Have You Financed the Retirement You Want?

More than one-third of Americans have little to no money saved for retirement. Most of them are part of generation X, who were most affected by the Great Recession of 2008. They lost almost half of their net wealth during a time when they carried hefty financial obligations including mortgages, aging parents, and children – some of whom were entering adulthood. READ MORE

Cryptocurrency for the Average Consumer

Digital currencies, such as Bitcoin, are making headlines and some people are making small fortunes. This high-tech form of transactions is hard to fully understand, so what do you need to know as a consumer? Bitcoin is just one type of this currency, called cryptocurrencies, because it’s extraordinarily difficult to trace. That kind of security is partly why it’s become so popular but financial professionals say proceed with caution. READ MORE

Paying Down Your Mortgage

Mortgage rates are hovering close to 4.5% and could reach 5% during this busy home buying season. Before you sign on the dotted line for your mortgage payments, make a plan to cut down the costs! Whether you’re buying your first home, or you’re downsizing like many of my clients who are approaching retirement and don’t need the space, the first thing to do is figure out how much you can afford. READ MORE

Book of the Month

“Make Your Kid a Money Genius (Even If You’re Not)” – Beth Kobliner’s book is aimed at helping parents of children from toddlers to young adults teach money management. Financial advisor Diahann W. Lassus, president of Lassus Wherley in New Providence, New Jersey, recommends the book because it uses “language that is easy to understand without the alphabet soup we can get caught up in.” The book addresses various financial topics including charitable giving and breaks down advice by age group. “It is a valuable reference that will guide the parent at each stage of the child’s life,” Lassus said.

“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity.
The optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty.”

~ Winston Churchill

Jump-Start Smoothies

1 cup frozen strawberries
½ cup fresh blueberries
½ cup fresh orange juice
2 teaspoons chopped and peeled fresh ginger
¼ cup plain low-fat (1 percent) yogurt
2 ice cubes

Put strawberries, blueberries, orange juice, ginger, yogurt, and ice cubes in a blender. Blend until smooth. Occasionally, scrape down sides of the blender. Serve.

5 Important Facts about Exemptions for Tax Year 2017*

Most taxpayers know that taking as many exemptions as possible works to their advantage by reducing their tax load. Many, however, are unaware of how exemptions work and which ones to take.

Here are 5 facts to remember at tax filing time:

  • Personal Exemptions: Taxpayers can claim 1 exemption on joint returns for themselves and 1 for their spouse. Married taxpayers who file separate returns can claim their spouse as an exemption if their spouse had no gross income, is not filing a return, and is not listed as a dependent for another taxpayer.
  • Dependent Exemptions: Dependents are children or relatives who meet certain conditions. (Visit www.irs.gov/help/ita/whom-may-i-claim-as-a-dependent for more information about dependency requirements.) Filers must list their dependents’ Social Security numbers.
  • Dependents’ Exemptions: Dependents of other taxpayers cannot list themselves as personal exemptions on their own returns.
  • Dependents’ Requirements for Filing: Dependents may have to file returns if they generated income and owe taxes.
  • Exemption Phase-out: Taxpayers who earn above certain income levels will lose all or part of the $4,050 personal exemption. The amounts vary depending on the filers’ status.

* Other details may apply, and you can find more information on the IRS website. This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax advisor. Tips courtesy of IRS.gov

Managing Migraines: How to Stop the Pain

The migraine – and its painful brethren, the tension headache and the sinus headache – is … well … a big headache. So, what can you do to prevent a migraine, and how do you reduce the pain if you do get one?

Here are some top tips to put the squeeze on the ache:

  • Keep Cool. Use an ice pack on your forehead, scalp, or neck. Experts believe reducing blood flow may lessen the pain.
  • Go Over the Counter. For pills, that is. Painkillers like ibuprofen and naproxen reduce the inflammation that causes the pain. Aspirin and acetaminophen also help.
  • Go Go Java. Caffeine in coffee helps provide mild relief. It also helps your body absorb medicine more quickly.
  • Peace and Quiet. Loud and bright aren’t good for headaches. Find a place that’s quiet and dark. The lack of stimuli will make recovery faster.
  • Get a Move On. Exercise is great for preventing headaches. But don’t exercise when you have a headache.
  • Maximizing Magnesium. Studies indicate this mineral may help prevent a headache. However, it won’t relieve one you already have. Magnesium is in dark-green vegetables, whole grains, and nuts. You can also get it in supplement form.
  • Nighty Night. A good night’s rest is a good way to help prevent migraines. But watch the time. Too little (or too much) may actually trigger a headache. Try for 7-8 hours per night.
  • To B or Not to B. We’re talking vitamin B2, which is riboflavin. It’s found in milk, cheese, fish, and chicken.

Finding relief can be as easy as implementing a few preventive measures.

Washing Your Way to a Greener World

Yes, you can be environmentally friendly while washing your clothes, doing dishes, and even bathing.

Here are 4 facts to make cleaning more earth sensitive:

  • Four of 5 U.S. dry cleaners use perchloroethylene, a solvent that researchers have linked to cancer, nervous system damage, and hormonal disruption. Look for dry cleaners that are non-toxic or are “green” cleaners.
  • Set your washer to a low setting to match the amount of clothing you’re washing. Your clothing gets cleaner and you use less water. Using cold water also saves up to 80% of the energy for washing clothes.
  • Use warm or cold water more. Washing clothes in cold or warm water instead of hot can save nearly 500 pounds of carbon dioxide per year.
  • Buy a new washer. It takes 41 gallons of water on average for a typical washing machine to do a load of laundry. Many newer models require 28 gallons of water per load.