It’s Springtime. Buds will bloom, green grass emerges, and the tried and true tradition of spring cleaning is afoot. But if you think that your spring clean has to be limited to your linen closet or garage, think again. Spring can be a great time to spring clean your financial life, including your records, both […]Read More
How do you see yourself spending retirement?
Golfing in Florida? Traveling the country in an RV? Spending time with family and grandchildren? No matter how old you are right now, it’s smart to start thinking about what you want from your retirement. Regardless of your stage of life, now is the right time to plan for retirement. Keep reading to see how you can plan for retirement at any age.Read More
For the parents of children with disabilities and varying special needs, the significance of quality holistic estate and financial planning is far more important than simply focusing on tax and investment planning alone. Young and adult-age children alike with disabilities are often not able to adequately care for themselves. Their future self-actualization and quality of life depend largely on their parents’ capabilities and desire to create a plan in conjunction and harmony with keeping government benefits available.Read More
There are certain deductions that taxpayers can no longer claim. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 made significant changes to the individual income tax. Some may receive some pretty nice breaks, while others may lose some. Let’s take a look at some of the deductions that will not be available to use when you file your 2018 return this year.Read More
Individuals with disabilities will potentially have a clear legal right to obtain services within the community instead of in an institution under new legislation supported by a bipartisan collection of representatives and senators. Introduced on January 15, this legislation would if passed, be the most extensive civil rights bill for those with disabilities in decades.Read More
Some say there is actually a difference in the performance of the stock market based on which team wins the Super Bowl. Have you heard this one before? Individuals are making financial predictions and decisions based on this particular sporting event. It’s an interesting topic that has been kicked around (pun intended) for many years. Let’s take a look at this phenomena as we approach Super Bowl LIII (or if you skipped Latin in high school, Super Bowl 53).Read More
According to the Holmes-Rahe stress inventory, the loss of a spouse is the number one stressor that someone can endure. It’s certainly a time of confusion and emotion. Assessing your financial situation during this time will likely be the last thing on your mind, but it’s so important to evaluate your finances carefully.Read More
If you are a parent to a child with special needs, you likely already know that understanding what benefits your child might have available to them can be a challenge. Varying circumstances call for different benefits, and occasionally different benefit programs can act cohesively to help meet the needs of an individual. A specific example of this is with Childhood disability benefits or (CDB).Read More
According to the Holmes-Rahe stress inventory, the loss of a spouse is the number one stressor that someone can endure. It’s certainly a time of confusion and emotion. Assessing your financial situation during this time will likely be the last thing on your mind, but it’s so important to evaluate your finances carefully. It’s crucial to avoid making hasty financial decisions during this emotionally charged time to ensure that your finances are optimized for you to continue along your life path successfully.Read More
Having a well-thought-out exit strategy for your small business may not be the first thing on your mind. You’re too busy managing the day-to-day needs of your employees and customers, right? You must keep in mind that you are going to want to have as much input and control over this aspect of the life of your business. You don’t get do-overs for this one. How will you construct the process of your exit? How much do you wish to profit from the transaction?Read More
There is plenty of discussion as to what has been happening with oil prices. When the cost of a barrel of oil sank from $76 to under $50 in October 2018, a cacophony of thoughts, theories, and predictions from investors began to fly. What was going on? Are we heading towards a sluggish economy? Are we making more oil? Less oil? The Farmer’s Almanac is calling for a mild winter season. Is that it?Read More
It’s almost 2019 and the year is wrapping up. As a busy working professional, you can give yourself a nice head start on the new year by giving having a financial “to-do list” of sorts. What I mean by that is taking some time to look at your tax layout, investment strategy, financial planning goals, and other issues influencing your economic world that can be identified and addressed before the new year begins.Read More
It’s common practice for parents to hold their savings in some type of retirement account, often an
Individual Retirement Account (IRA) At age 70 1/2 he or she must take mandatory distributions from the IRA, or what is called the Required Beginning Date. These payments and are known as Required Minimum Distributions and are calculated and determined by the government.
80% of New Years resolutions fail by February, and more often than not financial resolutions are among them. So what gives? Are we all doomed to empty savings accounts and living paycheck to paycheck? Not necessarily.Often, it’s not about making resolutions but making the right resolutions, and then putting action behind them.Got yourRead More
It looks like social security payments are slated to grow next year. However, for several recipients, the more substantial payments will be somewhat offset by an increase in Medicare deductibles and premiums. The Social Security Administration (SSA) announced on October 11, 2018, that effective on December 31, Social Security payments for 2019 will rise 2.8 percent, which is an increase from a 2 percent gain in 2018 and the most significant increase since benefits rose 3.6 percent in 2012.Read More
Putting the future of your finances in the hands of a someone else? To some, that may sound a little crazy.Well, as crazy as it sounds, it’s something people do every day. They do so for a good reason, however. Simply put, they are aware that they need professional assistance with planning their financial future. It’s clear that choosing a financial planner; rather the right financial planner, is an important decision.Read More
Likely the most weighted factor used in determining whether SSI recipients will qualify for the maximum benefit is their housing arrangement. Individuals living by themselves who pay their rental expenses, inclusive of utilities, are eligible for the maximum monthly SSI benefit. (This is with the assumption that they fulfill all other criteria to receive the maximum.)Read More
Working for yourself can be both freeing and rewarding. The downside is that you’re more responsible for dealing with things like taxes and retirement plans. If you’re new to being self-employed, you may need a little help with those things. Saving for retirement is essential, and when you’re on your own, you have the potential to save in any way you’d like. You have to make an informed decision on a retirement plan, though, and that can be difficult.Read More
When it comes to navigating the world of college financial aid, it can feel like a neverending maze of rules and applications. There are various important elements of the process that are important for parents and student to know, and one that stands out front is knowing and understanding what your EFC is. EFC is an abbreviation for “Expected Family Contribution.” The federal government uses the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSARead More
Are you beginning to prepare for your retirement? The average retirement age in America is 61 years old. However, this average is steadily increasing as Americans continue to live longer. Because this number is growing, it’s more important than ever to ensure that we are adequately planning for retirement. If you plan, your golden years can be stress-free and one of the most enjoyable times of your life.Read More
Receiving an inheritance is often both a blessing and a challenge. It usually comes at a difficult time emotionally–following the death of a loved one. But when the gift is an inherited 401k, you are faced with an additional challenge. How do you avoid losing a big piece of the gift to taxes? The 401k beneficiary rules are dizzyingly complex. Understanding your options for how to treat a 401k after death is critical for getting the most benefit from your inheritance.Read More
Most women in the United States retire at the age of 66But, women face unique hurdles in comparison to men when it comes to retirement.
First of all, women live longer. They also face lifetime income disparities as compared to men. These issues, coupled with rising divorce rates in older women, can cause struggles when it comes to financial security in later life.
The Atlantic Hurricane season started on June 1st. Many experts project an activity level of average to above average this season.
This is troubling news for those that live on the East coast & Gulf coast of the United States. Not too long ago, there were evacuations in parts of Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas. Thousands of people lost their homes, personal belongings, sense of community…and some even lost their lives.Read More
The demand for financial advisors is expected to increase by around 15% in the next decade. It’s clear that people continue to see the value in having a professional help them with their family finances.
However, when looking for some help, you have to consider the differences between a financial planner vs.
financial advisor. Although there are areas of their work that overlap, these are two very different jobs, and they shouldn’t be used interchangeably.
Our mind will play tricks on us if given a chance. We are bombarded by stimuli every day, and our brains often use shortcuts or heuristics to cope with the complexity of our environments. Shortcuts that prove harmless most times may, when applied to our finances, create unfavorable financial outcomes. If you’ve heard the Yanny/Laurel recording, then you’ve experienced this phenomenon firsthand.Read More
If you want to keep your investments safe and organized, a retirement account rollover is critical to that success. After leaving your employer, rolling over your 401k sounds like a simple enough practice, right?
Maybe in theory, but the steps to a 401k rollover are riddled with a complicated process and rules set for us by the IRS. This has led to a lot of confusion that has unfortunately deterred a lot of people from taking this very important step in their financial planning.Read More
It’s one of our most precious commodities, isn’t it? When you’re a parent of a child with special needs, chances are the last thing you have time to do is spend your time researching the right financial decisions to make. Your time is spent tackling the day-to-day commitments of life, work, and home. However, taking the time now to plan for your child’s future can prevent future hurdles that can arise from being ill-prepared.Read More
There are up to 188 cognitive biases that impede our ability to make sound decisions. In many scenarios, the effects of our biases may be dismissed as foibles, but there’s not much room for needless mistakes in business.
Behavioral finance theory involves a combination of the fields of Economics and Finance with Psychology. The pairing examines why people make the financial decisions they make and the motivations behind them. Behavioral investing impacts financial goals through;Read More
Are you in the midst of financial planning with your child’s needs in mind? Here, you’ll find out how to set up a special needs trust for your child.
If you have a child or family member with special needs, you want to help ensure that a plan is in place for their future.
But for many families, helping a disabled loved one thrive is a difficult undertaking with a great deal of worry.Read More
Are you trying to save money but struggling because you’re already on a tight budget? Don’t be too hard on yourself. Many people struggle to save money, regardless of their financial situation. In fact, only15 percent of Americans say they’re definitely saving enough money.But don’t be discouraged by this statistic. The reason many people struggle to save isn’t that they don’t have the means–it’s simply because they don’t know how to do it! To learn how to save money while on a budget, read on.
1. Be a Smart Shopper
(Autism Asperger’s Digest, February 2018: Page 30-31.)
There are many uncertainties for the parents of children that have special needs. My wife and I are keenly aware of this as we raise our 2 wonderful boys who are both diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Every day is full of questions.
Are we doing the right things for our child? How will we make it through the day to day responsibilities? What does the future hold for our child and our family?Read More
Just hearing the word.
It invokes a feeling of, well…ouch. Right?
It would be great if income always made a steep incline upward no matter what choices we make or what turns the economy decides to take. But a cut in pay doesn’t necessarily mean gloom and doom.
It can certainly be a tough transition, but it can also be a step in the right direction.Read More
It’s almost Valentine’s Day, folks.
Time to show your sweetheart how you feel. Time to think about the right words to say in a card, making dinner reservations…oh, and having a conversation with your significant other about your finances.
Ok. So maybe Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be the time you choose for this talk, but if you haven’t had a comprehensive talk with your spouse or partner about money, then you need to. Soon.Read More
It’s that time of year.
Family. Friends. Food.
So many gifts.
Maybe it’s the eggnog or the cinnamon scented…well, everything, but many people tend to tune out that little voice of reason in their minds during the holiday season when it comes to spending. When the credit card bills are delivered in January, however, it’s wake up time.Read More
It looks like things are moving quickly in Washington. Lawmakers and the public finally got a look at the first draft of the tax overhaul bill only six weeks ago, but it looks like the GOP has released the final version of its tax bill. They hope to pass it next week and send it to President Trump for his signature.
This bill focuses on some fairly significant tax cuts for business owners and corporations as well as bringing back some tax benefits for individuals as it relates to some of the bills passed before by the House and the Senate.Read More
The truth is that not all marriages will last. When a family is going through a divorce presently or the parents have been divorced for some time and children are involved, parents need to be informed as to how this change can affect college assessments and costs. In addition, families that are blended through remarriage increase the complexities of applying for aid it’s important for families to be aware of how the financial aid system works in order to obtain the greatest benefit for their children.Read More
The smell of burning leaves and the sound of students bustling and laughing across campus. Your child’s face says it all. This is the one. This is the college they’ve been looking for. They love every inch of that grassy quad.
Then you see the price tag. Boom.
What happens now? Your child is crushed, finding out that the school of his or her dreams is off the table. Or, your child or yourselves accrue enormous student loan debt to cover the tab.Read More
October is National Financial Planning Month.
It’s also National Chili month.
While the brisk autumn football game staple surely deserves recognition (self-proclaimed connoisseur here), I would argue that putting a focus on your financial situation and creating a solid investment plan is a pretty worthy cause too. There’s nothing magic or wizardly about October as it relates to financial planning, but it’s as good a time as any, right? What is significant about it is that it’s now.Read More
It’s the big daddy of all questions I hear as a financial planner.
Am I going to be ok?
People simply want to know if they are prepared for what lies ahead. Do they have enough for the fishing trips they have dreamed of? Will they have to change their lifestyle when they retire? Will their children have to help out? There is a great deal of apprehension, and frankly, fears when it comes to this conversation because when you think about the future, it can feel like the great unknown; something we have no control over.Read More
Life is full of fresh questions, stressful events, and complications that always seem to find us. Let’s take a moment to think of ways to keep money worries from falling onto that list so you can spend more time with the people you love and less time pouring over your finances.
We’ve put together a quick guide to common mistakes we see arising again and again in the investment sphere. Hopefully, by taking the time to introspect on some of these topics a bit, the goal of a solid financial foundation for your family is even more within your reach.Read More
If you’ve ever tried to hire a financial advisor, you know how confusing the process can be. There is a huge range of financial professionals out there all offering different services.
The fact that there’s no regulation around terms like “advisor” or “planner” only adds to the confusion. You need to look beyond the title and start seeking designations, such as a CFP® certificant or CFA Charterholder, when vetting a potential pro to help you.Read More
Financial success can be attributed to two major, fundamental practices:
1. Live within (or, ideally, below) your means and spend less than you earn
2.Save and invest strategically to achieve what’s important to you.
Simple enough, right?Read More
I love the water.
The ocean waves and quiet fishing on the bay. My wife and I moved our family from the bustle of a larger city to a less grid locked city near the beach when our two boys were still in their early elementary school years. We love the feel of a small beach town where everyone is a neighbor, and people don’t hesitate to lend a helping hand. We felt like this would be better for our boys than the high intensity, rapid pulse of a big city.Read More
Many financial gurus talk about the dangers of debt, and for good reason. Borrowing money, getting a loan, or putting purchases on credit cards leaves you paying more for whatever you use that money for thanks to interest and other fees.
If you fail to make payments on your balances, that interest starts compounding and the total amount of debt you’re in grows. The longer you take to repay your balance, the more you’ll pay in interest.Read More
Millennials recently overtook Baby Boomers as the largest generation in the U.S., but when it comes to investing, Millennials have a much wider gap to cross. According to
a survey by Student Loan Hero, Millennials’ financial priorities are quite different from previous generations thanks to student loans, minimal income inflation, rising home prices, and preferences for renting over ownership. Financial goals and challenges have certainly changed, but the desire to succeed and to minimize financial strain and worry cross generations.Read More
Good financial planning can put you in a position to proactively work toward your goals, use your money in a way that aligns with your values, and build your wealth for the long-term.
Proper planning can also help you deal with problems and emergencies that will inevitably pop up. We don’t need to know exactly what might happen in order to prepare for it.Read More
Did you recently fail to meet a goal you set? If so, you’re not alone. Some studies show that up to 92% of people who set goals like New Year’s Resolutions fail to achieve them.
But at least that group is ahead of people who never set goals at all, which is more common than you might think.Read More
Traditionally, average investors and families who wanted to grow their nest eggs faced a challenge when it came to getting financial help.
Old-school advisors required a family to bring them $250,000, $500,000 or even a million dollars of money to invest with that advisor before they’d accept the family as a client.
For normal folks who are getting married and raising families, that’s an outrageous amount of money to have lying around. That left a lot of people on their own when it came to figuring out their investments.Read More
As a parent of children with special needs, I have first-hand knowledge of the financial strain that can come with this situation. In our case, we have two boys diagnosed on the autism spectrum. In those early days,
my wife and I were swimming upstream, navigating the emotional rollercoaster that comes with finding out that our children had a diagnosis and what that meant when we were served with another whammy…Read More
There’s an anecdotal story out there that says Fidelity conducted an internal study to evaluate who their best-performing account holders were. Any guesses as to who did the best in the markets?
It wasn’t necessarily people who were already wealthy. It wasn’t people who tinkered with their accounts to try and optimize their portfolios. And it certainly wasn’t people who closely watched the markets and tried to stay one step ahead of what stock prices would do next.Read More
We hear a lot lately about the rising costs of healthcare, don’t we?
A recent report published in Health Affairs states that healthcare expenditures will represent almost 20% of the GDP by 2025. So of course, Americans are looking for ways to save on these costs and plan for medical costs in their retirement. For many, a Health Savings Account (HSA) is an excellent option.Read More
We’ve all heard the advice to work smarter, not harder. Doesn’t it make sense to apply this same mindset to your money?
Here’s a quick rundown of a few tips that really work if you want to give your savings a quick boost:
It’s the quintessential question of any new parent — and it can remain on your mind as your child grows and gets older: how are you going to pay for their college?
And with the way things are now, saving for college feels intimidating as the cost of higher education continues to rise. Many parents are also motivated by their own student loan debt, wanting to start saving for college to help their children as much as possible, so they don’t face the same financial struggles.Read More
Medical bills can quickly add up and start eating away at the available cash in your budget. And if they keep piling up, those costs can quickly spiral and turn into medical debt.
You don’t have to let these expenses become completely unmanageable if you’re proactive. Use these tips and methods to keep medical bills in your family under control.
1 Stay OrganizedRead More
Choosing to start a family may not feel like a financial decision. And you shouldn’t make that decision solely based off what your money situation looks like — there’s a lot more that goes into this big life change.
But you shouldn’t ignore the practical realities of having a baby. The USDA estimates that raising a child to the age of 18 will cost the average family $233,000.Read More
What do you think of when you hear the words “financial planning?” If you’re like some people, you may not think anything at all. Instead, you might groan or let your eyes glaze over. Or maybe you immediately feel skeptical and suspicious because you don’t trust what the suits want to do with your money.
The truth is, financial planning can offer tremendous benefit to you and your spouse if you’re just starting your life together. It can also give families peace of mind. It can give you a clear understanding of how to achieve the goals you want to reach.Read More
As parents of children with special needs, we worry about what life will be like for them when we’re gone. Who will take care of them? How will they pay for what they need? Creating a plan to finance their long-term happiness and security is paramount. Like building a house, we start with a foundation. The availability of government benefits are the start of a solid foundation as they provide the a safety net and support system.Read More
Why do I need an Estate Plan?
What is an estate? An estate is basically everything someone owns. This includes business holdings, personal possessions, financial assets, real estate, insurance policies, and more. The reason we need an estate plan is
so we can protect and maneuver our assets and have the ability to successfully transfer these assets to others as we wish during our lifetime or after our death.Read More
The traditional and Roth IRA are alike in many ways, but when it comes time to decide which is best for your retirement portfolio, it is important to evaluate the differences in their benefits.
First, let’s take a look at what they have in common.
Where They Are SimilarRead More
There has been much discussion in the news recently about new nominal highs in stock indexes like the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500.
When markets hit new highs, is that an indication that it’s time for investors to cash out? History tells us that a market index being at an all-time high
generally does not provide actionable information for investors. For evidence, we can look at the S&P 500 Index for the better part of the last century. Exhibit 1
Anyone searching for investment advice is undoubtedly confronted with many choices of service providers operating under titles such as certified financial planner, financial consultant, registered investment advisor, stockbroker and insurance agent.
These titles can be confusing because on the surface it is not clear whether these professionals are legally required to have a client’s best interest in mind when making investment recommendations.Read More
In 1958, economist Leonard Read published an essay titled “I, Pencil: My Family Tree as Told to Leonard E. Read.”
The essay, narrated from the point of view of a pencil, describes the “complex combination of miracles” necessary to create and bring to market the commonplace writing tool that has been used for generations. The
narrator argues that no single individual possesses enough ability or know-how to create a pencil on their own. Rather, the mundane pencil—and the ability to purchase it for a “trifling” sum—is the result of an extraordinary process driven by the knowledge of market participants and the power of market prices.
How did you learn about money—I mean really learn? For most of us, our first dose of reality comes when we begin providing for ourselves. This once magical resource, which was always shrouded in a bit of mystery and sprinkled with fairy dust, suddenly morphs into a concrete brick that knocks us in the head and introduces us to its true reality.
Money is like a brick. A brick is just a brick—it can be used to build or it can be destructive. It all depends on who holds it.
Building Good Money HabitsRead More
Once a person reaches the age of 18, they are guaranteed certain civil rights under state and federal law. These rights cannot be taken away by parents, support coordinators or social workers. It’s an exciting time for some people with a disability as they gain the opportunity to explore their independence.
However, not every person
who reaches the age of majority will have the mental capabilities to make decisions that are in their best interests. While many parents of children with special needs will consider guardianship first to take care of their child, there are alternatives worth exploring before taking such a major leap.
While there are people with disabilities who make a fairly comfortable income, disability can be a major impediment to earning power. If you are the parent of a child with special needs, this is one of the reasons why you regularly think about whether and how your child can live a dignified life in your absence.
That said, reflecting on the impact of disability is not limited to parents of children with special needs. Even able-bodied workers run a considerable risk of serious incapacitation due to illness or injury.Read More
After many conversations with parents of children with special needs, I’ve come to find that many of my clients have one overarching concern: how to set aside money for the future needs of their children.
Prior to the passage of the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (or ABLE, as it
is more commonly known), families had no significant tax benefits to save for things such as therapy or assisted living. To complicate matters, individuals with severe disabilities were limited to a maximum of $2,000 in liquid assets before they were deemed ineligible to receive government benefits.
As a parent, seeing your child grow up and come into their own naturally brings about a flood of emotions. There’s pride for how much they’ve grown and learned, optimism for future potential, and a healthy dose of fear for the uncertainty of what the future may hold. While the pride and optimism may remain
the same if you’re the parent of a child with special needs, there’s no doubt that you carry a considerable amount of trepidation in considering your child’s future.Read More