Broker Check

Ideas to Consider

May 31, 2017

Below are few ideas that we would like you to consider. Please contact us with comments or questions. Also please send us your ideas so that we can share.


  1. Use Costco (4%) or Sam’s Club (5%) Charge Card wherever you buy gas (ANYWHERE!) and get the Cash Rebate. Get cash rebates such as Restaurants (3%) and other spending by using this “Convenience Card.”


  1. Pay off your Charge Card (think of it as a convenience card) each month. Because if you don’t, interest starts the moment when you purchase an additional item on that charge card. This is like trying to swim across Lake Michigan with an anvil around your neck, it just doesn’t work!


  1. Log on ( and buy I-Bonds directly from the Government with no fees! Rate is reset every six months based on inflation formula. You can never lose your principal. Interest will never be below zero. Since this is direct from the US government it is the most secure investment available.


  1. Pay for College by putting money through the Illinois Bright Start Program and save 3.75% ( and get a deduction on your IL Tax Return. Money can go in one day and come out the next to be used for college. This is one more reason Illinois is broke.


  1. Health Savings Accounts (HSA). This is a great tax efficient way to save taxes and grow funds. It is a similar to an IRA. But instead of offering only the two advantages of a tax write off and tax-deferred growth with the down side of the money being taxed when it is withdrawn. HSAs offer a Three-fold Advantage: A.) Tax Write-Off, B.)Tax-Free Growth, C.) Used for health care the withdrawals are tax-free. Health Care is in a big state of flux right now but high deductible plans with HSAs might be a very good option for you.


  1. An additional tip about HSAs is that there is no time limit on getting reimbursed. It is not like a FSA where the receipts have to be turned in by March. You can fund a HSA now and use other funds to pay current health expenses, allowing the set-aside funds to grow over a compounded period. In effect this money could be compounded until your retirement years and then you can use the old receipts to receive tax free funds to help you in your retirement years. (Albert Einstein said, compounded growth is the most powerful force in the Universe, and he is probably one of the few men that knew what he was talking about when he said Powers of the Universe!). A good reference is


  1. Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) are also a great way to save on taxes. These are plans with your employer to set aside before-tax funds to use for annual health care costs. If your company offers this you should take advantage of it. The downside is that it is a use it or lose it plan.


  1. Five Keys for financial Success:
    1. Spend less than you make
    2. Avoid the use of debt.
    3. Have an Emergency Fund
    4. Have a Plan
    5. Realize that your job is to manage your resources, you don’t own them!


  1. Work with Professionals that you trust that have your best interest at heart. At a minimum:
    1. Tax Preparer (CPA) – Obviously the only choice is P&L Accounting & Tax Service, LLP
    2. Financial Advisor (CPA/PFS) – Second obvious choice is P&L Financial Services, Inc.
    3. Attorney – We can recommend several depending upon your need.


  1. Max out your 401K at work. These set-aside funds are put in your account before taxes therefore there is an immediate tax savings to you. Many companies offer to match part or all of your contribution therefore don’t pass up this Free Money!


  1. After 401K, think Traditional IRAs, Roths, tax-deferred and tax-free investments. Talk to us.


  1. Dollar Cost Averaging (DCA). This is a plan in which you invest a set amount each period (usually monthly). Therefore you buy less “shares” when the price is high and more shares when the price is low. In effect, you get an average price over time. Better yet buy low, sell high but the problem is that no one rings a bell when the price hits a low right before it goes up, so DCA is a useful strategy. Note:- Investments are subject to market risks including the potential loss of principal invested. Retirement plan withdrawals may be subject to taxation and penalties when withdrawn early. Dollar-cost averaging does not assure a profit and does not protect against loss in declining markets. Such a plan involves continuous investment in securities regardless of the fluctuation of price levels of such securities. An investor should consider his or her financial ability to continue his or her purchases through periods of low price levels.


  1. Always pay cash for a car! Even with zero percent financing the interest cost is factored into the price somehow. The Golden Rule is expressed by some as: Who has the gold makes the rules! When it comes to buying and negotiating, Cash is King! Also if you can give up the “New Car Smell” you can save much by buying a good Used Car! It is amazing how much a new car’s value drops when it is driven off the new car lot.


  1. Costco, Sam’s Club and other Big Box Stores are great as long you use what you buy (Avoid Waste). Yes, a Case of toilet paper will be used but do you really need a barrel of pickles?


  1. Turn off lights when you leave a room, why give money to Com Ed?


  1. Take advantage of College Tax Credits such as AOC and Hope Credit. – Talk to P&L.


  1. Set Goals, use a budget. There are great Apps like Mint and others on the Net. The basics are free.


  1. Before making any big financial decision, talk to us. The Bible says “there is wisdom in many counselors.” Plus it easier to recommend up-front than try to fix something after a not so great decision has been made. I am not going to mention how many clients regret time-shares or bank annuities they purchased.


  1. Use on-line banking and charge cards. It is much easier to monitor and control without the paper overwhelming.


  1. Use Coupons, Group-Ons, etc. But be careful not to overspend or buy things you don’t need.


  1. Sell or donate stuff you don’t need. We all have too much stuff, don’t let the stuff own you! Simplify your life.


  1. Review your Cell Plan, Cable Plan, etc. Downsize, don’t pay for stuff you don’t need. Maybe eliminate land line.


  1. Put a filter on your water faucet instead of buying bottled water.


  1. Keep appliances in good order for efficiency. Clean lint trap and dryer vents. Also keep car tuned and tires filled.


  1. Purchase items in the “right season”. Christmas cards and wrap after Christmas, etc.


  1. Wrap your hot water tank and adjust for proper temperature. Most people set too high.


  1. Attend Church. It is good to be around other people. As we get older we tend to isolate ourselves. Healthy people interact and share with others. Church is a great way to see many people and to be involved in many activities.


  1. Challenge your Property Tax Bill. This is usually an easy process and can result in some real savings.


  1. Meet and talk with us.. It is amazing how powerful brainstorming and idea sharing can be. We love to be with our favorite clients. Hopefully together we can make great things happen!.