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February 2017
Dollar Sense

Butter is for Churning – Not Your Finances: Do You Know what Your Financial Advisor Is Really Up To?

CNBC defines churning this way: It involves “trading in and out of securities — often over a short period of time — in a way that serves no purpose for the investor but generates commissions for the broker.”


Courts have said that generally for a conservative investor, the annualized turnover rate of two suggests there may be churning. A turnover rate of four presumes churning, and six or more is conclusive of excessive trading.

Dollar Sense

Potpourri: Miscellaneous Stuff You Should Know about Money and Taxes

It’s the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit, more commonly called the Saver’s Credit. It’s intended to provide lower income individuals with an incentive to save for retirement security.

Legal Ease

Estate Conundrums and Cooperating Offspring

The problem is that if my son won’t act, that only leaves my daughter, who although I love dearly, is totally irresponsible and I really don’t want to put her in charge of any of my affairs. So I am at a loss as to what I should do.

January 2017
Dollar Sense

Home Sweet New Retirement Home? Bitter State Taxes Could Kill the Deal on Where You Choose to Live

But unless money is no object, before you move, check out the overall tax situation. That’s not just state taxes but also sales tax, property tax, death taxes and inheritance taxes. Otherwise, you could be in for a nasty surprise that makes life much more expensive than you expected.

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You’ll need to check with your target state to find out how to establish domicile. The definition of domicile varies by state, and failing to meet the qualifications could land you in the position of paying taxes – including estate taxes eventually – to your old state and your new state.

Dollar Sense

Tax Refund Delays Ahead… But Slower is Better

Senator McCaskill noted, “These arrests – the largest law enforcement action against these scammers to date – are an enormous victory for the thousands of victims, many of them elderly, whose sense of financial responsibility has been preyed upon by these criminals."

Dollar Sense

Thinking of Moving to a Different State? Differing Property Rules Can Cost You a Lot

Separate property does not automatically convert to community property, nor does community property automatically become separate...Couples who change states sometimes sign agreements meant to protect their property rights, only to end up with some unpleasant surprises.

Legal Ease

Know and Avoid the Multiple Pitfalls of DIY Estate Planning

In order for your trust to be a beneficiary of any assets that have to be probated, there must be a last will and testament in existence which names the trust as the beneficiary of those assets upon the completion of probate. This is why having a last will and testament is also critical to have even when you prepare a trust.

December 2016
Dollar Sense

New Costs for Medicare in 2017

If you don’t buy Part A when you first become eligible, your monthly premium when you do sign up may be 10% higher. You’ll have to pay the higher premium for twice the number of years you could have had Part A but didn’t sign up.

Dollar Sense

Potpourri: Stuff You Should Know to Protect Your Assets

What should you do? The FTC says you can just hang up. I like to tell the caller, “Okay, but this sounds important so I want to record the call.” That results in an instant hang up on their end.

What should you not do? Absolutely do not press any buttons, on the phone or computer. Even if the call says you can opt out of future calls by pressing a button, don’t. Remember these are thieves and pressing any button may be giving them permission to bill you somehow.

Dollar Sense

The Psychics Appear to Know All – But Do We Know Them?

If this sounds ridiculous, keep in mind, it’s been enormously successful. Federal officials say before being stopped by alert family members, some of the elderly victims were sending envelopes full of cash every week.

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