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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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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