Three Questions to Increase Happiness

Three Questions to Increase Happiness Shelter-In-Place Offers Opportunity for Reflection: What makes us happiest? Our quarantines and shelter-in-place this year have been difficult for many, but it would be a shame not to use the current situation to learn more about ourselves, says Shlomo Benartzi, PhD, an expert in behavioral finance and a professor at the UCLA Anderson business school. He … [Read more...]

A Note on RMD Changes

A Note on RMD Changes Remember that there are no mandatory RMDs  - “Required Minimum Distributions” -- for the 2020 tax year, which is a Covid19-related reprieve. This applies to all IRAs, including Beneficiary IRAs. In another change, the 2019 tax year is the last one for which the age 70½ is the magic age for starting RMDs - the age has been increased to 72. Also the that the government … [Read more...]

Estate Planning for Pets

Planning for Our Beloved Pets When We Die How do we make sure our beloved animals are taken care? In reviewing clients’ wills, I’ve seen many that are so well thought out that they include their current pets and any pets they might have in the future. Several famous cases, including Leona Helmsley, Michael Jackson, Doris Duke, and Alexander McQueen, provided fabulously for their pets. Karl … [Read more...]

New Guidance on PPP Loan Forgiveness: S and C Corps

PPP Loan Forgiveness for Partnerships, and S and C Corporations There's new information on the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan for partnerships and S or C corporations. Entity-specific PPP loan forgiveness rules now apply to you as an owner-worker in the business.  The government puts you, as owner-worker, in a separate “owner-employee” category to limit your business’s PPP benefits. The … [Read more...]

New Guidance on PPP Forgiveness: Self-Employed

Government Clarifies PPP Loan Forgiveness for the Self-Employed We now have more clarity on the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness for the self-employed with no employees. The new law "Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020" creates a 24-week period for spending your PPP loan proceeds. If you obtained your loan proceeds before June 5, you can elect to use the … [Read more...]

IRA Limits and Deadlines

IRA limits and deadlines – for 2019 and 2020 The deadline is approaching! July 15 is the new April 15 for the 2019 tax year, because of COVID19. The maximum amount you can contribute to a traditional IRA or a Roth IRA for 2019 and for 2020 is $6,000 (or 100% of your earned income, if less). The maximum catch-up contribution for those age 50 or older is $1,000 for both years, for a total of … [Read more...]

New Frauds Target Charities

More Fraudulent Schemes Impact Charities Many charitable organizations are dedicated to helping those affected by COVID19 as well as those helping fight racism and promoting social change. But scammers are now taking advantage of our eagerness to help. They have created fake groups, posing as legitimate charitable organizations to solicit donations from unsuspecting donors, funneling money away … [Read more...]

Five-Year Rule for Roth IRAs

The Roth IRA Five-Year Rule The Roth "five-year rule" – often misunderstood – in part governs when you can take tax-free distributions of earnings from your Roth accounts (IRAs, Roth 401k, or other work-based Roth accounts). Your Roth contributions can be withdrawn tax-free at any time. But the for the account’s earnings: The rule says that to take a tax-free distribution of earnings you must … [Read more...]

New Flexibility for PPP Loan Forgiveness

Relief for Small Businesses A new law called the “Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act” or PPPFA, passed June 5, makes major changes regarding how much time business owners have to use the loan and how the loan money can be spent. Many had complained that the PPP was too restrictive considering the varying circumstances of small businesses. The original PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) loan … [Read more...]

Investing: Strategy vs. Reaction

Investing: Strategy vs. Reaction You can always count on market swings to challenge your patience as an investor, but these current swings – and the reasons for them – are unprecedented in their speed and depth. Tune Out the Noise The media generates news 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and they need to fill all that time. You can check the market and access the news any time and … [Read more...]

Key Benefits of the CARES Act

Key Benefits of the CARES Act - and a Note About Financial Literacy Financial Literacy for the Pandemic **NOTE: Our "Financial Literacy for the Pandemic" Zoom calls, which were held weekly during the first few months of the pandemic, will move to monthly as the questions have subsided but many people still need help with financial issues as a result of COVID-19. We will be sending the usual … [Read more...]

Cybersecurity Tips

Cybercriminals will always exploit the headlines, and they have not stopped with the Coronavirus. In this pandemic, we need to be extra skeptical about emails and social media. Hackers are always trying to take advantage of our fears and emotions. There are many new schemes and scams out there, some of them cleverly real. Here are some tips that cybersecurity expert John Sileo told us about that … [Read more...]

Financial Advice for You – And Those In Need: Pandemic Times 2020

Financial Advice for You – And Those In Need March 23, 2020 -- We are in uncharted territory, that’s for sure. As one client told me this week, “I’m now more concerned about my health than my wealth.” It’s easy to feel anxiety about a multitude of things, and there is plenty to worry about now. On top of all of that, there are extreme weather warnings across the United States -- tornados, … [Read more...]

Time to Refinance?

Is It Time to Refinance? The Federal Reserve has just cut interest rates by .50% in response to growing concerns about the impact of the coronavirus on the economy. What does that mean for mortgage rates? The Federal funds rate doesn’t move in lockstep with mortgage rates, particularly 30-year fixed mortgages. But mortgage rates are indeed expected to fall alongside the lowered Fed funds … [Read more...]

Insuring Your Valuables

If you have valuable personal possessions – such as jewelry, furs, antiques, art, coin collections, and the like -- insurance is often necessary. But your homeowners' or renters' insurance might not be enough. Limitations on coverage Generally, homeowners’ insurance policy covers the theft, damage, or destruction of your personal property, and there are several limitations. Your personal … [Read more...]

Blue Spark Capital Advisors

We're a fee-only Registered Investment Advisory and financial planning firm based in New York City and the Berkshires.

We specialize in working with women after divorce, death of a spouse, or other life transitions such as retirement or job change. We provide financial planning and investment management services.

We believe in a holistic approach. Movement in each piece of your financial plan impacts the others, so we consider your entire picture.

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130 West 19th Street (8th Floor)
New York, N.Y. 10011
(212) 537-3899

93 Church Street
Lenox, Mass. 01240
(413) 551-7000

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"Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful."
– Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)
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