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DOES YOUR CREDIT RATING NEED A BOOST?

Many individuals faced unexpected financial challenges, such as job loss, medical expenses, or other unforeseen circumstances during COVID-19. These circumstances may have forced you to make tough decisions regarding your finances, such as prioritizing bills, reducing savings, or even borrowing from your 401(k) account. Whether or not you were directly impacted by the events or have impending student loan repayment, maintaining a healthy credit score remains a crucial aspect of your overall financial well-being. Let’s explore the importance of your credit score and how to manage it effectively.

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ENHANCING RETIREMENT WITH UNUSED 529 SAVINGS: THE SECURE 2.0 ACT'S SURPRISING PERK

Published in the Baltimore Business Journal on November 24, 2023

As a financial advisor catering to a diverse clientele with children of all ages, college planning is a recurring topic in my comprehensive financial planning discussions. Our team dives deep into where our clients’ children (or grandchildren!) aspire to attend college and how much it might cost by the time they are 18 years old (of course, including inflation in these calculations), and we develop a savings strategy to achieve this ever-important goal. However, amid these conversations, I have been asked the following question numerous times: "What happens if our children choose not to attend college?" While options exist to address this scenario today, the new SECURE 2.0 Act, set to take effect in 2024, introduces a fresh strategy to our financial planning arsenal. Your 529 plan could soon become a pivotal asset, not just for educational aspirations, but for retirement too. 

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Understanding IRMAA Tax: Mitigating Medicare Premium increases for Newly Retired Individuals

Published in the Baltimore Business Journal on October 30, 2023
 
As individuals approach retirement and Medicare eligibility, it becomes essential to understand the potential impact of the Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA) tax on their Medicare premiums. IRMAA is an additional premium charged to individuals with higher incomes, and it can significantly affect retirement budgets. In this blog post, we will delve into what IRMAA tax is, how it affects newly retired individuals' Medicare premiums, and discuss two strategies to mitigate its impact.
 
 
 

Optimizing Cash Management with Bond Ladder Strategy: Seizing the Opportunity in Competitive Yields

For the past decade, both savers and investors have struggled to find attractive yields in fixed-income and cash-equivalent securities due to historically low-interest rates. Remember the days of a mortgage rate of less than 3%? However, as the Federal Reserve adopts a cautious stance toward managing inflation by incrementally raising borrowing rates, traditional fixed-income and cash-equivalent securities have once again emerged as promising avenues for effective cash management and yield generation. As of early August, noteworthy developments include the Federal Reserve's sequence of ten consecutive federal funds rate increases since March 2022, a brief pause in June 2023, and a subsequent 0.25% hike in July 2023. In the midst of this ever-changing landscape, a bond laddering strategy gains significance as a prudent approach to managing cash reserves and cash equivalents, all the while harnessing the potential of prevailing competitive yields.

 

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It's Never Too Late to Tee Up Your Golf Game

Over the last 5 years, the game of golf has been growing in popularity among amateurs taking it on as a new hobby or seasoned golfers itching to get back out there after the pandemic of Covid-19.  With the controversy that is PGA vs. LIV Golf, the triumphant display of the underdog in Michael Block’s performance at the 2023 PGA Championship, and the new Netflix Series “Full Swing”, it’s no doubt that the game’s trajectory is heading in the right direction. 

 

And given the recent volatility going on in our world – whether that’s capital markets and the economy or the professional golf setting – I think it’s appropriate to bring forth the idea that the two don’t differ too much, and if you’re just getting started, here are few things to consider before you take them on.

 

Photo: Matt at Troon North, Scottsdale, AZ 

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Wedding Financial Tips: A Survivor's Guide

It’s that time of year again: wedding season.

These few months always prove to be full of joyous moments celebrating love with family and friends. When it comes to planning for your big day or attending a wedding of a loved one, affordability can be difficult for a lot of couples.  Clearly, the financial burden of putting on, or even attending a wedding is something to think about. However, with proper planning, it’s possible to keep wedding costs under control!

In this article, we hope to share a few financial tips so you can enjoy your special day without depleting your savings.

Photos courtesy of John & Courtney 2023

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What is Dollar-Cost Averaging vs. Lump Sum Investing: What's Best for Your Investment Portfolio?

Dollar-cost averaging (DCA) is an investment strategy that involves investing a fixed amount of money into an asset over a set period of time, regardless of the asset's price fluctuations. For example, if you invest $1,000 per month into a mutual fund, you're using a dollar-cost averaging strategy.

The idea behind the DCA strategy is to reduce the impact of short-term market volatility on your investment returns. By investing a fixed amount of money over time, you buy more shares when prices are low and fewer shares when prices are high. This tends to help smooth out your investment returns over the long term.

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Has my risk tolerance changed?

When life throws unexpected curveballs, it's important to take a step back and evaluate your financial situation to ensure you're still on track to reach your long-term goals. 

So, when is a good time to re-evaluate the risk being taken within your portfolio?

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FDIC Insurance: Importance, Limitations, and How to Ensure Full Coverage

With the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank,  FDIC insurance is an essential factor to consider when choosing a bank.  Let's review key factors you should know about FDIC insurance. 

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Aging in Place Tax Credit under CB52-2022: Eligibility, Benefits and Application Process

Have you heard of the Aging in Place Tax Credit under County Bill 52-2022?

This tax credit, equal to 20% of the eligible county tax, is designed to reduce property taxes for older adults who have lived in the same home for many years and meet additional eligibility criteria.  The eligible Howard County tax is the amount of tax on the lesser of $650,000 or the assessed value of the dwelling reduced by the amount of any assessment on which a property tax credit is granted.

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