All Posts By

Geoff Hall

2018 Year End Money Moves

By | The Friday Brief | No Comments

As the holidays and new year approach with alarming rapidity–but before you get swept up in parties and family gatherings completely–it’s a great time to take a look at your finances. 2018 still has some important planning opportunities, and getting ahead of 2019 could pay huge dividends, too. With that in mind, here’s a quick list of seven things you might consider doing before 2018 draws to a close. 1. Revisit your 401(k) contributions: The IRS recently announced an increase to the annual contribution limit for 401(k), 403(b) and 457 plans. The current annual limit, effective through the end of 2018, is

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Quarterly Statements and Market Volatility

By | The Friday Brief | 2 Comments

Lofty expectations for corporate earnings have combined with rising interest rates and increased global trade tensions to bring volatility back to the stock market after a long hiatus.  It would appear that daily, multiple percentage point swings in stock prices may be the norm, at least for a while. While it’s perfectly normal, expected and even healthy for the market to behave this way, it’s never comfortable to watch your nest egg gyrate with the daily fluctuations in the market.  The financial media doesn’t help with their attention-grabbing headlines.  So what should you do if the current level of stock

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Navigating the Challenges that come with Aging

By | The Friday Brief | No Comments

It’s safe to assume that, short of an untimely end, we will all continue to age. And yet, as financial planners, our experience has shown us that most address the topic of aging in one of two ways: either by having a vague conversation about downsizing at some point and leaving it at that, or by waiting until a crisis occurs and then being forced into action. With aging an inevitability for all of us, doesn’t it make sense to spend more time planning for what we hope our lives will look like in our 70’s, 80’s and 90’s and

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The Piano Man

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Good financial planning is the process of making smart financial decisions over and over again. With time, these smart decisions compound on each other and give you the freedom to do more of the things that are important you. Just for fun, here is a quick list of some of the financial decisions we’ve recently made in my family… • Updated our will and estate plan. • Bought a used car instead of a new one. • Added more term life insurance after our daughter Rhodes was born. • Switched to a new tool for budgeting. • Increased our contribution

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A Very Important Purchase

By | The Friday Brief | No Comments

My son Cooper and I love to go to Ace Hardware in Seaboard Station. Usually we go to get something for a house project but I’ll admit we occasionally go just for the free popcorn and to watch the model train chug around the track suspended from the store’s ceiling. On our most recent visit, we bought something that I found to be particularly exciting. A $2 tire pressure gauge. What was exciting about the purchase wasn’t the actual item itself but the fact that it was the first thing that Cooper, who is 4 1/2, had ever purchased. About

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Beacon Flash – Tax Strategies Prior to 12.31.2017

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President Trump is expected to sign the new tax reform legislation into law later this week. With that in mind, here are a few important strategies that may be worth considering before the end of this year. Under the new tax bill there will be a $10,000 cap on the amount of state income and property taxes you can deduct in 2018.  Therefore it may make sense to pay part or all your 2018 property taxes and any projected 2017 state income tax balance (i.e. your Q4 2017 estimated state taxes) prior to 12.31.2017.  This could be the case even

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“Free” Money!

By | The Friday Brief | No Comments

The Holiday Season is here and when it comes deciding what gifts we’d like to give our friends and family most of us are somewhere on the spectrum between vaguely conceptualizing that it may be about time to start shopping and picking up a few of those last-minute items. I won’t divulge where I am on that spectrum, but if you’re like me, your giving list will probably include a few gift cards or maybe even some cash. I used to feel a little guilty giving gift cards but lately I’ve been reconsidering them as a potentially thoughtful gift. When

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7 Year-End $ Moves Worth Considering

By | The Friday Brief | No Comments

Maybe, just maybe, in this brief period between Thanksgiving and Christmas, you’ve got a few moments to think about and act on your finances. It’s a great opportunity to do so, as you still have a little bit of time to get some important things done for 2017, and you can also start being proactive for 2018 (which is much easier to do right now than in March of 2018, which may be the next time you stop to think of it). With that in mind, here’s a quick list of seven things you might consider doing before 2017 draws to

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How’s Your Portfolio Doing?

By | The Friday Brief | No Comments

I’m not a huge sports fan, although sometimes I wish I were.  If asked how I thought the Carolina Panthers defensive line was looking this year my honest answer would be that I have no idea.  But if I were asked that same question in a place where I felt like I really wanted to fit in, I might awkwardly blurt out something like, “I’d say strong…to…quite strong.” That’s probably similar to what many people would say when asked about how their portfolio was doing.  Much like Ben Stiller in this clip from the 90’s comedy Meet the Parents. A few

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How to Protect Your Credit: 8 Steps

By | The Friday Brief | No Comments

The recent data breach at Equifax seems to have brought to the forefront our new reality. A reality where hacks, data breaches and stolen Social Security numbers are going to be commonplace at least until we come up with a better system for personal identification and financial transactions. If this is true, then it’s important for all of us, whether we were potentially affected by the recent breach or not, to make personal credit monitoring a long-term habit. Unfortunately, there’s no silver bullet that can make us impervious to the activities of financial fraudsters but there are certainly things we

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