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What Baseball Can Teach You About Financial Planning

April 1, 2014 by Blue Ridge Leader Amy V. Smith’s Money Talks, Columns Be the first to comment
Amy Smith-BRL

Spring training is a tradition that baseball teams and baseball fans look forward to every year. No matter how they did last year, teams in spring training are full of hope that a new season will bring a fresh start. As this year’s baseball season gets under way, here are a few lessons from America’s pastime that might help you reevaluate your finances.

Sometimes you need to proceed one base at a time

There’s nothing like seeing a home run light up the scoreboard, but games are often won by singles and doubles that get runners in scoring position through a series of base hits. The one base at a time approach takes discipline, something that you can apply to your finances by putting together a financial plan. What are your financial goals? Do you know how much money comes in, and how much goes out? Are you saving regularly for retirement or for a child’s college education? A financial plan will help you understand where you are now and help you decide where you want to go. … Continue Reading

What Baseball Can Teach You About Financial Planning

March 8, 2014 by Blue Ridge Leader Amy V. Smith’s Money Talks, Columns Be the first to comment
Amy Smith-BRL

By Amy V. Smith

Spring training is a tradition that baseball teams and baseball fans look forward to every year. No matter how they did last year, teams in spring training are full of hope that a new season will bring a fresh start. As this year’s baseball season gets under way, here are a few lessons from America’s pastime that might help you reevaluate your finances.

Sometimes You Need To Proceed One Base at a Time

There’s nothing like seeing a home run light up the scoreboard, but games are often won by singles and doubles that get runners in scoring position through a series of base hits. The one base at a time approach takes discipline, something that you can apply to your finances by putting together a financial plan. What are your financial goals? Do you know how much money comes in, and how much goes out? Are you saving regularly for retirement or for a child’s college education? A financial plan will help you understand where you are now and help you decide where you want to go. … Continue Reading

Realities of Income Investing in 2014

February 5, 2014 by Blue Ridge Leader Amy V. Smith’s Money Talks, Columns Be the first to comment
Amy Smith-BRL

By Amy Smith

Introduction

Income producing investments traditionally play a very important role in investors’ portfolios. And, just like every other aspect of a well-maintained investment plan, these investments should be reviewed regularly to ensure they are still appropriate given ever-changing circumstances. Markets today are presenting investors with challenges that should be considered when evaluating these fixed income investments, most predominantly interest rate and credit risks. … Continue Reading

New Mortgage Rules Scheduled To Take Effect in January

January 8, 2014 by Blue Ridge Leader Amy V. Smith’s Money Talks, Columns Be the first to comment
Amy Smith-BRL

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has issued new mortgage rules that are scheduled to take effect on January 10, 2014.

Background

In 2008, the rise in home foreclosures was viewed by many as the result of substandard mortgage lending practices. Subsequently, Congress passed the Dodd-Frank act in 2010, which created the CFPB and set forth a number of financial industry regulations aimed at protecting consumers, including some pertaining to mortgage lending. In January 2013, the CFPB issued mortgage rules that implement the mortgage provisions set forth by Congress under the act.

Highlights of the new mortgage rules

The new rules broaden coverage of existing ability-to-repay rules, which require a lender to make a reasonable, good faith determination that a consumer has the ability to repay a loan. The rules extend coverage of the ability-to-repay rules to the majority of closed-end transactions secured by a dwelling (with certain exceptions). … Continue Reading

Where Do Interest Rates Go From Here And What Does It Mean For Investors?

November 6, 2013 by Blue Ridge Leader Amy V. Smith’s Money Talks, Columns Be the first to comment
Amy Smith-BRL

By Amy Smith

With a meaningful rise in the 10-year Treasury rate in 2013 and investors experiencing recent declines in market values in interest rate sensitive assets, this might be the time to review your fixed income holdings.

The Federal Reserve has taken unprecedented actions since 2008-2009 and continues to hold the key to the path of interest rates. Following the September 18 Federal Open Market Committee meeting, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke indicated that the Fed would continue its large-scale asset purchases until further confirmation of the economic recovery was evident in the date and that target interest rates will remain near zero “at least as long as unemployment exceeds 6.5 percent, so long as the outlook for inflation is no higher than 2.5 percent.” … Continue Reading

13 Financial Planning Strategies For 2013 – ?Final Part of a 7-Part Series

October 2, 2013 by Blue Ridge Leader Amy V. Smith’s Money Talks, Columns Be the first to comment
Amy Smith-BRL

Congress passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) on New Year’s Day. A number of changes came out of the act that will affect your tax bill. In this month’s column, I will be offering financial planning strategies for you to consider in 2013 that by taking appropriate action may help you avoid an unexpected tax bill next April.

12. Watch For Alternative Minimum Tax (ATM)

The American Tax Relief Act permanently “patched” the AMT for 2012 and subsequent years by increasing the exemption amounts and indexing them for inflation. The 2013 AMT exemption is expected to be $51,900 for individuals and $80,750 for joint filers.

There are a number of factors to be aware of that will help avoid or reduce your AMT:

Exercising incentive stock options (ISOs): When exercising ISO’s, be aware of the AMT income you are generating. … Continue Reading

13 Financial Planning Strategies for 2013 – ?Part Six of a Series

September 4, 2013 by Blue Ridge Leader Amy V. Smith’s Money Talks, Columns Be the first to comment
Amy Smith-BRL

Congress passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) on New Year’s Day. A number of changes came out of the act that will affect your tax bill. In this month’s column, I will be offering financial planning strategies for you to consider in 2013 that by taking appropriate action may help you avoid an unexpected tax bill next April.

11. Review Your Estate Plan – All Investors

Estate planning means ensuring your assets will be used according to your wishes, both now and in the future. ATRA raised the maximum estate tax rate to 40 percent and made permanent the $5,000,000 estate tax exemption amount (indexed for inflation going forward; $5,250,000 in 2013.) Portability of this exemption between spouses was also made permanent.

Even if your taxable estate is not in excess of the $5,250,000 ($10,500,000 for couples), there are important steps everyone should take to ensure a smooth and effective transfer of their estate:

Review Your Documents Regularly:

An estate plan is based on the available information when it is developed, and once the plan is created, the work is not over. Your life is constantly changing. Take time in 2013 to review your estate plan and related documents and ensure they’re up to date. … Continue Reading

13 Financial Planning Strategies for 2013 – Part Five of a Seven Part Series

August 7, 2013 by Blue Ridge Leader Amy V. Smith’s Money Talks, Columns Be the first to comment
Amy Smith-BRL

Congress passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) on New Year’s Day. A number of changes came out of the act that will affect your tax bill. In this month’s column, I will be offering financial planning strategies for you to consider in 2013 that by taking appropriate action may help you avoid an unexpected tax bill next April.

10. Homeowners – Consider the advantages of your mortgage

Mortgage interest deductibility was not affected by ATRA as some had predicted, but the overall limitation on itemized deductions – sometimes called the 3 percent haircut – has been reinstated, reducing the value of total allowable itemized deductions for individuals with income in excess of $250,000 or for joint filers with income in excess of $300,000. … Continue Reading

13 Financial Planning Strategies for 2013-Part 4 of a Series

July 2, 2013 by Blue Ridge Leader Amy V. Smith’s Money Talks, Columns Be the first to comment
Amy Smith-BRL

By Amy Smith

Congress passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012(ATRA) on New Year’s Day. A number of changes came out of the act that will affect your tax bill. In this month’s column, I will be offering financial planning strategies for you to consider in 2013 that by taking appropriate action may help you avoid an unexpected tax bill next April.

9. Manage Short-Term Cash Flow Needs
If you’re faced with short-term liquidity needs such as a large tax bill or another significant expense like a family member’s college tuition, think about how you will pay for it. Don’t immediately default to selling part of your portfolio that could result in capital gains, trigger new higher taxes, unbalance your asset allocation and disrupt you overall investment strategy. Consider options that may ultimately cost less to meet your cash flow needs. … Continue Reading

13 Financial Planning Strategies for 2013

June 4, 2013 by Blue Ridge Leader Amy V. Smith’s Money Talks, Columns Be the first to comment
Amy Smith-BRL

Part three of a series
By Amy Smith

Congress passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012(ATRA) on New Year’s Day. A number of changes came out of the act that will affect your tax bill. In this month’s column, I will be offering financial planning strategies for you to consider in 2013 that by taking appropriate action may help you avoid an unexpected tax bill next April.

7. REVISIT YOUR PLANNED CHARITABLE GIVING
Charitable giving can reduce your tax burden and also provide a sense of satisfaction by benefiting your favorite causes. Generally, donations to qualified charities count as an itemized deduction for that tax year. This includes cash, real estate, or other assets. The deductibility of charitable gifts is based on several factors, such as the donor’s income, the nature of the donation, and the charity receiving the donation. A sound plan can help offset an increase in taxes in 2013 due to higher taxes. … Continue Reading

13 Financial Planning Strategies for 2013-Part Two of a Series

Amy Smith-BRL

By Amy Smith

Congress passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 on New Year’s Day. A number of changes came out of the act that will affect your tax bill. In this month’s column, I will be offering financial planning strategies for you to consider in 2013 that by taking appropriate action may help you avoid an unexpected tax bill next April.

3. Align Investments with Account Types

Certain investments may be better suited for certain account types from a tax standpoint. For example, carry income-producing investments in a tax-advantaged account such as a 401(k) or IRA where taxes are deferred until later years and opt for stocks held long term or tax-advantaged municipal bonds in a traditional brokerage account.

4. Take Advantage of Opportunities for Tax-Deferred Growth

Tax-deferred growth is even more advantageous when taxes are higher. You can lower your taxable income now and reduce taxes by capitalizing on the following strategies: … Continue Reading

13 Financial Planning Strategies for 2013

April 3, 2013 by Blue Ridge Leader Amy V. Smith’s Money Talks, Columns Be the first to comment
Amy Smith-BRL

By Amy Smith

Congress passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) on New Year’s Day. A number of changes came out of the act that will affect your overall tax bill and financial plan for 2013 and beyond. I will be offering financial planning strategies in future month’s columns for you to consider in 2013 that by taking appropriate action may help you avoid an unexpected tax bill next April.

1. Consider the type of income you’re generating

To counter or reduce the overall impact of rising taxes, evaluate your income sources. Varying types of income are taxed differently (see below).

Taxation of income types … Continue Reading

What Has Changed for 2013?

March 6, 2013 by Blue Ridge Leader Amy V. Smith’s Money Talks, Columns Be the first to comment
Amy Smith-BRL

By Amy Smith

Congress passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) with barely an hour left on New Year’s Day. A number of changes came out of the act that will affect your overall tax bill and financial plan for 2013 and beyond. While the outcome and resolution of the fiscal cliff means higher taxes for many, we now have certainty on the tax landscape for 2013.

This month’s column summarizes the changes resulting from ATRA. I will be offering financial planning strategies in future month’s columns for you to consider in 2013 that by taking action where appropriate may help you avoid an unexpected tax bill next April. … Continue Reading

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Sustainable Planet

Pungent Curry

9 Apr 2014

noerpel

The latest version of the IPCC report is published and once again it will go unread by the great masses of climate science deniers and unreported by the media. So it might be useful to revisit the fundamental physical realities …

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Ask Dr. Mike

Understanding Teen Suicide

1 Apr 2014

Michael_Pic

By Michael Oberschneider, Psy.D. Northern Virginia has recently experienced several teen suicides. Last month, two Langley High School students took their own lives just a day apart from one another, and this month it appears two students at Woodson High …

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Virginia Gardening

Spring Is Coming

4 Mar 2014

springiscoming

By Donna Williamson March is an in-between month – some cold and the return of glorious warmth now and then. One way to bring some delight inside is forcing spring-blooming branches. You can cut branches of forsythia, cherry, crabapple, kerria, …

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Sushi's Corner

An Easter Swim

1 Apr 2014

Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 11.10.56 AM

I felt like a silly nim “cow” poop with these Easter bows in our hair. Okay Nelly, maybe you didn’t because you’re a girl. But me, a Mighty Cairn Terrier male? – PLEASE! Pleasing Mrs. B for Easter pictures was …

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Amy V. Smith's Money Talks

What Baseball Can Teach You About Financial Planning

1 Apr 2014

Amy Smith-BRL

Spring training is a tradition that baseball teams and baseball fans look forward to every year. No matter how they did last year, teams in spring training are full of hope that a new season will bring a fresh start. …

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Go Take a Hike

Blandy Experimental Farm

6 Jun 2012

Molly

By Molly Pinson Simoneau It’s no secret that I love a challenging hike. I’ve written here about hiking sections of the Appalachian Trail and Shenandoah National Park. I’ve taken vacations with my family to Colorado where I’ve attempted to conquer a “fourteener” (a summit that is higher than 14,000 feet), …

(2 comments)

Real Estate Ticker

A Buying Opportunity?

6 Nov 2013

Carl Fischer headshot

By Carl Fischer As a direct result of the uncertainty that has arisen from national and regional politics, with its unsettling effect on the Northern Virginia area, for the past two months there has been a market slowdown which has …

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From the Farm

From the Farm

5 Jul 2012

From the Farm

When the heat index reaches 110 degrees, as it has been doing recently, I try to keep in the shade, or stay indoors. But my lavender, about halfway from full bloom, seems to thrive in it. Hot and dry, I …

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Events

April 2014
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: Art Gallery Reception for Featured Artists -- Abstract painter Evelyn Lopez de Guzman and contemporary painter Sandra Iafrate

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April 12, 2014N/A

Meet Evelyn and Sandra and other gallery artists during a free, open to the public reception for this month's Featured Artists' exhibit "Living Color,” showcasing two accomplished painters Evelyn Lopez de Guzman and Sandra Iafrate, in a vivid and dynamic presentation of color, shape and our surroundings.

Evelyn Lopez de Guzman’s vibrant paintings awaken the viewer to connect with nature and the modern world through an interplay of shape, color, and textural materials.

Sandra Iafrate’s combination of realistic and surrealist interpretation of flowers, foliage and landscapes on spacious canvases convey a sense of movement and playfulness.

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Easter at "The Park"

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April 19, 2014

Celebrate Easter at historic Morven Park with crafts for kids, an egg hunt in the formal gardens plus a traditional egg roll on the Davis Mansion lawn. Have a family photo taken with the Easter Bunny. Children should bring a basket for the hunt and a large spoon for the egg roll. $10/participating child (ages 2-12), $3/adult. Register at www.MorvenPark.org.

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VAL's Pals Kids Club

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April 30, 2014

Join Inova Loudoun Hospital as the present their Beamer the Dog Program.

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SCOUTING FOR BRICKS

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May 4, 2014

Scouting for Bricks is an exhibit showing the Love for everything LEGO® . Come see amazing LEGO® creations by Fans of LEGO®, LEGO® trains, Mindstorms robots. We will also have live Star Wars Stormtroopers and an interactive play area with over 100,000 LEGO bricks. Scouting for Bricks is fun for the Whole Family! Visit us at www.ScoutingForBricks.com.

Recent Comments

View From the Ridge

Rural Loudoun Is Different, and We Say Dark Skies Do Matter

4 Mar 2014

viewfromridge

In February of this year a sell out crowd gathered at the county public seat in Leesburg to provide feedback to the Loudoun County Planning Commission on the idea of adding additional sports lights to the upper athletic fields at Franklin Park. Franklin Park includes a really wonderful performing arts …

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Editorial

Steady and Nobull

4 Mar 2014

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Park and Ride Lots for Western Loudoun

4 Mar 2014

Jim_Burton_cropped

In 2003, the county purchased 22 commuter buses to serve a growing demand for bus service to Washington D.C. The demand has grown exponentially ever since. The county now owns or leases 65 large commuter buses (with plush seats and on board restrooms) and more are being added every year. The buses are often filled to standing room only as …

(2 comments)

Lifestyle

Sadie’s Race 5K and Fun Run Scheduled for Sunday May 18

9 Apr 2014

sadiestart

Sadie Smile Foundation is putting on the third annual Sadie’s Race/Walk and Kids Fun Run to Benefit Smile Train in Purcellville Sunday, May 18th this year. The race starts at 8:00 a.m. at the train station at 200 N 21st Street in Purcellville. Sign up at Active.com. When Sara Ablard lost her five year-old daughter, Sadie, two years ago, she …

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Dr. Joseph Rogers Dies at Family Farm

1 Apr 2014

Dr. Joseph Megeath Rogers, 90, died on Saturday March 8, 2014 at his Hillbrook Farm near Hamilton following a stroke. Physician, farmer, businessman, rural land conservationist, philanthropist and expert horseman, Dr. Rogers was a tireless advocate and practitioner of country living whose contributions in a broad range of interests were made quietly and with little fanfare. His public persona was …

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Zoldos Presented Citizen of the Year Award

1 Apr 2014

Mayor_Zoldos_Citizen_of_Year_Award

At the biweekly March meeting of the Lovettsville Town Council, Mayor Bobby Zoldos was presented the 2013 Citizen of the Year from the Lovettsville Waterford Ruritans. Presenting the award was Rick Adams, current president along with Board Member Peter Mullally and  Vice President Jeff Boogaard. Adams said, “On behalf of the Lovettsville Waterford Ruritans, we would like to present the …

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Around Virginia

Wolf Won’t Seek Re-election

Frank_wolf

Rep. Frank Wolf (R-10th) today announced that he would not seek election to an 18th term in 2014. He released the following statement announcing his decision: “I have decided not to seek re-election to the U.S. Congress in 2014. It has been an honor to serve the people of northern …

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Virginia Can and Should Work Harder to Combat Hunger

Frank_wolf

By Congressman Frank Wolf Last year, the USDA reported a record number of Americans are struggling to put food on their tables. Across the nation, 49 million people – including 17 million children and six million seniors – are going hungry, a number that has grown substantially over the last …

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Kaine Statement on Navy Yard Shooting

Kaine

U.S. Senator Tim Kaine released the following statement on today’s shooting at the Washington Navy Yard: “My thoughts and prayers are with everyone impacted by today’s tragic shooting at the Washington Navy Yard. As we learn more about the horrific events that unfolded this morning, my deepest sympathies go out …

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Sports

Nominate Your Hometown Hero

9 Apr 2014

ulll

Upper Loudoun Little League’s Hometown Heroes scholarship closes on April 21, 2014. The application is available online at ULLL.org. The scholarship is open to all graduating seniors who played baseball for ULLL at some point in their growing up years.

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Lady Vikings Give Back

10 Feb 2014

The Loudoun Valley Girls basketball team held an event on Friday, February 7 at LVHS. The Lady Vikings celebrated “Pink Night” by honoring those who are battling breast cancer or have been affected by breast cancer. The event was held in conjunction with an event held at Woodgrove earlier this …

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Letters

Medicaid Expansion Battle Heating Up

4 Mar 2014

blueridge2

Did you know that there’s a very real possibility that a DC-style budget battle and government shutdown could come to Virginia? The Medicaid expansion battle …

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Endorsing for Profit Businesses?

4 Mar 2014

town of purcellville sign

I recently received an automated email message from the Town of Purcellville soliciting nominations for volunteer award recipients in cooperation with the Purcellville Business Association …

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Another Vote To Overrule Purcellville’s Board of Architectural Review

4 Mar 2014

town of purcellville sign

The Purcellville Town Council, foolishly, in the view of many and perhaps most, has overruled its Board of Architectural Review and approved Mark Nelis’s and …

(3 comments)

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