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2% Cost of Living Adjustment Just Announced by Social Security for 2018


Social Security recipients will receive a 2% increase in their benefit in 2018.

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Keywords: social security

Welcome Tim Hilterman and Jake Buckwalter!

October 13, 2017

In August, we were pleased to welcome two new Investment Advisors, Tim Hilterman, CFP®, and Jake Buckwalter, to our Investment Advisory Team at Whitcomb & Hess.

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Equifax Cybersecurity Incident

By Tammy Higgins, Client Service Specialist   |  October 12, 2017

On September 7, 2017, the credit monitoring company Equifax announced a “cybersecurity incident” involving unauthorized access to consumer information affecting up to 143 million customers.

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Keywords: security

2017 Retirement Plan Contribution Limits


As we ease into fall, let’s review the maximum contribution limits for Retirement Plans for 2017.

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Keywords: retirement

Investment Update


What is usually a quieter summer period was rudely interrupted by more geo-political drama and extreme weather events. Nevertheless, overall good news in economic data from Europe, UK, Japan, and Brazil helped markets continue to creep up. At the time of this publication, US Stocks are rallying to all-time highs. The S&P 500 Index (large US companies) is up 14.24% YTD while international holdings are up 19.17% according to the MSCI World ex-USA index.

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Keywords: investment

Don't fall for fake charity scams

October 6, 2017

After disaster strikes, people often want to help those in need. Unfortunately, this is also when fake charities pop up. The IRS recently reported an uptick in emerging charity scams since hurricanes Harvey, Irma and others made landfall.

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Keywords: charity, scam, security

How to avoid 3 big tax mistakes

October 6, 2017

Every year taxpayers are hit with tax surprises that could be avoided if they just knew the rules. Here are three big ones that are easy to avoid with some simple planning.

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Keywords: tax, tax errors, taxes

September 2017 Market Insight

October 2, 2017

As September comes to a close, it’s interesting to look at a few market proverbs compared with how markets have been performing. “Sell in May and go away” refers to the strategy of booking profits at the end of May each year and waiting out a traditionally down time in the market. If you subscribed to this strategy in 2017, you would have missed out on the S&P 500 rising more than 4% over the summer (June 1 – Sept 29).

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Keywords: market insight

How to Ace the FAFSA

September 27, 2017

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a tool that students use to apply for more than $120 billion in federal funds. Unfortunately, each year many students miss out.

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Renew your ITIN now

September 27, 2017

If you have an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) rather than a Social Security number (SSN) you may need to take action or you’ll be unable to file a tax return for 2017.

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Business tax: time to consider Section 179?

September 27, 2017

Section 179 expensing can be a very powerful tax-planning tool for small- and medium-sized businesses acquiring capital assets. While it doesn’t change the amount of depreciation you can take over the life of a capital purchase, it can change

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Get the most out of your college tax benefits

September 7, 2017

The tuition and fees deduction expired last year. Fortunately, you may still be able to benefit from other education tax benefits, including the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) and the Lifetime Learning Credit.

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Keywords: college, tax, tax planning

August 2017 Market Insight

September 1, 2017

As August comes to a close, school is back in session, football has returned, the leaves are starting to turn, and we look back on what has been an interesting month in the markets. The August market saw its share of volatility, fueled early on by the threats and tension from North Korea. As tensions eased, and with the help of potential tax cuts and decent economic data, markets were able to recoup most of the month’s initial losses.

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Keywords: market insight

Contractor or Employee? Knowing the difference is important

August 23, 2017

Is a worker an independent contractor or an employee? As an employer, getting this wrong could land you with an IRS audit and cost you plenty in many other ways. Here’s what you should know:

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Avoid These Common Tax Mistakes

August 22, 2017

There are nearly 1,000 different tax forms used by the IRS to report tax obligations. It’s no wonder the IRS faces thousands of tax returns with errors each year. Here are some of the most common:

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Keywords: tax, tax errors, taxes

Say Goodbye to the College Tuition Deduction

August 21, 2017

Congress decided not to extend this $4,000 deduction for 2017, leaving many parents worried that college will now be more expensive. However, Congress left in place two popular education credits that may offer a more valuable tax break:

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Your child's summer earnings could open an IRA

August 14, 2017

If your child has a summer job, he or she can make a contribution to an IRA for 2017.

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Keywords: child, ira

Steps to avoid a name mismatch audit

August 14, 2017

If you changed your name for any reason during the past year, you will need to file Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card, with the Social Security Administration (SSA) to notify them of the name change before you submit your 2017 tax returns...

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Keywords: social security, tax

Have adult children? Take steps to avoid medical access denial

August 4, 2017

Imagine your college-aged daughter has an accident while away at school and ends up in the emergency room. When you call the hospital, you are denied information about her care because you do not have the proper forms signed.

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Keywords: medical access

Learn from the ‘best places to work’

August 2, 2017

Google, Facebook, and Southwest Airlines are among the top five companies on job search site Indeed’s “Best Places to Work 2017” list. You may not have the resources of these large companies, but you can incorporate some of their ideas..

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Your HSA as a retirement tool – the facts

August 1, 2017

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) are a great way to pay for medical expenses, and since unused funds roll over from year to year, the account can also provide a source of retirement funds in addition to other plans like 401(k)s or IRAs. But be aware...

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July 2017 Market Insight

August 1, 2017

Summer is flying by! Back to school shopping has taken over retail stores, and key data from the second quarter is coming in. The markets in July were fueled by several factors: strong earnings, better than expected housing data, four-decade low jobless claims numbers, the “dovish” Fed meeting, a rise in June durable goods, and positive momentum in tech shares.

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Keywords: market insight

Summertime tax savers

July 7, 2017

Summer may be one of the best times to review your taxes, because taking the time now could result in 2017 tax savings. Here are just a few tax-saving ideas to consider.

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Keywords: tax, taxes

Weddings and taxes – A checklist

July 6, 2017

When planning a wedding, the to-do list seems endless. But, don't make the mistake of neglecting some tax planning for this life-changing event.

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Keywords: tax, taxes, wedding

Investment Update

By Aaron Bates, CFP, Investment Advisor   |  July 3, 2017

2017 Q2In spite of many political twists and turns, stock and bond markets continued their winning ways in the second quarter of 2017. Stocks were led by international holdings despite troubling political headlines both in the United States and abroad

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Keywords: investments  |   0 comments

June 2017 Market Insight

July 3, 2017

Resilience seems to be the keyword for the month of June. The month kicked off with stock markets reaching all-time highs, dropping down, and bouncing right back up to another new all-time high later in the month. Consistent with the pattern so far this year, US stocks, international stocks, and bonds continue to climb higher with strong momentum.

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Keywords: market insight

Great Things are Happening in Ashland!

July 3, 2017

New Businesses, Upcoming Events, in the Community

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Keywords: ashland

Employee Spotlight: Tracy Wells

July 3, 2017

Many of you may already know Tracy Wells, who serves as one of our three Investment Advisor Representatives. Tracy has been with Whitcomb & Hess since 2011.

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Keywords: tracy wells

SEC Shortens Equity Trade Settlement Days

July 3, 2017

Impatient stock traders: rejoice! Effective September 5, 2017, the SEC will shorten the settlement period for purchase or sale of stocks (equities), bonds, and exchange traded funds (ETF’s). Currently, it takes 3 business days for these types o

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Morningstar Investment Conference 2017 Recap


In April, I attended the annual Morningstar investment conference in Chicago. The conference provides financial advisors and mutual fund representatives an opportunity to gather together and discuss current events in our industry. Global economic upd

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Keywords: morningstart