Inflation

Rising Inflation: Where Will It Go from Here?

ASK A FINANCIAL PLANNER In March 2021, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) rose 0.6%, the largest one-month increase since August 2012. Over the previous 12 months, the increase was 2.6%, the highest year-over-year inflation rate since August 2018. (By contrast, inflation in 2020 was just 1.4%.)1 The annual increase in CPI-U… Read more »

Indicators

High-Frequency Indicators: Where to Look for Signs of Recovery

ASK A FINANCIAL PLANNER Since the pandemic began, disruptions in business activity have varied greatly from region to region, and often from one week to the next, according to the severity of local COVID-19 outbreaks. Unfortunately, many of the official government statistics used to gauge the health of the U.S. economy are backward looking and… Read more »

Fund college education

Should I Use My 401(k) to Fund My Child’s College Education?

ASK A FINANCIAL PLANNER You can, but it isn’t your best option. Your 401(k) plan should be dedicated primarily to your retirement. There are two primary drawbacks to using your 401(k) for college funding. First, if you withdraw funds from your 401(k) before you are 59½, you will owe a 10% premature distribution penalty on… Read more »

Get a Fresh Start on Finances

Get a Fresh Start on Your Finances in 2021

ASK A FINANCIAL PLANNER There’s no doubt about it — last year was tumultuous. The coronavirus pandemic, a contentious election, and widespread protests were just some of the events that impacted our nation in 2020. Fortunately, the arrival of new vaccines has brought hope for a brighter 2021. If you are looking forward to a… Read more »

Employer Insurance

I’m Looking for a Job. How Can I Tell if an Employer is Offering a Good Insurance Benefit Package?

ASK A FINANCIAL PLANNER Ultimately, an employer is offering a good insurance benefit package if it’s one that appeals to you and meets your needs. But here are some specific things you might look for. Perhaps the most important piece is the health insurance offered. You’ll want coverage that adequately meets your medical needs. Hopefully,… Read more »

W-4

Am I Withholding Enough?

ASK A FINANCIAL PLANNER If you fail to estimate your federal income tax withholding properly, it may cost you in a variety of ways. If you receive an income tax refund, it essentially means that you provided the IRS with an interest-free loan during the year. By comparison, if you owe taxes when you file… Read more »

Your 2021 Financial Checklist

Your 2021 Financial Wellness Action Plan

If your New Year’s resolution is to renew your focus on financial wellness, this 7-step financial action plan will give you the tools you need to succeed. The best part? It’s easy! 1. Check Your Credit Report Credit report errors are more common than you might think, and errors negatively impact your credit score. A… Read more »

Year-End Tax Moves

2020 Year-End Tax Tips

ASK A FINANCIAL PLANNER Here are some things to consider as you weigh potential tax moves between now and the end of the year. 1. Defer Income to Next Year Consider opportunities to defer income to 2021, particularly if you think you may be in a lower tax bracket then. For example, you may be… Read more »

Windfall

What Are Some Tips for Handling a Financial Windfall?

ASK A FINANCIAL PLANNER First, consider putting the money into a safe, liquid account such as a savings or money market account until you have time to take stock of your situation. Don’t spend or invest your windfall until you have a chance to: See a tax professional and analyze the tax-consequences — you may… Read more »

The Bull is Back

The Bull Is Back… Will It Keep Charging?

ASK A FINANCIAL PLANNER On August 18, 2020, the S&P 500 set a record high for the first time since COVID-19 ushered in a bear market on February 19. The cycle from peak to peak was just 126 trading days, the fastest recovery in the history of the index, erasing losses from an equally historic… Read more »