Financial Advice

  • For many, retirement can be a challenging time. Going from your set routine and schedule to having a dramatic lack of structure in your life is jarring. Though many people have a vision for how they’d like their retirement to look, others might find that pursuing a secondary “retirement career” is the answer they’re looking for.

  • 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.

  • Are you feeling overwhelmed by your financial situation? Do you find that the business of life has created a permanent white noise that seems to always distract you? If you are feeling this way or similar, you are not alone.

    Many people feel bogged down by the demands of life: family, friends, work, bills, finances. These distractions (wonderful though they can be) have the tendency to make us swerve from thinking about our own emotional well being. One of the best ways to take care of yourself this year is to undergo the process of decluttering.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.  

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • The holiday season is in full swing--family begins to arrive, gift wrap covers the floor, and the oven seemingly won’t recover from all the work it has been doing. This time of year is busy for many people. With the swirl of the holiday itinerary, money seems to be left on the back burner for the new year. By that time, it is often too late to recover from the tiring workout you have put your finances through this season.

  • 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.

  • 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.   

  • Are you debating switching from your current Medicare Advantage plan to Medicare Supplement Insurance? Before you decide, let's do a quick review of the differences between the plan types:

  • There seems to be a myth floating around in the world of personal finance about retirement planning. Many finance professionals, and individuals who choose to DIY their finances, focus exclusively on developing a retirement plan that centers on savings - how much to save, what accounts to use for savings, and how to allocate your savings for maximum return.

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • Estate planning is a fairly daunting task, which is why so many people don’t tackle it at all. In fact, estate planning is one of the number one financial tasks that people put on the back burner. This is true for several reasons:

    1. It’s uncomfortable to think about our own mortality.
    2. Nobody wants to imagine a scenario where they’re physically unable to make decisions for themselves after a tragedy or accident.
    3. It can be upsetting to try and figure out how to care for your spouse, partner, kids, pets, and assets if you haven’t considered it before.

    Luckily, estate planning doesn’t have to be as complicated as you might think! Estate planning is not just for the old and wealthy.  Privacy laws make it very difficult for family members to take care of loved ones if the worst should happen. You can get a relatively solid estate plan in place in a few hours or less by following these steps.

  • 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.

  • So, you’re thinking about adopting a child. We think that’s admirable. But while raising children can be rewarding, there are also many financial considerations. Adoption comes with its own set of financial challenges. For some people, the question becomes, how can they best provide for their child financially as well as emotionally?

    The Cost of Adopting a Child

    According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway’s Planning for Adoption: Knowing the Costs and Resources, the average U.S. private agency adoption costs can range from $20,000 to $45,000, and international adoptions can average between $20,000 to $50,000. While both of those are great opportunities for some families if finances are planned accordingly, for others, the costs associated with the process can be disheartening. There is another option, however – adopting a child in foster care.

  • Last time, we discussed the various adoption opportunities(private, international and foster care) along with the average cost associated with each. We also walked through the basic steps for adopting one of the 428,000 children currently in foster care. In this article, we will review the different financial assistance available for those adopting children in foster care.

    Financial Adoption Resources

    In addition to Federal and State financial assistance for children adopted from foster care, families may be able to access employer-provided adoption benefits, tax credits, and loans or grants to offset adoption expenses.

  • We talk a lot about financial education in this blog, especially as it pertains to our youth. But what about our entrepreneurs, seasoned business owners and executives who have experience in their fields but not in finance? What happens to them in business and in life if they do not become educated?

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