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The Friday Brief

In Defense of a Working Retirement

By | The Friday Brief | 2 Comments

On Sunday, this “news” came out that Geoffrey Owens–an actor who had a recurring role on The Cosby Show–was spotted working at a Trader Joe’s somewhere in New Jersey, and then shamed for it. The sentiment seems to have been something like, “Poor Geoffrey. If only his former fame had produced a more lasting fortune and the associated work exemption that would make him a happier man by any objective standard…” And on Monday we celebrated Labor Day, a holiday which has its origin in the labor movements of the late 19th century (the first Labor Day was a strike!), when workers–many of whom were

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What’s Your Edge?

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My son, Jack, started kindergarten a few weeks ago. It was a big moment in his life and it was also a big moment in the lives of his parents. It’s when Emily and I started to surrender control of the child we’ve raised the past five and a half years. Emily and I decided to enroll Jack at Neuse Christian Academy, a small, private K-12 school. There are many reasons we chose NCA, most of which are insignificant for today’s post, but can ultimately be summed up by the question: What will give Jack an edge in becoming the

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10 Things to Consider As You Help Your High School Student Prepare for College

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As we prepare to host Brooke Daly and Lindsey Ringenbach of Advantage College Planning on September 13th at 7 PM, we invited them to prepare a guest post for our Friday Brief. Be sure to read all the way through then watch the video below to learn more about the event.   10 Things to Consider As You Help Your High School Student Prepare for College 10. Encourage your student to make connections with her teachers. Your student (as opposed to you) should be the one contacting teachers to ask clarifying questions about assignments or grades. Your student should meet

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Beacon Flash: “College Planning, Simplified,” with Advantage College Planning.

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Planning for college can be stressful and confusing. Brooke Daly and Lindsey Ringenbach, from Advantage College Planning, will present information to demystify the process of affording, searching, and applying to college. During their presentation, Brooke and Lindsey will discuss strategies for navigating the financial resources available to students and families. They will also provide information about how to conduct a comprehensive college search and why finding the best fit schools for your student is beneficial academically, socially, and financially. Finally, they will conclude with a discussion about the criteria used in the admissions process. Advantage College Planning offers personalized, step-by-step

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Should You Buy or Lease Your Next Vehicle?

By | The Friday Brief | 6 Comments

After 5 years as a proud minivan owner, my wife and I recently purchased an SUV. For simple trips around Raleigh the van was adequate, but with our frequent treks to see my parents in Florida combined with the taxing drive through the mountains of West Virginia to get to Emily’s family in Ohio, we needed something more reliable. Ultimately, after lots of research and finding a good deal on the vehicle we wanted, plus some email negotiations back and forth (all those articles you find online about how to negotiate the best price really work!), we settled on a

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The Right Tools and Experience

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One of the joys of having our office at Five Points is the endless opportunity it provides to meet colorful people. Yesterday provided another one. About closing time, I heard some discussing the scene in our front parking as they headed out the door. Seems there was a guy with a flat tire, trunk open, busily tossing out stuff to uncover his spare and creating what looked like a yard sale of hunting and fishing equipment around his car. A few minutes later, when everyone was gone and the office was quiet, I wrapped up from my day and started

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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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FOMO and Facebook: Why Diversification Matters

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A couple of interesting things happened this week that led to this blog, but before I get to them, I want to start elsewhere. I did a very bad thing before I sat down to write this, which was to get on Redfin and look at homes for sale in our neighborhood. After about two minutes of perusing the listings I stumbled upon this one, which can most accurately be described as The Home of My Dreams, and also, Not Particularly Close to Affordable for me and my family. And do you know something? Seeing that–that the home I would

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Inflation, the Fed, and Markets

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President Trump weighed in yesterday on one of the last truly apolitical federal institutions; the Federal Reserve. He bemoaned the possibility that their recent interest rate increases might derail his attempts to improve economic growth to what he believes is closer to its true potential – 3% and higher. However, the economists of the Federal Reserve believe that an economy picking up steam or one growing too fast will cause inflation to rise above their stated targets of 2% for inflation. The argument pits politics against policy as presidents win or lose on the strength of the economy during their

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The Second Quarter of 2018

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The economy continues to plow ahead, despite the threat of trade wars and uncertainty of US trade status on this continent, Europe and Asia. For the year so far, stocks as measured by the S&P 500 and the Vanguard Total US Market index are up 4.7% and 6.3%, respectively. All of that return has come in the second quarter, which is the topic of today’s Brief. Possibility of an all-out global trade war and the threat of regulatory risks of technology companies, like Facebook and Google, drove the market down during the first quarter. But a meeting between President Trump and

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