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Washington Trust Wealth Management Blog

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Timely advice & commentary about investing, taxes, financial planning and more.


Markets, We Have Liftoff
By Washington Trust / December 18, 2015
Halley’s Comet appears about every 75 years to light up the night sky. While it may seem that long since the last Federal Reserve (the “Fed”) rate hike, it was actually only 9 years before yesterday’s long awaited liftoff. The Fed unanimously voted to increase short term rates by 25 basis points to a corridor rate of 25-50 basis points. We would like to take the opportunity to address several of the questions you may have about the Fed rate hike.

Impact of the Federal Reserve Rate Hike
By Washington Trust / December 18, 2015
As expected, the Federal Reserve at its December 2015 meeting raised the Fed Funds rate (the overnight interbank rate) by ¼% to a range of ¼% to ½%. This was the first rate hike in 9 ½ years. The Fed expects to raise rates by another 1% before year end 2016. By historical standards, this would be viewed as gradual, i.e. a ¼% rate hike every quarter versus a rate increase every six weeks in prior tightening cycles.

Social Security Changes
By Washington Trust / December 16, 2015
In early November President Obama signed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 into law. This act includes key changes to the Social Security claiming rules. These changes focus on the “Restricted Application” and “Voluntary Suspension” rules, which combined create the “File and Suspend” strategy. The changes to the law will be phased in over the next year and are date of birth sensitive.

How Rising Interest Rates May Affect Your Estate Planning Strategy
By Washington Trust / December 11, 2015
Interest rates are a key driver in today's economy and financial markets. They also can have a direct impact on certain estate planning strategies. Wealth holders who plan to transfer assets to heirs or charities via trusts may need to consider how the current upward trend in interest rates could help or hinder their plans.

Points to Consider About Active Management
By Washington Trust / December 11, 2015
Are you better off investing in an actively managed account or a passively managed index fund? That question has been the subject of much debate.

Is a Rollover Right for You?
By Washington Trust / December 11, 2015
If you've recently changed jobs -- or maybe changed jobs a few times over the years -- you may be juggling multiple retirement plan accounts. While it's certainly acceptable to leave your money in your former employer's plan (as long as your balance is over $5,000, your old employer can't cash you out), in some instances it might make sense to consolidate your assets.

Make Philanthropy an Important Part of Your Estate Plan
By Washington Trust / December 11, 2015
How will you choose to allocate your accumulated wealth during the course of your lifetime? The decisions are complicated and very personal. Philanthropic giving can create an opportunity to balance the obligation of providing for your heirs with your interest in contributing to the future of a favorite organization or institution. As an estate planning tool, charitable gifts can be used to manage taxes, shift assets, and transfer wealth intergenerationally -- while simultaneously making a significant contribution to a charitable organization.

The Potential Benefits of Family Limited Partnerships
By Washington Trust / December 11, 2015
Give away eventual benefits now without surrendering current control. That is one of the guiding concepts behind the family limited partnership (FLP), a tool for managing family wealth.

Maintaining Separate Asset Ownership Can Benefit Estate Planning
By Washington Trust / December 11, 2015
Many couples pool their money and hold checking, savings, and investment accounts jointly. The sense of "share and share alike" can be comforting, but when it comes to estate planning, jointly held funds can limit your options.

Your Annual Review Checklist
By Washington Trust / December 7, 2015
Preparing for an annual financial review may be easier with a checklist to help you focus on important matters. With that in mind, here is a list of key considerations that you may want to discuss with your financial advisor.

The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and may not reflect those of Washington Trust Wealth Management. The information in this report has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but its accuracy and completeness are not guaranteed. Any opinions expressed herein are subject to change at any time without notice. Any person relying upon this information shall be solely responsible for the consequences of such reliance. Performance is historical and does not guarantee future results.

Such information does not constitute legal or professional advice as all situations are unique and are based on individual facts and circumstances.

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