Author Archives: David

Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit

The Child and Dependent Care Credit helps working families offset some of the cost of childcare.

Mortgage Rates hit 2017 Low

Freddie Mac surveys lenders weekly and publishes average mortgage rates for the previous week every Thursday.  Today they’ve published rates which show a year-to-date low:  30 year mortgage originations are down to 3.78% (with 50bp points/fees), 15 year mortgages are down to 3.08% and 5/1 ARMs are down to 3.15%. These aren’t quite historic lows […]

The Equifax Data Breach

Some notes regarding the Equifax data breach  – updated on 9/29/2017 to include links for freezing your credit, getting free credit reports, getting your medical records, getting your Social Security records, plus some additional security items to consider: There’s been a lot of reporting, and Equifax’s response has changed a bit since the first reports […]

“Get real planning, not too much, mostly fee-only”

“Get real planning, not too much, mostly fee-only” Michael Pollan, in his terrific book “In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto” — came up with the motto “Eat Food, Not Too Much, Mostly Plants”. A basic guide to good eating in only 7 words. I’m not sure I can get it quite that tight, but […]

Free Financial Planning!

Periodically — typically at least in the fall — some local organizations get together along with a bunch of financial planning professionals who volunteer their time — to provide FREE FINANCIAL PLANNING! The event is called Financial Planning Days and they happen all over the country including places like San Francisco (10/22/2016), Indianapolis (10/15/2016), Baltimore […]

Changes to FAFSA for 2017-2018 college year

The new Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) forms for the 2017-2018 year bring on a few major changes:   (a) They are available NOW – as of Oct 1 – three months earlier than they used to be.   Note that the FAFSA deadline is not until June 2017. But the sooner you […]

Doubling Your Tax Break: Giving Appreciated Assets to the Long Island Coalition for the Homeless

[Note – this was written with the Long Island Coalition for the Homeless in mind.  The general principles of getting tax breaks for donating to charities – and doubling them by donating appreciated assets — applies just the same to any 501c3 charitable organizations.] What is the Long Island Coalition for the Homeless (LICH)? [The following […]

Doubling Your Tax Break: Giving Appreciated Assets to PTA and PIE

[Note – this was written with Palo Alto CA public schools in mind, and specifically a pair of charitable organizations which help support those schools.  It applies just the same to any 501c3 charitable organizations, including similar organizations associated with other school systems as well as other types of charities altogether.] It’s annual appeal time […]

Willpower – or lack thereof

A recent survey showed that a surprisingly high 72% of Americans do not have an up-to-date will. Via an ABNewsWire article which summarized the results:  “A Google Consumer survey by USLegalWills.com suggests that previous surveys may have under-reported the number of Americans without a Will, by not including those who have a Will that is […]

KQED Forum Podcast on Wills and Trusts

Music legend Prince died recently and the news has talked a bit about how he apparently died without a will. KQED Forum, a great discussion show on public radio here in the SF Bay area, hosted a discussion in the wake of this event, to talk about wills, who needs them, and related issues. The […]