Inspiration & expertise from RCS Financial Planning

16 Things You Can Do to Prepare for the Next Recession

Ted Toal, CFP®

A few short months ago, the media and market pundits warned us that a recession was “highly likely” in 2020. The news media blared articles warning us the yield curve inverted and this was a sure sign of an imminent coming recession. Ongoing tariffs/trade wars, an economic slowdown in Europe a recession, and political unrest added fuel to the recession fire.

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You, Your Financial Well-Being and the Federal Reserve

Ted Toal, CFP®

At the August 1, 2019 Federal Reserve Meeting, the Fed lowered the federal funds rate by a quarter point, to 2.20–2.25%.

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Advance Healthcare Directive

Ted Toal, CFP®

Maryland residents should consider a trio of tools for protecting your interests while you are alive: A healthcare advance directive; A financial power of attorney; Trusted contact person(s)

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2019 Second Quarter Update

Ted Toal, CFP®

Amid tariff wars and temporary truces, Brexit bewilderment and historic Hong Kong rallies, the global thermometer isn’t the only gauge that may leave you and your investment temperament reeling between cooling chills and hot thrills this summer.

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Annuity Awareness Month

Amanda Clouser, CFA

June is Annuity Awareness month. But, is an annuity the right choice for you?

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What Is Asset Allocation?

Ted Toal, CFP®

Asset allocation aims to balance risk and reward and offers a disciplined approach for staying on course toward your own goals through ever-volatile markets.

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What is a Donor Advised Fund?

Ted Toal, CFP®

Donor-advised funds (DAF) are potentials tool for continuing to give meaningfully and tax-efficiently under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) .

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Protect Your Child from Identity Theft

Ted Toal, CFP®

The Maryland Attorney General warned the Equifax breach affected that as many as 3 million Maryland residents, many in our home town of Annapolis.

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Alert for Maryland Taxpayers

Amanda Clouser, CFA

Maryland Income Tax Alert - Given the overhaul in tax rates and deduction limits; many of us are anxiously awaiting the results of our completed returns. It’s hard to say what the results might be, as the passage of Tax Cuts and Jobs Act resulted in several changes which might move you in opposing directions depending on your circumstances.

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Six Financial Best Practices for 2019

Amanda Clouser, CFA

So, are you ready to get a jump on 2019? Here are six financial best practices for the year ahead. Pick a few of them or take on the entire list. Either way, you’ll be that much further ahead by the time 2020 rolls around.

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2019 Market Outlook: Where to Put Your Money

Ted Toal, CFP®

With the arrival of a New Year comes the annual “Hot Stocks “and “Where to Put Your Money” headlines. Each year these articles provide speculations by the palm readers/fortune tellers/clairvoyants of the financial markets. They state with certainty (and no actual predictive data) that you can earn $$$$ if you just follow their advice.

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5 Financial Adages for Thriving in Volatile Markets

Ted Toal, CFP®

Sometimes the best, most rigorously developed financial advice is so obvious, it’s become cliché. Yet, investors often abandon this advice when market turbulence rises. Why the disconnect? Let’s take a look at five of the most familiar financial adages, and why they’re often much easier said than done.

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Are We Headed For a Market Crash?

Ted Toal, CFP®

"On Black Monday, 31 years from last Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell about 23%. If the same percentage drop were to happen today, it would be about 5,700 points. I lost millions that day, and so did many others. Of course, today is not 1987."

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What Is the Yield Curve?

Ted Toal, CFP®

The yield curve is flattening (or growing steeper)! … Yield curve spreads are widening (or narrowing)! … The yield curve has inverted (or normalized)! Headline-grabbing yield curve commentary somehow sounds important, doesn’t it? But what exactly is a yield curve, and what does it have to do with your investments?

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So, you have a “guy”. Is he a holistic Advisor?

Amanda Clouser, CFA

RCS Financial Planning, located in Annapolis, Maryland, is a holistic personal finance fee-only service provider. We offer expert tax advice, mortgage help, build budgets, create debt management strategies, and perform objective assessments of your insurance needs. We also provide investment advice and management. We create a plan to tie every part of your financial life together.

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Alternative Reality

Ted Toal, CFP®

Some investors, in search of additional potential volatility reduction or return enhancement opportunities, may even try to extend the opportunity set beyond stocks and bonds to other assets, many of which are commonly referred to as “alternatives.” The types of offerings labeled as alternative today are wide and varied. Depending on who you talk with, this category can include, but is not limited to, different types of hedge fund strategies, private equity, commodities, and so on. These investments are often marketed as having greater return potential than traditional stocks or bonds or low correlations with other asset classes.

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Investing: What are you so afraid of?

Amanda Clouser, CFA

Lack of knowledge and feelings of confusion can be paralyzing. Most intelligent people won’t move forward with important decisions until we understand the consequences. So, it’s not surprising that many sit out of financial markets because they simply don’t understand them. A lack of financial knowledge among otherwise highly educated people isn’t unique. Unless you pursued the topic through higher education or find yourself seeking out investment literature as hobby, there is no reason you would know this stuff.

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529 Plans for Private School

Amanda Clouser, CFA

Did you know: 529 Plans now cover K-12 expenses? As of January 1, 2018, 529 plans now allow distributions up to $10,000 per year for public, private, or religious K–12 schooling. 529 plans continue to provide tax-free distributions for college-related tuition. And, contributions into 529 plans continue to grow income tax free.

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Donald Trump's Tariffs and Your Portfolio

Amanda Clouser, CFA

You can’t turn on the television, radio or browse the news headlines without being confronted by commentary about China, President Donald Trump's tariffs, and retaliation kicking off an all but certain global trade war. It’s all too much doom and gloom for us, so we thought we’d join the conversation with a less sensationalized perspective.

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Tuning Out the Noise

Ted Toal, CFP®

As we've stressed in the past, media headlines are not offered to explain market returns. Instead, they serve as a reminder that investors should view daily events from a long-term perspective and avoid making investment decisions based solely on the news. Working with a fee-only Financial Advisor keeps you focused on your goals and helps tune out the noise!

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Maryland Parents: Do You Own an Out-Of-State 529 Investment Plan?

Ted Toal, CFP®

Each individual state chooses a provider(s) for their 529 plan. Maryland parents have access to an excellent in-state plan. However, many parents have invested in out-of-state 529 plans. My question is, why?

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