• College,  Savings,  Taxes

    Using Your VA529 Plan to Pay for Private K-12 Education

    Are you paying for private school for a kid in grades K-12? It's a little painful, isn't it? Well, now there's a way to reduce the sting (a little bit). With the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 parents now have another option to help pay for private school tuition in a tax-savvy manner. Now you can use the VA 529 plan to get a little extra tax deduction on your VA state income taxes (plus some tax-free growth for the super organized among you) on your private K-12 tuition bill. You can now take up to $10,000/ year from a 529 college savings account to…

  • Investing,  Planning,  Retirement,  Savings

    Building Long-Term Financial Freedom for Solopreneurs

    As a solopreneur you want to build long-term financial freedom, but there are so many options it's hard to know where to start. Solopreneurs have a lot of choices when it comes to their long-term financial freedom savings (formerly known as "retirement"). Small business owners can use IRAs, SIMPLE IRAs, SEP IRAs, and Solo-401(k)s (among other options) for their own savings. In this post I wrote for AthleteBiz I go over three of the most common account types and when you should consider choosing them. I also share some critical questions to ask before you set up a 401(k) plan with a custodian. The cheapest 401(k) plan provider is not…

  • Cash flow,  Savings

    6 Things To Do With Extra Cash

    Got a little extra cash burning a hole in your pocket? I don’t know about you, but when I find myself in the fortunate position of receiving some extra money from a bonus or tax refund, my first instinct is to get Chinese take-out and spend at least some of it on something for me. While I’m probably not alone there, our instincts aren’t always our best guide. It definitely helps to pause and be more intentional with unexpected cash. For example, last year we got a small state tax refund - nothing too exciting. At the time, we were planning a trip to Disney and we were really trying…

  • 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?…

  • College,  Kids and Money,  Savings

    Which Virginia 529 Plan Is Best?

    You’re ready to start saving for college. You go to sign up for a Virginia 529 College Savings Plan, but are immediately faced with a decision about which plan is the right one for you. Or maybe you have been pitched some expensive-looking mutual funds from a broker but you just aren’t sure that’s the right path for you. No worries. Today we’re going to dive into the three Virginia 529 College Savings Plans so you can make an informed decision about what’s best for you and your family. In no particular order, let’s get started. Virginia 529 Option #1: Invest529 The Invest529 is the option you can buy directly…

  • College,  Planning,  Savings

    Is there a college savings rule of thumb?

    Let’s talk college savings. Just when you thought you were starting to get a handle on saving for retirement/your post-career phase now, we have to add college savings into the mix. As if you needed another thing to worry about! Let’s go ahead and ask the hard question. Are you on track with your college savings? No clue? You’re not alone. Most people have no idea. With crazy high inflation and large cost differentials between schools, it can be hard to know if you are in a good place when it comes to your college savings, or if you need to “kick it up a notch.” With that in mind,…

  • Kids and Money,  Savings

    Can An Allowance Teach My Kid To Save?

    When parents start giving allowance we all dream of that moment when our kid says “Mom, will you put this in my college savings account? I want to prepare for the future” …no, just me? OK, well financial planners aside, I think it’s safe to say that we at least want our kids to not spend all of their money at one time on beef jerky. How can parents teach their kids to save? As you know from my previous post, I’m a big fan of giving an allowance. Allowance can be a powerful, hands-on tool for kids to practice making saving and spending decisions without making expensive credit mistakes.…

  • Investing,  Planning,  Retirement,  Savings

    How Much Do I Need To Save For Retirement?

    One of the biggest questions I get, from virtually every client and most of my survey respondents, is: How much money do I need to retire? There are so many things to think about and so many potential options it can be overwhelming to even know where to start. (Trust me, it’s complicated, and I’m a Financial Planner!) This is part of why so many people don’t even start saving for retirement. Let’s spend some time de-mystifying how much to save for retirement. Today we’ll go over some of the most common stumbling blocks to figuring out your target savings rate. We will also discuss how to evaluate online calculators…