Author: Justin Rush, CFP®

Ohio 529 Plans

A 529 account is a common way of saving for future college expenses due to the tax benefits the account may provide. In my experience, I’ve found many people have a basic understanding of why saving to a 529 may be a good idea if paying for college expenses is a goal. However, what I’ve also realized is many people are unaware of their options when establishing 529 accounts. The purpose of this post isRead More

403(b) FAQs for STRS Ohio Members

While I couldn’t possibly cover all the ins and outs of 403(b) plans in one post, my goal is to provide answers to some frequently asked questions I receive from STRS Ohio Members regarding 403(b)s. What is a 403(b)? A 403(b) is a tax-deferred retirement savings account available to most members of STRS Ohio. 403(b)s are separate from the three retirement plan options offered by STRS Ohio (i.e. Defined Benefit, Defined Contribution, and Combined), butRead More

New to STRS Ohio? Start Here!

As a new member of STRS Ohio, there is a lot you should know! You have access to many resources online at, and will (or already have) receive a lot of information regarding plan options, election deadlines, and online registration, amongst other things. The purpose of this article is to help you sort through a few of your options so you may devote the majority of your time towards job-related responsibilities. Online Registration OneRead More

Is the STRS Ohio PLOP right for you?

The partial lump-sum option plan of payment (PLOP) may be a very valuable option to members of STRS Ohio at retirement. STRS Ohio PLOP enables retirees to receive six (6) to thirty-six (36) months of their single life annuity benefit in a lump sum. This lump sum may be rolled over to a retirement plan such as an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or the member may receive the lump sum directly. Careful consideration should beRead More

3 Lessons I’ve Learned While Self Employed

Nearly a year ago, thoughts of becoming self-employed were about to become a reality. What  began with brief comments to my wife led to subsequent discussions followed by countless hours, spreadsheets, and sleepless nights mapping out a business plan. As a financial planner, I take great pride in putting together a road map for people to follow to achieve financial independence. But this time, things were different. This time, the road map was for myRead More

How Much Life Insurance Should I Have?

Have you ever thought to yourself “I could ask this question to 5 people and get 5 completely different answers!” None of the answers would necessarily be “right” and each could be supported by another person’s viewpoint. Or, maybe none of the answers were really what you wanted to hear in the first place! I sometimes feel this is the case when I’m asked “How much life insurance should I have?” Two things I thinkRead More

What Estate Planning Documents Do I Need?

A question I frequently receive is “What estate planning documents do I need?” While my recommendation depends on your unique situation, in this post I will outline some basic documents to consider. Before I get to that, let’s first take a look at why estate planning is important, regardless of your stage of life. Many people think of estate planning as a discussion only Baby Boomers and/or the super wealthy need to have. In simpleRead More

Automate Savings Beyond Your Retirement Plan

You probably agree it’s easy to save to an employer provided retirement plan (e.g. 401k or 403b) account, right? Contributions are typically deducted from your paycheck and sent directly to the plan provider. They never make it to your bank account so you hardly notice they’re made in the first place. That’s the beauty of an automated savings plan! I want to share a practical way my family implements an automated savings plan beyond ourRead More

Helpful Smartphone Apps

Nearly two-thirds of Americans currently own a smartphone, according to a study by Pew Research Center. That number is up from 35% in 2011…an astounding increase! Interestingly enough, I acquired my first cell phone in 2011 and, at the time, thought I was “late to the party.” Smartphone usage is clearly on the rise and the purpose of this post is to call your attention to some apps that may save you money and time,Read More

How to discuss finances with aging parents

With the holiday season upon us, I can’t help but think about the countless family gatherings that will occur between now and year-end. Time will be spent sharing a meal, reminiscing about childhood memories, watching football, playing games, and catching up on how the year has gone. I wonder though, how many families will take these gatherings as an opportunity to discuss their finances? Why are finances such an uncomfortable topic of conversation for families?Read More