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The October Deadline Still Applies to the CSS Profile

2023-12-19T02:19:19-06:00December 14, 2023|College Planning|

The October Deadline Still Applies to the CSS Profile Will Schroeder December 04, 2023 We understand that another financial aid form is the last thing you want to deal with, especially before completing the FAFSA. The “college-preparation to-do list” seems to never end! However, this form could lessen the financial burden on you or your child’s college education expenses. The College Scholarship Service Profile (CSS Profile) is required by some, but not all schools, so it is important to research if your desired school requires it. So, what is the difference between the CSS Profile and FAFSA? The CSS Profile grants non-federal financial aid, while the FAFSA grants federal financial aid. The CSS Profile is a privately organized form that may feel a little more invasive than the FAFSA. This is because it wants to see your family’s full financial picture to determine if aid [...]

What’s so Funny About Peace, Love and Student Loans

2023-12-14T20:54:00-06:00December 14, 2023|College Planning|

What’s so Funny About Peace, Love and Student Loans Matt Meline, CFP November 08, 2023 In recent times, there has been an increasing burden of student loan debt on students and graduates. The numbers don't lie! While having access to education is vital to career and economic growth, the burden of paying off student loans after graduation can have devastating consequences on the economy. What are some of the potential consequences of repayment beginning (again) on $1.6 TRILLION of student debt? Reduced Purchasing Power: Student loan debt has become a significant issue for millennials as they try to manage their expenses while paying off their loans. This situation can lead to a reduced purchasing power that can impact the economy. Graduates with significant debt loads may have to delay home ownership, car purchases, and other significant investments. Lower Retirement Savings: The burden of [...]

The Black Box of College Admissions

2023-12-19T02:27:17-06:00December 14, 2023|College Planning|

The Black Box of College Admissions Will Schroeder December 04, 2023 When applying for college admission or for financial aid it can feel like you are in the dark. Once you submit your application the decision process is out of your control, and your fate is up to the university. No one really knows what specific criteria each university uses when selecting applicants; This can cause frustrations among students, parents, and counselors. People want more transparency and communication during the selection process because they believe it will make the application process more efficient and will allow students and their families to make the smartest financial decisions possible. Whitney Gouché, Vice President at EMERGE gives an example of an engineering college in California not admitting students if they don’t have credit for AP Calculus BC. Since this information isn’t readily available to students and high [...]

The End of the World as we Know it – 2.0

2023-12-19T02:39:22-06:00December 14, 2023|Investing|

The End of the World as we Know it - 2.0 Matt Meline, CFP November 08, 2023 A few years ago, I used this R.E.M song to describe the negative tint in all things market, economy and policy related. As I write this on Monday, September 26th I am again marveling at the pervasive negative news across the world. Take your pick – a bumbling Fed, out of control inflation, Russia/Ukraine, and the Iowa Hawkeye’s offense – things seem bleak. All this dour energy is justified. We have seen a bear market take place in both bonds and stocks. That has not been the case since the early 80’s and has thrown a number of investment assumptions out the window. While I believe diversification and defensive posturing will always help – they haven’t been the lifeguard we’ve needed. So, what to do? 1. Acknowledge [...]

Trying to Time Recession?

2023-12-19T02:45:50-06:00December 14, 2023|Investing|

Preparing for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Sunset at the End of 2025 Matt Meline, CFP November 08, 2023 Economies move in cycles – always have, always will The Federal Reserve has been steadily increasing interest rates in an attempt to slow the rate of inflation. Its efforts are yielding some results, although inflation remains stubbornly high. This may cause the Fed to keep rates higher for longer, which may increase the chances of a recession. It’s important to remember that economic fluctuations are normal, and if we enter a recession, it is not a time to panic. As detailed below, every recession is unique, with varying lengths and severities. Putting recessions in context, we have come through each slowdown in the past, and the trajectory of the U.S. economy over time has been positive. Stages of the business cycle1 The [...]

Understanding the September Effect: What It Is and Why It Happens

2023-12-19T03:03:04-06:00December 14, 2023|Investing|

Understanding the September Effect: What It Is and Why It Happens Matt Meline, CFP November 08, 2023 If you ask the average investor which month is the most volatile for the stock market, they will probably say October. It's a reasonable answer, but it's incorrect. Despite October's reputation for market-defining events like the crash of 1929 that led to the Great Depression, Black Monday's drop in 1987, and the federal bank bailout at the start of the Great Recession in 2008, over the last 25 years, September returns on the Standard & Poor's 500 stock index have been worse. This phenomenon has become known as the "September Effect." And as you can see in the chart below, this isn't just a U.S. market anomaly, but a global trend that has affected stock markets worldwide. With September upon us, we wanted to discuss the [...]

Living Trusts: Understanding the Basics and Key Considerations

2024-01-04T23:12:41-06:00December 14, 2023|Estate Planning|

Living Trusts: Understanding the Basics and Key Considerations Matt Meline, CFP November 08, 2023 Estate management can be a complex and daunting task for many people, but it’s a critical step in helping your assets get managed and distributed according to your wishes. One popular tool that can be used in estate strategies is a living trust. A living trust can provide a flexible and efficient way to manage assets during your lifetime and after your death, but it’s important to understand how it works and whether it’s the right choice for your individual circumstances. Using a living trust or any other type of trust involves a complex set of tax rules and regulations. Before moving forward with a trust, consider working with a professional who is familiar with these rules and regulations. In this blog, we’ll dive into the details of living trusts, [...]

Top 7 Most Common Estate Strategy Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)

2023-12-21T01:34:16-06:00December 14, 2023|Estate Planning, Featured|

Top 7 Most Common Estate Strategy Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them) Matt Meline, CFP November 08, 2023 Getting your affairs in order and outlining what you want done with your estate after you’re gone is one of the greatest gifts you can leave your loved ones. However, not preparing for the transfer of your assets can lead to confusion, potential family disputes, and outcomes that don’t align with your ultimate wishes. Creating a financial strategy that considers how an estate is structured is one of the most important services we provide as financial professionals. Over the years, we’ve helped guide many of our clients so they can make sound estate decisions and potentially avoid any missteps.1,2 1. Failing to create a comprehensive estate strategy One of the biggest financial mistakes is not developing a strategy for your estate. Some people never get [...]

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