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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

Six Things to Know to Weather a Market Downturn

February 3, 2016 Amy and Dan Smith, Columns Comments Off on Six Things to Know to Weather a Market Downturn

It’s natural to be nervous when the markets head for negative territory. Keep a positive perspective with these six investing reminders.
It can be very unsettling for investors when their portfolios and the markets start heading for the red and fear sets in that all you’ve worked for and set aside for retirement and other goals could be at risk. Here are six investing basics to keep in mind during volatile times:

Periods of volatility are normal – All markets move in cycles and periods of steep contraction are completely normal. While the length of market contractions varies, periods of growth and expansion are usually waiting on the other side. Since 1973, stocks have fallen more than 10 percent and subsequently rebounded eight times.

Don’t Panic – Letting emotions dictate your investing strategy is a risk you should not take. Short-term decisions can have long-term consequences on your portfolio. Being patient can pay dividends.

Know your portfolio – Understand your investments and how specific investments represent different goals and outcomes. Keep in mind your risk tolerance and investment timeline, and if either has changed, consider talking to your financial advisor about rebalancing your portfolio. Diversification can potentially help balance risk during a downturn and mitigate extreme swings in value.

Stay the Course – Remember your financial plan and long-term goals and stick to them. A disciplined investment approach is the best strategy for handling market downturns and will likely enable you to participate when the markets rebound.

Consider opportunities – Working with your financial advisor, determine whether periods of volatility are a good time to take advantage of investment opportunities in line with your long-term plan.

You’re not alone – Your financial advisor is available to help you when you need it. He or she can guide you through difficult markets and be the independent voice and “information bodyguard” that helps you stay focused on your long-term goals.

Investing involves risk and investors may incur a profit or a loss. Past performance may not be indicative of future results. Diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss. The foregoing contains general information only and is not intended to convey investment advice. Amy V. Smith Wealth Management, LLC, an independent firm, CFP, CIMA, offers 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. (703-669-5022, www.amysmithwealthmanagement.com) Dan Smith is not affiliated with Raymond James.

Amy and Dan Smith’s Planning for Life: When the Road To Success Leads Back Home

January 7, 2016 Amy and Dan Smith, Columns Comments Off on Amy and Dan Smith’s Planning for Life: When the Road To Success Leads Back Home

Despite our best efforts, sometimes grown children aren’t quite ready to enter the real world.

The day our children move out of the house, graduate from college, or land their first full-time job isn’t always-or even often-the day they achieve independence. Life is full of twists and turns, and even young adults with the best laid plans can veer off course, turning to their parents for support when things get tough. One study, conducted by Arizona Pathways to Life Success, says that half of recent graduates ages 23 to 26 depend on their family’s financial support to meet their current needs. … Continue Reading








The Trump Effect


“Corals are marine magicians. As colonies of the tiny ocean organisms grow, they transform the calcium that circulates in seawater into enormous limestone reefs. These reefs—which can extend for more than 1,000 miles and provide homes for crabs, eels, sea …

Six Tips To a New Year and a New You in 2017


By Michael Oberschenider, Psy.D. Research has shown that as many as 45 percent of us make New Year’s resolutions, but only about eight percent are actually successful in achieving them. And it seems that age is a factor: about 39 …

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 …

Choosing a Different Lens


We have all heard, “A picture’s worth a thousand words,” maybe even said it aloud while perusing old photo albums or scrolling through Facebook timelines. Sometimes words fall short of adequately describing an emotion encapsulating a distinct moment. Pictures fill …

Freedom Park

freedom park

A great name for a great place, this public space shows us – in my opinion – what’s best about Leesburg, Loudoun County and our country. Freedom Park – just off the Dulles Greenway on the South side of Town …

The Grim Reaper and the Great Barrier


(to be presented to the Board of Supervisors in January) “The recent frequency and intensity of mass coral bleaching are of major concern, and are directly attributable to rising atmospheric greenhouse gases.” [1]

Pearl Harbor


By Nicholas Reid Seventy-five years ago this December 7, to quote President Franklin D. Roosevelt, “the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.” It will have been 75 …

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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January 2017
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
December 26, 2016 December 27, 2016 December 28, 2016 December 29, 2016 December 30, 2016 December 31, 2016

Family New Year’s Eve Celebration

January 1, 2017

New Year's Day Musikabend

Restore & Renew

January 2, 2017 January 3, 2017 January 4, 2017 January 5, 2017

Chair Yoga

Yoga for Men

January 6, 2017 January 7, 2017

Core Purpose, Core Practice Yoga

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

January 8, 2017
January 9, 2017


January 10, 2017 January 11, 2017

Beale Street Puppets: Dig Those Dinosaurs

January 12, 2017

Chair Yoga

Yoga for Men

January 13, 2017 January 14, 2017


January 15, 2017

Come Paint with Us at Breaux Vineyards

January 16, 2017 January 17, 2017 January 18, 2017

Virginia Opera: Deep River- The Marion Anderson Story

January 19, 2017

Chair Yoga

Yoga for Men

January 20, 2017


January 21, 2017


January 22, 2017
January 23, 2017 January 24, 2017 January 25, 2017 January 26, 2017

Chair Yoga

Yoga for Men

January 27, 2017 January 28, 2017 January 29, 2017
January 30, 2017 January 31, 2017 February 1, 2017 February 2, 2017

Chair Yoga

Yoga for Men

February 3, 2017 February 4, 2017



Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

February 5, 2017
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Steady and NoBull


Historian Rich Gillespie Speaks on Haunts on the Loudoun Landscape

12 Jan 2017

The Mosby Heritage Area Association announced an event in conjunction with the Purcellville Library on January 29, at 2:00 p.m,. which will feature Rich Gillespie, Historian Emeritus of the Mosby Heritage Area Association, speaking on the “Haunts on the Loudoun Landscape.” The stories are all from the personal experiences of long-time local historian and teacher Rich Gillespie, or from close …

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Help Joseph … and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

4 Jan 2017


Blue Ridge Middle School’s PTO is seeking help with its drama department, working diligently on the production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamboat. The children in the show are enthusiastic and very talented. And, the school has a long history of first class productions with recent shows such as The Lion King, which won 11 National Youth Arts Awards …

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Remembering George Kakouras

4 Jan 2017


Georgios “George” Evangelos Kakouras, of Purcellville passed away on December 22, 2016. Born on February 22, 1938 in Gorianades, Greece he was the son of the late Evangelos and Elizabeth Kakouras. Kakouras came to the United States from Greece in 1955 at the age of 17. He began working for his late uncle Nick Fragakis at the White Palace Restaurant …

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Grief and Greed


By Matthew Parse What would drive a single individual to cause so much emotional stress and financial burden on hundreds, if not, thousands of families? What would drive the Town …


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

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 …

It’s Our Right


On December 6, the Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote on a “Minor Special Exception” proposal we submitted earlier this year concerning our Catesby Farm property. Unfortunately, our limited …

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

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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Rep. Comstock’s Key Top Priority Legislation Initiatives


Signed into Law in Her First Term Rep. Barbara Comstock, who serves the 10th congressional district in Virginia, recently reviewed the achievements of her first term in office, identifying 17 legislative initiatives that she supported that were adopted. She said: “My staff and I have met with stakeholders, local elected …

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Man Killed Walking To Gas Station on I-95


Virginia State Police Trooper M.J. Kryznefski is investigating a fatal pedestrian crash in Prince William County. The crash occurred at approximately 4:10 a.m., on Monday, December 26, on Interstate 95 near Exit 158B. Three males were traveling south on Interstate 95 when their Honda CRV ran out of gas. They …

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Woodgrove Grabs First at Glory Days

10 Jan 2017

Woodgrove Gymnastics

The Woodgrove Varsity Gymnastics took first place in the red division of the Glory Days Invitational at Park View High School on Saturday, January 7. Woodgrove competed against Rock Ridge, Potomac Falls, Loudoun Valley and Heritage high schools. Host team Park View came in first in the lower blue division. …

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Deadline Extended for Purcellville Sports Funding Application

4 Jan 2017


The Town of Purcellville has extended the deadline to apply for the Annual Sports League Funding. The new deadline is January 9 at 5:00 p.m. Applicant organizations must serve the Town of Purcellville area, have citizens of the Town of Purcellville as players, and provide a letter to the Town …

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