Emotional Spending

Managing Emotional Spending

Does spending lift your spirits when life gets you down? Many of us turn to “retail therapy” when we feel down or stressed, and for a good reason. Studies show that shopping can trigger dopamine, which is a chemical in our brains that makes us feel good and fulfilled. For many, the act of spending… Read more »

New Tax Rules

The New Estate Tax Rules and Your Estate Plan

ASK A FINANCIAL PLANNER The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (the 2010 Tax Act) included new gift, estate, and generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax provisions. The 2010 Tax Act provided that in 2011 and 2012, the gift and estate tax basic exclusion amount was $5 million (indexed for inflation in… Read more »

Credit Counseling

The Lowdown on Credit Counseling

Have you ever wondered if credit counseling might help you? Most of us have never stopped to even think about what credit counseling is until we find ourselves facing a financial roadblock. Credit counseling isn’t just for those who need to improve their financial health — it can also help you to be more proactive… Read more »

Be Cyber Smart

Be Cybersmart — Youth Coloring & Activity Book

Download Be Cybersmart, a fun activity book filled with coloring pages, puzzles, and more! October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and being cyber smart is important for the whole family. Be Cyber Smart is an introduction to strong passwords and the tricks bad guys use to get your information. Check out more fun online tools… Read more »

Finance Tools

Financial Tools in Online Banking

Get a handle on your budget and visualize your net worth with the new and improved Financial Tools in Online Banking. Learn how to get started and make the most out Financial Tools’ features: Setting Up Financial Tools Getting started is easy. When you log into Online Banking after October 27th,  you’ll notice the Financial Tools… Read more »

Home Equity

HELOC vs Home Equity Loan: What’s the Difference?

One of the benefits of homeownership is equity. A Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) or a Home Equity Loan (also know as a second mortgage) allows a homeowner to borrow money using the home’s equity as collateral. These loans can be a solution for tackling home repairs and renovations, which protect your investment and… Read more »

Can I pull funds from my IRA?

I Need Money: Can I Take Funds From my IRA?

ASK A FINANCIAL PLANNER Yes, but the taxable portion of your distribution may be subject to a 10% penalty for early withdrawal if you’re not yet age 59½. If you are 59½ or older and take money from your traditional IRA, you will not be assessed a penalty, though you may still have to pay… 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 »

Payroll Tax Deferral

Temporary Payroll Tax Deferral: What You Need to Know

ASK A FINANCIAL PLANNER On August 8, 2020, the president issued an executive order to allow the deferral of certain payroll taxes during the last four months of 2020, and the IRS recently provided related guidance. This has implications for both employers and employees. Here’s a brief summary of the issues. Already-existing Payroll Tax Deferral… Read more »

Dark Web

The Dark Web — A Gateway to Criminal Activity

We’ve recently taken a deep dive into the dangers of the Dark Web. We continue our series by shedding light on how transactions happen in the Dark Web and the criminal enterprise that exists in this mysterious, hidden place. Why is this important? The more you understand about how criminal activity works, the better prepared… Read more »