Improving Your Finances in a Low-Interest-Rate Environment

Who hasn’t noticed how low interest rates have fallen? If you haven’t refinanced your mortgage several times over the last few years, I’d be surprised.

The average rate for a new 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 4.36% at the end of August. The Prime Rate, the rate at which banks lend to their best commercial customers, dropped to 3.25%. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that the 10-year U.S. Treasury bond currently yields just 2.5%. If you’re counting on bonds for your retirement income, it’s going to be difficult to make it on those returns.

We’ve dedicated this newsletter issue to ways to help you prosper in a low-interest-rate environment. We have identified opportunities for increasing your pension distributions and reducing college costs—plus, we think that dividend-paying stocks look especially attractive in the current environment. We’ll also tell you how to avoid a tax “surprise” in April.

But first, an update about our firm.

BWFA has expanded in 2010

It’s been a year of growth for BWFA. We have added about 600 square feet of office space in the back, creating a sunny open space for six new work stations. We also have created a new office along the back windows. Ask for the “tour” next time you’re in our office.

The physical expansion accommodates staff members and interns who have joined us in 2010. Here are quick introductions to people who will soon be familiar faces to you:

  • Lila Washington, CFP®, financial planner. An experienced planner who previously worked with Schwab and TD Waterhouse, Lila joins Mark Stinson, CFP®, in our planning group. Lila will support preparation of financial plans, and she will be a resource for all of our advisors.
  • Victoria Hansard, operations manager. Victoria is your contact point for account opening, distributions, and all TD Ameritrade paperwork. She also reviews trades and reconciles our records with TD Ameritrade’s reports on a daily basis.
  • Meghan Manas, front desk. Our new smiling face greets you at the door and on the phone, and keeps many things working smoothly. If you need help with anything at all, but aren’t sure where to start, Meghan is a great resource.
  • Susan Bailey joins Meghan as a part-time member of our administrative team. By the way, she’s been a BWFA client since 2003.


Our intern program supports higher education in the area and helps BWFA identify and train potential junior staff members. We are pleased to recently have added Danny Phelan (UMBC) and Mitch Smallwood (Towson University) to assist us with research, marketing, and operations.

Stop by soon and say hello!