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Financial Planning Perspectives

Thursday, May 23, 2024

A few years ago, there were ads from financial services companies asking, “What’s your number?” The number was the money you needed to retire comfortably. This was an effective way for financial services companies to get people...

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

There isn’t a week that goes by when you don’t read about some data breach. Safeguarding your personal information starts with understanding cybersecurity risks, knowing what to look for, and doing everything you can to help protect...

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

At the end of 2025, portions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) are set to expire. Many changes will come with the sunsetting of many rules, including the possibility that federal estate and gift tax exemption levels will revert to...

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Give your children the gift of financial literacy. They’ll thank you later! As a parent, you are well aware of your responsibility in helping your children grow up happy and healthy. Once they enter their teen years, the pressure can...

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

As the presidential election race heats up, a common question on investors’ minds is, “How might the looming White House vote impact the markets?” Some may wonder if they should tweak their portfolios or sit tight...

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Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Experts estimate there are more than 44 million people with disabilities in the U.S., representing 13.4% of the population.1 Many parents of children with disabilities choose to establish a special needs trust. This can help provide...

Monday, February 12, 2024

Money can be a touchy subject, especially regarding our closest relationships. Whether we like it or not, finance plays an integral role in our partnerships, families, and friendships. So, how can we foster healthy attitudes and...

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

In the ever-evolving financial landscape, staying informed about the latest changes and potential implications for your retirement savings is crucial. Shifts in retirement regulations define 2024, and we’re committed to keeping...

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Happy New Year! 2023 turned out to be a good year for investment returns in the equity markets, with a strong finish in November and December of the final quarter. However, valuations are now stretched and stock markets have...

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

With the start of the new year, we wanted to discuss a topic that will likely garner attention throughout 2024: the potential sunsetting of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) in 2025. Although some of the provisions within the TCJA are...

Monday, December 11, 2023

Your Child is Turning 18: Handling Healthcare, Academics, and Finances Together As your child blows out the candles on their 18th birthday, you may still see your baby girl or boy. But in the eyes of the law your child is considered a...

Monday, December 4, 2023

As we get ready to turn the page on 2023 and welcome the new year with all its possibilities, we’d like to take some time to reflect on the year that was—the notable events, trends, and developments that defined our...

Monday, November 20, 2023

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease or any other form of dementia, this can be an extremely challenging time. While promising new treatments are developing and research continues, a cure remains elusive....

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Divorce is one of the most stressful life events. Even the most amicable splits can be complicated and emotionally draining. We likely all know couples who have gone through divorce, and it can be a trying time for everyone involved....

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

While we haven’t yet said goodbye to 2023, it’s not too early to begin thinking about any tax changes that may be on the horizon. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017 was designed to overhaul the federal tax code by...

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Many of us have adapted to a world with remote team members and back-to-back Zoom calls with customers spread across the country, which certainly has its benefits. Nevertheless, one drawback is the difficulty of getting together in...

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

SECURE 2.0: Changes Going Into Effect in 2024 Passed in 2019, the SECURE Act was the most substantial retirement legislation in over a decade. It contained important changes designed to help investors save more and be better prepared...

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Time to Think About Year-End Financial Strategies As we roll into fall and the fourth quarter, now is a good time to pause and reflect on proactive ways to set up your finances for 2024. Economically speaking, we are now in a much...

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

While artificial intelligence (AI) is making headlines today, the concept of "thinking machines" can be traced back to ancient philosophers and mathematicians. The phrase artificial intelligence was first used in the mid-20th century,...

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Social Security, the program you may have spent a lifetime paying into, is designed to offer stability, supplemental income, and other valuable benefits that can play a role in your overall financial strategy after you retire. We've...

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

If you ask the average investor which month is the most volatile for the stock market, they will probably say October. It's a reasonable answer, but it's incorrect. Despite October's reputation for market-defining events like the...

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

As financial professionals, we understand how vital it is to safeguard your personal and financial information. Unfortunately, in our increasingly digital world, cybersecurity risks, such as phishing attacks, have become a prevalent...

Monday, August 7, 2023

You’ve done a great job teaching your children vital life lessons and instilling values that will last a lifetime. As summer ends and a new school year begins, one thing that shouldn’t be overlooked, especially for...

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Changes are coming to the complicated form that students must submit to qualify for college financial aid, known as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).The Department of Education is calling it the “most...

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

IntroductionOver the last several months, I have met with quite a few self-proclaimed do-it-yourself (DIY) investors who, after struggling with the markets in 2022, approached me asking for a second opinion. Interestingly, almost every...

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Changes to 529 Plans in the SECURE 2.0 ActThe SECURE Act was initially passed by Congress at the end of 2019 and was intended to improve retirement savings opportunities. It was a big deal at the time and the most significant piece of...

Thursday, July 6, 2023

What if your child needs braces? The cost may be as much as $6,000 for metal braces—more modern versions can run as much as $13,000. Your health insurance may cover only a portion of the cost. If you're well past the braces stage...

Monday, July 3, 2023

Stocks posted gains for the week to close out a stellar month, aided by positive economic data and reports that all major banks had passed the Federal Reserve’s annual stress test.The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 2.02%,...

Monday, June 26, 2023

Stocks took a breather last week as investors digested the previous week’s surge and the month-to-date solid gains.The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 1.67%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 fell 1.39%. The Nasdaq...

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Getting your affairs in order and outlining what you want done with your estate after you’re gone is one of the greatest gifts you can leave your loved ones. However, not preparing for the transfer of your assets can lead to...

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Stocks climbed last week as reassuring inflation data boosted investor hopes that the rate-hike cycle was nearing an end amid fresh economic data pointing to continued economic resilience. Markets embraced Goldilocks economic data and...

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Senior care costs can be overwhelming, particularly when long-term care is required due to illness or medical conditions. With the number of seniors in the U.S. expected to rise exponentially by 2030, it's crucial to be prepared for...

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Estate management can be a complex and daunting task for many people, but it’s a critical step in helping your assets get managed and distributed according to your wishes.One popular tool that can be used in estate strategies is...

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Economies move in cycles – always have, always willThe Federal Reserve has been steadily increasing interest rates in an attempt to slow the rate of inflation. Its efforts are yielding some results, although inflation remains...

Friday, April 28, 2023

Fun fact: You probably have dozens of credit scores out there, and each one might be a different number.You’re probably familiar with a credit score, why it’s essential, and what it’s used for, but do you know how...

Monday, April 17, 2023

Discussing personal finances is important for any couple preparing for marriage. However, this topic can be more complicated for those who remarry later in life.If you’re remarrying later in life, one of your goals should be to...

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

As we get older, it’s important that our adult children are prepared to manage any aging-related situations that may arise. This includes everything from having to make medical and financial decisions to determining assisted...

Monday, March 20, 2023

Every parent wants the best for their children and strives to prepare them to lead a happy, healthy, and successful life. But, despite understanding the importance of financial responsibility, only 28 percent of parents speak to their...

Monday, March 6, 2023

Transitioning from Private Health Insurance Plans to MedicareAs you approach retirement age, you may be anticipating transitioning from your private insurance to Medicare, which is a federal health insurance program that provides...

Monday, November 14, 2022

As a parent, your family bond is important but at times challenging.  As you can imagine, having a family meeting to talk specifically about money is no easy feat. At the same time, discussing finances to your family may...

Monday, November 14, 2022

Those attuned to popular early rap may remember the notorious B.I.G. song, “Mo Money, Mo Problems.”  In a similar sense, even conventional estate planning may lead to major family rivalries and contention,...

Sunday, July 17, 2022

I trust everyone is enjoying the beautiful summer weather, but the winds of change have been wild in the world of money with the financial markets having an extremely rough start for the first half of 2022. On the other hand, I want to...

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Creating a long-term financial plan that ties your life aspirations to your financial goals can help you to distinguish wants from needs, establish clear priorities, and avoid misguided investment decisions.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

College is often considered the surest path to a lucrative career. After all, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a worker with a bachelor's degree typically earns two-thirds more than someone with just a high school...

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Family caregiver contracts can range from informal to complex professional contracts drawn up by lawyers. Here's what you should know to decide what's best for you. When the caregiver whom Amy Goyer, of Phoenix, hired for her...

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Newlyweds can suddenly become ineligible for Roth IRAs once their incomes are combined, although couples may still invest in them indirectly. Q. I'm getting married next month, and when we add up my income and my wife's, we'll earn...

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Heirs must begin taking withdrawals once they inherit an IRA, but how they choose to make those distributions can have a big impact on their account balance over time. Q. My mother just passed away at the age of 60. She has $110,000 in...

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Now is a good time to review your 401(k) contributions to make sure you're getting your employer's full match. Q. I've been contributing to my 401(k), and my employer matches a portion of my contributions. Does the $18,000 maximum for...

Thursday, September 14, 2017

While Donald Trump has yet to appoint a four-legged friend to walk the halls of the White House (making him the first president since William McKinley not to have a dog), his Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, made history this...

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Costly cities are costly for a reason. Be it climate, geography, culture, economic prosperity or all of the above, the most expensive U.S. cities to live in offer amenities and opportunities for which residents are willing to pay a...

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Ten years ago, thousands of Blockbuster Video stores occupied buildings like this all over the country, renting DVDs and selling popcorn. Today, all but a handful are closed. The company’s shares once traded for nearly $30. Now...

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The labor market is steadily improving, with unemployment at its lowest level in a decade, but some fields continue to experience a downward slide. For example, about 1.7 million manufacturing jobs were lost between January 2007 and...

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A million dollars ain't what it used to be, but it still earns you entry into an elite group. Only 5.5% of the country, or about 6.8 million households, qualify as bona fide millionaires. That means they have investable assets of $1 million

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Heading into your retirement years brings a slew of new topics to grapple with, and one of the most maddening may be Medicare. Figuring out when to enroll, what to enroll in and what coverage will be best for you can be daunting. To help yo

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A Costco membership opens doors, quite literally, to a vast selection of bulk-size groceries and household goods selling at discounted prices. But buying potato chips and toilet paper by the case is just the start. The warehouse club also s

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

When it comes to cheap living, don't mess with Texas. The Lone Star State is home to the two most-affordable cities in America. But Texas doesn't have a monopoly on low living costs. Five other states make an appearance on our list.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Home Depot is probably the first retailer to come to mind when you’re thinking “ubiquitous big-box hardware store.” The rise of these orange-hued home-improvement centers was a revelation to those who grew up with small, neighborhood hardwa

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Cyberthreats are where much of the action is for today’s military, but war planners haven’t forgotten the need to keep up with traditional ways of enhancing America’s defense: weapons and the means to deliver them.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Many of us first signed up for Amazon Prime years ago to take advantage of free two-day shipping, and stayed with it as the giant online retailer edged the annual fee toward the triple-digit mark. But what are you really getting with your $

Friday, March 10, 2017

Your credit score is a critical piece of information that lenders use to determine how creditworthy you might be. Knowing your score - and what it takes to maintain a healthy score - is key to your financial outlook.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Small business owners face a unique - but critical- investing challenge. Diversifying investment holdings outside of the business. Luckily there are many options to consider.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Is your organization ready to offer a 401(k) plan for the first time - or are you in the market for a new provider? Either way, there are many factors to consider as you weigh the features of various plans.

Friday, March 10, 2017

With so many charities competing for your philanthropic dollars, the better armed you are with information, the better able you will be to make a wise charitable choice.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Recent research has found that when it comes to collecting Social Security benefits, the income replacement rate for two-income couples has been declining steadily for a number of years.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

As 2016 draws to a close, take time to reflect on the changes that have occurred in the past 12 months and how they might affect all aspects of your life - including your investment risk tolerance.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Under certain circumstances, the IRS is now allowing individuals who miss the 60-day window to roll over assets from qualified retirement accounts to avoid paying the potential early distribution taxes.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The FINRA Investor Education Foundation set out to determine how skilled Americans are at managing their financial lives. Details of their research are shared in this article.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

When employees leave a company they may leave behind money in a retirement plan account. What are plan sponsors’ options for handling the cash? Here are some answers to commonly asked questions.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The cost of living varies significantly across the country making it essential to be a savvy shopper and saver - wherever you call home.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

The generation of young Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 are now the largest, most influential demographic group in the United States. Here’s a glimpse into their financial world.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Identity theft is rampant in America. And tax-related identity crimes are among the fastest-growing offenses. Learn what the IRS is doing -- and steps you can take -- to help you stay protected.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Good news for families: the interest rates on new federal student loans is dropping for the coming academic year. Here are the details and resources for more information.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Do emotions cloud your judgment when it comes to making decisions about your investments? If so, you - and many others - have much to gain by developing a disciplined, long-term plan and sticking with it.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

A retirement plan is crucial to a company's ability to attract and retain loyal, talented employees. The plan's vesting schedule is a key factor determining its appeal.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Here is some basic - but important - information about life insurance policies and why so many Americans are under- or uninsured.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

One way to potentially avoid paying an early withdrawal penalty on money taken from your IRA before age 59½ is to use what is called "substantially equal periodic payments (SEPPs)."

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Employer matching contributions can go far toward attracting and retaining talented, loyal employees. Make sure you are "getting the message out" about this important benefit.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Gender issues affect more than just a woman's paychecks. Longevity, family caregiving, and the gender wage gap influence women's long-term financial well-being and retirement security.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Auto-enrollment has helped retirement plan sponsors improve their plan participation rates and enhanced many other key plan metrics.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

There is more to college planning than saving and investing. There is financial aid to consider as well as the search to find the "just right" institution for your child.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

New regulations - so-called "conflict of interest" rules - impacting retirement savers and the financial professionals who serve the retirement industry were introduced by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) in April 2016.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

When was the last time you checked the beneficiary designations on your retirement plans? It's an important - but often overlooked or forgotten - aspect of wealth transfer.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The saver's credit allows certain low- to middle-income individuals to claim a tax credit for making contributions to an IRA or a workplace retirement account.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Managing finances responsibly takes a lot of time and experience. Learn from your mistakes and try to avoid the traps described here.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

This year, Employee Benefit Research Institute's 26th annual Retirement Confidence Survey found that worker confidence remained stable but did not improve, due in part to lackluster market performance.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Stock selection is part art, part science. There are many factors that must be considered when evaluating a company including its finances, the industry it operates in, and various valuation metrics.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Health savings accounts are a popular resource commonly used by individuals covered by a high-deductible health plan. Whether you have access to an HSA through your employer or you opt to enroll in one on your own, there is much to learn

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Many participants in employer-sponsored retirement savings plans have the option to convert their plan assets into a guaranteed annuity when they retire, assuring a steady income flow. Whether you'll want to exercise this option depends o

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

With a special estate planning instrument called a QTIP (Qualified Terminable Interest Property) trust, you can give your spouse an income stream for life and choose who will receive the trust property at your spouse's death.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

While the trend toward digital investing and advice appears unstoppable, investors continue to have mixed feelings about the robo-investing movement.