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October & November are open enrollment months for health benefits.  If you are employed at a company with benefits, this is the time to make any needed changes.  Typically, you cannot change your benefits during other months of the year unless you have a qualifying event such as a new baby or a change in marital status.  Review your most recent financial plan and see if there are any recommendations regarding your benefits.  You may need to obtain additional life insurance or start utilizing a flex spending account (FSA).Read More

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Stock markets are unpredictable.  Jason Zweig is a writer with the Wall Street Journal.  His article this month is worth reading.  He shares the story of a financial planner who has three new clients with large amounts of cash.  They sold their stock holdings during 2008 / 2009 and never got back into the market.  “Only this year, with stocks again near record highs, did they finally get tempted to buy again.”  In other words, they are chasing performance and wantRead More

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  As more and more clients are starting businesses, picking up side consulting gigs or selling crafts online, this post focuses on the tax differences between being an employee vs being self-employed. 1) You are in charge of tracking your income and expenses when you are self-employed. All income is taxable, absent a specific exclusion in the IRS code.  You don’t need to track your income when you are an employee because you receive a W-2 from your employer summarizing your taxable income. WhenRead More

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At a national financial planning conference this year, I heard a speaker who is a Medical Doctor turned Financial Planner. She has all new clients go to Livingto100.com and complete the online questionnaire with her. The questionnaire gauges probable life expectancy and enables the planner to estimate a possible end date (end of life) for the client’s financial plan. This is helpful not only for the retirement plan, but also to help clients understand the factors that insurance companies lookRead More

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PWR’s Comprehensive Financial Plan includes a list of tips to prevent identity theft.  At a national financial planning conference last month, I gathered some additional items to add to that list. 1.  Use a VPN when appropriate  – A Virtual Private Network (VPN) can protect you when using public networks such as at hotels, airports and coffee shops.  A VPN service encrypts your data from the source (your device).  The service I use and pay for is Cloak VPN but there are others outRead More

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Groceries and eating out are a huge part of most people’s budgets.  It can also be one of the easiest places to cut.  Here are some suggestions I compiled from clients who have had great success saving money on groceries. Cook from scratch as much as possible.  It is healthier for us and better for the environment to reduce the amount of prepared food we buy in elaborate packaging.  Our family makes things like pizza sauce and soup in bulk.  We freezeRead More

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