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High Concept Strategies: Goals-Based Investing
High Concept Strategies: Goals-Based Investing
October 2017
This is the first of a series of articles discussing various types of high-concept investment styles. This month we start with goals-based investing...
Benefits of Delaying Retirement Number Many
Benefits of Delaying Retirement Number Many
September 2017
Traditionally, retirement was short and peaceful. People worked jobs that were hard on the body – such as farming, manufacturing, tradesmen or railroad workers. If you made it to retirement, you were relieved to...
What Is Your Retirement Income Savings Mix?
What Is Your Retirement Income Savings Mix?
August 2017
According to a recent study by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, the following percentages represent how much the average American will need to rely on personal savings to provide income throughout retirement:...
Reviewing Non-Spouse IRA Beneficiary Rules
Reviewing Non-Spouse IRA Beneficiary Rules
July 2017
At the end of last year, Congress was considering tying up a tax revenue loophole known as the Stretch IRA. Currently, a traditional IRA can be passed from one generation to the next, thereby extending tax-deferred growth to a...
Ideas to Mitigate the Biggest Threats to Retirement Income
Ideas to Mitigate the Biggest Threats to Retirement Income
June 2017
The LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute estimates that the average healthy person will live through their mid-90s. If you retire at the traditional age during your 60s, this could mean needing enough retirement...
Why Buy an Annuity When Interest Rates Rise?
Why Buy an Annuity When Interest Rates Rise?
May 2017
The Republican takeover of the White House has stirred speculation that inflation will rise, largely based on positive consumer sentiment, steady growth in jobs and President Trump's support for increased spending...
What Is Reflation and How Does It Affect Investors?
What Is Reflation and How Does It Affect Investors?
April 2017
After four years of inflation rates just at or below 2 percent, many economists believe America has finally entered a period of reflation. Reflation is the turning point and first phase of economic growth toward increased...
Life Insurance for Solving Middle-Age Financial Priorities
Life Insurance for Solving Middle-Age Financial Priorities
March 2017
Life Insurance - The older we get, the more financially complicated our lives become. It seems like one day we wake up and we have a mortgage, ongoing home repair and maintenance demands, a 401(k) plan...
Managing Risk in the New World
Managing Risk in the New World
February 2017
Managing Risk - What a difference just a few years, a few weeks, or even a few Tweets can make. Ever since the turn of the century we've experienced a rapid boom in technology, the real estate and banking collapse, one of the...
Which Type of Bond Is Safest?
Which Type of Bond Is Safest?
January 2017
A bond is a loan an investor makes to an organization in exchange for regular interest payments over a specific period of time. At the end of that period, known as its maturity date, the loan is repaid in...
Why the Social Security COLA Adjustment Doesn't Work
Why the Social Security COLA Adjustment Doesn't Work
December 2016
In October of 2016, the Social Security Administration released the annual cost of living adjustment (COLA) update for Social Security benefits for 2017 the upcoming year. The average monthly increase next year in 2017 for retirees...
Reverse Mortgage Update: Pros and Cons
Reverse Mortgage Update: Pros and Cons
November 2016
By 2030, one in five Americans will be 65 or older. Among today’s retirees, 87 percent say they want to stay in their current home and community as they age. It’s easy to imagine those numbers will increase by...
Should I Refinance Again?
Should I Refinance Again?
October 2016
Refinancing is a matter of crunching the numbers. The real question is, will it save you money? The answer lies in several factors, such as the new interest rate, the new mortgage term,...
How the Stock Market Performs in Election Years
How the Stock Market Performs in Election Years
September 2016
Whether it’s an election year or not, the stock market doesn’t like uncertainty. Unfortunately, in a highly charged election year like this one, uncertainty is the...
How to Manage Spending in Retirement
How to Manage Spending in Retirement
August 2016
One of the most difficult things to do is plan for the unknown. This holds true for retirement income planning. You don't know how much income you'll need once you stop earning a...
How Morningstar Rates Mutual Funds
How Morningstar Rates Mutual Funds
July 2016
Mutual funds started to become popular back in the 1980s. However, there was one problem. Lack of information. While stock investors could get information on individual companies,...
Investing For Dividends
Investing For Dividends
June 2016
For all the bluster about stock market volatility, when you count dividends the S&P 500 has already surpassed its highest return on record. Unlike the interest from bonds, stock dividends tend to grow over...
Investing in Big Ideas
Investing in Big Ideas
May 2016
In the traditional sense of financial markets, they are cyclical. Sectors get hot, industries bank on trends, and companies ebb and flow on the whims of consumerism. But at the micro level, innovation always persists. Even during...
The Perks and Pitfalls of Managing Your 401(k)
The Perks and Pitfalls of Managing Your 401(k)
April 2016
The second program is auto escalation, in which the employer automatically increases the amount each participant defers to the 401(k) on an annual basis. Both of the plans allow workers to opt out of the automatic...
Bond Strategies that Benefit Investors
Bond Strategies that Benefit Investors
March 2016
A portfolio of individual bonds can provide constant, dependable income both now and in the future. Now that we're in an environment of rising interest rates, it's more important than ever to develop a bond portfolio...
Divorce Financial Agreement Strategies
Divorce Financial Agreement Strategies
February 2016
In the United States, one out of three baby boomers is single. One in every four divorce cases filed involves a spouse over age 50. What's more, over the past 20 years the divorce rate for people older than 50 has...
How Behavioral Finance Impacts Personal Investing
How Behavioral Finance Impacts Personal Investing
January 2016
Financial planning can be intimidating, but personal financial planning is more like a puzzle you have to work out. That's because traditional finance assumes that markets are...
Outside the Gift Box, Year-End Giving Strategies
Outside the Gift Box, Year-End Giving Strategies
December 2015
As we approach the end of the year, it's a good time to consider making holiday charitable gifts - which might come in handy during tax season. In addition to the usual year-end strategies,...
Investing in the Silver Dollar Generation
Investing in the Silver Dollar Generation
November 2015
Baby boomers continue to be a driving force in economic growth and innovation in the United States and throughout the world. In fact, people age 50 and older (which...
Retiree Healthcare Plans
October 2015
According to the Employee Benefits Research Institute, spouses retiring in 2014 who take prescription drugs and want a 90 percent chance of having enough money for medical...
Planning for Rising Interest Rates
September 2015
For several months, the Federal Reserve Board has hinted that it will begin to raise the target range for the federal funds rate when it sees progress toward its objectives of...
How to Design a Diversified Retirement Income Portfolio
August 2015
As people near retirement, the traditional strategy has been to move all growth-oriented investments to more conservative vehicles. This might have worked fine back when...
Peer Lending as an Alternative Funding Option
July 2015
Sometimes people look for alternative lending sources because they have credit issues and can't find a lender that will loan them money. When this happens, the sources they find might...
How a Fixed Index Annuity Works
June 2015
One of the most popular vehicles to help supplement retirement income today is the annuity. An annuity is an insurance contract that you purchase from an insurance company; it...
Disability Insurance: How to Create Tax-Free Income Replacement
May 2015
Disability insurance has traditionally been offered in two forms: short-term (typically from 90 days to a year) and long-term (beginning after 90 days/year). Some companies offer a...
Benefits of Converting to a Trusteed IRA
April 2015
In the United States, approximately $7.3 trillion in assets are held in IRAs. Much of that money will not be spent during the lifetime of the account owners, but instead be passed on to...
Health Savings Account Strategies
March 2015
While the growth in healthcare expenses has slowed in recent years (3.6 percent in 2013), it's still growing substantially higher than the overall inflation rate (1.5 percent for 2013). For this...
Add the New myRA to Retirement Savings Options
February 2015
For millions of workers who don't have access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan, the new myRA (which stands for My Retirement Account) enables them to save for retirement...
Back-up Plan in Case of Dementia
January 2015
Whether suffering from outright dementia, Alzheimer's or even just more frequent "senior moments," by about age 70 the human brain experiences a decline in fluid...
Tax Strategies For Rental Property
December 2014
Rental property can be a great long-term investment while providing current income. However, they also can be a lot of work. And continuing the role of landlord...
Create a Charitable Giving Legacy with a Donor Advised Fund
November 2014
'Tis the season for giving, and there's nothing better than giving something that's worth a lot more than you paid for it. If you're of a mind...
How to Use an IRA for Asset Protection
October 2014
Most people do not anticipate a situation in which a creditor will come after their assets, but these situations are more common than you might think. For example, say your...
Is Your Estate Settlement Ready?
September 2014
If you were to pass away today, would your surviving spouse, children and/or team of professional advisors know all of the relevant details necessary to settle your...
Making Changes to Your Tax Withholding
August 2014
If you claim too few exemptions on your W-4, you could be giving the IRS an interest-free loan each year. And while there's an exuberance that accompanies receiving a tax refund each...
Selling Your Business to Pay for Retirement
July 2014
Many small business owners get so immersed in day-to-day operations that they don't take the time to consider long-range plans, such as retirement. But even for those who are able to...
The Municipal Bond Market: Current Risks, Opportunities and Tax Advantages
June 2014
Municipal bonds posted impressive returns in the first quarter of this year and are poised for a strong 2014 thanks to low supply and improving fundamentals at both state and local levels. New issues are expected to drop to around $280 billion...
Planning for the Two Stages of Retirement
May 2014
Throughout our careers, we stash away money for retirement. Then that fated day arrives when we push away from the desk and retire. Perhaps we receive a gold watch or other symbolic appreciation of our...
The Importance of Reviewing/Updating a Will and Account Beneficiary Designations
April 2014
In his mid-twenties, Gary married a waitress named Tiffany. The marriage lasted only a couple of years, and then Gary went on to marry Jill, had two children – Caroline and...
Exotic Trusts for Specific Needs
March 2014
There are two basic types of trusts: Living trusts and testamentary trusts. A living trust can be either revocable or irrevocable, and is set up during...
Six Facts about Spousal Portability
February 2014
The American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA) of 2012 made permanent the federal estate tax exemption amount of $5 million - annually adjusted for inflation ($5.34 million in 2014). The...
8 Reasons to Manage Your Investment Portfolio in a Roth IRA
January 2014
You may wonder why you should place investments in a Roth when you would lose the current tax deduction on contributions to a tax-deferred account. The following are eight good...
Tax Free HSA Transfers Provide for Savings
December 2013
The Health Savings Account (HSA) was originally created to offer a financial incentive for individuals enrolled in a high deductible health care plan (HDHP) to save and help pay for some of their own health...
Year End Planning Tips
November 2013
As we enter the last quarter of 2013, you should be considering strategies that will help minimize this year's tax burden. For example, now's the time to figure out if you'll be...
Rules for an Inherited IRA
October 2013
Generally, investors open an IRA with one goal in mind: To accumulate assets tax-deferred in order to build a healthy retirement...
Late-Stage College Planning
September 2013
Saving for higher education isn't just about tuition - there's housing, books, computers, lab fees, student meal cards, travel expenses - and the list goes...
Non-Tax Reasons to Use a Trust
August 2013
The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 made permanent the lifetime exclusion for estate, gift and generation skipping taxes. Obviously, a key reason people engage an irrevocable trust in...
The Future of Bonds and Interest Rates
July 2013
In the second quarter of this year, the yield on the 10-year Treasury bond rose 54 basis points to 2.24 percent in the span of one month. Economists have been...
Pension Buyouts and Trends
June 2013
Rich pension plans appear to be rapidly heading toward extinction, much like single-employer longevity and the 30-year anniversary watch. Today...
Digital Estate Planning Deserves Consideration
May 2013
Estate planning grows more complex every day. Not simply because of changes in tax laws, but also due to trends in modern technology. For example, consider...
Assets and Liabilities: Managing What You Owe is as Important as What You Own
April 2013
One of the things we learned following the housing bubble and economic recession was that too many Americans had their net worth tied up in their home values. Back...
How a Securities-Based Line of Credit Works
March 2013
In light of pending tax increases, many people were advised to sell securities and/or accelerate income in 2012 to take advantage of the lower tax rates that were scheduled to end...
401(k) News and Strategies
February 2013
Many employees who save for retirement through an employer plan have ravaged their accounts in recent years. In fact, it's the more mature...
Key Investment Sectors for 2013
January 2013
A presidential election can influence the investment markets based on regulatory policy guided by the White House and current Congress. However, markets are driven more by economic factors,...
Health Care Under Obama
December 2012
Now that President Obama has been re-elected, the debate over repealing his Obamacare legislation has ended and plans are under way to meet the law's mandates by their respective dates. The...
Year-End Tax and Portfolio Tips
November 2012
One day, we might find ourselves looking back at 2012 as the grand old days of tax planning. While the 2010 Tax Relief Act’s lower rates could be extended next year, it is likely some...
Take Advantage of Extended Low Interest Rates
October 2012
The Federal Reserve recently announced it would keep the federal funds rate at 0 percent to 0.25 percent at least through mid-2015. This nearly three-year timeline presents an excellent opportunity...
Mortgage Opportunities Abound in Today's Market
September 2012
By early summer of this year, 30-year fixed mortgage rates had fallen to 3.55 percent - their lowest level in 40 years. One of the reasons rates have remained l...
Key Employee Insurance: Protect Your Business by Insuring Key Employees
August 2012
How much of your business depends on the knowledge and talents of a small group of people - or even just one person? In a private professional practice, such as that of a doctor or attorney, the firm...
Coordinate Your Advisor Team
How to get your financial advisor, CPA and attorney working together
July 2012
In today's complicated field of financial planning, no one professional can be a "Jack of all trades." Your financial planner helps you manage your investments; your CPA advises you on tax...
Financial Planning After a Layoff
June 2012
In April, the national unemployment rate was at 8.1 percent and 12.5 million Americans were officially out of work, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The survey...
The Costs of an Epidemic: Financial Planning for Alzheimer's Disease
May 2012
According to the "2012 Alzheime's Disease Facts and Figures," 13 percent of older Americans are afflicted with Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's ranks number six in causes of death, and...
Young and In Debt: What Should You Do?
April 2012
Members of the so-called Generation Y are in over their heads. A new online survey by The PNC Financial Services Group shows that people in their 20s are carrying record debt, averaging $45,000 across the age range of...
Financial Planning Indispensable When Faced With Divorce
March 2012
Divorce rates in the United States have been declining for the past couple of decades, but are still quite common. Surprisingly, divorce rates drop during economic recessions. Still, an estimated 24...
Convert highly appreciated assets into retirement income
February 2012
For those who are fortunate enough to be in possession of a highly appreciated asset – whether as a result of hard work, luck or an inheritance –talking to a tax and financial expert to discuss tax and financial...
How to Survive on a Single Income in a Two-Income World
January 2012
Learning to live on less is never easy. Sometimes it’s voluntary, like when a spouse decides to stay home to take care of children. Sometimes the decision is made for you. If one half of a couple is laid off, living...
Health insurance premiums are rising: What can you do to protect yourself?
December 2011
As healthcare costs in the United States continue to climb, premiums are on the rise. Adding to the pain, coverage is being reeled in, co-pays are going up and deductibles are creeping higher. Maximum out-of-pocket...
Social Security Benefits Increase Along With Medicare Costs
November 2011
About 55 million seniors receiving Social Security benefits and 8 million recipients of Supplemental Security Income will enjoy a 3.6 percent cost-of-living adjustment increase beginning with their...
Boomerang Kids: How to Protect Your Retirement Plans When an Adult Child Moves Back Home
October 2011
Adult children moving home after a job loss, divorce or other financial setback is an increasingly common trend. So-called boomerang kids are moving...
Is Now the Time to Invest in a Home?
September 2011
Despite all the economic uncertainty, the news for consumers might not be all bad. Short-term interest rates are low and will likely stay that way well into 2013, based on public statements...
New Study Shows Increase in Senior Financial Fraud:
How Can You Protect Your Parents’ Assets?
August 2011
Senior fraud is a serious problem. You have probably seen many examples in the news – and it can happen to you or your aging parents. A June 2011 study by...
Wells Fargo Announcement Could Mean the End of Reverse Mortgages
July, 2011
You’ve probably seen Robert Wagner or Fred Thompson in television commercials extolling the benefits of reverse mortgages. But if the trend of tumbling home prices...
The Pros and Cons of Owner Financing
June, 2011
Existing home sales are down in most regions of the United States, and the depressed housing market continues to slump even with improved job growth. Expiring tax credits are a factor in lower than expected sales, as are...
Long-term Care Crisis: Are You Prepared?
May, 2011
Individuals and families need solutions to help cope with a long-term care crisis that, according to experts, has been in the making for decades. Its long-anticipated arrival has been hastened by an economic downturn, burgeoning...
Recent tragedies highlight the need for financial disaster planning
April, 2011
Earthquakes, hurricanes and other natural disasters might seem like events that only happen to other people in far-off places. But recent events highlight the need...
New Tax Rules Make 529 College Savings Plans More Attractive
March, 2011
Prior to December 17, 2010, Americans faced uncertainty about whether the Bush tax cuts would expire at the end of the year as scheduled. But the Tax Relief...
Home Based Business Deductions Worth a Close Look
February, 2011
Did you know that more than half of all U.S. businesses are home based? These business owners are sometimes referred to as homepreneurs. Mary Kay Cosmetics and even Ford Motor Company were once businesses...
IRA Distribution Rules Change for 2010
January, 2011
Keeping up with the federal rules and regulations for Individual Retirement Accounts is kind of like keeping up with the constantly changing tax law. While the finer points are best left to financial planners to...
Cost-Basis Rules Strengthen Reporting Requirements
December, 2010
Based on a new tax law that takes effect in 2011, nowis the time to become familiar with cost basis. Although inaccurate reporting can lead to dire consequences, the new law has as much to do with improving the...
Reverse Mortgages: Easy to get, but worth the price?
November, 2010
Every so often, the topic du jour for financial planning is the reverse mortgage, especially when interest rates are low and older people find themselves in need of easily attainable sources of...
When Someone Dies, Who Pays the Debt?
October, 2010
Although no one likes to think about end-of-life issues, it’s always best to educate yourself on the fine points of estate planning to ensure a smooth transition for...
How to Teach Your Kids About Money
September, 2010
Older generations were taught to save for a rainy day but the concept of saving for a rainy day or for an emergency or for anything unforeseen was lost on the younger generations. If your children are at a learning age......
Wall Street Reform Reveals Complex Nature of Regulation
August, 2010
With the July enactment of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the financial reform debate moves from Pennsylvania Avenue to the offices of the regulators. Although the Act establishes...
Homeowner's Insurance - Are You Really Covered?
July, 2010
As a homeowner, you probably do everything you can to protect your home, from taking care of maintenance items to locking the door when you leave.  But how often do you check the...
Life Insurance - How much is enough?
June, 2010
Do you have a family that depends on you? If so, you probably need life insurance. But exactly how much do you need? The answer depends on numerous factors, but primarily this is based on your...
Managing your business by the numbers
May, 2010
Just about any accountant you talk to will stress the importance of timely financial information in managing your business. Your balance sheet and income statement can tell you a great deal about the health of...
How Health Care Law Will Affect Your Financial Planning
April, 2010
Now that President Obama has signed sweeping health care changes into law, every American needs to determine how the new rules might affect their financial planning. Many...
The Roth Conversion - Take a Closer Look
March, 2010
This year, there is plenty of buzz over converting traditional individual retirement accounts to Roth IRAs, and rightfully so. This is the first year that higher income earners can convert to a Roth IRA and...
Plan Ahead to Avoid the Stress of Caring for Children and Parents
February, 2010
Caring for elderly parents is nothing new, but with longer life expectancies that commitment grows exponentially. In addition, the delay of starting families until careers are well-established has only...
Tax Organizers - Friend or Foe?
January, 2010
If you use a CPA to prepare your taxes, you are no doubt looking forward to the arrival of your annual tax organizer. In case you forgot, that is the package we send to help you gather your tax information. While many...
Prepare now for the New Year
December, 2009
"Out with the old and in with the new," or at least that's how the saying goes as we approach the end of the year. Some of the new tax rules could be truly exciting, so let’s...
Alternative investments sometimes worth the risk
November, 2009
I recently overheard a cyber security expert and his friend discussing the vulnerability of our financial system to a cyber attack, and the conversation raised...
Who Is Your Adviser?
October, 2009
According to the Federal Reserve, it looks as if the recession is over. Whether that’s true or not, the stock market seems to be rebounding after last year’s debacle. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA)...
Annuities - Sheltering Your Nest Egg
September, 2009
Both 2008 and 2009 were tough years if you rely on a fixed income and investments to pay the bills. While 2007 was a relatively good year, 2008 began with market declines that led to a disaster by the...
Need Money Fast? - Don't Fall for a Scam
August, 2009
The past 24 months have been tough for homeowners. Between the resetting of adjustable rate mortgages and a sour economy that's cost millions of jobs, borrowers' needs for cash have multiplied. It’s only...
Can't Afford a Vacation? - Maybe Uncle Sam Can Help
July, 2009
The year 2009 will go down as a poor one for the hospitality industry because Americans are finding it hard to afford vacations. With the high cost of transportation, meals and all the other activities...
Is Estate Planning Really Necessary?
June, 2009
In 2001, President George W. Bush signed into law a plan to eliminate the Federal Estate Tax in 2010. There was only one catch – it would resurface in 2011. Since the passage of that plan, there have been numerous attempts to make the repeal...
Qualified Domestic Relations Orders - Don’t Blow a Money Saving Tactic
May 2009
Divorce is one of those events in life that is an unpleasant topic at best. Between the emotions, property issues, and custody issues, the pain is often excruciating, but don’t let that keep you from fully protecting your...
Credit Counseling – Salvation or Scam?
April 2009
Over the last two decades, consumer debt has been skyrocketing and so have the fortunes of the ‘so-called’ consumer credit counselors. How many times a day do you see an advertisement...
Budgeting for a Nation – Implications of the 2009-2010 Budget
March 2009
Over the years, we have looked at the effects of a family’s budget on their financial well being, but we haven’t focused on the effects that governmental budgets have on us. With the presentation of President Barak...
Who Is a Taxpayer to Believe?
February 2009
Now that February is upon us, most taxpayers should be receiving their Forms W-2 and 1099. To many, that means it’s time to get Turbo-Tax or some other tax preparation software and prepare their returns. Truthfully, this is probably a...
Out With the Old?
January 2009
Happy New Year!
Welcome to 2009. With the New Year come new challenges and what challenges they are! The economic downturn and recession (or whatever you may want...
Investors and the Year End Tax Trap
December, 2008
In a perfect world, the typical mutual fund would have increased in value by 12% and thrown off capital gains dividends of, say, 12% this year. This, of course, is purely hypothetical and the fact is that the world in 2008 has been anything but...
Protecting Your Nest Egg
November 2008
According to some estimates, retirement accounts have lost over $2 trillion in value over the last year and there is no question housing values are down. Most recent reports show the U.S. economy contracting in the third quarter of 2008 and many pundits...
Developing A Family Budget
October 2008
It’s no secret that the U.S. economy is going through a great deal of upheaval these days. With the government taking control of the two largest funders of home mortgages, and major Wall Street players...
How Good is Your Team?
Building The Right Financial Team
September 2008
It’s official: according to the ESPN, AP and USA Today polls, Georgia is the team to beat this year. The interesting thing about these polls is that they’re guaranteed to change multiple times...
Veterans Benefits Could Help Defray Eldercare Costs
August 2008
If you are a military veteran, you have the sincere thanks of this writer. Your courage and sacrifice has preserved this nation in its darkest times and has not gone unnoticed. Unfortunately...
Controlling the High Cost of Fuel
July 2008
This space is not typically taken up with discussions of automobiles and gasoline, but these are not normal times – at least for motorists. With...
Get Value from Your Life Insurance…
Without Dying
June 2008
Have you ever thought it would be nice to enjoy the benefits of a life insurance policy before the insured’s death? Sometimes, these insurance policies are no longer needed. Perhaps you bought...
A Few Ideas for Your Stimulus Check
May 2008
If you are among the 100 million plus Americans slated to receive an economic stimulus check this year, you will be faced with a decision that will have a direct effect on the U.S. economy. Perhaps...
Is An Equity Index Annuity for You?
April 2008
The current volatility of the stock market has many clients seeking safety for their retirement nest egg. At the same time, they are not content with the low yields typically offered by more stable investments...
The Reverse Mortgage – Five Years Later
March 2008
In February 2003, we discussed a mortgage product that was gaining favor in the marketplace – the reverse mortgage. Although the product had been available since 1961, only 18,079 such loans were filed...
Maximize Your Retirement Savings
February 2008
With 2008 now in full swing, it’s time to make sure you are maximizing the amount you put into your retirement savings. On that subject, this month we...
Last Minute Relief for Cash Strapped Homeowners
January 2008
As a Christmas gift to middle class taxpayers - and those who have been hit hard by sub-prime mortgage woes - Congress passed, and the President signed into law, several last minute bills aimed at helping these...
Last Minute Gift Giving Ideas
December 2007
In case you haven’t noticed, we are once again into the season of giving. Yes, that’s right - the holidays are upon us - and just about everyone is in a generous mood. With all this good will...
New Vehicle - Should You Buy or Lease?
November 2007
Are you in the market for a new vehicle? If so, you know there are many considerations when making such a substantial purchase, not the least of which is how you will finance...
Finding the Right Homeowner’s Insurance
October 2007
What is the most important place on earth to you? Is it your office or maybe the football stadium? Could it be where you worship or perhaps where you live? If this writer had to guess, I’d say your home would have to...
Power of Attorney
Is it really necessary?
September 2007
Nobody likes to think of his or her own human frailty, but the sad fact is that most of us are just one second away from a debilitating illness or injury. While losing the...
Trust the Government to Help Disabled Relatives?
August 2007
This month, we will be talking about “trusting” the government to see to the proper care of disabled children and relatives. This won’t be a...
Keep the IRS from Being the Only Winner in Your Divorce
July 2007
According to most experts, living through a divorce is like living through the death of a loved one. It is no surprise, then, that many people pay an unnecessarily...
How Much Cash Do You Need?
June 2007
With a hot stock market, it’s hard to think about keeping much of your money in low-yield savings vehicles, but building an emergency cash fund should...
Your Credit Score-
More Important than You Think
May 2007
How often during the day to you hear about credit scores? It seems you just cant get away from the advertisements. Whether in the car, watching television or on the computer,...
Purchasing an Annuity?
Get the Facts First
April 2007
One of life's greatest challenges is saving enough for retirement. If you are lucky, your employer offers some form of retirement plan. Additionally,...
Early Distribution of Retirement Funds - Without the Penalty
March 2007
Ask most people with an IRA or qualified retirement account what happens if they withdraw funds early and they will probably tell you they'll have to pay a 10%...
Waste Not, Want Not
February 2007
When you hear the phrase "financial planning," what thoughts pop into your mind? Do you think about a savings plan - or perhaps following a monthly budget? Maybe...
Happy New Year!
Now, Let's Get Down to Business
January 2007
It's the New Year and with it comes many changes that may affect your financial future. This month seems like a perfect time to make sure you have the right...
Tis the Season to Give
(And Also to Steal)
December 2006
Happy holidays, everyone. The next month is perhaps the most exciting time of the year. With the office parties, open houses, holiday shopping and, of...
Life Insurance - How Much is Enough?
November 2006
You are young, single, and carefree with no dependents. Do you need life insurance? Suppose you are married with two children - does that affect your life insurance...
Sharing Your Wealth
October 2006
The United States Congress recently presented those of us with a philanthropic bent a gift of sorts. It gave donors the ability to donate up to $100,000 in funds from an...
Homeowners Insurance - Are You Really Covered?
September 2006
On August 29, 2005, almost 1,200 lives were lost to Hurricane Katrina. Since that time, the United States Congress has approved spending $122 billion in the Gulf Coast recovery...
Kids and Money
August 2006
Lets face it, sooner or later, that cute little cherub in the crib will be an 18-year-old heading off to college. Four years after that, hopefully the little angel will graduate, but...
Cashing in on Home Sweet Home
July 2006
Are you looking for a way to increase your liquid assets? What if there was a relatively painless and tax-free way to add to your investment portfolio without eroding your...
Make the Most of Your College Dollars
June 2006
Whether you are an incoming college freshman, a returning student, or just the First National Bank of Mom and Dad, now is the time to start preparing...
Financing Your Home
May 2006
Well, youve done it now. Youve gone out and found the house of your dreams. Its got just the right number of rooms, square footage and its in a great...
Making the Most of Your Business
April 2006
Many years ago, you started your business. You worked hard, made a name for yourself and your business and now its time to slow down. Perhaps you have children...
Hows the Company Doing?
What Management is Supposed to Tell You.
March 2006
The main purpose of an annual report is to tell you how your investment is doing. A companys annual report does this in several ways. The first is obviously...
Anatomy 201 - Why Are They Telling Us This?
February 2006
Last month, we began talking about the Annual Report; that magical and mystical report you get from every public company in which you own stock. Its the...
Anatomy 101 -
The Magical Annual Report
January 2006
In Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Willy Wonka opens the door to his Chocolate Factory and takes his guests on a magical tour. Along the way, there are traps...
Energy Conservation Can Pay Big Dividends
December 2005
After facing this years high utility bills, there can be little doubt that energy efficiencies in your home can mean big savings on utilities. To that...
Investor Protection
(Who Protects the Average Investor?)
November 2005
Government regulation is the theme of this months articles and so far we have looked at regulations in the form of tax law and regulations covering...
Philanthropy with a Twist
Making Your Travels Count
October 2005
Have you ever gone to a management retreat for, say your local church, educational or other 501(c)(3) group for which you paid all your expenses? Food, lodging,...
Financing Your College Education -
Talk About a Huge Cash Outflow
September 2005
This month, we have been talking about cash outflows. In other words, the feeling you get each pay period when the bills are higher than your income. If you have...
Is a Credit Union for You?
August 2005
Have you ever heard a friend talk about getting a better loan rate from their credit union or perhaps getting a higher return on their savings account from the credit union than the...
Buying a New House
Are you buying a home, investment or headache?
July 2005
This month is property tax month. Unfortunately, when it comes to financial planning, property taxes are not the biggest financial planning consideration. So, we...
Not All Financial Planners Are Alike
June 2005
Most folks think of words like @##*!*and similar words unfit to be included in this article as bad four letter words and youve got to admit,...
Getting Personal About Energy
May 2005
You might find it a bit odd to be reading about energy costs in a financial planning article, but when you think about it, the costs of home utilities and gasoline for your vehicles are...
Spending Your Refund on a New Car?
Are you sure thats wise?
April 2005
Disclaimer The following article is not intended to induce the reader into purchasing, leasing or "borrowing" a new...
Looking Out for Number One
March 2005
Thus far in our financial planning articles, we have touched on investments, disability and life insurance, health insurance, estate planning and numerous other...
This Is Your Last Chance!
Saving Your Money for Better Uses
February 2005
If youre reading this article, its a fair bet that you have encountered that high tech scourge of humanity known affectionately...
The Worth of a Child
January 2005
One of the prime goals of many young couples is to eventually have children. After all, its one of the reasons for marriage and, lets face it, most of us...
Just a Friendly Reminder
December 2004
Its hard to believe, but weve come to the end of another year and what a year we have endured. What with the presidential campaigns and other political...
The Third Time is a Charm
(Washingtons October Surprise Part 3)
November 2004
In our tax and general business articles this month, we discussed in very general terms the fact that Congress passed three major bills in 2004 that the President...
Check 21 - There Goes the Fun of Cash Management!
October 2004
For many, the college years were a fun, if stressful, time. Remember the thrill of writing a check for books knowing the money wasnt in the bank, but would be in two days. That...
Eliminate Credit Card Debt?
(Read the Fine Print)
September 2004
It seems as though you cant turn on TV, listen to the radio or check your e-mail these days without being accosted by ads promising to save you from the credit card/consumer debt monster. Getting ready for...
Deadly Life Insurance Mistakes
August 2004
Not too long ago, a worried and angry gentleman walked into our office. It seems as though he had been provided a great opportunity by an insurance agent acquaintance - a sort of "have your cake and eat it...
Its My Money and Ill Withdraw it if I Want To!
July 2004
Before we begin this article, we need to start with a disclaimer. Never, ever, and we mean never try to withdraw money from your retirement if you are under 59 years old. Between taxes on the income you receive...
Maintaining Control of Your Estate
June 2004
An elderly man walked into a CPAs office one time and asked for estate planning advice. After a few preliminary questions, including the size of the estate, the CPA asked about heirs. The client mentioned...
The Golden Years?
May 2004
Happy birthday and congratulations! You have successfully maneuvered through the tricky waters of life and now you've reached retirement age, whatever that may...
Is it Party Time Yet?
April 2004
Lets see, how does that old song go - "Happy days are here again..." In the space of three short months, we have taken you through your first job...
Children - The Best, and most expensive, Investment You Will Ever make
March 2004
Up until this month, our financial planning articles have been focusing on you and, perhaps, your spouse. This month, we are going to complicate your hypothetical life just a little more by...
Still Young, But Not So Care Free
February 2004
Happy Valentines Day to all you happy couples! Valentines day holds a special meaning to our topic for this month - financial planning for the young couple. Valentines Day is the day we show our spouses how much we...
Young and Carefree
(Financial Planning for the Young, Single Person)
January 2004
Welcome to 2004! We hope you will accept our good wishes that you will have a wonderful new year. We are certainly going to do our part to help you along on the path to a successful year and one of the...
Survival 101 - A Guide to Surviving Christmas
December 2003
As a young child growing up, I never could understand why my parents seemed so edgy and anxious around the Christmas Holidays or as many put it these days, the Holiday Season. For us kids, it was a great...
Resolve to Be Fair to Your Family
November 2003
Unfortunately, it sometimes takes a terrible tragedy to remind us all to do the right thing. Recent events in the news have done just that for many of us in the financial...
Gotcha Covered!
October 2003
This month, weve discussed the tax implications of personal injury awards and a businesss need good attorney. Much of what we said regarding a business also applies at the personal level. While we hope...
All Dressed Up and No Way to Pay
September 2003
There you are, all dressed up in your graduation gown, marching down the aisle, and preparing to receive your high school diploma. As you sit there, you reflect on your...
Are the Good Times Over?
August 2003
If you havent received at least one offer for a 3.79% mortgage in the last month, chances are you havent opened your e-mail lately. Even if you do have a really great spam killer, I honestly...
What Do We Do Now?
July 2003
Life used to be simple. Lets see, from a tax perspective, long-term capital gains were good, dividends and short-term capital gains were bad, tax-deferred savings were attractive so...
Are Your Funds Loaded?
June 2003
There have been many debates down through the ages. Questions like "What came first, the chicken or the egg," "Whats the meaning of life," "Who shot J.R.," and similar...
Our Caps Off to You!
May 2003
Theres no two ways about it; somewhere, sometime, you will run into about a million terms that mean absolutely nothing to you when you start...
Go Ahead, Be an Armchair Quarterback!
April 2003
Are you an armchair quarterback; how about a backseat driver? I dont know about you, but I have been accused of being on or the other numerous times...
Navigating the Annual Report Maze
March 2003
Harry Potter may be big, but there is an even bigger series coming in 2003. There will be millions printed and, better yet, theyll come to you for...
Home Sweet Home
February 2003
There is an insidious malady making its rounds throughout this country. If you live long enough, you, your parents and grandparents will suffer from...
Expecting the Unexpected: Building Your Safety Net
January 2003
Are you prepared for an emergency? Or an unexpected job loss in your family? A recent survey found that 40% of Americans are not prepared for...
So What if I Live Forever?
December 2002
The radio blares out, Miracle medical breakthrough! Live to be 150 years old, and you think, now, that cant be true?...
Fee-only Life Insurance Advisers... Check Them Out!
November 2002
Life insurance comes in a bewildering array of choices. For a lot of people, simple term coverage will suffice: Its cheap, and you buy it only when...
Check Your Credit... Its Important
October 2002
Credit dominates our finances. The latest statistics show that as a nation we are carrying record-high installment debt, especially on credit cards. The national average is approximately...
A Net Worth Statement May Help You Reach Your Goals
September 2002
You may have already determined your financial goals, but do you know how to achieve them? Before developing a strategy, you need to compile a net...
Employees in Transitions. What to do with Retirement Plans?
August 2002
With individuals increasingly becoming responsible for their own retirement savings, its critical to know how best to protect plan assets during...
Do Mutual Funds Matter?
July 2002
Despite a bear market that experts say began last March and might continue for at least another year, compounded by a shaky economic outlook following...
Insure? Be Sure!
June 2002
The gravestone would have read: John Henry Smith, 5/10/65-4/13/99, Beloved Husband and Father. Thats what it would have said if it had been...
College Planning Basics
May 2002
The high cost of college education leaves many families wondering how they can afford a college education for their children. The Economic Growth...
Benefit From Your Benefits!
April 2002
The radio blares out, Miracle medical breakthrough! Live to be 150 years old, and you think, "Now, that cant be true!" Wait a minute!...
Identity Theft Is It Really That Bad?
March 2002
Imagine the following scenario: Last year, your one-year-old son died of a terminal disease. A year later, not too long after the first anniversary...
Will Your Will Stand the Test of Time?
February 2002
Several years ago, you met with your lawyer and created your last will and testament just the way your CPA told you to. You set up a trust to hold...
Section 529 Plans Revisited
January 2002
Its a good thing that most of us dont worry about financing our childrens college education before we decide to have them. If we did think about...
Are You Running Out of Room?
December 2001
...
A Familiar Question
November 2001
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Silver Linings
October 2001
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Too Good To Be True? Probably!
September 2001
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Need Help With the IRS? File 911
August 2001
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Make Hay While the Sun Shines
July 2001
...
No Estate Tax? Really?
June 2001
...
Isn't It About Time You Got the Credit?
May 2001
...
Just Wait Until Your Father Comes Home!
April, 2001
...
Well, what will it be?
March, 2001
...
Saving Money the Old-Fashioned Way
February 2001
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Online Banking Making Your Life Easier?
January 2001
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So What if I Live Forever?
December 2000
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A New What?
November 2000
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Family Fun
October 2000
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Do You Know How Well Your Mutual Fund Has Done This Year?
September 2000
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You Plan Your Day...Why Not Your Life?
August 2000
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Insure? Be Sure!
July 2000
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How to Make Your Kid Pay For College
June 2000
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Social Security Tax Relief
May 2000
Senior Citizens' Freedom to Work Act of 2000...
The 529 College Savings Plan is Available to You
April 2000
No matter what state you reside, the 529 Plan is available to you. If you have children, you need to learn about this great opportunity....
The Roth IRA
March 2000
Do I qualify for a Roth IRA? Find out before April 15th....
There is No Excuse for Not Having a Will.
February 2000
You worked hard for your money; make sure it ends up in the right hands....
Determining Your Retirement Benefits and Social Security
January 2000
Watch your mail box for a letter from the Social Security Administration informing you for the first time of what you are due to receive from your Social Security benefits....
Tax Traps in Retirement and How to Avoid Them
December 1999
Costly mistakes in handling your retirement can be avoided by simply understand the rules that apply....
FYI American IRA owners, all 31 Million of You!
November 1999
Key factors you need to know before making an IRA part of your estate plan....
Today's Stock Market? Alternative Investments
October 1999
The stock market roller coaster has professionals recommending alternative investments....
Mutual Fund Trading Pretax & After Tax
August 1999
Mutual Funds are a good investment choice for after-tax returns but be sure that you get complete and accurate information before you make an investment decision....
Smart Ways to Give to Your Family
July 1999
Learn how to give to your loved ones and not accumulate more assets for the IRS than for your family....
Risks of Employee Stock Ownership
June 1999
A growing number of employees find themselves with extensive holdings in their own companies' stock but most are not aware of the risk factors involved. The International Association for Financial Planning has issued a Critical Issues Report, entitled Ho...
Tax Cuts for Workers with Term Life
May 1999
Workers whose employers offer group term life-insurance coverage will receive a tax cut according to a plan unveiled earlier this year by Treasury officials....
In the Age of No Tax Shelters They Still Exist
April 1999
According to Mr. Laurence Foster, CPA/PFS, many opportunities still remain for taxpayers even though the exotic tax shelters of years past have been abolished by Congress....
 

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