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Hit Reset

01/09/2020

I remember playing the video game Pong as a child.  Yes, you have to be pretty old to remember playing Pong.  Even though Pong required little to no skill, sometimes the game didn’t go my way and I hit reset to start a new game.

What if we could start over fresh with our finances like we can a video game?  Even though we can’t change the remnants of the past, we can start over with new habits and a new perspective.  As your yearend statements fill the mailbox, I encourage you to review your personal income and spending trends. 

Every year is different and has its own unique ebb and flow of saving and spending.  Even so, there are some constants worth noting.   My personal constant is a daily stop by the local coffee shop to buy my chai tea latte. 

Not only does this, albeit small, routine habit have a negative impact on my bank account but, it is not great for my calorie count either.  I have literally changed my path forward by going to work via a route that does not pass the coffee shop.  This is one small example, but it has a compounding effect on my finances and my health.

Identifying the pitfalls in our routines can be daunting.  The marketplace offers plenty of tools and information to assist you in the review of your current situation and the path forward if you like to DIY.

If you are fortunate enough to be a First American Bank and Trust customer, you won’t have to go it alone.  First American Bank and Trust is dedicated to consultative banking and is providing complimentary, financial and estate planning services exclusively to customers.  Onsite access to a Certified Financial Planner™ is available to ALL First American Bank and Trust customers.

FAB customers will also be provided with your own personal financial and estate planning mobile application.  You can view your budget and your actual spending and saving live from the palm of your hand.  Your personal mobile application will provide you with a virtual vault for important documents such as tax returns, deeds, powers of attorney and other legal documents accessible 24/7.  No more digging through baskets under the bed or in the attic.

Let 2020 be the year you hit reset and start anew with a complimentary financial and estate plan.

Laurel Alberty, CFP®

VP, Financial & Estate Planning

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End of Year Charitable Giving

12/19/19

The end of another year, and decade, is within sight. Have you had time to consider your charitable giving plan yet?  The deadline for making a 2019 tax deductible charitable gift is fast approaching.  Christmas parties and fun vacation plans may distract us from our year end goals.  Don’t let all of the fun cause you to miss your opportunity for a tax deduction.  There is still time to make an impactful donation – quickly and easily.

The Athens Area Community Foundation (AACF) is a local resource ready and able to facilitate the charitable giving process for donors and charities.  The AACF offers a plethora of charitable giving strategies.  A favorite strategy recommended for the procrastinating but charitably minded donor is donating to a donor advised fund (DAF).  Fortunately, the AACF offers the donor advised fund as a charitable giving strategy and they simplify the charitable gift making process.

There are several benefits to donor advised funds that make it especially appealing for last minute charitable giving.  First, the donor can aggregate the charitable donation and recognize the tax deduction in the current year.  The tax deduction is tied to the donation to the qualified donor advised fund not to the grants to the specific charities. 

The DAF structure allows the donor to take their time to make informed decisions about their charitable gifts without having to wait for the tax deduction.  The donor has an active role in determining which charities receive a donation, how much of a donation is made and when the donation is to be made (even if it is in a different year).  Maybe the most compelling feature of a donor advised fund is the ability to donate appreciated real estate and securities which can be intimidating gifts to make otherwise.

There are a multitude of charitable giving strategies offered through the AACF and other locally available resources.   I have singled out the AACF because of their commitment to our community and surrounding areas.  The staff at AACF have their finger on the pulse of our local philanthropists and the needs within our community and beyond. 

If your blessings abound, let them spill over to those in need.  Enjoy the season to the fullest by receiving the gift of giving.

Laurel Alberty, CFP®

VP, Financial & Estate Planning