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Lessons from Sending My Son to College

By: Chris Link, CFP®, CPA, Accredited’s Director of Tax Planning

“The Best Day” by George Strait played on the radio the day we brought our first born home from the hospital. Thinking back to that day, it felt like we had arrived at the college conversation all too quickly. Much like the moment when we were no longer a family of two, watching our fledgling jump from the nest raised emotions and introspection.

It began to feel ‘real’ one week before my son’s college departure date. A mix of excitement and anticipation came over me thinking about the opportunities that lie ahead, and pride for the person he’s grown into. At the same time, thoughts of not seeing him every day and knowing that we’d all be moving into a new normal created a sadness. “The Best Day” holds a different meaning now; and listening to it again the morning we dropped him at college helped shift my focus back onto his excitement for this new journey.

Before we could send our son off to college, we had to cross the bridge of finding the “perfect one,” agree as a couple how to fund this new expense, and communicate funding and expectations to our college freshman.

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Levin: Long-term care, climate change and your finances

There would seem to be nothing in common between long-term care and climate change. But there is. Insurance companies cannot properly price it. This is evident to anyone who has seen their long-term care insurance or homeowner’s insurance costs continue to increase. If insurance companies are stumped, how do we plan for ourselves? Let’s take each issue separately.

Rather than go into the types of long-term care policies, let’s simply think about whether you need the insurance. I am generally ambivalent about the coverage because it is unclear whether it provides any real financial advantages. Here are some reasons it may make sense to own it.

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Levin: You can plan for tomorrow and still enjoy life today

Why do people spend money they don’t have, burst through their budgets, and end up pinky-swearing that they will never spend money like that again — until they do it again the next time?

In the book, “Atomic Habits,” James Clear wrote, “The costs of your good habits are in the present. The costs of your bad habits are in the future.”

Think about that. Buying something that you don’t really need at the expense of saving for something that you do means that you are paying a future price to satisfy today’s want.

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Levin: Why you need to ask questions of your financial adviser

A new client recently was asking many questions in a meeting, ending with one about whether there are ways to see their account directly from the brokerage firm in addition to the portal that we provide. He said, “As a lawyer, I like to double check everything.” And he ended by saying, “I trust you enough to ask this of you.” This got me thinking about gifts that occur in a reciprocal planning relationship.

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Levin: Finding a middle way with money pays big dividends

The fog had come in over the harbor as the fireworks were set off. The sound was loud, but the colors were muted until the fireworks fell below the cloud covering and briefly sparkled.

We had not been to a fireworks display like this and before the fog became too thick to see much of anything, this faint display was transfixing. While this fireworks show did not create the rush of ones in the past, it stayed with me longer.

Let me make a case for the muted, or as I prefer to think about it, the middle way. Our attention is drawn to the extremes, but why? 

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Levin: Build on areas of agreement to resolve money dispute with partner

I have learned a lot in over 35 years of doing this. And I am still learning. But I can give you something I have learned which constitutes the greatest financial advice you will ever receive as it relates to dealing with money with your partner. No matter what needless package arrives, what cockamamie get-rich-quick scheme is suggested, or what conversation you are about to have for the umpteenth time, if you want to stay in relationship with your partner then never roll your eyes.

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Cybersecurity: Protecting Yourself & Your Personal Information

Every year, more and more aspects of our lives become inextricably linked to the digital world – our finances, our personal communications, our health records, and increasingly even our household appliances and electronic devices are all dependent on internet connectivity. While these connections can offer convenience and previously unimaginable levels of detailed information, they also subject us to new risks. And just as the web of digital connections to our personal lives continue to expand, so too do the efforts of cyber criminals to exploit these new connections. We offer some tips and best practices to help mitigate online risk and provide resources for additional information and tools.

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Powering Sustainability | Solar at Accredited

The importance of sustainability permeates everything at Accredited Investors Wealth Management. It is a main consideration in Accredited’s own business succession planning, as we implement a strategy to ensure a sustainable future for our firm. But it is also the driving factor behind our decisions to install prairie restoration landscaping and introduce bee apiaries on our property, and to add an electric vehicle charging station for our clients and staff members.

That focus on sustainability was also the reason for installing a solar panel array on the roof of the building at Accredited in late 2015.

We are often asked questions about our solar installation, including just how much green energy we are able to produce. Considering we are a financial firm, you might think our first instinct would be to simply list the numbers – after all, measuring energy output is a relatively straightforward mathematical calculation.

However, as we have learned through serving our client families, numbers rarely hold meaning simply on their own. It’s only after adding context around the numbers that true value can be revealed. So, with that thought in mind, we’d like to share some relevant statistics about the immense environmental benefits produced by our installation, that put our solar energy efforts in perspective.

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Economists Expect the Fed to Cut Interest Rates. Markets Already Have.

The Federal Reserve will announce its decision on interest rate policy tomorrow. After raising rates throughout all of 2018, markets now anticipate the Fed to reverse course and begin cutting rates – if not at tomorrow’s meeting then very likely in July. Expectations for economic growth in the remainder of 2019 have moderated, and interest rates throughout the economy have already fallen substantially as a result. While the direction of Fed policy is extremely important, in many respects markets have been well ahead of the Fed this year.

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