In order to make a living wage today in the U.S., employees are required to have at least a four-year degree. At the same time, the cost of tuition has been on a continuous rise. So for generations X and beyond, student loan debt makes up a large chunk of their total debt. Four short years at college could potentially take decades to pay off if you’re just making minimum payments.
There is hope, however. There are options to pay off debt quickly, get lower interest rates or in some cases, have the debt forgiven. Here are some of your options to chip away at student loan debt so that you can have a little more breathing room in your budget.
We know each generation is unique, and that doesn’t change when it comes to money management. Technology changes, the economy changes and attitudes change. It makes sense, then, that Generation X (ages 35-50) and Millennials (ages 18-34) sometimes think differently about finances. Here are some trends we’ve seen with these two younger generations.
Do you remember the first time you had to balance a checkbook or apply for a credit card? Were you confident in what you were doing, or did you feel like you were setting foot on an alien planet for the first time? In school, the topic of financial literacy is often neglected, even though it is so critical to everyday adult life. Parents can help prepare their children – especially as children near the end of high school and face heading off to college or living on their own for the first time – by giving them an education in financial literacy. Here are some tips parents can use to help prepare their kids for the world of money management that awaits:
Living debt free sounds like a dream come true to most of us. Once upon a time, retirees paid off their mortgages and held mortgage burning rituals upon retirement. But times are changing and pension plans, health insurance for retirees and gold watches are becoming relics of the past.
Retirees today have a much different financial picture. Many retirements are funded by 401k plans with minimal employer contributions, Traditional and Roth IRAs and other self-funded retirement plans. This means planning for retirement looks much different than it did 30 years ago, and the answer to whether or not you should pay off your house upon retirement is not so cut and dry.
Credit is an important part of our financial lives. While it is most important to live within your means and not overextend yourself, some things are necessarily bought over time, such as residences or cars. Other reasons to use credit (wisely) are to take advantage of cash back deals, air miles or other rewards that come with the cards.
By now, most consumers and business owners know that having good credit is key to financial stability. If your score is low, you may have difficulty obtaining credit or pay higher interest rates whenever you need to borrow money for a house or car, or get a loan or credit card. Credit can also affect everything from the ability to rent to job security. Employers, lenders and even auto insurers look at credit reports before they will extend offers. That’s why it’s so important to fully understand what goes into making a credit score, so that you can stay on top of it and ensure you have the highest score possible.
There are several different credit agencies, and they all score slightly differently, but they have a few major factors in common. FICO is the agency most banks turn to. FICO scores range from 300 to 850. Here’s a breakdown of what goes into a FICO credit score.
The cost of long term care is on the rise, and with all the things you have to save money for — college, retirement, buying a home, life insurance, investments, emergency funds and more — it’s a good idea to learn more now about long term care insurance coverage.
Long term care coverage is a type of insurance policy that generally reimburses you for the cost of home healthcare, assisted living or skilled nursing facilities. Unlike Medicare insurance that covers primarily skilled medical care, long term care insurance typically covers unskilled care that provides assistance with basic “activities of daily living.” There is a wide range of options for coverage, and you often have to go through medical underwriting. This means you want to have coverage in place before you actually need to use it so that you will qualify.
Make sure you do your research and know what you’re paying for when you choose a long term care policy. Carefully read you policy so you know how it operates, what is covered and what isn’t covered.
Scam artists are getting more stealthy and sophisticated with their ploys to get your money and steal your identity, especially when they pose as the IRS. Currently, these scam artists claiming to be IRS representatives are using intimidation as their weapon of choice, a tactic that is, unfortunately, often successful with the more vulnerable. We’re putting this article out not to scare you, but to arm you with information so you can be prepared if you receive one of these phone calls.
Please share this information with your loved ones, especially those you think might be more vulnerable to scam artists’ tactics. We at Wood Smith Advisors want your identity and your assets to remain safely in the right person’s hands – your own.
Wood Smith Advisors, a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA), is a fee-only financial services firm that partners with its clients to simplify their financial lives. We focus on women, entrepreneurs and individuals with complex financial situations, providing objective and competent advice, education and services to help them develop and build their businesses and reach their financial goals.
Like anything else in life, planning is key to being financially on track. It often is not a focus until a life event triggers a concern or wish, such as a marriage, divorce, birth, death or upcoming retirement. Here are some things to think about to help you identify the holes in your financial plan.
As you examine your financial plan, at the end of the day, you want to have enough money to cover all of your needs. If you’re coming up short, here are a few options you can keep in mind:
If there are gaps in your insurance coverage, you may need to address those to have a healthy financial picture. Getting more insurance coverage relies on the cost, coverage and underwriting.
Welcome to 2016! As I blog, snow is falling and will reach the “epic blizzard” proportion overnight. It brings to mind the topic of preparedness, and certainly fits with financial planning.
Just like having the right tools to weather any storm, being prepared for what may happen is 90% of what brings peace of mind.
Are you the type to prepare early, or do you wait to the last minute? Are you a “belt and suspenders” type of planner, or do you like to fly by the seat of your pants?
With the largest portion of our population reaching retirement age – PEW Research states approximately 10,000 people will turn age 65 each day until 2030 – this age group is starting to really pay attention to Social Security.
Baby boomers’ ages now range from 51 to 69. And research also suggests that they don’t “feel “old. So what does Social Security mean to them? What do they really know about it? And really, what does Retirement mean to you? I define retirement as having choices: working if you want, but not necessarily depending on that income. Rather, working for the fun of it, making a difference.
There have been strategies suggested over the years for married couples who can take advantage of spousal benefits, filing and suspending, etc., however these don’t work for everyone. In fact, the best use of these strategies was for spouses that were only a few years apart in age. The government has recently closed these “unintended loopholes” effective 2016 for anyone who is age 62 or younger.
I see many articles talking about how to choose the right professional to work with when it comes to financial matters. Let's face it, this is a very delicate area; one where you will need to feel very comfortable sharing personal information. And how about finding a financial advisor you can trust? You should be able to feel that you can trust the person that you're dealing with to provide you with the best information available according to your needs.
So how do you find this person, and what should you do to make sure he or she is the right advisor to help you reach your financial goals?
First, let's talk about common terms associated with financial advisors. To start with, how do they charge for their services?
As my inaugural blog post, I am going to introduce myself through a passion that I share with not only many of my clients, but a good percentage of the general population: Golf.
I have been playing the game for more years than I care to admit, having started as a twenty-something, taking time off to raise kids and playing “vacation golf”, to resuming my passion with fervor in the last fifteen years. People who know me know I am a golf nut. And there are many parallels between golf and my just as enthusiastically chosen profession: Financial Advisor and Wealth Counselor. Let me explain.
Golf is a game of character and honesty. You can admit your mistakes, learn from them, and move on. It's really a game for an individual, although teams also play together. But it's you versus "the course." The tools are important also. You will play better and enjoy the experience more with clubs that are fitted to you and your game. Playing with borrowed clubs will create inconsistent results. This relates well to finance and investing. It’s about you, not an average, not your neighbor’s situation.