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Maximize your college education tax breaks

Posted by on Mar 24, 2015 in Plan for College | Comments Off

CollegeWhen it comes to paying for college, most parents want to maximize their tax credits and deductions.  What many don’t realize is that there is a right and a wrong way to distribute funds in order to get these tax breaks.  Here are a few guidelines to help you save more on college education costs. (more…)

Implications of an Expensive Stock Market

Posted by on Mar 17, 2015 in Economy, Investment | Comments Off

PE10-percentilesThe stock market is currently not cheap.  How overvalued is it?  This blog by Doug Short analyzes current US stock market valuations based on several popular metrics.  His analysis shows that except for the years prior to and following the tech implosion of 2000, stocks are at their most expensive level in history, even exceeding valuations of 1929.  In fact the PE10 ratio, a popular method for determining whether the stock market is expensive or cheap, is approximately 64% above its average (arithmetic mean) of 16.6.

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SC Residents Should Consider Keeping Credit Monitoring Indefinitely

Posted by on Mar 13, 2015 in Credit, South Carolina | Comments Off

thumb_creditThe SC Department of Revenue was hacked a few years ago and since then the state of SC has paid for credit monitoring and fraud alerts for the affected taxpayers.  Expedia was the first provider and CSID took the contract over last March.  It would be wise to maintain this coverage regardless of whether or not the state pays for the protection as thieves can strike at any point in the future. (more…)

When a Mortgage Refinance May Not Save You Money

Posted by on Mar 13, 2015 in Budgeting, Cash Flow, Mortgages, Real Estate | Comments Off

1-houseInterest rates since the 1980s have fallen creating an opportunity for many Americans.  Not only have homeowners upsized their homes, they have also refinanced multiple times saving hundreds, if not thousands of dollars a year, on their mortgage costs.

But there is a right way and a wrong way to refinance.  Unfortunately, many homeowners still have relatively high mortgages, despite the fact that they have been in the same residence for over 20 years.  Blame it on America’s addiction to refinancing.  When rates declined, you could not only refinance your current balance on your mortgage, you also were often encouraged by the mortgage broker to take additional “cash out.”  Even with the additional loan amount, many households often had a similar if not lower monthly mortgage payment.  The “cash out refinance” helped many people fund college and do home improvements, but it also often incentivized spending on less practical things like fancy cars, expensive trips or even plastic surgery.  Now that these serial refinancers are getting ready to retire, they are once again viewing their residence as a piggy bank and are considering yet another refinance at these historically low rates to enhance their monthly cash flow.  This move is not always wise.  (more…)

How to Plan for Healthcare Costs in Retirement

Posted by on Feb 21, 2015 in Healthcare, Medicare | Comments Off

video-healthcareMany Americans have seen their health insurance premiums rise with the implementation of Obamacare.  They worry that the costs of Medicare will also be a burden when they retire.  Healthcare costs for the Baby Boomer population will put a strain on the national debt forcing further increases to Medicare programs and supplemental insurance.   The costs of healthcare continue to spiral and contrary to what some believe, Medicare is not free.  Here are some guidelines to help you plan for medical costs in retirement. (more…)