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July/August 2018

Midyear Tax Checkup

The halfway point of 2018 is a good time to examine how the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 affects you. That way you can be better prepared come tax season. Here are some changes you might want to note:

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School Savings Primer

It’s that time of year when many parents battle their kids over a laundry list of expensive back-to-school items, including high-end smartphones, tablets, designer clothes and the latest footwear. It doesn’t have to be this way. Here’s how you and your children can have an easier experience.

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Tax Changes Affect All Ages

When it comes to taxes and their effects, there are a multitude of strategies to fit individual circumstances. Yet, we can make some generalizations that address specific groups of people with varied tax and financial situations.

Knowing that you may want to work with an advisor to fine-tune any strategy, here’s a look at how the new tax law may affect different types of people.

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When Money Styles Merge

When spender and saver marry, Mars and Venus might as well be Mercury and Saturn — they’re that far apart. There are things, however, you can do to prevent money strife when you and your spouse have different money personalities.

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Departing Advice for the College-Bound

You spent 18 years looking after almost every aspect of your child’s life. Soon, your child will be off to college and
independent. Help your child prepare for a life of independence – and responsibility – by going over some life basics.

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AMT Changed

The AMT exemption has been significantly enlarged in 2018.

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Bulls, Bears & Corrections, Oh My!

Even if you are only a casual observer of the stock market, you probably have heard words like “bulls,” “bears” and “correction” batted around. Here’s a look at five commonly used Wall Street terms that describe not only stock market movement, but markets for other securities, too.

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Reevaluating Auto Renewal

Order a discounted subscription to an online publication and it will likely be automatically renewed when it runs out — at regular prices. Same thing goes for everything from smartphone apps and cell phone and cable television subscriptions to gym, art and wine club memberships.

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Tales from the Crypto(currency)

If you pay even a little attention to the world of investments, you have probably heard about something called bitcoin. This Johnny-come-lately investment is known as a cryptocurrency, or digital currency, of which there are hundreds. But before you consider investing, learn a little bit about them.

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Custodial Accounts

Are you considering opening a custodial account for a minor child? You can open two such accounts, the Uniform Gifts to Minors Act (UGMA) and Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA) accounts, in most states, but you should be aware that they differ and are not for everyone.

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Market Sectors

Among the stock market sectors that comprise industries are two that are specific to you: consumer discretionary and consumer staples. Both are a catch-all for a variety of consumer products and services.

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Cut Your Utility Bill

As you consider your electric bills with the air conditioning blasting this summer, why not consider ways to save on energy costs all year? Weatherproofing your home is usually an inexpensive way to save.

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Income Protection

The younger you are, the odds are that you will likely become disabled at some point in your life.

Long-term disability is a risk that can threaten what is the greatest asset of many people — their ability to earn a living. Disability insurance can help protect some of that income: it’s one tool to help you prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

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Open Enrollment

Your employer’s open enrollment period may be a few months away, but now is a good time to evaluate your current situation without the pressure of an enrollment deadline. While it’s human nature to automatically renew your existing benefits, you could miss out on opportunities if you don’t take a good look each year.

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Cruising on the Cheap

Taking a cruise is one way to see attractions in multiple countries. Here’s how you can save money doing it:

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Surviving Volatility

Investment volatility can be scary, but you can better weather stock market and interest rate volatility when you follow a comprehensive investment strategy that takes into account your goals, risk tolerance and time horizon. Here’s what you need to know about volatility.

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Investing in TIPS

Tips, an acronym for Treasury Inflation- Protected Securities, are fixed income investments designed to provide a hedge against the eroding effects of inflation. Issued by the U.S. Treasury and backed by the full faith of our federal government, TIPS are available directly at You can also find them in some mutual funds.

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Legally Speaking

When was the last time you examined each of your legal documents? It may be about as much fun as doing your taxes, but it is necessary if you want to keep your affairs in order.

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