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Brower Financial Group Articles

Brower Financial Group

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Retirement Plan Contribution Limits Rise for 2018

Posted by Brower Financial Group on Nov 7, 2017 12:35:18 PM

Slight increases have been made due to mild inflation.

You will able to put a little more into your workplace retirement account in 2018.

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Topics: Client Newsletter

RETIREMENT IN SIGHT

Posted by Brower Financial Group on Oct 25, 2017 4:17:47 PM

A Retirement Plan… or a College Plan?

Some parents feel they should pay for all or part of their children’s college education. They make it a financial priority and put saving for retirement further down on their to-do list. If their kids can graduate without any student loan debt, the thinking goes, they will be better positioned to provide financial support to mom and dad one day.

This assumption may be hazardous to retiree financial health. One, the kids may not be inclined to provide such support in the future. Cultural or familial expectations may not be realized. Two, students can receive financial aid; retirees cannot. Three, consider these numbers: a couple retiring today may have to pay $275,000 or more in future medical costs, the current average annual Social Security benefit is less than $16,000, and according to a recent PWC survey, half of baby boomers have less than $100,000 saved for retirement. The takeaway here? Unless you are impressively wealthy, you should be regularly funding retirement accounts first, without interruptions, reductions to contributions, or drawdowns to pay for college. Your young adult children should recognize that their college years mark the start of their financial lives, with attendant financial responsibilities.1,2

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Topics: Client Newsletter

It’s Time to Review Your Life Insurance

Posted by Brower Financial Group on Oct 12, 2017 8:46:34 AM

Are you underinsured, or not insured at all?

When was the last time you looked at your life insurance coverage?

Why not do it now? Life insurance can be a remarkable utility as an estate planning and tax-saving tool. Whether you have no life insurance, or you haven’t reviewed your policy in a while, it is always a good idea to be aware of your options and be prepared.

About 40% of Americans have no life insurance.

LIMRA, an insurance industry group analyzing insurance trends in the U.S., recently found that among men and women, ownership of life insurance policies has hit its lowest level since 2004. LIMRA’s study shows 39% of men without even term life coverage, and 43% of women in the same boat.1

Alarmingly, the population of married men aged 35-54 who had life insurance dropped more than 10% from 2004-10. Men who fall into this age bracket are usually in or near their peak earning years, and about half of them are fathers.1

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Topics: Life Insurance

Ponte Vedra Financial Planner | Weekly Economic Update  - October 9, 2017

Posted by Brower Financial Group on Oct 10, 2017 10:02:37 AM

WEEKLY TIP

Your household may want to budget by the 50/20/30 rule: 50% of take-home pay assigned to fixed monthly costs, 20% to saving/investing, and 30% to flexible consumer expenses.

HURRICANES HURT SEPTEMBER JOB NUMBERS

For the first time in seven years, the economy went a month without payroll growth. The Department of Labor’s September employment report revealed the impact of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma: it showed 33,000 fewer people working. Average hourly wages rose 0.5% to take the annualized gain to 2.9%, but this may have been an effect of the net loss of 105,000 lower-paying bar and restaurant jobs. In a statistical fluke, the headline jobless rate fell to 4.2%, and the U-6 rate, counting the underemployed, declined to 8.3%, even as slightly more Americans looked for work.1  

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Topics: Weekly Economic Update

Ponte Vedra Financial Planner | Weekly Economic Update  - October 3, 2017

Posted by Brower Financial Group on Oct 3, 2017 8:22:54 AM

WEEKLY TIP

When a grandparent, relative or friend of the family pays for a child’s medical expenses that are not covered by insurance, direct payments to doctors for such costs are not considered gifts to the child and do not count against the annual gift tax exclusion amount (currently $14,000).

PERSONAL SPENDING BARELY IMPROVES

Consumer spending increased by only a seasonally adjusted 0.1% in August, while consumer incomes rose 0.2%. Those gains precisely matched the projections of economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal. Factoring in inflation, household spending actually retreated 0.1% during August. Hurricane Harvey may be partly to blame for these numbers.1

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Topics: Weekly Economic Update

Ponte Vedra Financial Planner | Weekly Economic Update  - September 25, 2017

Posted by Brower Financial Group on Sep 26, 2017 12:09:37 PM

WEEKLY TIP

Are your antiques and collectibles worth more than they used to be? Their current value should be accurately stated on your homeowner insurance policy. Otherwise, an insurer may not reimburse you for their full value if they are lost or damaged.

FEDERAL RESERVE: UNWINDING WILL BE GRADUAL

Last Wednesday, the country’s central bank detailed how it would shrink its mammoth balance sheet. During the fourth quarter, the Fed will unload $10 billion of maturing bonds per month; in each subsequent quarter, the monthly runoff will increase by $10 billion until reaching a limit of $50 billion. Fed chair Janet Yellen said that this schedule is set in stone, barring a “sufficiently great” economic threat. The Fed made no interest rate move last week, but 12 of 16 Fed officials do project a hike before 2017 ends.1

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Topics: Weekly Economic Update

The Equifax Data Breach

Posted by Brower Financial Group on Sep 17, 2017 5:08:11 PM

Have you been affected? If so, how can you try to protect yourself?

On September 7, credit reporting agency Equifax dropped a consumer bombshell. It revealed that cybercriminals had gained access to the personal information of as many as 143 million Americans between May and July – about 44% of the U.S. population. The culprits were able to retrieve roughly 209,000 credit card numbers, in addition to many Social Security and driver’s license numbers.1

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Topics: Data Breach

Ponte Vedra Financial Planner | Weekly Economic Update  - August 28, 2017

Posted by Brower Financial Group on Aug 29, 2017 8:05:27 AM

WEEKLY TIP

In retirement, arranging income distributions with an eye on tax efficiency could help your savings last longer. Smaller, tax-deferred account distributions will make your annual income taxes more bearable.

SUMMER SLOWDOWN HITS HOUSING MARKET

Low inventory and high prices are taking a toll on existing home sales. They declined 1.3% in July, according to the National Association of Realtors, making a second straight monthly retreat. In the past 12 months, the number of existing homes on the market has shrunk 9.0%, while the median sale price has risen 6.2% to $258,300. While resales were up 2.1% year-over-year, the seasonally adjusted annual sales rate reached a 2017 low in July. Census Bureau data showed new home sales falling 9.4% last month.1,2

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Topics: Weekly Economic Update

Ponte Vedra Financial Planner | Weekly Economic Update  - August 21, 2017

Posted by Brower Financial Group on Aug 22, 2017 1:27:42 PM

WEEKLY TIP

Business owners should dedicate one hour per month to collect and sort receipts. This is vital for independent contractors, whose tax liability is linked to the expenses they deduct.

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Topics: Weekly Economic Update

Financial Priorities Young Families Should Address

Posted by Brower Financial Group on Aug 17, 2017 9:10:07 AM

Wise money moves for parents under 40.

As you start a family, you start to think about certain financial matters. Before you became a mom or dad, you may not have thought about them much, but so much changes when you have kids.

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Topics: Retirement Planning