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When should I submit college financial aid forms?

For the 2019-2020 school year, the federal government’s financial aid form, the FAFSA, can be filed as early as October 1, 2018. It relies on current asset information and two-year-old income information from your 2017 tax return, which means you’ll have the income data you need when you sit down to complete the form. This is a relatively new process. A few years ago, parents had to wait until after January 1 to file the FAFSA and use tax…

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Life Insurance with a Refund

Comparatively speaking, of all the different types of life insurance available, term is usually the least expensive. Generally, term life insurance provides protection for a stated or defined period of time, usually from one year to 30 years. If you die during the coverage term, your beneficiary receives the death benefit from the policy. But what if you outlive the term? With return of premium (ROP) life insurance, you receive the return of all your premium payments at the…

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On the Road to Retirement, Beware of These Five Risks

On your journey to retirement, you’ll likely face many risks that have the potential to throw you off course. Following are five common challenges retirement investors face. Take some time now to review and understand them before your journey takes an unplanned detour. 1. Traveling aimlessly Setting out on an adventure without a definitive destination can be exciting, but probably not when it comes to saving for retirement. As you begin your retirement strategy, one of the first steps…

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Down the Donut Hole: The Medicare Coverage Gap

One of the most confusing Medicare provisions is the prescription drug coverage gap, often called the “donut hole.” It may be clearer if you consider the gap within the annual “lifecycle” of Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Coverage. This also applies to drug coverage that is integrated into a Part C Medicare Advantage Plan. Annual deductible. Prescription drug plans typically have an annual deductible not exceeding $405 in 2018. Before reaching the deductible, you will pay the full cost of your…

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Ten Year-End Tax Tips for 2018

Here are 10 things to consider as you weigh potential tax moves between now and the end of the year. 1. Set aside time to plan Effective planning requires that you have a good understanding of your current tax situation, as well as a reasonable estimate of how your circumstances might change next year. There’s a real opportunity for tax savings if you’ll be paying taxes at a lower rate in one year than in the other. However, the…

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How can I safely shop online this holiday season?

Shopping online is especially popular during the holiday season, when many people prefer to avoid the crowds and purchase gifts with a few clicks of a mouse. However, with this convenience comes the danger of having your personal and financial information stolen by computer hackers. Before you click, you might consider the following tips for a safer online shopping experience. Pay by credit instead of debit. Credit card payments can be withheld if there is a dispute, but debit…

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How can I protect my personal and financial information from credit fraud and identity theft?

In today’s digital world, massive computer hacks and data breaches are common occurrences. And chances are, your personal or financial  information is now susceptible to being used for credit fraud or identity theft. If you discover that you are the victim of either of these crimes, you should consider placing a credit freeze or fraud alert on your credit report to protect yourself. A credit freeze prevents new credit and accounts from being opened in your name. Once you…

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The Tech Sector Could Be Dominating Your Portfolio

The biggest names in technology powered stock market gains and bouts of volatility in 2017, and the trend continued into 2018. The S&P Information Technology sector index posted a 13.19% total return from January through July 2018, compared with 6.47% for the broader S&P 500 index.1 Wall Street analysts and the business media often refer to well-known technology companies Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google (now officially Alphabet) collectively with the acronym FAANG. Others use FAAMG, which substitutes Microsoft…

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Are my student loans eligible for public service loan forgiveness?

If you are employed by a government or not-for-profit organization, you may be able to receive loan forgiveness under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program. The PSLF, which began in 2007, forgives the remaining balance on federal Direct Loans after you have made 120 monthly payments under a qualifying repayment plan while working full-time for a qualifying employer. Qualifying employers for PSLF include: government organizations (e.g., federal, state, local), not-for-profit organizations that are tax-exempt under Section 501C(3) of the…

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Should I consider requesting a deferment or forbearance for my federal student loans?

Did you take on a large amount of debt to pay for college, and are you struggling to pay it off? If so, you are not alone. According to the Federal Reserve, 20% of individuals with outstanding student loans were behind on their payments in 2017.1 You may want to consider requesting a deferment or forbearance if you are having difficulty keeping up with your federal student loan payments. Provided certain eligibility requirements are met, both a deferment and…

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