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Brain Surgery? Maybe not...

I’ve always been a “do-it-yourself” (DIY) person. In fact, if you have heard the story of BlueSky you know that I started the firm out of frustration when I tried to find financial and tax advice for myself as I was starting out in my investing endeavors. Unsuccessful at finding highly skilled people I could trust, I decided to teach myself. Eventually, I turned my DIY chore into my lifelong passion.

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CFA Institute Files Letter to SEC Regarding Fiduciary Standard

Earlier this month, CFA Institute filed a letter with the SEC in response to the SEC’s request for information on standards of conduct for investment advisers and broker-dealers. As a member of both NAPFA and the CFA Institute I am proud to stand behind this call to action issued. Since 1999, our firm has upheld this standard, and for almost 20 years we have been fighting for our clients by standing up against Wall Street. It is encouraging to see the CFA Institute map out the steps the SEC should be taking to protect the investor, and hopefully this will help lead the way for more support of others who believe in fee-only advice, flat fee structures, and full transparency. Below you can read the blog written by the CFA Institute and a link to the letter filed to the SEC. -David Blain, CFA

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Are You Taking Advantage of Your Military Tax Breaks?

If you are in the military, your family probably makes frequent moves between states and even countries. These moves can impose financial challenges to military members and their families, however, it could also generate great tax saving opportunities. With the recent GOP tax reform limiting the state tax deduction to $10,000, strategic tax planning could save military members significantly on their taxes.

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Is January a Barometer for the Year?

As investors ring in the new year, some may see the occasional headline about the “January Indicator” or “January Barometer.” This theory suggests that the price movement of the S&P 500 during the month of January may signal whether that index will rise or fall during the remainder of the year. In other words, if the return of the S&P 500 in January is negative, this would supposedly foreshadow a fall for the stock market for the remainder of the year, and vice versa if returns in January are positive.

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How the GOP Tax Plan Affects Your Year-End Planning

The end of the year is always a busy time for financial advisors and clients, trying to make sure all planning items for the year are completed and that clients are well positioned for tax season right around the corner. This year, Congress has added to this crunch with their much-anticipated tax reform, making our lives even busier than usual. Happy Holidays! The tax overhaul that is all but a formality at this point makes some changes that could very tangibly affect how you should plan for taxes in 2018. To fully explore all of the changes coming down from Congress would take the remainder of the time we have to plan, so here are a few key areas to focus on:

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Charitable Contributions Can Be Lessons in Gratitude: Helping to Guide the Younger Generations

Madeline Valente, CFP® is a wealth advisor at BlueSky's Pleasanton office. Proven recipes are a must for many of us in the kitchen. A sprinkle of this, a dash of that, and you’re on your way to a predictable and enjoyable finished product. If only that same recipe could be applied to all areas of our lives! One area that is foremost on the minds of many parents and grandparents, especially this time of year, is gratitude. More specifically, how can we help to teach and instill a sense of gratitude and giving in our children and grandchildren?

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