Financial Planning

Financial Planning – More Important than Ever

Over the past few months, we have been living a new “normal.” This includes wearing face masks in public, social distancing, and communicating with our friends and loved ones not in person, but almost entirely virtually. These changes may cause you to pause and consider your priorities and what your future looks like. Many things in life are out of our control, but working with an advisor to create or revise your financial plan is a great way to take…

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What to Do During a Bear Market

We know you may be concerned about recent declines in the stock market. Markets go up, but they also go down. Fortunately, they go up more often than they go down. There are things in our lives that we can control and that makes sense to focus on, especially during turbulent times. Here are some personal financial items to review that can have a positive impact on your financial future. Review your expenses. As markets go down people start to…

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The SECURE Act: Some Important Changes to Know

You may have recently read that the SECURE Act was signed into law on December 20, 2019. So, what does that mean for you? It could have more of an impact than its name alludes to since it’s 29 original provisions address many topics from inherited IRA distributions to the age for required minimum distributions. Here are some key points to take into consideration. 1. Required Minimum Distribution Age Changed to 72 The first major impact of the Setting Every…

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Our Newest Certified Financial Planner™

We are pleased to announce that Michelle is officially a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional!  She successfully passed the CFP® Board exam in November. What is a CFP®? A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ is an advisor who has met rigorous education and experience requirements, and is held to a high ethical and professional standard in the financial industry. The education component is met by completing college level courses in investment planning, tax planning, retirement planning, estate planning, insurance planning, financial management, and…

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Annual Financial Check-Up: 6 Housekeeping Items to Check Off Your List

Just like getting the oil changed in your car on a regular basis, it’s a good idea to check on your financial house to be sure everything is in order. Here are a few items to review every year to be sure they are working in your favor: Personal spending plan – if you are not following a spending plan yet, create one and follow it. Cash flow is the cornerstone of achieving financial goals such as retirement and funding…

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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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Transfer on Death Accounts

What is “Transfer on Death?” It is a designation that can be applied to an individual or joint account that enables you to specify your beneficiary(ies) in the event of your demise. Typically, when IRAs are set-up, you have already made those decisions since there is a place on the application form for you to designate your beneficiaries. However, applications for taxable accounts generally do not ask for beneficiary designation. You may ask, “Why is this important?” Designating an account…

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Mapping the Future

Do any of these questions sound familiar? When can I afford to retire? What would a transition from full-time employment to part-time employment or consulting look like? Can I afford to reduce my hours to be a regular provider of care to my grandchildren? To my aging parent? Should I take Social Security at age 62, 65, 70, or full retirement age? When should my spouse take Social Security? How would my decisions for Social Security and other pension income…

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