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Information provided on this page is informational only. Nothing posted here should be considered investment advice. Please review your financial situation with a qualified financial professional before taking action. For more information please see our disclosure.

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Electric Rates May Skyrocket AGAIN: Action you can take now

New Hampshire residents recently saw a huge increase in their electric bill, for example, a 50% increase in electric rates for Eversource customers. Unfortunately, things may get worse with the next scheduled rate change (December 6 decision). For example, Eversource has said it is “worried there might not be enough bidders to fulfill all of the power it needs to supply. And even if there are enough bidders, the prices those bidders offer could be extraordinarily high.”

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It’s Medicare Open Enrollment Time!

If you’re 65 or older, by now you should have received your annual installment of the official U.S. government Medicare handbook, Medicare & You 2023. Your mailbox is also probably full of Medicare-related flyers from insurance companies trying to win your business. The annual open enrollment period for Medicare started on October 15 and goes until December 7. It is the one time every year that Medicare beneficiaries have an opportunity to modify their Medicare coverage. During the open enrollment period, you can switch or add a Medicare Advantage plan, switch, or add a Part D prescription drug plan and, in some states, like Massachusetts, switch or add a Medigap plan. Any changes you make take effect January 1 of next year.

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Tax Surprise Coming to Many in January 2023: Changes to Form 1099-K Reporting

If you use Venmo, Cash App, PayPal, eBay, etc., to send or receive payments, this may apply to you! U.S. tax law states that “gross income is ALL income received from whatever source derived.” Some people are under the false impression that if you do not receive a Form 1099 or federal W-2 form, you do not need to report the income. That is a dangerous perception, considering the severity of tax penalties for knowingly underreporting your income to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The “tax gap” in the U.S., defined as the difference in the taxes owed versus the taxes that were paid, was estimated at over $600 billion in 2020. The IRS has taken steps to reduce the tax gap, and one way is by reducing the threshold at which businesses and individuals must file Form 1099-K to report payments.

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Big Social Security Jump in 2023 — How This Impacts Retiree Tax Planning

One topic that has continually come up this year is inflation. Even though the Federal Reserve has been aggressively raising interest rates, so far, doing so has not produced much of an impact on this painfully persistent rise in prices. Inflation has been challenging for working individuals, but it has been especially burdensome for many retirees who live off a fixed income. One of the primary sources of income for many retirees is Social Security. A major benefit of Social Security compared to many other pensions is that it comes with a built-in yearly cost-of-living adjustment. This is one of the main reasons why we are generally proponents of delaying Social Security as long as possible—to the maximum of age 70. This is because the increased benefit for delaying is included in the inflation adjustment when it is calculated.

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What You Need to Know about Student Loan Debt Relief and the Limited Public Service Loan Forgiveness Waiver

If you have paid attention to the news over the past few months, you’ve likely heard of the Biden Administration's plan for student loan debt relief announced on August 24th. The application is live, making now the time to act for eligible borrowers. While debt relief received much of the headlines of late, another debt relief program, the Limited Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Waiver is set to expire at the end of the month. Eligible borrowers that have yet to opt in must do so very soon or lose out on the opportunity to do so.

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They Don't Ring A Bell At The Bottom

Stock and bond markets are falling, inflation is persistent, and the media keeps talking about a recession…what portfolio changes should you make? Should I Sell My Stocks? The current volatility in the stock market has many people asking the same question. The answer is no, you should not sell your stocks. Let’s remember that the average intra-year decline (drop at some point during one calendar year) is about 14%. We simply forget about this after the markets have recovered again. When your portfolio falls steeply, it is normal to have an emotional response. Do not react to it! By far the most powerful emotion in investing is long-term regret, and if you sell now, you will certainly regret it later.

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Massachusetts 62F Refund Alert

An obscure law in Massachusetts called Chapter 62F, enacted by voters in 1986 and only used once since then, allows for taxpayers to receive a credit if total tax revenues in a given year exceed an annual cap tied to wage and salary growth in Massachusetts. For tax year 2021, this amount was $2.941 billion, and this entire sum will be returned to Massachusetts taxpayers. Massachusetts estimates that more than three million Massachusetts taxpayers will be eligible for this special refund.

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Building a Solid Financial Foundation: A Pyramid for Resource Allocation

One of the most challenging parts of personal finance is figuring out what to do with our limited resources. If you're working, you're earning a certain amount each paycheck and need to decide how to allocate that money. How much goes toward necessities? How much to discretionary expenses? How much should you save for short-term goals? How much for longer-term goals and retirement? The list goes on and on. When managing your limited resources, it's important that you set up a solid foundation. When thinking of foundations, what often comes to mind is the shape of a pyramid. The long, wide base needs to be started first before moving upward to the peak. If you start building out of order—if you flip the pyramid on its head—instead of having a strong, steady structure, you're building a top that may spin precariously out of control. In the example of the food pyramid, if the foundational building block of your diet is processed foods instead of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, you're setting yourself up for health problems down the road.

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Lions and Tigers and Electric Rates -- Oh My!

Increases in electricity rates today are as scary as dangerous beasts. In past years, increases in the cost of electricity have tended to match the US’s modest inflation rates of 2% to 3%, but this year, electricity rates are seeing dramatic increases. California residents are looking at a potential increase of 27%, and on the other side of the US, New Hampshire rates are increasing by as much as 50%.

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Inflation on Your Taxes? How Inflation May Increase Your Taxes in 2022 and Beyond

Death, taxes, and inflation: three financial topics people generally like to bury their head in the sand about and pretend don’t exist. As financial planners, much of our job is helping our clients handle these tough topics, and luckily (or unluckily) for anyone reading this post, we’ll be touching on all three. Inflation has been top of mind for most people these days. It’s hard to look at prices anywhere and not see the impact of inflation. But one place where we may not see the effects of inflation directly is in our taxes paid. The perception of many working individuals is that taxes paid from their paycheck go into some void, and when they file their taxes in the spring, they either receive a refund or owe some money. There is little thought or analysis as to how or why the numbers end up as they do.

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