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Identity Compromised?

If you or someone you know has become a victim of identity theft, here are a few steps which should be taken immediately: Check for and clean computer of any malware. Change passwords for all services: email, social media, financial sites, etc. Place a fraud alert with one of the credit agencies: Experian, TransUnion, or Equifax. Contact Journey Tree to make us aware so we can contact TD to have additional security measures added to your accounts. For additional assistance…

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FAQs

Why do rising interest rates negatively affect bonds? Sam has a bond paying a 2% coupon. The Fed raises rates to 3% and suddenly, Sam’s bond is not as attractive, so the price of his bond drops to reflect the new yields. Along comes Bob – he can now either buy the new 3% bond, or buy Sam’s 2% bond but at a discount to ultimately yield 3%.   I am planning to take a big chunk of money out…

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Market Commentary

Unlike the calm market conditions of 2017, 2018 has so far presented a tough, volatile market landscape. The volatility index (VIX), surged about 80% during the first quarter. Headlines, like “U.S. Stocks End Worst Week in Years”, “The Unseen Forces Behind the Market’s Plunge”, and “Volatility Roars Back With Biggest Quarterly Rise Ever”, started to appear on front pages of major news providers. And this has been a challenging year so far not just for U.S. stocks, but for global…

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Stock market chart

Market Commentary

The U.S. stock market reached new highs to close out 2017. The S&P 500 stock index was up over 21% last year and already another 6% in January before experiencing some decline in February. Given that the long term average return for the stock market is around 10%, future price appreciation is likely to be much lower. Not to mention that the market has not had a significant drop in almost a year and a half – far from the…

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Six Signs it is a Scam

Whether it’s an email from an overseas prince asking you to wire cash, or an unsolicited phone call from someone asking for identifiable information, scams are a familiar concern that can cause an unsuspecting victim financial harm and heartache. Protect yourself and your loved ones from telephone, email, mail or other types of scams by questioning the conversation. Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum offers six signs that an offer might be a scam. Scammers Contact You “Out of the Blue.”…

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Stock market chart

Market Commentary

 In investment circles it is often said that “You make your money when you buy.” The basic notion is that the investor buys the stock of a good company that is temporarily selling at a low price and holds onto it until it can be sold at a much higher price.  So, to have a good chance to make a profit one needs low prices as a starting point.The problem is that seldom has there been such an absence of…

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There is No Such Thing as a “Best Investment”

An article published in the USA Today titled “Warren Buffett: This is the best investment most people can buy” was forwarded my way recently. I find it interesting to read statements attributed to Warren Buffet, even if the journalists covering them sometimes rephrase or take things out of context.  Judging by the quotes in the article, all Warren actually asserted was that the Vanguard 500 Index fund is a great choice if you are looking for passive exposure to the “American…

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Financial Literacy Education Provided by NEDCO

We wanted to spread the word about a great local organization that offers introductory financial literacy classes and counseling to our community. Neighborhood Economic Development Corporation (NEDCO), located in downtown Springfield, offers a monthly class series called Financial Foundations. The classes are offered in both English and Spanish and cover topics including financial goal setting, budgeting, tackling debt, improving credit, and understanding insurance. After attending the class series, participants receive individualized advice from a financial counselor. For lower-income participants, enrolling…

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An Overview of 529 College Savings Plans

A number of our clients have been asking how they can help provide college funding for their kids or their grandkids, so we thought we would provide a quick overview of 529 college savings plans. With nearly a quarter of a trillion dollars invested in these plans, Americans are increasingly using the 529 plan as a tool to save for future education needs. The basic idea behind a 529 plan is to allow families to save for college costs with…

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Social Security Retirement Benefits: The Mini Series

INTRODUCTION In my most recent installment of this series, I wrote about a few hard to believe nuances of Social Security benefits. In this final installment, we are going to meet Pat and Val, a married couple with gender-neutral names, and review some simple and more complex Social Security planning strategies available to them. In the following comparisons: Val and Pat are the same age Their “full retirement age” (FRA) is 66 Val’s benefit at FRA is $1,000 Pat’s benefit…

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