A few tips for these waning days of 2020

S.F. Ehrlich Associates |

November 15, 2020

A few planning tips as we head into the final days of 2020 that we thought you might find helpful.  As always, if any of these interest you and you'd like to discuss further, let us know.

  • End-of-year-gift giving: If you’re going to make a directed donation before year-end or simply add to a donor-advised fund, consider the use of appreciated securities. If you have an investment in a taxable account that has appreciated in value, donating that security can typically provide: (1) a tax deduction and (2) the avoidance of taxes on the capital gains that were generated in the position. Of course, best to talk to your tax adviser before making any decisions.
  • Before you make that end-of-year gift, check out the charity: Many well-known charities spend a lot of money – too much money – on marketing rather than curing, treating, or helping. If you have a favorite charity, confirm what it’s actually doing with your hard-earned dollars by going to Charity Navigator (www.charitynavigator.org), Charity Watch (www.charitywatch.org), and/or the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance (www.give.org)1.   
  • Still paying large annual fees on little-used credit cards? One client reported that rather than cancel his United card since he wasn’t traveling and using their airport lounges, he discovered that credit card companies have a Program Change option. Rather than take the hit to his credit score (which happens when a credit card is canceled), he changed from one United-sponsored Chase credit card to another. Rather than pay the $450 annual fee, he had a choice of either paying zero or getting some benefits and paying $95/year.  On a related note, some credit card companies have changed how they reward their cardholders in 2020. Rather than giving cardholders up to $300/year in travel credits, for example, Chase Sapphire offered up to $300 in supermarket credits. It may be worth heading over to their website to see what perks you might be missing. (You can also call your credit card company and ask for a fee credit for 2020.)
  • Have a AAA card? Did you know that you can use it at the UPS store for up to 15% off certain shipping supplies? 
  • Cut the cord for $24 a month: Consumer Reports2 has a plan to help you reduce those high monthly cable bills. Consider the following combination of services as a lower-cost alternative to your cable provider: CBS All Access ($6/mo): includes “tons of sports,” Comedy Central, and more; Disney+ ($13/mo): Lucasfilm, Marvel Studios, Pixar, 20th Century Studios, National Geographic, Hulu, ESPN+, and more; Peacock, from NBC Universal ($5/mo): NBC, Universal movies, sports, Bravo, USA Network, and more.



1 “How to Check Out a Charity.” Kiplinger's Personal Finance, Dec. 2019, p. 72.
2 “Cut the Cord for $25 a Month.” Consumer Reports, Dec. 2020, p. 35.
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