Finance Made Simple

When it comes to financial planning, many people benefit from understanding how certain psychological concepts impact their decision making. The truth is that managing your money is one of the most emotional things you’ll ever do. Finances and psychology are inextricably connected. Unfortunately, that sometimes means that individuals are limited by their own behavioral biases. 

Being cognizant of what biases may be influencing your financial decisions can help you to set yourself up for success in retirement. Let’s review three common behavioral biases, and how they impact your financial plan.

Estate planning can feel intimidating to many people. The idea of organizing all of your finances and assets and deciding how you want to distribute it may seem time-consuming. In addition to the difficulty of the work involved, there are also uncomfortable emotions associated with estate planning. 

Thinking about passing away, or becoming incapacitated and unable to make decisions about our lives and our wealth, isn’t fun. This is the number one reason so many people avoid estate planning in the first place!

2020 has been an unprecedented year in more ways than one. With unexpected market turbulence in March, many people have been on edge when it comes to their finances. However, in the midst of the pandemic, there is one silver lining: interest rates continue to stay low. For student loan borrowers, now may be the time to refinance at a lower interest rate. However, before you choose to move forward with refinancing, it’s important to determine whether it’s the right decision for your unique financial situation.

Many people view retirement as a kind of finish line. They plan to save and grow their wealth up until they retire, and then will pull from that nest egg for the next several decades. While this strategy can be effective if you’ve built sizable retirement savings, it can also be intimidating. 

Many retirees count Social Security as part of their retirement income plan. However, modern retirement is often not a linear journey. It’s incredibly common for people to go in and out of retirement. For example, you may “retire” from your lifelong career but decide to launch your own business or start to consult after traveling for a few years. Alternatively, you might be pushed to retire early during a voluntary layoff, but choose to return to the workforce in 6-12 months. 

The beauty of forward-thinking retirement planning is that you can have a level of flexibility in retirement that allows you to work, travel, and take time off in any combination you choose. One way you can plan ahead is to consider leveraging the flexibility of Social Security to fund your retirement lifestyle.

Everyone has an ideal retirement timeline. This schedule might revolve around when it’s typical for professionals in your unique industry to retire, or when you personally feel as though you’ll be ready to make the transition to full-time retirement. However, in life and finances, sometimes things don’t go exactly as planned.

2020 has seen several unexpected market highs and lows. When it feels like the market is inconsistent, or there’s a fear that it could potentially drop, many people act emotionally in their investment decisions. Rather than staying on track with their investing strategy, they deviate from their plan. In some cases, investors may choose to stop contributing to their retirement or other investment accounts altogether if they’re concerned about losing a large percentage of their portfolio. They may even be tempted to sell while the market is low in order to have some sense of control over their investments.

Have you wondered whether or not now is a good time to refinance your mortgage? With interest rates at a recent low, many people are questioning whether now is the best time to move forward with refinancing at a lower interest rate. It’s true that a lower mortgage interest rate can potentially save you thousands of dollars over the life of the loan. However, refinancing isn’t for everyone! Let’s look at when refinancing may not make sense for you.

HENRY. FIRE. FIOR.

There are so many financial acronyms to become acquainted within our world! 

But what do these terms mean, and how do they impact your financial journey?

In the world of financial planning, there’s often talk of having an emergency fund. This savings account is usually recommended to contain 3-6 months of living expenses (and possibly up to a full year’s worth depending on your unique financial situation). It’s recommended that you have an emergency fund that’s easily accessible, even if you’re retired or nearing retirement. What this conversation overlooks is the need for an “essentials only” or emergency budget. 

Having an emergency fund is a fantastic way to protect you in the event of a worst-case-scenario. However, if you’re truly faced with an emergency, it can be helpful to have a spending plan in place, as well. 

In the past week, the Senate passed the House’s bill that effectively modifies the Payroll Protection Program (PPP), and it was signed by the President on June 5, 2020. We originally covered the ins and outs of the PPP in our blog post here when the program was first signed into effect in April 2020. The new changes made to the program are intended to make it easier for borrowers to qualify for loan forgiveness, and ultimately extend some of the deadlines for qualification requirements to increase flexibility for small business owners. Let’s review a few of the changes that were made.

In light of recent world events, more and more people have realized the critical importance of their emergency fund. Many people are experiencing layoffs in light of COVID-19, and others are going through reduced work hours and income. Financial experts often advise that individuals and families who are mid-career keep between 3-12 months of living expenses in an accessible savings account in case of emergencies. However, there are rarely clear instructions for what retirees should do. 

After all, retirees may be in need of emergency funds, too - so, do they need an emergency fund? And what does that look like during retirement?

The Payroll Protection Program went through its first wave of applicants in April of 2020 when the program was first launched. As of April 27, 2020, the application has been reopened to business owners and entrepreneurs seeking help as coronavirus impacts their businesses. There are several misconceptions around the Payroll Protection Program, particularly about when (and how) the loan can be forgiven. Let’s dig into how you can qualify for PPP loan forgiveness as a business owner, and what steps you need to take to stay compliant.

Many families are experiencing dramatic changes to their financial situation due to COVID-19. Even if you feel secure in your job and your financial life right now, your life may still be drastically different than it was two months ago. As schools have been shut down, and child care facilities debate whether or not to reopen for the summer months, many parents are planning to work flexible schedules from home for the foreseeable future to watch their kids. However, there’s one problem with this:

For families who contribute to a Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account, the funds are often sitting unused. 

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Finance Made Simple

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