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On The Horizon Blog

The financial planning and investment landscape changes at a dizzying speed – and often with conflicting messages. Read our team of experts’ advice on saving, spending, investing, retirement, taxes, giving and more to help you enjoy a full life.

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Top 5 Mistakes in Estate Plans – Does Yours Have Any?

The primary purpose of an estate plan is to provide for the thoughtful transition of asset ownership to intended heirs.  After a plan is drafted, mistakes can creep in and upset a carefully-drafted plan.  Below, are five of the more common problem areas to consider. 1. Misusing Joint Ownership Joint tenancy is a common form […]

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4 Things a Surviving Spouse Should Know About Social Security

The Social Security administration gives benefits to surviving spouses based on the deceased’s retirement benefit. If the survivor is already taking retirement benefits, they can take the higher of either their own or their deceased spouse’s benefit.  Rules on these benefits are based on the age of the survivor and if the deceased had begun […]

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Year-End Financial Checklist

As 2019 comes to an end, take a few minutes to put a bow on your financial life for the year by running through this quick checklist: Maximize Employer Benefits: Spend flex dollars – Many employers offer Flexible Spending Accounts for health expenses or dependent care. Often times, balances must be spent before year-end or […]

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How to Help a Loved One Through a Divorce

The ending of anyone’s marriage often has far-reaching ripple effects and it’s difficult to know how to support a loved one without getting too involved or picking sides. Although the road to divorce is well-traveled, the stages of divorce most individuals experience are rarely well understood. There is a relatively predictable pattern of emotional responses […]

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Working Wealthy – You Are In Control

Our three-year-old son, Nate, is a cannon-baller. If you’re not familiar with that term, it just means that he’s a mini-lunatic when it comes to bodily safety and decision making. For example, last weekend, as my daughter and I reclined on the floor reading a book together, Nate decided to run at us full speed […]

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Should My Agency Be an S Corp or a C Corp?

Recently I spoke at the Independent Insurance Agents (IIA) of Illinois annual conference on financial planning for agency owners. After the presentation which included a discussion on taxes, an owner approached me about the tax structure of his agency. He is currently structured as a C Corporation and wanted to know if that was the […]

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Medicare 2019 – Key Enrollment Dates and Important Changes

The leaves are changing colors and a cool breeze is in the air, which means many retirees are securing their winter travel plans. However, before jumping on the plane to escape the cold winter months that lie ahead, it is also time for Medicare participants to decide if changes should be made to their health […]

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The Cobbler’s Children Paradox Affects Financial Professionals Too

The cobbler’s children have no shoes and financial professionals (private equity professionals, investment bankers, asset managers) have no financial plan. This paradox seems to consistently plague the individuals I meet who work in the finance industry. One would think that those in the industry are buttoned up in terms of their own financial needs; however, […]

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Updating an Estate Plan – Organizing Your Thoughts

Preparing an estate plan can be an intimidating process, since final instructions for a family’s assets are memorialized.  Upon death, those instructions are fixed – forever.  Estate plans should be reviewed frequently as family circumstances change – children mature into adults and in-laws are introduced into a family.  When children are very young, parents focus […]

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What happens to your belongings when you die?

As Financial Advisors, we put a lot of thought and effort into making sure that we have the proper beneficiary designations and titling on accounts for clients so that they are passed on appropriately someday in the future.  Much of our focus is on investment accounts, bank accounts, houses, etc. – but what happens to […]

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Year-End Tax Planning – Strategies to Save

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) put into place new tax legislation for Americans, officially taking effect for the 2018 tax year.  The full effect of the changes was not felt by most individuals and families until they filed their returns in April of this year. If proactively planned for, below are […]

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Working Wealthy – Accumulation to Consumption

We get the opportunity to work with BDF clients in all stages of their personal financial planning. Those stages include building wealth, accumulating wealth and eventually consuming that wealth. That last stage is probably the most interesting as it appears to be the most difficult from a behavioral level. That’s right—spending one’s retirement savings is […]

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