Retirement

Sustainable Investing, Part 1

Sustainable Investing If there’s a trait most of us share, it’s a desire to make the world a better place. That is why there is increasing interest in sustainable investing. Many of us want to try to earn solid or even stellar returns while contributing – or at least causing less harm – to the greater good. But what is the greater good? What is a decent return on your investment? How do we … [Read more...]

Charitable Giving in 2018

Charitable Giving The landscape for charitable giving changed with the new tax law, but we are seeing that clients - with or without a tax write-off - still want to give to their favorite organizations and charities. After all, we give to support causes we cherish and to show gratitude for good fortune we have enjoyed. Financial incentives are nice, but not usually your main motivation for … [Read more...]

Tax Tips for the Self-Employed

Realities of Taxes for the Self-Employed If you are self-employed, as many of our clients are, you know there are many advantages beyond just being your own boss. There are also unique challenges involved, especially how to handle taxes. Whether you’re running your own business or thinking about starting one, there are specific tax rules and opportunities that apply to you. Here is a look at the … [Read more...]

IRS Limits SALT Tax Workarounds

IRS Shuts Door on SALT Creative Workarounds The IRS said no to some of the creative workarounds for the new $10,000 limit on the deductibility of state and local taxes (SALT). Its new guidance appears to close the door on a strategy offered by the state of New York and some other states to circumvent the deduction limit by attempting to turn the taxes paid into charitable contributions not … [Read more...]

Why We Watch Your RMDs

What Are Required Minimum Distributions? Some clients are surprised when they learn that the IRS forces them to take “required minimum distributions” – known as RMDs – after they turn age 70½. When they don’t need the money to spend, they question why the government makes them take money out of their IRAs. The answer is that the government wants to finally get some tax revenue, after allowing … [Read more...]

Planning for Remarriage

If you are thinking of marrying again... For those courageous enough to remarry, there are many financial questions to answer together. How will you combine finances? This issue gets thornier the older you are. You’ll want to create a financial strategy that considers the assets, liabilities, and financial responsibilities that each partner brings to the marriage. Financial planning for … [Read more...]

Wise Words for Volatile Times

Wise words to soothe volatile times in the stock markets, from some of the best investors: "Investors should remember that excitement and expenses are their enemies. And if they insist on trying to time their participation in equities, they should try to be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful." — Warren Buffett "Most of the time common stocks are subject to … [Read more...]

Sophisticated Fraudsters

Fraud Is Becoming Increasingly Sophisticated Ever wonder why we want to hear your voice when you are requesting money? We have had this "double authentication" practice since Blue Spark Financial began, for the safety of our clients, and we understand that sometimes it’s a pain to take the extra step to pick up the phone after an email. But it’s in place to protect against hackers – and they are … [Read more...]

Yes, There Is Still Time

Still Time to Contribute to Retirement Accounts Yes, there’s still time to make a regular IRA contribution for tax year 2017. You have until your tax return due date, not including extensions, to contribute up to $6,500 for 2017 ($5,500 if you are younger than 50). For most, the deadline for 2017 is April 17, 2018. You can contribute to a traditional IRA, a Roth IRA, or both, as long as your … [Read more...]

The Markets in March

The first quarter of 2018 began with strong market gains, but it did not end that way. March was not a good month for the benchmark indexes here, except for the small caps of the Russell 2000. Otherwise, each of the indexes closed March in the red, led by the Dow, which was followed by the Global Dow, Nasdaq, and the S&P 500. March brought more concerns for investors with the administration’s … [Read more...]

Typo Fraud

Typo Fraud: Edit yourself online We’ve heard that scammers love typos. Why is that so? Think about typing in a website (because you’ve heard that is better than clicking a link in an email, which is true!) but you mistype .com with .cm, or instead of .org it’s .ogg. Scammers know that people make mistakes, and they are waiting. They have bought addresses with just one letter away from real … [Read more...]

New Medicare Card Scam

Medicare Card Scam: "I'm calling about your new card ..." Hang up on anyone who calls saying they are with Medicare. Scammers are phoning Medicare recipients and pretending to be representatives of the government healthcare program, AARP reports. The caller then tells the victim that they need personal identifiers are required to make the switch to the new Medicare card – including Social … [Read more...]

Financial Affidavits in Divorce

The financial affidavit When divorce proceedings begin, each spouse is required to fill out a financial affidavit. This form, which becomes part of the court record, shows income from all sources, debt (or liabilities), living expenses, and assets. Each party swears (under the pains and penalties of perjury) that the information contained on his or her affidavit is true. Judges use the … [Read more...]

The Diversity of Mutual Funds and ETFs

Diversification is one of the most cherished principles of investing. I long for a better phrase than “don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” but it tells the diversification story in a nutshell. That's one of the reasons why mutual funds and EFTs (exchange traded funds) are a good choice for many. You can invest in many different securities at once, and you can do so at a lower cost than you … [Read more...]

Year-End Tax Strategies

The House and the Senate have passed their versions of a tax reform bill and there are many similarities, including the limiting of itemized deductions to mortgage interest, charitable contributions, and property taxes, as well as the doubling of the estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax exemptions from $5.6 million to $11.2 million in 2018. It’s possible, but not certain, that … [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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Contact Us

41 Madison Avenue (40th Floor)
New York, N.Y. 10010
(212) 537-3899

93 Church Street
Lenox, Mass. 01240
(413) 551-4445

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– Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)
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