Archive - August 2009

1
Secrets of the FICO Credit Score
2
How Do I Choose A Financial Planner?
3
How Much Does Your Car Really Cost You?
4
Four Things to do Now!
5
Changes to the Illinois 529 Plan That You Need to Know

Secrets of the FICO Credit Score

As a financial planner, I know too well how important good credit is to the financial health of my clients. Excellent credit is a financial asset that can pay huge dividends across all areas of your financial life. But the world of credit bureaus and credit reports can be a little confusing to many people. Maybe even a lot confusing.

If you weren’t already aware, whenever you apply for credit, whether for a mortgage, an auto loan or a home equity loan, the lender is going to “pull your credit” and take a look at your FICO score. That score …

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How Do I Choose A Financial Planner?

You may be considering seeking some professional financial advice.  Or, if you already have a financial advisor, you may be wondering if they’re doing a good job for you.

You’re likely juggling 2 sets of questions as you consider this decision:

The first set is personal:

  • Do I like the advisor enough to spend significant amounts of time in their office?
  • Do I feel comfortable sharing all of my personal financial information, dreams, and goals?
  • Do I feel like the advisor understands and respects my lifestyle and goals and can help me achieve them?

With this first set, the answers …

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How Much Does Your Car Really Cost You?

Those of us that are old enough to remember Mr. Ed might recall that horses use to be the primary means of transportation. Okay, so maybe I’m not that old. But I do remember watching all those westerns. So what do horses have to do with cars? Not much except somewhere along the way, maybe it was when “horse power” was sexy, cars went from being a means of transportation, to a means of ego gratification. For those of you who are car fanatics, like most of my family are here in Michigan, I’ll tread lightly.

I heard once that …

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Four Things to do Now!

4 Things You Should Be Doing NowWith the recent up-side movement in the stock market, many folks are wondering what to do. Should I sell some of my positions? Should I buy more?  These questions a based on two feelings that can destroy your portfolio: Fear and Greed! Timing the market has never been a productive venture, at least not for me, and I feel that I am smarter than the average bear when it comes to investing.

So what can we do during this up and down market that is prudent for our future?

1. Dollar cost average.

This is the single most important strategy …

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Changes to the Illinois 529 Plan That You Need to Know

In case you happened to miss it, the Illinois legislature last year passed an addition to the Revenue Code that requires recapture of deductions that you may have taken for contributions to one of the Illinois 529 plans.

u of queensland by Ryan Wick529 Contribution Deduction Recapture

For years, the Illinois 529 plans – BrightStart, Bright Directions, and College Illinois! – have allowed you to deduct up to $10,000 in contributions ($20,000 for a married couple) from your income as calculated for Illinois income tax. At the present 3% rate, this can amount to a tax savings of up to $300 ($600 for a couple)… Read More

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