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Midterm Elections: What Do They Mean For Markets?

In Asset Allocation, General Financial Planning, Investments by Chip Hymiller

It’s almost Election Day in the US once again. While the outcomes of the elections are uncertain, one thing we can count on is that plenty of opinions and prognostications will be floated in the days to come. In financial circles, this will almost assuredly include any potential for perceived impact on markets. But should long-term investors focus on midterm elections?

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Understanding Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) Rules

In Asset Allocation, Company News, General Financial Planning, Personal Financial Planning, Retirement Planning by Chip Hymiller

Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) Fast Facts: Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) are based on: December 31st account values and… A person’s life expectancy There is currently no annual RMD requirement on Roth IRAs Neglecting to take a RMD can result in a penalty of 50% on the amount of the required to be withdrawn Required Minimum Distributions: A Deeper Look Those …

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Special Needs Planning: An Introduction to ABLE Accounts

In Asset Allocation, Cash Flow and Budgeting, Estate Planning, General Financial Planning, Personal Finance, Personal Financial Planning by Chip Hymiller

Families of those with special needs have historically had limited options when accumulating funds for their loved one’s future.  Especially, without jeopardizing their continued eligibility to Medicaid and other support programs. As surprising as it may seem, accumulating as little as $2,000 in a disabled person’s name could potentially render them ineligible to receive much needed assistance and access to …

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Planning for Life in a Retirement Community—Things To Consider

In Asset Allocation, Company News, General Financial Planning, Retirement Planning by Chip Hymiller

There is no doubt that people are living longer and enjoying a higher quality of life in their retirement years.  Given the high demand of retirement communities, which can include independent living and assisted living alternatives, many are taking a proactive approach in evaluating and moving into these communities—prior to health changes that could warrant the necessity to move in. …

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A Look Back on Black Monday: October 19, 1987

In Asset Allocation, General Financial Planning, Investments, Market Review, Personal Finance, Personal Financial Planning, Retirement Planning, The Economy by Chip Hymiller

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 30 years since “Black Monday,” the day the stock market declined a whopping 22.6%! Although I was merely a sophomore in high school, I remember the day quite well.  Having my first real job and being a “saver” by nature, I had just become interested in investing.  I had recently invested in a …

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You are Never Too Old (or too Young) for a Roth IRA!

In Asset Allocation, General Financial Planning, Personal Financial Planning, Retirement Planning by Chip Hymiller

The ability to contribute to Roth IRAs can represent one of the most beneficial financial planning decisions that people can make for their future.  Roth IRAs were established by the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 and while most people are aware of the name, they may not be fully aware of all of the benefits. A Roth IRA is an …

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Estate Tax Planning: Be Proactive and Know Your Options

In Asset Allocation, Estate Planning, General Financial Planning, Retirement Planning by Chip Hymiller

The federal estate tax generally only applies to those who die with assets that exceed $5,490,000 (in 2017).  While only about 0.2% of the population is subject to the estate tax, those who are impacted can be faced with a significant estate tax liability as the estate tax rate quickly exceeds the 40% mark! Here is a simple example of …

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Sequence of Returns Risk: Considerations for New Retirees

In Asset Allocation, General Financial Planning, Investments, Retirement Planning, Tax by Chip Hymiller

Research has shown that the timing of one’s retirement can be important – especially as it relates to investment returns in the early years of retirement. Someone who retired just prior to the “Great Recession” could have experienced significantly larger portfolio “drawdowns” than someone who retired during a period of economic expansion and higher investment returns.

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Donor Advised Fund Comparison

In Asset Allocation, Charitable Gifting, Estate Planning, General Financial Planning, Personal Financial Planning, Tax by Chip Hymiller

In our article, Charitable Gifting Using Donor Advised Funds, we provided some insight into donor advised funds and listed some of the many benefits that the charitably-minded could garner from using donor advised funds as a component of their charitable gifting strategy.  As a follow up to that article, we wanted to provide some information that could be helpful when vetting custodians who offer donor advised funds.

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Teaching Your Grandchildren Money Values

In Asset Allocation, Bill Dix, General Financial Planning, Personal Finance, Personal Financial Planning by Bill Dix

If you’re a grandparent, you likely already offer support in a lot of ways including financial and emotional. But you can also provide practical help. A frequently overlooked area where you can definitely make a difference is with your grandchildren’s personal financial education. Some of us were lucky enough to have a grandparent who we considered a great friend. We …

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2017 Tax Law Changes

In Asset Allocation, Cash Flow and Budgeting, General Financial Planning, Personal Financial Planning, Retirement Planning, Tax by Chip Hymiller

Happy 2017! As we begin a new year, it’s always important to re-examine certain elements of your financial plan – especially things that relate to tax planning. Here are a few of the more common items that may impact your financial situation this year. Social Security & Medicare Part B For those receiving Social Security, there is a cost of living …

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Part 2: 10 Years from Retirement, What is Your Financial Focus?

In Asset Allocation, General Financial Planning, Retirement Planning by Chip Hymiller

In Part 1, we discussed the importance of tracking and managing your living expenses, as well as, making projections around how much you will spend in retirement. We also stressed the importance of making strategic Social Security decisions. In this article, we wanted to spend some time addressing pension decisions, ideas for strengthening your personal balance sheet and helping you think through how much money you will likely need during retirement.

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Tax Free IRA Gifts To Charities Are Now Allowed

In Asset Allocation, Charitable Gifting, General Financial Planning, Retirement Planning, Tax by Chip Hymiller

For those of you who are charitably inclined and over the age of 70 ½, we have great news that could impact your charitable gifting strategy!  In December 2015, Congress made permanent the ability for taxpayers to divert their required minimum distribution directly to a qualified charity. The ability to make this charitable election, technically called a Qualified Charitable Distribution …

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Social Security and Medicare Changes for 2016

In Asset Allocation, Cash Flow and Budgeting, General Financial Planning, Personal Financial Planning, Retirement Planning by Chip Hymiller

On November 2, 2015, President Obama signed into law the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, legislation that raises the federal debt limit and establishes the framework for a two-year budget deal. The legislation, necessary to avoid an impending default on U.S. debt, also contains multiple unrelated provisions, including an elimination of two Social Security retirement benefit claiming strategies and a …

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Understanding Risk—Capacity, Tolerance, Perception & Risk Required

In Asset Allocation, General Financial Planning, Investments, Personal Finance, Personal Financial Planning, Retirement Planning by Chip Hymiller

This article explores four elements of an investor’s risk profile – risk capacity, risk required, risk tolerance and risk perception. Understanding each type of risk is an essential element of building an investment portfolio that can both meet your specific investment needs, while allowing you to sleep easy during times of personal and financial stress.

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Dementia – Do You Have a Game Plan?

In Asset Allocation, General Financial Planning, Investments, Personal Financial Planning, Retirement Planning by Chip Hymiller

Increasingly, families have to figure out how to best deal with dementia and other memory-related impairments that naturally happen as people age. This is especially true when navigating the complex and often times confusing area of personal finances. So, what can you do to prepare yourself should you, or a member of your immediate family develop dementia? Here are a few ideas that you may find helpful.

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Pension Decisions – Consider Your Options

In Asset Allocation, Cash Flow and Budgeting, General Financial Planning, Personal Financial Planning, Retirement Planning by Chip Hymiller

There is no doubt that pensions are an extremely important asset and making decisions regarding these plans can be daunting and stressful. This is especially true since pension decisions are irrevocable! This article addresses common questions that should be considered when making decisions about your pension.

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Investor Beware of Year-End Capital Gain Distributions!

In Asset Allocation, General Financial Planning, Investments, Personal Finance, Personal Financial Planning, Tax by Chip Hymiller

It looks like 2014 is going to be a huge year for mutual funds making capital gain distributions. While on the surface capital gains sounds like a good deal, but in reality they can pose a tax nightmare for some investors – especially people who invest in mutual funds in non-retirement (taxable) accounts. This article explains the problem with mutual fund distributions and provides a resource for those performing year-end tax planning.

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Surviving the Financial Stress Test

In Asset Allocation, General Financial Planning, Investments, Market Review, Retirement Planning by Chip Hymiller

When making financial planning and investment decisions, we believe that it is important to consider the probability of negative outcomes. We call this “stress-testing” a financial plan. By stress-testing financial planning assumptions, we are able to help our clients identify and protect against financial risks that could derail their financial plans.

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Long Term Care Insurance—Is it time to consider a hybrid?

In Asset Allocation, Cash Flow and Budgeting, General Financial Planning, Insurance, Personal Financial Planning, Retirement Planning, Tax by Chip Hymiller

Normally, when someone mentions hybrids they are referring to fuel-efficient, money-saving cars. Like hybrid cars, the intention of hybrid long term care insurance policies is to provide cost-saving insurance coverage by combining both life insurance (or an annuity) with long term care coverage.

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Has Investor Complacency Arrived?

In Asset Allocation, Cash Flow and Budgeting, General Financial Planning, Investments, Market Review, Personal Financial Planning, Retirement Planning by Chip Hymiller

With over 20 years in the investment industry, we have helped clients navigate through a number of economic and market cycles. Through the years, we have developed our own set of descriptive names that are used as an indication of where we are in the market cycle. These names are generally based on client emotions and range from “malaise” to “exuberance”. Currently, we are in what we call the “investor complacency” phase.

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Chip Hymiller, CFP® Interviewed about Financial Wellness

In Cash Flow and Budgeting, College & Education Savings, Company News, General Financial Planning, Investments, Personal Finance, Personal Financial Planning, Retirement Planning by Chip Hymiller

Chip Hymiller, CFP® was recently interviewed on the show Community Matters with host, Bill LuMaye. The topic for the show was financial wellness. Chip’s segment of the show highlighted the need to prioritize financial goals, manage debt and develop a strategic long term plan.

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An Estate Planning Review Checklist

In Estate Planning, General Financial Planning, Personal Financial Planning by Chip Hymiller

When it comes to financial planning, one of the easiest and most important things to accomplish is an overall review of your estate plan. We suggest that you review your estate plan every couple of years or when there are changes in your family that may impact your estate planning. Here is a checklist of estate planning items to review that may be helpful.

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Intra-Family Planning: 5 Wealth Transfer Strategies to Consider

In Charitable Gifting, College & Education Savings, Estate Planning, General Financial Planning, Insurance, Personal Financial Planning, Retirement Planning, Tax by Chip Hymiller

Through hard work and sound financial planning, some find themselves in situations in which they are contemplating intra-family financial planning. That is, identifying financial planning techniques that can be used to financially strengthen the next generation—children and grandchildren.

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Be Proactive When Helping Aging Parents with Their Finances

In Estate Planning, General Financial Planning, Personal Finance, Personal Financial Planning, Retirement Planning by Chip Hymiller

Let’s face it, in today’s world, managing your personal financial affairs can be complex. There are many decisions that need to be made on a weekly or even daily basis. For a large and growing segment of the population, who are trying to help (often unwilling) aging parents with their finances, this can be incredibly frustrating, stressful and burdensome.

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Highlights of the Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012

In Cash Flow and Budgeting, General Financial Planning, Personal Financial Planning, Tax, The Economy by Chip Hymiller

For the last several weeks, the media spent a great deal of time covering the fiscal cliff and the upcoming changes in the tax code. At the eleventh hour, Congress passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 that seeks to solve some of the tax questions that have been hanging over our heads for the last several months.

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Which Portfolio Accounting Method is Best?

In General Financial Planning, Investments, Personal Finance, Personal Financial Planning, Tax by Chip Hymiller

How do you track the cost basis on investments held in your taxable portfolio? What portfolio accounting method does your broker, custodian or advisor report to you or your CPA? This is a decision that, for some investors, can save thousands of dollars in taxes and ultimately make a significant difference in a portfolio’s after-tax rate of return.

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The Importance of Beneficiary Designations

In Charitable Gifting, Estate Planning, General Financial Planning, Insurance, Personal Finance, Personal Financial Planning, Retirement Planning by Chip Hymiller

When we begin new client engagements, one of the first things we review is whom our clients have chosen as their primary and contingent beneficiaries on life insurance policies, qualified plans and IRAs.  There have been many occasions that we discover a serious mistake or oversight during this process.

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Should You Payoff Your Mortgage?

In Cash Flow and Budgeting, General Financial Planning, Personal Finance, Personal Financial Planning, Retirement Planning by Chip Hymiller

One of the major goals that most people have is to, at some point, be debt free.  This is a goal that we (Chip and Erin) strive for in our personal lives and we highly encourage our clients to prudently consider as well.  In fact, research has consistently shown that people with manageable debt levels tend to be happier than …

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Coverdell Education Savings Accounts vs. 529 Plans

In College & Education Savings, General Financial Planning, Personal Finance, Personal Financial Planning by Chip Hymiller

Parents have many different options when it comes to saving for their children’s educations.  There are UTMAs, savings bonds, Roth IRAs, Coverdell Education Savings accounts and 529 Plans, just to name a few.  Each person’s savings strategy is different depending on how the money will be used, the income of the parents, the future cost of the education and the …

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Financial Planning for Children with Special Needs

In Estate Planning, General Financial Planning, Personal Finance, Personal Financial Planning by Chip Hymiller

Parents with special needs children can face a unique set of financial challenges.  However, like all financial challenges, it is important to take measures early to financially prepare for the future.  Here are a number of financial planning ideas and considerations for those parents who have special needs children:

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Beat Inflation With I Bonds

In Asset Allocation, Bonds, Cash Flow and Budgeting, General Financial Planning, Investments, Personal Financial Planning by Chip Hymiller

In a prior article, we discussed the importance of maintaining an emergency fund.  We offered our insight into how much is appropriate to keep in cash or savings, as well as emergency fund targets.  As a result of that article, we were asked the question:  “Where can I invest my emergency fund, such that it earns an interest rate that …

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Planning for Retirement and Increasing Life Expectancies

In General Financial Planning, Investments, Personal Finance, Retirement Planning by Chip Hymiller

Let’s face it, seniors today are healthier, more active and are likely to have longer lives. So what are the financial implications for retirees who will likely live well into their 80s and possibly their 90s? We believe that from a financial standpoint, retirees need to make financial planning decisions that reflect the high probability that they will live longer. Here are a few recommendations to consider.

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Increasing Your Odds

In General Financial Planning, Personal Finance, Retirement Planning by Chip Hymiller

As we help clients make long-term financial decisions, we also like to consider the probability of various negative outcomes. While we consider ourselves generally optimistic people, we believe that it is both important and helpful to also think about “worst case scenarios” – those financial uncertainties that have the potential to derail financial goals.

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529 College Savings Plans FAQ

In College & Education Savings, General Financial Planning, Personal Finance, Personal Financial Planning by Chip Hymiller

I can tell you from experience that children grow up fast! It is very hard for me to believe that my sweet daughter, Abbey, will be starting kindergarten soon. Five years have passed in the blink of an eye!

Section 529 College Savings Plans can be an excellent tool when saving for college. While there are many benefits when using the 529 Plan, there are also a number of drawbacks. Here are a number of frequently asked questions:

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Do you need a Trust for your children?

In Estate Planning, General Financial Planning, Personal Finance by Chip Hymiller

Most parents take certain steps to protect their children in the event of their premature death. Drafting a will or other estate documents, designating a guardian, obtaining life insurance and naming appropriate beneficiary designations on IRAs and 401k plans are all important components of an effective estate plan that serve the purpose of protecting your children. However, most parents should take additional measures to provide guidance on how their financial assets are managed for their children’s benefit.

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Common Estate Planning Mistakes

In Estate Planning, General Financial Planning by Chip Hymiller

An effective estate plan can ensure that assets pass directly to the intended heirs according to the deceased wishes and with the least amount of cost.  Without a properly executed estate plan, heirs can be left with a big mess and lots of hassle.  Here are a number of estate planning mistakes that, if avoided, can ensure an efficient distribution …

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Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2010

In Estate Planning, General Financial Planning, Personal Finance, Tax, The Economy by Chip Hymiller

Well, Congress finally enacted the tax reform bill that many have been anticipating for some time. In general, the new law extends the Bush-era tax cuts for two years and provides taxpayers with some certainty during this period. While this comprehensive piece of legislation covers many aspects within the tax code, here is a summary of some of the major points.

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Strategic Social Security Decisions To Consider

In General Financial Planning, Personal Finance, Personal Financial Planning, Retirement Planning by Chip Hymiller

One of the most important financial decisions people face with regard to retirement planning is when to start taking their Social Security retirement benefit. Making the most of this decision requires careful consideration of a number of variables including tax, cash flow and even elder care issues. The economic downturn has forced many families to consider taking Social Security earlier than expected. With that in mind, here are some ideas to consider, when making this important decision.

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Is that type of insurance necessary?

In Cash Flow and Budgeting, General Financial Planning, Insurance, Personal Finance, Retirement Planning by Chip Hymiller

A key component of our one-time financial planning engagements involve assessing how much insurance coverage our clients need while also reviewing the insurance policies that clients have in order to determine if they are adequate or necessary. In doing so, we often find that people have purchased insurance products that are either not necessary or entirely too costly.

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Taxation of Exchange Traded Funds Can Be Tricky

In Asset Allocation, General Financial Planning, Investments, Personal Finance by Chip Hymiller

With more than $80 billion invested in exchange traded funds (ETFs), they have become a very popular investment for both retail and institutional investors. While ETFs can be an integral component of a sound investment strategy, investors should understand the tax treatment of these investments in order to avoid unexpected tax consequences.

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Market Corrections are not Unusual

In Asset Allocation, General Financial Planning, Investments, Personal Finance by Chip Hymiller

he financial markets have experienced continued volatility since the end of April. In fact, with stocks having declined in excess of 10%, the markets have officially entered a period of “correction.” Although corrections are normal (and actually healthy for the markets), many investors may be a bit uneasy, especially with the wounds of the “Great Recession” still fresh in everyone’s mind.

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The Millionaire Next Door

In General Financial Planning, Personal Finance by Chip Hymiller

I recently had lunch with a friend of mine who told me that he had recently read The Millionaire Next Door (published in 1996) written by Thomas Stanley and William Danko.  For those of you who have not had a chance to read the book, the authors surveyed over a thousand millionaires to try and identify common attributes that made …

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What Grade Does Your 401(k) Get?

In General Financial Planning by Chip Hymiller

Have you ever wondered how your company-sponsored retirement plan compares to other companies?  If so, you are in luck – there is a website called BrightScope that has done just that.  BrightScope has compiled a massive database of 401(k) plans, providing key information on many 401(k) plans.  Rankings are based on the design of the plan and performance of the …