Purposeful Finance Articles
Brokerage firms are bound by federal and state law regarding the distribution of assets after death. They also have to worry about potentially being sued if they do something a potential beneficiary might not like.
Probably the best way to deal with this would be to see if the social group has a religious purpose or in some other way falls under the church’s charitable purpose. If so, the church can establish a new bank account . . . .
Your estate plan can't be a document which is created and then shelved. Over time, your estate plan will no longer reflect your actual estate. Ongoing maintenance is required to help your family avoid confusion, fighting, and even lawsuits.
Historically, there was a "three-legged stool" of retirement which provided Americans with a comfortable and safe retirement. The stool, however, has been eroded away, leaving many without sufficient income in retirement. Making small changes now can net a massive improvement in your lifestyle in retirement, and may provide you with the option to retire earlier or wealthier.
A net worth statement is one of the key documents you’ll need in planning your finances and achieving your goals. Creating your net worth statement might seem like an intimidating task, but for most people it’s actually relatively simple. Learn how to create a basic net worth statement in about 15 minutes.
If you haven’t reviewed beneficiary designations on all of your accounts, your heirs can be severely impacted. Improperly set designations will override your will, could increase tax liabilities, and can cause financial difficulties for your family.
The prospect of paying for a child’s college education can seem both daunting and impossibly expensive; but it doesn’t have to be. With a little knowledge and advanced planning sending a child to college can easily be managed.
When developing your financial plan, focus less on your finances and focus more on the lifestyle you want to achieve. Your financial plans should be rooted in the life goals you want beyond your finances. No matter if your goal is to pay off debt or own a villa in Europe, your finances are simply a means to an end.
As the year comes to a close, it is important you and your family enter the new year with a plan for your finances. By focusing on what you would have liked to do better last year, you can develop a solid plan for the new year of actions you can take to improve your financial situation.
The human brain is an amazing thing, capable of dreaming up whimsical fantasies about our personal finances and how we are doing with our wealth and our debts. Creating a net worth statement is one of the greatest tools we can wield in stripping away our fantasies and waking ourselves to the realities of our personal finances.
For those who regularly read and learn about their personal finances, it is easy to fall into the thinking you don't need a professional financial adviser. For some, do-it-yourself financial management can work quite well when you are first starting out. As your life and your finances become more complex, doing it yourself can cause unforeseen problems. Here are some of the signs that indicate you might need a professional financial adviser.
You're probably familiar with the net worth statement as a tool for getting a quick snapshot of all you own and all you owe. But the net worth statement is the Swiss army knife of your financial documents, allowing you to use it for a surprising number of purposes. Keep your net worth statement handy for helping with all aspects of your financial plan including your insurance needs, estate planning....
Maintain an ongoing dialogue with the four key individuals who will be in charge of fulfilling your final wishes; the executor of your estate, the guardian of your children, your medical power of attorney, and your financial power of attorney.
Over time your estate plan can become overgrown by changes to your assets. Keep your estate plan nice and tidy by updating the document when you sell or buy assets.
Regardless of what your will or trust says, the beneficiary designations on your accounts will determine where your money goes. Make sure to update your beneficiary designations to support your wishes.
The purpose of personal finance is more personal than finance, but there is value to having an objective financial advisor in your corner. Seeking out professional advisors for individual goals or pieces of your financial plan can save you or earn you thousands of dollars more than you pay for the advice. Identify key advisors and find the answers to these 5 questions.
Adding a big goal mid-year to your budgeting effort can allow you to solely focus on that goal, increasing the chances that you'll achieve it.
The recent approval of the SEC’s Regulation Best Interest (Reg BI) has killed any hope that financial advisers at Broker/Dealers would finally be required to be fiduciaries for their clients. The SEC went out of its way to create a regulation that would confuse consumers into thinking they have legal protections, when they don’t.
The 2019 inflation-indexed changes gave increases across-the-board for all retirement accounts, including workplace retirement plans and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA). Here are the maximums you can contribute to your retirement accounts in 2019.
The end of last week saw a stock market drop which has many spooked. Words like ‘market crash’, ‘historic drop’, and ‘recession’ abound and many are selling their investments in fear of a massive downturn. Here are the 4 things you can do to keep the market downturn from ruining your financial plan.
Fidelity has won the race to the bottom, with two index mutual funds carrying 0% expense ratios. That’s right, no expenses paid for from fund investors. Investors should wonder, however, how Fidelity could potentially make its money. I have my bets….
The SEC is proposing updated rules regulating how financial services companies offer investment advice. Unlike the Department of Labor’s Fiduciary Rule, the SEC advice seems to protect the broker/dealer industry more than the individual investor.
Eight investment management firms threatened to stop using the CFP designation if the CFP Board expanded it’s fiduciary rule. Despite the bullying, the CFP Board still voted to improve the consumer protections in their Standards of Professional Conduct.
The Stock Brokerage and Insurance Industries are fighting hard against the Department of Labor's Fiduciary Rule, which would require their advisers to put their client's interests first and disclose conflicts of interest. The industries got the 5th Circuit Court to agree that, unlike Registered Investment Advisers, stock brokers and insurnce agent are just salespeople
Investors may mistakenly think Morgan Stanley and UBS leaving the Broker Protocol agreement only impacts stock brokers and their employers. The SEC, however, identified the Broker Protocol as an important agreement for both customer choice and privacy.
A new Wells Fargo/Gallup poll is being used by some media outlets to suggest a stock market correction is coming. While no one knows when a bear market will start, one thing is for certain. It won't be a Wells Fargo poll which predicts it.
Consumers shouldn't worry about the most recent SEC security breach, as the information hackers got did not include private personal data. The hack does, however, point out a risk to investors and a special risk future government agency breaches could pose to consumers.
The IRS is trying to put the scare into real estate investors looking to push the timelines for 1031 exchanges. If you own investment real estate, a 1031 exchange can save you significant taxes, but the IRS is signalling it will aggressively enforce the rules.
We like to think we've left our ancient fears behind, but two articles published by Money Magazine demonstrate how investors and the financial media can be downright primitive.
The stock market is compared to a roller coaster for a reason. If you're concerned the recent drop in value is a sign you should get out, these four charts will help you put things in perspective. If stocks are the appropriate investment for you, don't let a drop in the market scare you into pulling out.
The DOL Fiduciary rule is now in force, but there is a loophole for commissioned advisers which can allow them to maintain their current compensation model. Make sure you understand the Best Interest Contract Exemption and the implications it has on potential conflicts of interest which could influence the investment advice you recieve.
Between the wide range of meaningless job titles and the alphabet soup of certifications and designations, it's easy for an advisor to hide how they truly do business. One thing an adviser can't hide, however, is how they're licensed. Knowing the license will tell you what they can advise on, how they are compensated, and whether they are fiduciaries.
Despite the headlines and the excitement the UK vote is causing, investors should pay little attention. Avoid the temptation to tinker with your investments based on fear about 'what might happen' because of the UK vote. From an investor's standpoint, little will happen.
The best preparation you can have to defend against a Bear Market is to defend against your fear of the Bear. Writing future you a letter about the coming Bear Market can help you avoid the losses which many experience in a market downturn. Here is what to include in your letter....
Gold is often pitched by salespeople as the perfect investment; a hedge against inflation, a safe harbor in troubled times, and the true foundation of all currency. Research, however, shows gold isn't any of these things. For each of these concerns, there are better investments you should look at.
The IRS provided employers and employees clarification on the rules on borrowing from your 401 (k). And surprisingly, the clarification gives employees more flexibility in accessing their 401 (k).
Congress recently reversed rules which allowed states and cities to create Auto-IRA programs. Although I like the intent and am a big fan of encouraging retirement investment, the program wasn't ideal. A lack of ERISA protections, potential for poor management, and poor investment options all mean I won't mourn the death of the Auto-IRA.
Don't understimate the importance of liquidity. Every investment has four primary characteristics; growth, income, risk, and liquidity. In order to understand whether an investment is right for you, you must understand each of them in detail.
Portfolio drift is when the natural movements of the market cause your investments to stray from your strategic asset allocation. One asset class has done extremely well, causing it to be overweighted in your portfolio. When this happens, you need to manage the drift through rebalancing or you could leave yourself more at risk in a market downturn.
Don't let these common excuses detour you on your road to retirement. Each of these excuses may seem logical, and some are pushed by well-meaning 'financial gurus,' but all of them will lead you to a less secure retirement.
The purpose of saving money is to achieve the goal that you're saving toward. As a result, you are constantly balancing between growing your investment while preserving your capital. If you are saving for longer than one year, get your money out of your savings account and into a more appropriate investment. The worst thing you can have....
It's been two weeks since the Brexit vote, and lots of negative predictions have come along the way. Here is what the Brexit will actually mean for you.
Brexit is unlikely to have any lasting impact on your investments; unless you decide to sell everything in a panic. The long-term investor will likely look back on Brexit as a non-event, here's why.
Whatever age you are today is the perfect age to reevaluate your retirement investments. Find out how to use your age to determine how much you need to save each month for a happy retirement.
When investing through crowdfunding, you may be signing a Simple Agreement for Future Equity. Find out what these SAFEs are and how to evaluate them.
By 'partnering' with an experienced venture capital firm, crowdfunding investors can have one more tool in their research toolbox. Investing alongside a VC, however, does not make the investment safe.
If you don't currently have a Roth IRA, open one today. Adding a Roth IRA to your retirement plan provides you with a wide variety of benefits, including tax diversification, access to early retirement, increased limit on retirement contributions, and greater control over your retirement investment options.
If you aren't updating your skills and adding new skillsets, your value in the economy and in your profession will decrease. As you explore educational opportunities, the following are the most common types of courses you can take to advance your career or grow your business. And a list of resources for free or low-cost classes.
When writing your resume, make sure your experience section isn't filled with the job descriptions of your previous employment. Employers don’t care about what you’ve done in the past, they only care what you might do for them in the future. Rewrite your experience section to be something that sells the unique value you can bring to the company.
Developing a career path will provide you with a step-by-step path route to take in your journey to your ideal job. A proper career path will give you a detailed guide on the sequence of jobs you should take. Unfortunately, many people who try and build a career path go about it in the most frustrating way possible....
If you had a lemonade stand as a child, you knew the thrill of earning a little money on the side. Bringing that concept into adulthood by pursuing a side-gig can provide you with extra income and income diversity.
Job fairs provide you with the ability to explore and pursue multiple job opportunities at once, but opportunity is worthless if you aren't prepared to take advantage of it. Prepare properly, and you'll be ahead of the competition at the next job fair.
June is the half-way point of the year, which means it's a great time to update your resume on what you've done so far this year and how your career has changed.
The importance of budgeting is undeniable, but many don’t do it because it is time consuming and difficult. Learn how to build a basic budget in 15 minutes which meets both your financial needs and goals.
The debate about whether a budget is a necessity or a waste of time often centers on a fundamentally flawed definition of budgeting. The exercise of budgeting shouldn’t be designed to limit you, but to give you the freedom to spend money in the manner you wish to spend it.
There is a lot of talk in the financial media about the benefits of automating your finances. But what exactly does that mean? And how do you go about doing it? Here’s one simple method of automating your finances which ties your budget in with your pay.
The importance of budgeting is undeniable, but many don’t do it because it is time consuming and difficult. Learn how to build a basic budget in 15 minutes which meets both your financial needs and goals.
In order to make your goals into a reality, make sure you know exactly how much it will cost to achieve the goal. Knowing the price will help you develop a realistic plan to achieve it, as well as give you an easy way to measure how close you are to your goal.
If you are managing your money based on the policies and fee structure of your bank, you are in a codependent relationship. Your bank's policies and fees should conform to how you want to manage your money. The following questions will help to determine if you are in a codependent relationship with your bank and will help you find one that breaks the cycle.
Your savings is more than just an account into which you put a few dollars. It encompasses everything from your emergency fund to your retirement. These gauges will provide you with a quick snapshot of your financial situation.
You hear a lot about automating your bills and putting your finances on auto pilot. But not doing it correctly can cause significant problems in your finances and your life. Here's how to automate with care and protect yourself.
Your budget is full of companies that reach their grubby little hands into your bank account each month and pull out money. Review and scrutinize these monthly service providers to determine which ones you want, and which ones you should fire.
A glimpse into Kelly Ripa's personal and professional life shows why budgeting and controlling your expenses is so important in your life.
You can think of a credit score as your report card for how effectively you manage your finances, specifically your loans. The myth is that a credit score is a measure of how much debt you have, and that racking up more debt will result in a higher credit score. The truth, however, is . . . .
Focusing on debt payoff can cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars. Debt payoff strategies abound on the internet, and many mainstream financial gurus have built an empire on the common-sense approach to focus your financial efforts first on paying off your debt. The math, however, doesn’t work out in their favor.
A reader asked about using 0% balance transfers offers to manage their credit card debt. While these can be beneficial, they can also pose additional risks. Many people who use this strategy find themselves further behind than when they started. Here are some of the common pitfalls to avoid.
Here is how the data in your credit report is used to calculate your FICO credit score. Additionally, two recent FICO credit score updates have made the scoring formula much more consumer-friendly.
Similar to spontaneous combustion, spontaneous debt financing can cause a personal debt crisis to erupt seemingly out of nowhere. Control the slow rise of unplanned debt by guarding against its most common sources.
Debt is neither good nor bad; it is simply a tool. Distinguishing between the good uses of debt and the bad uses of debt is vital to proper loan management.
Managing your credit score is far more nuanced than many think. Be careful about following these credit score management myths, as they will actually lower your score. Learn about the myths and the truth about managing your credit score
Maintaining good credit isn't just for borrowers anymore. Your credit score impacts more than just your loans. A credit score will impact your career, your love life, and your....
It is possible you will have to pay some additional taxes due to your Social Security being taxed. Up to 85% of your Social Security benefits can become taxable depending on how much you earn in total. The formula is based on . . . .
For address changes you would use IRS Form 8822, which will allow you to change your address anytime during the year. It is good practice to always submit Form 8822 as the method for changing your address, and not rely . . . .
While generally a trust cannot get the Principal Residence Exclusion, it is possible if the trust is set up correctly and the circumstances are correct. The devil, as always, is in the details and you will want to get professional . . . .
Federal taxes are progressive taxes, meaning you start getting taxed at a low rate, then, as you earn more money, the additional money you earn is taxed at a higher rate. The way the calculation works, everyone pays the same . . . .
The key difference between the Married Filing Separately verses the Filing Single status is if you are legally married on the last day of the tax year (December 31st for most people). No other day during the year matters for . . . .
The Head of Household filing status is a special status which offers preferential tax brackets for some single individuals. The brackets are between the Single filing brackets and the Married Filing Jointly brackets . . . .
Don't assume this year's taxes and tax deductions will be similar to last year's taxes. The tax reform bill, which passed in December 2017, gutted most of the deductions and maimed many of the rest. Just like characters in . . . .
The Standard Deduction is the amount every taxpayer can deduct from their income, and with the changes to the tax law, more taxpayers than ever will now be taking the Standard Deduction. A lesser known fact about the Standard Deduction, however, is it can be increased for those over age 65 or who are blind.
The IRS has announced the 2019 income tax tables and other adjustments for inflation. Get a jump start on your taxes and plan ahead to lower your 2018 income taxes.
While it currently only applies to one company, the IRS has opened the door for companies to being offering an employee benefit whereby workers have an opportunity to both pay down student loan debt and save for retirement with the same dollars.
Consumers who have had contact with Coceptive Credit Union should beware, all evidence suggests the organization is not an actual credit union and is breaking numerous laws by operating as a credit union in California.
The scariest thing I saw this Halloween was a series of articles giving the horrific advice to make an insurance claim for Halloween pranks. Following their advice will cost you much more than whatever money the insurance company pays out.
The most recent Equifax data breach has left the door wide open on personal security. Getting your credit report is just the first step in protecting your identity. To fully protect your identity, you'll need to go beyond the three big credit bureaus to protect yourself against banking fraud, tax fraud, Social Security fraud, and other criminal activities.
If you are wondering "should I freeze my credit?", give careful thought to the pros and cons of a credit freeze. Make sure you understand the hidden consequences of freezing your credit before making this decision.
In the wake of the Equifax Data Breach, consumers are justifiably fearful of their financial security and how the stolen information could be used against them. This fear, however, is creating an opportunity for scammers to extract even more information from consumers, or to make new victims by stealing information from people who are not part of the original security breach.
Equifax's offer to provide one-year of free credit monitoring service comes with an arbitration clause which waives your legal right to sue Equifax. Here is how to opt-out of the arbitration clause and preserve your rights to sue Equifax or join a class-action lawsuit.
The Equifax response to the 2017 cyberattack is a good start but falls far short of what is needed for the company to live up to their responsibilities. Equifax's current offer to victims does not address the magnitude of the damage which was caused by the breach, and the true cost of Equifax's mistakes will be borne by consumers.
The Equifax data breach may be the largest cyberattack to date. Learn who was impacted, what was stolen, and if you should be concerned. (Spoiler: You should be concerned)
The world of health insurance can sometimes seem overly complex. While you are probably familiar with a copay, the coinsurance provision can be confusing. Unfortunately, coinsurance also represents a much larger risk to your finances than copayments do.
Calculating the right amount of insurance is as much art as it is science. There are a wide variety of methods developed to calculate life insurance needs, including ones that rely on rules of thumb and make it easy to come to a number. Simpler methods make calculating your life insurance needs so simple you can do it in a few seconds with a calculator. But are they accurate?
The first court case on crowdfunded investing was decided on June 14, 2016. So far crowdfunding has come out victorious, but the case continuing to the Supreme Court is still an unlikely possibility.
According to the SEC ruling, investors in crowd funded equities are entitled to financial disclosures related to the issuing company, but financial statements don't necessarily need to be audited nor reviewed.
According to the SEC ruling, investors in crowd funded equities are entitled to disclosures about the company, the offering, and the business plan, although the disclosures are limited.
According to the SEC ruling, investors in crowd funded equities are entitled to disclosures not just from issuing companies, but also from the crowdfunding portals themselves.
Ever wanted to invest in early startups like venture capitalists do? Now you can with crowdfunded investing.