Our Thoughts

FJY News to Know #54

The SECURE Act Has Changed Estate Planning — Here’s What People Should Do to Minimize Taxes

The Tax Policy Center estimates that only 1,900 estates were taxable in the U.S. in 2018.  Most people don’t have to worry about the rather large federal estate exemption, which has ranged from $650K to over $11M in the past 10 years.  However, the recently passed SECURE Act has changed the estate landscape enough to cause Americans to review and take action with their assets.  Under the new act, the whole amount of an estate has to be distributed within 10 years of the year following the death of a spouse.  If the surviving spouse has enough resources to live on, taxes could be cut down by splitting the primary beneficiary between the surviving spouse and a child.  To learn more strategies about revising estates, visit this page.


Women Take The Lead in December 2019 Job Report

Women surpassed men to hold the majority of U.S. jobs for the first time in a decade, while employers added positions for a record 10th straight year.  The Labor Department recently that women overtook men on the nonfarm payroll, the first time since the middle of 2010.  This evidence would suggest a growing and dynamic economy heading into 2020.  Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 145,000 in December — and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.5 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.  Notable job gains occurred in retail trade and health care, while mining lost jobs.  To read more information about the December job report, click here.


Amazon’s HQ2 Has Been Approved by Arlington County — Construction Will Break Ground Soon

Amazon has the green light for its ‘HQ2’ — Right in the heart of Arlington, VA (near our Reston office!).  Plans call for two 22-story towers, along with green space, retail stores, and restaurants — in a development known as Metropolitan Park.  The towers will be built at S. Eads St. and 15th St. in Pentagon City.  The final phase of Amazon’s HQ2 includes another 2.1-million-square-foot development, located north of Metropolitan Park, at a 10-acre site called Pen Place.  The company expects to submit the plans for the latter to the Arlington County board next year.  To see the conceptual art of the site, click here.


The U.S. Redefines Its View of China as a Currency Manipulator On the Eve of the Phase One Trade Deal

President Donald Trump and senior Chinese officials signed ani Initial trade deal now dubbed, ‘Phase One’.  The Treasury Department, reporting to Congress recently, said it found no major trading partners violating foreign exchange practices — including China.  “China has made enforceable commitments to refrain from competitive devaluation while promoting transparency and accountability,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.  Trump repeatedly argued that the Chinese had depreciated their currency slowly to help offset tariffs on billions of dollars of Chinese goods amid an ongoing trade war between the two major economic superpowers.  The United States hadn’t labeled a country a currency manipulator since it tagged China in the early 1990s, under President Bill Clinton.  To read more about the impact of the labeling, visit this page.