Independence & Empowerment
Presented by Jennifer Kirchhof of Blackrock
April 25th, 2018: Identity Theft: How to Protect Yourself Against the Fastest Growing Crime in America
Presented by Alexander Hayes of Oppenheimer
May 16th, 2018: Estate Planning
Special Guest, Paul Franco - Estate Planning Attorney
June 13th, 2018: Social Security - The Choice of a Lifetime
Presented by Ian Wetherell of Nationwide Funds
August 15th, 2018: 5 Ways Technology Will Change How You Age
Presented by Kevin Parent of Hartford Funds
September 12th, 2018: Top IRA Mistakes
Presented by Rob Ferguson with MFS Fund Distributors
October 10th, 2018: Medicare & Long Term Care
November 14th, 2018: Tax Planning
Special Guest, Gary Wolfe of W CPA Group
Tax Deductions Gone in 2018
Wha t standbys did tax reforms eliminate?  

Are the days of itemizing over ? Not quite, but now that H.R. 1 (popularly called the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act) is the law, all kinds of itemized federal tax deductions have vanished.
Early drafts of H.R. 1 left only two itemized deductions in the Internal Revenue Code - one for home loan interest, the other for charitable donations. The final bill left many more standing, but plenty of others fell. Here is a partial list of the itemized deductions unavailable this year.1
Moving expenses. Last year, you could deduct such costs if you made a job-related move that had you resettling at least 50 miles away from your previous address. You could even take this deduction without itemizing. Now, only military servicemembers can take this deduction.2,3
Casualty, disaster, and theft losses. This deduction is not totally gone. If you incur such losses during 2018-25 due to a federally declared disaster (that is, the President declares your area a disaster area), you are still eligible to take a federal tax
 deduction for these personal losses.4
Home office use. Employee business expense deductions (such as this one) are now gone from the Internal Revenue Code, which is unfortunate for people who work
Unreimbursed travel and mileage. Previously, unreimbursed travel expenses related to work started becoming deductible for a taxpayer once his or her total miscellaneous deductions surpassed 2% of adjusted gross income. No more.1
Miscellaneous unreimbursed job expenses. Continuing education costs, union dues, medical tests required by an employer, regulatory and license fees for which an employee was not compensated, out-of-pocket expenses paid by workers for tools, supplies, and uniforms - these were all expenses that were deductible once a taxpayer's total miscellaneous deductions exceeded 2% of his or her AGI. That does not apply now.2,5
Job search expenses. Unreimbursed expenses related to a job hunt are no longer deductible. That includes payments for classes and courses taken to improve career or professional knowledge or skills as well as and job search services (such as the premium service offered by LinkedIn).5
Subsidized employee parking and transit passes. Last year, there was a corporate deduction for this; a worker could receive as much as $255 monthly from an employer to help pay for bus or rail passes or parking fees linked to a commute. The subsidy did not count as employee income. The absence of the employer deduction could mean such subsidies will be much harder to come by for workers this year.2
Home equity loan interest. While the ceiling on the home mortgage interest deduction fell to $750,000 for mortgages taken out starting December 15, 2017, the deduction for home equity loan interest disappears entirely this year with no such grandfathering.2
Investment fees and expenses. This deduction has been repealed, and it should also be noted that the cost of investment newsletters and safe deposit boxes fees are no longer deductible.  In some situations, investors may want to deduct these fees from their account balances (i.e., pre-tax savings) rather than pay them by check (after-tax dollars).5
Tax preparation fees. Individual taxpayers are now unable to deduct payments to CPAs, tax prep firms, and tax software companies.3 
Legal fees. This is something of a gray area: while it appears hourly legal fees and contingent, attorney fees may no longer be deductible this year, other legal expenses may be deductible.5 
Convenience fees for debit and credit card use for federal tax payments. Have you ever paid your federal taxes this way? If you do this in 2018, such fees cannot be deducted.2
An important note for business owners. All the vanished deductions for unreimbursed employee expenses noted above pertain to Schedule A. If you are a sole proprietor and routinely file a Schedule C with your 1040 form, your business-linked deductions are unaltered by the new tax reforms.1
An important note for teachers. One miscellaneous unreimbursed job expense deduction was retained amid the wave of reforms: classroomteachers who pay for school supplies out-of-pocket can still claim a deduction of up to $250 for such costs.6
The tax reforms aimed to simplify the federal tax code, among other objectives. In addition to eliminating many itemized deductions, the personal exemption is gone. The individual standard deduction, though, has climbed to $12,000. (It is $18,000 for heads of household and $24,000 for married couples filing jointly.) For some taxpayers used to filling out Schedule A, the larger standard deduction may make up for the absence of most itemized deductions.1
This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note - investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.      
1 - [12/20/17]
2 - [12/26/17]
3 - [12/28/17]
4 - [1/3/18]
5 - [1/8/18]
6 - [12/19/17]

Bowling For Charity - Friday, March 9th, 2018

Dust off those bowling balls!! We will be Bowling for Charity at the new and improved Bowlero (same location,
 but with a face lift).

If you would like to join us for any of our events, please contact Shannon Stewart to RSVP at or 559-448-8190.
The argument of the Growing Heap, as written in Erasmus's The Praise of Folly:

"If ten coins are not enough to make a man rich, what if you add one coin? What if you add another? Finally, you will have to say that no one can be rich unless one coin can make him so."
The argument of the growing heap got my attention, because it applies so well to so many things: exercising, happiness, saving money, etc. Think about it. Everything you have to work for is made up of many small, seemingly inconsequential actions. Each time you do the work and get a positive result, it is like putting a coin in a jar. Over time, your jar becomes more and more full.
Because any one instance is inconsequential, it is easy to blow off the importance in your mind, by saying, "What does it matter if I skip one day?" And the truth is, it doesn't matter all that much. Each instance in itself has a very small effect, but added up together, they represent something very significant indeed. It is the habitual pattern that gets you fit, or gets you a positive and happy outlook, or achieves a great savings.
If you are tempted to blow off your fitness for the day, or doubt yourself, or not put money in your savings, just this once, remember the growing heap. Do what you can, with what you have, where you are, and don't worry about what you can't. Even a small coin added to the heap will add up to a significant pile over time.
Market Stats As Of 
Jan. 23, 2018

Index                                 YTD
Dow Jones                      +6.03%
Nasdaq                           +8.07%
S&P                                  +6.19%

US Treasury Yield
Maturity                           Last Yld
3 mo.                                  1.41% 
5 yr.                                     2.42%
10 yr.                                   2.62%
30 yr.                                   2.90%            
Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. 
Retirement Planning
  • Traditional/Roth IRAs
  • Simple/SEP IRAs
  • IRA Rollovers and IRA Consolidations
  • 401(k), 403(b), Profit Sharing & Defined Benefit Plans
  • Income Distributions and RMDs
Financial Strategies
  • Comprehensive & Modular Financial Plans
  • Risk & Insurance Analysis
  • Wealth Accumulation & Income Planning
  • Personal, Family & Charitable Trusts
  • Private Trust Services*
Investment Management
  • Asset Allocation Modeling
  • Investment Manager Search & Selection 
  • Performance Monitoring
  • Institutional Research
Educational Funding
  • 529 Plans
  • Education Savings Accounts
  • Custodial Accounts
Investment Options & Tools
  • CDs & Money Market Funds
  • Tax-advantage Municipal & Treasury Bonds
  • Domestic & Foreign Stock and bonds
  • Mutual Funds, Unit Trusts & ETFs
  • Fixed and Variable Annuities
  • Insurance - Life, Long-Term Care and Health 
  • Alternative Investments - REITs

*LPL Financial representatives offer access to trust services through the Private Trust Company N.A., an affiliate of LPL Financial.
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