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Year-end tax moves

November 23, 2022
After an interesting year with inflation, housing, energy prices, the markets and more in 2022, it’s just as important as any year to find opportunities before year-end. There are common and lesser-known tax items that can result in considerable value. As a taxpayer, you should first consider your tax bracket and look for ways to…

September yields to a sunnier October

November 9, 2022
By Kevin Theissen For reasons that may never be fully understood, September has historically been the worst month for stocks, according to the average S&P 500 return for each month dating back to 1970. In September, the Dow fell 8.8% and the S&P 500 Index was down approximately 10%. Historically, stocks turn around in October,…

Social Security announces 8.7% COLA

October 19, 2022
By Kevin Theissen It is now official that starting in January Social Security benefit checks will be going up by 8.7%. The CPI-W, which is the index used to calculate the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA), rose by 8.5% over the last year to an index level of 291.8. The Social Security Administration (SSA) takes the…

Understanding FAFSA

October 13, 2022
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is the form students need to fill out to get any financial aid from the federal government to help pay for higher education. Each year, over 13 million students who file the FAFSA get more than $120 billion in grants, work-study, and low-interest loans from the…

Still working at 65? Here’s what you need to know about Medicare

September 14, 2022
For the last half century, turning 65 stamped the time when you would leave your job, file for Social Security, begin your pension and enroll in Medicare. But is that the case anymore? The retirement environment has changed. Full retirement age is now 66 or 67, corporate pensions have been replaced by 401(k) plans, and…

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Student loan forgiveness

September 7, 2022
By Kevin Theissen You may have heard that the Biden administration announced it was forgiving five-figure loan amounts to as many as 43 million federal college loan borrowers. Also noteworthy was the announcement that it would be extending its loan repayment pause one more time through Dec. 31. This will be the seventh extension since the pause…

Markets find footing in July

August 17, 2022
By Kevin Theissen After a down first half of the year in markets, July changed direction, as markets tried to reestablish its foundation. In July, the S&P 500 was up 9.1%, Nasdaq up 12.3%, and the Dow up 6.7%. These returns marked the strongest monthly gains 2020. The economic data continued its path with high inflation…

Fed’s solution to inflation

August 10, 2022
By Kevin Theissen The Federal Reserve has been dealing with the worst inflation in over four decades. Investors, consumers, and workers are also feeling the sting of higher prices. High inflation has forced the Fed to react by turning up interest rates at the fastest pace since the early 1980s, according to St. Louis Federal…

Scams on the rise

July 27, 2022
By Kevin Theissen The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) found in a recent study that one in five adults over age 50 knows a family member who has been victim to a scam. The Federal Trade Commission reported 96,000 victims over the age of 60 just in the first quarter of this year, along…

Inflation exceeds 9%

July 20, 2022
By Kevin Theissen If you’ve been to the grocery store recently, you’ve noticed sharp increase in prices. The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic are still affecting global supply chains. Recent U.S. inflation levels have surpassed 9% year-over-year in June, according to Statista. The price of eggs rose 33% between June 2021 and June 2022 and…

College Savings Recovery Act

July 13, 2022
By Kevin Theissen In early June, the College Savings Recovery Act was introduced in the Senate. The bill would potentially allow 529 Education Savings Plan account holders to rollover assets to a Roth IRA. It’s not yet certain whether the bill will get through Congress, but it seems to have some momentum. To qualify for…

SECURE Act 2.0

July 6, 2022
By Kevin Theissen In 2021, the House Ways and Means Committee cleared a new bill, Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2021, more commonly referred to as SECURE Act 2.0. There were some delays, but it was again brought up in the House and was passed on March 29. In June, the Senate passed bills,…

Ongoing challenges for small businesses

June 22, 2022
By Kevin Theissen The last couple of years have been challenging for everyone, including small businesses. As it seems we’ve come out of the pandemic, business owners were hoping that the worst of its economic impact would end as well. Not so fast, however, as rising interest rates and inflation now must be dealt with…

The state of Social Security

June 15, 2022
By Kevin Theissen The Social Security trustees have issued their 2022 report to Congress, officially called “The 2022 Annual Report of the Board of Trustees of the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Federal Disability Insurance Trust Funds.” It is also available to the public and presents the current and projected financial status of the…

The last decade in stocks

June 8, 2022
By Kevin Theissen As recent economic news and conditions have focused on inflation, market downturns, oil prices, conflict and more, it is sometimes good to step back and look at the big picture. The last decade has given us one of the greatest bull markets in history. It also included market downturns. We came very…

Should you hire your child?

June 1, 2022
By Kevin Theissen Are you a business owner and thought about hiring your child? Well, you should. If you have children, especially teenagers, you should strongly consider putting them to work. The benefits are tremendous. First and foremost, the main benefit is to help your children develop a strong work ethic.  You can teach your child,…

Recession in 2022?

May 25, 2022
By Kevin Theissen It has been an interesting start to the year, not only for stocks, but bonds have taken a hit too, leaving investors with fewer short-term options. The Fed’s stance, interest rates, high inflation, lockdowns in China, the Russia/Ukraine war, and fears of recession have all influenced this rough start for investors. The tech-heavy…

Social Security benefits and inflation

May 11, 2022
By Kevin Theissen Inflation is all over the news and affects all of us. This includes older Americans that rely on their Social Security benefits. It’s important to know how Social Security keeps up with inflation and how the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) is calculated. Social Security is a source of predictable, inflation-adjusted lifetime income available…

Bonds are safe, right?

May 4, 2022
By Kevin Theissen It may turn out that 2022 ends as one of the most volatile years for bonds in many years. The Bloomberg U.S. Aggregate Bond Index has been down nearly 10% this year. The downturn in the bond market has challenged conservative investors and a widely held belief that bonds are “safe” investments.…

Retirement risks

April 27, 2022
By Kevin Theissen Foundationally, what most people want is to maintain their standard of living now and into the future. This is especially true in retirement which could last several decades for many. While there are multiple potential risks and every situation is unique, the most common concerns include stock market downturns, outliving one’s money,…