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Happy Spring everyone! The first three months of 2018 just flew by, huh? If you’ve been as busy as us getting this year started, you may have lost track of what’s been going on in the financial world. No worries! That’s what we’re here for.

Here’s a quick recap of what we’ve been following so far this year:

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January: Keeping your finances secure while traveling abroad:

Here’s to hoping you’re planning on checking off one of your “bucket list” travel destinations in 2018. If you’re heading abroad, here are some tips for keeping your finances safe while you’re out discovering the world:

  • Clear out your wallet;
  • Notify your bank of your travel plans;
  • Use credit instead of debit when you can;
  • Make copies of your bank account and credit card info;
  • Bring extra cash with you;
  • Review the charges made on your accounts once you’re back home.

Safe travels this year!

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February: What’s the deal with the stock market?

Oh…market volatility. Exciting? Not so much. But volatility is actually a healthy and normal function of investment markets. In fact, looking back, there have been 77 market declines of 5-10% and 27 declines of 10-20% since 1945 alone.

Now’s a good time to take a step back and view this market slump with a bit of long term perspective. It’s been quite a while since we’ve experienced gyrations in the market like the ones of the past few weeks. Use this period of volatility to evaluate how you feel seeing the value of your investments drop. If it’s keeping you up at night and creating major anxiety, then you may have taken on more risk than you’re comfortable with. If you’re still feeling good about your investments for the long haul, then you may be right where you need to be.

It’s important to regularly update your investment risk profile. Your life, priorities and appetite for risk will all change over time. Use the uncomfortable market correction as a litmus test for whether you’re allocated the way you should be. If you’re unsure, give us a call and we’d be happy to go over things with you.

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March: Big changes in 529 plans from tax reform:

The tax reform bill brought a lot of change with it, including impacts to 529 plans. The new law states that K-12 tuition for private and religious schools can now be funded by a 529 plan, up to $10,000 per child per year. In the past, 529 plans could only be used to pay for post-high school education and other related expenses.

Couple things to keep in mind here:

  • All tuition costs must originate in 2018 or later;
  • Costs for textbooks, room and board, and school supplies are excluded.

An added benefit in many states is a possible deduction from individual state income taxes for K-12 tuition (Virginia is offering up to a $4,000 deduction!). As always, we advise you to speak to a tax professional to find out how all of this may benefit you and your family.

 

 

If you’d like to keep yourself on the up and up with all things personal finance, sign up for our e-newsletter, The Monthly Interest! We’ll keep you up to date as we roll on through the year.

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