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Friday, November 8, 2019

“If the current annual inflation rate is only 2.2%, why do my bills seem like they're 10% higher than last year?” Many of us ask ourselves that question, and it illustrates the importance of understanding how inflation is...

 

Friday, November 1, 2019

Whole life insurance is designed to remain in force for your whole life, as long as you remain current with your premiums. In exchange for fixed premiums, the insurance company promises to pay a set benefit when the policyholder dies....

 

Friday, October 25, 2019

As a financial professional, my conversations with clients often center around retirement goals and dreams. When we really think about what retirement is, it’s not just about doing all the things you enjoy most, it’s...

 

Friday, October 18, 2019

The annual open enrollment season for Medicare this year runs from October 15 through December 7. This open enrollment period is an opportunity for Medicare users to re-shop healthcare and drug coverage choices. It’s very likely...

 

Friday, October 11, 2019

Have you started planning out your retirement dreams? Most of us develop a vision that includes spending time relaxing, traveling, taking up new hobbies, meeting new friends, and reconnecting with old ones. Dreaming about the future...

 

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Friday, October 4, 2019

HOW PREPARED ARE YOU? Getting ready for retirement? Before you can cross that bridge, you’ll need to cross some important items off your to-do list. But thanks to our work together, you might be more prepared than you think!...

 

Friday, September 27, 2019

FIXED OR VARIABLE MORTGAGE, WHICH SHOULD YOU PICK? Buying a home is the single-largest financial commitment most people ever make. And sorting through mortgages involves a lot of critical choices. One of these is choosing between a...

 

Friday, September 20, 2019

ESTATE MANAGEMENT CHECKLIST Do you have a will? A will enables you to specify who you want to inherit your property and other assets. A will also enables you to name a guardian for your minor children. Do you have healthcare documents...

 

Friday, September 13, 2019

DISABILITY AND YOUR FINANCES The Social Security Disability Insurance program paid out $143.7 billion in benefits in 2018. And with new applicants each year, the system is expected to exhaust its reserves at the end of 2034 if changes...

 

Friday, September 6, 2019

DO YOU OWE THE AMT? Tip: AMT payers may qualify for the “minimum tax credit,” which allows individuals to claim a full or partial credit for past AMT taxes on future returns. American educational reformer Horace Mann...

 

Friday, August 30, 2019

THE COST OF PROCRASTINATION Tip: Don’t Put it Off. Putting off an easy thing makes it hard. Putting off a hard thing makes it impossible.-George Claude Lorimer Some of us share a common experience. You’re driving along...

 

Friday, August 23, 2019

CREATIVE WAYS TO MOTIVATE YOUR EMPLOYEES The common thread that runs through all small businesses, from professional services to manufacturing, is that a motivated workforce is central to the business’s success. Here are some...

 

Friday, August 16, 2019

GOOD HEALTH IS GOOD BUSINESS According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, productivity losses linked to employees not showing up for work cost employers $226 billion annually, or $1,685 per worker.¹ Business...

 

Monday, August 12, 2019

PERSONAL FINANCE TIPS FOR MILITARY FAMILIES One survey found that military personnel have higher credit card debt and fewer tangible assets than their civilian counterparts.¹ While the financial situation of military personnel...

 

Friday, August 9, 2019

As a business owner offering a retirement savings plan to your employees, it’s important to go over your plan every year to make sure it’s still meeting your needs. Here are some things we typically should review: Match...

 

Monday, August 5, 2019

UNDERSTANDING MARGINAL INCOME TAX BRACKETS Tip: High Bracket. In 1944, the highest federal income tax bracket was 94%. It applied to all income above $200,000 a year and applied to all taxpayers, regardless of filing status. Source:...

 

Monday, July 29, 2019

WHAT DO YOUR TAXES PAY FOR? Tip: Mid May. If the government had raised taxes enough to cover federal borrowing, we would have had to work until May 6 just to cover the tax bill.Source: Tax Foundation, 2018 Taxes are one of the biggest...

 

Monday, July 22, 2019

DEATH IS NO EXCUSE The federal government is an equal-opportunity tax assessor. Even the dead can’t escape taxes. The final accounting required of the deceased is not limited to an estate tax filing, but a federal income tax...

 

Monday, July 15, 2019

TAX DEDUCTIONS YOU WON'T BELIEVE While Americans are entitled to take every legitimate deduction to manage their taxes, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) places limits on your creativity. Here are some examples of deductions from the...

 

Friday, July 12, 2019

INFLATION & YOUR MONEY Tip: Back in the 80s. What would have cost you $1.00 in 1985 will now cost you $2.27 due to inflation. It’s important to factor in inflation as you consider your financial future.Source: Bureau of Labor...

 

Thursday, June 13, 2019

A HOUSE DIVIDED Tip: School of Thought. Researchers typically peg the divorce rate at around 50%, but for those with at least a bachelor's degree, the number falls to below 30%. The Washington Post, April 6, 2016 The latest research...

 

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

VOLUNTEERING IN RETIREMENT “This generation got no destination to hold...We are volunteers of America”“Volunteers” by Jefferson Airplane¹ Those of a certain age will recall these Jefferson Airplane lyrics...

 

Thursday, June 6, 2019

 

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

A DECISION NOT MADE IS STILL A DECISION Whether through inertia or trepidation, investors who put off important investment decisions might consider the admonition offered by motivational speaker Brian Tracy, “Almost any decision...

 

Thursday, May 30, 2019

RETIREE HEALTH CARE COVERAGE OVERSEAS According to AARP, 47% of baby boomers expected to travel internationally in 2018. Overseas travel may be one of the more popular aspirations in retirement, but it does beg an important...

 

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

INFLATION - BACK TO THE FUTURE Inflation sometimes seems like one of those afflictions of an era long since passed into the history books. While it’s true that double-digit inflation has been absent for the last 30 years or more...

 

Thursday, May 23, 2019

HOW WILL WORKING AFFECT SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS? Tip: Rules, Rules, Rules. Different rules apply for those receiving Social Security disability benefits vs. Supplemental Security income payments. Different rules also apply for those...

 

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

EIGHT MISTAKES THAT CAN UPEND YOUR RETIREMENT Pursuing your retirement dreams is challenging enough without making some common, and very avoidable, mistakes. Here are eight big mistakes to steer clear of, if possible. No Strategy: Yes...

 

Thursday, May 16, 2019

WHERE WILL YOUR RETIREMENT MONEY COME FROM? Tip: Retiring Older. One survey found 22% of baby boomers have found it difficult to pay mortgages or rent and have postponed plans to retire.Source: Insured Retirement Institute, 2018 For...

 

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

DOES YOUR CREDIT SCORE AFFECT YOUR INSURANCE RATES? One landmark study found that credit-based insurance scores are used by about 95 percent of all auto and home insurers in calculating the cost of insurance to individuals.¹...

 

Thursday, May 9, 2019

HOW DOES YOUR CREDIT SCORE COMPARE? Fast Fact: Get Over It. A bad credit score doesn’t last forever. Since your credit score is a "snapshot" of your risk at a particular point in time, it changes as new information is added to...

 

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

FOUR REALLY GOOD REASONS TO INVEST Forty-six percent of Americans do not own any stocks or stock-related investments, such as mutual funds, according to a recent Gallup poll.¹ Individuals may cite different reasons for not...

 

Thursday, May 2, 2019

COUNTDOWN TO COLLEGE Tip: Parlez-vous Francais? Many universities like to see multiple years of foreign language on a transcript. Source: Collegeapps.about.com, March 11, 2016 Most parents want to give their children the best...

 

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

THE COST OF PROCRASTINATION Tip: Don’t Put it Off. Putting off an easy thing makes it hard. Putting off a hard thing makes it impossible.-George Claude Lorimer Some of us share a common experience. You’re driving along...

 

Thursday, April 25, 2019

STRATEGIES FOR MANAGING STUDENT LOAN DEBT If college were a party, then student loans are the hangover. Unfortunately, the “hair of the dog” won't cure this headache, but here are some ideas for managing your student loan...

 

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

STOP WASTING MONEY Benjamin Franklin once said, “a penny saved is a penny earned.”¹ The modern upgrade to that observation might be that $100 not spent is more like $143.² One way to find the money to meet your...

 

Thursday, April 11, 2019

AVOIDING COGNITIVE DECLINE Of those aged 65 and older, 10 to 20 percent have mild cognitive impairment. In addition, women have a 1 in 6 chance — and men have a 1 in 11 chance — of developing Alzheimer’s during the...

 

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

DOES YOUR PORTFOLIO FIT YOUR RETIREMENT LIFESTYLE? Most portfolios are constructed based on an individual's investment objective, risk tolerance, and time horizon. Using these inputs and sophisticated portfolio-optimization...

 

Thursday, April 4, 2019

CARING FOR AGING PARENTS Thanks to healthier lifestyles and advances in modern medicine, the worldwide population over age 60 is growing. The United Nations estimates that by 2050 the number of people aged 60 and older will have more...

 

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

FOUR REASONS MILLENNIALS NEED AN ESTATE STRATEGY You’re young, have little in savings and likely have no one yet relying on you financially. So why do you need to think about estate management?¹ Here are four great reasons:...

 

Thursday, March 28, 2019

REVISING ESTATE STRATEGY ASSUMPTIONS When the rules of the game change, tactics should follow in response to the new landscape. While estate tax exemptions have ridden an uncertain roller coaster in recent years, the rules appear to...

 

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

PUT IT IN A LETTER Tip: Contact Information. A letter of instruction might include contact information for individuals who could be helpful in the distribution of your assets, such as your lawyer or financial professional. Actor Lee...

 

Thursday, March 21, 2019

THREE KEY QUESTIONS TO ANSWER BEFORE TAKING SOCIAL SECURITY Social Security is a critical component of the retirement financial strategy for many Americans, so before you begin taking it, you should consider three important questions....

 

Monday, March 18, 2019

IMPORTANT BIRTHDAYS OVER 50 Tip: Average Benefit. In March 2018, the average monthly Social Security benefit for a retired worker was about $1,410.Source: Social Security Administration, 2018 Most children stop being...

 

Thursday, March 14, 2019

DEATH IS NO EXCUSE The federal government is an equal-opportunity tax assessor. Even the dead can’t escape taxes. The final accounting required of the deceased is not limited to an estate tax filing, but a federal income tax...

 

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

ESTIMATING YOUR ESTATE TAXES Fast Fact: Estate Tax Changes. In 2010, the estate tax expired. It was reinstated by Congress as part of the Taxpayer Relief Act of 2010, with a maximum estate tax rate of 35% and a unified credit that...

 

Thursday, March 7, 2019

HEALTHCARE COSTS IN RETIREMENT Tip: Medicare beneficiaries spent an average of $5,503 out of pocket on healthcare in 2013, the most recent year for which figures are available. That includes premiums and costs for things like dental...

 

Monday, March 4, 2019

RETIREMENT INCOME AND THE TRADITIONAL PORTFOLIO Taking withdrawals from a traditional portfolio exposes fixed-income investors to “sequence of returns” danger. In other words, experiencing negative returns early in...

 

Thursday, February 28, 2019

SHOULD YOU BORROW FROM YOUR 401(K)? The average household with credit card debt had a balance of $15,983 in 2017, nearly eclipsing the peak of $16,900 in 2008.¹ With the average credit card annual percentage rate sitting at 14.9%...

 

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

CATCH-UP CONTRIBUTIONS A recent survey found that 17% of people were very confident about having enough money to live comfortably through their retirement years. At the same time, 36% were not confident.¹ Congress in 2001 passed...

 

Friday, February 22, 2019

THREE KEY QUESTIONS TO ANSWER BEFORE TAKING SOCIAL SECURITY Social Security is a critical component of the retirement financial strategy for many Americans, so before you begin taking it, you should consider three important questions....

 

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

SYSTEMATIC WITHDRAWALS IN RETIREMENT Many of us grew up with the concept that making regular, periodic contributions to our retirement account was a sound investment strategy. The idea was that, in a fluctuating market, regularly...

 

Thursday, February 14, 2019

PLANNING FOR THE EXPECTED Perhaps Bette Davis said it best when she observed, “Old age is no place for sissies.”¹ The challenges seniors have met throughout their lives have made them wiser and stronger, preparing...

 

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

MONEY THAT BUYS GOOD HEALTH IS NEVER ILL SPENT According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average person covered by Medicare has out-of-pocket medical expenses in excess of $5,500 a year. Premium costs accounted for 28% of the...

 

Friday, February 8, 2019

INVESTING WITH YOUR HEART Some individuals believe that return on investment shouldn’t be the only criterion for how they invest their money. For them, the social impact of investing is just as important—perhaps, more...

 

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

MUTUAL FUNDS VS. ETFS Tip: Watch the Account Minimum. Mutual funds often have an account minimum. By contrast, an ETF has no account minimum; you can buy as many or as few shares as you wish. The growth of exchange-traded funds (ETFs)...

 

Friday, February 1, 2019

INSURANCE NEEDS ASSESSMENT: FOR EMPTY NESTERS AND RETIREES With the children now out of the house, financial priorities become more focused on preparing for retirement. At this stage, you may very likely be at the height of your...

 

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

GET PAID FOR GOING GREEN Tip: DSIRE is a comprehensive source of information on local, state, federal, and utility incentives and policies that support renewable energy and energy efficiency. Source: DSIREusa.org, 2017 Americans will...

 

Friday, January 25, 2019

FOUR STEPS TO VALUING AN ESTATE Determining the value of an estate is a fundamental first step in estate management and a critical requirement for settling a decedent’s estate.¹ How to Assess the Value of an Estate Select...

 

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

AND THE EXECUTOR IS Tip: Generally, children under the age of 18 cannot be executors. Source: Plea.org, May 20, 2016 In her will, American businesswoman Leona Helmsley left $12 million in a trust fund to her dog Trouble. Her four...

 

Friday, January 18, 2019

A PRIMER ON IRREVOCABLE LIFE INSURANCE TRUSTS I’m proud to pay taxes in the United States; the only thing is, I could be just as proud for half the money.Entertainer Arthur Godfrey1 The irrevocable life insurance trust (ILIT)...

 

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

4 REASONS FOR THE RETURN OF MARKET VOLATILITY Until early 2018, stocks were enjoying their longest period without a five percent pullback in nearly 90 years.1,2 But in early February, that calm came to a sudden and decisive end, as...

 

Thursday, January 10, 2019

DEBT STRESS The average American household with debt owes $132,158. And credit card debt accounts for $15,675 of that.¹ Little wonder that money worries are a major cause of stress. The Link Between Stress and Health Humans have...

 

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

CATCH-UP CONTRIBUTIONS A recent survey found that 17% of people were very confident about having enough money to live comfortably through their retirement years. At the same time, 36% were not confident.¹ Congress in 2001 passed...

 

Friday, January 4, 2019

HEALTHY BODY, HEALTHY POCKETBOOK Tip: Healthy Targets. Generally speaking, cholesterol should be 200mg/dL or lower. And a good blood pressure level is 120/80 mmHg or less. People save for a variety of things in retirement. Some dream...

 

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

A TAXING STORY: CAPITAL GAINS AND LOSSES Chris Rock once remarked, “You don’t pay taxes, they take taxes.”¹ That applies not only to income, but also to capital gains. Capital gains result when an individual...

 

Thursday, December 27, 2018

CRITICAL ESTATE DOCUMENTS Financial Documents Joint Ownership Durable Power of Attorney Living Trust What does it do? Enables you to own property jointly with another person Authorizes someone to handle legal and financial decisions...

 

Friday, December 21, 2018

ALTERNATIVE INVESTMENTS - GOING MAINSTREAM Recent years have witnessed the mainstreaming of alternative investments for certain accredited investors. In fact, one study found that alternative investments have grown to make up about...

 

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

DOES YOUR CHILD NEED TO FILE AN INCOME TAX RETURN? As parents, we encourage our children to work so they can learn important values about work and independence. At what point, if at all, do children need to file an income tax return...

 

Friday, December 14, 2018

CHANGING UNHEALTHY BEHAVIORS Most Americans know the fundamentals of good health: exercise, proper diet, sufficient sleep, regular check-ups, and no smoking or excessive alcohol. Yet, despite this knowledge, changing existing...

 

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

ESTIMATING THE COST OF COLLEGE Tip: Public Costs. Average in–state tuition and fees for public four-year institutions was $9,970 for the 2017-2018 school year. Out-of-state tuition for these same institutions averaged $25,620...

 

Friday, December 7, 2018

CARING FOR AGING PARENTS Thanks to healthier lifestyles and advances in modern medicine, the worldwide population over age 60 is growing. The United Nations estimates that by 2050 the number of people aged 60 and older will have more...

 

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

CHOICES FOR YOUR 401(K) AT A FORMER EMPLOYER One of the common threads of a mobile workforce is that many individuals who leave their job are faced with a decision about what to do with their 401(k) account.¹ Individuals have...

 

Thursday, November 29, 2018

ALL MUNI BONDS ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL The city of Detroit emerged from bankruptcy in 2014. Still, its previous inability to pay investors left some questioning their long-held assumption about the relative safety of municipal bonds...

 

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

“DIRTY DOZEN” TAX SCAMS TO WATCH FOR Every year the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) releases its list of tax scams, spotlighting the myriad ways that people try to separate you from your money.¹ The 2016 “Dirty...

 

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

CERTAIN UNCERTAINTIES IN RETIREMENT The uncertainties we face in retirement can erode our sense of confidence, potentially undermining our outlook during those years. Indeed, according to the 2017 Retirement Confidence Survey by the...

 

Thursday, November 15, 2018

BUDGET CHECK UP: TAX TIME IS THE RIGHT TIME Tip: Be careful with cash. Cash purchases don’t show up on monthly statements, making them more difficult to track. Consider keeping receipts for all cash purchases. Every year, about...

 

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

A PRIMER ON IRREVOCABLE LIFE INSURANCE TRUSTS I’m proud to pay taxes in the United States; the only thing is, I could be just as proud for half the money.Entertainer Arthur Godfrey1 The irrevocable life insurance trust (ILIT)...

 

Thursday, November 8, 2018

HOW WILL WORKING AFFECT SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS? In a recent survey, 79% of current workers stated they plan to work for pay after retiring.¹ And that possibility raises an interesting question: How will working affect Social...

 

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

A PENNY SAVED IS TWO PENNIES EARNED This modern twist on the Ben Franklin maxim reflects the multiplicity of taxes to which earnings are subject in today’s world.¹ Finding ways to manage expenses is one of the cornerstones...

 

Thursday, November 1, 2018

DOES YOUR PORTFOLIO FIT YOUR RETIREMENT LIFESTYLE? Most portfolios are constructed based on an individual's investment objective, risk tolerance, and time horizon. Using these inputs and sophisticated portfolio-optimization...

 

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

A LOOK AT WHOLE LIFE INSURANCE Whole life insurance remains in force for your whole life, as long as you remain current with your premiums. In exchange for fixed premiums, the insurance company promises to pay a set benefit when the...

 

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Tip: Not Quite Anything. IRAs are free to invest in just about anything, except collectibles such as artwork, rugs, antiques, gems, stamps, and coins, for example. Traditional IRAs, which were created in 1974, are owned by roughly 35.1...

 

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

A CHEAT SHEET FOR SENDING YOUR KID TO COLLEGE College marks a great milestone in a child’s life. It may be the first time he or she will live away from home. Dropping off your child at college may be an experience loaded with...

 

Thursday, October 18, 2018

ORCHESTRATING YOUR RETIREMENT ACCOUNTS An orchestra is merely a collection of instruments, each creating a unique sound. It is only when a conductor leads them that they produce the beautiful music imagined by the composer. The same...

 

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

BEST PERFORMING ASSET CLASSES According to Yale University's Crash Confidence Index, only about 27% of investors are confident the stock market will not crash sometime during the next six months.1 But if fear leads investors to avoid...

 

Thursday, October 11, 2018

A LOOK AT DIVERSIFICATION Ancient Chinese merchants are said to have developed a unique way to manage their risk. They would divide their shipments among several different vessels. That way, if one ship were to sink or be attacked by...

 

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

FOUR REALLY GOOD REASONS TO INVEST Forty-six percent of Americans do not own any stocks or stock-related investments, such as mutual funds, according to a recent Gallup poll.¹ Individuals may cite different reasons for not...

 

Friday, October 5, 2018

A PRIMER ON DIVIDENDS When interest rates reach historic lows, some investors in search of income-generating investments turn to dividend-yielding stocks. Dividends are taxable payments made by a company to its shareholders. When a...

 

Thursday, October 4, 2018

ASSESS LIFE INSURANCE NEEDS Tip: Final Cost. Paying for a funeral can be a financial burden on a family. Make sure your estate management will provide your loved ones with sufficient funds to cover this important cost. If your family...

 

Monday, October 1, 2018

7 Reasons a Roth IRA May Be a Good Idea for You or Someone You Love It’s almost tax time. During April, many people take advantage of the opportunity to reduce taxes by funding a Traditional IRA. While that makes sense for some...

 

Friday, September 28, 2018

A LIVING TRUST PRIMER A living trust is a popular consideration in many estate strategy conversations, but its appropriateness will depend upon your individual needs and objectives. What is a living trust? A living trust is created...

 

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Start Talking About Retirement If you ask people what creates stress in their lives, money is often at the top of the list. Stress in America: Paying With Our Health found money was a somewhat or a very significant source of stress in...

 

Friday, September 21, 2018

CHOOSING A RETIREMENT PLAN THAT FITS YOUR BUSINESS One survey found that 79% of small business owners expect at least some of their retirement income to come from tax-advantaged retirement savings accounts.¹ If you have yet to...

 

Monday, September 17, 2018

A BUCKET PLAN TO GO WITH YOUR BUCKET LIST The baby boomers have re-defined everything they’ve touched, from music to marriage to parenting and, more lately, to what “old” means—60 is the new 50! Longer,...

 

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

A BRIEF HISTORY OF ESTATE TAXES Tip: Regardless of your net worth, it’s critical to understand your choices when developing an estate strategy. Federal estate taxes have been a source of funding for the federal government almost...

 

Friday, July 13, 2018

Tip: Nearly 70% of workers expect to work for pay in retirement, but only 26% of retirees actually have done so. Source: 2018 Retirement Confidence Survey, EBRI Retirement can have many meanings. For some, it will be a time to travel...

 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Tip: How Much? Check your Social Security earnings and see an estimate of your benefits on the Web site, www.ssa.gov. Social Security’s been a fact of retirement life ever since it was established in 1935. We all think we know...