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The spring season often inspires homeowners to dream of the home improvements they would like to make such as additions, decks and swimming pools. With the summer season just ahead, families begin to think of vacation spots to relax and enjoy great weather or about impending college bills. The biggest deterrent to moving forward with any of these desirable plans is affordability. Once you put pen to paper and tally the costs, the reality can set in that you may have to downsize your plans and expectations. Here are some suggestions to make your spring and summer season satisfying to you and your family.

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To fully understand workers compensation rate calculation, buyers need to first realize that there are both direct and indirect pricing tools that are used to determine insurance cost. Understanding these details and how they can impact businesses is critical to remaining profitable, competitive and prepared.

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For many of the retired investors we have met with recently, their time of reckoning has come. It has been a tumultuous ride for those in their retirement years drawing dividend and bond income from their portfolios during the past 24 months. Since December 2008 in the depths of the global financial crisis, low interest rates or zero interest rate policies have plagued retiree portfolios causing investors to reach for income or “yield” to supplement Social Security income and the ever rarer pension.

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Following the unfortunate passing of Prince, recent news headlines have suggested that the mega-star might not have had a will. Considering the size of his estate, which includes massive wealth generated from his long-term career, expansive real estate and a vault of unreleased recordings, not having a will could catapult his assets to the state court system, leaving a judge and court appointed officials to determine distribution among heirs. Whether you are a billionaire or making minimum wage, estate planning is critical.

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As a commercial lender, I often come across credit reports that have been damaged for various reasons, sometimes unbeknownst to the person applying. Keeping an excellent credit score has many benefits including being offered the lowest rates available, approval for higher limits, and the best rewards on the credit cards you own. Following these simple rules will get you well on your way to a better credit score or help you maintain your current score.

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How many times have we jumped in our car, put a destination into our GPS and hoped it would give us the best and quickest route, only to find ourselves taking a much longer path then we should have? We may have eventually ended up at our targeted destination, but the pain in getting there was not what we had anticipated and we didn’t arrive in the timeframe we had thought. It is the same with a business plan or a financial plan. Mapping out your plan in advance versus hoping it will happen can save time, money and a lot of frustration.

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Are you in the market for buying a home and finding it difficult to find the right one in the perfect location? You may want to consider buying a home that you can renovate to meet your wants and needs. While some cringe at the thought of buying a house that needs to be renovated, others see a chance to get a great deal on a house they can customize and make their own. For those willing to take on the added time and effort of renovation, the rewards can be great.

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I recently attended the Society for Human Resource Management’s 2016 Employment Law and Legislative Conference in Washington D.C. Upon entering the conference I was filled with excitement, eager to learn about current hot topics, upcoming legislation, perspectives on the current presidential primaries and tools to prepare employers to help with compliance. When I walked out I certainly gained all of this knowledge, however, the sessions proved to be Employment Law on steroids. The landscape in this area is becoming more and more complex every day. I can say with certainty that things were much more simplistic 18 years ago when I started my career as an HR professional!

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As you get older your financial situation changes and usually become more complicated. Individuals often reach a place in life where it doesn’t make sense to make financial decisions “alone.” As you gather wealth and are faced with financial decisions that have a greater impact on your life, it may be helpful to work with a financial advisor. Many people find that not only can they rely on their financial advisor to manage their portfolio, but an advisor can also help with planning and preparing for life events such as retirement, paying for college or traveling.

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We are successfully through another tax season. Historically, according to the IRS, the average taxpayer refund is around $2,800. So, what is your plan with this windfall – perhaps a vacation, a new flat screen TV or a home improvement? One option to consider, if you have younger children or grandchildren, is making a contribution to a college savings 529 investment plan.

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For many of us April signals the beginning of another professional baseball season. What makes these teams successful isn’t just raw talent or payroll size (although these factors may contribute), it is often the intangibles – coaching, fundamentals, and clubhouse chemistry that matter most. Workplace teams often include talented, smart, and successful individuals who simply don’t function effectively together.

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In 2012, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) released a new reporting standard specifically related to public pension plans. The prior GASB’s pension standard, GASB Statement No. 25, had been in place for more than a decade and research indicated opportunities for significant improvement. This new standard, GASB Statement No. 67, “Financial Reporting for Pension Plans”, substantially revised the reporting requirements previously mandated under GASB 25. Public pension plans were required to comply with the new requirements beginning with the first fiscal year after June 30, 2013.

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