Eric Clark Named a NAPFA-Registered Financial Advisor

October 9, 2013:  Eric Clark has attained the distinction of being named a NAPFA-Registered Financial Advisor. The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) is the country’s leading professional association of Fee-Only financial advisors—highly trained professionals who are committed to working in the best interests of those they serve. NAPFA-Registered Financial Advisors are held to a rigorous education requirement in excess of that required by the CFP® Board, and must meet the following additional requirements to be considered for NAPFA’s highest level of membership: Advisor must maintain a CFP® designation Offer comprehensive financial planning services and submit a comprehensive financial plan for peer review Minimum of 3 years of comprehensive planning experience 60 hours of continuing education over the course of 2 years across all core areas of financial planning: Insurance & Risk Management, Investments, Income Tax Planning, Retirement Planning & Employee Benefits, Estate Planning, and Communications; and a minimum of 2 hours in Ethics of Financial Planning (CFP® requirement is 30 hours over 2 years) Must maintain NAPFA’s definition of a Fee-Only Financial Planner— NAPFA defines a Fee-Only financial advisor Read on! →

Making Tax-Efficient Donations and Gifts

Building on our recent tax newsletter, below are some charitable giving suggestions that might help reduce taxes while providing some personal fulfillment.  It is well known that giving comes from the heart and is not typically financially motivated, but it doesn’t hurt to receive a little benefit when your tax liability is reduced.  Taxes and charitable giving are unique to the individual. Since these recommendations might not be appropriate for everyone, always check with a professional advisor before making any final decisions.   Donating Appreciated Stock Starting with the basics, you can typically donate appreciated stocks and mutual funds directly to a charity equipped to accept them.  If you want to make several gifts to multiple recipients consider opening a donor advised fund with either Charles Schwab or Fidelity Investments.  The donation to a donor advised fund is tax deductible in the year deposited to the account.  If you want to make several donations or you aren’t sure which charity you want to give to, the donor advised fund is ideal.  For more information on donor advised funds please visit Read on! →

College Savings Strategies

My colleague, Cheryl Sherrard, recently wrote a piece on what parents should consider before sending their children off to college for the first time.  A Health Care Power of Attorney (HCPOA) and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) waiver are critical for a child that is 18 or older yet still dependent on their parent(s) for assistance.  If you are not yet at the point of sending your child off to college, but rather are at the stage of considering how you will fund higher education for your young children, there are some basics you should consider now, before time gets away from you. Some Basics[1]: Projected tuition and fees at Public In-State university is $108,100 (4 years, enrolling 2030) Projected tuition and fees at Private college is $362,800 (4 years, enrolling 2030) Average annual increase in cost is between 4% and 5% These costs are substantial.  If you prepare early, the impact of these costs on your annual budget can be reduced.  The key is starting early and saving consistently.  There are many ways to save but this Read on! →

The Affordable Care Act Considerations for Small Business Owners

As a small business owner I have observed the machinations of the Affordable Care Act from a safe distance.  From its inception, it has served as a divisive focal point for our elected representatives.  As with most comprehensive government policy initiatives, the respective sides have spun the details in a way that works to their advantage.  The Affordable Care Act has not been exempt from this posturing and continues to have its share of supporters and detractors. Over the years I have found that most new initiatives never fully meet the needs of everyone but if looked at more closely, often have appealing features for certain groups or individuals.  While not completely sold on every aspect of the Affordable Care Act, I have decided to assess the various components.  I plan to use this forum to highlight a few basics and expand further in future writings.  In time, my goal will be to make an informed decision on whether the Affordable Care Act is right for my business, my three associates, and for me and my family. The Basics Beginning Read on! →

Market Data and the U.S. Open

As we start a new week, I want to highlight a few items of interest that are coming up.  I don’t plan on scheduling my week around any of them but all will have their respective impact on my daily routines. Thursday, June 13 – Retail sales data for May will be released from the Commerce Department and the U.S. Open Golf Championship will begin at Merion Golf Club outside of Philadelphia, PA. Friday, June 14 – The May producer-price index is scheduled to be released by the Labor Department and The University of Michigan releases its consumer confidence index for June. The markets continue to be volatile as investors attempt to speculate on what the Federal Reserve will do next.  It is concerning that the stock market goes up even when the jobs data is not sufficient to put the economy on more solid footing.  There is something fundamentally risky with market appreciation that seems driven more by monetary policy than business fundamentals. Because you never know what the market will do, it is best to stick with your Read on! →