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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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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.


We hired a nanny. Now what about the taxes?

As the kids settle in to the first couple weeks of summer break, many parents have gone the route of hiring a nanny to supervise the kids while parents work over the summer. Although this is a common practice, what often isn’t fully understood are the tax implications that can arise when someone chooses this option for summer daycare. The details can seem daunting, but a few key points can help to clarify a potentially complicated requirement.


Navigating the Retirement Transition

Transitioning to retirement can be a complicated process both financially and emotionally, as new routines and perspectives are created.

One of the most significant adjustments encompasses both of those dynamics: the shift from earning a regular paycheck to living off savings that have been accumulated.

Establishing a cash reserve for near-term expenses may help to alleviate some of the potential stress of the retirement transition – enabling more of retirement portfolio to remain invested for the long-term, and allowing for more focus on how to best to spend time in retirement.


Thoughts on a Tax Filing Season Like No Other….

Tax season is potentially more complicated this year, with many new provisions resulting from the tax law changes in place for the first time.

Because of these changes, many may be avoiding the start of the filing process altogether. The IRS reports that it has received fewer returns than usual thus far.

This could be a particularly challenging year to delay the start of the tax-filing process, precisely because there are so many new variables in play.

Accredited’s Director of Tax Planning, Chris Link, CFP®, CPA, provides thoughts regarding why starting the filing process sooner — especially this year — may be the best option


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.


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.