General Finance

The holiday season is in full swing--family begins to arrive, gift wrap covers the floor, and the oven seemingly won’t recover from all the work it has been doing. This time of year is busy for many people. With the swirl of the holiday itinerary, money seems to be left on the back burner for the new year. By that time, it is often too late to recover from the tiring workout you have put your finances through this season.

A financial advisor is a professional who helps you manage your finances and investments, teaches you about important options and aids you in making smart decisions toward your overall financial goals. But did you know that in order to maintain their license, your financial advisor must pass a rigorous national examination and complete ongoing educational requirements annually? Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), Chartered Financial Analysts (CFAs) and Certified Financial Planners (CFPs) must adhere to a strict code of ethics and work in the best interest of their clients, disclosing any conflicts of interest. These advisors must act as a fiduciary, and typically are paid solely from client fees and do not sell products. They truly value their relationship with you, the client.

You’re scrolling through social media when you see an image of those big-eyes and sweet face that says “pick me!” Before you know it, you’re heading into the local animal shelter or breeder to find your newest family member. Those who know me know that I am a committed and incurable dog lover. We have a pack of four rescued dogs and one foster dog at this time, and can’t imagine life without them!  

Falling in love with a new pet is easy. They can provide a lot of joy to you and your family. However, making the decision to adopt a pet shouldn’t be taken lightly. While pet ownership is extremely rewarding, it is also a big responsibility both in time and resources. Here are some things you may want to consider prior to pet ownership.

Most people understand that becoming a victim of identity theft can lead to credit problems and financial woes, but there are many more ways identity theft can impact your life than you might realize. According to the 2016 Aftermath Study conducted by the Identity Theft Resource Center, identity theft creates more than just financial problems; it can also negatively impact employment, housing, medical treatment, etc.

So, how many of you have run into the following issues? You established a money jar system for your kids to learn how to budget their allowance — only to realize you never remember to get cash out of the bank (because who uses cash these days?). You sit down to discuss financial responsibility and savings only to find them bored and itching to get back to playing Roblox or Minecraft on their device. If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. So why not give the old school piggy-bank system a digital upgrade. Use an app to teach your child about financial responsibility.

Estate planning is one of those topics that often makes people uncomfortable. Most of us don’t want to think about what’s going to happen after we die, or some of us feel like we don’t have enough assets to warrant needing an estate plan. The truth is everyone needs a plan. Your estate is comprised of everything you own — your car, home, other real estate, checking and savings accounts, investments, life insurance, furniture and other personal possessions. So, no matter how modest your estate might be, you’ll still want to manage who receives each item and when they receive it. You’ll also want to include medical and financial directives so others know your wishes. Here are five simple components of an estate plan.

Trying to decide whether or not it makes sense for you or your partner to become a stay-at-home parent? We know this is not an easy decision to make for most families. While there are numerous benefits to having one parent stay home with the children, there are also financial adjustments that need to be taken into consideration. Families need to have a financial plan to help mitigate any financial challenges created by the loss of income. In order to help your family make the best decision, here are a few helpful steps you can take to help determine the financial feasibility of one parent staying at home.

The beginning of the new year is an excellent time to review your financial goals and set your resolutions. Financial resolutions can help you successfully reach your short- and long-term goals. Financial goals could include items like going on a fabulous vacation, purchasing a new home or increasing retirement savings.

Are you debating switching from your current Medicare Advantage plan to Medicare Supplement Insurance? Before you decide, let's do a quick review of the differences between the plan types:

Last week I wrote about what individual taxpayers can expect in 2018 under the new 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Law. Now, let’s take a look at the business side of things. The purpose of this blog is to highlight things that taxpayers understand, not what they expect their accountants and financial professionals to know. In other words, we won’t get “into the weeds.”

For more details, this article “What Tax Reform Means for Small Businesses & Pass-Through Entities”  by Forbes writer Kelly Phillips Erb covers a lot of ground. I will bullet the major points to highlight areas that you may want to spend more time understanding in light of your business situation. The new laws are still being interpreted and we can expect more clarification from the IRS in the coming months.

The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has become law, and it will go into effect for the tax year 2018. For many, there will be benefits and savings. For others, there may be some adjustments to be made. Although this law simplifies the tax code, there is still quite a bit of information to wade through. It will take several pages to go through all of the changes, but I will focus on some major items now and more in future posts.

The stock market continues to trend upwards. According to industry analysis it is expected to remain positive for 2017 and enter 2018 strong. This may have some people questioning why they still need a financial advisor. The truth is a good financial advisor may be the key resource between reaching your financial goals or spending your lifetime worrying about them. Below we’ll delve into a few reasons why people need a financial advisor — even when the market is up.

The holiday season is here, and, while it’s important to give thanks and spread holiday cheer, it’s also important to be mindful of your budget and savings. This is particularly important if you are a young adult still adjusting to living on your own, paying off bills and student loans, and earning an entry-level salary. Not sure where to start? No worries, below are some key money management tips to keep you on track during the holiday season and throughout the new year.

While we have enjoyed steady gains in the equity markets, corrections do happen. When the next correction occurs we offer the following thoughts for investors to keep in mind.

A stock market correction is often announced with attention-grabbing headlines. The effect can be scary and overwhelming to any investor. It’s hard to stay calm and not panic when bright red numbers and flashy headlines tempt you to take immediate action. Let’s discuss what a correction in the market means and how it may impact you.

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