Good Financial Reads: Real Financial Planning, Reward Yourself w/ Your Tax Refund, and More

 

Following along with the blogs of financial advisors is a great way to access valuable, educational information about finance — and it doesn’t cost you a thing! Our financial planners love to share their knowledge and help everyone regardless of age or assets.

Catch up on some of the latest posts with this week’s roundup:

 

Real Financial Planning

by Tim Brennan, Ariadne Wealth Advisors

Few people have been more influential to my financial planning philosophy than Carl Richards. Carl recently wrote a piece outlining three major traits that “real” financial advisors must have (What It Means To Be A Real Financial Advisor). Advisors following these rules pass the “Would I send my mom to you?” test.

[Read the Full Article]

 

How to Reward Yourself With Your Tax Refund

by Cady North, North Financial Advisors

And now for some good news. I read this year’s tax refund survey results from GoBankingRates.com, and according to their study most people plan to use their refund for either paying down debt or ratcheting up their savings. My financial planner brain says, “Yay! That’s awesome!”

What the survey didn’t say was whether the respondents had any plan for what to do with their savings. Having savings is good, believe me, but I’ve learned that having a plan for your savings is MUCH better.

[Read the Full Article]

 

Four Tips for Buying a Home in a Red-Hot Market

by Meg Bartelt, Flow Financial Planning

I have bought exactly one home in my life, and it wasn’t until I was 39 years old (which was not so long ago, thank you!). And while the housing market here in Bellingham, WA is tight by its own standards, it doesn’t hold a candle to the likes of the Seattle or Bay Area.

One thing that got me through the stressful experience was our Realtor®, Matt McBeath. (Did you know that “Realtor” is a registered trademark? I know I didn’t.) I was so impressed with his process, more than anything else, that I wanted him to share his thoughts on how to buy a home in a red-hot market.

[Read the Full Article]

 

Cut it out! The Case for Eliminating Credit Cards Once & For All

by Pam Horack, Pathfinder Planning

Valentine’s Day! A time for hearts, roses and overspending. Yes, you read that right — overspending! Everyone wants to show their sweetie how much they care, but many times that outward expression can turn into a downward regression into debt.

Since we are now safely past the sappiness of the day, it’s time for some Financial Mom tough love. Valentine’s Day, in all of it’s romantic glory, is also a time when many people use credit cards to shower their significant other with gifts they otherwise couldn’t afford. But hey, at least their heart’s in the right place, right? WRONG!

[Read the Full Article]

 

Good Financial Reads: Maybe It’s Okay Not to Save for Retirement, Benefits of Creating a Financial Plan, and More

 

Following along with the blogs of financial advisors is a great way to access valuable, educational information about finance — and it doesn’t cost you a thing! Our financial planners love to share their knowledge and help everyone regardless of age or assets.

Catch up on some of the latest posts with this week’s roundup:

 

Maybe It’s Okay Not to Save for Retirement Right Now

by Matt Becker, Mom and Dad Money

People like me tend to recommend saving as much as you can for retirement starting as soon as you can.

The intention is good. After all, math. The simple truth is that saving money early on is the most effective way to ensure that you’ll have more of it later on.

So if you can do it, it’s a good idea. But the problem is that it’s just not always realistic when you have young kids.

[Read the Full Article]

 

5 Benefits of Creating A Financial Plan

by Deb Meyer, WorthyNest

Traditionally, financial advisors focus on the investment strategy and asset allocation. Advisors want to ensure that a client’s appetite for risk and time horizon match the underlying asset mix. They may provide some financial planning guidance, but it is usually secondary to investment management services.

So, it’s often confusing to prospective clients when I talk about the financial plan as the cornerstone of my process. Here are some of the benefits and why I believe a comprehensive financial plan is crucial:

[Read the Full Article]

 

There’s Still Time To Max Out Your 2016 Tax Deductible Contribution

by David Niggel, Key Wealth Partners

Tax season is fast approaching. One way to make the most out of your money is by maxing out your 2016 tax deductible contributions to your individual retirement accounts (IRA). Each type of retirement account has a different annual contribution maximum and certain accounts, like a Roth IRA, have contribution income limits.

[Read the Full Article]

 

Understanding Tax Season: Form W-2

by David Jacoby, Remote Financial Planner

It’s that time of the year again—every afternoon we race to our mailboxes to see what new tax documents the postman has delivered! W-2, 1099, 1095, 1098, 5498, K-1… what is all this stuff?!

There are a lot of tax forms out there and Form W-2 is one of the most important. This small document details the tax effects from many decisions we made throughout the year. If you want to maximize your tax savings and increase your refund, understanding how your decisions effect your W-2 is a great place to start.

[Read the Full Article]

 

Good Financial Reads: Why Wait? Make a Bucket List Today, Don’t Buy a Starter Home, and More

 

Following along with the blogs of financial advisors is a great way to access valuable, educational information about finance — and it doesn’t cost you a thing! Our financial planners love to share their knowledge and help everyone regardless of age or assets.

Catch up on some of the latest posts with this week’s roundup:

 

Why Wait? Make a Bucket List Today.

by Kelly Luethje, Willow Planning Group

This week I was reminded of a time when I was paralyzed by student loan debt and high rent. At that point in my life I felt like I couldn’t spend money on anything. How was I going to manage this debt and still do the things I love to do? Let’s be honest, I couldn’t even afford to go to lunch.

I realized that I had to take a hard look at my finances and set some goals. If I didn’t, I was never going to feel like I was making progress to living the life I wanted.

[Read the Full Article]

 

Why a Starter Home is Now a Bad Idea

by Paul Sydlansky, Lake Road Advisors

If you were around during the housing boom of the last decade, then you may be prone to some flawed thinking. I should know because I was too.

Back then, before the housing bubble burst, home prices were increasing steadily and by alarming rates. Homes were selling for well over their true market value. Plus, mortgages were easy to come by and interest rates were at all-time lows.

[Read the Full Article]

 

How To Automate Your Finances

by Ross Menke, Lyndale Financial

Keeping track of all your money movements throughout the month can be a burdensome task. We all have countless bills to pay, various savings goals, and noble charities we’d like to gift to.

What if there was a way to make sure all of these tasks were handled automatically, every month for you? By using technology to your advantage, you can set this up quickly and let it handle your routine payments month after month without lifting a finger.

[Read the Full Article]

 

Baseball, Buffett and Value Investing

by Jason Kirsch, Grow

A few weeks ago, I mentioned how Michael Lewis’ book Moneyball was one of the most influential reads in my lifetime.

If you didn’t read the article, I explain how Billy Beane took over the struggling Oakland Athletic’s as General Manager. The team operated at a severe disadvantage compared to their American League rivals like the Yankees and the Red Sox. Their total team payroll is often a fraction of those teams. But Beane took a disadvantage and turned it into an advantage.

[Read the Full Article]

 

Good Financial Reads: The Best Investment You’ll Ever Make, Why You Need A Planner in 2017, and More

 

Following along with the blogs of financial advisors is a great way to access valuable, educational information about finance — and it doesn’t cost you a thing! Our financial planners love to share their knowledge and help everyone regardless of age or assets.

Catch up on some of the latest posts with this week’s roundup:

 

The Best Investment You’ll Ever Make

by Meg Bartelt, Flow Financial Planning

is You.

I recently spoke with a 31-year-old woman whose company is being acquired, and this is introducing all sorts of complicated financial decisions and opportunities into her life. She reached out to me because someone posted a link to my business in her company’s women-only Slack channel (whoo! Marketing does work!).

Her one concern, it seems, in working with me is the idea of paying $150/mo. (Thankfully, the “I wear a fleece jacket and jeans to prospect meetings” didn’t phase her at all.)

[Read the Full Article]

 

Why You Need A Financial Planner in 2017

by Noa Rodriguez-Hoffman, Socialyte Capital

Along with getting fit and learning new hobbies, taking control of personal finances are among the top New Years resolutions that women have set for 2017. However, would you start a yoga class without an instructor? Or attempt to play the violin without taking lessons?

Some people prefer to learn by trial and error, but when it comes to money, you want to leave as little room for error as possible. Just like a yoga teacher, a skilled financial planner can assess your current situation, find out what your goals are, and help you attain them by giving you a friendly push in the right direction.

[Read the Full Article]

 

Money-Centered vs. Happiness-Centered Living

by Grant Bledsoe, Three Oaks Capital Management

Today’s post is going to fall a little more on the abstract side of the spectrum. To date, most of the posts you’ll find on Above the Canopy are somewhat technical, and oriented toward achieving financial independence.

But for many thousands of people in America, the traditional career trajectory (working for 30-40 years until fully retiring around age 65) is a poor fit for their values. The pursuit of financial independence often compromises the important parts of our lives, leaving us overworked and unhappy.

[Read the Full Article]

 

Understanding How Investment Management Impacts Your Costs

by Charlie Shipman, Blue Keel Financial Planning

No investor can control when the market goes up or down. And predicting when that will happen is nearly impossible, too.

When it comes to investment management, it’s critical to understand what is within your power to control and influence. Investment costs make a big impact on how much wealth you can build over time, and it’s one factor that you can control as an investor.

[Read the Full Article]

 

Good Financial Reads: How to Avoid Paycheck Creep, 5 Steps to More Mindful Finances, and More

 

Following along with the blogs of financial advisors is a great way to access valuable, educational information about finance — and it doesn’t cost you a thing! Our financial planners love to share their knowledge and help everyone regardless of age or assets.

Catch up on some of the latest posts with this week’s roundup:

 

How to Avoid Paycheck Creep (Yes, That’s a Thing)

by Cady North, North Financial Advisors

How often have you found that you’ve already spent your annual raise without even thinking about it? It’s so common, most of the time we don’t even have to think about it, it just happens, and that’s the problem. I call this phenomenon paycheck creep.

Remember the days when you were just starting out and you lived paycheck to paycheck? Money was a source of stress. You thought, if I just had another $100 or $200 this month I would be set, no more stress.

[Read the Full Article]

 

Five Steps To More Mindful Finances

by Julie Ford, Ford Financial Solutions

All right, 2017, let’s get down to business. If you followed my advice in December and set your goals for the year, it’s time to take the next step and talk about becoming more mindful with your finances. There are a plethora of helpful how-to books and blogs on personal finance, but far more important to your financial well-being is improving your relationship with money.

[Read the Full Article]

 

Financial Mistakes…

by Kerrie Beene, Beene Financial Planning

Mistakes and failures are the hardest thing to admit. They come in all shapes and colors. Because failure leads to feelings of inadequacy or stupidity, we often avoid scary and uncontrollable things. We also sometimes won’t admit to our failures. We always have the false impression that others have never failed as bad as we have.

This is especially true when it comes to money. So I thought I would talk about some of the worst financial mistakes people, including myself, make.

[Read the Full Article]

 

5 Ideas to Improve Your Finances in 2017

by Scott Smith, Olympia Ridge Personal Financial Advisers

We have again reached the point of turning the calendar over and are embarking on a new year on our calendar. It’s now a good time to turn over our finances and find ways to improve how our finances are working for us. But what are some things we can look at now to begin to make an impact now, and moving forward?

[Read the Full Article]

 

Good Financial Reads: Clean Your Room, Money Moves for 2017, and More

 

Following along with the blogs of financial advisors is a great way to access valuable, educational information about finance — and it doesn’t cost you a thing! Our financial planners love to share their knowledge and help everyone regardless of age or assets.

Catch up on some of the latest posts with this week’s roundup:

 

Clean Your Room: 4 Reasons to Get Your Financial House in Order

by Pam Horack, Pathfinder Planning

We’re only one week into 2017 and, if you’re anything like me, you’ve already grown tired of the New Year’s Resolution blog posts and social media overshares. While I’m not against the “New Year, New You” resolve, I worry that it’s too broad a goal to actually gain any real traction — at least in a year’s time. That’s why, instead of convincing you to make a complete “financial 180” — I just want you to focus on something simple: cleaning up.

[Read the Full Article]

 

17 Quick & Dirty Money Moves You Can Make in 2017

by Sophia Bera, Gen Y Planning

It’s a new year, and you are pumped to make some changes to your finances. Only you don’t know where to start and you’re afraid to make a mistake. You’ll totally get around to it, though … once you’re done with a bunch of other chores you just remembered you had to do right now.

I know. It’s easier to wrap your head around a to-do list item like “mop bathroom floor” than the one that says “start saving for retirement.”

But here’s the thing: you can make pretty big changes to your financial situation with just a few teensy money moves. Many of these only take a few minutes! Some take a little more time, but trust me — they’re worth it.

[Read the Full Article]

 

Help Your Kids Develop a Healthy Relationship with Money

by Todd Sensing, FamilyVest

How did you learn about money—I mean really learn? For most of us, our first dose of reality comes when we begin providing for ourselves. This once magical resource, which was always shrouded in a bit of mystery and sprinkled with fairy dust, suddenly morphs into a concrete brick that knocks us in the head and introduces us to its true reality.

Money is like a brick. A brick is just a brick—it can be used to build or it can be destructive. It all depends on who holds it.

[Read the Full Article]

 

How Do You Guarantee Investment Growth

by Eric Roberge, Beyond Your Hammock

Let’s say your cash flow is set and you have extra money at the end of the month. Now you need to establish a plan to grow that money. You also need to keep in mind the reason (or reasons) why you want more money in the first place.

This is the essence of goals-based financial planning — but how to do you go about setting an investment goal, and work toward it by achieving investment growth?

[Read the Full Article]

 

Good Financial Reads: Starting a New Habit, Protecting Your Income, and More

 

good-financial-reads-01-13-17

Following along with the blogs of financial advisors is a great way to access valuable, educational information about finance — and it doesn’t cost you a thing! Our financial planners love to share their knowledge and help everyone regardless of age or assets.

Catch up on some of the latest posts with this week’s roundup:

 

Do You Have What it Takes to Start a New Habit?

by Dan Andrews, Well-Rounded Success

There’s no better feeling than when this thought surfaces, “I did it!”

Think about the last time you created a lofty goal and then the pride you felt once you accomplished the milestone. Goals are accomplished through hard work, discipline, and commitment. At first, I consider an easier route to get there. For example, have you ever thought this: “Can’t I just take a magic pill to lose 10 pounds?”

[Read the Full Article]

 

You Work So Hard for Your Income. Protect It Already.

by Meg Bartelt, Flow Financial Planning

I’m going to guess you don’t usually think along these lines, right? Except you probably do think about life insurance and know you should have it.

If you die, you stop earning money. (We learned that in Financial Planning 101.) But life insurance makes sure that the people you leave behind still have the money your income would have provided.

[Read the Full Article]

 

Financial Wisdom from the Movie “UP”

by Jennifer Faherty, Financial Wealth-being

If you ever want to get yourself to cry, watch the opening montage from the animated Pixar movie Up. It gets me every time.

It starts with newlyweds Carl and Ellie, a young couple in love, full of dreams of how their lives will unfold. New home, children, and, of course, many, many adventures.

[Read the Full Article]

 

Three Tools to Help You Stick to Your 2017 Financial Planning Resolutions

by Brian Thompson, Brian Thompson Financial

The New Year usually inspires resolutions in many spheres — health, relationships and of course, money. This January, I’d like to give you some tools to help you set achievable goals and stick to them throughout the year.

[Read the Full Article]

 

Good Financial Reads: Move Forward by Looking Back, Why You Need an Advisor in 2017, and More

good-financial-reads-01-06-16

 

Following along with the blogs of financial advisors is a great way to access valuable, educational information about finance — and it doesn’t cost you a thing! Our financial planners love to share their knowledge and help everyone regardless of age or assets.

Catch up on some of the latest posts with this week’s roundup:

 

Move Forward By Looking Back

by Leslie Ransom, Indie Financial Planning

The new year is an interesting time. We are simultaneously looking back at the year that was and anticipating what the new year will bring. We know very little has changed from the night before but we embrace the idea that January 1st begins as a clean slate and we can make changes to our lifestyles that will make it better than the year before.

[Read the Full Article]

 

Why You Need an Advisor in 2017

by David Niggel, Key Wealth Partners

Have you ever second-guessed your financial plans or worried about your financial future? If so, you are in good company. Americans’ fears regarding their lifestyle, medical bills, and retirement continue to increase each year. More than 50% of Americans worry about not being able to maintain the standard of living they enjoy, and 64% are worried about not having enough money for retirement.

[Read the Full Article]

 

How Do You Guarantee Investment Growth

by Eric Roberge, Beyond Your Hammock

Let’s say your cash flow is set and you have extra money at the end of the month. Now you need to establish a plan to grow that money. You also need to keep in mind the reason (or reasons) why you want more money in the first place.

This is the essence of goals-based financial planning — but how to do you go about setting an investment goal, and work toward it by achieving investment growth?

[Read the Full Article]

 

Changing Your Mindset to Grow Wealth

by Katie Brewer, Your Richest Life

Happy New Year! 2017 is here, and most likely you’ve seen dozens of lists already about how to overhaul your finances, set goals and make the best resolutions. You can check out our tips for setting resolutions that stick here and here.

[Read the Full Article]

 

Why Starting (and Maintaining) a Budget Should Be Your New Year’s Resolution

why-starting-a-budget-should-be-your-new-years-resolution

At 31 years old, I can definitely say I’ve made some poor financial decisions. I live paycheck to paycheck, have no savings to speak of, and the thought of being able to retire one day makes me laugh out loud. I’m not alone in this either — the vast majority of my generation is in the same boat. But I have to say, I am damn tired of living like this. That’s why I’ve made it my New Year’s resolution to create a budget, and stick to it.

A good budget does a number of things. First, it reveals exactly where your money is going — from credit card payments to frivolous purchases. Second, it plays a critical role in helping you pay off debt. Third, it makes it possible to build up your savings and achieve financial security. Finally — and perhaps most importantly — it allows you to make the most of the money you worked so hard to earn.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits of a budget.

You’ll Know Where You Stand

When you put together a budget, you’re forced to come face-to-face with your spending habits. This isn’t always the most comfortable of experiences; you may find that you’ve been spending far too much money on things you really don’t need. A budget will provide you with the information you need to refocus your financial goals and prioritize your spending. No more living in the dark — you’ll always know the ins and outs of your financial situation.

You Can Avoid Overspending

Many people who don’t budget end up spending money they don’t have. Credit cards have made this shockingly easy to do — and that’s bad news.The further in the hole a person is, the less spending power they have, as more and more of their paychecks end up earmarked for debt payments. However, if you budget your money wisely, you’ll know exactly how much money you earn, how much you can afford to spend each month, and how much you need to save. It’ll be far easier to keep yourself from falling into arrears.

You’ll Finally Be Able to Save Money

Having a budget the key to financial security, as it acts a spending plan that allows you to make — and reach — saving goals. These savings can be used for planned expenses such as buying a home or sending a child to college, or they could be set aside for your passions in life. No matter what goals you set, a budget will support you in creating the extra funding you need.

You’ll Be Set In Times of Crisis

There’s nothing worse than when an emergency takes you by surprise. If you’re not prepared, a broken down car, lost job, or hospitalization has the potential to ruin you financially. That’s where an emergency fund comes in. A proper budget involves creating an emergency fund to cover times of crisis. Think of it as an insurance plan that will pay out 100% of what you put in. This extra money can mean the difference between business as usual or bankruptcy.

You Can Plan for the Future

With the future of social security infuriatingly uncertain, it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re setting money aside for retirement. You deserve to be able to kick back and relax during your golden years, not work until the day you drop. Having a budget that includes putting money in an IRA will allow you to track the accounts growth and make certain you’ll be financially secure during your second childhood!

You’ll Be Less Stressed

A solid budget can go a long way in alleviating financial stress. No longer will you have to worry about whether or not you have enough money to get through the month. No more scrambling to pick up shift so you can pay that bill you forgot about. No more lying awake at night and fretting over what might happen if you lose your job. A budget means you’ll always know where you stand, where you want to go, and exactly how to get there.

How to Get Started

If you’re new to budgeting, you might be confused as to how to get the whole thing underway. Fortunately, there are a number of free resources on the web that can help you along. Keep in mind that the main objectives will be recognizing the difference between your indispensable needs and your wants, identifying and ranking your financial priorities, setting financial goals, and building an emergency fund.

Track Your Expenses

Creating a budget starts with combing through your bank and credit card statements to identify exactly what you’re spending your money on. Group expenditures into categories. Are they:

  • Fixed expenses (same amount every month) — e.g. rent, auto, or student loan payments
  • Flexible expenses (vary from month to month) — e.g. food, clothing, and entertainment
  • Semi-annual expenses (occur infrequently throughout the year) — e.g. taxes, insurance, vehicle registration

Make a Plan

One you have your categories, assign each one a spending amount and do your best to stick to it. Your total spending should be less than or equal to your income. If you find your income does not cover your expenses, you’ll need to adjust your budget by reducing flexible expenses.

Set multiple savings goals and prioritize them. Your first should be to create an emergency fund. Other goals can include paying off debts, saving for retirement, and even setting money aside for a trip. Record both your budget and your goals in the way that works best for you, whether it be an online budget tracking program or an old school excel sheet.

Start Saving

The first thing you’ll want to do is establish an emergency savings fund that equals three to six months of your net pay. Why so much? The goal is to have enough money to cover your basic living expenses for several months in case of job loss or temporary disability. Ideally, you should save ten percent of your income each month. If this isn’t possible, determine an amount that is. Even if you can only afford $10 a week, your savings fund will slowly build up. After you have an emergency fund, your can start saving for other goals.

Conclusion

A budget is more than just a financial plan. A budget assists you in establishing goals, saving money, tracking your financial journey, and eventually obtaining financial freedom. And while it’s not always easy to stick your budget, the rewards will be well worth it in the end. So, sit down with a pen and paper and map out your budget. Follow the plan you make, taking it day by day. By the end of 2017, you’ll find yourself to be a master budgeter, well on the road to reaching your financial goals.

 

Liz2About the Author: Liz Greene is a makeup loving, dog hugging, anxiety-ridden realist from the gorgeous City of Trees, Boise, Idaho. You can follow her on Twitter @LizVGreene or catch her latest misadventures on her blog, Instant Lo.

Good Financial Reads: 12 Year End Money Moves, Evidence Based Investing, and More

 

good-financial-reads-12-30-16

Following along with the blogs of financial advisors is a great way to access valuable, educational information about finance — and it doesn’t cost you a thing! Our financial planners love to share their knowledge and help everyone regardless of age or assets.

Catch up on some of the latest posts with this week’s roundup:

 

12 Year End Money Moves

by Cathy Derus, Brightwater Financial

Are you looking to end your financial year on a high note? You’re in luck because there’s still time to make a few last minute financial moves before the ball drops on New Year’s Eve. And even a few that you can take advantage of in 2017 for the 2016 tax year. Some of these moves will save you some money on your 2016 tax bill while others will set you up for a more profitable new year.

[Read the Full Article]

 

Evidence Based Investing

by Steve Sivak, Innovate Wealth

“I believe in evidence. I believe in observation, measurement, and reasoning, confirmed by independent observers. I’ll believe anything, no matter how wild and ridiculous, if there is evidence for it. The wilder and more ridiculous something is, however, the firmer and more solid the evidence will have to be.” – Issac Asimov

[Read the Full Article]

 

In Times of Change, Focus on Your Financial Plan

by Michael Rivas, Bienvenue Wealth

No one can guarantee when the markets will go up or down. Lots of talking heads and so-called “experts” like to claim they know when factors like news items or current events will impact how the stock market behaves, but it’s all guesswork.

[Read the Full Article]

 

Pensions and Divorce: Secure Your Future

by Kay Dee Cole, Clarity Wealth Development

Did you know that retirement assets are not automatically split in a divorce? The Wiser Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER), published a MUST READ document. This checklist helps women make smart, informed financial decisions when it comes to pensions and divorce. Don’t shortchange yourself during a very emotional time. Secure your future BEFORE the divorce is final so you don’t end up wishing things were different.

[Read the Full Article]