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Welcome and thank you for stopping by. Our blog sets the heading to separate financial fiction from financial fact to help keep you afloat and stay the course. From 401(k) IRA Rollovers to Life Insurance, Living Trusts, Social Security, Annuity Rates and everything in between, we are here to educate the community about important financial topics that affect your estate and retirement plans.

Weekly Economic Update for March 26, 2018

WEEKLY QUOTE “Knowledge is the eye of desire and can become the pilot of the soul.” - Will Durant TRADE WAR POSSIBILITY WEIGHS ON STOCKS Last week, the U.S. imposed excise taxes on steel and aluminum imported from select countries and announced that up to $60 billion of Chinese imports would also soon face tariffs. These protectionist moves weakened bullish sentiment on Wall Street. The S&P 500 fell steadily Thursday and Friday and had its worst week since 2016, slipping 5.95% to 2,588.26; the Dow Industrials sank 5.67% on the week to 23,533.20. The Nasdaq Composite settled at 6,992.67, down 6.54% for the week.1,2 FED MAKES ITS FIRST INTEREST RATE MOVE OF 2018 After Federal Reserve officials

The Medical Expense Deduction in 2018

Tax reform has lowered the threshold. If you itemize, you should note the reduced medical deduction threshold for 2018. This year, you can deduct qualified medical expenses exceeding 7.5% of your adjusted gross income. Next year, the threshold for the medical expense deduction returns to 10% of AGI. (The Tax Cuts & Jobs Act of 2018 also allowed the 7.5% threshold to apply retroactively to the 2017 tax year.)1 So, if you are considering surgery or dental work in the future that could mean sizable out-of-pocket expenses for you, it might be better from a tax standpoint to schedule these procedures for 2018 instead of 2019. What kinds of un-reimbursed expenses qualify for the deduction? The lis

Weekly Economic Update for March 18, 2018

WEEKLY QUOTE “One person with a belief is equal to a force of 99 who have only interests.” - John Stuart Mill PRICE GAINS EASE There was no half-percent spike in inflation in February. In contrast to January’s big jump, the headline Consumer Price Index rose 0.2% in the second month of 2018, with the core CPI following suit; the year-over-year CPI gain ticked slightly higher to 2.2%. The headline and core Producer Price Index also increased 0.2% last month; yearly wholesale inflation rose just 0.1% to 2.8%.1 THE CONSUMER IS CONFIDENT Displaying a preliminary March reading of 102.0, the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index reached a 14-year peak last week. Analysts polled by Reut

Weekly Economic Update for March 12, 2018

WEEKLY QUOTE “Focusing is about saying no.” - Steve Jobs FEBRUARY SAW A HIRING SURGE Payroll growth was truly impressive last month. According to the latest Department of Labor report, employers added 313,000 net new jobs, including 61,000 in the construction industry; economists polled by Reuters projected a total February gain of 200,000. With the labor force participation rate reaching a 6-month high, the headline jobless rate stayed at 4.1% and the broader U-6 rate at 8.2%. Yearly wage growth declined to 2.6%.1 SERVICE BUSINESSES ARE THRIVING The Institute for Supply Management’s February snapshot of service industry growth was quite positive. ISM’s non-manufacturing purchasing manager i

Planning for Retirement? Why You Want Your Plan In Writing

Setting a strategy down may help you define just what you need to do. Many people save and invest vaguely for the future. They know they need to accumulate money for retirement, but when it comes to how much they will need or how they will do it, they are not quite sure. They will “wing it,” hope for the best, and see how it goes. How do they know they are really contributing enough to their retirement accounts? Would they feel less anxious about the future if they had a written plan? Make no mistake, a written retirement plan sharpens your focus. It can refine dreams into goals and express a strategy to pursue them. According to a Charles Schwab study, just 24% of Americans plan their finan

Weekly Economic Update for March 5, 2018

WEEKLY QUOTE “Prejudice is the child of ignorance.” - William Hazlitt CB: PLENTY OF CONFIDENCE IN THE ECONOMY The Conference Board’s monthly consumer confidence index soared to 130.8 in February – the highest reading seen since November 2000. In January, the gauge was at 124.3. (In the middle of the Great Recession, the index hovered near 25.)1 SOLID READINGS ON SOME KEY INDICATORS Further fundamental economic data released last week looked strong. Personal incomes improved 0.4% in January, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis; that matched the December increase. Personal spending advanced 0.2% last month. The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing purchasing manager index r

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You’ve probably been planning for retirement in some way, shape, or form for many years. Maybe you participate in your company’s 401(k) plan or set aside money in a traditional or Roth IRA. Maybe your employer offers a pension plan. As you get closer to retirement, it’s important to plan for your retirement income in specific detail.

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