Your Financial Spring Clean: A Basic To-Do List

Your Financial Spring Clean: A Basic To-Do List

It’s Springtime. Buds will bloom, green grass emerges, and the tried and true tradition of spring cleaning is afoot. But if you think that your spring clean has to be limited to your linen closet or garage, think again. Spring can be a great time to spring clean your financial life, including your records, both […]

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What Should You Expect From Your Special Needs Planner?

For the parents of children with disabilities and varying special needs, the significance of quality holistic estate and financial planning is far more important than simply focusing on tax and investment planning alone. Young and adult-age children alike with disabilities are often not able to adequately care for themselves. Their future self-actualization and quality of life depend largely on their parents’ capabilities and desire to create a plan in conjunction and harmony with keeping government benefits available.

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Saying Goodbye: Tax Deductions That Vanished This Year

There are certain deductions that taxpayers can no longer claim. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 made significant changes to the individual income tax. Some may receive some pretty nice breaks, while others may lose some. Let’s take a look at some of the deductions that will not be available to use when you file your 2018 return this year.

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How the Super Bowl Indicator is An Exercise in Randomness

Some say there is actually a difference in the performance of the stock market based on which team wins the Super Bowl. Have you heard this one before? Individuals are making financial predictions and decisions based on this particular sporting event. It’s an interesting topic that has been kicked around (pun intended) for many years. Let’s take a look at this phenomena as we approach Super Bowl LIII (or if you skipped Latin in high school, Super Bowl 53).

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Sinking Funds: How and When To Use Them

According to the Holmes-Rahe stress inventory, the loss of a spouse is the number one stressor that someone can endure. It’s certainly a time of confusion and emotion. Assessing your financial situation during this time will likely be the last thing on your mind, but it’s so important to evaluate your finances carefully.

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How to Construct a Successful Exit Strategy for Your Business

Having a well-thought-out exit strategy for your small business may not be the first thing on your mind. You’re too busy managing the day-to-day needs of your employees and customers, right? You must keep in mind that you are going to want to have as much input and control over this aspect of the life of your business. You don’t get do-overs for this one. How will you construct the process of your exit? How much do you wish to profit from the transaction?

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End of Year Financial To-do List for Professionals

It’s almost 2019 and the year is wrapping up. As a busy working professional, you can give yourself a nice head start on the new year by giving having a financial “to-do list” of sorts. What I mean by that is taking some time to look at your tax layout, investment strategy, financial planning goals, and other issues influencing your economic world that can be identified and addressed before the new year begins.

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Minimizing Income Taxes with IRA Distributions to Special Needs Trusts

It’s common practice for parents to hold their savings in some type of retirement account, often an
Individual  Retirement Account (IRA) At age 70 1/2 he or she must take mandatory distributions from the IRA, or what is called the Required Beginning Date. These payments and are known as Required Minimum Distributions and are calculated and determined by the government.

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2019 Financial Resolutions: 12 New Year’s Resolutions to Save You Money

80% of New Years resolutions fail by February, and more often than not financial resolutions are among them. So what gives? Are we all doomed to empty savings accounts and living paycheck to paycheck? Not necessarily.Often, it’s not about making resolutions but making the right resolutions, and then putting action behind them.Got your

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Social Security and Medicare Changes to Look for in 2019

It looks like social security payments are slated to grow next year. However, for several recipients, the more substantial payments will be somewhat offset by an increase in Medicare deductibles and premiums. The Social Security Administration (SSA) announced on October 11, 2018, that effective on December 31, Social Security payments for 2019 will rise 2.8 percent, which is an increase from a 2 percent gain in 2018 and the most significant increase since benefits rose 3.6 percent in 2012.

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How to Choose a Financial Planner: Your Ultimate Guide

Putting the future of your finances in the hands of a someone else? To some, that may sound a little crazy.Well, as crazy as it sounds, it’s something people do every day. They do so for a good reason, however. Simply put, they are aware that they need professional assistance with planning their financial future. It’s clear that choosing a financial planner; rather the right financial planner, is an important decision.

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Special Needs and Housing: How You Pay Can Affect SSI Benefits

Likely the most weighted factor used in determining whether SSI recipients will qualify for the maximum benefit is their housing arrangement. Individuals living by themselves who pay their rental expenses, inclusive of utilities, are eligible for the maximum monthly SSI benefit. (This is with the assumption that they fulfill all other criteria to receive the maximum.)

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Retirement Planning Options for the Self-Employed

Working for yourself can be both freeing and rewarding. The downside is that you’re more responsible for dealing with things like taxes and retirement plans. If you’re new to being self-employed, you may need a little help with those things. Saving for retirement is essential, and when you’re on your own, you have the potential to save in any way you’d like. You have to make an informed decision on a retirement plan, though, and that can be difficult.

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College Financial Aid EFC: 6 Questions Answered

When it comes to navigating the world of college financial aid, it can feel like a neverending maze of rules and applications. There are various important elements of the process that are important for parents and student to know, and one that stands out front is knowing and understanding what your EFC is. EFC is an abbreviation for “Expected Family Contribution.” The federal government uses the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA

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10 of the Biggest Retirement Planning Mistakes You Need to Avoid

Are you beginning to prepare for your retirement? The average retirement age in America is 61 years old. However, this average is steadily increasing as Americans continue to live longer. Because this number is growing, it’s more important than ever to ensure that we are adequately planning for retirement. If you plan, your golden years can be stress-free and one of the most enjoyable times of your life.

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7 Retirement Planning Tips for Women

Most women in the United States retire at the age of 66But, women face unique hurdles in comparison to men when it comes to retirement.
First of all, women live longer. They also face lifetime income disparities as compared to men. These issues, coupled with rising divorce rates in older women, can cause struggles when it comes to financial security in later life.

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Why Florida Residents Need a Hurricane Plan for 2018

The Atlantic Hurricane season started on June 1st. Many experts project an activity level of average to above average this season.

This is troubling news for those that live on the East coast  & Gulf coast of the United States. Not too long ago, there were evacuations in parts of Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas. Thousands of people lost their homes, personal belongings, sense of community…and some even lost their lives.

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Financial Planner vs. Financial Advisor: What’s the Difference?

The demand for financial advisors is expected to increase by around 15% in the next decade. It’s clear that people continue to see the value in having a professional help them with their family finances.
However, when looking for some help, you have to consider the differences between a financial planner vs.
financial advisor. Although there are areas of their work that overlap, these are two very different jobs, and they shouldn’t be used interchangeably.

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Yanny, Laurel, your Mind, and Money

Our mind will play tricks on us if given a chance. We are bombarded by stimuli every day, and our brains often use shortcuts or heuristics to cope with the complexity of our environments. Shortcuts that prove harmless most times may,  when applied to our finances, create unfavorable financial outcomes.  If you’ve heard the Yanny/Laurel recording, then you’ve experienced this phenomenon firsthand.

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How Behavioral Investing Can Impact Your Financial Goals

There are up to 188 cognitive biases that impede our ability to make sound decisions. In many scenarios, the effects of our biases may be dismissed as foibles, but there’s not much room for needless mistakes in business.

Behavioral finance theory involves a combination of the fields of Economics and Finance with Psychology. The pairing examines why people make the financial decisions they make and the motivations behind them. Behavioral investing impacts financial goals through;

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How To Set Up A Special Needs Trust For Your Child

Are you in the midst of financial planning with your child’s needs in mind? Here, you’ll find out how to set up a special needs trust for your child.

If you have a child or family member with special needs, you want to help ensure that a plan is in place for their future.

But for many families, helping a disabled loved one thrive is a difficult undertaking with a great deal of worry.

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Top 7 Tips to Save Money When You’re on a Budget

Are you trying to save money but struggling because you’re already on a tight budget? Don’t be too hard on yourself. Many people struggle to save money, regardless of their financial situation. In fact, only15 percent of Americans say they’re definitely saving enough money.But don’t be discouraged by this statistic. The reason many people struggle to save isn’t that they don’t have the means–it’s simply because they don’t know how to do it! To learn how to save money while on a budget, read on.
1. Be a Smart Shopper

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Practical Tips for the Grandparent of a Child with Special Needs

(Autism Asperger’s Digest, February 2018: Page 30-31.)

There are many uncertainties for the parents of children that have special needs. My wife and I are keenly aware of this as we raise our 2 wonderful boys who are both diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Every day is full of questions.

Are we doing the right things for our child? How will we make it through the day to day responsibilities? What does the future hold for our child and our family?

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Navigating College Financial Aid for Your Child as Divorced Parents

The truth is that not all marriages will last. When a family is going through a divorce presently or the parents have been divorced for some time and children are involved, parents need to be informed as to how this change can affect college assessments and costs. In addition, families that are blended through remarriage increase the complexities of applying for aid it’s important for families to be aware of how the financial aid system works in order to obtain the greatest benefit for their children.

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The Money Chat You Need To Have With Your College-Bound Teen

You’re there.

The smell of burning leaves and the sound of students bustling and laughing across campus. Your child’s face says it all. This is the one. This is the college they’ve been looking for. They love every inch of that grassy quad.

Then you see the price tag. Boom.

What happens now? Your child is crushed, finding out that the school of his or her dreams is off the table. Or, your child or yourselves accrue enormous student loan debt to cover the tab.

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It’s National Financial Planning Month: Time for an Investment Plan

October is National Financial Planning Month.

It’s also National Chili month.

While the brisk autumn football game staple surely deserves recognition (self-proclaimed connoisseur here), I would argue that putting a focus on your financial situation and creating a solid investment plan is a pretty worthy cause too. There’s nothing magic or wizardly about October as it relates to financial planning, but it’s as good a time as any, right? What is significant about it is that it’s now.

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6 Big Questions to Consider for Your Retirement

It’s the big daddy of all questions I hear as a financial planner.

Am I going to be ok?

People simply want to know if they are prepared for what lies ahead. Do they have enough for the fishing trips they have dreamed of? Will they have to change their lifestyle when they retire? Will their children have to help out? There is a great deal of apprehension, and frankly, fears when it comes to this conversation because when you think about the future, it can feel like the great unknown; something we have no control over.

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How Are Financial Planners Paid?

If you’ve ever tried to hire a financial advisor, you know how confusing the process can be. There is a huge range of financial professionals out there all offering different services.

The fact that there’s no regulation around terms like “advisor” or “planner” only adds to the confusion. You need to look beyond the title and start seeking designations, such as a CFP® certificant or CFA Charterholder, when vetting a potential pro to help you.

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How to Make Money on the Side (or Full Time): A Quick Guide

Financial success can be attributed to two major, fundamental practices:

1. Live within (or, ideally, below) your means and spend less than you earn

2.Save and invest strategically to achieve what’s important to you.

Simple enough, right?

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Should You Pay Off Your Mortgage Early?

Many financial gurus talk about the dangers of debt, and for good reason. Borrowing money, getting a loan, or putting purchases on credit cards leaves you paying more for whatever you use that money for thanks to interest and other fees.

If you fail to make payments on your balances, that interest starts compounding and the total amount of debt you’re in grows. The longer you take to repay your balance, the more you’ll pay in interest.

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5 Questions Millennials Should Ask Themselves When Investing

Millennials recently overtook Baby Boomers as the largest generation in the U.S., but when it comes to investing, Millennials have a much wider gap to cross. According to

survey by Student Loan Hero, Millennials’ financial priorities are quite different from previous generations thanks to student loans, minimal income inflation, rising home prices, and preferences for renting over ownership. Financial goals and challenges have certainly changed, but the desire to succeed and to minimize financial strain and worry cross generations.

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Can Your Cash Reserves Handle an Emergency?

Good financial planning can put you in a position to proactively work toward your goals, use your money in a way that aligns with your values, and build your wealth for the long-term.

Proper planning can also help you deal with problems and emergencies that will inevitably pop up. We don’t need to know exactly what might happen in order to prepare for it.

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The Bionic Advisor

Traditionally, average investors and families who wanted to grow their nest eggs faced a challenge when it came to getting financial help.

Old-school advisors required a family to bring them $250,000, $500,000 or even a million dollars of money to invest with that advisor before they’d accept the family as a client.

For normal folks who are getting married and raising families, that’s an outrageous amount of money to have lying around. That left a lot of people on their own when it came to figuring out their investments.

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Special Needs Planning: 4 Financial Mistakes to Avoid

As a parent of children with special needs, I have first-hand knowledge of the financial strain that can come with this situation. In our case, we have two boys diagnosed on the autism spectrum. In those early days,

my wife and I were swimming upstream, navigating the emotional rollercoaster that comes with finding out that our children had a diagnosis and what that meant when we were served with another whammy…

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How to Avoid Self-Sabotaging Your Investments

There’s an anecdotal story out there that says Fidelity conducted an internal study to evaluate who their best-performing account holders were. Any guesses as to who did the best in the markets?

It wasn’t necessarily people who were already wealthy. It wasn’t people who tinkered with their accounts to try and optimize their portfolios. And it certainly wasn’t people who closely watched the markets and tried to stay one step ahead of what stock prices would do next.

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How a Health Savings Account Fits into Your Financial Planning Toolbox

We hear a lot lately about the rising costs of healthcare, don’t we?

A recent report published in Health Affairs states that healthcare expenditures will represent almost 20% of the GDP by 2025. So of course, Americans are looking for ways to save on these costs and plan for medical costs in their retirement. For many, a Health Savings Account (HSA) is an excellent option.

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How to Start Saving for College and Alternatives to 529 Plans

It’s the quintessential question of any new parent — and it can remain on your mind as your child grows and gets older: how are you going to pay for their college?

And with the way things are now, saving for college feels intimidating as the cost of higher education continues to rise. Many parents are also motivated by their own student loan debt, wanting to start saving for college to help their children as much as possible, so they don’t face the same financial struggles.

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Ready to Start Your Family? Here’s How to Financially Plan for a Baby

Choosing to start a family may not feel like a financial decision. And you shouldn’t make that decision solely based off what your money situation looks like — there’s a lot more that goes into this big life change.

But you shouldn’t ignore the practical realities of having a baby. The USDA estimates that raising a child to the age of 18 will cost the average family $233,000.

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Don’t Settle for Financial Planning: Focus on Life Planning Instead

What do you think of when you hear the words “financial planning?” If you’re like some people, you may not think anything at all. Instead, you might groan or let your eyes glaze over. Or maybe you immediately feel skeptical and suspicious because you don’t trust what the suits want to do with your money.

The truth is, financial planning can offer tremendous benefit to you and your spouse if you’re just starting your life together. It can also give families peace of mind. It can give you a clear understanding of how to achieve the goals you want to reach.

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Using Insurance to Fund a Special Needs Trust

As parents of children with special needs, we worry about what life will be like for them when we’re gone. Who will take care of them? How will they pay for what they need? Creating a plan to finance their long-term happiness and security is paramount. Like building a house, we start with a foundation. The availability of government benefits are the start of a solid foundation as they provide the a safety net and support system.

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What Is Fiduciary Advice?

Anyone searching for investment advice is undoubtedly confronted with many choices of service providers operating under titles such as certified financial planner, financial consultant, registered investment advisor, stockbroker and insurance agent.

These titles can be confusing because on the surface it is not clear whether these professionals are legally required to have a client’s best interest in mind when making investment recommendations.

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