Shayar: What is your role at Merriman and what do you love about working here?
Aries: I am the Director of Finance and I oversee the financial reporting process for the firm. I really enjoy the nature of the work that we do at Merriman and collaborating with the rest of my coworkers to help our clients reach their goals is fulfilling.
The challenge of working under the umbrella of a public company, with the additional requirements and expectations, makes my days even more exciting.
Shayar: How do you spend your time outside of work?
Aries: I have three kids (aged 3,5 and 8), who keep me very busy outside of work. When time allows, all five of us like to travel and visit new places. Some of my favorite memories have been spending time with my wife, kids, parents and in-laws in Ireland (photo above), Scotland, Maui, Italy and France.
Shayar: What do you look forward to in 2020?
Aries: I look forward to new challenges and visiting some new places. I am hoping to take my wife and kids to the Philippines. My parents are from the Philippines and it’ll be great for my kids and wife to learn more about the country, the culture and the food. It’s even more exciting since this would be their first time visiting the Philippines!
Shayar: Merriman has employees take the StengthsFinder quiz so we can understand how to best work with each other. What are your top five strengths?
Activator: People exceptionally talented in the Activator theme can make things happen by turning thoughts into action. They want to do things now, rather than simply talk about them.
Focus: Those that are exceptionally talented in the Focus theme can take a direction, follow through and make the corrections necessary to stay on track. They prioritize, then act.
Achiever: Those with the Achiever theme work hard and possess a great deal of stamina. They take immense satisfaction in being busy and productive.
Analytical: People exceptionally talented in the Analytical theme search for reasons and causes. They can think about all the factors that might affect a situation.
Significance: People exceptionally talented in the Significance theme want to make a big impact. They are independent and prioritize projects based on how much influence they will have on their organization or people around them.
While Aries shares these strengths with many others in the Merriman family, he appreciates the diversity in strengths, background, interests and perspectives that his coworkers bring.
As we reach the end of 2019, it’s time to start thinking about your finances for 2020. Many employers will begin open enrollment over the next few weeks, and this is a great time to review your retirement plan contributions.
The IRS announced earlier this month that employees will be able to contribute up to $19,500 to their 401(k) plans in 2020. They also raised the catchup limits (for those over age 50) from $6,000 to $6,500. Lastly, the 2020 contribution limitation for SIMPLE retirement accounts increased to $13,500, up from $13,000. Note that the annual contribution limit to an IRA remains unchanged at $6,000.
Summary of Changes for 2020
The new 2020 retirement contribution limits are as follows:
Taxpayers can deduct contributions to a traditional IRA if they meet certain conditions. If, during the year, either the taxpayer or spouse was covered by a retirement plan at work, the deduction may be reduced (phased out) or eliminated, depending on filing status and income. If neither the taxpayer nor his or her spouse is covered by a retirement plan at work, the phase-outs of the deduction do not apply. Here are the phase-out ranges for taxpayers making contributions to a traditional IRA in 2020:
For single taxpayers covered by a workplace retirement plan, the phase-out range is $65,000 to $75,000.
For married couples filing jointly, where the spouse making the IRA contribution is covered by a workplace retirement plan, the phase-out range is $104,000 to $124,000.
For an IRA contributor who is not covered by a workplace retirement plan and is married to someone who is covered, the deduction is phased out if the couple’s income is between $196,000 and $206,000.
For a married individual filing a separate return who is covered by a workplace retirement plan, the phase-out range is not subject to an annual cost-of-living adjustment and remains $0 to $10,000.
The income phase-out range for taxpayers making contributions to a Roth IRA in 2020 are:
For single taxpayers and heads of household, $124,000 to $139,000.
For married couples filing jointly, the income phase-out range is $196,000 to $206,000.
For a married individual filing a separate return who makes contributions to a Roth IRA is not subject to an annual cost-of-living adjustment and remains $0 to $10,000.
The 2020 income limits for the Saver’s Credit (also known as the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit) are:
$65,000 for married couples filing jointly, up from $64,000
$48,750 for heads of household, up from $48,000
$32,500 for singles and married individuals filing separately.
It is important to note that the IRS has raised the 401(k) and 403(b) contribution limits in 4 of the last 5 years. These have been fantastic opportunities to contribute more into these retirement investment vehicles. So please make sure to adjust your recurring contribution amounts to better take advantage of this increase in limit. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us!
Source: Internal Revenue Service Notice 2019-59
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