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Hello, and welcome to our blog!  We will be posting articles and thoughts relevant to the financial industry, retirement, investments, and financial planning, as well as other related topics. We are also willing to answer questions and respond to any concerns you may have. If you'd like to contact us with a question you would like to see addressed, please email us, and we can either answer directly or in this forum. 

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Thank you for reading!

 

Monday, November 11, 2019

The Week on Wall Street Domestic and international stocks rose last week. Risk appetite outweighed concerns about the state of U.S.-China trade discussions. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, Nasdaq Composite, S&P 500, and MSCI EAFE...

 

Monday, November 4, 2019

The Week on Wall Street A better-than-forecast jobs report prompted a stock market rally Friday, two days after traders witnessed another interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve. Both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite ended the week...

 

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

More and more it appears that people prefer companies to not only have a solid product at a competitive price, but also provide a positive impact on our world. We are also starting to see this spill over into the investing space as...

 

Monday, October 28, 2019

The Week on Wall Street The S&P 500 came within 0.1% of a record close Friday. Stocks were lifted last week by positive news on U.S.-China trade negotiations, plus earnings announcements. The Nasdaq Composite posted the largest weekly...

 

Monday, October 21, 2019

The Week on Wall Street Earnings helped give the Nasdaq Composite and S&P 500 a slight lift last week, offsetting investor disappointment over the small scope of the preliminary U.S.-China trade deal reached on October 11. Blue chips...

 

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Monday, October 14, 2019

The Week on Wall Street Stock prices pushed higher last week, as investors remained hyper-focused on any new developments with the U.S. trade negotiations with China. The Dow Jones Industrial Average picked up 0.91%, while the...

 

Monday, October 7, 2019

The Week on Wall Street The fourth quarter started with a mixed week for equities. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.92% for the week; the S&P 500, 0.33%. In contrast, the Nasdaq Composite improved 0.54%. Overseas stocks pulled...

 

Monday, September 30, 2019

The Week on Wall Street Stocks retreated last week. Traders worried that the formal impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump might distract White House officials from their pursuit of a trade deal with China, and shift the focus...

 

Monday, September 23, 2019

The Week on Wall Street Investors reacted to two major news items last week, one far more of a surprise than the other. The Federal Reserve did indeed make a rate cut, matching Wall Street expectations. Drone strikes on two of the...

 

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

In last month’s post on technology scams, we reviewed robocalls and tips to avoid getting duped by this rampant problem. In our follow-up posting we look at another scam to watch out for: Sweetheart Scams. Research tells us that...

 

Monday, September 16, 2019

The Week on Wall Street Stocks edged toward all-time peaks during a relatively calm week marked by easing trade tensions. Friday marked the eighth straight daily advance for the Dow Jones Industrial Average.[1] Small-cap shares, as...

 

Monday, September 9, 2019

The Week on Wall Street Stocks rose last week, with help from two developments: the announcement of further U.S.-China trade talks as well as August hiring and manufacturing numbers that seemed to bolster the argument for a rate cut...

 

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

The Week on Wall Street Fears of an impasse in the U.S.-China trade dispute lessened last week. While additional U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports were scheduled to take effect on September 1, China's government communicated that it...

 

Monday, August 26, 2019

The Week on Wall Street Traders assumed that the week's biggest news event would be Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's speech at the annual Jackson Hole banking conference. Instead, China seized the headlines by announcing new...

 

Monday, August 19, 2019

The Week on Wall Street U.S. stock indices saw significant ups and downs last week, with traders looking for economic cues from Treasury yields and also developments in the tariff fight between the U.S. and China. The S&P 500 lost 1...

 

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Technology is great. Think of all the advances in healthcare, communication and transportation just in the past decade. Like anything else, though, you must take the bad along with the good. Advancements in technology open the door to...

 

Monday, August 12, 2019

The Week on Wall Street Stocks spent much of last week rebounding from a Monday drop that reflected nervousness about the U.S.-China trade fight. By Thursday's closing bell, the S&P 500 had regained all its Monday losses - but it...

 

Monday, August 5, 2019

The Week on Wall Street Last week, the Federal Reserve cut interest rates for the first time in more than a decade, in line with Wall Street's expectations. Ironically, stocks had their worst week of 2019. The S&P 500 finished the...

 

Monday, July 29, 2019

The Week on Wall Street Last week, investors assessed earnings and the initial estimate of second-quarter economic growth, while awaiting the Federal Reserve's next announcement about interest rates. Stocks rose for the week;...

 

Monday, July 22, 2019

The Week on Wall Street Stock benchmarks retreated during the first week of the second-quarter earnings season. As some big names shared quarterly results, investors seemed more interested in what might happen at the Federal Reserve's...

 

Monday, July 15, 2019

The Week on Wall Street Friday, the S&P 500 settled above 3,000 for the first time, after rising 0.78% for the week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average chalked up a milestone of its own: the blue chips ended the week above 27,000,...

 

Friday, July 12, 2019

That’s a very philosophical question, but important nonetheless, especially when it comes to your relationship with money. Healthy relationships with money can often be illustrated by generosity and charitable intent. This can also be...

 

Monday, July 8, 2019

The Week on Wall Street U.S. stock benchmarks opened a new quarter positively. The S&P 500 gained 1.65% in the opening week of July; the Dow Jones Industrial Average, 1.21%; the Nasdaq Composite, 1.94%. Overseas, stocks in developed...

 

Monday, July 1, 2019

The Week on Wall Street A month of gains for stocks ended with a weekly retreat. The S&P 500 lost 0.30%; the Nasdaq Composite, 0.32%; the Dow Jones Industrial Average, 0.45%. In contrast, overseas shares, tracked by the MSCI EAFE...

 

Monday, June 24, 2019

The Week on Wall Street The S&P 500 hit an all-time peak of 2,964.03, in intraday trading Friday, while improving 2.20% across five market days. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq Composite posted respective, 5-day advances...

 

Monday, June 17, 2019

The Week on Wall Street Stocks advanced for a second straight week. The S&P 500 benchmark rose 0.47%; the Nasdaq Composite, 0.70%; the Dow Jones Industrial Average, 0.41%. Overseas shares, as tracked by the MSCI EAFE developed markets...

 

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

There are a couple of bills that are before each of the two houses that could have small but meaningful impact on personal finances and retirement planning. While they are similar, let’s focus on the bill before the House of...

 

Monday, June 10, 2019

The Week on Wall Street Stocks rallied during a week in which Wall Street was buffeted by headlines. The S&P 500 rose 4.41%. The Nasdaq Composite and Dow Jones Industrial Average respectively added 3.88% and 4.71%. The MSCI EAFE index...

 

Monday, June 3, 2019

The Week on Wall Street Stocks struggled during a 4-day market week as the U.S.-China trade standoff continued to weigh on the minds of market participants. From the Friday, May 24 close to the Friday, May 31 close, the S&P 500...

 

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

The Week on Wall StreetStocks drifted lower last week as investors considered the possibility that the world's two largest economies might take some time to resolve key trade issues. The S&P 500 retreated 1.17%; the Nasdaq Composite,...

 

Monday, May 20, 2019

The Week on Wall Street Stocks fell sharply at the start of last week over trade tensions, then recovered with help from strong earnings and indications that U.S.-China trade talks would continue. Even so, the major indices had a down...

 

Monday, May 13, 2019

The Week on Wall Street As we noted recently, Wall Street has a wandering eye. Last week, it focused on the new tariff threats in the ongoing U.S.-China trade dispute. Stocks fell across five trading sessions: the Dow Jones Industrial...

 

Monday, May 6, 2019

The Week on Wall Street Stocks were up and down last week, and the three major benchmarks ended up little changed after five trading days. The S&P 500 rose 0.20% for the week; the Nasdaq Composite, 0.22%. The Dow Jones Industrial...

 

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Unless you’ve filed for an extension, you now know the impact of the new tax changes on your individual income taxes. Whether positive or negative, many people are noticing that their tax withholding was either too high or not high...

 

Monday, April 29, 2019

The Week on Wall Street Stocks returned to record territory, with both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite closing at historic highs. The S&P gained 1.20% for the week; the Nasdaq, 1.85%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lagged,...

 

Monday, April 22, 2019

The Week on Wall Street A short and relatively placid trading week wrapped up Thursday, with the major indices turning in mixed performances. The S&P 500 retreated 0.08%, the Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.17%, and the Dow Jones...

 

Monday, April 15, 2019

The Week on Wall Street Stocks broke out of a narrow range on Friday following news that two major banks grew their bottom line in the first quarter. For the week, the S&P 500 rose 0.79%; the Nasdaq Composite, 0.91%. The Dow Jones...

 

Monday, April 8, 2019

The Week on Wall Street Stocks just posted their second straight weekly gain. Investors were encouraged by the latest jobs report and new signs of progress on a U.S.-China trade deal. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 1.17% in...

 

Monday, April 1, 2019

The Week on Wall Street Stocks ended last week higher as volatility slowed, completing their best quarter since 2009. A Friday tweet from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin encouraged investors, referring to "constructive" discussions...

 

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Spring is here. The birds are singing, the flowers are blooming – and families are making college decisions. While college enrollment in the U.S. has been flat for the last few years, the rate still hovers around 70%. College remains a...

 

Monday, March 25, 2019

The Week on Wall Street Friday, the yield of the 3-month Treasury bill exceeded the yield of the 10-year Treasury note for the first time in 12 years. For some analysts, this "inverted yield curve" may imply a short-term lessening of...

 

Monday, March 18, 2019

The Week on Wall Street The big story last week was the sudden grounding of Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 passenger jets in dozens of countries. The financial effects of this ban could potentially impact the airline industry and segments of...

 

Monday, March 11, 2019

The Week on Wall Street As in February, investors spent most of the first full trading week of March hoping for new details in U.S.-China trade negotiations. While they waited, stock benchmarks drifted downward. From Monday's open to...

 

Monday, March 4, 2019

The Week on Wall Street Stocks lost a little ground as February gave way to March. While domestic and overseas political developments made headlines, the market stayed relatively calm: from Monday's open through Friday's close, the...

 

Monday, February 25, 2019

The Week on Wall Street Stocks rallied last week as optimism about a potential U.S.-China trade deal grew. The S&P 500 advanced 0.80% during the 4-day trading week to 2,792.67. The Nasdaq Composite improved 0.86% to 7,527.54, and the...

 

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

The Week on Wall Street Stocks ended a good week on a high note, as hints of progress in U.S.-China trade talks encouraged investors. When the closing bell rang Friday, the S&P 500 settled at 2,775.60, after rising 2.50% in five days....

 

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Towards the beginning of a new year is often a good time to review the named beneficiaries on your investment accounts. This is important to do this on an annual basis as life can change quickly and it may not be on your radar to make...

 

Monday, February 11, 2019

The Week on Wall Street Major U.S. stock benchmarks eked out slight gains last week, with corporate profit reports and news about U.S.-China trade negotiations vying for investor attention over five trading sessions. The big three...

 

Monday, February 4, 2019

Last week closed out one of stocks' top January performances in years. In fact, both the S&P 500 and Dow posted their best January results in at least 3 decades.[1] For the week, major domestic indexes were also up. The S&P 500 gained...

 

Monday, January 28, 2019

For the first time in months, U.S. markets experienced little movement last week.[1] The Dow and NASDAQ did have their 5th week of gains in a row, but their increases were small: 0.12% and 0.11%, respectively. Meanwhile, the S&P 500...

 

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

U.S. markets were up again last week, as major domestic indexes posted their 4th weekly gains in a row.[1] In fact, the S&P 500 was no longer in correction territory at Friday's close - and was in the middle of its best yearly start...

 

Monday, January 14, 2019

After months of volatility, markets relaxed a bit last week. For the first time since October, the S&P 500 went 5 days without a 1% gain or loss.[1] The Cboe Volatility Index, or VIX, also fell to lower than 20 - in December, it...

 

Monday, January 7, 2019

U.S. markets experienced more wild sessions last week before ending in positive territory as the recent turbulence continued. In fact, we are currently in the middle of some of the most volatile market performance in more than eight...

 

Monday, December 31, 2018

The close of the year provides an opportunity for investors to step back and consider the wider financial landscape. This week, we're reviewing some key issues that defined 2018, as well as some factors that may influence financial...

 

Friday, December 28, 2018

As 2018 winds to a close, it’s a good time for reflection on the past year. The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was officially signed in to law on December 22, 2017. 2018 tax returns will be the first time that we all get to see the...

 

Monday, December 24, 2018

Last week, domestic markets had some of their worst performance in 10 years.[1] The S&P 500 lost 7.05%, the Dow declined 6.87%, and the NASDAQ dropped 8.36%. All three indexes have now lost at least 8% in 2018.[2] On Friday, December...

 

Monday, December 17, 2018

Last week brought more volatility to the markets. While domestic indexes had some rallies as positive trade news emerged earlier in the week, by Friday, December 14, they had erased any gains. The last time major U.S. indexes ended in...

 

Monday, December 10, 2018

Markets went for another wild ride last week, as major domestic indexes swung back and forth. By Friday, December 7, markets had posted their worst weekly performance since March - and the S&P 500 and Dow both moved into negative...

 

Monday, November 26, 2018

As the year winds down, there are some important actions you may want to take before the clock runs out on 2018. Roth IRA First and foremost, check your eligibility to contribute to a Roth IRA. With most of us seeing a tax deduction in...

 

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Beginning September 21, 2018, those concerned about identity theft can freeze their credit and place one-year fraud alerts at no cost. Due to the passage of the new Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act,...

 

Monday, September 24, 2018

Many recent college graduates find they have a difficult decision to make: contribute to their employer’s 401(k) plan or focus on student loan repayments. The choice between paying down debt and funding retirement can be a tough one,...

 

Friday, August 17, 2018

In July’s post we covered changes to deductions for IRAs resulting from the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. For this month’s, we’ll look at the change to the “do-over” option on Roth Conversions. Prior to 2018, those who converted money...

 

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

The tax changes that went into effect this year have widespread implications. It will take a while to see how these changes affect larger aspects of our financial system, like the impact on the Federal deficit and economic growth. But...

 

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

As we saw in our last post, Digital Assets can include information stored on an individual’s digital devices (documents, photos, movies, music, etc.), content uploaded to websites (photos, videos, social media posts, blog posts, etc.),...

 

Thursday, May 31, 2018

This is Part 1 in a series on Digital Assets, which I hope will be helpful as the things we purchase and memories we store are more and more intertwined with technology. Part I: What is a Digital Asset, and why should I care? It has...

 

Monday, April 30, 2018

You’re 54, you’ve been diligent about saving, and are looking forward to retiring soon. Like most people you have the majority of your retirement savings in your employer-sponsored plan – think 401(k) – and you’ll need to use some of...

 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Since the president signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law on December 22 of last year, many clients have been asking if they should make and changes to withholding from their paycheck. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act made significant...

 

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Last month we looked at a high-level summary of the changes as a result of the recent Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. One of the more significant changes outside of tax brackets is the classification of secondary school expenses as qualified. A...

 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was officially signed in to law on December 22, 2017. This is the most sweeping tax legislation in more than three decades, and it affects both individuals and businesses.The most significant change for...

 

Friday, December 29, 2017

You might start by asking, “What’s an RMD?” RMD stands for Required Minimum Distribution and refers to the amount that traditional, SEP or SIMPLE IRA owners and qualified plan participants must begin distributing from their retirement...

 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” - Winston Churchill As a follow up to last month’s blog on end-of-year planning, here are a couple of ideas for giving, with an eye on what must be done by year-end in...

 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

“Time moves slowly, but passes quickly” - Alice Walker As winter approaches, it’s again time to look at end-of-year planning that is important to do now before the holidays take over. Here are some key things you may want to take a...

 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

There are situations when requesting a “do-over” would be ideal. Think about when you respond to your spouse thoughtlessly – as it leaves your lips you probably immediately apologize and call for a do-over. When you’re playing tennis...

 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Most people in the military and their families are familiar with the ongoing benefits afforded to individuals who served our country, like pensions, inexpensive life insurance and retirement plans, tax-free housing allowances, and...

 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

On June 14, 2017 the Fed announced its fourth increase in their interest rate targets in the past 18 months. Are the interest rate increases we’ve been threatened with for the past 5+ years finally here? If so, this this begs the...

 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The older you get, the more you realize that celebrities are just like us, only rich and famous. They make mistakes like anyone else, and those mistakes are often magnified by the money involved and the attention afforded their...

 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

One of the key tax initiatives rumored to be part of the new administration’s tax overhaul is a repeal of the federal estate tax. Even if this were to take place, it seems likely that estate planning will remain an integral part in...

 

Friday, March 24, 2017

If I asked you: “What is the maximum amount you are allowed to contribute to your 401(k) this year?” you would most likely answer either $18,000 or $24,000 depending on your age (50+) and ability to contribute an additional $6,000 as a...

 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

There’s a bit of administrative business that can have impactful consequences if not dealt with in a timely manner: naming and/or updating beneficiaries and the various types of beneficiary designations. Let’s take a look at a...

 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Along with a hiring freeze, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will mail fewer paper statements in an attempt to cut costs. You may recall that the most recent change to statements was that those not registered for an online...

 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Last month I outlined the upcoming cost of living increase in Social Security benefits for 2017. Another recent announcement for 2017 was in regards to estate taxes. While the annual gift tax exclusion ($14,000 per donee) and the top...

 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Social Security Administration recently announced that Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for more than 65 million Americans will increase 0.3 percent beginning in 2017. There was no Cost-of-Living...

 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

For the first time, the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) is available prior to January 1st. Starting in 2016 and going forward, the FAFSA will be made available on October 1st for the following year. How the FAFSA and Data...

 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Grandparents looking to help their grandchildren defray college costs have a variety of options. But no good deed goes unpunished! Let’s look at a couple of options and some of their pros and cons. Make Payment Direct to SchoolBecause...

 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

With the most recent estate tax changes, the majority of investors will not have an issue with the federal estate tax due to the high current level of exemption ($5.45 Million in 2016). Unfortunately, in addition to the federal estate...

 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Whether you have a graduating senior going off to college in a few months or you are planning college visits this summer, you may have begun to consider what you need to do in order to realize the full benefit of your 529 College...

 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Inherited IRA rules may seem straight forward, when a loved one passes away and you are the named beneficiary, you take over the IRA and have to begin taking distributions. But when the death of a beneficiary occurs or a trust gets...

 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

We are down to a month remaining until your tax returns are due. If you haven’t yet taken action in the following areas, you have up until at least the tax filing deadline to do so: Contribute to a Traditional or Roth IRA for...

 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

The key to saving for an anticipated expense or season of life (i.e. retirement) is starting early. The benefits of the concept of compound interest is well-documented, with the main difference-maker being time. Hypothetical Example:...

 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

When helping clients plan, one aspect that is becoming more and more important is planning for health care costs. One question I get asked often is: “How much should I plan to spend on Medicare and other health care costs in...

 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 was recently passed and signed into law as a way to avoid a government shut-down due to previously-imposed debt ceiling limits. Part of this bill results in closing so-called “unintended...

 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

As expected, the Social Security Administration recently announced that there will be no cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for Social Security benefits in 2016. For those under the income limits ($85,000 single/$170,000 joint) and...

 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Where has 2015 gone? We are already in the last quarter of the year and with that comes some end-of-year planning that’s important to do now before the holidays take over. Here are some key things to take a look at today:IRA...

 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

When preparing to send a child to college, there are a lot of things to think about. First, there is finding the right school. But then you have the application process, the aid application process, the supplies, the classes, and the...

 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Tax-deferral can be a powerful tool. It’s generally recommended to maintain tax-deferral as long as possible. If, however, there is a need to access money saved in a tax-deferred IRA or employer-sponsored retirement plan before you...

 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

From 1982 to 2012, costs of tuition, room, and board for 4-year institutions increased at an average rate of over 14% per year. This increase has been more modest recently (4.65% per year between 2007 and 2012), but still outpacing...

 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Higher-income Medicare beneficiaries have been paying more for their Parts B and D coverage for several years now in the form of income-related monthly adjustment amounts (IRMAA). A new bill signed into law by President Obama in April...

 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Social Security Administration recently announced that their mySocialSecurity online accounts now offer the capability to regenerate misplaced 1099 or SSA-1042S forms for tax purposes. In order to access, go to www.socialsecurity...

 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

With the cost of long-term care insurance rising – 8.6% in 2014(1), we want to review some helpful tips for the time when you may be considering coverage for the more common and costly need of long term care for a loved one. 1. Put the...

 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Your digital assets can include email accounts, social media accounts, music, ebooks, and movie accounts, among others. Unfortunately, problems often arise upon the owner’s death due to fine print in the user agreement for a website or...

 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

In general to establish an IRA (Traditional or Roth) an individual: 1. Must have compensation (either earned income of an employee or self-employed, or alimony). AND 2. Must meet the following income guidelines: Traditional IRA – Fully...

 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

In October of this year, the IRS announced upcoming changes for 2015 in the area of retirement contributions, income phase-out ranges and Social Security. Below is an overview of the highlights, and if you are interested in learning...