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Hilltop Market Update 3rd Quarter 2018

  Hilltop Market Update, August 2018 Video Transcript Dave:    Hello, and welcome to Hilltop Wealth Advisors’ 3rd Quarterly Investment Review and Outlook.  I’m David Wise, and with me today is Chris Hostetler. Chris:    Hi, Dave. Dave:    Thanks for joining me, Chris. To start off, Chris, could you highlight a few of the items really driving the markets year-to-date? Chris:    Certainly.  You know, we have to acknowledge the trade war talk and all of that tension that permeates the national consciousness. It is a threat to the economy, it’s a threat to the markets, and that’s something we’re not going to lose sight of.  That being said, there are a lot of other things that we think we need to pay attention to.  Most importantly, the US economy is in a pretty strong place right now. We see continued growth and we see still a very low probability of recession this year, a ...

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Estate Planning - What I Learned From My Grandfather After His Death

Estate Planning - What I Learned From My Grandfather After His Death

Executing the documents is just the beginning.  Where most people fall short is the implementation, which can be easily overlooked. Read our helpful tips for making the most of your estate plan and following through with your plan.

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Bunching Your Charitable Gifts Could Save You on Taxes - Decoding the Tax Law

Bunching Your Charitable Gifts Could Save You on Taxes - Decoding the Tax Law
By: Chris Hostetler Under the new tax code, fewer people will likely claim charitable gifts as itemized deductions.  This is because the standard deduction has been raised and will automatically cover more taxpayers.  It remains to be seen whether this will have a noticeable impact on the total amount that Americans give to charity – I hope that Americans will continue to be as generous as they have been historically, regardless of the tax code. But at the very least, the new tax code may mean you need a new strategy for giving. Depending on your personal tax situation, you might want to consider “bunching”: making two years’ worth of gifts in one year. This strategy could work if you make substantial gifts but still land just below your standard deduction threshold. To understand why this could make sense now, it’s important to first understand one of the basic principles of tax planning in the US.  You can reduce your taxable income using the higher of: ...

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5 Quick Personal Finance Tips for Recent Graduates

5 Quick Personal Finance Tips for Recent Graduates
By: Brittany Mollica You’ve finally gotten your degree and landed your first adult job – congrats! Entering the “real world” can be overwhelming; between starting a new job, navigating a new city and making new friends, dedicating time to think about your financial situation might be low on the priority list. However, the sooner you can take a proactive approach to your personal finance, the better. As a recent college graduate myself (Go Heels!) and a Certified Financial PlannerTM professional, I can affirm that these 5 quick tips will help you get started in the right direction: Read your employee benefits handbook – While it may be tempting to just skim through the details of your employee benefits, it is extremely rewarding to have a good understanding of your benefits. For example – how many days of paid vacation do you get? Are you allowed to take extra time off to go volunteer? Does your employer match your contributions to your 401(k) plan? Do they off ...

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Changes You Need to Know – Decoding the Tax Law

Changes You Need to Know – Decoding the Tax Law
By: Chris Hostetler You know the income tax code has changed for 2018, and you may have a vague idea of the impact to your situation.  Most taxpayers are getting offsetting doses of positive and negative adjustments, and it is time to start thinking about some of the details and the planning implications. To help our clients start thinking about their personal situations, we hosted an educational event a few weeks ago to highlight some of the major changes in the new tax code.  In today’s post, we have a brief recap of the presentation for those who weren’t able to join us.  (This will also help those who attended but were too focused on the appetizers and mint juleps to pay attention.) First off, much thanks to our presenter, Tyler De Haan, Director of Retirement Services at Principal Financial Group.  Tyler compiled and presented this information at our request. And to get the ever-important caveat out of the way – we are NOT tax advisors or CPAs.  We e ...

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Hilltop Market Update 2nd Quarter 2018

Hilltop Market Update 2nd Quarter 2018
  Hilltop Market Update, May 2018 Video Transcript David Wise (DW): Hello, and welcome to Hilltop Wealth Advisors’ 2nd Quarterly Market Update and Outlook.  I’m David Wise and with me today is Ben Yeager. Ben Yeager (BY): Thanks, Dave.  Glad to be here. DW: So, our last update came in the middle of the stock market correction that we saw in February, where the S&P 500 actually dropped 10% from its peak and I think it is easy for us to forget that prior to that for 24 months straight, we had really solid smooth markets. The volatility that we’ve seen has been persistent and Chris and Rusty, I think, did a good job of highlighting that last time in our quarterly update.  We think that is going to remain present going forward and that’s coming particularly from some of the headlines that we’ve seen around trade wars and interest rate increases with the Fed and that’s having a pretty large role in performance year to date.&n ...

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Spring Cleaning for Your Personal Finances

Spring Cleaning for Your Personal Finances
By: Chris Hostetler and Kali Whitaker You’ve cleaned out the garage and straightened your closet, but when was the last time you organized something that truly mattered? Too many of us accumulate the debris of one-time financial decisions and never clean up: an old 401(k) that you haven’t rebalanced in years, 15-year-old tax documents sitting in your desk drawer, a permanent life insurance policy that hasn’t been properly funded and the list goes on… The good news for you financial hoarders is that with a few simple steps you can do away with a lot of the clutter. Here are some ideas to get you started: Check your credit – Most people check their credit when applying for a loan or when there’s an incident, such as the 2017 Equifax data breach. But taking a periodic look at your credit reports, spending just a few minutes a few times a year, you can prevent big headaches with an early catch of any misreported accounts or identity theft. For tips on how to monito ...

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Hilltop’s Favorite Spring Happenings in the Triangle

Hilltop’s Favorite Spring Happenings in the Triangle
By: Kali Whitaker It’s easy to understand why spring is a favorite season for many North Carolinians. Flowers are blooming, temperatures are {mostly} temperate, and there’s no shortage of fun events to enjoy with friends and family. To help you fill your spring weekends, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorite events going on across the Triangle this season: Pittsboro, Saturdays Visit The Belted Goat at The Fearrington Inn on Saturdays at 3pm for a free wine tasting. The Goat is Fearrington Village’s personal wine and coffee shop and boasts knowledgeable and helpful sommeliers who will hand-select wines for the tasting and guide you through choosing the perfect bottle to take home to enjoy. Raleigh, April 7th Enjoy the spring beauty of the JC Raulston Arboretum at the Raulston Blooms Festival from 9 am to 4 pm. At only $10 per family (free for JCRA members), there’s no excuse not to enjoy unique food trucks, local artisans and more! You can also spruce up yo ...

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A Brief Homeowner’s Guide to Tax Reform – Decoding the Tax Law

A Brief Homeowner’s Guide to Tax Reform – Decoding the Tax Law
By: Chris Hostetler Happy home listing season!  It is almost Spring, which brings yard work, allergies, and real estate open houses.  If you’re looking to buy a new home or improve your current home, there are some things you should know about the new tax law, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which goes into effect for the 2018 tax year.  In fact, the law may affect you as a homeowner, even if you aren’t making any changes to your address or spending money to renovate the place. First, the usual caveat - consult with your tax advisor to better understand how the updates will affect your unique situation.  Now, here are some of the changes: An increase in the standard deduction – Although this isn’t a homeowner’s issue per se, it affects many homeowners who were previously taking itemized deductions.  The standard deduction is basically doubled, so the deductibility of mortgage interest is no longer of value for some people.  As an example, if y ...

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Hilltop Market Update, February 2018

Hilltop Market Update, February 2018
  The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. Indexes are unmanaged and do not incur management fees, costs, or expenses.  It is not possible to invest directly in an index.    Video Transcript: Chris: Hi there. Welcome to the Hilltop Wealth Advisors’ Market Update and Outlook for the first quarter of 2018. I’m Chris Hostetler and with me today is Rusty Eriksen. Thanks for being with me Rusty. Rusty: Glad to be here, Chris. Chris: So, we were just wrapping up our quarterly investment outlook meeting a couple of weeks ago and remarking that we have seen a pretty good run in the markets lately. Fixed income investments were somewhat flat in 2017 but stock markets in both the U.S. and abroad had a pretty good run. It was a good year across the board, wasn’t it? Rusty: It was and when we were talking with the different economists and ...

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