Reminder: Stocks Go Up Because They Go Down

While the stock market is poised to start the day on a positive note, the last couple of weeks have been a bracing reminder that stocks do not rise in a linear fashion. They can go down.

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Smarter Charitable Gifting Under the New Tax Law

The ability to receive a tax break from charitable giving has been significantly impinged upon by the new tax law that became effective this year. The good news, though, is that tactics exist which will allow you to preserve your charitable tax deductions in certain situations. I've provided a non-technical overview below and am happy to discuss it with you in greater detail at your convenience.

The new tax law has increased a taxpayer's standard deduction and, in turn, lowered a number of itemized deductions. Fewer than 10% of individuals are expected to have itemized deductions in 2018 that exceed the standard deduction. When itemized deductions are unavailable, the tax benefit of charitable giving is lost.

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Nothing Says Heading Back to College Like Legal Documents

When I would drive back to school in Ann Arbor each September, I was able to cram all of my stuff into my green AMC Matador. (Sweet ride.) My two, oversized stereo speakers took up most of the back seat. As I wandered off to college, neither my parents nor I considered the need to address possible legal issues involving potential health care treatment. It was a simpler time.

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The Perfect Age: Life and Financial Planning

Researchers have been trying to determine when is the perfect age -- what time is better than all the rest. The findings differ.

Some people say it's when they are younger and at their physical peak, while others believe it's when they are older and have hopefully gained a bit of financial security and wisdom. Some people point to when their children are young; others maintain it's when they can enjoy the freedom of an empty nest. No one seems to think it's when their children are teenagers.

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Creeping Slowly Into Debt

Experience has shown that success in retirement is highly correlated with little or no debt. If your monthly fixed expenses are low, you often have the financial flexibility to handle whatever comes along. Accumulating a significant amount of debt has an insidious cost as well -- low savings. Not only does debt make retirement more expensive, it limits the size of your "pot of gold" that's available to live the life you desire after you stop working.

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