3 Ways to Take Advantage of the New Tax Law

by John Cooney on Jan 29, 2018

Taxes, Roth IRA, Donor Advised Funds, 529 Plans, Education, retirement

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), passed just at the end of 2017, made some of the most significant changes to the tax code in decades, and you have probably heard numerous takes on how good or bad the legislation is.  This is not going to be a discussion of the merits of the bill, but instead, I will highlight three changes that taxpayers can use to their advantage starting as early as 2018.  Just one big note, this is for 2018 taxes, due in April 2019.  For your 2017 taxes, due in April of 2018, the old tax rules still apply.


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Year End Tax Tips and Reminders

by John Cooney on Dec 12, 2017

Taxes, IRA, Roth IRA

As we move into the holiday season and with the end of the year fast approaching, it is always good to take some time out and make sure you are doing some year-end planning with regard to taxes.  Regardless of your personal situation, there may be some small steps you can take (or have to take) to stay in compliance with the IRS or to take advantage of the tax laws to avoid a bad situation come April 15th.


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Military Reservists: Do You Qualify For Reduced Age Retirement?

by John Cooney on Nov 28, 2017

military retirement, retirement, reserve

Everyone knows if you qualify for a retirement as a Military Reservist, your pension payments don’t begin until you turn 60, right?  Well, maybe not, if you were mobilized after January 2008, you may qualify for a reduced age retirement, which means that your pension payments can start as early as 50.  Included in the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act is a provision to begin payments early based on the number of days spent on Active Duty in support of the Global War on Terror or any of its derivatives on or after January 28th, 2008.

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What Some of History's Greatest Military Leaders Can Teach Us About Personal Finance

by John Cooney on Nov 8, 2017

military, history, retirement, personal finance, Debt

I am a big history fan and of course a big fan of personal finance, so in honor of Veteran’s Day I thought I’d highlight a few financial planning lessons we can learn from some of the greatest military leaders in history.  Sun Tzu, Julius Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte, Dwight Eisenhower, and George Marshall have all carved out a spot in the Parthenon of military leaders.  There is no reason however that those lessons should only apply to the battlefield, their lives can also help us in living out the financial lives we both desire and deserve.  I hope you enjoy it, and to any veterans reading,

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Three Ways To Improve Your Credit Score

by John Cooney on Oct 24, 2017

Debt, Credit Report

Having a good credit score is an essential part of maintaining a healthy financial life.  It can be the difference between paying a high interest rate and a low interest rate on a car loan or being turned down for an apartment.  So how can you ensure your credit score is an asset for you?  Unfortunately, there is no easy fix if you currently have bad credit or if you are young and have no credit history, but I have outlined three steps below that can help you build your credit history and ensure it doesn’t hinder your financial and lifestyle goals in the future.

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Traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs, What’s The Difference?

by John Cooney on Oct 11, 2017

retirement, Roth IRA, IRA, Taxes

Individual retirement accounts can be a fantastic vehicle for helping individuals save money for retirement.  They can be used in conjunction with workplace retirement plans and social security to help provide income for retirees when they have left the workforce.  When it comes to IRAs, they come in two different flavors, traditional and Roth.  We will discuss how these two types of retirement accounts are the same, how they are different, and which one may be right for you.

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My Experience With the VA Home Loan

by John Cooney on Sep 28, 2017

Veteran Benefits

If you are a veteran and in the market for buying a house, chances are you have heard about or have looked into using the VA Loan benefit for this purchase.  I am in the middle of buying a house for the second time and for the first time, I am using the VA Loan Benefit, so I thought I’d take a few minutes and talk about what the VA Loan is, my personal story with the VA Loan, and tips for anyone looking to use it in the future.


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Strategy vs Tactics When it Comes to Investing

by John Cooney on Sep 14, 2017

investing, retirement

When people find out that I am a financial advisor, the first question I am usually asked is “What should I invest in?” or something close to that.  My answer is almost always the same, “What is it you are investing for?”  If your advisor is telling you what to invest in, before you have talked about what you are investing for, I highly recommend you find another advisor.  When I think about investing, I often think back to my military education days and learning about the three levels of war; Strategic, Operational, and Tactical.

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Improvements to the TSP May Be Coming Soon!

by John Cooney on Jul 17, 2017

Thrift Savings Plan, retirement, military retirement, TSP

When I talk to people about the Thrift Savings Plan the most common complaint I usually hear is how difficult it can be to withdraw funds from your account.  Well, you may not believe it, but there is a bi-partisan effort underway in Congress to improve these rules and allow for greater withdrawal flexibility for TSP participants.  In April, Senate Bill 873, The Thrift Savings Plan Modernization Act was sponsored by Senators Portman and Carper, and at the end of June, a companion bill, HR 3031, was sponsored in the House of Representatives by Representatives Cummings, Meadows, and Norton. 

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Congratulations, You Just Graduated From a Service Academy! Now, Start Planning for Retirement

by John Cooney on Jun 22, 2017

military retirement, USMA, USNA, USAFA, USCGA, graduation, Thrift Savings Plan, blended retirement system, IRA, Roth IRA, Class of 2017

Congratulations, you just spent the past four years in one of the most challenging college environments that exist.  You were pushed to your physical, emotional, and intellectual limits and earned the right to be commissioned as an officer in the United States Military.  So now, while you are enjoying a little leave, on your way to your basic officer course, or already at your first assignment leading troops, you need to make sure you are planning for retirement.  Wait, what, retirement, but you just graduated?  Remember, you will never again get the chance to start planning for retirement

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