To Shred or Not to Shred?

Spring is the perfect time to purge your closet—and the financial documents you’ve filed away over the years. But knowing what’s OK to throw out can present a hurdle. To help, here’s a cheat sheet to consider, with a breakdown by time period: keep forever, keep for seven years, and “revolving” documents.

Reduce New Year Stress with Tax Prep

Given the tax law changes for 2018, many are wondering if they’ll come out ahead. Even for those in the industry, this quote from Albert Einstein on taxes rings true: “This is too difficult for a mathematician. It takes a philosopher.”

Avoid the Creep

One of the easiest ways to stay on a solid financial path is to intentionally avoid lifestyle creep, which happens when our spending increases with our income, but our savings stays stagnant. If we’re blessed to receive a raise at year-end, we can easily absorb those extra dollars into our spending. As this happens year over year, the impact compounds…

The Rules Changed. Should You?

The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act made significant changes to the way itemized deductions are treated on your tax return. Common deductions include mortgage interest, real estate taxes and charitable giving. The IRS gives all taxpayers a basic reduction of income called a standard deduction. The new tax bill roughly doubled the amount of the 2017 standard deduction, thereby making it harder to…

Express Espresso

Do you come out ahead by buying an upgraded machine and making your coffee at home, or is it more economical to keep visiting your favorite shop? Given all the variables and preferences when you start talking about coffee, this question was a little more difficult to answer than I anticipated.

You’re Teaching Your Kids about Money—Whether You Realize It or Not!

 Article Melissa Ballard, CFP | Photography Photo provided  In many areas of our lives, we model our behavior after our parents. Or perhaps we set out not to model our behavior after our parents. In either case, finances are no exception. Growing up—and even now, in my 30s—I observed my parents’ behavior with money. Thankfully the financial lessons I learned…

“The Dude Abides”

 Article Bill Waltman, CFP, CPA    Film buffs may recognize this line from the 1998 cult classic "The Big Lewbowski." In it, Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski is an unemployed slacker who loves bowling and becomes involved in a mix-up with a wealthy older man who shares his name. Played to perfection by Jeff Bridges, The Dude is plunged into a…

It’s Not You, It’s Us!

 Article Melissa Ballard, CFP  As a female professional in the financial planning field, there’s something unfortunate I’ve seen too frequently. For a variety of reasons, the female spouse is often absent from our meetings. Additionally, we’ve had only a small number of single female clients seek our advice. This weighs on me.   

Retirement: Make it Uniquely Yours

Ah, retirement—a lofty dream that many picture as a day in the future when you empty your office, shut off your light for the last time, and your new life begins. But for many of us, retirement can begin to feel like a pie in the sky dream. What if we don’t have enough money to get us through? Can…

A Fresh Take on Giving

Giving gifts is one of my favorite things. To me, seeing the look on a loved one's face when they receive the perfect gift is the best part of this season. But, we’ve all seen gift giving get out of hand—sometimes we all end up exchanging gift cards, or we end up stressed when thinking about the gifts left to…