How a 529 Plan can work for both you and your child

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Let me start off by saying, we all know that one of the most important parts of being a parent is making sure that your child is well provided for. A large part of providing for your child is making sure that they get a good education. Which brings me to the topic of this post: funding your child’s education.

In today’s world, it’s becoming harder and harder to afford a good college education. The last thing you want is your 35 year old son or daughter sitting on your couch, flipping through different TV channels all day, eating all of your food, and sucking the life out of your bank account. So, it’s very important that you plan things out in a way that won’t bankrupt you but will still allow you to provide the best quality of education for your children so that they may be successful just like you.

Most parents, when they think of helping their child out with school, think of writing a check to help pay for tuition, books, etc. Well, rather than doing that, why not consider a 529 plan or some other kind of education-funding account? Read More

J.K. Rowling and the power of self-determination

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I believe in the power of self determination.

It might seem odd to feature one of the most famous, and wealthiest authors in the world for this post, but Joanne Rowling, as she is formally known, is actually the perfect example of how anyone can be successful, regardless of their background, upbringing, or circumstances.

As you undoubtedly know, Rowling is the author of the Harry Potter novels. What is less well-known is how similar both the creator and the main character are. If you’ve never read the books, the story starts with an orphaned Harry Potter living inside a cupboard under the stairs in the home of his less-than-affectionate aunt and uncle. Rowling, meanwhile, grew up with a mother suffering with Multiple Sclerosis, and a father with whom she was not on speaking terms.

In the books, Harry learns that he is a wizard, and travels to a magical school called Hogwarts – a place very strange and unfamiliar, and where he doesn’t always fit in. As a young woman, Rowling also traveled to a strange and unfamiliar place. Needing a job, she traveled to Portugal to teach English. Here she met her first husband, but it was not a happy marriage. Read More

A Soldier’s Pledge

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Every Memorial Day, we as a nation stop to think about the courage and sacrifice shown by the men and women who have served our country. We visit the graves of family members who gave literally all that they had to defend our shores and uphold our freedom. And we remember the words of President Ronald Reagan, who said, “The price for freedom at times has been high, but we have never been unwilling to pay that price.”

I was reminded of those words recently when I came across a video that contained passages from Reagan’s First Inaugural Address. In his first speech as President, Reagan gave tribute to all the heroes who have paid freedom’s price. He highlighted one hero in particular by recounting the story of Martin Treptow, a young American who fought in World War I. Treptow never made it home from that awful conflict, but before he died, he made and lived a solemn pledge- a pledge to do everything within his power to serve our country. I feel that his pledge speaks for every man and woman who has ever worn a uniform. For every hero who never came home.

This Memorial Day, it’s worth taking a minute to read both Reagan and Treptow’s words. It’s worth a few minutes more to quietly ponder their meaning. Below is an excerpt from Reagan’s speech in which he quotes Treptow’s pledge. I hope that you find it as moving as I do. Read More

How to teach your kids about money

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At times I get asked, “Paul, what gift would you recommend I get my daughter or son?”As a parent and financial advisor, I can’t help but relate that question to my life. Aside from love, what’s the most meaningful gift I can give my daughter? Well, knowing what I know about money and finances, and that the reality that financial problems and stress plague 7 in 10 individuals, my gift suggestion is to teach your kids and grandkids about money. Studies have shown that parents have the greatest influence on their children’s financial habits, and now, more than ever, mothers and fathers are taking the primary role in educating kids about healthy money management.

“Most financial experts agree there is a need for financial discussions among families to avoid or soften potential future economic upheavals,” says Suzanne Poole, Executive Vice President, Retail Sales Strategy, TD Bank. “According to a recent financial literacy poll by TD Bank, only 50% of families report having weekly conversations with their children about finances, even though there are easy ways to incorporate tips about money in everyday conversation. Read More

Markets have a way of confounding your expectations…focus on what you can control

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Markets have a way of confounding your expectations. I have found that a better option is to stay broadly diversified and with some help, set an asset allocation that matches your own risk appetite, goals, and circumstances.  This has worked for me and our clients for many years.

Of course, this approach doesn’t stop you or anyone else from having or expressing an opinion about the future. We are all free to speculate about what might happen in the economy and markets. The danger comes when you base your investment strategy on such opinions. In the meantime, if you insist on following forecasts, here is a list of ten predictions you can count on coming true in 2017: Read More

Cyber Security: How to protect yourself

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Most of us have at one point, or maybe regularly, connected to public wireless networks at Wi-Fi hotspots such as airports, coffee shops, hotels, and other public places. Although convenient, many people may not be aware that they are often not secure. You are sharing the network with strangers, which could put you at risk of having your personal information stolen if you do not take certain precautions.

I came across a helpful some helpful information on this topic by the Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, which I thought I would pass on to you. The article, which I have included below, explains how to identify an encrypted website, public wireless networks, and tips to protect your information.

In general, should you receive emails that appear in any way unusual, include requests for personal data, seek financial payments, etc., STOP and BE AWARE that fraud may be underfoot.


Retirement is about having the opportunity to focus on LIVING!

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Both my friends and my clients (sometimes they are the same person) often ask me: “What’s the most important thing I need to do to prepare for retirement?”

I usually tell them that there’s no one thing that’s most important, but rather a lot of things. For example: securing retirement income, managing your tax situation, or ensuring your investment portfolio keeps ahead of inflation. These are just a few examples. But when it comes to your retirement, here’s a piece of advice that all too often goes unheeded:

“If you can dream it, you can do it.” Read More

The Importance of Building an Emergency Fund

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Ben Franklin once declared, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” Equally enlightening are his thoughts on expenses: “Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship.”

And there are plenty of “leaks” that can scuttle an already-tight budget. For instance, a spouse idled by the sour economy, a fender-bender with the family car, or an unexpected hospitalization. That’s why financial advisors recommend that you have a rainy-day fund – enough liquid assets to cover three to six months’ worth of emergency living expenses. In case of financial emergency, access to additional money will save you from relying on credit cards or loans that simply compound the problem. Read More

Just One Mistake on Your Tax Return Can Cost You Big Time! If There’s More Than One, OUCH!

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Just one of the mistakes that we are sharing with you below can cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Look them over, and if there is even a little question fluttering in the back of your mind that you might have missed these last year, call me. We’ll set up a time to do a quick review of your tax return. If there are no mistakes, I’ll give you a pat on the back and send you on your way. If we do find a mistake, I would love to help you. Read More