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  • 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 [...]

  • 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 [...]

  • 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 [...]

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  • 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 [...]

  • 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 [...]

  • 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 [...]

  • 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 [...]

  • December 14, 2023

    529 Plan Basics Matt Meline, CFP November 08, 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 [...]

  • December 14, 2023

    5 Reasons Why You Need a 529 Account Matt Meline, CFP November 08, 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 [...]

  • December 14, 2023

    Surviving the First Friday Matt Meline, CFP November 08, 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 [...]

  • December 14, 2023

    FAFSA Do’s and Don’ts Matt Meline, CFP November 08, 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 [...]

  • December 14, 2023

    FAFSA for Divorced Families Matt Meline, CFP November 08, 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. [...]

  • December 14, 2023

    3 Summer Tips for Families with High School Seniors Matt Meline, CFP November 08, 2023 3 Tips to help your high school senior this Summer “I had no idea how expensive life is.” – My son a few weeks [...]

  • December 14, 2023

    How the SECURE 2.0 Act Changed 529 Plans Matt Meline, CFP November 08, 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 [...]

  • December 14, 2023

    NEW Changes Coming to the FAFSA Will Schroeder December 04, 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 [...]

  • December 14, 2023

    Attention Parents and Grandparents of College-Bound Students: FAFSA Gets an Overhaul Matt Meline, CFP November 08, 2023 Changes are coming to the complicated form that students must submit to qualify for college financial aid, known as the Free Application [...]

  • December 14, 2023

    Money Tips for Parents Sending Children Off to College Matt Meline, CFP November 08, 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 [...]

  • December 14, 2023

    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” [...]

  • December 14, 2023

    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! [...]

  • December 14, 2023

    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 [...]

  • December 14, 2023

    PrairieFire's I's and R's / Market Update Matt Meline, CFP November 08, 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

  • December 14, 2023

    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. [...]

  • December 14, 2023

    Insights 2023 - Getting a Grip Matt Meline, CFP November 08, 2023 Insights 2023 highlights the challenges that stem from new economic dynamics - higher interest rates, higher inflation and slowing growth.  Oh My - what [...]

  • December 14, 2023

    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 [...]

  • December 14, 2023

    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 [...]

  • December 14, 2023

    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 [...]

  • December 14, 2023

    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 [...]

  • December 14, 2023

    Charitable Giving 101 Matt Meline, CFP November 08, 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 [...]

  • December 14, 2023

    Coping with a Newly Cleared Schedule – Empty Nesting Edition Matt Meline, CFP November 08, 2023 The kids are away at college and you now have something called free time. Giddy Up! Or maybe not… Now that the golf [...]

  • December 14, 2023

    Transitioning to Medicare from Private Health Insurance Plans Matt Meline, CFP November 08, 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 [...]

  • December 13, 2023

    Top 10 Questions High Net Worth Individuals Ask About Social Security Matt Meline, CFP November 08, 2023 Social Security, the program you may have spent a lifetime paying into, is designed to offer stability, supplemental income, and other valuable [...]

  • December 13, 2023

    How Can Intelligence Be Artificial Matt Meline, CFP November 08, 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 [...]

  • December 13, 2023

    Can AI help improve your life? Matt Meline, CFP November 08, 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 [...]

  • December 13, 2023

    AI's Role in Shaping Our Tomorrow: A Look Ahead Matt Meline, CFP November 08, 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 [...]

  • December 13, 2023

    The Tax Man Cometh... Matt Meline, CFP November 08, 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 [...]

  • December 13, 2023

    Health Savings Accounts: Pros, Cons, and Retirement Considerations Matt Meline, CFP November 08, 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. [...]

  • December 13, 2023

    The Impact of SECURE 2.0 in 2024 and Beyond Matt Meline, CFP November 08, 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. [...]

  • December 13, 2023

    Preparing for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Sunset at the End of 2025 Matt Meline, CFP November 08, 2023 While we haven’t yet said goodbye to 2023, it’s not too early to begin thinking about any tax changes [...]

  • December 12, 2023

    Five Tips to Recognize a Phishing Email Matt Meline, CFP November 08, 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 [...]

  • December 12, 2023

    Scammers on the Rise as World Conflicts Ensue Will Schroeder December 04, 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 [...]

  • December 12, 2023

    The Peril of Comparison Matt Meline, CFP November 08, 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 [...]

  • December 12, 2023

    What Factors Have the Greatest Impact on Your Credit Score? Matt Meline, CFP November 08, 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 [...]

  • December 12, 2023

    A Year-End Financial Checklist Matt Meline, CFP November 08, 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 [...]

  • December 12, 2023

    Inherited IRA Update Matt Meline, CFP November 08, 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 [...]

  • December 12, 2023

    Tips for Raising Financially Literate Children Matt Meline, CFP November 08, 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 [...]

  • December 12, 2023

    Top Considerations to Help Adult Children Be Better Prepared As You Age Matt Meline, CFP November 08, 2023 As we get older, it’s important that our adult children are prepared to manage any aging-related situations that may arise. This [...]

  • December 12, 2023

    The ABLE Act Adjustment Will Schroeder December 04, 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 [...]

  • December 11, 2023

    Navigating the Costs of Senior Care: Tips for Preparing for Long-Term Care Matt Meline, CFP November 08, 2023 Senior care costs can be overwhelming, particularly when long-term care is required due to illness or medical conditions. With the number [...]

  • December 11, 2023

    10 Financial Missteps to Avoid During a Divorce Matt Meline, CFP November 08, 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 [...]

  • December 11, 2023

    3 Lessons From Lincoln Highschool Matt Meline, CFP November 20, 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 [...]

  • December 11, 2023

    Protect Yourself with a Virtual Credit Card This Holiday Season Will Schroeder December 04, 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 [...]