• Investing

    Seriously, what is Bitcoin?

    Have you purchased bitcoin on a credit card? No? (Well done!) That was a question a journalist recently emailed me. Fortunately, I don’t know anyone who has purchased bitcoin on credit (or at least anyone who felt compelled to tell me) but there appears to be a “bit” of a craze going on now around cryptocurrencies. To buy or not to buy? With Bitcoin (and other cryptocurrencies) that is a popular question. As is typical of the internet-age, there is a cacophony of noise on bitcoin available. There are even new marketing schemes with self-styled bitcoin gurus offering their knowledge to a select group of individuals for $80/month. Please make…

  • College,  Kids and Money,  Planning,  Savings

    Don’t make this tax mistake: 529 account edition

    A lot of people don't realize this but (real) financial planners review client tax returns as part of the financial planning process. This helps us point out ways to help clients save money on taxes, correct errors, or identify an investment manager that may be churning (trading frequently) or simply generating a lot of taxable gains and dividends.  One frequent Virginia state income tax deduction that many VA 529 account owners forget involves VA 529 plan contributions. Don't make this same mistake!  Check out this video (please ignore the ridiculous thumbnail image...) and find out how you might save more money on your VA state income taxes! https://youtu.be/7lbf9CfF_-A **This is…

  • Cash flow,  Employee Benefits,  Savings

    Is an HSA Right for Me?

    Many people sign up for a high deductible healthcare plan (HDHP) either at work on the exchange but don’t realize that these healthcare plans work best when paired with a healthcare savings account (HSA). An HSA is triple tax-preferred. What the heck does that mean? You can take a deduction against your income on your taxes or make pre-tax contributions through your payroll provider. Money contributed to an HSA grows tax-free while inside the HSA. Money withdrawn for qualified medical expenses (as defined by the IRS) is tax-free. Want to know more about the mechanics of an HSA? I wrote an article for Richmond Family Magazine that explains HSAs. Important side…

  • College,  Kids and Money,  Savings

    Maximize Your Virginia 529 Plan

    How can I maximize my tax-savings using a Virginia 529 account? What happens if my kid gets a scholarship? These are the kinds of questions I frequently hear from parents as they start saving for college. The Virginia 529 College Savings plan is pretty straightforward (especially after you read my post about the VA 529 plan that breaks it all down for you here!). However, there are a couple nuances that parents and other family members should be aware of to maximize their 529 account. Let's review four things about the Virginia 529 Plan that you will definitely want to know! VA 529: What Changed Under The 2017 Tax Law?…