• Investing

    What is ESG Investing?

    Are you concerned about the environment or human rights? Do you want companies to be good corporate citizens? Then ESG investing might be a good fit for you. ESG stands for Environmental Social Governance and it refers to investments that screen their stocks and bonds with ESG issues in mind. 86% of Millennials are interested in Sustainable Investing according to a recent poll by Morgan Stanley. However, it’s not just young people; 87% of women of all ages are interested in sustainable investing as well as 67% of men according to that same study. Yet, while there may be a lot of interest in sustainable investing, investor’s knowledge about the subject…

  • Kids and Money

    How to Talk About Money with your Kids

    Many people would rather talk about sex, death or politics instead of money. We all know how often we talk about those topics, so how many conversations are we having around money with our kids? In the words of Jay-Z "zip zero, stingy with dinero." OK, that may be a slight exaggeration but the power of societal taboos around money are strong. I wrote this article for Richmond Family Magazine to help parents navigate these potentially tricky and sometimes awkward conversations.

  • 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…

  • Budgeting,  Cash flow

    Eating Healthy on a Budget: Pro-tips from a Pro-Athlete

    Guest Post! I'm very excited to bring you a guest post on eating healthy, real food while on a budget from Brandon Hudgins an elite middle distance runner with Sketchers Performance. Brandon is also connected with AthleteBiz a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that connects world-class track and field athletes with fans. Check out the bottom of the post for more information on Brandon and AthleteBiz!Are you trying to eat healthier food? Are you worried that eating healthy food might stretch your budget? If you are just now making the switch to healthy eating, you might be scared of spending more money, or scared that you can never eat things you enjoy…

  • 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! **This is not…

  • 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?Prior to the passage…

  • Planning

    Tax-Savvy Charitable Giving with Appreciated Stock

    Lots of people like to make charitable donations in December. Typically people make their charitable donations by writing a few checks and dropping them in the mail. Which works.  But did you know there is a tax-savvier way to make your charitable donations? If you have a taxable investment account with stocks, ETFs or mutual funds that have increased in value (appreciated securities) you can actually donate those directly to your favorite charity. So instead of selling those appreciated securities and paying a capital gains tax you could simply gift away the capital gain. If you have held those appreciated securities for at least one year you can gift away…

  • Planning

    5 Ways to Maximize Your Charitable Giving

    ‘Tis the season for giving, and we have 5 ideas to help you maximize your charitable donations! These tips are quick and easy to implement, but can have a tremendous impact on your community. Also, if you itemize on your taxes be sure to track your charitable giving as those gifts may be tax deductible. 1. Sign Up For Ongoing Gifts By signing up for an ongoing giving program you help provide some predictability for your favorite charities. When charities and organizations are able to have a better sense of what their cash flow will look like over the year, they can make better plans. They might be able to…