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 Developing Your Financial Fitness Thumbnail

Developing Your Financial Fitness

You work hard to keep your body fit and healthy. Regular exercise, dieting, annual physicals, doctors visits and perhaps even taking supplements are all a part of your physical fitness plan. But are you giving the same attention to your financial fitness? For many people, personal savings and retirement planning are not made a priority like they should be. I could argue that your finances are just as important as your physical health. Here are some things to consider about your financial fitness:

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Identity Theft: You Gotta Be Quicker than That! Thumbnail

Identity Theft: You Gotta Be Quicker than That!

Everyone most likely is aware of the State Farm commercial, with the older gentleman holding a fishing pole with a dollar attached to the hook. People try to pick up the dollar and it is quickly jerked away and they say, “you gotta be quicker than that!” If not, here is a viral meme from the commercial.

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Avoiding “The Veblen Effect” Thumbnail

Avoiding “The Veblen Effect”

It is not a secret that the prices of goods and services have increased substantially over the past year. We see it in our daily lives, whether at the grocery store or browsing Amazon.com in search of our familiar vices. As some of you know, this steady increase in the prices of goods and services is due to inflation (in most cases). According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, year-over-year inflation currently sits at 4.93% for the 12 months ending April 2023. This is based on the ‘all items’ consumer price index, which includes food and energy. However, should all price increases be attributed to an increase in the consumer price index? The answer is no, and here’s why:

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The "B" Word Thumbnail

The "B" Word

No, I’m not talking about that “B” word! I’m talking about that curse word known as a BUDGET. I commonly refer to your budget as “Lifestyle”. Now, I’m not talking about a budget in the sense that everyone has to have an itemized spreadsheet or spend countless hours a week micromanaging transactions. In generalities, a budget is having an idea of how much income is coming in and how much in expenses are going out. Typically, most households run their budget on a month to month basis for simplicity. This gives us an idea of how much money is left over each month. To be frank, when you retire not only will you have to know your budget, but you will also have to live within it. Otherwise, you run the risk of running out of money. At some point, you will need to carefully manage income and expenses, so why not start practicing today?

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The Death of the Stretch IRA Thumbnail

The Death of the Stretch IRA

The SECURE ACT was enacted on January 1, 2020. While it has been a few years since the act was passed, the effect of the largest retirement reform since 2006 is still being felt today. One of the major changes was the implementation of new required minimum distribution (commonly known as RMD) rules for Inherited IRAs. I like to call this the death of the Stretch IRA. First, let’s establish that an inherited IRA is when a loved one or family member dies with money left in their IRA, 401K, or even 403B, and you are named as a beneficiary. The funds are passed on to you through a vehicle called an Inherited IRA.

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Not Your Grandparents’ 529 Thumbnail

Not Your Grandparents’ 529

When it comes to planning for your education, there is no better vehicle than a 529. A 529 is a tax-advantaged account designed to help pay for education. 529 Plans grow tax-deferred, and withdrawals are tax-free if they are used for qualified educational expenses. The downside if proceeds are not used for qualified educational expenses, any earnings will come out as ordinary income and a 10% penalty is tacked on. However, recent legislative changes now allow for greater flexibility with leftover or unused 529 plan funds!

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