Monthly e-News

September 2017: Essential Documents for Young Adults

By: Karen Schaeffer, CFP®
Published: September 20, 2017
By now the members of the high school class of 2017 heading for college or a gap year are finally getting settled. Families across the country are tearing up the check lists from Bed, Bath and Beyond, putting the last box of forgotten items in the mail and starting to enjoy the calm that a slightly emptier nest can bring.  But there is likely one more essential financial planning task that needs attention. Our 18-year-old pseudo adults are real adults in the eyes of the law and we need them to sign very adult-like documents:  a health care proxy with a HIPAA release and a durable power of attorney.   Without them, if a student is incapacitated – even for a short period of time – no one can make healthcare or financial decisions on their behalf without a court order.

August 2017: 2017 Tax Planning is Best Completed Before January 1, 2018

By:  Bob Leins, CPA

Published: August 30, 2017

September is an ideal time to project your 2017 income tax liability.

Begin by projecting your 2017 sources of income, deductions and tax withholding:

  • Use the same tax software used to prepare your 2016 Tax Return(s)
  • If your 2016 return(s) were prepared for you – please review them first and then contact your tax professional and ask for a “2017 tax projection”
  • Self-prepared returns should follow the same procedures but use 2017 tax rates (2017 tax rates were determined in late Fall 2016)

Continue reading

May 2017: Mid-Career Retirement Planning

Mid-Career Retirement Planning
Published: May 22, 2017

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”   -Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

With summer fast approaching, you may be planning your vacation more diligently than your retirement.   Don’t overlook retirement planning for too long.  Ask yourself these questions:

When will I retire?  Am I taking steps now to save for retirement?  Have I planned for the unexpected? Continue reading

April 2017: Compound Interest – Friend or Foe

Compound Interest: Friend or Foe
By: Raymond Kirk, Ph.D, Federal Benefits Specialist
Published: April 20, 2017

April is the official National Financial Literacy Month.  One of the important building blocks of financial literacy is understating compound interest and its impact on you.

Albert Einstein is alleged to have said, “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it … he who doesn’t … pays it.”  Compound interest is interest added to the principal of a deposit or loan so that the added interest also earns interest from then on. This addition of interest to the principal is called compounding. Continue reading

March 2017: Understanding CSRS Offset and Spousal Survivor Benefits

Understanding CSRS Offset and Spousal Survivor Benefits
By: James Marshall, Federal Benefits Specialist
Published: March 20, 2017

Recently I have encountered a few widows and widowers receiving less benefits from OPM due to what I believe to be a communication issue between OPM and Social Security. I’d like to use this article to help begin to explain how spousal survivor benefits are computed for widows/widowers of CSRS Offset retirees. Continue reading

February 2017: Estate Planning Issues for Single Parents

Estate Planning Issues for Single Parents
By: Marc S. Levine, Esq.
Published: February 20, 2017

More and more, we get less and less “straightforward” estate planning scenarios. Clients come to us single, married to their first spouse, married to new spouses, with blended families, married to non-citizens and dealing with children or spouses that are no longer able to deal with their own lives.  One of the more common, not straightforward issues we see, is clients raising children as single parents. Their issues are often almost straightforward, but are occasionally fraught with land mines. Continue reading

January 2017: New Year’s Financial Actions for Federal Employees

New Year’s Financial Actions for Federal Employees
By: John Jilek, Certified Financial Planner
Published: January 20, 2017

Start with a personal budget. Your goal in budgeting is to identify where your expenditures are being made relative to your “bring home pay”. If you do not like the idea of a ‘budget’, view the process as the beginning phase of financial independence. In other words, you are determining your monthly cash flow. Monthly cash flow is the”bring home pay” less your minimum monthly expenditures. Continue reading