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Five Key Retirement Questions


Beyond asking yourself where you see yourself and even what your lifelong goal are, effective retirement and longevity planning begs some very big questions. Review the points below and consider how housing, transportation and health considerations all play a role in planning for your future.

Where Will You Live?
Whether you’re bound for a dream home or planning to stay put, housing likely will be your biggest expense in retirement. While aging in the comfort of your own home would be ideal, modifications to the home-or your plan-could be necessary as mobility and transportation challenges arise. Points to consider:
Do you want to stay in your home? Will it need to be modified?
What housing options are available to you, and what will they cost?
Would you want to downsize? Relocate to a pedestrian friendly neighborhood?
87 percent of adults age 65+ want to stay in their current home and community as they age. (AARP PPI, “What is Livable? Community preferences of Older Adults,” April 2014) … Continue Reading

It’s Time To Review Your Estate Planning Basics

February 1, 2017 Amy and Dan Smith, Columns Comments Off on It’s Time To Review Your Estate Planning Basics

Beginners and billionaires alike should refresh their knowledge of these basic estate planning terms and concepts.

The word “estate” tends to conjure up images of billionaires and aristocrats, but estate planning is not just for the wealthy. It’s widely believed that estate planning in one form or another is needed by everyone, and it doesn’t need to be sophisticated, complex or costly to help fulfill final wishes and protect assets. Whether you are a prince or a pauper, refreshing on estate planning basics can help make sure your legacy is left the way you intended. … Continue Reading

Investing in the Family Stock

January 4, 2017 Amy and Dan Smith, Columns Comments Off on Investing in the Family Stock

Family relationships are usually not considered under the rubric of “investments”. Yet, the personal gain and loss from family relationships is much more significant than economic return from stocks and bonds.

Taking time out to relate to a person without a self-promoting agenda is counter-cultural, yet such an investment of time in the younger generation can demonstrate an alternative to the current social paradigm, and create a rich, personal reward. Think of an aunt, uncle, or grandparent who stands out in your memory. I bet the image is not one of a super-producer who accomplished great feats in the marketplace. Rather, those who touch us most deeply are those who take time to care for us on a personal level. … Continue Reading

Early Returns: How U.S. Markets Reacted to the Presidential Election

November 30, 2016 Amy and Dan Smith, Columns Comments Off on Early Returns: How U.S. Markets Reacted to the Presidential Election

On November 8, 2016, Republican candidate Donald J. Trump won a closely contested election for president of the United States.
Late on election night, when it became evident that Trump was likely to win, despite consistently trailing in the polls, foreign markets went into a deep dive. (fn. 1.) Many observers expected a similar reaction when the U.S. stock market opened on November 9, but after an initial drop, the S & P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average, and NASDAQ rose throughout the day; and all three indexes closed up more than one percent. (fn. 2.) Although this was unexpected after the late-night surprise, it actually continued a two-day surge that began when Democratic Hillary Clinton was expected to win the election. (fn. 3.) … Continue Reading

Guns and Estate Planning “Gun Trusts”

November 2, 2016 Amy and Dan Smith, Columns Comments Off on Guns and Estate Planning “Gun Trusts”

Due to the growth of gun ownership in the United States, there is the increased likelihood that estates will include guns. A thorough discussion of the application of federal and state gun laws is not possible in this article. However, responsible estate administrators can unknowingly violate gun laws, leading to “accidental felonies.” Thus, some information may be helpful.

There are two categories of weapons as to which different restrictions apply. The highly regulated category is referred to as “NFA Weapons.” These include short-barreled rifles and shot guns, fully automatic machine guns, silencers and components to build them, any other weapon (eg, pen and cane guns), and destructive devices (eg, grenades and missiles). All transfers of an NFA weapon must be approved by the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives). Thus, if an executor innocently delivers an NFA weapon (or even loans such a weapon) without ATF approval, he/she has committed a felony which carries possible imprisonment and significant fines. … Continue Reading

Are Your Estate and Financial Plans Shock-Proof?

October 5, 2016 Amy and Dan Smith, Columns Comments Off on Are Your Estate and Financial Plans Shock-Proof?

Don’t wait until “what if?” becomes “what is.”

Where will you live as you age?

Think about your housing options now, so you have choices and won’t have to make a hasty decision should an unexpected health event force you to move or modify your home.

Staying Put
Most of us prefer to stay in our homes as we age. If that sounds like you, plan in advance for modifications you might need to make your home safer or more accessible (e.g. ramps, wider doorways, grab bars.) Think about whether family members can take you to doctor’s appointments, buy groceries and help with home maintenance. If you don’t have a support system, you’ll need a plan and budget for transportation, home repairs, and in-home health and personal care services. Hiring a personal aid, for example, costs and average of $21 per hour.

Sources: Legg Mason, longtermcare.gov

Moving Out
While it may be hard to imagine today, if you can’t stay in your home due to a health event, consider other housing options that could provide more personal, social and healthcare support.

Assisted Living
Among the benefits of an assisted living facility: social connections with other residents and help with everyday tasks like laundry, taking medications and transportation. Some amenities are included in your rent and some cost extra. Your monthly rent could be as high as $4,500, depending on the facility and care needed, so tour facilities in your price range and develop a short list. Ask about additional fees for services like help with dressing if you were to become less mobile.

Nursing Home
If you face a chronic illness or injury that requires 24/7 medical care, your next step may be a nursing home, also called a “long-term” or “skilled-care” facility. Tour facilities and talk to staff. Ask residents and their families (if you can) about the level of response and care they receive.

Keep in mind these facilities are often part of a continuing care retirement community, so residents already in a community’s independent or assisted care facility will get first preference on long-term housing. Ask if there’s a waiting list for non-community retirees.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities
If you’re thinking about the levels of care you may need as you age and prefer to minimize changing neighborhoods and providers, a CCRC may be your best option. These communities progress in cost and care, from independent apartments to assisted living and finally, long-term care. Ask whether there are buy-in costs that guarantee you first preference if, for example, you have to move form an independent apartment to the assisted living facility. Tour each facility within the CCRC and budget accordingly.

Visit at different times of day, including mealtimes. Talk to residents and visiting family members. Review fees for rent and additional services. Ask about average response time to assist a resident.

Next Steps
Think about if you’ll need transportation or live close enough to walk to shopping and medical facilities.

Learn what fees are required upfront to buy into a continuing care retirement community.

Calculate how much to set aside should you need long-term care.

Material provided by Raymond James for use by its advisors. The foregoing contains general information only and is not intended to convey investment advice. Legal advice and services are not offered through Raymond James. Amy V. Smith CFP ® CIMA. Amy Smith Wealth Management, LLC, is an independent firm offering securities through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. Her office is located at 161 Fort Evans Road, NE, Suite 345, Leesburg, VA 20176. Tel. 703-669-5022, www.amysmithwealthmanagement.com. Dan Smith is not affiliated with Raymond James.

What Happens To My Stuff When I Die?

September 7, 2016 Amy and Dan Smith, Columns Comments Off on What Happens To My Stuff When I Die?

Amy and Dan Smith

Only in the rarest of circumstances will the state receive the property of a decedent.

Joint tenancy. If you hold property jointly with another person “with survivorship,” it is presumed that the survivor is entitled to all the property upon the death of the first to die. Typically, a deed or investment account will indicate “joint tenants with right of survivorship.” Joint ownership by a husband and wife with survivorship rights is called a “tenancy by the entireties.” Property owned by two or more people without survivorship is called a tenancy in common. This intention should be clearly stated in the title to avoid conflict upon the death of the first tenant. … Continue Reading

Your Retirement Plan B

August 3, 2016 Amy and Dan Smith, Columns Comments Off on Your Retirement Plan B

Take the time to design an alternative retirement plan should retirement come earlier than expected.

Imagine this. You’ve spend decades working, saving, and planning for your version of the ideal retirement. Your company was just acquired, and your boss is now strongly encouraging you to take an early retirement – five years before you’re ready.

So, What Now? … Continue Reading

Time To Add Discipline To Your Good Money Habits

July 6, 2016 Amy and Dan Smith, Columns Comments Off on Time To Add Discipline To Your Good Money Habits

– By Amy and Dan Smith

For many, their 30’s is a time to build a family and a stronger financial future
That 30th birthday can be a somewhat traumatic event, but with people living longer, they say 50 is the new 30. If that’s the case, then you’re just a kid!

That doesn’t mean, however, that you should be childlike about your finances. If your 20’s are the years when you lay the foundation for good financial habits, then your 30’s are when you build on that foundation.

By now you’re likely employed in your field, possibly married or in a committed relationship, and thinking about building a family. It’s important to factor in these life events when you are planning. A financial advisor can work with you to create a solid plan and provide objective guidance no matter how investment savvy you are.

Your priority should be saving and avoiding non-mortgage debt. Without debt, saving seems easy. And there’s a lot to save for: the wedding, starting a family, buying a house, sending your kids to college and retirement. Not to mention all the surprises in between. This is where the long-term plan you and your financial advisor create comes in. It’s important to stick to it.

Another key element is to review your financial plans periodically to make sure they still meet your goals. If you are part of a couple, consider making “financial dates” with your spouse or partner to proactively talk about money. It’s a good way to make sure both parties in a relationship are aware of the other’s goals for the future.

To Help You Get Started on your Journey, Here’s a Checklist for 30-Somethings:

Save for retirement. Are you taking advantage of the retirement plan offered by your employer? It allows you to invest a portion of every paycheck before taxes –or after taxes in the case of a Roth 401(k). While you’re at it, analyze other employer benefits. Are you taking advantage of all the benefits your employer offers? Look at everything, form flexible spending accounts to group discounts.
Pay off personal debt. Have you paid off all your high-interest debt? Paying off a credit card that charges 25 percent interest means substantial savings.

Write a simple will and also a living will. How will your property be handled if you die? A simple will can keep your loved ones from having to decide. What do you want to happen if you become seriously ill? A living will records your wishes and removes that burden form your family.

Name a guardian for your children, if you have any. Who will be responsible for your children if you and your spouse/partner die? Protect them by legally naming a guardian.

Review your insurance. If you’ve recently married or started a family, are life and disability insurance adequate given your new status? Also, the younger you are, the less long-term care and disability policies cost. It’s also a good idea to review your auto and home policies to ensure your family and property are fully covered. You may also be eligible for package discounts.

Start a college fund for your children if you have any. As soon as you are out of debt, begin an education fund. The costs for education are soaring, so the earlier you can begin saving the better.
Think about your future housing needs. Is your family going to outgrow your house? Will your parents eventually move in with you? A separate savings fund for housing can accommodate these possibilities.

The foregoing article contains general legal information only and is not intended to convey legal advice. For legal advice regarding estate planning, the reader should contact his/her lawyer. The foregoing contains general information only and is not intended to convey investment advice. Legal advice and services are not offered through Raymond James. Amy V. Smith CFP ® CIMA. Amy Smith Wealth Management, LLC, is an independent firm offering securities through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. Her office is located at 161 Fort Evans Road, NE, Suite 345, Leesburg, VA 20176. (Tel. 703 669-5022, www.amysmithwealthmanagement.com. Dan Smith is not affiliated with Raymond James.

Do It Yourself Legal Products Bargain or Trap?

June 1, 2016 Amy and Dan Smith, Columns Comments Off on Do It Yourself Legal Products Bargain or Trap?

The proliferation of online vendors offering legal documents and services for fixed fees is causing a real stir in the legal community. On the one hand there can be no question that the pricing of legal services puts personalized legal counsel out of reach for many people. On the other hand, most legal problems do not lend themselves to over-the-counter solutions.

The North Carolina State Bar Association tried to close down LegalZoom charging it with the unauthorized practice of law. A court order reversed the action. In the meantime, Rocket Lawyer, a competitor to LegalZoom, is teaming with the American Bar Association to offer legal advice to small businesses. The Virginia State Bar is carefully reviewing the situation in Virginia. … Continue Reading

Planning for Life Disclosure and Other Family Issues in Estate Planning

May 4, 2016 Amy and Dan Smith, Columns Comments Off on Planning for Life Disclosure and Other Family Issues in Estate Planning

What do we tell the kids?

Questions of how much and what type of information to give the children often arise during consultation. The answers depend on the circumstances of each family – the ages and maturity of the children being the most obvious factors. As a general rule the ideal is to advise the children as to the extent and nature of the parents’ assets and plans. This can lead to a smoother transition to the next generation.

Issues of entitlement, sibling rivalry (where there is more than one child involved), and perceptions of fair-ness may naturally surface with regard to the parents’ estate. Feelings may be particularly acute where one child has provided more care and attention to a parent than the other children, as is often the case. … Continue Reading

How To “File and Suspend” Before It Is Too Late

April 6, 2016 Amy and Dan Smith, Columns Comments Off on How To “File and Suspend” Before It Is Too Late

With the recent changes to Social Security rules, filing and suspending will soon be phased out, but there’s still time to take advantage of the strategy.

Here’s a quick guide to maneuvering this rule while it still lasts, but as always, you should work with your financial advisor to discuss further how you can use this and other strategies in your financial plan. … Continue Reading

There If (Or When) You Need It

March 2, 2016 Amy and Dan Smith, Columns Comments Off on There If (Or When) You Need It

By Amy and Dan Smith

Long-term care is one of the biggest and often unexpected expenses in retirement. Thinking about funding a long-term care plan now can save you later.

It seems we don’t pay much attention to long-term care until it directly affects us. Sure, it may pop up on our radar when consoling a friend who’s bearing the weight-physically and financially – of a loved one’s care or through the trials and tribulations of funding an aging parent’s assisted living needs. However, there may come a time when you or your spouse could face these challenges and decisions.
Few Americans place long-term care needs high on a list of concerns. In fact, more than half don’t have a plan for when they’re unable to independently bathe, dress, eat or get around, according to the 2012 State of Planning Survey. … Continue Reading








The Holocene Climate


(Public Input Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, 7 March, 2017) Figure 1 shows the climate variation over the last million years. The low points on the curve correspond to ice ages when glaciers up to a mile thick covered New …

Choosing To Forgive


By Samuel Moore-Sobel “Truly forgiving is the ability to say, ‘Thank you for giving me that experience.’” James Arthur Ray vaulted into fame on the Oprah Winfrey Show back in the mid-2000’s. Stunned hearing these words while watching The Rise and …

Five Key Retirement Questions


Beyond asking yourself where you see yourself and even what your lifelong goal are, effective retirement and longevity planning begs some very big questions. Review the points below and consider how housing, transportation and health considerations all play a role …

Work Woes


By Michael Oberschneider, Psy.D. Dr. Mike, I’m a manager at a large tech company and my boss has directed me to fire someone on my team, but as a Christian, I just can’t do it. It’s true that the employee …

Joy or Suffering

Lunde new

By Mary Rose Lunde No one likes to suffer. When given the chance, many people would choose to laugh rather than cry, to sit in silence with their friends rather than talk through their feelings, because not even their friends …

Wage Radio


I will always remember – very fondly – the first time I ever set foot on the property at 711 Wage Drive Southwest in Leesburg, Virginia. It was a warm, sunny July morning in 1997, and I’d driven all the …

Speaking Truth to Power


“With public sentiment nothing can fail. Without it nothing can succeed.” Abraham Lincoln On Thursday evening, February 23, I requested the Board of Supervisors pass a proclamation resolving to support the March for Science on Earth Day, April 22 [1]. …

Student News

Congratulations, Class of 2016

6 Jul 2016


Woodgrove High School’s Class Of 2016 Graduation – By Amanda Clark On June 16, Woodgrove’s Class of 2016 was the 5th graduating class to walk the stage and accept their diploma. The ceremony was filled with anticipation as the chorus, …

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Buckland Earns Degree In Medicine

6 Jul 2016


Molly Buckland, D.O., graduated from the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine with a degree of Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine on May 28. While at WVSOM, Dr. Buckland received the Dr. Roland P. Sharp President’s Award and the James R. …

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Adams Promoted To Lieutenant

6 Jul 2016


Lt. James Adams, from Sterling and a Potomac Falls Halls Graduate, earned the promotion to the rank of Lieutenant. Adams is a Navy Week and Executive Outreach Planner for the Navy Office of Community Outreach in Millington, Tennessee. U.S. Navy …

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March 2017
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
February 27, 2017 February 28, 2017 March 1, 2017 March 2, 2017 March 3, 2017


March 4, 2017

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event
March 5, 2017
March 6, 2017 March 7, 2017 March 8, 2017 March 9, 2017 March 10, 2017 March 11, 2017 March 12, 2017
March 13, 2017 March 14, 2017 March 15, 2017 March 16, 2017 March 17, 2017 March 18, 2017

Wine & Chili Weekend

Wine & Chili Weekend
March 19, 2017

Joshua Carr River Safety Foundation Rummage Sale

Joshua Carr River Safety Foundation Rummage Sale
March 20, 2017 March 21, 2017 March 22, 2017 March 23, 2017 March 24, 2017

March Fourth Friday

March Fourth Friday
March 25, 2017 March 26, 2017

Spring Brunch

Spring Brunch

Spring Brunch

Spring Brunch
March 27, 2017 March 28, 2017 March 29, 2017 March 30, 2017 March 31, 2017 April 1, 2017

”Homage to Mother Earth”

”Homage to Mother Earth”

Nebbiolo Vertical Tasting

Nebbiolo Vertical Tasting

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event
April 2, 2017

”Homage to Mother Earth”

”Homage to Mother Earth”

GALLERY COFFEEHOUSE: Readers Theater, “One Slight Hitch”

GALLERY COFFEEHOUSE: Readers Theater, “One Slight Hitch”
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Steady and NoBull


Loudoun Workforce Resource Center Presents STEM Career Fair March 28

16 Mar 2017

Illustration of STEM education word typography design in orange theme with icon ornament elements

Anyone interested in a career in the rapidly growing field of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) is encouraged to attend an upcoming STEM Career Fair in Loudoun. The Loudoun Workforce Resource Center, in partnership with Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC)’s Loudoun campus and NOVA SySTEMic Solutions, is holding a STEM Career Fair Tuesday, March 28, from 1:00 to 4:00 …

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Keep Loudoun Beautiful—Greater Lovettsville Area Volunteers Needed

16 Mar 2017

Lovettsville Boat Launch 7-26-09

The Keep Loudoun Beautiful spring clean-up takes place the entire month of April and greater Lovettsville needs volunteers. Bags, vests, gloves and grabbers are available at the Lovettsville Community Center during normal business hours, Monday-Friday. This is a great group or individual activity that can be scheduled around your availability. E-mail Lovettsville Area Leader, Laura Lieberman, for details and to …

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National Awkward Moments Day

8 Mar 2017


?Laughing at Yourself Is the Best Medicine No one knows who invented National Awkward Moments Day, Saturday, March 18. That’s no surprise, since it probably came about as the result of one stunningly awkward moment that the owner of that moment was hoping to forget. We surveyed our readers and friends to ask them about their most awkward moments, sharing …

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Priscilla Nabs Plum Planning Commission Post

Loudoun County Seal Color

Appointment Shocks Many On January 3 Supervisor Tony R. Buffington Jr. (R-Blue Ridge) nominated Tom Priscilla for the Loudoun County Planning Commission to represent the Blue Ridge District. Priscilla was …


Opinion: Terrorism, Debt, and China: Oh My!


– By Nick Reid world can be a very dangerous place sometimes, especially for a nation state such as the United States. Although danger is always present, the number and …

Metro Money Mess Pushing West


– By Delegate Dave LaRock (R-33rd) A local paper recently quoted Loudoun Board Chair Phyllis Randall as saying that in her observation “some of the concerns raised by the people …

Dear Editor

Why Williams Gap Road Should Not Be Paved


Today, most residents of Loudoun County know nothing about Williams Gap, even those living on Williams Gap Road (Route 711). Knowing who “Williams” was, why a gap in the Blue …

Vote No To the Minor Special Exception


We are a group of Loudoun County citizens who will be adversely affected if the board grants a special exception for the Catesby Farm property at your upcoming meeting. You …

View From the Ridge

Broken Promises, Hidden by a Six-Foot Berm


By Andrea Gaines On August 9, 1825 at the age of 69, French military officer the Marquis de Lafayette was honored in Leesburg by former President James Monroe. The French-born …

Around Virginia

Protecting Free Speech


By Dave LaRock (R-33) As elected officials and members of the legislature, our most fundamental responsibility is to protect God-given constitutionally protected rights. The First Amendment of the United States Constitution prohibits the government, including governmental public colleges and universities, from infringing on free speech and the free exercise of …


Walbridge To Run for State Delegate in the 33rd District

Tia walbridge

Tia Walbridge announces her run for the District 33 seat in the Virginia House of Delegates. Walbridge is a wife and mother of two daughters and an active member of the Round Hill community. “Like many people in our district, my family has found its prosperity in a Virginia-based small …

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Office Building on Capitol Square To Be Named After Civil Rights Pioneer Barbara Johns


Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that the newly renovated state building located at 202 N. 9th Street on Capitol Square in Richmond (currently known as the 9th Street Office Building) will bear the name of civil rights pioneer Barbara Johns. The building, which reopened last year, houses the Virginia Attorney General’s …

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Vikings Runner-Up at the State Championship 

8 Mar 2017


The Loudoun Valley Vikings are the boy’s runner-up at the VHSL 4A State Indoor Track and Field Championships at Roanoke College.  During the 2015-2016 school year, the Loudoun County School Board approved Indoor Track and Field as a Tier 2 (self-funded) sport.  The seven boys competing scored 48 points, second …

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WLVBC U14 Boys Finish 3rd at VA Beach Event

23 Feb 2017


The Western Loudoun Volleyball Club’s U14 Boys Team garnered 3rd place in their first travel tournament of 2017, the Virginia Beach Invitational. This event was held Feb. 18-19 and featured more than 24 teams from the U14 to U18 age group. The team was second on their net on day …

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