July 28, 2016

About Matthew Illian

Matthew Illian was a Wealth Manager at Marotta Wealth Management from 2007 to 2016. He specialized in small business consulting, college planning, and retirement plans.

Inflation Illustrated

stamp pile

We tracked the price of a first class stamp over the last 130 years, noting the changes, to show the steady erosion in buying power during that time.

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Overfunded College 529 plan? No Problem!

Overfunded College 529 plan? No Problem!

No need to worry. You have many great options when managing an overfunded 529 college savings plan.

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Does Your College Saving Need a Christmas Gift?

Does Your College Saving Need a Christmas Gift?

Some years, we fall behind and I try to make a year-end contribution to get us caught back up again.

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Social Security Loopholes Scheduled to Sunset

Social Security Loopholes Scheduled to Sunset

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 ends two very profitable Social Security optimization techniques that allowed some savvy beneficiaries to take up to $50,000.00 in additional lifetime income.

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U.S. Growth Stocks Stand Their Ground in 2015

US Growth Stocks Stand Their Ground in 2015

This year, almost every U.S. asset class is in the red except for growth stocks. When the market is throwing punches, you need a tactical defense.

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Medicare High-Income Premium Surcharges – 2015

Medicare High-Income Premium Surcharges - 2015

These premium surcharges are typically unavoidable except for some planning a Roth Conversion.

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Infographic: Is Grad School a Good Investment?

Infographic: Is Grad School a Good Investment?

An alternate look at the formula using the case study of Kate the Social worker who wants an MBA from Georgetown University.

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Financial Advisors’ New Patron Saint Just Cut From the Detroit Lions

Financial Advisors’ New Patron Saint Plays For the Detroit Lions

When Ryan Broyles scored a $3.6 million dollar contract after being drafted in the first round he did something quite rare – he sought as much advice as he could find.

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Is Graduate School a Good Investment? Here’s the Formula.

Is Graduate School a Good Investment? Here's the Formula.

Your future path is sure to take many unexpected twists and turns, but you should run the numbers. Your future self will thank you.

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Investment Stewardship Has Come a Long Way

Investment Stewardship Has Come a Long Way

Advisors have helped to shift fund management toward stewardship, but many fund companies still have room for improvement.

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Will Preferred Stocks Hypnotize With Yield?

Will Preferred Stocks Hypnotize With Yield?

Despite the appearance of stability, preferred stocks can become especially volatile when markets are reeling.

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Hidden Fees in Private Equity

Hidden Fees in Private Equity

“Every pension plan in the nation is paying too much [for private equity], and it’s being hidden.”

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A Golden Nugget from the Berkshire Hathaway’s Golden Anniversary

A Golden Nugget from the Berkshire Hathaway's Golden Anniversary

This year’s golden nugget goes to Buffett’s definition of risk.

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Looking Beyond the Bottom Line

Looking Beyond the Bottom Line

The Principles for Responsible Investment is leveraging its network in noteworthy ways.

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Three Insights About Bad 401(k) Plans From Recent Lawsuit

Three Insights About Bad 401(k) Plans From Recent Lawsuit

“America’s leader in financial planning” is ill-serving its own employees.

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Investment Strategies That Do Not Make Our Cut: Low Volatility

Investment Strategies That Do Not Make Our Cut: Low Volatility

There are three rules that we follow when looking for an investment strategy and the low volatility strategy fails two.

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Investing Lessons from the Birth and Death of the Virginia Company

Investing Lessons from the Birth and Death of the Virginia Company

Investing in America began with the bankruptcy of the hottest stock in England.

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Vanguard Sends A Letter To Directors, Will A Stick Follow?

Vanguard Sends A Letter To Directors, Will A Stick Follow?

A board of directors is supposed to be accountable to the shareholders but sometimes they need a reminder.

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Warren Buffett Extends His Lead in Hedge Fund Wager

Warren Buffett Extends His Lead in Hedge Fund Wager

With three years remaining on a ten year $1 million bet, Buffett is sitting pretty to win it.

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Are CEOs Talented or Just Lucky?

Are CEOs Talented or Just Lucky?

The legal defense of Harold Hamm hinged on the belief that his wealth was the result of happenstance.

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Social Security for 70′s Child

Social Security for 70's Child

“I’m 58 and I’ve been married and divorced twice. …I realize this is complicated, but you gotta love the 70′s!”

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Dr. Seuss to Zombie Directors – Will You Please Go Now!

Dr. Suess to Zombie Directors

In theory, the directors of a corporation are hired to provide independent oversight and protect shareholder interests. In practice, they’ve developed a reputation as country club chums with the executive managers.

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Grandparents: Is Your Helping Hurting Financial Aid?

Grandparents: Is Your Helping Hurting Financial Aid?

With careful planning, grandparents can ensure their gifts are not impeding a grandchild’s ability to access financial aid.

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Other People’s Property

Corporate Governance

Investors have every right to question whether a fund company can cast an impartial vote.

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What Causes Jack Bogle to Shake His Head

This is What Causes Jack Bogle to Shake His Head

When this poor planning affects the investments in our 401(k) plans and the communities that we live in, we pay more and we get less.

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How Much Should I Have Saved Toward College in 2015?

How Much Should I Have Saved Toward College in 2015?

With three young energetic boys, the growing costs of college education weigh heavily on my mind. Here are the age-based benchmarks we use to ensure that our 529 college savings is on track to meet our goals.

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Video: Virginia’s Neighborhood Assistance Program Tax Credits

Early Bird Gets the Worm

This video discusses Neighborhood Assistance Programs, and how donating to a local charity can both help people in your area and help you with your Virginia tax bill.

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The Ideal Retirement Plan Advisor

financial advisor card_t

Our firm decided to become a 3(38) investment manager because playing this role offers our clients administrative relief. By taking on the role of a 3(38) adviser, we accept responsibility for selecting a prudent investment strategy.

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Some College Degrees Not Worth the Investment

college guy playing guitar

A typical college degree is worth up to a million bucks over a career, but that’s not true for every degree.

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Virginia Neighborhood Assistance Program Tax Credits Coming Soon

empowerment

Church Hill Activities and Tutoring is one example of the many charities that are granted tax credits to share with donors.

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Matthew Illian’s Social Security Article on MSN Money

divorce

If you’re getting divorced or remarried, “for better or for worse” and “for richer or for poorer” can have real meaning for Social Security benefits. Most retirees are uninformed about how Social Security benefits are calculated, and often overlook how their change in marital status affects this critical retirement asset.

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New Stock Owners Emerge Since End of Second World War

returning home

The majority of stocks are no longer held directly and shareholders are not legal owners but are called beneficial owners. We explore what these changes mean for the average investor.

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Social Security to Resume Some Paper Statements

No junk mail

Beginning in September 2014, SSA will resume mailing paper statements to workers every five years.

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Important Social Security Info for Widows and Widowers

Widows and Widowers

Most survivors are uninformed about how Social Security benefits are calculated and often overlook a careful analysis of this critical retirement asset.

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Is The Stock Market Rigged? (and how to create a media frenzy)

Is The Stock Market Rigged?

In order to inflame the public’s ire about market corruption, the author of “Flash Boys” carefully sidesteps a number of important facts.

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Helpful Mobile Budgeting Tool Free For College Students

you need a budget

The good people at You Need A Budget (YNAB) have made their budgeting solution free for college students; including part-time students.

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Where Are You in the Financial Lifecycle?

financial lifecycle

This may be considered a get rich slowly article but it has more to do with learning to manage your resources and emotions around money.

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Mutual Funds Offer Good Governance Assistance

my fund voted

Investing in mutual funds and ETFs offers an efficient solution for investors to engage in corporate governance issues. When you purchase a fund, you authorize fund managers to vote proxies on your behalf.

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Budgeting Lite

mindful money

With less than two minutes a day and a smartphone, Budgeting Lite will help you become more mindful about your spending and regain a sense of control over your finances.

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Three Lessons From Warren Buffett’s Big Bet

hedge funds and index funds race

For five of the last six years, the simple index fund has outperformed the so-called expert hedge funds, and Buffett’s competition is starting to feel the heat. Here are three important take aways from this big bet.

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Is the Federal Reserve Really Tapering?

tapering

The conflicting information of the Federal Reserve report has to do with the so-called tapering of asset purchases.

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How Much Should I Save for College?

college

I’ve learned to develop a thick skin when sharing ideas with the masses but if these commenters represent some general barometer of financial sanity, we appear to be losing the battle.

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Does Buy Term and Invest the Difference Still Work?

George Marotta

Imagine these two strategies competing in a track race. It’s as if one runner were told to wait until the other finished her first lap before beginning.

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How should investors respond to tender offers?

tender offer

Advice for those who own individual stocks when a response to a tender offer is needed. The research for this article turned out to be much more interesting than I first anticipated.

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Age-Based Benchmarks for 529 College Savings (2014)

college savings progress

529 Colleges Savings Articles: 1. Power Fund a 529 Account Via ’5 Year Election’ 2. The Beginning of the End for Skyrocketing College Costs? 3. 529 Gift to the Grandchildren

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When Helping Hurts

when helping hurts

Much of the assistance Americans provide to those in need is doing more harm than good.

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Social Security Optimization: Case Study

social security man

Social Security Case Study: The names have been made up, but the problems are real.

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Retirement Plan Asset Allocation: University of Virginia Case Study

uva wise owl

Many people lack the time and expertise to develop an intelligent retirement asset allocation plan.

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UVA Tax-Deferred Retirement Plan Asset Allocation Tools

uva wise owl

We have created several asset allocation tools to aid those seeking an intelligently diversified portfolio.

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Why Can’t Our Social Security System Be More Chilean?

social security

Both economists and reasonable citizens understand that reforming our Social Security system is inevitable.

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