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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5 Keys to Successful Investing

Take care of your investmentsAnyone that invests wants to do so successfully.  There are many books written on the subject, and hundreds of millions of dollars are spent each year on services that promise the best stocks for one’s portfolio.  Wherever one looks, there’s no shortage of hot stock tips or trading strategies that promise to get rich.  But, the process of successful investing isn’t hard if keeping these...
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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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