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Do you have questions about your finances?
We have answers!

Each week we post an original article on a variety of topics. Past topics include: reviewing your investment portfolio, handling the ups and downs of the stock market, and the questions to ask yourself before you retire.

We may even feature some of our clients, or have a fun quiz from time to time. Check back each week for a new post.

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Thursday, May 11, 2017

There are some things in life that I would never go without. Some things are so important that whenever they run low, I make sure they are replaced. Coffee is one. Gasoline in my car is another. Could you imagine driving...

 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

We’ve all heard the stories. If not first hand, at least in various news reports and anecdotes. Some “lucky” person picks the winning numbers, prances before...

 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

I found myself thinking about eggs this morning. Maybe it's because Easter just passed. Or maybe I was just hungry.Or it could have been because of a recent conversation about not putting all your eggs in one basket.Click...

 

Monday, April 24, 2017

A week hardly passes without news of credit card and identity theft. Here are some security measures you can take, including some you’ve not likely heard of before now. About a year ago, I was sitting down to dinner with my...

 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Every year my wife and I rent a cottage on Keuka Lake. It's a beautiful place. We spend a week relaxing in the sun, reading, resting, and enjoying the view. Last year, while sitting on the porch, I was struck with a...

 

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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

When was the last time you did a complete and thorough review of your investments? When was the last time you took the time and put in the effort to really see what was going on?

 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The stock market did great last year. The Dow was up 13.4%; the S&P gained 9.5%; and the Nasdaq was up 7.5%. But do you remember how things started last year? 2016 began with the worst five-day start to a year ever. It...

 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The death of repeal and replace, the Trump agenda, and stocks There was no shortage of angst in the investment community that a Donald Trump victory in last year’s election would send shares down sharply, at least...

 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

It seems simple – Hire an attorney, sign the appropriate paper work, and after you die, your assets will go to whoever you choose, right? But what if things don’t get distributed the way you directed? Is it...

 

Saturday, March 25, 2017

With a degree in engineering and a background in technical writing, HFG client Kurt Hohmann has navigated a successful career at a web development firm as the “glue” that connects the technical side of the business with the...

 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Do any of you feel like Baby Boomers are getting a bad rap these days? It seems like every day we are bombarded by negative articles and news stories about Boomers and money. We are told that Boomers haven’t saved enough. They...

 

Friday, March 3, 2017

Ballooning college costs The average cost of tuition and fees for the 2016–2017 school year is $33,480 at private colleges, and $9,650 for state residents at public colleges. It averages $24,930 for out-of-state residents...

 

Friday, March 3, 2017

Do you think you know all about the Stock Market? Take this 15 question quiz and test your knowledge!

 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

An apple a day keeps the doctor away - and spares you the bill for medical services. Does this logic carry over into lifetime health care planning? Can you reduce your lifetime health care costs by staying healthy? Apparently not. The...

 

Friday, February 3, 2017

Income in our golden years As adults, we know the importance of saving for retirement. It’s really easy. Just set up an automatic withdrawal from each month’s paycheck and direct it into a retirement account. What becomes...

 

Monday, January 23, 2017

College tuition is so expensive that even high-income families can get offers of financial aid. Your first step is to complete the federal forms, and then contact the school directly to further negotiate a financial aid package. Every...

 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Fraud is a reality that we must constantly guard ourselves against. There are those who can be considered trusted advisors and there are those who will always be unscrupulous. We know and understand that. Yet, by nature, many of us want...

 

Friday, January 6, 2017

By Elaine Floyd, CFP Retirement planning takes on added urgency the closer you get to leaving your job. Imagine your future by looking at the major factors: housing, activities, lifestyle, life expectancy, and unexpected events. The...

 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Believe it or not, a missing signature can mess up your IRA rollover. Your assets cannot be moved without your signature, so make sure you sign where indicated. How it might happen Sometimes this is not your fault. Maybe you were never...

 

Monday, December 5, 2016

12 smart planning moves to consider The end of the year is fast approaching and now is the perfect time to review items you might want to consider as you get set to enter 2017. Many of the IRS publications referenced below are...

 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

While you won’t owe any taxes if you roll over the entire distribution by direct transfer, you’ll want to make sure it’s reported properly. In January you’ll get a 1099-R showing the total amount of your...

 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Tax deferral is great, but at some point you’re going to have to pay taxes on your retirement plan contributions and investment earnings. If you roll your retirement assets to a Roth IRA, you will have to pay taxes on the...

 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Final Countdown I always caution against watching stocks on a daily basis, because it’s too easy to get caught up in the daily volatility that inevitably will occur. If we go back to last summer’s late August swoon, it...

 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

If the rollover account isn't ready to receive funds, the plan administrator will be forced to send the check to you. How it might happen This mistake can happen if you fail to open an IRA rollover account at your new financial...

 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

When you are 70-1/2, you are required to take annual minimum distributions from your traditional IRA and pay taxes on them, even if you don’t need the money. It’s very easy to forget to take these distributions –...

 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Elephant in the Room and a European Bank September has come and gone and we have exited the month following a period of unusual complacency. Complacency is Wall Street speak for days upon days when the major market indices trade...

 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

As we head into the fall season, the candidates for the 2016 presidential election are finally set: Hillary Clinton for the Democrats and Donald Trump for the Republicans. With control of both Houses of Congress also at stake, the...

 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

You have several options when you leave a company. You can roll your retirement funds to an IRA, leave the funds in your old employer’s plan, or even move them to a new plan. One thing to consider when evaluating these options is...

 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Cashing out your retirement account or taking cash in the form of an “indirect rollover” can subject you to taxes, penalties, and lost growth. How it might happen It’s tempting to take some or all of the money out of...

 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The Ides of September There is something about October that spooks investors. Maybe it’s the market crash of 1929 or the one-day crash that happened in 1987. More recently, shares were pummeled in October 2008 after...

 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Failing to pay off loans before rolling over your retirement money means that any loans outstanding when you leave the company will be considered a distribution – fully taxable and subject to penalties if you’re under...

 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Moving employer stock to your IRA rollover account along with the rest of your retirement assets can potentially set you up to pay more taxes down the road – especially if your stock has appreciated significantly. How it might...

 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Here are 10 Stock Market facts you didn't know! 1. After seeing it hit a low point in 2009, Domino’s Pizza saw their stock grow 233 percent within a year after changing their pizza recipe. - Source 2. Walt Disney gave his...

 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Naming the wrong beneficiary on your beneficiary designation form is a surprisingly common—and disruptive—mistake. How it might happen Most people under ordinary circumstances tend to get this right. But some people with...

 

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

An August Letter to Clients: Yes, No, Maybe Have you ever met or approached a professional at a social event and been tempted to ask a personal question that relates specifically to your circumstances? I know I have. Whether it’s...

 

Monday, July 25, 2016

Rolling over your funds for retirement presents a number of opportunities for error. There are plenty of government and IRS regulations to consider, and running afoul of any of them can be expensive in terms of penalties, fees, and...

 

Friday, July 8, 2016

A European political earthquake that’s felt at home - Like many of you, my family and I had a wonderful time celebrating the Fourth of July holiday weekend. When I was growing up, the Fourth seemed mostly about barbeques, friends,...

 

Monday, June 6, 2016

How Much Have Americans Saved for Retirement? Over half of Americans have 10k or less in their retirement nest egg. About one­ third of Americans have no retirement savings at all, and just 13% have $300k or more put away. Reasons...

 

Friday, June 3, 2016

Summer's Hot Issues On May 21, 2015, the S&P 500 Index closed at 2,130.82, an all-time closing high for this broad measure of 500 large U.S. companies (St. Louis Federal Reserve). In the year since, it has failed to recapture that...

 

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

 

Monday, April 25, 2016

An animated U.S. map shows changes to real estate taxes in every state from 2007-2014 Each year, Americans pay average property taxes of $2,127 on their homes and $412 on mobile homes, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau....

 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Calmer waters are welcome Probably the simplest reasons anyone invests in stocks are to make money (capital gains), generate income (dividends), or some combination of the two. Of course, that really is putting it in the simplest of...

 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Twice as many American families have 401(k) plans as have pension plans, but 401(k) participation is skewed to educated, wealthier, married, white families. On the other hand, pension plan participation is not strongly affected by...

 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Most college students are not realistic about funding their higher education. Some 58% doubt they will ever pay their debt off. Clearly, some financial education is in order. The total amount of student loan debt in the U.S. is $1.2...

 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Warren Buffett: Takeaways from a stellar 50-year track record What comes to mind when you hear the name Warren Buffett – investor, mutual fund manager, CEO, entrepreneur, stock picker, philanthropist, or billionaire? Or maybe...

 

Friday, February 26, 2016

Tax time forces many of us to take stock of our financial picture and can be a good time to consider strategies for next year and beyond. Using a professional financial advisor may be an option, but be sure to choose wisely. According...

 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Human nature being what it is, there is a natural emotional cycle about the markets. We tend to go from terror in a decline to disbelief through any subsequent advance—and then to a sense of ‘I’ve missed it, and...

 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Yesterday was another in a string of negative and highly volatile days in the market. In the past 6 moths we've had 2 10% corrections and we've had the worst first week to the year in stock market history. Every newspaper and news...

 

Monday, February 8, 2016

Since 1920, five of the six two-term presidents have seen sharp market declines during their eighth year in office, J.C.O’Hara, chief market technician at FBN securities, reports. The final years for Presidents Clinton and Bush...

 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

For most of us, retirement planning is all about saving with little regard to managing the assets that are in our retirement accounts. For the most part, we don’t consider our IRAs, 401(k)s or other retirement accounts as liquid...

 

Friday, January 22, 2016

While we all like to see the markets continue to rise, history tells us that it will inevitably come to an end. We are now experiencing the second longest Bull Market since the end of World War II, which means that it might not be long...

 

Friday, January 22, 2016

A volatile year ends The Dow Jones Industrial Average is made up of 30 large, well-known companies. It is the best known and oldest of the many yardsticks that measure stock market performance. While not necessarily a household name,...

 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Would you agree that public trust in American institutions seems to be at an all-time low? I believe this stems from a general perception that these institutions don’t have our best interests in mind, especially when it comes to...

 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Credit scores can have a major impact - positive or negative – on many aspects of your financial life including getting a credit card, a loan and even a job! It pays to be mindful of your credit score since just about any...

 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Are You Prepared for Your Own Demise? What would happen if you died? Most people don’t like to spend their time thinking such morbid thoughts. I know I don’t. But if your loved ones needed to find your important documents, policies or...

 

Monday, July 13, 2015

While tax season may be the farthest thing from your mind this summer, mid-year is not a bad time to think about strategies that can help you lessen your tax burden for the year. Below are some strategies to consider:Get Organized: If...

 

Monday, July 13, 2015

As in many endeavors, the key to success is understanding when to employ new strategies when conditions change. Many investors have experienced significant losses because they have continued to use a “sailing” strategy, that made sense...

 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Many factors can send the stock market in either direction – international matters, elections, even technical glitches in the market. You may be wondering how volatility could affect you. Should you sell? Buy? Worry? Wait?The best...

 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Let’s face it – it’s hard to get started in planning for retirement and there are many excuses out there to put it off. Below are some of the most common reasons for putting off retirement planning and some thoughts on why it is...

 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Human nature being what it is, there is a natural emotional cycle about the markets. We tend to go from terror in a decline to disbelief through any subsequent advance—and then to a sense of ‘I’ve missed it, and I’ve gotta jump on...

 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

For many people, the idea of financial planning can seem overwhelming because of the myriad of financial products available, the jargon associated with financial issues and the number of personal considerations that must go into...

 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

There is no shortage of advice regarding the importance of saving for retirement and more people understand the value of creating a plan to help meet retirement goals while they are still working. According to Peter Hafner, founder of...

 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

At the Hafner Financial Group, we pride ourselves on really getting to know our clients and in many cases that means getting to know their families as well. As a pet-friendly office, we love to hear about the new business recently...

 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Have you ever fixed a leaky faucet for your spouse? I love doing projects like that. Doing it ourselves not only saves us money but it creates an opportunity to look like a hero to our spouses. No wonder we enjoy it so much.But what...

 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

When it comes to the question of when to begin taking Social Security income, the choice looms large. Should you apply now to get earlier payments? Or wait for a few years to get larger checks? According to Peter Hafner, founder of the...

 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

When young people start their careers, they are often faced with many expenses – paying off college loans, purchasing a car or new wardrobe for their professional lives, and possibly, purchasing a home. With all these new bills,...