Joseph D. Vacca

Joseph D. Vacca

As Barnum’s Chief Financial Officer, Joe leads a diverse set of Financial operations across the company, ensuring long-term value creation for Barnum’s stakeholders. His efforts are focused on optimizing our financial and operational performance, enabling Barnum to reinvest in its people, enhance current capabilities, and develop new strategic initiatives that drive growth and value for our clients and our advisors.

Top Year-End Investment Tips

year end investment tips

Taking a little time out from the holiday chores to make some strategic saving and investing decisions before December 31 can affect not only your long-term ability to meet your financial goals but also the amount of taxes you’ll owe next April.

Watch Out for Coronavirus Scams

coronavirus scammer

Fraudsters and scam artists are always looking for new ways to prey on consumers. Now they are using the same tactics to take advantage of consumers’ heightened financial and health concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.

Are you prepared to transition your business?

exit strategy on paper coffee

Leaving the business you have worked so hard to nurture is inevitable. To best preserve the value you have created, it is critical that you have a written strategy for you, your family, and your employees to help assure that when you are no longer in charge, everyone knows what will happen next.

There’s more than one type of life insurance

life insurance on tablet

The pandemic has influenced all of our lives in different ways, some tragic, but also some that have made us rethink our needs and goals. One impact has been to protect loved ones in case something happens to us. Let’s talk about the different types of life insurance that are available and which one(s) might make the most sense for you.


giving tuesday post

As you put together your action strategies for making the most of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday sales, take a few minutes to plan to participate in #GivingTuesday.

Medicare: The Government Program Americans Love

older couple planning medicare

Americans always seem to have a lot to say about certain government programs. One conversation that almost everyone wants to join in on, though, is Medicare, which grew from $7.5 billion to $925.8 billion in spending in 2020, according to Statista. Medicare’s Popularity Medicare’s popularity was highlighted in the 2020 election campaign when some primary […]

How to Get Your Student’s Share of over $120 Billion

student loans graphic

The U.S. Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) provides more than $120 billion in federal aid to help with college or career school expenses each year. Learn more about how you can tap into some of that.

Things to Know about Auto Insurance

fall leaves drive trees car

As the fall season brings foliage and an increase in road trips, there are many ways to ensure you have adequate car insurance and that your car is in good condition and well prepared for those long autumn road trips.

5 Ways to Enjoy Fall in New England

fall leaves on ground

As leaves change colors, temperatures cool, and pumpkins make their way onto front porches, the joys of autumn are upon us and the list of things to do is endless. If you’re looking to fill your calendar this season, keep reading to learn more about some of our New England favorites.

7 Tips for Choosing a Life Insurance Provider

couple with accountant

Among the decisions you need to make when buying life insurance is what company to choose. Here are some tips to help you find the right insurance company for you, your family, and your situation.

8 Ways to Save during Back-to-School Season

dad holding kids hands school

As the end of summer nears, the back-to-school frenzy begins, and schools across the country prepare to open their doors for yet another school year, here are our top back-to-school money saving tips.

Post-Pandemic Job Market Outlook

jobs key computer

While companies and industries are poised for a major recovery, many have already found that storms have crosscurrents. Job seekers are feeling more confident about the economic recovery, and yet firms are struggling to fill some 9.2 million positions.

How to Leave More than Money Behind

grandparent parents children selfie

Today, many people are going beyond a will when it comes to legacy planning to include a number of intangible components in their estate planning process. Let’s talk about a few areas to consider.

Let’s Talk Crypto

shiny gold bitcoin

It’s estimated that there are more than 10,000 different types of cryptocurrency falling into one of two categories: coins, such as Bitcoin and altcoins, and tokens.

3 Money Lessons and Tools for Teens

pink piggybank with glasses

As the U.S. financial literacy rate declines and many states still lack financial literacy requirements in schools, it’s important to jumpstart our teens’ financial understanding to set them up for future financial success. Check out the importance of financial education, its link to mental health, and some of our favorite resources for teens.

The Countdown Begins: 5 Things to Consider as You Near Retirement

are you ready notepad

Retirement planning can be daunting, especially as you near retirement age. While you’ve probably been thinking about and planning for retirement for a while now, there’s much more to consider as you close in on retirement. Here are our top 5 considerations.

Discard with Care: How to Part Ways with Your Old Electronics

Over the past year and a half, you’ve probably depended on your electronic devices like nothing else, using them to stay in touch with family, friends, and coworkers. As the latest tech gadgets come onto the scene, just how should you properly dispose of old electronics?

Colleges Emerging from Pandemic with New Challenges

graduation tassel cap laptop

COVID-19 has brought about many changes to colleges and universities, posing a multitude of challenges. As they prepare for the post-pandemic landscape, how can they meet the evolving needs of their students?

Estate Planning Essentials for LGBTQ+ Couples

young women holding hands

Having an estate plan is vital to anyone looking to protect their loved ones and assets. While the tools available to same-sex and opposite-sex couples are generally the same, same-sex couples may face unique considerations.

8 Tips for a Budget-Friendly Vacation

empty beach chairs

While post-pandemic vacations are likely to be focused more on local travel and staycations, maintaining a budget will still be important. As you begin planning your getaways, consider our top 8 tips to ensure it’s both fun and affordable.

The Truths about Disability Insurance: Yes, You Really Do Need It

disability insurance laptop

Over the past year, more and more people have been faced with the challenge of earning income during an illness or injury that has kept them out of work for an extended period of time, answering the age-old question of “do I really need disability insurance?”

Money Lies at the Heart of Today’s Mental Health Crisis

stressed woman paperwork table

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and it’s a good time to see where the nation stands after enduring more than a year of battering by COVID-19. The major driver behind the huge spike in mental problems, according to a study? Money.

Social Security Retirement 101

social security website

Nearly 65 million Americans take advantage of Social Security benefits, according to the Social Security Administration. It can be helpful to understand how the program works and how it can fit into your retirement plan.

7 Ways to Get the Most from Amazon Prime

amazon packages porch

More than 150 million people subscribe to Amazon Prime worldwide which means a lot of people think it is worth the cost. Here are some ways to get the most from a Prime membership.

Bringing Autism into the Workplace

autism clipboard

April is Autism Awareness Month and as more fiscal stimulus is on the way to prime the economy, you might find that your business is looking for some help. Take a look at how autistic people are being trained and contributing meaningfully in the workplace. “Is there a job for me?” could be the refrain […]

How to Contribute to a Healthier Earth through Investing

planet in leaves

This month we celebrate Earth Day, a day dedicated to shining a light on ways to make the world a better place to live. Sustainable investing, also known as socially responsible investing, is one such strategy that has been gaining momentum. Sustainable investing seeks to gain long-term benefits for both financial return and the environment […]

Achieve Financial Wellness Using These Four Tips

young woman white tablet

According to a 2019 study from the American Institute of Stress, 62% of Americans feel stressed about money on a regular basis. Luckily, financial wellness is the prescription to help cure this problem. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau defines financial wellness as “a state of being wherein you have control over day-to-day, month-to-month finances, have […]

Celebrating National Volunteer Month: Ways to Safely Volunteer During COVID-19

Many charities and nonprofits have seen a steep increase in the demand for services and support as the pandemic has reached its one-year mark. Despite all the necessary protocols to stop the spread of COVID-19 and help our country move out of this crisis, there is still a plethora of ways to be a successful […]

Financial Lessons from the Pandemic

lessons chalkboard

As we reach the one-year anniversary of the outbreak of COVID-19 in the United States, let’s take a look at some of the personal finance lessons this unprecedented situation has underscored. None of them are really new. It is just that the global pandemic has demonstrated how important they really are. Leading The Wall Street […]

Millennials and Prenups – Through a Different Lens Than the Past*

prenup paperwork

That is the title of a recent piece by Cheryl Winokur Munk published in The Wall Street Journal. Munk states, “in the past, prenups were most common among young adults from wealthy families or couples entering second or third marriages. Today, younger adults of all income levels are drafting them, not only to protect assets […]

The Sandwich Generation: Juggling Family Responsibilities

man thinking education healthcare planning

At a time when your career is reaching a peak and you are looking ahead to your own retirement, you may find yourself in the position of having to help your children with college expenses while at the same time looking after the needs of your aging parents. Squeezed in the middle, you’ve joined the […]

Email Etiquette is More Important Than Ever

man typing on laptop

The website is the largest career community for women. In addition to posting jobs at companies that want to hire women, the site has a lot of content valuable to job seekers as well as people looking to grow and hone their skills, some of which is gender neutral. They recently published a piece […]

Financial Planning and the Death of a Spouse

mother daughter accounting kitchen

As we reach the one-year anniversary of the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, we can’t help but think about all of the people who lost loved ones. The impact of those losses is deeply personal. They can also have a profound effect on the financial situation of a surviving spouse or […]

A Delicate Financial Merger: How to Unite Your Money in Marriage

young couple hugging

Getting married is not just about uniting two people. It is also about uniting your financial life. Money in marriage and how to manage it often taps into emotions and personal values. The financial decisions that you make together now can have a lasting impact on your future. That is why open honest discussions, clear […]

MetLife Announces Alliance with Barnum Financial Group to Deliver Plansmart Financial Education to Workforces

couple financial planning puzzle

NEW YORK, August 20, 2020 — MetLife announced today that Barnum Financial Group, a financial planning and wealth management firm headquartered in Connecticut, will lead the nationwide delivery of MetLife’s award-winning PlanSmart® financial education programs, Transition Solutions and Retirewise. Through this strategic alliance, Barnum’s in-house financial experts and advisors throughout their nationwide partner network will […]

10 Life Insurance Questions You Should Ask Yourself

man checklist calculator graphic

Life insurance – we’ve heard of it, we know how important it can be, we think we probably need it, but do we know how it works? What are we paying for when we make monthly policy payments? If you’re single with no children, do you still need life insurance? Bottom line is, acquiring life […]

It May Be a Great Time to Refinance Both Your Mortgage and Your Variable Annuity

By: Niko Vamvakas, Vice President, Retirement Planning Solutions Historically low-interest rates are serving as a “call to action” for many to refinance their mortgage. The economic impact of COVID-19 has caused a significant percentage of people to heed that call to free up cash flow for other needs. They have partnered with their mortgage broker […]

Protecting Your Income During COVID-19

As COVID-19 has been actively disrupting the lives and businesses of people in the US and the entire world, many people are faced with the new reality of what happens to their income should an injury or illness keep them out of work for an extended period. Protecting Your Income During COVID-19 is extremely important. […]

Qualified Charitable Distributions from IRAs

charitable giving distributions

Charitable giving and philanthropy are often important to successful individuals. They want to support causes that matter to them and they also see the tax benefits of donating to those causes. If philanthropy is one of your financial goals, you’ve probably considered the question of where to direct your charitable dollars. That’s a fundamental decision, […]

What Happens When You Need to Budget for Groceries During COVID-19

young woman with groceries

Communities across the world are being forced to isolate at home and only leave for essential reasons, such as picking up prescriptions, and grocery shopping. With social media posting photos of empty shelves, you may be wondering what to buy and what to skip — or mitigate — during these resource errands. Here’s a suggested […]

What Happens When You Need to Prioritize Your Bill Payments

middle age woman with card

If COVID-19 has affected you financially, prioritizing your bill payments could be paramount to you right now. The silver lining is many bill providers are implementing emergency policies to help customers experiencing challenging financial times. Utility providers Many utility companies will keep the lights on for customers who can’t afford their bills during the coronavirus […]

Tap into Expertise and Understand Your Money Mindset to Reach Goals

older woman laptop

April is Financial Literacy Month — obscured like so many other things by the Pandemic that is afflicting the entire nation. However, financial literacy and hacving a good money mindset to reach goals are probably more important than ever in this period of economic uncertainty and hardship for many. Greek philosophers stressed how important it […]

9 Ways You Can Earn Income Quarantining Right Now

older woman laptop

COVID-19 has undoubtedly disrupted the job market nationwide and around the globe. If the coronavirus has affected your ability to work, we’re here to help. Here’s 9 ways you can earn income right now. Have more questions about your situation? Email us at Virtual Tutoring With so many students home from school shutdowns, virtual […]

How to Keep On Your Mental Health During COVID-19 Pandemic

middle age couple vibing

Quarantining and social distancing have now evolved to be commonplace globally, as governments make concerted efforts to fight the spiraling of the coronavirus pandemic. These measures are deemed crucial by medical experts in reducing the spread of the COVID-19. However, the implications for people’s mental health cannot be overlooked. Here’s what we’ve compiled to keep […]

How to Keep On Top of Your Personal Growth During Quarantine

young woman glass on computer

Your day-to-day schedule might have a lot of extra time now, which means more time to focus on your personal growth during quarantine. Platforms such as Creative Live are an amazing resource that offer a wide selection of courses taught by industry experts in their respective fields. We’ve curated some of their best categories. Photography […]

How to Keep On Your Fitness Routine During Coronavirus Outbreak

As quarantining during the coronavirus pandemic continues, gyms and fitness studios have shutdown nationwide to slow the spread and promote social distancing. But as we know, incorporating exercise into your daily routine is crucial to your overall wellbeing, so gyms and fitness professionals have come together to amp up at-home fitness resources, including live-streaming workout […]

5 Steps to Financial Fitness in 2020

The New Year is typically a time when gyms and fitness studios get very crowded as people set wellness resolutions for themselves. This often includes changes in nutrition and exercise, adding meditation or positive intentions to their resolutions, and overall behavioral changes. But what’s often neglected in that wellness goal is financial wellness. Let’s take […]

How Does the Federal Reserve Affect the Economy?

If you follow financial news, you’ve probably heard many references to “the Fed” along the lines of “the Fed held interest rates,” or “market watchers are wondering what the Fed will do next.” So what exactly is the Federal Reserve and what does it do? What is the Federal Reserve? The Federal Reserve — or […]

Teach Your Children Well

Even before your children can count, they already know something about money: it’s what you have to give the ice cream man to get a cone, or put in the slot to ride the rocket ship at the grocery store. So, as soon as your children begin to handle money, start teaching them how to […]

Importance of Financial Planning

Do you picture yourself owning a new home, starting a business, or retiring comfortably? These are a few of the financial goals that may be important to you, and each comes with a price tag attached. It’s also financial planning. That’s where financial planning comes in. Financial planning is a process that can help you […]

Tax Scams To Watch Out For

While tax scams are especially prevalent during tax season, they can take place any time during the year. As a result, it’s in your best interest to always be vigilant so you don’t end up becoming the victim of a fraudulent tax scheme. Here are some of the more common scams to watch out for. […]

Know Your Mutual Funds

Almost 100 million Americans, representing about 44% of U.S. households, owned mutual funds in 2018. Saving for retirement was the primary goal for 73% of investors; other goals included saving for college or a house, building an emergency fund, or providing current income.1 Mutual funds offer a convenient way to participate in a broad range […]

Hidden Gem: HSAs in Retirement

When saving for retirement, you’re probably aware of the benefits of using tax-preferred accounts such as 401(k)s and IRAs. But you may not be aware of another type of tax-preferred account that may prove very useful, not only during your working years but also in retirement: the health savings account (HSA). HSA in a nutshell […]

Four Tips For Planning a Career Change

Planning a career change can be rewarding for many reasons, but career transitions don’t always go smoothly. Your career shift may take longer than expected, or you may find yourself temporarily out of work if you need to go back to school or can’t immediately find a job. Consider these four tips to help make […]

Famous People Who Failed to Plan Properly

It’s almost impossible to overstate the importance of taking the time to plan your estate. Nevertheless, it’s surprising how many American adults haven’t done so. You might think that those who are rich and famous would be way ahead of the curve when it comes to planning their estates properly, considering the resources and lawyers […]

Business Owners Plan for Retirement

If you’re a small-business owner, you probably pour your heart, soul, and nearly all your money into your business. When it comes to retirement planning, do you cross your fingers and hope your business will provide the nest egg you’ll need to live comfortably? What if you become ill and have to sell your business […]

What Happened to Your Money?

If you don’t know what happened to your money during the past year, it’s time to find out. December and January are the perfect months to look back at what you earned, saved, and spent, as W-2s, account statements, and other year-end financial summaries roll in. How much have you saved? If you resolved last […]

Investing in Yourself

Retirement. College. An emergency fund. A new home or home improvement project. Check, check, check, and check. If you’ve been saving faithfully each month for some or all of these things, you might feel that you’re on a never-ending financial treadmill. It takes discipline, perseverance, and sacrifice to maintain a robust savings effort month after […]

On the Road to Retirement

Beware of These Five Risks On your road to retirement, you’ll likely face many risks that have the potential to throw you off course. Following are five common challenges retirement investors face. Take some time now to review and understand them before your journey takes an unplanned detour. Traveling aimlessly Setting out on an adventure […]

What to do if your Term Policy is Expiring

One advantage of term life insurance is that it is generally the most cost-effective way to achieve the maximum life insurance protection you can afford. Many people first purchase term life insurance to protect their family’s financial interests after a significant life event, such as getting married or the birth of a child. But what […]

The Financial Implications of a Chronic Illness

When you live with a chronic illness, you need to confront both the day-to-day and long-term financial implications of that illness. Talking openly about your health can be hard, but sharing your questions and challenges with those who can help you is extremely important, because recommendations can be better tailored to your needs. Every person […]

Retirement Confidence Strategy

Each year, the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) conducts its Retirement Confidence Survey to assess both worker and retiree confidence in financial aspects of retirement. In 2018, as in years past, retirees expressed a higher level of confidence than today’s workers (perhaps because “retirement” is less of an abstract concept to those actually living it). […]

Financial Mistakes

As people move through different stages of life, there are new financial opportunities — and potential pitfalls — around every corner. Have you made any of these mistakes? Financial Mistakes in Your 50’s and 60’s 1. Raiding your home equity or retirement funds. It goes without saying that doing so will prolong your debt and/or […]

A Parent-Child Conversation About College Costs

If you’re the parent of a high school student who’s looking ahead to college, it’s important to have a grown-up conversation with your child about college costs. A frank discussion can help both of you get on the same page, optimize the college search process, and avoid getting blindsided by large college bills. An initial […]

Marriage and Money

Taking a Team Approach to Retirement Marriage and money go hand in hand. It’s fairly common for families to have two wage earners, many husbands and wives are accumulating assets in separate employer-sponsored retirement accounts. In 2018, the maximum employee contribution to a 401(k) or 403(b) plan is $18,500 ($24,500 for those age 50 and […]

Financial Tips for Newlyweds

Managing Money When You Marry: Financial Tips for Newlyweds Getting married is an exciting time for a couple. However, along with this excitement come many challenges. One such challenge is how to manage your finances together. The key to success is to communicate with your partner and come up with a financial plan that you […]

Gift and Estate Tax Rules

What are the gift and estate tax rules after tax reform? The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, signed into law in December 2017, approximately doubled the federal gift and estate tax rules. The basic exclusion amounts to $11.18 million in 2018 (adjusted for inflation in later years). After 2025, the exclusion is scheduled to revert […]

Standard and Itemized Deductions

The Standard Deduction and Itemized Deductions After Tax Reform The Tax Cut and Jobs Act substantially increased the standard deduction amounts for 2018 to 2025. It also eliminated or restricted many itemized deductions for those years. You can generally choose to take the standard deduction or to itemize deductions. As a result of the changes, […]

Retirement Income Goal Setting

Four Points to Consider When Setting a Retirement Income Goal No matter what your age or stage of life, targeting a goal for monthly retirement income can seem like a daunting task. Following are four considerations to help you get started. When do you plan to retire? The first question to ponder is your anticipated […]

What You Can Do With a Will

A will is often the cornerstone of an estate plan. Wills enable you to leave your property at your death to a surviving spouse, a child, other relatives, friends, or anyone you choose. But that’s not all. Here are 5 things you can do with a will.

Five Myths About Group Disability Insurance

You may think that the chances of becoming disabled during your working years are slight, and even if you did get hurt or had to miss time at work, you could get by because you have group disability insurance. Unfortunately, you may be in for a big surprise. Here are some myths and misunderstandings about […]

Downsizing in Retirement

Four Tips for Downsizing in Retirement Going through years of accumulated possessions and memories is probably not how you envisioned spending part of your retirement. It may sound like a daunting and emotionally draining task, but downsizing could be a savvy financial move, especially if you haven’t reached your retirement savings goals. Set goals for […]

Important Questions for Aging Parents

It’s human nature to put off complicated or emotionally heavy tasks. Talking with aging parents about their finances, health, and overall well-being might fall in this category. Many adult children would rather avoid this task, as it can create feelings of fear and loss on both sides. But this conversation — what could be the […]

How Much Risk Can You Take?

Many market shocks are short-lived once investors conclude the event is unlikely to cause lasting economic damage. Still, major market downturns such as the 2000 dot-com bust and the 2008-09 credit crisis are powerful reminders that we cannot control or predict exactly how, where, or when precarious situations will arise. Market risk refers to the […]

Don’t Delay: The Potential Benefits of Starting to Save Now

For long-term investment goals such as retirement, time can be one of your biggest advantages. That’s because time allows your investment dollars to do some of the hard work for you through a mathematical principle known as compounding. Here are the potential benefits of starting to save now. The snowball effect The premise behind compounding […]

Questions to Ask Before Buying That Thing You’ve Always Wanted?

Even if you’re generally comfortable with your finances, you may occasionally worry about how much you’re spending, especially if you consistently have trouble saving for short- or long-term goals. Here are a few questions to ask before buying that might help you decide whether a purchase is worth it. Why do I want it? Maybe […]

Medicare and Your Employer Plan

If you plan to continue working after you reach age 65, you may be wondering how Medicare coordinates with your employer’s group health plan. When you’re eligible for both types of coverage, you’ll need to consider the benefits and costs, and navigate an array of rules. How does Medicare work with your group health plan? […]

Life Insurance Awareness Month

Life Is For Living And So Is Life Insurance Life can be busy. The requirements of work and family often leave little time to step back and think about where you’ve been and where you’re heading. But as your responsibilities grow, so does the need to evaluate what would happen if life for you stopped. […]

Five Common Financial Aid Myths

With some private colleges now crossing the once unthinkable $70,000-per-year mark in the 2017/2018 school year, and higher costs at public colleges, too, financial aid is essential for many families. How much do you know about this important piece of the college financing puzzle? Consider these financial aid myths. 1. My child won’t qualify for […]