Insights

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  • Author: Matt Meline

    Posted: April 8, 2024

    Have you ever wondered how to transform your investment wins into social wins?  Hint: It's not just about writing a check to your favorite charity. There might be a security or another type of property in your portfolio that has appreciated in value over the [...]

  • Author: Matt Meline

    Posted: April 1, 2024

    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 [...]

  • Author: Matt Meline

    Posted: April 1, 2024

    Today we are continuing our conversation around charitable planning.  The rules around Individual Retirement Accounts are forever in flux. One of the more intricate mandates within IRA management is the Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) — where the IRS requires one to being “spending” or “distributing” [...]

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  • Author: Matt Meline

    Posted: April 8, 2024

    Have you ever wondered how to transform your investment wins into social wins?  Hint: It's not just about writing a check to your favorite charity. There might be a security or another type of property in your portfolio that has appreciated in value over the [...]

  • Author: Matt Meline

    Posted: April 1, 2024

    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 [...]

  • Author: Matt Meline

    Posted: April 1, 2024

    Today we are continuing our conversation around charitable planning.  The rules around Individual Retirement Accounts are forever in flux. One of the more intricate mandates within IRA management is the Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) — where the IRS requires one to being “spending” or “distributing” [...]

  • Author: Matt Meline

    Posted: February 20, 2024

    In economics, there are lead indicators and lag indicators. But often, the coincident indicators–stats that show the current state of the U.S. economy–tell the best stories. The Conference Board reports that a record-high number of U.S. consumers are preparing to vacation to a foreign country [...]

  • Author: Matt Meline

    Posted: February 5, 2024

    “85% of economists were predicting a recession last year.  I was one of them. I felt uncomfortable being in the consensus, and it turns out being uncomfortable being in the consensus was actually the right feeling.” – John Mauldin, Mauldin Economics  “Heading into 2024, we [...]

  • Author: Matt Meline

    Posted: February 1, 2024

    You did it! Your days of 8AM classes and cramming for final exams are over, now what? There are so many things that college doesn’t prepare you for, like what’s a 401k and how does it work? How am I going to save for my [...]

  • Author: Matt Meline

    Posted: January 30, 2024

    You get a notification on your phone, alerting you that an unfamiliar charge has posted to your account. You have no idea where the charge came from and suddenly your bank account is absent a couple of hundred bucks. You better act fast and get [...]

  • Author: Matt Meline

    Posted: December 14, 2023

    Among the tools available to fund your child’s higher education, 529 plans, also known as ‘qualified tuition plans,’ are a highly effective and successful alternative. A 529 plan is an investment account that is used to pay for education expenses. The account can be [...]

  • Author: Matt Meline

    Posted: December 14, 2023

    A 529 plan is an investment account where the funds are designed to pay for your students’ education. As stated in Part 1 of this series, 529s can cover qualified education expenses. Here are 5 reasons you should consider opening a 529 account for [...]

  • Author: Matt Meline

    Posted: December 14, 2023

    “We all have a picture of what our lives may look like when our kids leave home.” – Empty Nest Full Pockets. We may conjure up different ways to cope - whether they be healthy or unhealthy for our mental or physical health. According to [...]

  • Author: Matt Meline

    Posted: December 14, 2023

    Filing the FAFSA and not sure what to do? We have been there too. Assisting four children through college means filing the FAFSA four times, so we would like to think we have gained some expertise in federal financial aid. We didn’t know what [...]

  • Author: Matt Meline

    Posted: December 14, 2023

    If you are a divorced or separated parent sending your child to college, the FAFSA can raise some common questions and complications for your family during the filing process. Having experienced a divorce personally, I can attest that an already confusing process (financial aid) [...]

  • Author: Matt Meline

    Posted: December 14, 2023

    3 Tips to help your high school senior this Summer “I had no idea how expensive life is.” – My son a few weeks after he left for college If you have a high school senior there are a flurry of things happening in [...]

  • Author: Matt Meline

    Posted: December 14, 2023

    Changes to 529 Plans in the SECURE 2.0 Act The SECURE Act was initially passed by Congress at the end of 2019 and was intended to improve retirement savings opportunities. It was a big deal at the time and the most significant piece of [...]

  • Author: Matt Meline

    Posted: December 14, 2023

    The college planning process isn’t easy. Picking the right school, finding the perfect roommate, meeting scholarship application deadlines, and on top of all of that…..you have to fill out the FAFSA. Many families who think they are on the border or won’t receive any [...]

  • Author: Matt Meline

    Posted: December 14, 2023

    Changes are coming to the complicated form that students must submit to qualify for college financial aid, known as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The Department of Education is calling it the “most ambitious and significant redesign of the federal student [...]

  • Author: Matt Meline

    Posted: December 14, 2023

    1 MoneyRates.com, June 6, 2023 2 CollegeData.com, 2023 3 MoneyGeek.com, December 21, 2022 4 Any companies mentioned are for illustrative purposes only. It should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of the securities. Any investment should be consistent with your objectives, timeframe, and risk [...]

  • Author: Matt Meline

    Posted: December 14, 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 [...]

  • Author: Matt Meline

    Posted: December 14, 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 [...]

  • Author: Matt Meline

    Posted: December 14, 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 [...]

  • Author: Matt Meline

    Posted: December 14, 2023

    We have a quick video on the markets/world at large through the lens of the I's and the R's. ‍ https://bbemaildelivery.com/bbext/?p=video_land&id=c4a9a6b8-8e1e-49f7-ab2f-707ae25e405b

  • Author: Matt Meline

    Posted: December 14, 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 [...]

  • Author: Matt Meline

    Posted: December 14, 2023

    Insights 2023 highlights the challenges that stem from new economic dynamics - higher interest rates, higher inflation and slowing growth.  Oh My - what to do?  Please join us on the replay of Insights 2023 - https://youtu.be/BiDSePM7fro

  • Author: Matt Meline

    Posted: December 14, 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 [...]

  • Author: Matt Meline

    Posted: December 14, 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 [...]

  • Author: Matt Meline

    Posted: December 14, 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 [...]

  • Author: Matt Meline

    Posted: December 14, 2023

    “Never respect men merely for their riches, but rather for their philanthropy; we do not value the sun for its height, but for its use.” - GamalielBailey As we near year-end 2022 many will contemplate giving strategies into their planning. There are many important [...]

  • Author: Matt Meline

    Posted: December 14, 2023

    The kids are away at college and you now have something called free time. Giddy Up! Or maybe not… Now that the golf courses are starting to close for the winter season, what do you do with all of this free time? It may [...]

  • Author: Matt Meline

    Posted: December 14, 2023

    Transitioning from Private Health Insurance Plans to Medicare As you approach retirement age, you may be anticipating transitioning from your private insurance to Medicare, which is a federal health insurance program that provides coverage to individuals who are 65 years or older. It’s important [...]

  • Author: Matt Meline

    Posted: December 13, 2023

    Social Security, the program you may have spent a lifetime paying into, is designed to offer stability, supplemental income, and other valuable benefits that can play a role in your overall financial strategy after you retire. We've pulled together answers to 10 questions our [...]

  • Author: Matt Meline

    Posted: December 13, 2023

    Early in my career as a banker, I remember spending a serious amount of time explaining how a fax machine worked to one of my customers. He did not understand the technology. It seemed to make him angry that documents could be delivered so [...]

  • Author: Matt Meline

    Posted: December 13, 2023

    Can AI Help You Improve Your Life? There's been so much chatter about potential drawbacks of AI like ChatGPT and Google Bard that many people are overlooking how AI might improve our lives. From automating mundane tasks to performing more efficient internet searches, there [...]

  • Author: Matt Meline

    Posted: December 13, 2023

    While artificial intelligence (AI) is making headlines today, the concept of "thinking machines" can be traced back to ancient philosophers and mathematicians. The phrase artificial intelligence was first used in the mid-20th century, at the dawn of the computer age. Like most transformative innovations [...]

  • Author: Matt Meline

    Posted: December 13, 2023

    Legislation moving through our federal government right now includes a number of new tax proposals. Nothing is final, but I thought it would be helpful to see where the plan is heading and any actions that we should consider. 1. The high end of [...]

  • Author: Matt Meline

    Posted: December 13, 2023

    What if your child needs braces? The cost may be as much as $6,000 for metal braces—more modern versions can run as much as $13,000. Your health insurance may cover only a portion of the cost. If you're well past the braces stage, what [...]

  • Author: Matt Meline

    Posted: December 13, 2023

    SECURE 2.0: Changes Going Into Effect in 2024 Passed in 2019, the SECURE Act was the most substantial retirement legislation in over a decade. It contained important changes designed to help investors save more and be better prepared for the future. To build on [...]

  • Author: Matt Meline

    Posted: December 13, 2023

    While we haven’t yet said goodbye to 2023, it’s not too early to begin thinking about any tax changes that may be on the horizon. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017 was designed to overhaul the federal tax code by reforming [...]

  • Author: Matt Meline

    Posted: December 12, 2023

    In today’s digital landscape, phishing attacks have become a pervasive cybersecurity threat that can compromise both your financial well-being and personal identity. Outlined below are several tips that can be of great value to your family and friends: 5 Tips to Help You Recognize [...]

  • Author: Matt Meline

    Posted: December 12, 2023

    When there is a spike in global conflicts or disasters, there is also a spike in charitable giving. Charitably minded families want to help the innocent and unsuspecting people who are affected by these crises by giving to charities that pledge to aid these [...]

  • Author: Matt Meline

    Posted: December 12, 2023

    When satisfaction or contentment is derived primarily from our comparative view of others, particularly their financial persona, we may find ourselves never finding real satisfaction or contentment. One can rarely attend a party, share a round of golf or meet up with relatives without [...]

  • Author: Matt Meline

    Posted: December 12, 2023

    Fun fact: You probably have dozens of credit scores out there, and each one might be a different number. You’re probably familiar with a credit score, why it’s essential, and what it’s used for, but do you know how it’s calculated or why your [...]

  • Author: Matt Meline

    Posted: December 12, 2023

    Time to Think About Year-End Financial Strategies As we roll into fall and the fourth quarter, now is a good time to pause and reflect on proactive ways to set up your finances for 2024. Economically speaking, we are now in a much different position [...]

  • Author: Matt Meline

    Posted: December 12, 2023

    If you have an inherited IRA and/or beneficiary IRA account, you should be aware of some recent confusion regarding the distribution rules in these accounts. The10-year rule that was established in 2019 dictated that all beneficiaries have to liquidate the IRA over a ten-year [...]

  • Author: Matt Meline

    Posted: December 12, 2023

    Every parent wants the best for their children and strives to prepare them to lead a happy, healthy, and successful life. But, despite understanding the importance of financial responsibility, only 28 percent of parents speak to their children about money.1 It's no secret [...]

  • Author: Matt Meline

    Posted: December 12, 2023

    As we get older, it’s important that our adult children are prepared to manage any aging-related situations that may arise. This includes everything from having to make medical and financial decisions to determining assisted living and end-of-life strategies. Conversations about aging and the type [...]

  • Author: Matt Meline

    Posted: December 12, 2023

    Saving for college is not an easy task, and many people don’t know where to start. There are many different investment strategies that you can use, so which one is right for your family? If you have a child at home with a disability, [...]

  • Author: Matt Meline

    Posted: December 11, 2023

    Senior care costs can be overwhelming, particularly when long-term care is required due to illness or medical conditions. With the number of seniors in the U.S. expected to rise exponentially by 2030, it's crucial to be prepared for these expenses. In this blog post, [...]

  • Author: Matt Meline

    Posted: December 11, 2023

    Divorce is one of the most stressful life events. Even the most amicable splits can be complicated and emotionally draining. We likely all know couples who have gone through divorce, and it can be a trying time for everyone involved. It is also a [...]

  • Author: Matt Meline

    Posted: December 11, 2023

    Will and I attended a “Future Ready” event at Des Moines Lincoln High School recently.  The format is designed to gather graduates from Lincoln to share career, college and general career advice.  There were a number of non-profits in attendance, military representatives and for-profit [...]

  • Author: Matt Meline

    Posted: December 11, 2023

    It’s the busiest shopping time of the year and everyone is buying gifts for friends and family. It is a perfect time for fraudsters to strike. We all know how inconvenient and time consuming having a compromised credit card can be. Every app and [...]