We are nearing the 2019 “Tax Year Finish Line”… but there’s still time to address a handful of potentially tax minimizing items*.  One that was a major item of confusion for taxpayers in 2018 was withholding elections. Especially for taxpayers making under $250,000 (and ALL taxpayers) these elections can make a big difference between getting a REFUND** and NOT getting a refund.

IRS W4
The proper withholding election can make a big difference between getting a refund and NOT getting a refund.

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ESG Investing: Environmental & Social Good

BIG TOPIC! ESG is in the news more and more and has made its way into the world of investing. You may already have seen ESG offered in your 401k or 403b plan!

What is ESG? It stands for: Environmental, Social and Governance. Also called “sustainable investing,” the ESG category uses its three principal criteria to guide investment decisions. Funds in the category currently hold approximately $12 trillion of assets in the U.S. representing nearly 26% of the professionally managed assets as of 2017.* The obvious audience for ESG is Millennials (those born between 1981 and 1996, and aged 23 to 38 in 2019). The “millennial generation” has been known to prefer investing if “their investments [are] doing social good”* according to a survey.

women holding a planet over profit sign
The millennial generation has been known to prefer investing if their investments [are] doing social good.
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Let the Good Times Roll

Excerpts from the February 2018 Archives of TGIF 2 Minutes…

“Let the good times roll.” I am partial to this expression because my Dad used to say it a lot either as a toast or statement when things were going well.  Looking overall at the last few years’ markets, current economy and lives and businesses of clients, the expression definitely applies. 

design desk display eyewear
During good times, how extensively you plan and from whom you get your advice can greatly lessen overall worry.

But of course, there will always be something to worry about. Always. 

  • How long will these positive markets last?
  • Will my portfolio continue to gain in value? How can I best preserve all this wealth I have created?
  • How long will these economic and business conditions continue to contribute to my personal and business success?
  • Will the risks I have taken in the past few years (that have paid off) continue to yield positive results?

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More on “Free” Trading

Considering last week’s news of “free trading” (Fidelity jumped on board this week) here are two things that are NOT – and unlikely to become – free:

  • Financial Planning advice & guidance
  • Non-proprietary mutual funds trading transactions

Two very different things… but both are consistent with successful long-term financial planning and strategy. There are still far more moving parts to “free trading” so stay tuned.

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A Free Lunch?

Is there such a thing as a “Free Lunch”? Developments this week tested the concept.

News broke this past Tuesday that Charles Schwab, followed by TD Ameritrade and E-Trade, would drop their stock, ETF and options trading commission charges. That means free, $0 trades.

woman using smartphone
Millennials have been demanding cheaper prices and “value” for their purchases since they could pick up a cell phone or iPad.

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Year-End Tax Planning Tips

Excerpts from the TGIF 2 Minutes Archives:

The beginning of October means we are in the 4th Quarter… and the countdown begins to year-end. The following are excerpts from the Year-End Tax Planning Checklist.* Several of these items, if addressed now, could make a big difference to your 2019 tax filing AND add to your savings.

variety of pumpkins
The beginning of October means we are in the 4th Quarter… and the countdown begins to year-end.

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Quick Real Estate Thoughts

There have been lots of trends (mostly good) in real estate this year.

  • Existing home sales have been mostly UP and exceeding expectations
  • New home sales are near a 12-year high
  • Interestingly, a statistic that can be seen as mostly positive (for certain suburbs) but partly negative (for certain major cities) is that the Millennials who are between the ages of 25 and 39 have shown interest in moving OUT of several major cities.
river in between buildings
According to a recent piece of news, the list of cities losing Millennials and those specifically between ages 35 and 39 include first-tier locations like Chicago.

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