Author: Chris Blackmon, CFP®, CPA

Asking the Right Questions

People say the only bad questions are the ones you don’t ask. That can be true, and asking bad questions likely won’t hurt you, but it is more important to ask the “Right” questions. In the last year, I met with a potential client who asked me a question I want to share with you. After some “get to know you chat” he asked me, “So, how are your results?” to which I responded, “Very high.” I could see the confusion on his face, so I just waited. As I will explain later, this had nothing to do with guaranteeing results.

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Are you Paying More Than You Need in Taxes?

The Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017, which became effective for tax years starting in 2018, significantly impacted many taxpayers. The change impacting the most taxpayers was the enhanced standard deduction and loss of many itemized deductions. Tax forms were also presented differently making it difficult for taxpayers who reviewed their returns in detail to compare year-to-year. While there were many changes, there are still some important tax savings strategies that may help you pay less in taxes. Which ones apply to your situation?  Ask yourself the following questions…

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Financial Planning for Myself

As you know from my previous blog, I recently bought a new house (more house, bigger mortgage.) Also, my amazing wife Julie, and I, just had our second daughter, Elizabeth (another girl, another college, another wedding, more dresses and purses.) Since I don’t want to be guilty of planning better for my clients than my own family, I thought this was the ideal time to take a look at some of the plans I have in place for my family.

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Focusing on Results that Matter

Recently, my wife and I bought a new house.  She fell in love with it immediately and could see us raising our girls in the house, how could I say no?  But of course, there were financial matters to consider.  So, the planner in me immediately went to my budget spreadsheet to “crunch the numbers” and determine if we could afford it.  We have both been blessed in our careers and while this new home is a stretch to the budget, the answer is yes, we can afford our dream home.  So we decided to move forward. Now just the minor details of negotiating the purchase of the new home and selling our old home.

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The New Tax Bill: Tallying the Results

“How did the new tax bill affect me?” was the question on everyone’s minds this tax season, and for good reason. Even though this was touted as the greatest simplification of the tax code in my lifetime, I didn’t notice any reduction in time spent preparing returns. Those of you who reviewed your returns in detail noticed that the schedules look drastically different although contain all the same information. The short answer for many is that it didn’t materially change your overall tax liability. The outliers fell into one of a few buckets…

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Four Financial To-Do’s for New Parents

We were recently blessed to welcome our second daughter, Elizabeth. This being our second, I think we are somewhat better prepared for how our lives would immediately change. These first few months are filled with joy and excitement (as well as exhaustion coupled with just trying to figure out what we are doing). While I have no advice on how to get your newborn to sleep on schedule, I can give you some advice on some financial matters all new parents need to address (and soon for some of these):

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