Laurie’s Blog – Savings Bonds

Lest you forget you have them, many US Savings Bonds tucked away in drawers, cupboards and safe deposit boxes may have matured without your realizing or remembering.  Let this be a little reminder to check if there may be bonds lurking out there.  If they haven’t matured, they may still be earning a great rate of interest but the interest can adjust as well.  What you may have been receiving initially may have dropped.  You can create an inventory of your bonds on the Treasury website.  The report will give you the current value, interest earned, interest rate, next payment and maturity date of your bonds.  You can store the inventory and update it periodically without having to enter all the information again. You can find more information about US Savings Bonds at


Laurie’s Blog – Unclaimed Money

Have you ever forgotten about an old bank account?  How would you know if you forgot about it?  Run a periodic check of unclaimed property that you may not even know you have.  You can do an internet search for unclaimed property for your state of residence or prior state of residence and then search for your name.  You should never have to pay anyone to claim lost funds.  Each state provides the means to identify and claim lost property.  You will have to provide certain documentation to prove your claim. For Pennsylvania, go to


Laurie’s Blog – Celebrating 5 Years!

Celebrating 5 years of “Your Financial Choices” on WDIY this month. VIEW MORE PHOTOS   | RELATED PODCAST- Celebrating 5 Years on WDIY!

Your Financial Choices

(left to right) Thomas Riddle, President of Valley National Financial Advisors; Alison DelRe from WDIY; Your Financial Choices host Laurie Siebert; Wagner Previato, Executive Director for WDIY


Laurie’s Blog – Housing

As the housing market is picking up, make sure you know the rules that apply to owning a home. If you move out of state, make sure that you understand the income tax rules for your new home. If you are buying an investment property out of state, you may want to visit your attorney to set up a trust to ease estate administration if you pass away. This way you may avoid ancillary probate. Visit for some articles on home ownership.


Laurie’s Blog – Summer Saving

During the lazy days of summer, don’t forget about saving for your retirement. If you have a retirement account through your employer, revisit the amount you are contributing and decide if you can increase. At least make sure that you are receiving the employer match, if applicable. For IRAs, make sure that you qualify for making contributions. Visit for more information.



Laurie’s Blog – Job Changes

Losing or changing jobs? Make sure you understand options that are available to you at this unusual time before you make irrevocable decisions. Listen to the July 9th show for a checklist of important items to consider. Did you know that special rules apply if you have employer stock in your retirement plan? It’s called Net Unrealized Appreciation and opens plenty of planning opportunities at this difficult time. Also, special rules apply if you terminate from service at age 55 and have not reached age 59 ½ yet. In case you need to take a distribution from your 401k plan, this is one time you may avoid the early withdrawal penalty. These are important rules that may have a big tax impact to you. Seek help in your planning.


Laurie’s Blog – Summer Budgets

Have you already budgeted for your summer vacation?  It’s not too late to plan for a reasonably priced getaway. Fun and Affordable Family Vacation Ideas for Summer (


Laurie’s Weekly Blog: Home Buying

Thinking about buying your first house?  Anticipate the costs of owning and budget for it first.  Start living like you are already a homeowner in your cash flow and see if you can manage what would be the equivalent to a mortgage, real estate taxes, utilities, repairs and insurance.  Factor any income tax savings from having the interest and tax deduction.  Married already and both working?  Try not to buy a home that will require both full-time wages to pay for it.  Anticipating job changes and new babies will help you afford a home through life cycle changes. See more information at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban DevelopmentRELATED ARTICLE: Financial Considerations for First-Time Homebuyers


Laurie’s Weekly Blog – Employer Retirement Plans

For those people just entering the work force – ask your employer if they have an employer retirement plan and if they match employee contributions.  You may have student loans and feel the need to pay those off as soon as possible.  While that’s an admirable goal, don’t lose sight of free money from your employer and the compounding benefit of starting your retirement saving early.  Saving even $166/mo for 20 years at 4% will accumulate to $61,000.  An employer match will further compound that.  Get started early. See more information from the Department of Labor  | RELATED ARTICLE: Understanding Retirement Plans


Laurie’s Weekly Blog – Estate Planning

Do you have your estate planning documents in order, in particular, your Health Directives or Advance Directives?  Sometimes these are called a Living Will.  This is a written document that details your wishes if you become incapacitated as to what care you want provided or not. You may not realize how difficult it will be for someone to carry out your wishes if you have not documented this. As a Pennsylvania resident, understand your rights and what your options are by visiting the PA Department of Aging website.  |  RELATED PODCASTS: Taking Care of Loved Ones Estate Planning & Fiduciary Responsibility   |  RELATED ARTICLE: Estate Planning: Why, When, Who, What, Where and How