Just when we get into the swing of the relaxing family weekends, trips to the beaches and the parks, get-togethers with friends, the golden glow of the sunshine late in the days, we realize it's already coming to a close. School days are almost here, end of summer days are far too near. Are you like me, wishing it could last a little longer?

In contrast, September always feels like a fresh start to me, even though we're just a few months away from the holidays! (Is it too early to start shopping?) I suppose this time of year feels like a new beginning because of my girls. This time of year is marked with Abbey leaving home and heading back to campus. It brings a little melancholy to the air, but I'm excited for the new adventures she'll have at school this year. She has been a tremendous help to us at CURO this summer. As I write this message, I'm soaking in every moment I have with her on our family vacation, taking in the sights together, making memories, talking about her dreams of what could be ahead. I hope you and your loved ones have had a lot of fun, enjoying special moments together, too.

Our summer intern, Najeedah, has also left us, to return to school with all the knowledge and experience she has gained these last few months. I hope you had a chance to meet her during her time at CURO; what a brilliant young woman, both in smarts and the warmth of her personality. We wish her all the best in her last year at Temple.

The coming fall brings back two important and popular events for our clients: October 4th - Long Term Care Presentation Dinner & October 23rd - Medicare Marathon . Both of these informative sessions are free events but require an RSVP. Please email if you are interested in joining us.

Lastly, we've been promising more positive changes ahead and you will see them soon, I promise! We've spent the summer writing and tweaking and thinking about the best ways for us to address our clients needs and our growing firm. Stay tuned to your inbox for the announcement! In the meantime, soak up all the warm sunshine and family time you can. I certainly will!

 Strong July for Global Markets
G lobal markets had a strong July, rebounding from a volatile June. Here in the U.S., the S&P 500 Index gained 3.72 percent while the Dow Jones Industrial Average grew 4.83 percent. The Nasdaq lagged its counterparts with a gain of 2.19 percent, after a technology sell-off pulled down performance at month-end. 

Better-than-expected fundamentals supported the positive returns. Spurred by the strong economy, corporate sales have taken off. Almost three-quarters of S&P 500 companies have reported sales increases above expectations, which is significantly above the five-year average. The size of the beats has also been above average. Not only is sales growth doing well in absolute terms, but it is surpassing expectations, which is positive for market performance.

Sales matter, but it is the money a company keeps—its earnings—that matter more. The news here was also very good, with five out of six companies beating estimates thus far. Earnings growth for the third quarter is also better than expected; it was 21.3 percent as of July’s end, up from an estimated 20 percent on June 30.

Fundamentals drive long-term performance, so the second quarter was very positive. Moreover, analysts project double-digit earnings growth for the rest of the year.

Don't Forget These Events This Fall!

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Not Your Average 529 Plan –  Retirement and Estate Planning ,  Part 2
by Marianna Goldenberg

In Not Your Average 529 Plan – Part 1 we reviewed basic definitions and uses of 529 and 529 ABLE plans for education planning. In Part 2 we are going to discuss non-traditional ways to use 529 plans, specifically for retirement and estate planning.

Estate Planning

While 529 plans are commonly used for education savings, they can also be used for tax-efficient estate transfer. This can be done through a process called forward gifting or  super-funding .  This process takes advantage of a unique provision in Section 529 of the IRS Code that allows people to gift five years' worth of contributions in the present year without incurring a gift tax consequence. If you remember from Part 1, the IRS allows for an annual gift of up to $15,000 per recipient for individuals ($30,000 for married couples) annually without gift-tax consequences (as of 2018).

Let’s break this down in an example for a married couple.
Now – December 31, 2018  
Standard gift is made: $15,000 x 2 individuals =  $30,000   
Anytime in 2019   
Forward gift contribution is made: $15,000 x 5 years x 2 individuals
$150,000  (assuming 2018 limits)
2020 – 2023  No gift    

By following this method, you’ll have removed  $180,000  from your estate by gifting it, tax-free, between 2018 and 2019. You can then continue this process in 2024.

Keep in mind, even though contributions to a 529 plan are revocable (owner can claim their contributions back), plans are treated as completed gifts to the account beneficiary, and the 529 account value is removed from the taxable estate.

Retirement Planning

Let’s say you maxed out with your pre-tax retirement plan contributions and would like to save more for your retirement....
More Than Just a Beautiful View...
Along the banks of the Delaware River, in the colorful and artsy town of New Hope, PA, sits a charming boathouse-style restaurant known for the "best view in town, rain or shine." Walking in the doors of Martine's Riverhouse , you'll feel relaxed like you are at home, with its ambiance and the wealth of history in the location, dating back to 1752.

More impressive than the unhindered view that has drawn tourists and locals alike for over 30 years, is the passion and warmth that resonates from the establishment's proprietor herself, Martine Landry. Inspired by her mother's own French-Canadian culinary savvy, Martine never sought classical training but instead worked for just a short time in the restaurant industry before launching into her own place, at just 25 years old. And what an establishment it has been through the years, well known for its fresh, eclectic and seasonal cuisine, the accommodating, friendly service, and of course that view. Martine's perseverance helped her survive the challenges of her business residing in a flood zone, but she has rebounded and rebuilt - twice - better than ever. As a trailblazer for female entrepreneurs, she has never found her journey to be an easy one, but always rewarding, as she paves the way for the next generation of young, strong women to take over where she will leave off upon retirement.

Through the trials and triumphs of operating a special business like Martine's Riverhouse, we have been so proud to advise Martine and her family over the years, preparing for the challenges, planning for the growth, celebrating the success. Martine dreamed of taking a memorable extended vacation in Portugal. This summer she made that happen and rented a home for a month to share with her family.
5 Money-Saving Tips To Do Before Your Next Trip Abroad
By Jeanie Ahn for Yahoo Finance

Planning a summer trip abroad? This year, Americans plan to spend an average of $2,236 on family vacations , according to  NerdWallet . If you’re splurging on an international vacation, that money can go very quickly so here are 5 things you need to do before your trip that’ll save you big .

1. Give your bank a call.  Let them know where you’re going and when. That way your card won’t be flagged for potential fraudulent activity, and your charges won’t be declined while you’re trying to have a good time. For access to cash, most foreign banks only accept four-digit PIN numbers. If you have a 6-digit PIN, check with your bank’s customer service rep if you need to change it, or if you’re able to use the first four or last four digits of your current PIN code. The rules may vary depending on which country you visit.

2. Request a waiver to minimize banking usage fees.  Before you get off the phone, request a full waiver for all your international transaction fees and ATM fees during your travel dates. Even if your bank has a partnership with an overseas branch, it’s likely that you’ll still get hit with 3% to 5% international transaction fees on top of the amount you withdraw, plus a $5 ATM fee. Which means on your European trip, every time you withdraw 500 euros, your bank may charge you 20 euros.

When I called my bank, they approved my request within minutes and extended the waiver for 60 days. And I was informed that I could visit any ATM, not just their partner branches – which is a huge time saver since I won’t have to go out of my way to track down specific branch locations during my vacation.

3. It helps if you’re a good customer.  I was curious to know what qualified me to get approved so quickly so I asked the customer rep how often they decline these types of requests. The rep said it depends on the overall relationship the bank has with you: your balances, how long you’ve been a customer, and how many accounts you have. Because I called directly into their preferred line, they were more than happy to oblige my requests year after year. Otherwise, it could’ve taken longer and I probably would’ve had to ask to speak with the rep’s manager. If your bank is unwilling to work with you for a full waiver, try to negotiate a lower usage fee of 1% down from 3%. And make it known that you’re considering switching to your local credit union that charges lower usage fees overall.

4. Travel with the right credit card.  Take one that doesn’t have any of those pesky foreign transaction fees – which are also about 3%. There are so many  fee-free credit cards  out there, but if you don’t have one and it’s too late to sign up for one before your trip, just make sure you’re free and clear for all those fees on your debit card.

5. Schedule your bill payments.  More than a third of your credit score is determined by your payment history and being  30 days late on just one payment can drop your score by 100 points . And the most common reason for missing a payment? Forgetfulness, according to a  recent survey . The survey found that 42% of cardholders said they forgot to make a payment and 11% said they were late in paying up because of travel. To avoid that, schedule your bills while you’re traveling or sign up for autopay. Because the last thing you need to come home to is a late fee, an interest fee, and a lower credit score.
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Accumulation planning addresses one's investment needs, asset allocation, and the suitability of different types of securities in light of a person’s goals and risk tolerance. In addition, asset allocation is used to distribute investable assets among a variety of investment categories .

You’ve worked hard to achieve your success as an executive in your field and there are many benefits you've earned in your position, that you may not be aware of. We help executives make sense of and take advantage of the perks offered in Executive Compensation Packages.

Tax planning considers the tax implications of individual, investment, or business decisions, usually with the goal of minimizing tax liability. Although decisions are rarely made solely on their tax impact, you should have a working knowledge of the income or estate tax issues and costs involved.
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"Change your life today. Don't gamble on the future, 
 act now , without delay." - Simone de Beauvoir