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Published August 23rd, 2017
Lynn's Top Five
Lynn Ballou is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER (tm) professional and Regional Director with EP Wealth Advisors, a Registered Investment Advisory Firm in Lafayette. Information used in the writing of this column is believed to be factual and up-to-date, however, we do not guarantee its accuracy. This column does not involve the rendering of personalized investment advice and is not intended to supplement individualized professional advice. A financial, tax and/or legal professional should be consulted before implementing any of the strategies directly or indirectly suggested and discussed. All investment strategies have the potential for profit or loss.

The first day of school is the day my mom always called the real Mother's Day! So let's take advantage of some quiet moments and review my Top Five for this month, all of which share the theme of being kid related financial planning topics.
Sept. 15 is just around the corner! This is an important date for many who are self-employed and those who receive taxable income from investments and other sources with no withholding. It's also a good time to review your withholding from work, social security and pensions. But I especially mention this to you who may no longer qualify for head of household status and/or who can no longer claim your children as dependents. Check with your tax pro to see if you need to make changes to your withholding or if it would make sense to make an estimated tax payment next month. With just four months left this year, it's time to get solidly on top of these numbers.
Medical Insurance for college Kids. Many colleges have medical insurance plans for their students. When you review these plans, though, you'll often find the coverage to be pretty skimpy especially regarding maximum amounts covered. So, if you can afford to keep your children on your plans, or they already have plans of their own, we typically recommend that you keep these in place as long as possible. Take time to review all the limitations, deductibles and particularly focus on exclusions and maximums.
Teenage or college drivers? If so, call your casualty insurance agent to figure out your coverage needs. For college-bound children this could be especially important. Can you save some premiums by suspending their coverage while they are living away? Or do they need to stay on your policies? If they have a car with them, should you gift them the car and purchase a separate policy for them that doesn't involve paying to protect your net worth? It's time to call your agent and have an in-depth conversation about choices, options and best moves.
What's the plan for next semester's expenses? No news flash here, but college and private prep schools are expensive! Typically you need to have cash for tuition a semester or more ahead. So it's time to review where these funds are coming from and if they'll be taken out of special accounts earmarked for college such as 529 plans, or your general investment portfolio. If your portfolio has benefited from recent markets, you may decide this is a good time to cash in some gains and set aside funds to cover at least the next semester. And don't forget books, room, board and other miscellaneous expenses. You can also use this as the time to review all your portfolio holdings with an eye toward possible rebalancing. Don't forget any tax implications before making these decisions.
Raising fiscally intelligent children - Don't miss this opportunity! With the barrage of homework you get from the schools, it's easy to run out of steam and not have the time to work with your future adults on financial literacy. For all ages, you can begin with the important life skills of saving for bigger purchases and simple budgeting. For teenagers, it's time to think about a checking and savings account, trusting them with small sums such as the money needed for supplies and clothing, and letting them make their own choices and live with the results. By the time they launch for college, you really want these basic life financial skills to be second nature for them.
Hope this was helpful. Enjoy this amazing time of life with your families!
Information used in the writing of this column is believed to be factual and up-to-date, but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subject(s) discussed. All information is derived from sources deemed to be reliable. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author as of the date of publication and are subject to change.

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