Chris Chen

Chris Chen CFP®, CDFA

Chris is a Financial Advisor. He helps clients achieve financial independence, develop a plan for retirement and understand difficult financial tradeoffs.

About Chris

“Financial planning is about goals. Investment is about risk management. Strategy is where the two meet.”

Insight Financial Strategists LLC is a boutique financial advisory firm that provides informed strategies to support your complex financial decisions.  We focus on retirement planning, purposeful investing and divorce financial planning issues.

Education

MBA, FInance, University of Texas
BA, Economics / International Relations, University of Rochester

Certifications

Designations

Registrations

Firm CRD #165125

Certified Financial Planner (CFP) is a designation issued by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards

Educational/Exam Requirements:

  • Completion of CFP-board registered study program, or alternative degree or certification, demonstrating mastery of over 100 topics surrounding financial planning
  • Pass 10 hour exam testing knowledge in financial planning situations

Prerequisites/Experience Requirements:

  • A bachelor’s degree (or higher) from an accredited college or university, and
  • Three years of full-time personal financial planning experience

Public Disciplinary Process? Yes

Continuing Education Requirements: 30 hours every two years

Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) is a designation issued by the The Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts

Educational/Exam Requirements:

  • Self-study course consisting of four modules
  • Modules 1-3 end with multiple choice exams, module four concludes with a case-study exam

Prerequisites/Experience Requirements:

  • Three years of experience as a financial professional, accountant, or matrimonial lawyer

Public Disciplinary Process? Yes

Continuing Education Requirements: 15 divorce-specific hours every two years

*Disclaimer:

No information provided on these pages is tax, legal or financial advice.  If you believe that it might apply to you, please check with a professional.


Typical Clients

Business Owners Divorcing couples People near retirement

How I Can Help

Personal Finance Retirement Investing

Fee Structure

Fee-only Hourly Commission and Fee Commission Other Contingency
Learn more about how advisors are paid in our Guide to Advisor Compensation.

Chris In The News

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Contact:

Phone: (781) 489-3241 Address: 271 Waverley Oaks Road Suite 102
Waltham, MA 02452
bostonfinancialplanner@gmail.com

Chris has answered 482 questions

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Chris Chen
Answer added by Chris Chen | 11805 views
20 out of 23 found this helpful

Actually, since you are past 59.5, there is no penalty for a withdrawal.  However, you will

more »

Actually, since you are past 59.5, there is no penalty for a withdrawal.  However, you will have to pay income tax on it.  From your question, you are still employed which means that you might end up paying high taxes on your withdrawal.
The other issue with a withdrawal is that it would be hard to make up for the lost compounding in your account, and would end up reducing your retirement lifestyle.
You did not mention a 401k at your current employer.  Assuming there is one, you would be well advised to contribute there.  You could also roll over your former employer's 401k into your new employer's 401k.  Then, assuming your new employer's 401k allows for employee loans, you could borrow the $35K.  There is no tax impact for a loan.  You would have to pay it back, but it would be like paying it back to yourself. 
Then put the credit cards away!
Good luck!

Chris Chen
Answer added by Chris Chen | 6239 views
7 out of 7 found this helpful

Honestly, what's wrong with keeping your 401k or rolling it over into a IRA, and hold it there until

more »

Honestly, what's wrong with keeping your 401k or rolling it over into a IRA, and hold it there until you retire in India?  It will have grown and you will have a nice nest egg.  You can then withdraw it for your retirement.  You can plan to withdraw enough not to incur income tax in the US, although you may have to deal with taxes in India.

One other possibility is to roll over your 401k into a IRA and take substantially equal payments until 59 1/2.  That would avoid the 10% penalty, and if the distribution is small enough, your income tax won't be very high.

The downside in both cases is that although your tax home will be India, you will have to file taxes in the US for the distributions

The other issue is that the larger institutions often have policies preventing them from holding accounts for foreign nationals living abroad, so you will have to find a suitable institution that is able to handle the account.  Let me know if you need help finding one.

I cannot speak to the tax consequences in India, although the tax treaty between the US and India provides that US income taxes paid by residents of India can be used as a credit against Indian income taxes.

Chris Chen
Answer added by Chris Chen | 4267 views
5 out of 5 found this helpful

In principle it makes sense.  However, I would like to have more information. I like (for purpose

more »

In principle it makes sense.  However, I would like to have more information.

I like (for purpose of a Roth conversion) that you have $0 income.  However, your wife has an income.  The combined income tax of your wife's income and that generated by your conversion may push you into a high tax bracket.  That may negate the intent of your conversion.

One potential positive is that you are starting a business.  Normally a business in its beginning phase is likely to generate losses.  If you have organized it as a LLC or a S Corp, your losses will pass through to your individual income thus lowering you income potentially into negative territory.  At this point it would definitely make sense to convert to a Roth up to the amount where you would start paying taxes.

Above that amount, I want to have a conversation with you first.  I would like to understand what kind of retirement income you plan on, and therefore the real breakeven point for your conversion.

For the second part of your question, money in a SEP grows tax deferred.  You pay taxes on it when you withdraw in retirement.  You have already determined that you pay taxes on the Roth upfront.  That is why you are considering a conversion at a time when you will be in a relatively low tax bracket.  If you are going to be in the same tax bracket at the time that you withdraw compared to the time you contribute, Roth and SEP IRA are equivalent.  The Roth only makes sense when your contribution tax bracket is lower than your expected withdrawal tax bracket.

Good luck!

Chris Chen
Answer added by Chris Chen | 7289 views
4 out of 4 found this helpful

You definitely need two accounts. You have up to April 15 to contribute for your 2013 IRA.  You

more »

You definitely need two accounts. You have up to April 15 to contribute for your 2013 IRA.  You may want to consider contributing your for 2014 at the same time as you contribute for 2013.  That would allow you to contribute $11,000 per account in this calendar year

Chris Chen
Answer added by Chris Chen | 460 views
4 out of 4 found this helpful

I think you expect to need help from an estate attorney, a tax specialist and a financial planner. 

more »
I think you expect to need help from an estate attorney, a tax specialist and a financial planner.  Perhaps the biggest issue is the emotional impact of the money you will be receiving.  It can be either a blessing or a curse, but mostly it will be a challenge. 
The job of the estate attorney is to make sure that all the legal requirements of estate settlement are met.  If you have a large inheritance, there is a pretty good chance that much of the funds are already in trusts and so will pass relatively easily to you.  In addition if the estate lawyer did his or her job well, the accounts that are not in trust will have a ToD designation which will make it easy to transfer also.  Lastly, unless you have a really large inheritance, the estate will probably not have to pay federal estate taxes.  State estate taxes may apply.  In addition, if you will inherit qualified retirement accounts, you may be liable for income taxes even if you are not liable for estate taxes.
The job of the tax specialist is to keep you straight with all the tax requirements.  Often, estate lawyers will want to do taxes for you also.  In my opinion you are usually better off with a specialist who can work with you for your entire tax picture instead of just the estate taxes.
The financial planner will help you coordinate the entire transfer and will help you invest according to your new goals.  He may help you, in conjunction with your other advisors, develop your goals and suggest strategies to achieve them, which may include further estate and gift planning, tax planning and insurance planning.
Figuring out what to do with an inheritance is a journey.  It is not easy, so take time to figure it out.
Best wishes

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