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Personal Finance

Ways to Repair Your Credit Score

Steps to get your credit rating back toward 720.   We all know the value of a good credit score. We all try to maintain one. Sometimes, though, life throws us a financial curve and that score declines. What steps can we take to repair it? Reduce…

Is a Home an Investment?

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From one perspective, the answer is yes; from another, no.   When you buy a home, are you investing? If you buy it to flip it or buy it as a rental property, the answer is yes. If you buy a home simply to live in it, the answer may…

Smart Financial Moves in Your 20s, 30s, 40s & 50s

What might you think of doing when?    If you had a timeline of the financial steps you should probably take in life, what would it look like? Answers to that question will vary, but certain times of life do call for certain financial…

How Long Do You Have To Keep Your Statements?

A year? Seven years? It depends.   “You should retain copies of your federal tax returns for 7 years.” Is that true, or a myth? How long should you keep those quarterly and annual statements you get about your investment accounts?…

Is There Such A Thing As “Good Debt?”

Actually, there is! But what is it? I won’t lie … having a never-ending supply of cash that would allow me to buy whatever I wanted to would be lovely. It would definitely be better than incurring debt. But until and unless you find a…

Five Savings Secrets

How to potentially increase your savings, without significantly lowering your quality of life. What’s the problem? In general, when it comes to a lack of savings, it is often not a question of low income, but a matter of high spending.…

Gauging Your Financial Well-Being

Six signs that you are in good shape. How well off do you think you are financially? If your career or life takes an unexpected turn, would your finances hold up? What do you think will become of the money you’ve made and saved when you…

Insurance

The Advantages of HSAs

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Health Savings Accounts offer you tax breaks & more. Why do people open up Health Savings Accounts in conjunction with high-deductible health insurance plans? Well, here are some of the compelling reasons why younger, healthier employees…

What Makes a Good Home & Auto Insurance Policy?

What features should it have? What terms should it offer? Have you thought about bundling your insurance? You may want to consider that, as insuring your house and vehicles with the same carrier could save you some money. Most people buy…

What Does Your Home Insurance Policy Cover?

 Take a moment to see if you are adequately protected. Not all home insurance policies are alike. Coverage amounts obviously vary, and so do coverage areas. Taking ten minutes to scrutinize what your policy does (and does not) cover is a…

Why Don't You Have Disability Income Insurance?

If you are injured or ill, it could help you keep afloat financially. If you can’t work and pay your bills, how are you going to cope? Let’s say an injury or illness prevents you from doing your job. How do you deal with the lost income? Disability…

Life Insurance Products with Long-Term Care Riders

Are they worthwhile alternatives to traditional LTC policies? The price of long-term care insurance has really gone up. If you are a baby boomer and you have kept your eye on it for a few years, chances are you have noticed this. Last year,…

Making Decisions About Life Insurance

Life insurance choices can be confusing. Man is Mortal. That makes life insurance a little unique and interesting, doesn’t it? We purchase things like health insurance, car insurance and home insurance, then hope we never have a need to…

Insurance and Investments

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A good financial strategy is not just about “making money;” it is also about protection. Some people mistake investing for financial planning. Their “financial strategy” is an investing strategy, in which they chase the return and…

The A, B, C, & D of Medicare

Breaking down the basics & what each part covers.   Whether your 65th birthday is on the horizon or decades away, you should understand the parts of Medicare – what they cover and where they come from. Parts A & B: Original…

Investing

Is a Home an Investment?

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From one perspective, the answer is yes; from another, no.   When you buy a home, are you investing? If you buy it to flip it or buy it as a rental property, the answer is yes. If you buy a home simply to live in it, the answer may…

Active & Passive Investment Management

 What do each of these terms really mean? Investment management can be active or passive. Sometimes, that simple, fundamental choice can make a difference in portfolio performance. During a particular market climate, one of these two…

Volatility Is Not Risk

The two should not be confused. What is risk? To the conservative investor, risk is a negative. To the opportunistic investor, risk is a factor to tolerate and accept. Whatever the perception of risk, it should not be confused with volatility.…

Do Our Biases Affect Our Financial Choices?

Even the most seasoned investors are prone to their influence.                                                                                                   …

Insurance and Investments

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A good financial strategy is not just about “making money;” it is also about protection. Some people mistake investing for financial planning. Their “financial strategy” is an investing strategy, in which they chase the return and…

College

Saving for College and Retirement

Tips on trying to meet two great financial goals at once Saving for retirement is a must. Saving for college is certainly a priority. How do you do both at once? Saving for retirement should always come first. After all, retirees cannot…

The Real Cost of College

It may not be what you think.  How much will your family end up paying for college? Your household’s income may have less influence than you think – and some private colleges may be cheaper than you assume. Private schools sometimes…

College Funding Options

You can plan to meet the costs through a variety of methods.   How can you cover your child’s future college costs? Saving early (and often) may be the key for most families. Here are some college savings vehicles to consider.  529…

Building a College Fund

Do it smartly, without the all-too-common missteps.  According to Sallie Mae, U.S. families with one or more college students spent an average of $24,164 on tuition, housing, and linked expenses in 2015. That was 16% more than in 2014.1 Statistics…

Retirement

The Different Types of IRAs

This popular retirement savings vehicle comes in several varieties.   What don’t you know? Many Americans know about Roth and traditional IRAs, but there are other types of Individual Retirement Arrangements. Here’s a quick look at…

The Pros & Cons of Roth IRA Conversions

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What are the potential benefits? What are the drawbacks? If you own a traditional IRA, perhaps you have thought about converting it to a Roth IRA. Going Roth makes sense for some traditional IRA owners, but not all. Why go Roth? There…

The Advantages of HSAs

,
Health Savings Accounts offer you tax breaks & more. Why do people open up Health Savings Accounts in conjunction with high-deductible health insurance plans? Well, here are some of the compelling reasons why younger, healthier employees…

One Couple, Two Different Retirements?

After many years together, some retired spouses may find their daily routines far apart.   When you see online ads or TV commercials about retirement planning, do they ever show baby boomer couples arguing? No. After all, retirement…

Before You Claim Social Security

A few things you may want to think about before filing for benefits.   Whether you want to leave work at 62, 67, or 70, claiming the retirement benefits you are entitled to by federal law is no casual decision. You will want to consider…

Retirement Blindspots

Some life & financial factors that can be overlooked.   We all have a “blue sky” vision of the way retirement should be, yet it helps to plan for retirement with a little pragmatism. Fate may alter the course of our retirement…

Getting (Mentally) Ready to Retire

Even those who have saved millions must prepare for a lifestyle adjustment.   A successful retirement is not merely measured in financial terms. Even those who retire with small fortunes can face boredom or depression and the fear of…

Taxes

The Pros & Cons of Roth IRA Conversions

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What are the potential benefits? What are the drawbacks? If you own a traditional IRA, perhaps you have thought about converting it to a Roth IRA. Going Roth makes sense for some traditional IRA owners, but not all. Why go Roth? There…

A GUIDE TO 2018 TAX LAW CHANGES (AND MORE)

The legislation popularly known as the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act did not exactly “rewrite the book” of federal tax laws, but it almost seems that way. On January 1, a host of important, new tax provisions entered the Internal Revenue Code,…

When Is Social Security Income Taxable?

The answer depends on your income.   Your Social Security income could be taxed. That may seem unfair, or unfathomable. Regardless of how you feel about it, it is a possibility. Seniors have had to contend with this possibility since…

Tax Rules on Rental Property

The basics on capital gains & deductions.   Buying or selling income property has definite tax consequences. A taxpayer should clearly understand them, whether he or she intends to acquire a property or put one on the market. A…

Avoiding the Common 1040 Mistakes

Don’t let these slip-ups creep into your federal tax return.    No one wants to delay their federal tax refund. As you certainly don’t, filling out your 1040 form correctly is essential. To that end, it is worth noting some of…

Estate

Talking to Your Heirs About Your Estate Plan

They should not be left ill-informed or unaware.   Talking about “the end” is not the easiest thing to do, and this is one reason why some people never adequately plan for the transfer of their wealth. Those who do create estate…

Minimizing Probate When Setting Up Your Estate

What can you do to lessen its impact for your heirs? Probate subtly reduces the value of many estates. It can take more than a year in some cases, and attorney’s fees, appraiser’s fees, and court costs may eat up as much as 5% of a decedent’s…

A Look at Revocable Living Trusts

What they can (and cannot) accomplish. Living trusts are created with a clearly defined objective: to avoid probate. Unfortunately, misconceptions about living trusts have spread to the point where people think they can accomplish much more…

Estate Planning for Your Digital Assets

Have you addressed this issue? Social media and email accounts. Creative works, photos and keepsakes kept on home computers, the cloud or external storage drives. E-commerce accounts. Domain names. Bitcoin. These are all examples of digital…

Key Estate Planning Mistakes to Avoid

Too many people make these common errors. Many affluent professionals and business owners put estate planning on hold. Only the courts and lawyers stand to benefit from their procrastination. While inaction is the biggest estate planning…

A Primer for Estate Planning

Things to check and double-check.                                                                                        Estate planning is a task that…
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