The Social Security Administration recently announced that the 2018 Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) will result in a 2% increase in Social Security benefits next year. The monthly benefits increase, which will begin in January, is significant because it is the largest COLA in six years and will impact more than 69 million Americans. It has been announced that the adjustment will apply to both Social Security and Supplemental Security Income recipients.


The increase in benefits will be accompanied by other adjustments affecting workers and retirees nationally. The Social Security payroll tax ceiling on earnings will be increased, resulting in more income being taxed annually. The earnings limit for workers younger than their full retirement age, which is age 66, rises to $17,040 from $16,920. For every $2 earned above that level, their benefits are cut $1. For those working recipients who turn 66 in 2018, the ceiling is set at $45,360, up from $44,880. Every $3 earned above that level reduces benefits by $1. Lastly, Medicare premiums will be more expensive in 2018, with exact hikes to be announced sometime later this year.


While the new COLA provides some additional funding (on average, $25 more each month), it will not be adequate for most retirees, as expenses for prescriptions drugs, utility, and housing costs rise faster than inflation. Your retirement plan is very important to us and we want you to be fully informed as to how these changes may affect your benefits and long term planning. Please do not hesitate to call us at (814) 536-1040 to set up a meeting to review your financial goals and beneficiary reviews.


The official opening of…

Asset Planning Insurance Group, LLC


Asset Planning Insurance Group, LLC is a full service, multi-line independent insurance agency. The agency will offer all personal lines such as home, auto, life and health as well as commercial lines insurances.

As an independent agency, we are in a position to obtain coverages for you from numerous carriers that best fit your needs and budget.

How long has it been since your insurance agent discussed the details of your policy with you? If it has been over a year, give us a call to set up an appointment so that we can review your coverage with you and answer any questions that you have.


Do you know if you have enough resources to live on in retirement?


Local financial advisor will receive award for commitment to clients.

Johnstown, PA –Franklin Banfer will be honored as a 2016 top advisor of Cadaret, Grant & Co., Inc., a broker/dealer based in Syracuse, New York. Of over 900 advisors associated with Cadaret, Grant, [First] was among the 20% who qualified for the prestigious award and will be recognized for [his or her] integrity, success, and total commitment to clients.

Mr. Banfer will attend the company’s annual top advisors conference, this year located on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, May 4-7, where he will receive an award for his outstanding achievement.  The conference includes business sessions on topics pertaining to the current economic outlook and new legislation. Top advisors will also hear from industry experts on timely matters such as global investing, generating income for clients, and guidance for navigating the markets.

Mr. Banfer has been serving clients for [insert number] years. [He/She] will work with new and existing client portfolios to implement information received from the conference. “While I am proud to receive this special recognition from Cadaret, Grant, I feel an even greater sense of pride that my success is tied to working with the people of our community,” Mr. Banfer said. “I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to help so many local families enjoy life and prepare for the future, and I look forward to helping even more to thrive.”

“These are advisors who show ongoing commitment to doing what’s best for clients, dedication to integrity, and emphasis on ethical business,” Cadaret, Grant President and CEO Arthur F. Grant said. “It is a hard-earned award that is reserved for advisors who are leaders. It is our pleasure to recognize their success.”

 About Cadaret, Grant

Cadaret, Grant, a privately owned broker/dealer headquartered in Syracuse, New York, supports nearly 900 registered representatives in over 400 branch offices nationwide.  Founded in 1985, the company provides superior service, advanced technology, effective marketing tools, and a supportive business environment for financial advisors.  For more information about Cadaret, Grant, visit or contact Megan Grant at 315.471.2191.

If you had changed your withholdings last year to increase your take home pay, because of tax savings, you may need to change them again for the new tax year! We will be glad to review this with you at your annual review. Remember, that the goal of proper tax planning is to set your withholdings so you owe nothing, and get back nothing, when you file your return!

Why? Because in general, you must have 90% of your current taxes paid in when you file, or have 100-110% of the past year’s taxes paid in to avoid being penalized.

And, you never want to get back a refund, because that will mean you did something, well, something horrible:

Loaning money interest free to the IRS. Ouch!

It hurts my word processor to get those nasty words on paper. I don’t mind if you loan money to your “brother-in-law”, or to a friend, interest free, because some good may come from it.

But the IRS? Loaning them money without getting interest is ghastly. You deserve all your hard earned money to earn interest, or something. You work too hard to give them anything they aren’t entitled to by law. Since they aren’t entitled to over withholding, don’t give it to them!

The key is to prepare a tax plan for the current year, see how much you’re likely to owe for the year…and adjust your withholdings so you pay in between 90-100% of the total taxes by the end of the year!

If you’re not sure what to do, we’ll help you figure out what your withholdings should be set at so you pay in no more than you owe…and don’t make the awful mistake of loaning money to the IRS interest free!

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that some company payroll offices think you are committing an act of treason if you change your withholdings to anything above “Married – 1”. They get all nervous, and tell you all sorts of incorrect information about how the IRS will confiscate your home if you don’t over pay.

Don’t listen to them. You are required to do some filings of an additional form if you claim over 10 exemptions, but that’s it. As long as you’re justified, your human resources office can’t say squat (anything). So, if you run into an evil payroll situation, let us know, and we’ll help you get it straightened out. (As well as help you with the forms, if necessary.)

Please keep in mind that this tip is designed to be of help for you, but is not to be relied upon as advice. It is merely a reminder that there are many choices you have available to you, and that planning is the only way to find the right answers for your situation!  As with any financial issues, make sure you get the right information before making a decision!  If you have any questions, we’ll be glad to help you!


Really proud and we just wanted to show off the new building improvements…



My father was in the hospitality business as a general manager. I grew up living in the hotels that he managed (I never even lived in a “house” until my senior year of high school). I spent my entire childhood in the “public” and in a business that was centered around “people”. During high school and college, I too worked in the hotel business. By the time I had graduated from college I had held every position in a hotel (from dishwasher to chef!) except that of general manager. During that time, I began to really analyze my family’s business. My father had to be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. He worked every weekend and every holiday. I didn’t mind hard work (started working at age 14) it was just that I didn’t want to do that for someone else.

I knew that I wanted to be in a “people” business and wanted to be able to help people. I had always been fascinated with finance. So, I started my own independent practice in 1981, at just 21 years old.

At that time (remember, this was the early 80’s) benefits in the hospitality business were virtually non-existent, no retirement plans and you were very lucky to find a job that even provided you with health insurance. Pension plans were beginning to phased out for the majority of Americans and were being replaced by 401k plans.


All my mentors and the information I had said that I should target my practice to the affluent, the wealthy.

Then it hit me. Who needs financial advice the most? Who would benefit the most from sound independent and objective financial advice? The answer was easy… Average Middle Class Americans! The very same people that I had worked alongside for years in hotels, the average blue collar people that worked hard yet were being neglected by everyone.

I was told it wouldn’t work, that I couldn’t make a living, that I could never support myself working with this group of clients. Yet, I was determined to build a practice that was independent, objective and affordable enough so that everyone could benefit, and receive the same type of advice that had only been available to the affluent for so long.

Well, it did work. It sure wasn’t a get rich scheme, it wasn’t a fast path to huge wealth and success. But I was doing what I loved, helping average people achieve financial independence!


Franklin lives in Richland with his realtor wife (Kim). He and his wife are huge Steeler fans and Franklin has a passion for cars, motorcycles and most things that are mechanical. He is also a licensed private pilot.


Specialties Include: Retirement Planning and Retirement Income Planning, Risk Management and Long Term Care (nursing home) Planning, Investment Management and Asset Allocation, Income tax Planning, Intergenerational Family Wealth Transfer as well as Holistic Financial Planning.

Serving clients in Pennsylvania (PA), California (CA), Florida (FL), Ohio (OH), Virginia (VA) and West Virginia (WV)