Many of my clients are privileged to have net worths of between $1 million and $3 million. And they’re fortunate as well in that they don’t meet the $5 million threshold for federal estate taxes.

But those that live in Tennessee need to be careful. The Tennessee Inheritance Tax applies to those with estates worth more than $1 million. And the tax can be significant—eating up as much as 9.5% of the value of a decedent’s estate.

A good way to limit the impact of the state tax is known as gifting of assets. Wealthy individuals can give away as much as $13,000 per year to one or more individuals. This gradually lowers the value of the estate, and thus it lowers the tax hit after the owner of the estate dies.

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Any financial advisor worth their salt will sit down with clients toward the end of each year and have an in-depth conversation about the investments in their portfolio.

Some clients love these sit-downs because they are a way to take stock of the year that’s ending and to get mentally prepared for the one that’s coming up. But for other clients, yearend reviews are just one more chore at a time of the year that’s already too busy.

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As the economy continues its slow recovery, more and more companies are earning more money, and passing their profits directly on to their shareholders.

How? By increasing their dividends. Simply put, the checks these companies send their shareholders each quarter are getting larger. In the nine months through October of 2010, 745 companies increased their dividends.

Not surprisingly, the news has made many investors change course and flock to this category of stocks. I haven’t had to change course: I have been a big believer in dividend-paying stocks for many years. One of my strengths as a financial adviser is selecting these stocks for my clients’ investment portfolios.

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What causes investors the most anxiety?

Is it the ups and downs of the market? Worrying about whether they’ll outlive their savings?

Sure, those are classic concerns that keep many investors up at night. But recent conversations I’ve had with clients have reminded me of another topic that can turn smart and confident people into indecisive worrywarts. The topic is IRA rollovers.

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