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Don’t Let Rising Interest Rates Catch you by Surprise

You've probably heard the news that the Federal Reserve has been raising its benchmark federal funds rate. The Fed doesn't directly control consumer interest rates, but changes to the federal funds rate (which is the rate banks use to lend funds to each other overnight within the Federal Reserve system) often affect consumer borrowing costs.

Future of the Federal Estate Tax

While no one can predict the future, the possibility of tax reform is once again in the spotlight. If it occurs, it may very well include repeal of the federal estate tax and related changes to the federal gift tax, the federal generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax, and the federal income tax basis rules.

History of the federal estate tax

In general, an estate tax is a tax on property a person owns at death. In one form or another, a federal estate tax has been enacted or repealed a number of times since 1797.1

The Health-Wealth Connection

It's a vicious cycle: Money is one of the greatest causes of stress, prolonged stress can lead to serious health issues, and health issues often result in yet more financial struggles.¹ The clear connection between health and wealth is why it's so important to develop and maintain lifelong plans to manage both.

The big picture

Consider the following statistics:

1. More than 20% of Americans say they have either considered skipping or skipped going to the doctor due to financial worries. (American Psychological Association, 2015)

What We Learned from the WannaCry Ransomware Attack

If you’ve checked the news in the past month, you’ve likely heard of the WannaCry ransomware attack, one of the most widespread cyber attacks to date. Security experts estimate that more than 200,000 users have been infected with this malware. Once infected, all information on the user’s computer is encrypted (i.e., locked away) unless a ransom of $300–$600 is paid to the attackers in Bitcoin.

 

Why You Need an Estate Plan for Your Digital Assets

According to the Pew Research Center, 87 percent of Americans use the Internet. This means most of us maintain at least some personal and financial information online. We pay bills online, keep contact records digitally, and rarely print a photo—because it’s in our online photo album. Although this digitizing of information makes it easier to store and recall, it also presents some concerns when it comes to accounting for all of these “assets” in your estate.

 

What are digital assets?

The Cost of a Wedding

Piggy bank and rings
 

INFOGRAPHIC: 4 Things to do in the 4 Years Before College

College is a huge financial undertaking. With costs increasing every year and the prospect of too much student debt at the forefront of many families' minds, it's more important than ever to be an educated college consumer. Go into the planning process wisely with these four steps.

Cartoon: Father and Daughter Bonding Experience

Father and Daughter Bonding Experience
 

 

Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness: What You Should Know

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLFP) began in 2007 with a simple idea: forgive the student loans of borrowers employed in crucial but often low-paying government or nonprofit positions after they make timely payments for 10 years. Guidance from the U.S. Department of Education lists a broad range of jobs that are eligible for loan forgiveness: law enforcement, emergency management, military service, early childhood education, public librarians, health care providers for disabled or incapacitated individuals, and legal aid attorneys.

Tax benefits of home ownership

Buying a home can be a major expenditure. Fortunately, federal tax benefits are available to make homeownership more affordable and less expensive. There may also be tax benefits under state law.

Mortgage interest deduction