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Most States Don't Require Specific Financial Literacy Classes

It may come as a shock to you, but the average high school graduate does not know how to balance a checkbook, file their taxes or how student loans work. In fact, just 5 states require students to take at least a half- year personal finance course as part of their graduation requirements! This lack of basic financial knowledge can have a long standing impact on the futures of today's young people. The importance of budgeting, using debt wisely, and saving early for retirement is one we cannot stress enough. Today's article shares some resources to supplement what kids are learning in school.

What is Happening?- Our Thoughts on Recent Market Moves

After a record increase in stock values in the first days of 2018, the market has returned to Earth and as of Monday, February 5, the S&P 500 is down -0.80% year to date. If we arrived at a negative -0.80% in equal increments during the last five weeks, no one would think anything of it!

What caused the sharp pullback? Is this the beginning of an extended bear market? What is going to happen this week? Those are a few of the questions people are pondering.

Perhaps the first question that should be considered is why did the market have such a strong move upward in the last few weeks? The underlying economic strength we are experiencing certainly creates a good foundation for corporate profit growth. Profit growth is generally correlated with higher stock prices and profit growth is robust. We believe the move up in the market was in part fueled by this.

What caused the pullback?

Retirees: Still Saving After All These Years

Congrats, you're retired! Now what?? Many retirees find the shift from saving mode into spending mode to be more difficult than they thought. This study found that a third of retirees had actually increased their net worth while retired. With thoughtful retirement and income planning, one can create a plan that allows you to enjoy your retirement nest egg while staying confident that your funds will last throughout your retirement. We are happy to review your retirement plan with you anytime.

8 Financial New Year's Resolutions for 2018

Shannon, McLay, FORBES

The beginning of a new year is the most popular time to set goals and make plans, and everyone’s resolution list should include a few financial resolutions. Resolutions, like goals, are best when they’re specific. When you set a resolution or a goal, think of it as picking destinations on a road trip: If you just say you want to head west, you’re probably going to waste a lot of time and fuel getting there; however, if you say you want to go to San Diego, CA, you’re going to get there faster and more efficiently.

Student Debt - 4 Tips to Get Your Finances to a Passing Grade

With the holiday season upon us, you will likely see relatives that you don't get to visit with throughout the year. This is a great article to share with the recent college grads in your life!

So you’ve got your degree, now what?

These days, only on television is landing your dream job after graduation a thing that could actually happen. The reality is, in a recent survey of 503 - recent grads - entry-level job seekers by national career matchmaking firm GradStaf, “nearly 70 percent of respondents were either unemployed or working in a full-time non-professional job to make ends meet.” Pair that with the idea that ‘the average cost of one year at a public university for an in-state student is $20,090. That increases to $34,220 if you hail from out of state,” student debt is something far too many millennials have to face.

Before You Pay for Financial Advice, Read This Guide

At ARS Wealth, we often get asked by prospective and current clients how to differentiate between the different types of financial advisors and firms. This article explains some of the different ways that financial professionals work with the public and the right questions to ask to make sure your advisor is working for you!

Here's how the GOP wants to overhaul the tax system

Christine Wang, CNBC

  • House Republicans unveiled their plan to overhaul the tax code on Thursday.
  • The plan would reduce the number of income tax brackets, raise the child tax credit and preserve popular retirement savings plans.
  • Tax reform has been a major focus for a GOP in need of a legislative win since their failure to repeal Obamacare.

Keep Health Care Costs Down While Caring for a Child with Special Needs

There is no getting around it—health insurance is complex and complicated. You have to have it and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. And, when your child is living with a special need it makes the whole process even more complicated. Finding in-network specialists, scheduling exams, and keeping track of copayments and deductibles can be exhausting. This struggle is all too real for the families and guardians of the 10.2 million U.S. children (14% of all American children), who have special health care needs, according to a Health Resources and Services Administration survey. Because some needs are not identified until the child is of a certain age it can mean a drastic change in the health insurance you’ve always had. Here are a few health insurance elements to consider to best care for your child with special needs.

Equifax Data Breach

Several clients have contacted us with questions following the data breach that occurred at Equifax last week.

Hurricane Harvey

As Hurricane Harvey continues to impact Texas and Louisiana with devastating damage and flooding, our thoughts are with those who are suffering. In an effort to help, TD Ameritrade has announced that it will match client donations to the American Red Cross dollar for dollar up to $500,000, doubling the impact of every dollar given.

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