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Only You Can Define “Financial Freedom”

John Adams and the founding fathers specifically recommended “illuminations”  to celebrate the anniversary of the country’s birth. The official decree calling for fireworks on July 4th was written even before the country was officially formed. Even though fireworks are almost exclusively reserved for these patriotic celebrations, we think you deserve some fireworks of your own – to mark your progress on the path to financial freedom.

Financial Planning Helps Travel Dreams Come True – Even for Financial Planners

If you are having a serious case of wanderlust but feel chained to the office, let’s shift your thinking – and your timing. Start considering travel as a good investment, not something you put off until it’s “bucket list” time. That’s the advice of a non-retired financial planner who recently returned from Antarctica – me. Not only did I come home with memories of penguins and glaciers that I will never forget, I picked up a serious need to start planning my next adventure right now.
 
 

Change in Marital Status, Change in Lifestyle?

Divorce brings many emotional losses, and often a sense of loss of control over the future. A common response is to cling to elements of your past lifestyle. Many parents understandably fear the impact a divorce will have on their children, and want to keep their lifestyle as much the same as possible. But often, holding on to the past can often come at a high cost. I have seen parents insist on their children continuing to attend expensive private schools that are no longer affordable for either parent after divorce. Many women in particular, make staying in the marital home their top priority, even when the housing costs no longer fit into their post-divorce budget. Often these choices mean that the financial future of one or both parents are compromised. Funds that should have been invested and growing to provide for retirement are eroded, savings reduced or eliminated, and the financial future more bleak than it needed to be.

Navigating the Financial Twists and Turns in Business and in Life

As a business owner, planning for your future can be difficult because of the many twists and turns that can happen both in business and in life. When you encounter situations, either expected or unexpected, you may need to make decisions that can have a major impact on you, your family, and your business.  How you approach those situations can be critical to your long-term success.

Save $10,000 on Taxes by Helping Georgia’s Rural Hospitals

When the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 took away Georgians’ ability to deduct their paid state income taxes on their 2018 returns, it sent filers scrambling to maximize the deductions that remain. A new deduction which debuted this year offers a maximum tax credit of $10,000 and a chance to help save Georgia’s financially struggling rural hospitals.

“Will I Be Ok Financially?”

When a marriage ends, there are many questions and fears to address. After dealing with the emotional devastation and loss, often the next question is “Will I be ok financially?”

The answer is never simple and is highly individual. So, if you are facing divorce, the first step in answering this question is to gather complete information on all of your resources and needs. Gather information on all investments and assets, such as investment accounts; company retirement plans, pensions and other benefit plans; real estate; and insurance coverage. Next gather information on all income, both present and future (wages, investment income, deferred compensation, Social Security).  Finally, get a complete understanding of your liabilities and spending needs. This will probably be the most time-consuming and difficult step, but it’s important to get an accurate understanding of your current spending needs and how these might change in the future. Here are some key questions to answer:

New Tax Law Allows 529 College Savings Plan Funds to be Used For K-12 Private School Tuition

Over the last 20 years, many people have used 529 plans as a way to save for their children's or grandchildren's college education on a tax advantaged basis. Basically, if you put money into a 529 plan and invest it, you can reap the benefit of the growth on the money in the plan tax-free if it is used to pay for qualified higher education expenses for the beneficiary of the 529 account. Those expenses typically include college tuition, room and board, books, computers, software, and other items.

Meeting the Number One Retirement Priority

Many of us have tightly-held beliefs about what should and should not be during retirement. A common one is “I should not have any debt when I retire.” This may be a lesson handed down by parents that is carried through the years or it may be a concern of a conservative investor who wants to make sure that their retirement is as worry-free as possible.

Balancing Fun and Funds in Retirement

A question I am frequently asked by people considering retirement is “How do I balance enjoying my retirement now while making sure that I don’t run out of money?” It is a question that makes a lot of sense because when most people retire, they are relatively healthy, have worked for a long time, and want to enjoy the fruits of working and saving. They want to be able to do the things and see the places that they never had time to because they were working. Plus, they want to enjoy their retirement before they get too old and/or their health or energy levels begin to decline.  However, now that a healthy couple (both age 65) have a life expectancy of age 89, retirement could easily last over 25 years1, so it stands to reason that people are also concerned about running out of money.  So, what can you do? 

Planning the Retirement of Your Dreams

For many years, I have worked with a couple that had a very specific retirement dream. They wanted to travel the country in their camper. At first, I thought this was something that would be a passing fancy.  Over the years, many clients have expressed visions for retirement and yet many of them evolve over time to something entirely different. This couple was unique. They were very consistent and in sync with their dream. Don’t get me wrong. They loved their careers in medicine and education and were dedicated and true professionals. But, when they talked about riding through the country without an agenda or a definite plan but instead stopping wherever they found something interesting, they always lit up with smiles.