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2017 Financial Resolutions 

Make 2017 fulfilling and fruitful for you and your loved ones. For more than 4,000 years, many people have celebrated the start of their new year by making promises to change their behavior or improve themselves. While New Year’s resolutions can be hard to keep, they may also make you more than 10 times more likely to achieve your goals than if you hadn’t made a resolution at all. So, no matter what you hope to accomplish next year and beyond, here are financial resolutions to help make 2017 healthy, happy, and successful.

In the News Headlines

Retirement savings moves that cut your tax bill 
To cut your tax bill, it pays to think long term. Smart retirement planning can also help you save on taxes. Now while you’re working, and later as a retiree. Read More >>
Start 2017 with an insurance checkup 
Here’s a New Year’s resolution that might save you thousands of dollars: Review your homeowner’s, auto and life insurance policies. Read More >>
It’s a good time to pad that emergency fund
One good way to calm the queasiness following this market volatility is to generously pad that rainy day fund you’ve likely been ignoring. Read More >>
Free tax preparation does exist if you know where to look 
Benjamin Franklin once said nothing in life is certain except death and taxes. Only one is an out-of-pocket expense. Read More >>
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“To accomplish great things, we must not only act,
but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.” 

~ Anatole France
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Tiramisu

Tiramisu is a luxurious no-bake dessert that’s perfect for a dinner party. Serves 4-6
Ingredients:
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup espresso or dark coffee
1 tablespoon dark liquor (such as dark rum, brandy, bourbon, or Frangelico)
14 ladyfinger cookies
32 oz. (2 pints) vanilla ice cream or mascarpone
(add 1 extra tablespoon of sugar for the mascarpone)
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
Directions:
While the coffee or espresso is still warm, whisk the sugar in until it dissolves. Add the liquor and chill. Pour the mixture into a baking dish. Dip each ladyfinger quickly, shaking off excess liquid. Line the bottom of an 8×8 baking dish with the ladyfingers, pressing them together and trimming to fit. Beat the vanilla ice cream or sweetened mascarpone with an electric mixer until it’s soft and spreadable. Pour the mixture over the ladyfingers and use a spatula to spread it over the whole dish. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze 2 hours until firm or overnight. Remove it from the freezer about 20 minutes before serving to soften. Dust the top with cocoa powder before serving.
Recipe adapted from RealSimple.com
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Understanding Gift Tax Exclusions

According to the IRS, a gift must be given with no expectation of receiving anything of equal value in return. Gifts can be cash, property, interest-free loans, payments made to a third party (like a school or hospital) on behalf of the recipient, below-market rate sales, and other types of property transfers. Generally, gifts that meet the following requirements are not taxable:
  • Gifts that are less than the annual exclusion amount for the year ($14,000 in 2016 and 2017)
  • Tuition or medical expenses
  • Gifts to your spouse
  • Gifts to qualified charities and certain political organizations
For more information about gifting and end-of-year tax issues, please contact a qualified tax professional.
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Longer Life with Omega-3s

Fat is good! At least Omega-3 fatty acids are, and recent research shows that they can increase life span. Eating foods with high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, flaxseed, walnuts, and dark leafy vegetables may also protect against depression, dementia, cancer, and arthritis.
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Seal Your Windows

Windows and doors can be major sources of heat loss in your home and can run up your heating bill if left unaddressed. Seal uninsulated windows in out-of-the-way places with bubble wrap by misting the pane with water and pressing the bubble side against the glass.
Tip courtesy of HowStuffWorks