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Let’s Step It Up

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“Courage is an accumulation of small steps.”                     ~ George Konrad, Hungarian Novelist Question: I’m in the midst of year-end tax planning and have questions about the cost basis of stock. Under what circumstances can it be increased? Answer: The dictionary definition of cost basis is the original value of an asset used […]

Proactive, Not Reactive

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“The beginning is the most important part of the work.”               ~ Plato, Classical Greek Philosopher Question: Could you highlight possible items to review before year-end that may provide tax-savings? This would be a perfect follow up to the last column on tax reform changes. Answer: There are a few items you can consider […]

Breaking the Code

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“Unless you know the code, it has no meaning.”   ~ John Connolly, Irish Author,  from “The Book of Lost Things.” Question: Would you outline last year’s tax law changes? I’m ready to do some year-end planning. Answer: Exemptions, deductions, expenses and credits all underwent a few tweaks in 2017. You’re smart to look at the changes as 2018 comes […]

Do I Need a Financial Advisor?

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“Time is your friend, impulse is your enemy.” ~ John Bogle, Founder,the Vanguard Group Question: I’m trying to decide if I should work with a financial advisor. Understandably, I expect you’ll say yes, but can you explain why and provide specific reasons? Answer: Well, you are right, I do recommend that in most instances there are benefits to working with […]

No Expiration Date

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“Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.” ~ Nido Qubein, President of High Point University Question: Your last column was on the length of this bull market. What could end the positive momentum? Answer: The same factors that cause markets to go up can bring them down. Detrimental changes in employment figures, […]

Ask The CFP® Practitioner


“Common sense is not so common.” ~ Voltaire, French Philosopher (1694-1778) Question: Is this the longest bull market in history? Answer: That depends on how a bull market is defined. This particular run began on March 9, 2009 and at the time this is being written, financial markets are up for nine and one-half years. The most agreed upon definition […]

Managing a Different Kind of Risk

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“Go where the money is and go there often.”    ~ Willie Sutton, Jr., notorious bank robber (1901-1980). Question: How can I protect myself from scams and cybercrimes? Answer: Risk management is a primary purpose of financial planning. Cybercrime, although different from market risk, is an attempt to deplete net worth. This issue was last addressed in a column on January 27, […]

Keep Moving Forward

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“It’s a never ending battle of making your cars better and also trying to be better yourself.”              ~ Dale Earnhardt, professional auto racing driver (1951-2001) Question: What are your thoughts on self-driving cars? Answer: Autonomous vehicles, or AVs as they’re known, represent a growing subcategory for the automobile industry. AVs are the marriage of […]

The Future is Now

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“Individual income can grow only as fast as productivity rises.” ~ Alex Berenson (born 1973), American writer Question: How will my income portfolio be affected by rising interest rates? Answer: When it comes to making predictions, I’ve learned that it’s best to plan for the occasional economic wildcard and look for trends rather than absolutes. Between 2008 and 2015 the […]

Why Skipping a Generation Can Be a Good Thing

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“The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.” ~ Nelson Henderson, Scottish rugby player (1865-1943) Question: Could you explain generation-skipping trusts and how they might benefit our family? Answer: By definition, generation-skipping trusts (GSTs) are any trust whose beneficiaries are two or more generations below the grantor. For example, as a […]


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