Read Our Latest Blogs

DON’T LET NATURAL DISASTERS SINK YOUR SAVINGS

By ashea | September 20, 2019

Overview As extreme weather events become more prevalent with each passing year, it’s worth examining the damage they can bring. In addition to the devastating effects storms have on an area’s people and property, they canalso take a toll on your investments. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said six major weather events have surpassed the $1 billion mark in losses so far this year, and that was before the most recent threat, Hurricane Dorian, hit the East Coast. The total from last year’s U.S. disasters exceeded $14 billion. While it’s easy to assume natural disasters have always been around, note in the accompanying bar chart that half of the top 10 most costly disasters in the past four decades…

FINANCIAL LESSONS FROM THE ‘FIRE’ MOVEMENT

By ashea | August 26, 2019

Overview The message in today’s news and financial media is loud and clear: We are living longer, so we must work longer to save more. However, not everyone is on board with that edict. Many millennials have grabbed hold of an idea detailed in a 1992 bestseller by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez, titled “Your Money or Your Life.” The basic premise is that by adopting a mindset of thriftiness and flexibility, people can avoid working during the healthiest years of their lives, achieve financial independence and retire early. It’s called the FIRE movement, an acronym that stands for “financial independence, retire early.” FIRE is a lifestyle system characterized by saving 50 percent or more of one’s income. This type…

HOW TO MAKE CHARITABLE GIVING SUSTAINABLE

By ashea | August 16, 2019

Overview Charitable giving is one of the oldest traditions practiced by mankind. The ancient Greeks believed philanthropy was fundamental to democracy. Hindu scriptures asserted it was an imperative duty, and charity is considered a sacred foundation for the religions of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. In more modern times, charitable giving has been incentivized by the tax deductibility of donations. However, the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), which went into effect Jan. 1, 2018, brought an increase in the standard deduction. That means fewer taxpayers are claiming itemized deductions — including charitable deductions. As of May 2018, 31 million taxpayers had deducted more than $147 billion in donations. By May 2019, only 11 million taxpayers had deducted just under…

Weathering the Storm

By ashea | July 31, 2019

Remember the adage, “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb”? It certainly held true for the market this year; we gently entered the second quarter following the first quarter’s relatively mild volatility and strong performance. But in late April, the lion roared again — and volatility returned in full force. Mid-quarter, the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 closed down four weeks in a row, while the Dow saw six straight weeks of losses. The market’s sudden negative outlook seemed to be driven by the on-again, offagain news of the trade deal with China. More than once, hopes rose on reports we were on the brink of a deal, only to be dashed by another postponement.…

RETIREMENT REFORM: WILL THE PROPOSED CHANGES AFFECT YOU?

By ashea | July 27, 2019

Overview In May, the House of Representatives passed the Setting Every CommunityUp for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019 (SECURE Act) with a remarkable bipartisan majority (417-3). One of the primary goals of the SECURE Act is to help current retirement plan owners maximize their savings efforts for long-term retirement income. Some of the features of the SECURE Act include: • Eliminating the maximum contribution age (currently 70 ½) for various retirement plans • Delaying the age when participants must begin taking required minimum distributions (RMDs) from tax-advantaged retirement accounts from70 ½ to 72 • Enabling more annuity options for retirement accounts • Requiring employer plans to provide participants an annual calculation of how much income their account’s lump-sum balance could…

STUDENT LOAN DEBT NOW A FAMILY AFFAIR

By ashea | July 18, 2019

Overview A college degree is widely considered the necessary foundation for an upwardly mobile career and ensuing lifestyle. But to pay the considerable tuition, dorm rental, meal plan and campus fees, students, parents, grandparents and even other relatives are applying for loans to help cover the full cost. Unfortunately, this has resulted in student loan debt becoming an increasingly onerous burden for people of all ages. Graduating with this type of financial burden can seriously impede a young adult’s ability to save and invest money, which leaves less time to take advantage of the power of compound interest. For middleaged parents and retirees, tapping into investments or having to pay off large loans can threaten long-term financial security. The financial…