Kids in college? Fill out that FAFSA

We’ve just begun the new year, and the next academic year is still months away. Nonetheless, if you have a child who will attend college in the fall, it’s not too soon to start thinking about what might be a vital component of paying for his or her higher education: financial aid.
Specifically, to help ensure that your child doesn’t miss out on federal and state student grants, work-study and loans for the 2015-2016 school year, you’ll want to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible. (You can start the process by visiting www.fafsa.ed.gov.)

What does 2015 hold in store for investors?

If you’re an investor, you probably had a pretty good year in 2014. But what’s in store for 2015?
It’s essentially impossible to make precise predictions about the performance of the financial markets — but it is possible to identify those economic conditions and market forces that may help shape outcomes in the investment world for 2015. By paying close attention to these conditions and forces, you can gain some valuable insights as to what investment moves might make sense for you.
Here are a few of these moves:

New contribution limits make 401(k) plans even more attractive

If you are interested in saving for retirement, here’s some good news: For 2015, the IRS has raised the maximum contribution limits for 401(k) plans from $17,500 to $18,000. And if you’re 50 or older, you can put in an extra $6,000, up from $5,500 in 2014.
These same limits also apply to 403(b) plans, for employees of public schools and nonprofit organizations, and to 457(b) plans, for employees of state and local governments and other governmental agencies, such as park boards and water districts. So, in other words, a lot of workers have gotten a “raise” in their ability to contribute to tax-advantaged retirement plans.

Consider these New Year’s financial resolutions

Now that 2015 is upon us, you may be thinking about making some New Year’s resolutions. Perhaps you’ll decide to take up a musical instrument, or hit the gym more often, or even learn a new language. All these are worthy goals, of course — but you could also gain some key benefits by working to achieve some financial resolutions.
Here are a few to consider:

Time for a family meeting to discuss financial preparations?

During the holiday season, you no doubt have a lot going on in your life — work functions, gatherings with friends and neighbors, tracking down the elusive “perfect gift,” etc. But you may find it valuable to add one more event to your calendar: a family meeting to discuss those financial preparations that affect you and your loved ones.
Of course, the scope of your meeting will depend on your age and the age of your children, and on whether you have elderly parents. So, let’s look at one family meeting scenario that would work under two different sets of circumstances: you are meeting with your own grown children or you are meeting with your elderly parents.
In either case, you’ll want to review the following areas:

Seek to balance ‘risk tolerance’ and ‘required risk’

by Edward Jones Matthew North Financial Advisor Like everyone else, you have financial goals. To help achieve these goals, you may need to invest — and when you invest, you’ll need to take on some risk. But the more you understand this risk, and the better you are at managing it, the greater your potential […]

What can you learn from the ‘Oracle of Omaha’?

Warren Buffet, the “Oracle from Omaha,” is considered one of the most successful investors in history. Yet while the investment world may seem complex, Mr. Buffet’s advice is actually pretty simple. Here are a few Buffet quotes, along with some suggestions on putting them to use:

Check out this year-end financial checklist

As 2014 draws to a close, you may want to look back on the progress you’ve made this past year in various areas of your life — and that certainly includes progress toward your financial goals. At the same time, you may want to make some end-of-year moves that can close out 2014 on a positive note while paving the way for a productive 2015.
Here are a few such moves to consider:

Share your ‘bounty’ with your loved ones

It’s almost Thanksgiving, a holiday that once celebrated the harvest season. Although many of us today may not be directly connected to agriculture, we still gather on Thanksgiving with our loved ones to share whatever “bounty” we may have. But this practice doesn’t have to begin and end with food. Why not incorporate the spirit of sharing into your overall financial strategy?
Here are a few suggestions for doing just that:

Charitable giving pays off … for everyone

Americans are pretty generous — in fact, 83 precent of us donated money to charitable organizations last year, according to a Gallup survey. And now that we’re entering the holiday season, charitable giving well may be on your mind. Your key motivation for making charitable gifts, of course, is to help those organizations whose work is meaningful to you. However, by supporting these groups, you can also make life less “taxing” for yourself.

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