Mortgage Rates Are Down, Time To Refinance?

Mortgage rates are the lowest they have been since 2016 and applications to refinance are up.  The national average for a 30 year fixed mortgage has fallen to 3.6% as of August 14, 2019, down almost 1% from the average rate of 4.54% in 2018.  A good rule of thumb – refinancing makes sense if rates are at least ½% to 1% lower than your current rate.  If your current rate is more than 4.375%, and it likely is if you purchased your house in the last 3 years, you may be a prime candidate to benefit from refinancing.

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Fiduciary = "Only Fee-Only"

The topic of being a fiduciary came up again with a recent SEC ruling.  Fiduciaries are legally required to act in their clients’ best interests.  One would think that anyone calling themselves a financial advisor would be a fiduciary, however, that is not the case.

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5 Myths About Social Security

As I get older, I’ve become more curious about Social Security.  I’m in my mid 40s and I have been paying into the system since high school. Hopefully, I’m 20+ years out from claiming benefits but  given how fast life goes by, it’s never too early to start thinking about and planning for Social Security. It’s a topic that many people shy away from, but in planning for your financial future, it’s an income stream that needs to be accounted for in a financial plan.

To kick off our series of articles on this topic, I am starting with 5 myths about Social Security:

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Shutdown Lesson - Why We All Need Some Emergency Cash

Politics aside, it was tragic to hear that many government workers ran into trouble paying their bills when they did not have a paycheck for a month.  Unfortunately, this cash shortfall is not unusual, as a Federal Reserve survey last year showed that 40% of American adults would not be able to cover a $400 emergency expense or would do so by borrowing or selling something.

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5 Year End Tax Tips

By: Susan Powers

Looking for tips to help you save money on your tax bill for 2018?  Smart tax planning starts now rather than waiting until next year when it’s often too late.  Here are 5 tips to help you take full advantage of tax reform.

1.  Review your investments, ‘harvest’ losses

Given recent market volatility, you may have losses in your taxable accounts.  You can lock in those losses for tax purposes, while still being invested for the long-term by buying something similar, but not identical.  You can use these tax losses to offset capital gains when you file your tax returns.  This is a concept known as tax-loss harvesting.   For example, if you sold one investment and realized a gain of $5,000 and then sold another at a loss of $4,000, you reduce your taxable gain to $1,000.  If your loss is larger than the gain, you can deduct up to $3,000 of the net loss against ordinary income.

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