Tax Efficient Strategies for Your 2018 Charitable Giving

Strategic chess pieces on financial documentAs a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017, many taxpayers may not itemize deductions in the future.  Therefore, the benefit of deductions of smaller charitable donations you may have had in the past, could end up being eliminated under the new rules with the doubling of the standard deduction and removal of many other itemized deductions...
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An Easy Way to Check Your Future Social Security Benefits

Couple checking their future Social Security BenefitsDo you know how much your monthly Social Security check will be when you retire? The Social Security Administration used to mail Americans annual paper statements, but now you will only receive a statement if you are over 60, not receiving benefits, and have not established an online account. The statement is mailed three months before your birthday. You can, however,...
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Why 529 College Plans Are Becoming More Popular

Planning for the College EducationThe nation’s most popular college savings plan is about to become even more so. The popularity of the 529 college savings plan is likely to increase because the new federal tax legislation expands the ways that the accounts may be used. Starting in 2018, parents may spend up to $10,000 a year from 529 accounts to pay for private education in kindergarten through 12th grade schools....
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Ten Financial Resolutions to Start Off the New Year

New Years ResolutionsIf you want to improve your financial life in 2018, here are ten tips to get you started: 1. Increase your retirement savings. If you save through your company sponsored retirement plan, consider increasing the percentage of your income that you set aside. It’s quite likely that you won’t even notice if you start saving an extra two or three percent each pay day. 2. Save automatically. Whether...
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There’s Still Time to Save More for Retirement

Retirement SavingsHow much have you saved for retirement for 2017? There is still time to boost your savings. And at the same time set goals for what you can set aside next year. While 2017 contributions to workplace plans such as a 401(k) or 403(b) have ended as of December 31, 2017, you can put money into an Individual Retirement Account until April 17, 2018.   Here is a lineup of the maximum contributions for...
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Last Minute Ways to Cut Your Taxes

Couple preparing the taxesIf you’d like to lower your tax burden for 2017, there is still time to pull this off, but you have to hurry. Here is a list of six actions that you can take before January 1, 2018. 1. Determine if you will take the standard deduction. Some tax-cutting techniques are only available to Americans who itemize their tax return. The Internal Revenue Service estimates that 75% of Americans take the...
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The Bitcoin Phenomenon

Raining BitcoinsLet’s start with the basics of this Bitcoin spectacle because the intricacies of Bitcoin production, valuation, and exchange are very difficult to comprehend. History In 2009, a proof of concept was published about a new form of money that uses cryptographic algorithms to control its creation and transactions, rather than a central authority (i.e. federal government). The Bitcoin protocol would have...
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Five Smart Strategies for Year-End Charitable Giving

gifting cashFrom turkey and stuffing to cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie, this is one of the most delicious seasons of the year. What I love most about Thanksgiving, though, is the generosity of spirit it inspires. If you’re looking to make a difference for your favorite charity this year, consider these five ways to make your charitable dollars go farther. Give Appreciated Stock It’s been a great market...
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Medicare News: Open Enrollment Deadline and New Card Scams to Avoid

Open enrollment sign for MedicareIt’s that time of year again! Medicare’s annual open enrollment period began in mid-October and will run until December 7. During this period, people already enrolled in Medicare can make certain changes to their coverage: Switch between original Medicare and Medicare Advantage Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another Switch from one Medicare Part D prescription drug...
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A Lookback at the Financial Crisis - Monetary Policy and Inflation

Market NewsNearly a decade ago, our Federal Reserve Board of Governors (the Fed) engaged in an aggressive monetary expansion operation, which we all knew as Quantitative Easing or “QE.”  To avert what many saw as the next Depression, the Fed bought trillions of dollars in U.S. Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities from December 2008 to October 2014; thereby lowering long-term interest rates, stabilizing markets,...
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