Finance Made Simple

More and more frequently, parents are supporting their adult children well into their lives after they’ve left “the nest.” COVID-19 has brought this concept into the spotlight, as many young adults who lost their jobs or who had to relocate during coronavirus, ended up moving home. It’s not a secret that parenthood is expensive! However, many parents are struggling to walk a line between continuing to be supportive of adult children while also setting themselves up for financial success. Let’s walk through how you can successfully set financial expectations with your adult children that strike the balance you’re hoping for. 

Since the concept of “retirement” became popular in the 1920s, people have been sprinting toward the proverbial finish line. They imagine turning in their badge, celebrating with their colleagues over a retirement cake in the break room, and never returning to the office again in order to embrace a life of leisure. 

Retirement is often viewed by many as the ultimate end-goal. Whether you picture sitting on a beach with your spouse or spending more time with family and friends without the pressure and stress of your career weighing you down, everyone dreams about their “ideal” retirement. For many, it truly is the final finish line you spend the majority of your life racing toward. 

Unfortunately, while many people are focused on retirement on the horizon, they become tunnel-visioned. When they finally arrive at their destination, they’re surprised to find that retirement isn’t at all what they expected, and they wind up feeling disappointed at best and depressed as a worst-case scenario. 

Most people know that saving for retirement is critical. “Save early, save often” is a phrase that’s often touted when speaking with people in the beginning or middle of their careers. Financial advisors and nearly every article available about financial tips to get ahead talk about the importance of saving for retirement for a long period of time to allow funds to grow. However, the advice often starts and ends there. There’s little guidance available at first glance about taxes on retirement accounts, or where to save your money to maximize it when you retire.

Surviving the loss of a spouse is never easy. Many times, widows feel lost as they try to navigate their new normal. Although having a checklist or a guide may not cover all of your unique needs, we hope that these tips will help you to start making forward progress on getting organized, respecting your spouse’s wishes, and setting yourself up for a stable future.

Saving for college is one of the primary financial concerns of most Gen X parents, and more and more often grandparents are getting involved in college savings for their grandchildren. With the cost of college constantly climbing, it’s no wonder that funding continuing education for future generations is becoming an all-hands-on-deck endeavor. The average cost of college in the United States is $11,171 a year for an in-state public college. Private universities cost an average of $41,411 a year. 

There are several different ways to save for college. Of course, families can save cash, but it’s usually more efficient to save with an investment account to grow your college savings over time. One common method people use to save is the 529 Plan. 

A HELOC, or Home Equity Line of Credit, is often viewed as a “second mortgage.” But when should a homeowner consider a HELOC? And are they actually a safe way to borrow? Let’s find out.

When the words “estate planning” are heard, it’s common to think of retirees mapping out their legacy through a will, trust, and other methods of passing on their wealth and assets. You may even think of young parents setting up an estate plan to ensure their children are protected in a worst-case scenario. Most people, however, don’t imagine college students setting up an estate plan. After all, they rarely have any wealth or assets worth passing on, and they typically don’t have dependents who need to be taken care of. 

However, college students still need an estate plan in place. Now, during coronavirus, when college students are on campus and at risk, this is more true than ever.

College funding is complicated and stressful for many families. One option for funding your child’s college education beyond leveraging a 529 Plan or traditional student loans is the Parent PLUS Loan. Many parents choose to apply for a Parent PLUS Loan as part of their funding strategy. Unfortunately, many of those same parents don’t know much about the loan itself! Let’s review what the Parent PLUS loan is, and what you can expect in terms of how it impacts your financial plan. 

If the past several months have taught us anything, it’s that we as humans are so much more adaptable than we realized. The coronavirus pandemic took the world by surprise, and individuals and families across the nation had to adjust their lives to accommodate social distancing, widespread shutdowns, and mask mandates. Although these times have been trying (to say the least!), it’s been truly inspiring to see how resilient people are. Many individuals and families have been making adjustments to their lifestyles to better reflect their priorities within the confines of quarantine. 

Retirement can be an exciting new chapter in your life. Still, many people are surprised that once they make the transition to retirement, they find themselves to be anxious and possibly depressed. It’s all too common to have the “retirement blues” when you first retire for a number of reasons. Retirement is a colossal lifestyle shift that you may or may not have been ready for emotionally. However, you can get in front of any potential emotional turbulence by following three simple steps. 

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.


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