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Credit Scores Reach Record High

Credit Scores Reach Record High The average FICO® credit score in the United States reached a record high of 711 in 2020, despite the financial challenges of the pandemic. In fact — contrary to what might be expected — consumer debt management improved after January 2020, with shrinking debt, decreased use of credit, and a drop in late payments.1 This may reflect more cautious spending by consumers in the face of a struggling economy, as well as support from government st
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Following the Inflation Debate

Following the Inflation Debate During the 12 months ending in June?2021, consumer prices shot up 5.4%, the highest inflation rate since 2008.1 The annual increase in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) — often called headline inflation — was due in part to the “base effect.” This statistical term means the 12-month comparison was based on an unusual low point for prices in the second quarter of 2020, when consumer demand and inflation drop
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Signs of a SCAM!!

Signs of a Scam...and How to Resist It Although scammers often target older people, younger people who encounter scams are more likely to lose money to fraud, perhaps because they have less financial experience. When older people do fall for a scam, however, they tend to have higher losses.1 Regardless of your age or financial knowledge, you can be certain that criminals are hatching schemes to separate you from your money — and you should be especially vigilant in cyberspace. In a fina
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What's Ahead for the U.S. Housing Market?

Handle: What’s Ahead for the U.S. Housing Market? The U.S. housing market, already strong before the pandemic, has heated up to record levels in 2021. The Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index, which measures home prices in 20 major metropolitan areas, reported a 12-month increase of 18.6% in June 2021, the largest year-over-year gain in data going back to 1987.1 The National Association of Realtors (NAR), which provides more current data, reported that the national median price of
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Don't Let Debt Derail Your Retirement!!

Don't Let Debt Derail Your Retirement Debt poses a growing threat to the financial security of many Americans — and not just college graduates with exorbitant student loans. Recent studies by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College (CRR) and the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) reveal an alarming trend: The percentage of older Americans with debt is at its highest level in almost 30 years, and the amount and types of debt are on the rise. Debt Profile of Older
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New Rules for Writing off Restaurant Meals

  Your Business: New Rules for Writing Off Restaurant Meals A provision in the December 2020 stimulus bill allows businesses to deduct the full cost of food and beverages provided by a restaurant in tax years 2021 and 2022. The standard deduction for most business meals had been limited to 50% of the cost since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act took effect in 2018. Offering a 100% deduction for business meals incentivizes spending at restaurants, an industry that was hit hard by the pandemic
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Stock Market Risks in the Spotlight

Stock Market Risks in the Spotlight During March 2021, the widening availability of COVID-19 vaccinations, signs of improving economic conditions, and a third, $1.9 trillion stimulus package brought about more optimistic growth projections. Even though a healthy economy could be good news for many businesses and the financial markets, rising inflation expectations caused a multi-week sell-off in U.S. government bonds that pushed up longer-term yields and sent the Nasdaq Composite Index into cor
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Where Will Inflation go from here?

Rising Inflation: Where Will It Go from Here? In March 2021, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) rose 0.6%, the largest one-month increase since August 2012. Over the previous 12 months, the increase was 2.6%, the highest year-over-year inflation rate since August 2018. (By contrast, inflation in 2020 was just 1.4%.)1 The annual increase in CPI-U — often called headline inflation — was due in part to the fact that the index dropped in March 2020, the beginning o
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Working while Receiving Social Security Benefits

  Working While Receiving Social Security Benefits Social Security has some 2,700 rules, and one of the most confusing and misunderstood is the retirement earnings test (RET).1 Some people may think they can’t work — or shouldn’t work — while collecting Social Security benefits. But that’s not the case. However, it’s important to understand the RET and how it may affect your income. The RET applies only if you are working and receiving Social Se
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Signs of Recovery

Frequency Indicators: Where to Look for Signs of Recovery Since the pandemic began, disruptions in business activity have varied greatly from region to region, and often from one week to the next, according to the severity of local COVID-19 outbreaks. Unfortunately, many of the official government statistics used to gauge the health of the U.S. economy are backward looking and somewhat delayed. Changes in the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) indicate the rate at which the economy is
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Review before you do your taxes

Pandemic Relief Measures and Your Tax Return Two emergency relief bills passed in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic will make this an unusual tax season for many taxpayers. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed in March, and a second relief package was attached to the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, in December. The federal government relied on the tax system to deliver financial lifelines to struggling households, boost consumer spending, an
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Be prepared

Prepare Your Finances for the Next Emergency If there’s one financial lesson many people will take away from the pandemic, it’s the importance of a well-stocked emergency fund. In fact, a mid-2020 survey found that respondents’ top financial regret was not having enough emergency savings to withstand the crisis — and this was true for every income group.1 A sudden job loss, an income reduction, and large unexpected expenses like medical bills and home repairs can be deva
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Remember the 4% rule?

Revisiting the 4% Rule Saving for retirement is not easy, but using your retirement savings wisely can be just as challenging. How much of your savings can you withdraw each year? Withdraw too much and you run the risk of running out of money. Withdraw too little and you may miss out on a more comfortable retirement lifestyle. For more than 25 years, the most common guideline has been the “4% rule,” which suggests that a withdrawal equal to 4% of the initial portfolio value, with
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Gain back your Retirement Savings

Five Tips to Regain Your Retirement Savings Focus in 2021 In early 2020, 61% of U.S. workers surveyed said that retirement planning makes them feel stressed.1 Investor confidence was continually tested as the year wore on, and it’s likely that this percentage rose — perhaps even substantially. If you find yourself among those feeling stressed heading into the new year, these tips may help you focus and enhance your retirement savings strategy in 2021. 1. Consider increasing you
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Adult Children Coming Home

Full House: Adult Children Coming Home Almost 3 million adults moved in with a parent or grandparent during the months of March, April, and May 2020.1 A large percentage of them were college students returning home early because their campuses shut down, but many were young adults who had launched careers and were living on their own. Some returned because their family home was a safer place to quarantine, while others lost jobs or faced other economic hardships. Although COVID-19 has crea
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Should I pay off my Student Loans Early or Save for Retirement?

Should You Pay Off Student Loans Early or Save More for Retirement? For adults with student debt and extra money on hand, deciding whether to pay off student loans early or put those funds toward retirement can be tricky. It’s a financial tug-of-war between digging out from debt today and saving for the future, both of which are very important goals. This decision is relevant today considering that roughly 62% of college graduates in the class of 2019 had student debt, with an average deb
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If your income is down this year..a conversion into a ROTH might be a benefit.

Your Business: Could You Benefit from a Roth Conversion in 2020? Converting traditional IRA assets to a Roth IRA is a tried-and-true strategy for creating a tax-free source of retirement income. The catch is that converted assets are taxed as ordinary income in the year of the conversion. The resulting tax bill could be painful, especially for someone with a thriving business or a professional in his or her peak earning years. On the other hand, 2020 may be an unusual tax year for many small-bu
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Five Investment Tasks to Tackle by Year-End

Five Investment Tasks to Tackle by Year-End Market turbulence in 2020 may have wreaked havoc on your investment goals for the year. It probably also highlighted the importance of periodically reviewing your investment portfolio to determine whether adjustments are needed to keep it on track. Now is a good time to take on these five year-end investment tasks. 1. Evaluate Your Investment Portfolio To identify potential changes to your investment strategy, consider the following questions when r
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Open Enrollment Questions

Three Questions to Consider During Open Enrollment Open enrollment is your annual opportunity to review your employer-provided benefit options and make elections for the upcoming plan year. You can get the most out of what your employer offers and possibly save some money by taking the time to read through your open enrollment information before making any benefit decisions. Every employer has its own open enrollment period (typically in the fall), and the information is usually available onlin
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Jobs Recovery Happening

The Jobs Recovery: More Work to Be Done In April 2020, the U.S. economy lost an astonishing 20.8 million jobs, by far the largest loss recorded in a single month dating back to 1939. To put this in perspective, the second largest monthly job loss was about 2 million in September 1945, when defense industries reduced production at the end of World War II.1 The April unemployment rate spiked to 14.7%, the highest official rate on record (though unemployment has been estimated as high as 25%
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All small business owners should have already done this.

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Setting a Retirement Savings Goal

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Why Are Annuities Considered an Insurance Product?

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Election 2020

Election 2020: Political Uncertainty Creates Potential for Market Swings There are clear differences between President Donald Trump and Former Vice President Joe Biden — and the political parties they represent — when it comes to tax policies, spending priorities, and overall economic strategies. For this reason, a shift in the balance of power could have wide-ranging implications for future policies and the financial prospects of individuals and businesses.
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Check the background of this financial professional on FINRA's BrokerCheck