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Levin: How to keep money issues from turning bitter

I pulled up to the four-way stop a couple of seconds before the driver on my right, who briefly slowed and gunned it right through. I stared in annoyance at how someone could violate not only the rules of the road, but general etiquette, and worse, how they could do it to me. Once I took myself out of it, I realized that the incident cost me at most five seconds and I chose to leave my resentment behind.

Anne Lamott in her new book “Almost Everything: Notes on Hope,” writes: “Expectations are resentments under construction.” That sentence has had a remarkable impact on me. I see how expectations affect me, but I also see it every day with clients. Here are a couple of ideas on how to handle things before the resentment builds.


With Rising Rates, It Now Pays To Hold Cash

For nearly a decade, earning a meaningful return on cash has challenged investors. Interest rates in the United States were compressed to near historic lows by the policy of the Federal Reserve following the Great Recession. Although this action helped support the struggling U.S. economy, there was little opportunity to earn interest for those holding cash. This low interest rate market was largely a global phenomenon and escalated to the extent that some investors internationally paid others to hold their cash.

As the broad economic recovery continues, interest rates have slowly reversed course from their historic lows. This has led to yields on many cash savings solutions increasing to more meaningful levels. This has given investors several ways to find yield on their cash without extending into opportunities with increased risk to their principal.


Levin: You need to ask the right questions to get the correct answers about money

We spend too much time on answers and too little on questions. What difference does the right answer make if it turns out to be the wrong question?

Let’s look at a few questions that many clients ask and what the real question should be.

The right question isn’t when do I retire, it’s what do I want to be doing with my life? In his book, “Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes,” William Bridges writes, “Every transition begins with an ending. We have to let go of the old thing before we can pick up the new one – not just outwardly, but inwardly, where we keep our connections to people and places that act as definitions of who we are.”


Figuring out who you aren’t can help your financial planning

Halloween and the upcoming election are not that different from each other. Children and candidates come to the door with their hands out, threatening bad things if you don’t give them what they want. You try to figure out who they really are. It is easier to determine who they aren’t.

Figuring out who we aren’t is also helpful when it comes to financial planning. If we are conscious of who we aren’t, we are more likely to make decisions that connect our actions and values. When our behaviors and beliefs intersect, we tend to be less scared about money. So think about who you aren’t.

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Social Security Benefits Increase in 2019

Each year, the Social Security Administration evaluates whether changes are warranted to the current system – impacting those receiving benefits, those working while receiving benefits, and those working and paying into Social Security. Earlier this month, the Social Security Administration released updates for 2019. What are the updates and who will be impacted?

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Solving the Medicare Puzzle – 2019 Edition

Medicare annual enrollment is right around the corner. Plan information and rates were announced October 1st with enrollment for 2019 coverage beginning October 15th through December 7, 2018. Now is the time for enrollees to brush up on the components of Medicare, examine some of the key changes for 2019, and review available options.

We provide an overview of the Medicare program components, and highlight some of the most significant changes to the program for the 2019 coverage year.

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Minnesota Residency Considerations & 2018 Taxes

As the leaves start to fall and the end of 2018 is in sight, it is a good time for those individuals who have split time during the year between Minnesota and another state to take a step back and determine where they stand in terms of residency status for Minnesota income tax purposes.

Minnesota has a rule that automatically considers an individual a resident for income tax purposes if they are physically within Minnesota’s borders for 183 days during the calendar year and also have a place of abode in Minnesota. This is true even if the individual is already considered a resident of another state. Those who intend to remain a non-resident of Minnesota for income tax purposes should keep the following points in mind.

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Financial Aid Q&A – FAFSA Opens on October 1st

It seems as if students were just picking out notebooks and pencils to kick off the school year. Even so, soon it will be time for students attending college during the 2019-2020 school year to start thinking about financial aid. How could it be we are discussing financial aid for NEXT school year?

On October 1, 2018, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (also known as FAFSA) opens for the 2019-2020 school year. The application is through the U.S. Department of Education and should at the very least be a consideration for college students each school year.

We provide some answers to relevant and important questions.


The Long Shadow of 2008

This weekend marks the tenth anniversary of the collapse of the Lehman Brothers investment bank, and with it the rapid descent into the global financial crisis. For many investors, it feels like only yesterday – and that fact may have implications for the next downturn, whenever it may come. 

What is the impact on investor behavior if the reference point associated with an economic recession is the near collapse of the global financial system?

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Aging Bull

According to recent headlines, this is now the longest running bull market in history. Although this statistic is much debated (short answer: they’re wrong but don’t get me started), there is no question that this bull market has been long. Age alone, however, is not a good way to evaluate the health of a market.