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Make Wise Financial Decisions

Hilltop Market Update 2nd Quarter 2019

Hilltop Market Update 2nd Quarter 2019

Rusty Eriksen and David Wise summarize Hilltop's updates on the equity and income markets, including thoughts on recent conversations with clients.

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Personal Finance 101 – IRAs: Are You Team Traditional or Team Roth? Part Two

Personal Finance 101 – IRAs: Are You Team Traditional or Team Roth? Part Two

You’ve mastered the basic differences between a Traditional and a Roth IRA (by reading part one of this post) and you’re ready to start saving. Now, which type of account should you use? 

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Personal Finance 101 – IRAs: Are You Team Traditional or Team Roth? Part One

Personal Finance 101 – IRAs: Are You Team Traditional or Team Roth? Part One

You’re a saver, and you’ve heard that contributing to a Traditional or Roth IRA is a good tax move. But you may be bewildered about the difference and trying to decide which one is for you. We’re here to help! This post is part one of two and will discuss the rules of Traditional and Roth IRAs.

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The Yield Curve Inverted – What Should I Do?

The Yield Curve Inverted – What Should I Do?

A commonly cited indicator of recessions, an inverted yield curve, may have presented itself recently.  Here are some smart steps you can take.

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Personal Finance 101 – 5 Steps to Become the Boss of Your Budget

Personal Finance 101 – 5 Steps to Become the Boss of Your Budget

Budgeting does not have to be difficult or time-consuming. It can actually be comforting to know that you have a plan for your money, especially if that includes a regular Starbucks run! To help you get started, here are five simple steps for creating a basic budget.

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Hilltop Market Update 1st Quarter 2019

Hilltop Market Update 1st Quarter 2019

Chris Hostetler and Ben Yeager summarize Hilltop's updates on the equity and income markets, including thoughts on US economic strength, Brexit negotiations, US-China trade negotiations, the Fed's interest rate policy and more.

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A New Deduction for Business Owners - Decoding the Tax Law

A New Deduction for Business Owners - Decoding the Tax Law
By Miles Pfeifer (guest post) I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving and are looking forward to the year-end holiday season. If you’re a business owner, Congress has already prepared an exciting ‘gift’ for you, as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017: a shiny new business tax deduction. For those who qualify, properly taking advantage of these new tax rules may result in substantial tax savings. As part of the new tax laws, effective for income earned in 2018, the IRS has added a new Internal Revenue Code Section 199A, and come up with some ‘exciting’ new terms, most importantly “Qualified Business Income” (QBI) and “Specified Service Trade or Business” (SSTB). As is often the case with Congress and the IRS, the new laws come with instructions. Lots of instructions. The IRS has published its first set of guidance for these new rules, totaling only 184 pages. Don’t worry, more explanations are anticipated. For those brave enough to read on, ...

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Hilltop Market Update 4th Quarter 2018

Ben Yeager and Rusty Eriksen provide a summary view of our investment committee’s latest research, sharing our thoughts on market volatility, interest rates and international markets.

Personal Finance 101 – Income Taxes Made Easy … Well, Easier

Personal Finance 101 – Income Taxes Made Easy … Well, Easier
By: Brittany Mollica As a young professional, you may think you’re too busy to learn how your tax return works. Whether you’re new to adulting and filing on your own for the first time or you’ve been filing for a few years and want to actually understand it this time, you don’t need to be intimidated by the 1040. In this post we will give you an overview of Form 1040, explaining the different sections of the form while also giving you some tips so that filing your taxes can be as smooth and painless as possible. Note that all guidelines and numbers included in this article are based on 2018 rules. Section 1: This should be the easiest part – listing your personal information. In this section, you identify yourself, your spouse (if married) and your dependents (if you have any) as well as select your filing status: Single - Fairly self-explanatory. Your household is just you – no spouse or dependents. Married Filing Jointly - This filing status combines ...

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Should You Increase This Year’s Tax Bill? The Case for a Roth Conversion

Should You Increase This Year’s Tax Bill? The Case for a Roth Conversion
By: Chris Hostetler With a long-term view of tax planning, the goal is to reduce tax payments over time, not necessarily this year. It might actually make sense to pay a little extra now if it means you can save more money later. One of the best ways to do this is with a Roth conversion. To understand this strategy, you have to be clear on the different tax treatment between the two main types of IRAs: Traditional IRA – contributions are generally tax deductible, and then growth is tax deferred. You pay taxes when you take money out through a distribution. You can usually begin taking distributions after age 59 ½, but you MUST begin taking yearly Required Minimum Distributions at age 70 ½. Roth IRA – you get NO tax deduction for your contributions. But the account grows tax free, and you can take distributions tax free. Furthermore, you never have to take Required Minimum Distributions during your lifetime – you’re welcome to leave these tax-free funds to yo ...

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