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Three Tips for Holiday Shopping with Credit Cards

The holiday season is in full swing. As you join the ranks of Christmas shoppers, you'll find plenty of ways to spend your hard-earned money. Using a credit card makes shopping easy; so easy, in fact, that many Americans will spend too much this month. Yet Christmas shopping does not have to lead to credit card debt. This year, you can take steps to avoid a gloomy credit card statement in January.

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Considerations for Inherited Retirement Assets

Your options in managing assets that you inherit from a loved one's qualified retirement plan may depend on the type of retirement plan in question -- for example, 401(k)/403(b) plan or IRA -- and your relationship to the deceased.

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Holiday Budgeting Tips

As the shortest days of the year approach, we have the inevitable diversion of the holiday season to distract us until the days begin to gradually lengthen. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza or the general holiday season chances are you'll be spending money on things that are outside your regular budget. Here are some tips for spending smart.

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Short-Term Rolling GRATs: Wealth Transfer Vehicles That Cover More Ground

Short-term rolling GRATs (grantor retained annuity trusts) have the potential to exploit fluctuations in market conditions while delivering on their key objective of transferring wealth in a tax-advantaged manner. Following is a discussion of the possible benefits of using a rolling GRAT strategy to fulfill your wealth transfer goals.

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Year-End Tax Planning Strategies for 2014

With December 31st approaching quickly, there is a short window of opportunity to implement tax strategies for calendar year 2014. You may be wondering how to get started. Are there any deductions or provisions in the tax law that may help you save? And, if so, how would you put these in motion?

To help put you on the path to year-end tax planning, we’ve compiled a list of ideas and strategies for you to discuss with your advisor, who is familiar with your circumstances and can help you make informed decisions.

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All Tricks and No Treats: 3 Ways to Protect Against Identity Thieves

Today is not only Halloween, but also the last day of Cyber Security Month, a month of focused attention on protecting your finances and identity online. While Halloween celebrates all manners of spooks and ghouls, it seemed fitting to end Cyber Security Month with some tips on protecting yourself against the real ghosts who creep the web looking for ways to steal your information. The more business we do and information we share online, the more identity theft becomes a growing threat to our financial security. There are ways you can help protect your good name and credit. Here are some tips to help keep you and your family safe from identity thieves.

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Investing Through Life Events

Many people have experienced life changes -- marriage, the birth of a child, retirement -- and when they happen, financial planning may need to change accordingly. So to help you prepare for possible adjustments to your plans, the following checklist identifies several potential life-changing events and offers brief tips for addressing each. Keep in mind that your financial advisor may help you with these and other personal transitions.

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10 Ways to Protect Your Personal Information and Your Money

Cyber Security Month continues on The Washington Trust Company Blog with a number of steps you can take to protect yourself and your finances online. The news often includes reports about thieves gaining access to sensitive personal information that can be used to commit fraud or steal money, sometimes involving major security breaches at large companies such as retailers. "These reports may cause some consumers to be skeptical about engaging in even the simplest financial transactions, but that is unrealistic for most people, especially in today's online and electronic world," said Michael Benardo, Chief of the FDIC's Cyber Fraud and Financial Crimes Section. "That's why it's important to be vigilant about protecting your finances by taking some reasonable precautions."

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National Cyber Security Awareness Month

The Internet is part of everyone’s life, every day. We use the Internet at work, home, for enjoyment, and to connect with those close to us. However, being constantly connected brings increased risk of theft, fraud, and abuse. No country, industry, community, or individual is immune to cyber risks. As a nation, we face constant cyber threats against our critical infrastructure and economy. As individuals, cybersecurity risks can threaten our finances, identity, and privacy. Since our way of life depends on critical infrastructure and the digital technology that operates it, cybersecurity is one of our country’s most important national security priorities, and we each have a role to play—cybersecurity is a shared responsibility.

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Your Wallet: A Loser's Manual

Consider this: Your wallet is stolen. You immediately call your bank and credit card company to report the problem, close old accounts and open new ones. You even remember to call the Social Security Administration to notify them that you had your Social Security card in your wallet. At the end of the day, you feel fairly confident that the incident is behind you.

But weeks later you receive past-due notices on bills for merchandise you never purchased, and a few months later your application for an auto loan gets rejected because someone has used your name and Social Security number to open new accounts and run up thousands of dollars in debt. The good news: Your actual liability for these unauthorized purchases is limited by law or industry standards. The bad news: It's likely that you'll spend many frustrating hours trying to clear your name and straighten out your credit history.

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5 Tips To Protect Your Finances While Using Mobile Banking

1. Keep Track of your Mobile Device: Perhaps the biggest risk is also the reason why mobile banking is so popular -- mobile devices are easy to carry around everywhere we go. If your device has a digital locking mechanism you should use it. Some devices require you to trace a pattern or insert a PIN. While it might slow you down to have to enter a PIN each time you want to use your phone, that layer of security might be enough to keep a thief from accessing your bank account before you can report your phone as missing.

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The opinions expressed in this newsletter are those of the author and may not reflect those of The Washington Trust Company. 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.

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