Savant Blog

Savant offers perspective on a variety of topics. Entries range from current events to timeless insights in the world of finance and investments.

04 Jun
June 04, 2019

Since childhood, many of us have set financial goals. Perhaps it was saving for our first bike or an ice cream treat, or simply enjoying our first taste of wealth as it accumulated in the piggy bank. Whether these actions were influenced by our parents attempting to teach responsibility or it turned out to be an innate personality trait, the process of establishing a goal and seeing the fruits of that accomplishment is as important as ever.

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31 May
May 31, 2019

It is that time of year again when parents find themselves becoming empty nesters as their kids head off to college. It is a time full of important, and not important, decisions to be made. Picking out the right towels, bedding, computer, books, clothes, and mini-fridge can quickly become overwhelming.  However, there is a lot more that you should be considering and doing before you leave them in the rearview mirror.

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20 May
May 20, 2019

Do you have a loved one who is disabled or who has special needs? Many times individuals with special needs rely on public benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid, and other programs to help with living expenses. In order to retain eligibility for such benefits, the individual’s cash and investment assets may not exceed $2,000. This restriction often makes it difficult for special needs individuals to achieve a greater quality of life and financial independence.

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20 May
May 20, 2019

“What did the doctor say?” A diagnosis of a serious illness can be life changing. The need to understand treatment options and to receive medical care is often overwhelming. A new diagnosis can impact not only your day-to-day routine, but also the people who are close to you.

Finances can also be impacted. In fact, one of the areas that a hospital support group asks patients to describe is their level of ‘financial stress.’

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02 Apr
April 02, 2019

Gen Xers range from 35 to 49 years old, sandwiched between the Boomers and Millennials, who factor in to create the Gen X Jam.

As a Gen Xer myself — one who works in the financial services industry to boot — I feel the pressure of what I call the “Gen X Jam.” How will I support my retirement years and help my aging parents? What about my kids’ college education?

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01 Apr
April 01, 2019

Beginning in 2018, many individuals and families lost the ability to fully deduct charitable donations as an itemized deduction. This is due to the doubling of the standard deduction and the limitation of many itemized deductions as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. For those over age 70½, a qualified charitable distribution can be a great way to make a charitable donation in a tax-efficient manner.

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01 Apr
April 01, 2019

Financial planning revolves around what is in our control. For example, we can’t control stock market returns, tax rates, or unexpected events, but we can plan to mitigate these risks through diversification, tax planning, and insurance. Of all the areas in financial planning, we probably have the highest degree of control over our income, expenses, and savings, making it extremely important to create a workable budget. Let’s review the five keys to creating a budget you can stick to.

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01 Apr
April 01, 2019

For most individuals, income often comes in the form of salary, commission, tips and other job-related earnings. What many do not realize is that there are other, more creative ways one might find themselves with income, and Uncle Sam has made it his mission to attempt to capture all of them within the tax code. One such type of income we tend to forget about is income generated when an individual acquires prize winnings.

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13 Mar
March 13, 2019

Crafting a great estate plan can be a fascinating exercise, yet most of us never quite get around to it. Perhaps it’s a bit like a challenging recipe: start with a natural reluctance to contemplate your own demise, sprinkle in some unique family dynamics, season liberally with ever-changing tax laws and fold in that one heir you’re not quite sure about. Is it any wonder we procrastinate?

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04 Jan
January 04, 2019

As we enter what feels like an unprecedented new year of volatility, market pressure, and uncertainty, many investors are on edge. Fear can cause many to lose their better judgement. In these moments, it is critical to focus on the long term and resist the temptation to try to time the market. Let’s sort through the noise, and put some of this recent volatility in perspective.

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27 Dec
December 27, 2018

Certain events in your life are happy and planned – graduations, getting that job, and having a child. Other significant events may be sudden and unexpected – disability, divorce, and premature death. We call these “life’s critical events.” They happen to each of us, albeit not at the same time or in the same magnitude, but the associated financial consequences can be considerable.

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05 Dec
December 05, 2018

Which is a better way to save for retirement—in a traditional or Roth retirement account? At a glance, it may be difficult to know which savings option makes the most sense. Choosing the best account for your stage in life and tax bracket can impact your future account balances at retirement.

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04 Dec
December 04, 2018

There you are, in your mid 40’s, working hard and raising your family. Have you had the conversation with your parents yet? Have you received the email from mom and dad telling you that it’s time? When is it time to discuss their finances in preparation for the day when one or both of them are no longer around or able to manage their affairs?

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28 Nov
November 28, 2018

Recently I encouraged a female family member, a new college graduate, to take advantage of her employer’s retirement plan at her first “real” job. She responded that her future husband would take care of that. Note that she was single at the time of our conversation!

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04 Oct
October 04, 2018

When people think of retirement, obvious things come to mind: Did I save enough to be able to achieve my goals in retirement?  How much am I able to spend?  What happens if we experience another recession?  Although those are very important considerations, few take the time to examine their emotional well-being and how it will affect their daily life/routine when they retire.

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