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    Reviewing Your Tax Strategies

    It’s that time of year…tax season! I’ve yet to meet anyone that enjoys paying taxes, but it’s a necessary evil that we all have to do. But that doesn’t mean you have to pay more than you have to. Reviewing your financial picture and current tax strategies available to you regularly can potentially help minimize your income taxes. Although your tax picture is unique to you, here are a few common strategies to consider.

    Student Loans: To Pay or Not to Pay? That is the Question.

    The Federal Student Loan Relief has been extended through September 30, 2021. What does this mean for student loan borrowers? First, it only applies to loans owned by the Department of Education. Therefore private loans or loans not owned by the Department of Education do not qualify. Second, the types of relief available include student loan payment pause, student loan interest waiver, and stopped collections on defaulted student loans.

    5 Simple Financial New Year's Resolutions

    Ahh yes, here we are the beginning of a new year! The time when we’re all out to make a fresh start for the year and leave old habits behind us. If one of your resolutions has been to get your finances in check, here are 5 simple ways to do just that:

    Financial Tips for My 20-Something Year Old Self- Tip #3: Understand Your Investment Options and DIVERSIFY!

    If you had asked me when I was 22 the difference between a stock and a bond, my response would have been, “Do I really need to know that?”.  Ok, that might be a bit extreme, I’m pretty sure I knew the difference then, but my point is that I didn’t care to understand how investments really worked.

    When I started participating in my first 401(k), I had no clue what investments to pick so I’m pretty sure I just invested 100% in my company stock at the time. If not 100%, it was definitely a large majority of my portfolio. Let’s think about this, I started investing in my first 401(k) around 2006…guess what happened a couple of years later…the Great Recession. How do you think my 401(k) held up? Not so great to say the least.

    Financial Tips for my 20-Something Year Old Self - Tip #2: Credit Cards are NOT Free Money!

    Ok, this might be a tip more for my 18-year-old self, but the lesson followed me into my 20’s. “YOLO” and “FOMO” weren’t actual acronyms when I was in college, but I sure lived by those mantras, “You Only Live Once” and “Fear Of Missing Out.” When asked if I wanted to go shopping… Heck yeah! When asked if I wanted to go out for dinner…You betcha! When asked if I wanted to take a trip to NYC…DUH! All of these “Yes” answers led me to over-extending myself and spending money I didn’t have. The $500 worth of parking tickets I racked up in NYC certainly didn’t help! I maxed out a credit card in a span of 6 months and spent the next 4 years paying it off.

    Financial Tips for My 20-Something Year Old Self - Tip #1: Save Early

    Picture this, circa 2005 I’m 22-years old fresh out of college with the world ahead of me! I haven’t landed my dream job yet, but I’m working full-time as an assistant manager in a retail store and making okay money. I know this isn’t where I plan to end up, but it will do for now. STOP! Right then and there I wish I hadn’t just looked at that as a job to make money and get by. I was making enough to be saving, but I had a “spend what you make” mentality.

    Disability Insurance

    We’ve already established that your most valuable asset isn’t your house, car, or retirement account; it’s YOU and your ability to earn income. That is why it’s so important to protect that asset with disability insurance.

    According to the Social Security Administration, the chance of becoming disabled before you retire is 1 in 4 - and for most people, disability will result in a lower living standard due to the loss of income. Having a disability insurance policy can replace lost earnings.

    Deductibles vs Premiums

    One of the biggest factors in choosing insurance, whether it’s auto, homeowners, or health insurance, is the cost. But the cost isn’t just the monthly premium you’re paying; it’s the entire out-of-pocket cost you will pay if you have a claim.

    It’s easy to select the least expensive premium plan because so many of us have the “it could probably never happen to me” mentality and paying less on a monthly basis is much more appealing. But consider why you’re buying insurance in the first place…or the peace of mind of knowing that even though it “probably” couldn’t happen, there’s a chance it will and you want to be covered.

    Protecting Yourself with Insurance

    When it comes to insurance, we’re used to insuring our cars and homes and other important tangible assets that we may not be able to afford to replace easily. But nothing is more important than your life and ability to earn a living. YOU are the greatest asset that you need to protect.