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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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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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Protect Your Credit – Implement a Security Freeze Now!

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

Equifax, one of the three major credit agencies, recently revealed that they had a major security breach whereby 143 million American’s personal information (including Social Security numbers) was stolen.  Click here and choose the “Potential Impact” button to find out if your personal information may have been compromised in this breach. **We do not recommend that you enroll in the Equifax “TrustedID …

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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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Part 1: 10 Years from retirement, what is your financial focus?

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

If you’re 10 years or so away from retirement, you’ve probably spent at least some time thinking about what your life will look like after retirement. How will you manage the transition? Will you travel, take up a new sport or hobby, or spend more time with friends and family? Should you consider relocating? Will you continue to work in some …

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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All Star Portfolio?

In Asset Allocation, Investments, Personal Finance by Chip Hymiller

A recent USA Today article titled “Finding the All Stars:  How we whittle down the funds” scanned the universe of mutual funds in an attempt to identify a number of “all star” mutual funds.  The list of funds that were selected for the article all have impressive track records and are certainly worthy of consideration in any portfolio.

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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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A Rule of Thumb for Withdrawal Rates

In Personal Finance, Retirement Planning by Chip Hymiller

Much has changed over the last year—especially for those who are taking withdrawals from their investments to fund living expenses.  Even investors who maintained a moderate portfolio allocation may have sustained significant investment losses over the last year.  With portfolio declines, some retirees may find that they are having to distribute a greater percentage of their portfolio to fund “lifestyle” …

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Personal Finance Stress Test

In Cash Flow and Budgeting, Personal Finance by Chip Hymiller

I stumbled across this little tool at CNNMoney.com that I thought was pretty neat.  The purpose of the tool is to seek an answer to the question, “How healthy are your finances?” You enter answers to a series of questions and the calculator determines, or grades, your financial health.  I entered a few hypothetical situations and I thought it provided …