The “Big Three” Financial Adviser Credentials

Finance ChessWe typically put a high amount of trust in our doctors for our personal healthcare needs.  An M.D. is a certified medical doctor, who has gone through years of intense study in his/her field, adheres to a code of ethics and owes a fiduciary duty to patients.  Yet, when it comes to personal finance and people’s life savings, consumers are often either tricked or remiss when it comes to hiring an adviser...
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How Your Assets Impact Financial Aid

Education Funds JarParents often worry about how the money they have saved for college, retirement or other financial goals will hurt their student’s chances for financial aid. In many cases, the money you have saved will have little or no impact on whether your child will qualify for financial aid.  Parents who are overly anxious about the impact of their savings on financial aid can actually hurt their own finances by...
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The Charitable Giving Tool You May Not Know About

Donate reminder written in a whiteboard.Many donors don’t fully appreciate the potential tax savings that can come from charitable giving.  Not only is the timing of the gift important, but how the gift is made (whether in cash or securities) also has an impact on the possible tax benefits.  One of the fastest growing vehicles for charitable giving, the Donor-Advised Fund (DAF), gives donors who itemize their taxes an immediate tax...
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Have Your College Student Sign These Documents

Mother and daughter planning for college. Before heading off to college, students should sign three documents that can be critically important if they get into serious trouble. This paperwork will allow parents to be notified and involved if their child ends up at a hospital and/or becomes incapacitated in any way. Signing these legal documents is necessary because automatic parental authority over their children...
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Eight Tips for a Successful Retirement

sitting on the beach after planning for a successful retirementAre you contemplating retiring soon? Retiring takes considerable planning, but here are some tips to get you started on the process: 1. Delay taking Social Security checks. Most Americans start taking their Social Security benefit at age 62, the earliest eligible age.  This is often a bad idea because, for every year you delay taking the...
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Estate Planning – An Important Part of Your Financial Life

writing or creating a willWhat is estate planning, and why is it so important? According to USA Today, nearly two-thirds of Americans don’t even have a will, perhaps the simplest estate plan. Moreover, estate planning is more than just creating a will, it involves other important documents such as powers of attorney (POAs), advance healthcare directives, and trusts, in some cases. The POA allows you to...
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Seven Ways to Keep Your Data Safe Online

Hacker in front of a computer with information security terms relating to cybersecurityIdentity theft and cyber fraud are becoming increasingly prevalent.  Fortunately, there are a few relatively simple steps you can take to avoid becoming a victim. 1. Establish strong passwords The best practice is to use a longer passphrase that incorporates numbers rather than a single word (e.g.,...
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Worried About Investing at a Peak?

As stock markets climb to all-time highs, many investors with cash on the sidelines have been asking themselves – is now really a good time to invest?  Aren’t we at another market peak? Well, let’s just say hypothetically that we are at a market peak – and flashback to October 2007. Almost a decade ago, the S&P 500 was trading at an all-time high, just over 1800. Equity valuations were still humming along as the underlying fundamentals of the housing market were eroding right under our feet. The financial crisis took hold in 2008, first Bear Stearns collapsed, followed by Lehman Brothers...
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Assisting Aging Parents

caring for aging parentCaring for aging parents is an increasingly common responsibility, even for those who still have young children at home.  Nearly ten million adult children (over age 50) are currently taking care of an aging parent, according to Metlife. For many people, it’s an important concern, but planning for it can make things easier once the need arises.  Fortunately, there are plenty of...
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Shockingly Low Percentage of Americans Confident About Their Future Retirement

senior man leaning back in chair thinking about retirement savingsAre you very confident that you will end up enjoying a comfortable retirement? If so, you’re in the minority. Only 18% of Americans are very confident about their future retirement prospects. This grim statistic comes from the longest-running national retirement confidence survey, which is published annually by the Employee Benefit Research Institute. In the 2017 survey,...
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