Broker Check

September 28, 1998

Seniors Lead Other Groups in Fiscal Gains

          The Census Bureau reported the income of most American households has remained stubbornly flat over the past three decades except for the elderly who have seen their financial circumstances improve dramatically, far outpacing every other demographic group. An analysis of household income from 1969 to 1996 showed a 57% rise in real median income for married couples over age 65, dwarfing the 6.3% increase for all households. Among elderly people living alone, incomes went up even more, 63%.

          The improvements can be traced largely to increases in Social Security benefits and pensions, but also reflect the effect of the G.I. Bill that gave many more college educations, a booming real estate market and the entry of more women into the labor force.

          The transformation has been dramatic; the elderly who in the 1960s were the segment of the population most likely to live in poverty now are the least likely to be poor. In fact, the result has been to create a very different profile of retirement and aging. As late as the 1960s, many elderly ended up in county homes for the aged, a bed of last resort for those without income, family or health care coverage. Now, most older Americans are able to either live at home or, in a small but growing number of cases, move into retirement communities and assisted living facilities that enable them to live more active lives.

New Jersey Adopts Roth IRA Rules

          For tax years beginning after 1997, qualified distributions from a Roth IRA and distributions rolled over from one Roth IRA to another are excluded from gross income for New Jersey personal income tax purposes. Amounts rolled over from a traditional, non-Roth IRA to a Roth IRA are now specifically included in New Jersey gross income. However, with respect to distributions made before January 1, 1999, any amount required to be included in gross income under this provision is to be included ratably over the four-taxable-year period beginning with the tax year in which the payment or distribution is made.

The Roth IRA and You

          There is a one time benefit of converting a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, that is the tax on the conversion will be payable over a four year period. The benefit is not only an income tax benefit, but an estate tax one too. But the conversion must occur on or before December 31, 1998, so contact your tax advisor or investment advisor as soon as possible.

Utilizing Location As a Competitive Advantage

          Many individuals have asked why we moved to 450 Seventh Avenue. Let me answer it this way. Selecting the right location for a business facility can yield significant strategic and economic benefits - improved market access, reduced operating costs and increased productivity. The globalization of business, increased competitors, consolidation and mergers within several industries, and search for efficiency have propelled many companies to use site location as a means to increase their competitive advantage. And that is why we moved. Please come and see our new New York Office.

The Internet Comes of Age

          It took Desert Storm to make most of us take notice of CNN (Cable News Network) even though it was there all the time. The event that made us notice the Internet, the real red letter day was September 11, 1998 when the Starr Report was available first on the Internet and then on September 12, 1998 a full day later it could be read in print. Say what you will about Ken Starr but he made the Internet.

Thank You

          I have been writing these newsletters for almost fifteen years. In all that time I have never received such response as I did about the August newsletter, and it was positive, too!