General and Misc. Financial Planning Articles
Risk tolerance is an important part of investing – everyone knows that. But the real value of answering a lot of questions about your risk tolerance is to tell you what you don’t know – how the sources of your money, the way you made it, how outside forces have shaped your view of it and how you’re handling it now will inform every decision you make about it in the future.
It’s one of the six steps of the financial planning process. But, oftentimes, it’s the one step that gets overlooked. It’s the sixth step – the annual financial check-up. The annual financial check-up is indeed the most important of the financial planning steps. And yet, financial planners and clients sometimes downplay its significance.
What financial, business, or life priorities do you need to address for 2019? Now is a good time to think about the investing, saving, or budgeting methods you could employ toward specific objectives, from building your retirement fund to lowering your taxes. You have plenty of options. Here are a few that might prove convenient.
What can you do before ringing in the New Year?</b> Talk with a financial or tax professional now rather than in February or March. Little year-end moves might help you improve your short-term and long-term financial situation.
Do bad money habits constrain your financial progress? Many people fall into the same financial behavior patterns year after year. If you sometimes succumb to these financial tendencies, now is the time to alter your behavior.
Just what is comprehensive financial planning? As you invest and save for retirement, you may hear or read about it – but what does that phrase really mean? Just what does comprehensive financial planning entail, and why do knowledgeable investors request this kind of approach? While the phrase may seem ambiguous to some, it can be simply defined. Comprehensive financial planning is about building wealth through a process, not a product.
What financial, business, or life priorities do you need to address for 2018? Now is a good time to think about the investing, saving, or budgeting methods you could employ toward specific objectives, from building your retirement fund to lowering your taxes.
The end of a year makes us think about last-minute things we need to address and good habits we want to start keeping. To that end, here are seven aspects of your financial life to think about as this year leads into the next.
When I received the lovely greeting card, tender letter and dream catcher from a Native American School, I immediately wrote out a check. Then, I thought to look up the organization to learn more about it. I learned that even though they collected $51 million last year, almost none of it went to a school.
Prospective donors can find a suitable charity just about anywhere they look. However by doing some homework, you can better distinguish among the many giving opportunities available to you.
When we go to the grocery store, we seldom shop on logic alone. We may not even buy on price. We buy one type of yogurt over another because of brand loyalty, or because one brand has more appealing packaging than another. We buy five bananas because they are on sale for 29 cents this week – the bargain is right there; why not seize the opportunity? We pick up that gourmet ice cream that everyone gets – if everyone buys it, it must be a winner.
As casual and arbitrary as these decisions may be, they are remarkably like the decisions many investors make in the financial markets.
Rules have been changed concerning investment professionals and retirement accounts. In the eyes of many, the change is good.
The “fiduciary rule” went into effect June 9th. This Department of Labor rule stipulates that any financial industry professional who makes investment recommendations to participants in qualified retirement plans in exchange for compensation will be considered a fiduciary.
What does all that mean?
When emotions and money intersect, the effects can be financially injurious. Emotions can cause us to overreact – or not act at all when we should.
Think of the investors who always respond to sudden Wall Street volatility. That emotional response may not be warranted, and they may come to regret it.
If you have any investments with State Farm, you should probably move them. Currently, State Farm has about 12,000 agents licensed to sell mutual funds and other retirement investment products. The policy of putting customers in commission-laden, proprietary State Farm mutual funds and variable annuities puts State Farm advisors in conflict with the DOL rule imposing on advisors a fiduciary duty to act in the customer’s best interest. These agent/brokers have previously been held to a less-stringent standard of suitability.
Installment debt, in itself, is not a bad thing. It enables us to make major purchases that would be nearly impossible to finance up-front. The problem is, in this consumer society, we're bombarded with advertisements for literally thousands of "must-have" products. The result is that while our parents tended to pay with cash and buy only what they could afford, we have the "buy now, pay later" mentality.
Why do some households tread water financially while others make progress? Does it come down to habits?
Sometimes the difference starts there. A household that prioritizes paying itself first may end up in much better financial shape in the long run than other households.