Welcome to A Deeper Look series. One of the ways of understanding finance is understanding many of the terms you are not used to hearing every day. These terms may sometimes be confusing, so it helps to get some background and perspective.

Today, I would like to share the term “asset allocation.” Asset allocation is an investment strategy that incorporates the risk tolerance and investment time horizon of the investor. It may sound simple, but there are many ways to allocate assets within an investment portfolio. Most approaches consider three main sets of asset classes: equities, fixed-income and cash or cash equivalents.  Each class has a different level of risk and expected return, and each will generally perform differently than the other. There are additional classes such as “alternatives,” real estate and precious metals that can also be considered as part of an allocation.

As a beneficiary of the love of many dogs, I know how they can become a very valued family member.  For parents, as the kids leave the nest and we approach retirement, many of us adopt a dog or a cat, (or a few), as a companion for our new adventures. For non-parents, a beloved pet can be a faithful friend to join in life’s activities. These wonderful animals become part of our family, but many worry about how to make sure their pets are provided for if they outlive us.

It’s a horrible situation to be in, but it’s one that is all too common. A loved one becomes seriously or terminally ill, and insurance does not cover even half the costs. Not only does the family worry about their loved one, then, they begin to wonder where the funds will come from to pay for quality care. But this is not a blog about health insurance or long term care insurance. It’s about having an emergency fund.

Years ago, in many junior and senior high schools, our youth attended classes about basic budgeting and finances. And often, the only classes were part of a Home Economics track as Life Skills. Sadly, along came budget cuts, and these classes were removed. During my career, I have spent some time in classrooms as a guest teacher, sharing insights and tips for students to become more financially savvy.

Did you know that nearly 40 percent of weddings today are second or third marriages for at least one of the spouses? The Pew Research Center shared this statistic along with several others, including that one in five marriages are remarriages for both spouses. You may be one of these numbers; single due to divorce or the death of a spouse. If you are marrying again you are creating an opportunity for new life with a new partner. Successful remarried couples have found the following tools helped their financial success during this joyful transition.

The Successful Transition Series looks at three major life transitions: retirement, entrepreneurship and career change. This week, we look at career change and some of the financial challenges that come with this transition.

Just a few weeks ago a surprising statistic showed up in one of our blogs. Over half of single women have a moderate or heavy amount of anxiety about dealing with finances. Many single women are successful in their chosen field and many are business owners. American Express commissioned a study this year that found the number of women-owned firms increased by 45 percent between 2007 and 2016. Many of these women are sole owners, showing us that the idea of successful single women can be a spectrum from personally single to business single and personally attached.   

One of the many facets of my financial advisory services is helping clients evaluate and choose to participate in their employer’s executive benefits.  Many of these benefits supplement an executive’s overall income, now and in the future.  But there are pros and cons as well as tax considerations that go along with them.

After every national election cycle, the world of financial planning changes in some way. It may be big changes coming down the pike, or changes in the details. Advisors work to field through the changes to make sure clients are getting the best advice they can offer. This election cycle is no different and looks to have big changes coming your way. The first area targeted for change is the Healthcare Law. With reference to Health Savings Accounts being proposed as a significant component, it may help to refresh our memories on what these are and how they’re used.  

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) were introduced in 2004 and were coupled with High Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs).  It’s always important to verify that the insurance plan is HSA-eligible. The HSA is a separate account that an employee, employer or private policy holder contributes money to during the year. The premise of these accounts was to help curb the growing cost of health insurance and to put the insured patient more in control of their healthcare. The pre-tax contributions are much like a traditional 401(k) or IRA. The account can then be tapped to pay for qualified medical expenses. If money is used to pay for non-qualified medical expenses, it will be taxed and will include a 10% penalty.

The Successful Transition Series looks at three major life transitions: retirement, entrepreneurship and career change. This week, we examine entrepreneurship and some of the financial goals made by entrepreneurs that helped make them successful.

The 21st Century looks to be the century of entrepreneurship. In 2014, Babson University found that between 2000 and 2007, the number of new business start-ups increased by 17% each year. Their survey also noted that 2014 saw the most entrepreneurial activity in 16 years.

Jumping in to the risk of self-employment is a daunting process. Good financial planning has been shown to be one of the effective tools of a successful transition to being your own boss. However, there are still important considerations for your personal financial health. Below are 3 things to remember

Life transitions can be complicated, which is why we decided to write a series on how they affect finances and financial planning. This series will look at three major life transitions: retirement, entrepreneurship and career change. Each one is a process, with specific strategies that have been used to make the transitions a success.

Retiring is a major life event. There is no one path to follow in order to ensure a perfect retirement. However, planning and focus have been shown to make a difference when preparing for and entering such a challenging transition.

A new marriage is an exciting event. If the marriage includes blending a family, this can be even more exciting – the more the merrier in some cases, right?

It’s not news that women face unique challenges throughout life, financially and otherwise. What is news, however, is the data underlining the problems. More than half of single women and 41 percent of married women say they feel either a moderate or a lot of anxiety about their personal financial security. This is certainly not a positive. What’s going on?

Let’s face it – as we age, maintaining our health comes more into focus. And even if we stay healthy in our golden years, insurance premiums will continue to rise. That’s why it’s so important to plan ahead for rising healthcare costs as you prepare to look at the full picture of your retirement budget and what you need to save now.

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