Strategic Tax Tips

By Colleen M. Henes, CFP®, JD
Financial Advisor, Advanced Planning

" Because we are coming up on the end of the year, we receive a lot of questions about getting those last-minute charitable deductions.  So how can you ensure that your charitable contribution counts for 2017?  Technically, the IRS says that charitable contributions are deductible in the year made... but what does "year made" mean exactly?  If you charge a donation to a charity on your credit card before the end of 2017, it will count for the 2017 tax year (even if the bill isn't paid until 2018). If you write a check or give cash to a charity, it will count for 2017 so long as it is mailed by 12/31/2017.  Hope this helps!

You may email Colleen at

Weekly Market Review

By Bradley J. Rathe
Chief Investment Officer

"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power." -Abraham Lincoln

Weekly look back:
  1. US Inflation data continued to be at a level to have the US Federal Reserve monitor it closely but definitely not at a level to make them worry that inflation is out of control.
  2. Retail Sales were strong last month as we expected, jumping 1%.  With a strong job market, reasonable earnings growth and high expectations consumers are more willing to open their pocketbooks and spend rather than save.
  3. Central Banks were front and center last week as the US Federal Reserve raised short-term rates by .25% to 1.50%.  The Bank of England and European Central Bank met as well, while not taking any action but hinting at pulling stimulus in 2018 at some point.
Weekly look ahead:
  1. Housing-related stocks have surged lately (ITB, Home Construction ETF is up 22% in the past 3 months).  This week we have Housing Starts, New Home Sales and Existing Home Sales.  Even with the Fed raising short-term rates, mortgage rates continue to stay low keeping demand for housing strong.
  2. GDP for the third quarter is expected to increase a solid 3.3%.  Expectations are high for continued economic strength as the new tax bill is expected to pass sometime soon.
  3. Core Capital goods are expected to have a solid year with a jump of 8.1%.  Volatility of aircraft orders makes this number very difficult to predict on a monthly basis. 
World Macro highlights for this week: 

Tuesday: Housing Starts
Thursday: US GDP, Philly Fed, Corporate Profits
Friday: Durable Goods, Personal Income and Outlays, New Home Sales

You may email Brad at

Have a Good Flight Plan

By Robert A. Mecca, CFP®, MBA
Vice President, Wealth Management

Before an airplane takes off, there are substantial behind the scenes work devoted to any one flight. There is a coordination of the pilot's and crew's schedules with priority that each is in top form to perform their duties. There is coordination that the proper aircraft would be available at the given gate at the proper airport before the designated departure time.
The maintenance of the plane, baggage handlers, food coordination, cleaning of the aircraft and many more details are also involved. Timing is important.
From a pilot's perspective, he or she first must make certain he is in the proper condition to fly the big bird. He must get plenty of rest and be alert. A pilot must go through self-examination procedures. The airlines periodically test the pilot with strict standards.
The pilot and crew thoroughly evaluate the weather conditions. They check the weather from the departure airport, continually monitor conditions while in the air, and review conditions for landing at the destination airport. A detailed flight plan is determined with the knowledge that there must be quick flexibility if and when weather conditions change.
Prior to settling down in his seat to fly the airplane, the pilot walks around the plan to examine it. Then, with the co-pilot, together they proceed step-by-step over a carefully coordinated check list.

We fully understand that this year has been a  relatively good year for investing.  But that in no way diminishes our analytical detailed evaluations. During this time,  even more analysis is essential. Some investors are now getting nervous. They require more “crystal ball” analysis, to use some client’s terminology. In phone or personal meetings, many expressed concerns over the forthcoming "market crash" (their words).  Many are concerned about politics, taxes, terrorism, and more.  With all that is happening in the world, 
continual behind the scenes analysis is even more critical. This is not a time to rest on decent returns for the year.

Going into 2018, it is likely there will be surprises. We must be ready and be as proactive as possible. This requires proper tools, dedicated time, credentials, experience, and passion. Our team is ready. We are 
pleased to be your life planning partner.

You may email Bob at