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Ashley Kilroy

Ashley Kilroy is an experienced financial writer currently serving as an investment and insurance expert at SmartAsset. In addition to being a contributing writer at SmartAsset, she writes for solo entrepreneurs as well as for Fortune 500 companies. Ashley is a finance graduate of the University of Cincinnati. When she isn’t helping people understand their finances, you may find Ashley cage diving with great whites or on safari in South Africa.

Posts by Ashley Kilroy

Estate Planning

How to Write a Will if You Live in California

While loving gestures and legal maneuvers might seem like things that don’t mix, these two ingredients come together when you’re writing a will. If you live in California, it’s crucial to be cognizant of the state’s laws and statutes that affect how to pass on your wealth to your beneficiaries through a will. A financial… read more…


1031 Exchange Rules in California

Selling an underperforming asset and buying a similarly priced, more promising investment is a logical business move – but what about the taxes on the sale? If you’re an investor in California, concerns might arise over the taxes you’ll owe for selling an investment property. Fortunately, the 1031 exchange rules from the federal government allow… read more…

A woman looking for an entry level financial planning job.
Advisor Resources

How to Get an Entry Level Financial Planning Job

Financial planning can open the door to a wide range of jobs, including financial advisor, investment analyst, wealth manager, retirement planner and tax advisor, among others. If you’re just starting out, here a round up of entry level financial planning jobs. SmartAsset’s Advisor Marketing Platform can help you add new clients at your desired pace. Sign… read more…

Various professionals, including attorneys, mediators and CDFAs can help make the divorce process manageable.
Personal Finance

How to Split Assets During a Divorce

Getting divorced is already difficult enough with the end of the relationship, family complications and stress. Unfortunately, talking about money is an unwelcome but necessary part of the process. To finalize a divorce, couples must write up a legal document showing how they’ll split their assets. A judge can only validate this document if it’s… read more…

A senior creating a retirement budget to save money.

How to Save Money on a Tight Budget in Retirement

Retirement is a time to enjoy what you love most, from family and friends to traveling and gardening. However, affording your desired lifestyle isn’t automatic, even if you have a healthy retirement account and consistent Social Security checks. When you retire, you end up with a fixed income. Here are eight common ways you can… read more…

A freelance worker researching the requirements for setting up a conduit IRA to rollover a qualified retirement plan from a previous job.

What Is a Conduit IRA?

A conduit IRA is a strategic financial instrument that provides a bridge for individuals transitioning between jobs, freelance work, or other employment changes. This specialized investment account allows for the transfer of funds from qualified retirement plans, such as 401(k)s and 403(b)s, safeguarding individuals from potential tax repercussions associated with delayed reinvestment. By offering a… read more…

A woman researching the flat income tax in her state.

What States Have a Flat Income Tax?

While the federal government applies a consistent tax system to every citizen, states have tax rates they set independently from Uncle Sam. States can apply flat taxes, graduated taxes, or no taxes to their residents. If you don’t know about your state’s current income tax system, finding out can help you compare how much you… read more…

A business owner having reviewed a retirement plan for herself and her employees.

Retirement Strategies for Small Business Owners

Whether you just launched your small business or have been running your own shop for years, it’s no secret that the hard work never ends. This holds true for retirement planning as well, and doing so with time is crucial for success. Fortunately, there are different tax-advantaged options available, including retirement vehicles that you can… read more…

To be valid in Texas, a will must follow specific guidelines.
Estate Planning

How to Write a Will If You Live in Texas

Sitting down to write a will can seem straightforward. After all, you’re just naming everyone who gets your money and property, right? However, a will is more complex than putting together a list. To be valid in Texas, a will must follow specific guidelines or risk being discarded in a probate court. Here’s what to… read more…

The IRS allows you to make charitable deductions for donations made to qualifying nonprofits.

How to Receive Charitable Tax Deductions

Every year, charitable individuals and households make one saying a reality when they make a donation to nonprofits: It’s better to give than to receive. However, when you give, the IRS also allows you to receive something in return: Charitable tax deductions. When you donate money to a qualifying public charity, you can deduct up… read more…

A woman researching how to avoid probate in Tennessee.
Estate Planning

How to Avoid Probate in Tennessee

Dealing with the loss of a loved one is already difficult. And when probate becomes part of the picture, it can bring more stress to you and your family. In Tennessee, unsecured assets enter probate court, which is a public process that could take months, and make your family vulnerable to disputes from other parties.… read more…

A woman researching how long she has to keep state tax returns and other documents.

How Long You Have to Keep Tax Documents

Once tax season is over, it’s tempting to contemplate pushing every document into a shredder and going on your way until next year. However, prematurely disposing of your tax documents can have financial consequences because the IRS can audit you up to three years later. Likewise, it’s possible for taxpayers to claim a refund they… read more…

A financial advisor setting up a first meeting with a potential client.
Advisor Resources

How to Find Your First Client as a Financial Advisor

Becoming a financial advisor involves more than crunching numbers. It means earning a client’s trust to manage their hard-earned savings and guide them on the path to their goals. Your first client can often be the most challenging because it takes time to build your brand and connect with your target audience. Fortunately, numerous strategies… read more…

A man researching the requirements to qualify for an IRS exception to make an early IRA withdrawal without penalty.

IRA Early Withdrawal Rules and Penalties

When you deposit cash into your retirement account, it enters a new realm of rules and regulations. While your IRA contributions are still your money, they’re subject to withdrawal penalties, taxes and exceptions that allow you to withdraw money for specific expenses. As a result, withdrawing from your IRA for a surprise expense isn’t as… read more…

A father researching how the additional child tax credit (ACTC) works.

What Is the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC)?

Tax breaks are the saving grace of every hard-working American come tax time. However, these credits don’t always translate to money in your pocket. For instance, the Child Tax Credit can lower the taxes you owe, but it won’t create a refund from the government if you wouldn’t otherwise get one. Fortunately, the Additional Child… read more…

Parents looking up the requirements for the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC).

What Is the California Earned Income Tax Credit?

California is one of the most expensive states to live in – but numerous tax credits can lighten the load for working individuals and families. Specifically, the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) can enhance your tax refund from the state. In addition, taxpayers who qualify for this credit often can claim a host of… read more…

A woman looking up different tax filing deadlines and late payment consequences.

What Happens If You File Your Taxes Late?   

While dreading tax season is a near-universal experience, there’s something that can make it far worse – not filing or paying your taxes. Filing your taxes late puts you further in the hole if you owe a balance because of the fees and interest the IRS adds to your bill. You can end up paying… read more…

A CFP working with a senior client to reach different financial planning goals.
Advisor Resources

What Jobs Can You Get After Earning a CFP?

The Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation is granted by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board). It indicates proficiency in education, examination, experience and ethical standards. CFP® professionals work in a number of capacities, from financial planners guiding individuals through key life milestones to wealth managers offering specialized services to high-net-worth clients.… read more…

A senior couple researching 10-year rules for inherited IRAs.

How the 10-Year RMD Rules Work for Inherited IRAs

Inheriting an IRA as a beneficiary can increase your financial security. But, because an inherited IRA usually imposes a 10-year distribution schedule, the account may also create larger tax implications than expected. However, exceptions to this timeline are available. Here’s how distributions work and how to prepare yourself for anticipated taxes. A financial advisor can… read more…

When you die intestate, your estate will get distributed according to the law as assigned by probate court.
Estate Planning

How to Avoid Probate in Minnesota

Probate can put your beneficiaries through a dragged-out process that could cost money, make your estate public and produce more anxiety. If you want to protect your estate from probate in Minnesota, and streamline asset distribution for your heirs, here are a few things you can do. An financial advisor can help you create an… read more…

A woman reviewing how much money she saved after using a tax-saving strategy.

Strategies for Protecting Income From Taxes

While you can’t avoid taxes, the IRS allows you to lower your tax burden by combining tax deductions and credits. Here are nine common tax-saving strategies to protect your wealth. A financial advisor can help optimize your investment portfolio to lower your taxes. Aim For Long-Term Capital Gains Long-term capital gains are profits from the… read more…

A woman filling out her primary residence on a tax form.

Can You Have Two Primary Residences If Married Filing Jointly?

Getting married and having multiple homes are blessings to enjoy – unfortunately, a tax exemption for two primary residences isn’t among the benefits of such a situation. While it would be wonderful if two people filing taxes meant twice the benefits and exemptions, U.S. tax laws require married couples filing jointly to claim just one… read more…

A senior couple researching how long a rollover can take.

How Long a 401(k) Rollover Takes

Starting a new job is an exciting prospect – both for your career and your retirement plan. And taking your 401(k) with you means transferring the funds to a new account, such as another 401(k) or an IRA. However, penalties loom for transfers that take longer than 60 days. The timing of a 401(k) rollover… read more…

A senior couple reviews documents for their retirement and estate plans.

Differences to Consider Between Retirement and Estate Planning

While retirement can feel like crossing the finish line financially, it opens up a new realm of responsibilities and concerns. Hard work can help you save for your golden years. However, accounting for twists and turns from healthcare and inflation to unintended tax consequences, requires thorough planning. Similarly, passing on wealth the specific way you… read more…

A senior couple reviews the terms of multiple healthcare plans.

Pros and Cons of Having Multiple Health Insurance Plans

While the phrase “two are better than one” applies to many situations, two health insurance plans can be a burden, depending on your situation. However, two plans can also help you access needed care and save money on annual medical costs. Whether driven by specific needs, life circumstances, or a desire for comprehensive coverage, individuals… read more…