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Small Business Owners: We recently came across some data that said 90% of small business employers and employees are interested in utilizing the support of a financial advisor to guide them through options and provide advice regarding their retirement plans. Employers placed the highest value on investment recommendations and management but educating employees, plan design recommendations, and plan administration was just a little behind. We have found the data to be true.

Our experience has also included help in succession planning over the years. We’ve discovered that ‘the who’ of ongoing leadership and outright succession is far more important than the finances of any particular transition. If you own a small business or know someone who does, we are available and ready to help as the need arises.

Property Taxes: It’s no secret that the price of home ownership has drastically risen. It’s a bit of how the real estate market works, though—sometimes high, sometimes not-so-bad. For many Americans, the coming weeks will bring new property-tax assessments. Property taxes have risen across much of the country in recent years. The most recent data (from the National Association of Homebuilders) shows the median tax bill increased more than 8% to $2,795 per homeowner in 2021 compared with 2019. Property taxes go to various public services, including public schools and other services. Municipalities differ in how the taxes are calculated, but the increased bills are due to factors ranging from higher assessed home values to lower local revenues and the end of some federal stimulus programs. If you receive a new assessment for your home, we have a few recommendations for you to do immediately. If you wait for the bill, it will likely be too late.

Here are a few tips:

  • Review the assessment for errors: check the square footage, lot size, and any amenities, such as a pool.
  • Check the comps: research similar properties in your area.
  • Appeal: request a meeting with the local tax assessor
  • Use Exemptions: different municipalities offer different exemptions (such as to seniors, military or disabled veterans, homestead and farm, etc.)

Business Briefing

  • Russia’s Oil Output: On Thursday, Russia announced it would cut oil production by 500,000 barrels a day next month, a reduction of about 5 percent of its January output. The move comes after months of threats by the Kremlin to reduce oil output in retaliation for Western price caps and other sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine. The cuts threaten to renew the disruption of the oil market and drive prices higher. (Bloomberg)
  • Hiring Surge: Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said Tuesday that the central bank might have to raise interest rates higher than planned if inflation accelerates again or the labor market further strengthens. The remarks came after the January jobs report showed that U.S. employers added 517,000 jobs, as we mentioned last week. Powell said that he did expect a “significant” drop in inflation this year but warned that there’s still “a long way to go.” (The Associated Press)

Fly Fishing and Veterans: Each week, we like to pull in something interesting happening in society as a reminder that life is lived in full color. This week we heard about a rehabilitation program for veterans called Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing. It’s a voluntary program that aims at helping veterans take a step “toward feeding their souls.” One Marine Corps veteran said, “I had a lot of combat experience, and transitioning back to civilian life was brutal for me. I needed something to focus my mind on.” The program allows the veterans to be around others who understand them while learning to do something fun in nature. There are currently 200 chapters nationwide.

If you want to learn more, watch the video here.