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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

What does Tax Reform mean to me? The current Tax Cuts and Jobs Act proposal is seeking the biggest transformation of the U.S. tax code in more than 30 years. It aims to permanently reduce the corporate tax rate from 35% to 20%,...

 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

4 Questions to ask on Thanksgiving Day The 2017 holiday season is officially here. As we start thinking about decorating, preparing food, making our wish lists and dashing out for Black Friday, I wanted to give you some ideas for...

 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Money is one of the top reasons couples argue. It can be a touchy subject between partners and often times leads to fighting that has the potential to destroy marriages and families. Money problems can also lead to depression,...

 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Social Security Benefits on the Rise! Are you currently receiving Social Security income? I have good news for you. In January of 2018 you will be getting the largest cost-of-living adjustment in Social Security benefits payments since...

 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

What is a Health Savings Account? A health savings account (HSA) is a tax-advantaged medical savings account available to taxpayers in the United States who are enrolled in a high-deductible health plan (HDHP). "To further qualify, one...

 

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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Last week, one of the “big four” credit reporting agencies, Equifax, announced it experienced a security breach resulting in criminals accessing personal information of approximately 143 million Americans between May and...

 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Advice for Parents of College Bound Kids The time is coming to get your graduated high school senior off to college. Most parents think about the normal things to prepare; the college dorm room set-up, discussing the budget, stocking...

 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Market Outlook The second quarter was a healthy one for investors. While the outlook for the remainder of the year still looks positive for equity investors, there are several factors to continue keeping a close eye on which could...

 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Relationships and Money When I met my husband, his sister was handling all his bills. After we were married I took over. It wasn’t until 12 years into our marriage that we started talking about money and setting financial goals...

 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

What is Financial Freedom? Financial Freedom can mean different things for each of us. It’s important to identify what it means to you personally because that will help set your financial goals and motivate you to pursue them.To...

 

Monday, July 3, 2017

How are Financial Advisors Compensated? The 3 primary ways financial advisors get paid are from hourly consulting, earning a commission based on investments purchased, or an advisory fee for managing your portfolio and being your...

 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Buy a Home or Pay for College? With the cost of college education increasing at a rate approximately double that of inflation, a toddler today will need to have about the cost of an average home to pay for four years at a public school...

 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Protecting your identity has become something everyone should be concerned with. Here are some simple tips to practice and could save you a huge headache down the road! Don’t ever provide personal information over the phone, by...

 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

What is Identity Theft? Identity theft occurs when a criminal takes your personal information (such as your social security number, address, birth date, bank account number, credit card number, etc.) and uses it to steal money or...

 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Which Tax Records to Keep and Which to Toss Dear Julia, I just filed my taxes for 2016 and am planning to clean out my old files. What records should I keep, and what can I safely toss? --Buried in stacks of paperwork Dear Buried in...

 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The first step in minimizing risk in your investment portfolio is knowing what your investment goals are and making sure your portfolio is aligned with these goals. For example, if you are investing for retirement and that is 10-20...

 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Contribute to Retirement Accounts If you haven’t already funded your retirement account for 2016, consider doing so by April 18, 2017. That’s the deadline for contributions to a traditional IRA (deductible or not) and a...

 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Five Smart Steps on Student Debt Know What You Owe. View your federal loans on the National Student Loan Data System at nslds.ed.gov. This site does not include information on private loans. You should make a list of balance and...

 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Automated Advising I’ve heard a lot about online robo-advisors recently. What are these and should I be using an online automated advising program or a real advisor? An online advisor, sometimes referred to as a robo-advisor,...

 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

2017 Outlook Everyday, clients ask me what they should expect in 2017. Should I be nervous, excited, scared, worried or hopeful? I respond with yes, all those things. The potential changes from a new administration could make planning...

 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Welcome to 2017 Happy New Year! As the 2016 holidays fade into the past, the New Year brings new opportunities and a chance for a fresh look at your finances. If you’re feeling like all your money went with the holidays,...

 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Charitable IRA Rollover Q: Dear Julia: Since turning 70 ½ I must take out my Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) from my IRA (Individual Retirement Account) by the end of each year. I don’t need this money for income and...

 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Best practices of Smart Investing Investing is a marathon, not a sprint. The best advice I can give when helping clients invest smarter is to stay focused on your time horizon and individual goals. The first step to becoming a smart...

 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thanksgiving Preparation Another holiday season is upon us! It amazes me that as I get older, the years seem to go by much faster. With Thanksgiving already here, my thoughts move toward gratitude and giving. It’s a natural time...

 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

What is an Executor’s job? An executor is responsible for sorting out your finances after your death; generally arranging for the payment of debts and expenses and distributing what remains to the heirs. The executor you name in...

 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Dear Valued Investor: Donald Trump has completed his landmark quest and will become the nation’s 45th President after a contentious and often divisive campaign. In addition, the Republican Party has retained control of both...

 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Pros and Cons of Revocable Living Trusts A revocable living trust is an agreement stating how an individual's property will be distributed and managed during their lifetime and after their death. One major benefit of a revocable living...

 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

How revocable living trusts work A revocable living trust can be a useful estate planning tool, but it’s important to understand how they work first. When it comes to estate planning, some people create wills and leave it at that...

 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Is your Financial Advisor a Fiduciary? With a recent endorsement, President Obama committed to the fiduciary standards for financial advisors. This could have significant impact on the investment industry. Personally, I am excited for...

 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Considerations for early retirement. The median life expectancy for a 65-year-old American woman is 86, according to the Social Security Administration. For men, it’s 84. Half will die sooner, half will live longer. Taking Social...

 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Do you think you’re ready to start your dream retirement? This is getting harder to do. In 2014, just 4 percent of Americans expect to retire before 55, compared with 15 percent in 1995, a Gallup* poll says. Check your...

 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Myth 1: 100 minus your age equals the percentage of stocks to keep in your portfolio. If you’re 40 years old, for example, this rule recommends keeping 60 percent of your portfolio in stocks. As you age, this number becomes...

 

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

What is your dream retirement? When the time arrives that you have been working for your entire career, will you be ready? More importantly, will your nest egg be ready to sustain the retirement of your dreams? If the answer is no or...

 

Monday, July 11, 2016

In late June we all received the unprecedented news that the United Kingdom (U.K.) has voted to leave the European Union (EU). The U.K., comprised of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, has been a member of the 28-nation EU...

 

Monday, June 27, 2016

Avoiding these seven most common mistakes can help make life easier for those who survive you. Not having an estate plan! Any saver or investor at the least needs to have a current will. Believing that having a will avoids probate. A...

 

Friday, June 10, 2016

So, what’s the big idea behind a rollover IRA? With a rollover IRA, the retirement dollars you have saved so far within your company’s retirement plan, like a 401(k), can be moved to your own Individual Retirement...

 

Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Roth IRA is a retirement savings vehicle that was started through the Taxpayers Relief Act in 1997 and named due to the efforts of its main proponent, Senator William Roth. The power of the Roth IRA is not in what it can do for you...

 

Friday, May 20, 2016

What's the single biggest expense that you will face in retirement? Housing? Recreation? The title of this probably gives it away, how about health care costs? Between Medicare premiums and the portion of medical bills Medicare doesn't...

 

Monday, May 9, 2016

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, healthier living, however, can put greater stress...

 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Q: How often do I need to review my estate plan? A: Once every three years is a general rule of thumb. At the very least, confirm that your fiduciary appointments (executors, trustees and agents designated in your medical and financial...

 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

I recently attended the Barron’s Top Independent Advisors Summit and one of the most fascinating sessions was on “Everything Investors Need to Know – and Should Ignore – About the Upcoming Election.”* As...

 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

I am 63 years old and working part-time. I am considering drawing social security income early. Is this a good idea? There are several drawbacks to claiming Social Security benefits before full retirement age. For one, you may receive...

 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Traditional IRAs, which were created in 1974, are owned by roughly 31.1 million U.S. households. And Roth IRAs, created as part of the Taxpayer Relief Act in 1997, are owned by nearly 19.2 million households.1 Both are IRAs. And yet...

 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Who among us wants to pay the IRS more taxes than we have to?¹ While few may raise their hands, Americans regularly overpay because they fail to take tax deductions for which they are eligible. Let’s take a quick look at the...

 

Monday, February 8, 2016

If you're like many small business owners, running your own business is an all-consuming endeavor. In the face of everyday demands, choosing a retirement plan for your business can become a casualty. The idea of establishing a plan...

 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Does the recent downturn in the market have you second guessing your investment choices? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. The volatile markets are back and most likely here to stay for 2016. What’s important though is...

 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Planning for 2016 could be confusing and investors still need to be watchful. Rising interest rates, a volatile stock market, an active political landscape and fluctuating oil prices are issues that need monitoring. For 2016, caution...

 

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Have you ever had one of those months? The water heater stops heating, the dishwasher stops washing and your family ends up on a first-name basis with the nurse at urgent care. Then, as you’re driving to work, giving yourself...

 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Protecting your identity is crucial in this digital age we live in. The IRS recently launched an educational campaign called “Taxes. Security. Together.” to raise awareness about how individuals can protect themselves...

 

Friday, November 27, 2015

First, let me stress that no one who is currently collecting Social Security benefits will be affected by the prospective changes to rules determining who can file and suspend Social Security benefits to allow a spouse, dependent or...

 

Friday, November 13, 2015

The recently passed Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 includes major changes to Social Security. This legislation opens up significant opportunities for those who may be affected by these changes. ELIMINATION OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY “CLAIM...

 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Despite all of the news we have heard about tax simplification, the current tax code still remains a complex combination of regulations, statutes, rulings and forms that are written primarily in highly technical language and cover...

 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Many taxpayers put off their tax preparation until the very last moment. Why wait for crunch time to prepare and review your information? Visit with your financial professional several months before the year-end to discuss your...

 

Monday, October 12, 2015

The traditional contribution ("front door") for Roth IRAs is currently not available for higher income earners. Married couples earning $193,000 or more and singles earning $131,000 or more in 2015 are still barred from contributing...

 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Now is an ideal time to review or revisit your bond holdings to identify what, if any, changes you may need to make. Bonds are usually an essential part of a conservative portfolio: they provide income and are usually more stable than...

 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Typically, bond prices and interest rates move in opposite directions. This means that when interest rates rise, bond prices tend to fall, and conversely, when interest rates decline, bond prices tend to rise. Here’s why: Suppose you...

 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Q: I recently turned 66 and started receiving my Social Security benefits. Will I have to pay taxes on this income? A: On the Social Security website, www.SSA.gov, they state that “some people have to pay federal income taxes on their...

 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Peter Lynch, the famous stock picker once said, “Most investors would be better off in an index fund.” I wondered if this was true, so I set out to find the answer! Do active investors make more money than passive...

 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Be careful if you inherit a retirement account. In many cases, the decedent’s largest asset is a retirement account. If you inherit a retirement account, such as an IRA or other qualified plan, the money is usually taxable upon...

 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

August brings with it the end of summer, but in recent years, bouts of stock market volatility have been common. It is quite normal for stock prices to decline at some point almost every year. In 30 of the 34 calendar years since 1980...

 

Monday, August 10, 2015

This coming Sunday kicks off the 2015 Football Season, I can’t believe it’s upon us so quickly! Retirement has a way of sneaking up on us too. Here are 5 strategies to think about while you take in the first game of the season. Have a...

 

Monday, August 3, 2015

As retirement nears you may not want to convert all of your savings to fixed income or CDs. Even when you are at a retirement age and are starting to take withdrawals from your investments, it is still important to consider keeping a...

 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Q: Dear Julia: I always planned on being able to retire when my retirement accounts hit 1 million dollars, this past April they hit that goal but now I am wondering if I have saved enough. Someone told me about the four percent rule,...

 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

61% of Americans die without leaving a will for their heirs, says a recent Harris Interactive poll for RocketLawyer, a legal website. In fact, 28% of us would rather do anything than make a will. Without a will, a probate court...

 

Friday, June 5, 2015

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, you may remember the high inflation years...