This week’s discussion highlights segments of the U.S. economy. The U.S. job market remains strong as layoffs within the energy sector remain low and individuals who leave their current positions are moving on to better jobs. In the housing market, U.S. home prices are up 10% on average and even higher in the Mountain and Pacific areas. The municipal bond market, with the exception of Illinois and New Jersey, has done well as state and local finances continue to improve. Listen in to hear more on these issues as well as GDP for the first quarter and anticipated bad press for Freddie Mac.
Throughout the course of our lives we often find ourselves in need of the benefits various advisors provide. In the realm of finances, there are three types of advisors we see as invaluable to your long term financial health.
1. Estate Planning Attorney
A recent Gallup poll found only half of Americans have created a last will and testament (source). Furthermore, estate planning services seem to be a dime a dozen from cheap online solutions to attorneys who draft the same plan for every client.
Estate planning is often misunderstood. It involves much more than paying estate taxes. Estate planning done well allows you to provide guidance to and appoint person(s) of your choosing to make healthcare and financial decisions on your behalf in the event of your incapacitation and may help ensure that your assets are divided amongst heirs as you desire. Building a relationship with a reputable estate planning attorney who understands your unique situation not only makes sense for you, but it also can help offer your loved ones peace of mind that you have a plan in place. Continue reading
Providing financial assistance to adult family members, while sometimes very helpful, may also create conflicts. As Certified Financial Planners ®, our clients often ask us to help them work through such issues. When working with clients who find themselves in the midst of a difficult family dynamic involving money, our process is to help our clients understand the impact of providing financial assistance to adult family members. Below we share a few of the conflicts we have found (Please note: identifying information has been changed for privacy purposes). Continue reading
This week’s Inside the Economy with SH&J highlights an update on the global economy. Germany appears to be a bright spot within the European Union with a budget surplus in 2015 despite global trade trending down, particularly in China. After recording a trade deficit with China for 2015, Germany is now seeking to make the United States their primary trading partner. Japan is also seeing a downturn in output and could be in recession by this summer. Listen in to hear more on the ECB’s continued quantitative easing, the flood of refugees into Germany, and comments on Emerging Market debt.
With tax day quickly approaching, it’s interesting to look at where Colorado tax rates fall in comparison to the rest of the United States. WalletHub* recently performed an interesting analysis of each state’s tax rates.
They found that Colorado falls into the bottom 25% of all fifty states with a median tax rate of 9.41%, compared to the highest taxed state, Illinois, with a 14.54% tax rate. According to their findings, living in Colorado could save the average family $700 a year in taxes. Continue reading
It’s tax season and for almost 80% of Americans, (source) a refund check may be in the mail. It’s easy to view a tax refund as free or easy money, but remember you worked hard to earn that money. Using your tax refund responsibly now can assist in reaching your financial goals in the future.
Here are 8 suggestions for using your tax refund responsibly:
Top Off Your Emergency Fund
An emergency fund is an important part of any smart budget. If your emergency fund has been depleted recently, think about using your tax refund to top it off. Depending on the circumstances, we typically recommend having an emergency fund that covers three to six months of basic living expenses.
Build Your Investment Portfolio
Consider using your tax refund to add to your investment portfolio. Talk to your Certified Financial Planner® about how to allocate your tax refund dollars amongst your investments. Continue reading