What Is...and Is Not...an Investment?
Finances and Divorce-Not All Assets Are Created Equal...
Something you should understand, at least on a basic level, is what it is that you are buying when you are purchasing an investment. And a starting point for all investments is: what the heck is an investment in the first place? Watch “What Is…and Is Not…an Investment?” to get an understanding of what constitutes an investment in your portfolio.
Investing Basics! Understanding Stocks & Bonds
Investing Basics! Types of Accounts and Their Uses
Finances and Divorce-What is Marital Property?
When couples divorce, one goal is the equitable division of their property. But equitable doesn’t necessarily mean even. As a matter of fact, it is unlikely that there will simply be a fifty-fifty split of each of the assets and accounts that they own. And so, when one spouse is getting this asset and the other is getting a different piece of property or account, things can get tricky fast. Watch, “Finances and Divorce, Not All Assets Are Created Equal…” to learn more.
Investing Basics! Types of Accounts and Their Uses
If you or someone you know is beginning a divorce, a good place to start in understanding the impact that divorce will have on your financial life is knowing exactly what you own, and what you and your spouse own together, or, what is “Marital Property.” Watch “Finances and Divorce-What is Marital Property?” to learn more.
The Time Value of Money-The Power of Starting to Save Early
Something that can be just as important as what you choose to invest in, is the type of account in which you hold the investments you make. After all, what good is an investment return if a big chunk of it is going to be lost to taxes? Especially if that could have been avoided by simply choosing a more efficient account.
Watch “Investing Basics! Types of Accounts and Their Uses” to learn about some of the different account options available and the strengths and weaknesses of each.
College Savings! The 529 Plan You Likely Have (...and Why It Might Not Be the Best)
If you have a savings goal, whatever that savings goal is, it will be cheaper to you the sooner you begin to save. Why? Because of the Time Value of Money. Money’s ability to earn an investment return means, dollars saved today are worth more…possibly much more…than dollars saved at some point in the future. And, guess what, when you also consider tax consequences, delaying when you start your savings just makes things go from not-as-good, to worse. Watch “The Time Value of Money-The Power of Starting to Save Early” to learn more.
Is 0% Car Financing a Good Deal??
According to University of Virginia law professor Quinn Curtis, of the over 300 billion dollars of 529 assets that Americans have saved for higher education expenses, 20% of those assets are in just one 529 plan. If you are wondering why that might be and, also, which 529 College Savings Plan might be right for you, watch “College Savings! The 529 Plan You Likely Have (…and Why it Might Not Be the Best.)”
Employer Matching Contributions-Don't Leave Money on the Table
So, in buying a new car; 0% financing, rebates…just paying cash…how do you know you are making the smartest decision? The decision that will produce the best financial result? Taking into consideration the Time Value of Money and Opportunity Cost, Jeff looks at a number of scenarios to help you understand how each of these options might influence which option might be best for you.
Steve Lehto; “0% Financing is Bad? Whiteboard!”
The Truth About Debt! How Much Is Too Much?
When it comes to employer matching contributions to your 401(k), 403(b), etc., this should be a no-brainer. A matching contribution is basically free money that is just waiting for you to claim. So, why would anyone choose not to participate? In this video, Jeff goes over the basics of employer matching contributions and reasons why you might be overlooking this powerful opportunity to build your wealth.
Investing Basics! Understanding Stocks & Bonds
There is probably no greater threat to a household’s financial health than excessive debt and, yet, most of us are carrying some. So, how do you know when you have too much? In this video, Jeff talks Debt Ratios and Opportunity Cost to answer the question, “how do you know whey you have too much debt?”
Social Security-What You Need to Know
There are two asset types that are likely well represented in your portfolio of investments: stocks and bonds, what we refer to as equity and debt. For many investors, those two asset classes, plus cash or its equivalents, might very well make up their entire portfolio. So, when you buy a stock or a bond…what exactly is it that you own? Not sure? Watch “Investing Basics! Understanding Stocks & Bonds” to learn what stocks and bonds are, and to get a better understanding of the potential benefits and risks of each.
Exchange Traded Funds & Mutual Funds-What's the Difference?
According to the Social Security Administration, in 2019, about sixty-four million Americans will receive over one trillion dollars in Social Security benefits. Wow! That’s a lot of people, and a lot of money. And the difference between a poor vs optimal strategy in taking your benefits might be tens, possibly hundreds, of thousands of dollars of lifetime earnings or eventual wealth. Therefore, I find it a bit amazing the cavalier nature with which many retirees treat the decisions surrounding how to take their hard-earned Social Security retirement benefits! In this video, I go over what it takes to qualify for Social Security retirement benefits, as well as how your benefit is calculated and ways in which it can be received. Watch Social Security-What You Need to Know! to learn more.
How to Save for Retirement Without a 401(k)
You’re probably familiar with mutual funds; they’re likely in your 401(k), IRA or brokerage account. But, more and more, ETFs or “Exchange Traded Funds” are gaining in popularity. In conversations I have with my own clients, I know that there is a fair amount of confusion between the two. For this reason, in this week’s Vlog, I explain some of what the differences are, and how they might be relevant to you. Click and watch “Exchange Traded Funds & Mutual Funds-What’s the difference?” to learn more.
Retirement Savings-How Much Should You Be Saving?
Working for a large employer, some type of employer sponsored retirement plan is just about guaranteed. For a publicly traded company, likely that’s a 401(k). But what about people who don’t? Maybe you work for a small company or, maybe, you work for yourself as a business owner; what then? Does this mean you’re simply not invited to the party? Well, fortunately no, there are options available. And in this video, I’m going to go over three. Three retirement savings options that you do, or might, have available to you even if you do not have an employer sponsored plan, such as a 401(k).
Taxes in Retirement-Avoiding the Tax Time Bomb
Is saving ten percent of your income enough for retirement? Well the answer is…it depends. In this video, Jeff goes over some of the variables and inputs needed to determine the percentage of your current income that you need to be setting aside to insure that you will have the retirement that you desire.
Teaching Your Child to Save-The Parent Sponsored 401(k)
Up unto a point, you are allowed to let the money in tax-deferred retirement accounts; accounts such as a 401(k), traditional IRA, 403(b), and the like; stay in those accounts and continue to produce investment returns with no tax consequences whatsoever. It is all tax-deferred. But at age seventy and a half, the party comes to a bit of an end. At that point, you will be forced to start making withdrawals in what are called Required Minimum Distributions, or, RMDs. So, why does that mean not having a tax bill early in retirement is a big red flag? The answer is a bit complicated. Watch “Taxes in Retirement-Avoiding the Tax Time Bomb” to learn more.
Investing! Be the Casino, Not a Gambler
What if I told you, you could help your 16-year-old child save enough money in two years to potentially have close to fifty-thousand dollars, tax-free, when they retire. And it would cost you about what you are paying for their cell-phone. Is that a lesson worth teaching?
If you would like to teach your children about money and saving, Jeff tells you a way that a relatively small amount of money now could give them a start towards tens of thousands of dollars for their retirement. Click the image above to see “Teaching Your Child to Save-The Parent Sponsored 401(k)” video content.
Playing Defense! The Role of Insurance in Your Financial Plan
Gambling is gambling whether it takes place in a casino…or at a brokerage house. So how can you tell if you are investing…or just gambling? Gambling has one set of principles that it follows, whereas investing has a different set of principles entirely. Principles that are much more akin to the way a casino operates than that of the casino’s customers. Watch “Investing! Be the Casino!...not a Gambler” to get an idea of where your investment philosophy falls.
Financial Planning 101: Avoiding Bad Advice
Vince Lombardi once said, “the best defense, is a good offense.” Well, that may be true in football, but, in financial planning, the best defense…is defense. In a financial plan, some set-backs have the potential to be so catastrophic that, recovering from them on one’s own, might be next to impossible. So how do we deal with these? The potentially catastrophic risks? Well, in a word, this is most likely a time for the application of insurance.
Watch “Playing Defense: The Role of Insurance in Your Financial Plan” to hear Jeff’s thoughts on making sure you have proper risk protection incorporated into your plan.
529 Plans & College Savings!
In today’s vlog, Jeff speaks on how to avoid bad advice. Or, maybe, more positively stated: how to insure you are being advised well. In this video, Jeff distills his advice into just two principals: 1) choosing a planner or advisor who is competent, and 2) choosing a planner who is unbiased. To hear Jeff’s thoughts on seeing to it that you are advised well, watch the “Financial Planning 101-How To Avoid Bad Advice” video content.
In this video, Jeff is talking about 529 College Savings Plans and what he calls: the Good, the Bad, and the sometimes Ugly. 529 Plans have a little of each!
With a 529 College Savings Plan you make contributions with after-tax dollars. However, when you go to withdraw these funds, you will owe no taxes on the gains that your savings have produced, provided that those funds are used to pay for qualified education expenses. That’s a good deal! Furthermore, as of 2018, these funds are no longer restricted to exclusively higher education expenses. Now 529 assets can also be used for private education at the primary or secondary level.
Watch “529 Plans and College Savings!” to learn more about whether a 529 Plan might be right for you!