NAPFA (National Association of Personal Financial Advisors) has stringent requirements including peer review of a financial plan prior acceptance as a registered NAPFA advisor. Mary has been co-leader for the Midwest-Area group for several years and facilitates local meetings. Recently Kirsten Izatt, attorney for The Estate Planning Law Group in Wheaton spoke to us about wills and trusts and helped us understand how to better prepare our clients for their meeting with an attorney. Following Kirsten was Deborah Shoemaker, Director of Fiduciary Services at the Trust Company of Illinois who spoke about navigating the final family obligation and how a professional trustee might fit into end-of-life planning.
Category Archives: Insights
Recently we attended a presentation on cyber-security and learned that there is growing threat to homeowners regarding property and mortgage fraud. The Lake County Illinois Recorder of Deeds now has an online registration. After you have registered your email or phone number they will notify you when there is an activity associated with your property. Note: register with variations of your name (i.e. with middle name; middle initial only; no middle name, etc.) Go to Property Check at: http://www.lakecountyil.gov/Recorder/Pages/Property_Check.aspx
The Sunday paper recently had an article by Kiplinger called How to Pick a Financial Planner. Kiplinger suggests taking into consideration the experience, credentials, access to other experts (attorneys, accountants, insurance consultants) and whether the planner works on a fee-only basis, fees and commissions, or commissions only. See the article and then call us to schedule a complimentary introductory meeting http://www.kiplinger.com/article/credit/T064-C000-S001-how-to-pick-a-financial-planner.html
Your home is likely one of your biggest assets and as such you want to be smart about home improvements, especially if you plan to move within 5 years. Do not expect to recoup all of your costs when updating your home. Major renovations are unlikely to yield enough of a return to justify for sales purposes. Remodeling magazine says that replacing the front door can be the best, providing nearly a 97% return on your new front door costs. Minor kitchen updates might return 83% of the remodeling costs. However, if you plan to stay put and can afford it after you’ve put aside retirement/college savings, a renovation can make your home more livable and enjoyable for years to come.
As you start the new year, consider whether you are spending your time and money in ways that will enhance your goals and priorities. A good way to start is by tracking how you currently spend both time and money. Various apps and software programs are available to make it easier.
Our latest quarterly newsletter discusses more baby boomers having mortgages when they retire; interest rates and laddered bonds; some good personal finance books; and, if you are a holiday baker, take a look at the Handy Tip.
As we near year-end, review your finances to see if there are any moves you’d like such as making a 529 college savings or IRA contribution. While you can extend the deadline for your IRA contribution, the 529 contribution must be made before December 31st to take the deduction on your state income tax for this tax year.
Your prospective college student’s opportunities for financial aid may be affected by either or both parents remarrying. New spouses’ incomes may be factored into financial aid calculations. Starting in 1965, up to four adults’ income can be included in the equation, when both parents are remarried. This has been an unpleasant surprise for many blended families.
We have been long-time members of local chambers of commerce and recently joined the board at the Lindenhurst/Lake Villa chamber. One of the chamber’s best events for small business networking is the Oktoberfest on October 16th. Small business owners from the region are invited; see http://llvchamber.com/llvchamber/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/2Oktoberfest2014.jpg for details.
Are you thinking about retiring to another state? Check Kiplinger’s website for tax information about the states you are considering and even do a side-by-side comparison. Spoiler alert: while Illinois has some retiree-friendly tax benefits, it does not rank as one of the Kiplinger top-ten retiree tax-friendly states. See http://kiplinger.com/tools/retiree_map for more details.