A Hidden Gem in the Asheville Mountains

Many have had the pleasure of visiting Asheville and the surrounding area.  You may have visited during fall foliage season or in the spring when Biltmore’s gardens were in full bloom.  However, there is a lesser known event which occurs in the Asheville area twice a year and may be perfect to explore as you contemplate an important time of your life, retirement.   The concept of lifelong learning is not a new one.  Many take advantage of learning opportunities throughout their lives, completing degree programs at all ages.  However, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) located in the mountains of Asheville, takes that learning to new heights.  The topography of this small corner of the UNC Asheville campus helps and the offerings at the institute offer an amazing variety to please every sense.  One of their most unique offerings is a weekend adventure called, Paths to Creative Retirement.   The Institute hosts a 2 ½ day workshop focused on the many facets of retirement.  While your Financial Advisor typically helps you plan for the financial aspects of retirement, this workshop Read on! →

“Fall” into your Employer Benefits Package

  Although it may not yet feel like fall outside, we are approaching the last quarter of 2016 and the time when employer benefits open enrollment occurs for the coming year.  Before that benefits package hits your mail/email, here are a few things to consider in advance and discuss with your advisor.   Are you covered by a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP)? An HDHP is defined as having a deductible of at least $1,300 for Singles or $2,600 for families.  If your health plan qualifies, you are eligible to contribute pre-tax money to a Health Savings Account (HSA), up to $3,400 for Singles in 2017, or $6,750 for families per year.  By contributing pre-tax money, you reduce your current taxable income, but more importantly, when the money is withdrawn from the HSA for qualified medical expenses, it comes out tax-free.   There is currently no other investment vehicle in which pre-tax money goes in and tax-free money comes out. The ideal situation is to maximize contributions to the HSA each year you are eligible (by having a high deductible health Read on! →

Cheryl Sherrard quoted in recent online article

Cheryl Sherrard was recently quoted in an article entitled “Here’s Why It’s Taking so Long to Hit your Money Goals”, in Grow Magazine.  She offered advice regarding employee deferrals to 401(k) plans, reminding readers that contributing only up to your employer match amount is not likely to be enough for your eventual retirement.  This is an area where employees can make changes to save more quickly for the future. To see the article in it’s entirety, click here.

Why you should get to know your insurance agent!

When was the last time you met with your Property & Casualty Insurance agent? Here’s why you should get to know them. For many of us, our insurance agent is a name on an insurance card, the person we would call if we were ever involved in an accident or if we had a claim to file. The reason we need to get to know our agent is so that they can get to know us and therefore ensure that we are insured appropriately. I recently spent about an hour in my insurance agent’s office to complete a thorough review of my insurance coverage. A higher than anticipated homeowner’s invoice is what prompted me to initiate this session. The agent’s office was more than willing to meet and discuss the policy in detail. We reviewed all the details of our home, including square footage, floor coverings (hardwood, carpet, tile), upgrades to kitchens and bathrooms, outdoor improvements (screened porches, outdoor kitchens), as well as the basics of how many bedrooms, bathrooms, etc. were in the house.  After about 50 detailed questions, Read on! →

Did you know the Serenity Prayer applies to your financial plan?

Many of us are familiar with the Serenity Prayer.  Most individuals understand there are areas of their lives which they can’t control, as well as areas which are entirely within their control.  Thankfully, having the serenity to accept, the courage to change and the wisdom to know the difference might just make the financial journey more enjoyable. In financial planning, there are aspects which are “known” and entirely in your control.  There are also those things which are “assumed”, that may or may not be in your control and that can lead to an uncertain outcome.    A well-constructed plan dives into the details of your life, documents the known factors, and makes educated assumptions about what the future might hold and predicts an outcome.  Some of the assumptions however, are made in areas that are entirely out of your control and therefore can sometimes seem like a shot in the dark. So what does all of this mean for a secure future?  For retirement planning to be most successful, you must distinguish which areas you can control and those you Read on! →