Jill’s Journal

Welcome to Jill’s Journal, an educational blog about the fundamentals of investing and finance.

If you have a topic you would like us to address, please send an email or fill out the Contact Us section with your ideas in the Comments section. We hope to make this a page you look forward to reading to stay updated on what is going on locally, regionally and nationally.

Three Random Things you Didn’t Know Were In the CARES Act

May 12, 2020

There are some provisions in the CARES Act that didn’t fit tidily into my other blogs, so here ya go.

Three Things Every Business Owner Should Know about the CARES Act

May 8, 2020

As a business owner, it is worth spending some time reading through the CARES Act, but for now, here are the three most important things you should know.

CARES Act Part 3: Top FAQs on Stimulus Checks

May 7, 2020

I know I’m a little late in getting this out; some of you have probably already gotten your check by now. But in case you haven’t, and you still have questions, I’ll provide some answers.

Retirement Planning in the Age of Covid-19

May 4, 2020

This blog will be all about, just because everyone else is doing it, doesn’t mean you should too.

Top 5 Things to know about the CARES Act

May 1, 2020

I’m honestly kind of sick of living through yet another “historical event.”

Puzzling Financial Terms

March 17, 2020

Hello! Today we have a special guest blogger, my coworker, Emily Esser, who is a Client Service Representative at SWMG.


February 25, 2020

The SECURE Act was officially signed into law on 12/20/19. It was passed by the house in the summertime, and what I heard last was that it *wasn’t* going to pass the senate, but lo and behold, it did.

Switching Jobs

February 12, 2020

Do you know what to do with your old 401(k) accounts after you switch jobs? I recommend strongly that you do not cash it out and here’s why.

Hidden Costs of No-Cost Trading

January 24, 2019

Recently, Charles Schwab announced that they were reducing trading fees to zero, and Ameritrade, E*trade and Fidelity shortly followed. Hooray, free trades!

Happy Holidays & Happy New Year!

December 23, 2019

Financial Gift Guide

December 6, 2019

This is a blog about money and therefore, all of the gifts that I’m suggesting are about money as well.


November 21, 2019

A Health Savings Account can only be used in conjunction with a high-deductible insurance plan.

Health Care Open Enrollment

November 14, 2019

If you work for someone else, there’s a good chance that you are, or soon will be, in the midst of Open Enrollment season for your benefit choices.

DIY Investing

November 7, 2019

I heard a great analogy the other day. It has to do with oil changes in your car.

Happy Halloween

October 31, 2019

I just wanted to wish everyone a safe and happy Halloween today!

Make the most of your Financial Advisor review

October 24, 2019

Today’s post is a guest blog post from Kim Waldman, who is our Chief Operating Officer at Stephens Wealth Management Group.

Employee Stock Options, Part 2 of 2

October 17, 2019

Last week, I discussed what a stock option was and how there are two different kinds.

Employee Stock Options, Part 1 of 2

October 10, 2019

What the heck is an employee stock option?

How To Save Money On Medicare Costs

August 29, 2019

Almost everyone eventually signs up for Medicare coverage but not everyone understands how it works.

Part 4 of 4 on Insurance: Long-Term Care Insurance

August 15, 2019

This marks the completion of (I like to say “thrilling conclusion of”) a 4-part series on “things no one wants to ever talk about.”

Part 3 of 4 on Insurance: Homeowners/Renters Insurance

July 25, 2019

I sat for the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ exam last year and learned way more than I ever wanted to about different forms of Homeowner’s insurance (basic form, broad form, etc.) and will now pass the savings onto the consumer!

Part 2 of 4 on Insurance: Disability Insurance

July 18, 2019

What is disability insurance and why should you have it?

Part 1 of 4 on Insurance: Life & Health

July 8, 2019

I’ve decided to work on a 4-part series about insurance. Insurance is… well, sometimes you just must have it.

Pride Month

June 6, 2019

Welcome to Pride Month! June was chosen for LGBTQ+ Pride Month to memorialize the Stonewall Riots which took place in June 1969.

Cash vs. Money Market: What’s the difference?

May 30, 2019

Chasing interest on your cash is a tough thing.

Winning the Lottery

May 24, 2019

The Powerball is closing in on $300 million (as I write this, after Saturday’s drawing where nobody won).

Credit Scores

April 25, 2019

In honor of Financial Literacy month, I’m sharing important information related to credit scores. Do you know what your credit score is? And what it means?

Teaching Children About Money

April 11, 2019

If you have children or grandchildren, or if you have a special relationship with your niece or nephew or the child of a dear friend, you can enrich their lives in many ways.

Women and Finance

March 28, 2019

Women have different considerations than men when it comes to retirement and finances in general. Why?

Women’s History Month

March 14, 2019

March is National Women’s History Month

Couples and Money

February 14, 2019

If you are in a relationship, are you on the same page when it comes to finance? No?…read on!

Emergency Savings

February 7, 2019

The government shutdown has shed light on a problem that plagues many in this country: what would you do, if you suddenly were out of a job, or missed a paycheck? That’s what credit cards are for, right? Spoiler alert: No.

Financial Goals

January 31, 2019

New Year, New You, right?

Gifting Limits

January 17, 2019

Did you know that if you give away too much money, you must pay taxes on the gift?

Donor Advised Funds

November 20, 2018

As we enter November and the season of giving thanks, I am focusing the blog on giving you a vehicle to do charitable giving, perhaps in a new way…


November 6, 2018

Happy Election Day! Hopefully you are out there, rocking the vote…

Tax Loss Harvesting

October 25, 2018

Want to impress your friends with knowledge of reducing your taxes using investment sales? Great! Tax loss harvesting it is…

Year End Deadlines

October 9, 2018

The end of the year is an important milestone for taxes and financial matters. Here are some important deadlines to keep in mind:

College Funding Ideas, Part 2 of 2

September 25, 2018

In my last post, I started to explain the different ways that parents (or whomever) can save money for college. This post covers 4 additional ways.

College Funding Ideas, Part 1 of 2

September 18, 2018

Do you have a child or grandchild that will someday attend college?


September 11, 2018

Budget. The 6-letter dirty word. After the series of blog posts on debt, I figured I should talk about budgeting, even though, if you’re like most people, you’re not interested.

Debt, Good vs Bad Debt, Part 3

September 4, 2018

So, some people believe that you shouldn’t EVER have debt. I don’t subscribe to this theory.

Debt, Student Loans, Part 2

August 21, 2018

In June, Forbes published an article about the student loan debt crisis.

Debt, Credit Cards, Part 1

August 7, 2018

Last year there was an article published on the Credible financial website, that did a survey of 500 Americans with credit card debt.

Target Date Funds

July 31, 2018

For the past several years, our financial advisors have helped to manage several 401(k) plans for small to medium size businesses.

IRA vs 401(k) vs Roth - Part 2

July 24, 2018

Last week, we talked about the differences between an IRA and a 401(k).

IRA vs 401(k) vs Roth - Part 1

July 17, 2018

I have found that professional, super-smart people, that I personally know, do not know the difference between an IRA, a Roth IRA, and a 401(k).

Types of Risk - Part 2

July 10, 2018

This is the second part of my series on risk. Last week I described the three types of systematic risk. This week, we will be talking about unsystematic risk.

Types of Risk - Part 1

July 3, 2018

Now that we have built a foundation of knowledge for the many different asset class types, we can move on to understanding types of risk.

Asset Classes - Real Estate & Other

June 26, 2018

Today is the final installment of a four-part series on the different types of asset classes, and today is all about the “other” types of assets.

Asset Classes - Cash

June 19, 2018

Today is the third of a four-part series on the different types of asset classes, where we are conversing about cash.

Asset Classes - Fixed Income

June 12, 2018

Today is the second of a four-part series on the different types of asset classes, and we are talking Fixed Income. Previously, we discussed the different ways to diversify with stocks.

Asset Classes - Stocks

June 5, 2018

Previously, on Jill’s Journal, I talked about diversification with stocks and bonds. Remember, the goal of diversifying your investments is to smooth out your ride - you want to have several different types of assets to manage the ups and downs of your account.


May 29, 2018

In my last blog post, I mentioned the importance of diversification. But what does it mean to be well-diversified? Is it simply enough to have both stocks and bonds in your portfolio?

Volatility in the Market

May 22, 2018

Wow, the markets have sure had a bumpy ride lately! Unfortunately, this is all par for the course with the history of the stock market. We are coming off several years of growth in the markets, and volatility is back, baby.


May 15, 2018

Welcome to Jill’s Journal! We are so happy you have joined us. This is our new blog where we will attempt to educate readers on the fundamentals of financial terminology and concepts.

The opinions expressed are those of Jill Carr and not necessarily those of Raymond James. Opinions expressed are as of this date and subject to change at any time without notice. Any information is not a complete summary or statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision and does not constitute a recommendation.

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