Updates for your Finances due to the Coronavirus

The first day of spring has been the last thing on the minds of many as the country and world brace for the coronavirus. In an effort to provide a financial backstop for individuals and the economy, state and federal governments have been implementing new policies and changes to existing timelines. So far there have been changes to tax filing deadlines, student loan payments, leave from work, and unemployment insurance. Tax Changes The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) have a website in place to help people keep updated with changes to tax deadlines. You can visit the link here. As […]

Should You Refinance Your Mortgage?

While the recent coronavirus fears are sending shockwaves throughout the stock market, bond rates have been improving. According to Mortgage News Daily, current rates for 30-year mortgages are 3.34% nationally (rates posted online as of February 24th – Bit.ly/2VWD4Gq). While you may have a low rate on your current mortgage, you may want to consider evaluating your refinance options to lock in potentially lower rates. How do you know if a refinance makes sense? Keep in mind that there isn’t a set amount that rates should decrease before you refinance. Someone with a $200,000 mortgage might need to see rates […]

Are New Homes Recovering?

Since the economy started its slow climb out of the Great Recession, one of the biggest lead weights that the housing sector has been carrying is lack of inventory. Many homeowners were under water on their house value and decided to stay put in their current home longer than normal. Those potential “move-up” home buyers were not freeing up inventory for first timers. At the same time builders were having unprecedented difficulty securing the kind of financing necessary to add to housing inventory with large-scale new home developments. Those two circumstances left first-time home buyers unable to move out of […]

What the SECURE Act Means for You

As of January 1st, 2020, many changes from the SECURE (Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement) Act of 2019 became effective. Some of the more notable changes that could impact your financial future involve the following: Some of the major changes include: 1) Required minimum distributions (RMDs) Start at 72, not 70-and-a-half 2) Traditional IRA Contributions are allowed after 70-and-a-half 3) changes to the rules on inherited retirement accounts 4) new allowence for adoption / birth expenses 5) changes in 529 plans RMDs starting at 72: The new law only applies to the people who turn 70-and-a-half  after December […]

White Space at Work

On a road trip back from Virginia, I listened to an interview with Juliete Funt, CEO of White Space at Work. I had listened to her about a year ago, but listening to her a second time reminded me of the importance of White Space, at work, and at home. What is White Space? It can be defined as a strategic pause between activities. It can be as short as a few seconds, to as long as a few hours. “These thoughtful pauses laced throughout the busyness of the workday are the oxygen that allows everything to catch fire,” says […]

Employee Wellness

Working in the healthcare arena has opened my eyes to the increased focus on mental health, and the importance of employee wellness. In years past, employers had the mindset that stress inducers were primarily emanating from personal or home-life situations. This thinking has evolved to acknowledge stress is also emerging from the workplace. In response to rising levels of stress, employers are rising to the challenge. According to the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP) 90% of US employers are offering some component of mental health coverage in the form of an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), mental-health coverage, substance […]

Look What I Just Read!

In reading through the latest edition of Human Resources Executive magazine, I came across an article close to my heart, “How D&I Can Drive Business Success.” The article does a wonderful job laying out the many reasons why diversity in the workplace is still not where it needs to be, and balances that with a deeper understanding of inclusion. In the US, workers filed over 76,000 complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2018, with charges of retaliation accounting for just over 50% of complaints, followed by discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation, disability, and race. This isn’t […]

Estate Planning: the Basics

Estate planning in its simplest terms is passing your assets to your heirs as quickly and tax-free as possible. Assets can be transferred via wills, ownership, by contract (beneficiary arrangements), and trusts. The best way to ensure that you have everything covered is to meet with an attorney. Regardless of the complexity of your financial situation, your attorney will most likely start you with a basic estate plan. The basic estate plan typically includes the drafting of your will, powers of attorney for health care and finances, as well as living wills. Wills – I have encountered many excuses for […]

What Are You Drinking?

Over the last few years it’s become perfectly clear that homeowners cannot take the basic utilities that provide services to their house for granted. Whether it’s the sanitary sewer or septic lines, gray water drains, or the water service that comes into your home, we’ve seen spectacular failures in public systems that have had major effects on quality of life, health, and property value. 1) Flint, Michigan is only the most publicized water system failure. There have been and probably will be many more around the country. Since most consumers only pay attention to water quality when there is a […]

Retirement Income Rules of Thumb

If you’re casually wondering if you’re on the right track for retirement, you can use some simple math to help determine how you’re doing. Normally, I’m not a fan of rules of thumb because so many variables are at play and retirement is so personalized. That said, this can give you some idea of what you’ll need for retirement income. How to determine your income needs – Take an estimate of your total expenses and modify those for changes you expect in retirement (such as more travel, fewer commuting expenses, greater healthcare costs, etc.). After you get that total, subtract […]