The New SECURE Act

What's up with that new SECURE Act? We’ve had several questions from clients about the SECURE Act (Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act), which was signed into law in late December 2019 as part of a larger federal spending package. This legislation has some positives and some negatives among its new requirements. It gives incentives for employers to provide retirement … [Read more...]

Is This It?

The long-running global stock rally turned down sharply this week as the Dow Jones Industrial Average posted its largest-ever point decline, and as major indexes in the U.S., Europe, and Asia gave up their gains for the year. The Dow is nearing the definition of a correction, which we haven’t seen in a long time. Many inhaled sharply, to say the least. Should We Be Worried? There is one main … [Read more...]

The Trouble With Averages

The US stock market has delivered an average annual return of about 10% since 1926. But short-term results don't tell that story. In fact, in any given period, stock returns can be positive, negative, or flat. So it’s helpful to your peace of mind to look the range of historical outcomes. Exhibit 1 shows calendar-year returns for the S&P 500 Index since 1926. The shaded band marks the … [Read more...]

CNBC News: Maura Griffin on Same-Sex Planning

CNBC News: Blue Spark's Maura Griffin on Same-Sex Financial Planning Financial advisors recommend couples thinking about same-sex financial planning have a discussion about how the Supreme Court decision will affect their finances and consider the ramifications of all possible outcomes. "One size is not for all, so one broad answer wouldn't address the factors involved. The financial choices are … [Read more...]

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...]

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.


Contact Us

31 Hudson Yards (11th Floor)
New York, N.Y. 10001
(212) 537-3899

Berkshire Block
321 Main St, Suite 205
Great Barrington, Mass. 01230
(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)