Finance Made Simple

Much of financial planning involves preparing for the unpleasant and unexpected. Almost half of United States couples go through a divorce at some point in their lives - and it’s a difficult process both financially and emotionally. Although money may be one of the last things on your mind right now, there are a few steps to take that can help you to line up your finances when divorce is imminent, and after you go through proceedings.

If you’re a single woman without children, you may be wondering whether estate planning is something you need to be concerned about. The truth is, estate planning is something that everyone should consider, at least to some extent. When putting together your estate plan, there are two key things you need to consider:

  1. Who is going to take care of your assets when you are no longer able to do so?
  2. Who will make health related decisions if you’re unable to make them for yourself?

Life expectancy is still steadily increasing, with no signs of slowing down. Women, in particular, have seen an extending lifespan in recent years. Right now, women have an average lifespan of 81 years! As biotechnology improves, it’s very likely that people will live well into their 90’s - or even past 100 years of age. While this is an exciting thought, it does require more detailed financial planning.

The beautiful thing about retiring in today’s world is that there are no traditional expectations. As women, we are presented with countless, incredible retirement lifestyle options.

Whether you yourself are currently experiencing widowhood, or you know someone who is - I want to take a moment to acknowledge your strength. When you lose a lifelong partner, there are moments where it might feel numb, as though moving forward and creating a next-steps plan is outside of your capacity. That’s completely understandable.

Three generations of women

In most cases, there’s a motivator beyond ourselves that keeps us on track to achieve financial success: our family. We want to make sure our spouse or partner, parents, kids, and grandkids are well taken care of. More than that, we want them to experience the financial freedom to chase their goals, and to achieve big, exciting things with their lives.

You might even have an estate plan in place that provides generously for your kids, grandkids, or great grandkids. But you know what they say about best laid plans of mice and men.

Thinking about purchasing a home but worried you can’t afford it due to student loans? You aren’t alone. According to a study by American Student Assistance, “55 percent of student loan holders said their debt is causing them to put off homeownership.” Most of them believe their student debts would make purchasing a home impossible. The reality, however, is that owning a home is possible even with student debt. Here are some tips on how to purchase a home while still paying off student loans.

Do the following words have you holding your head in fear and confusion - Recession, Depression, Bubbles, Bull and Bear Markets? Do you wonder when morning shows use them whether you should be celebrating or stuffing your money into a mattress? If so, you’re not alone. It can all be a bit bewildering. Good news is, we’re here to help. Let’s discuss the history and definition behind all these terms and what they mean for you.

Buy low and sell high. It’s pretty simple. The problem is knowing what’s low and what’s high.” - Jim Rogers, Chairman of Rogers Holdings and Beeland Interests, Inc.

Buy low, sell high, four words that make the idea of investing in the stock market seem exciting and simple. The reality, however, can be overwhelming and frustrating, particularly if your investments aren’t performing as well as you expected in the markets. Maybe you heard the latest buzz about a new and upcoming technology that had you jumping at the chance to be a part of the action – only to realize later that you purchased high and now their stock price is dropping. You’re not alone.

Blackrock reports, “The average investor, over a 20-year span ending in 2015, underperformed the S&P 500 by six percent.”

Below are a few key reasons that uninformed investors don’t make more money in the stock markets.

In our previous article, we reviewed five tips that parents could teach kids on being ethically responsible with money. This week, we’ll continue our financial education discussion with how we can teach kids about budgeting and saving from an early age.  

How many of us wish we were taught more about money during our childhood? One of the best ways to help our kids avoid financial mistakes in the future is to teach them to manage money.

According to an EverFi, Inc recentsurvey, “More than a quarter of students believe they will be unprepared to manage their finances upon high school graduation. In addition, students surveyed demonstrated that they do not understand basic financial facts and concepts.” Teaching kids basic financial tasks like developing and sticking to a budget will result in strong habits that they can carry into the future. So, now the question is, what financial skills do you teach them? Well, it really depends on how old they are.

Truth, responsibility, respect, compassion and fairness tend to be the global understanding of the values we associate with ethics. But what about financial ethics? How do we teach our children to be ethically responsible with money?

Research shows that the best way to teach children morals and ethics is through example. From an early age, children observe their parents spending, saving and discussing money. They pick up on their parents’ views regarding money just by watching them.  

Last week, we discussed two types of funds – lifestyle funds and lifecycle funds – that aim at simplifying investment strategies for individual investors who may be choosing their employer retirement plan investments with limited options, or just beginning to invest. Lifestyle funds blend stocks, bonds and other investments in order to maintain a consistent level of acceptable risk. Lifecycle funds on the other hand, focus on managing your investments towards a target end date. This week, we will look at whether or not these are options that will best help you meet your financial planning goals.

Do you find the idea of creating a plan for allocating your assets overwhelming? How about choosing a mutual fund? Or designing your investment portfolio? If you’re like many people, investing in your future can be confusing.  

In Part I of this series, we provided a basic definition of deferred compensation plans and introduced questions to ask your financial advisor.

We said a deferred compensation plan is one in which a portion of an employee's pay is held until a specified date, usually (though not always) retirement. A deferred compensation plan:

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Finance Made Simple

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