Six Ways to Start the Money Talk with Your Parents

One of the most difficult conversations that grown children can have with their parents is a discussion about mom and dad’s finances. daughter talking to elderly mother Having the talk is critical for many reasons including these three; Grown children should know about parental estate plans. Children need to know if they will have to support their parents in the future. It’s better to have a plan laid out among parents and...
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How You Spend Your Money Can Make You Happier

What will make you happier?piggy-bank-at-the-beach Buying stuff or spending money on experiences? It’s become conventional wisdom that consumers are happier when they spend their money on experiences rather than material things. For instance, many people will feel better about eating at a restaurant rather than buying a new teapot from Amazon. A study back in 2003 first revealed how gratifying it can be spending money on experiences as...
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Widow’s Penalty Pitfall

Compared to past joint tax return filing with their deceased spouse, a surviving spouse may land in a higher marginal tax bracket – referred to as the “widow’s penalty.” Unfortunately, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) has made the widow’s penalty more severe in many instances. With this in mind, clients, even in their 70s or 80s, may consider greater traditional IRA withdrawals or Roth IRA conversions as a means to take advantage of preferable marginal tax rates. It is important to act while both spouses are alive. For example, let’s say a 75-year-old couple has Required Minimum Distributions...
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Getting a State Tax Break with 529 Contributions

Saving for college through contributions into a 529 college savings plan is an excellent way to ultimately cover at least part of the price of a college degree.roll of money with graduation cap One reason why a 529 makes sense as a college-savings vehicle is because of its built-in federal tax treatment. The money inside a 529 grows without being hit with federal taxes and when money is withdrawn for eligible educational expenses, it...
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Six Easy Ways to Boost Your Home’s Sale Price

If you are planning to sell your house, plenty of ways exist to boost your home’s sale price. Here are six things you can do to increase your home’s value for little or no cost. 1. Declutter. A cluttered home is a turnoff for home buyers. Pay special attention to bathroom counters, mantel places, tables and shelving. Sort through your things and donate, sell, recycle and toss stuff you no longer need. Take toasters, coffee maker, and other kitchen gadgets off kitchen counters....
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Maximizing Your Health (Savings Account)

If you are enrolled in a high deductible health plan (HDHP) through work or on your own, funding a Health Savings Account (HSA) could be considered a top priority.doctor holding clipboard First of all, contributions to your HSA are tax deductible “above-the-line” reducing adjusted gross income (AGI), regardless of your tax filing status or income level. Unlike IRA contributions, you do not even need to have earned income to receive a tax...
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Strategies for College Grads with Soft Majors

Look at the lists of occupations that pay the most for young college graduates and they are dominated by majors in the STEMS (science, technology, engineering, math).college grads STEM occupations pay more, and sometimes significantly more, than the mean annual wage for all workers of $50,620, according to federal statistics. In 2017, the mean wage for STEM jobs was $91,310. Roughly half of recent college graduates, who have a soft degree, are...
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12 Tips for a Great Vacation

With the summer travel season upon us, here are 12 tips to make your vacation a memorable one. 1. Make a list. Before traveling write down what you want to take. Start the list a week before you leave because inevitably, you’ll think of new items to add. Forgetting little things like your phone charger can really make the start of your vacation stressful! 2. Travel light. Try hard to pack just one carry-on suitcase. Being able to carry your luggage on to the plane will reduce the likelihood of theft or loss. In addition, you’ll be happier not having to drag so much weight around during the...
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Six Things You Need to Know About the College Admission Process

mini graduation cap on rolled up cashThe college admission scandal that hit the press recently generated a tremendous amount of outrage, as well as endless questions about the entire college process. Here are some realities that parents and teenagers need to know: 1. It’s highly doubtful that the kind of cheating that the federal indictments against a California college consultant, college coaches,...
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Consider This When “Treating Yourself”

woman looking at her phone while holding coffee and shopping bagsThere is a lot of advice out there that suggests what you should do with a financial windfall. Extra money could come from a tax refund, a workplace bonus, or an inheritance. This post, however, isn’t going to focus on the most sensible things that you could do with this money. Prudent advice will often include paying down debt, contributing to a retirement or...
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