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Planning

2016 Year-End Planning Guide

Maximize contributions to your retirement savings plans There are still a few weeks left in the year to adjust payroll deductions (or year-end bonuses) to contribute more to a 401(k), 403(b) or other tax-deferred savings plan. This could be especially valuable if your employer matches contributions. If you are self-employed, consider opening a solo-401(k) or… More >

Data Suggests Minimal Social Security Increase for 2017

Social Security benefits may increase each year based on inflation measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI). These cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) help retirees keep up with the rising cost of goods and services. Each October, the Social Security Administration announces the amount monthly benefits will increase starting the following January. If the rate of inflation… More >

Put Interest Rate Boost Into Context

Interest rates are (finally) increasing. Now what? The long-awaited interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve was finally announced in December. The Fed stated that it would raise rates by a quarter of a percentage point, the first increase since June 2006. The Fed’s statement emphasized that the state of the economy is not putting… More >

Why Educators Should Pay Close Attention to Retirement Plan Fees

Many teachers have 403(b) employer retirement plans, which have saving and tax-deferral rules similar to 401(k)s. Contributions from salary deductions lower taxable income, then grow tax-deferred until withdrawn in retirement. Employers may offer Roth 403(b)s, which do not provide a tax break now, but instead offer tax-free withdrawals in retirement. Some employers match contributions, often… More >

How to Tell If a Charity is Legitimate

The IRS recently warned consumers of possible fake charity scams relating to recent South Carolina flood victim relief. Following natural disasters or catastrophic events, scam artists often impersonate charities to collect money or personal data from well-intentioned donors. Whether donating to assist after a specific crisis, or with recurring planned gifts, one can take steps… More >

Avoiding Lifestyle Creep

“The fundamental rule regarding wealth building …Whatever your income, always live below your means.” One of my passions as a financial planner is to help people turn their career success into long-term financial success. One does not guarantee the other, and a big reason is the tendency to ramp up your lifestyle as your income… More >

How Much is Your Emergency Savings Fund?

A long-standing rule of thumb has been three to six month’s worth of expenses. But that is a broad generalization without any consideration for personal circumstances. An emergency fund may be the best way to protect your finances in a real crisis, and deserves a second look especially if your family or employment situation has… More >