Your Financial Co-Pilot

Posted by on Apr 5, 2019 in 401k, 403b, atuos, bank statements, Boomers. Millenials, Budgeting, cars, college planning, Consumer Tools, Credit & Debt, credit card statements, Deflation, Elder Care, estate planning, family finances, financial advice, financial planning, Fixed Income Investing, Inflation, insurance, Investing, IRA, IRS, Life Stages, Medicaid Planning, Medicaid Recovery, Medicare Planning, Persoanl Financial tips, Retire Happy, Retire Happy Now, Retirement, retirement, retirement calculator, retirement planning, sales, Saving Money, social security, tax returns, taxes, TSA | 0 comments

If anything happens to you, your family has someone to consult.   Provided by Frederick Saide, Ph.D.   If you weren’t around, what would happen to your investments? In many families, one person handles investment decisions, and spouses or children have little comprehension of what happens each week, month, or year with a portfolio. In an emergency, this lack of knowledge can become financially paralyzing. Just as small business owners risk problems by “keeping it all in their heads,” families risk problems when only one person understands investments. A trusted relationship with a financial professional can be so vital. If the primary individual handling investment and portfolio management responsibilities in a family passes away, the family has a professional to consult – not a stranger they have to explain their priorities to at length, but someone who has built a bond with mom or dad and perhaps their adult children.      You want a professional who can play a fiduciary role. Look for a financial professional who upholds a fiduciary standard. Professionals who build their businesses on a fiduciary standard tend to work on a fee basis or entirely for fees. Other financial services industry professionals earn much of their compensation from commissions linked to trades or product sales.1 Commission-based financial professionals don’t necessarily have to abide by a fiduciary standard. Sometimes, only a suitability standard must be met. The difference may seem minor, but it really isn’t. The suitability standard, which hails back to the days of cold-calling stock brokers, dictates that you should recommend investments that are “suitable” to a client. Think about the leeway that can potentially provide to a commission-based professional. In contrast, a financial professional working by a fiduciary standard always has an ethical requirement to act in a client’s best interest and to recommend investments or products that clearly correspond to that best interest. The client comes first.1 You want a professional who looks out for you. The best financial professionals earn trust through their character, ability, and candor. In handling portfolios for myriad clients, they have learned to watch for certain concerns and to be aware of certain issues that may get in the way of wealth building or wealth retention. Many investors have built impressive and varied portfolios but lack long-term wealth management strategies. Money has been made, but little attention has been given to tax efficiency or risk exposure. As you near retirement age, playing defense becomes more and more important. A trusted financial professional could help you determine a risk and tax management approach with the potential to preserve your portfolio assets and your estate. Your family will want nothing less. With a skilled financial professional around to...

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Earnings for All Seasons

Posted by on Mar 24, 2019 in 401k, 403b, Boomers. Millenials, Budgeting, cars, college planning, Consumer Tools, Credit & Debt, credit card statements, Deflation, Elder Care, estate planning, family finances, financial advice, financial planning, Fixed Income Investing, Inflation, insurance, Investing, IRA, IRS, Life Stages, Medicaid Planning, Medicare Planning, Persoanl Financial tips, Retire Happy, Retire Happy Now, Retirement, retirement, retirement calculator, retirement planning, sales, Saving Money, social security, tax returns, taxes, TSA | 0 comments

What is it and why is it important?   Provided by Frederick Saide, Ph.D.   While nature offers four seasons, Wall Street offers only one – four times a year. It’s called “earnings season,” and it can move the markets. So, what is earnings season, and why is it important? Earnings season is the month of the year that follows each calendar quarter-end month (January, April, July, and October). It is the time during which many public companies release quarterly earnings reports. Some public companies report earnings at other times during the year, but many are on the calendar year that ends December 31.1 Reported Earnings. To understand the importance of earnings, we need to remember that the value of a company can be tied to the amount of money it earns. Some companies don’t have earnings, and they are valued based on their potential rather than their current earnings. Wall Street analysts maintain a close pulse on a company’s quarterly report to help estimate future earnings. For example, these estimates may guide investors in determining an appropriate price for a company’s stock. Remember, a company is not permitted to discuss interim earnings with select individuals; earnings reports must be disseminated publicly to level the playing field for all investors.1,2 An Inside Look. When an earnings report is released, it tells the market two things. First, it offers an insight into how the company is performing and what its prospects may look like over the near term.1 And second, the report can serve as a bellwether for similar companies that still have not reported. For instance, if the earnings of a leading retailer are strong, it may offer an insight into the earnings of other retailers, as well as other companies that similarly benefit from higher consumer spending. What Time? Earnings reports are generally released when the market is closed in order to provide market participants adequate time to digest the results. Earnings reports may move markets. If earnings diverge from the expectations of professional investors and traders, then price swings – up or down – may be significant. Such a divergence is referred to as an “earnings surprise.” If you are a “buy-and-hold” investor and feel confident in a company’s long-term prospects, earnings season may mean little to you, since short-term results may not impact your long-term outlook. However, earnings reports can be meaningful if an earnings shortfall reflects a structural problem with a business or represents the continuation of a downward trend in earnings. For that reason, it may be wise for you to keep an eye on earnings season. Information about growth, decline, and other changes to a company can be important in understanding the value...

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Midlife Money Errors

Posted by on Mar 15, 2019 in 401k, 403b, Boomers. Millenials, Budgeting, college planning, Consumer Tools, Credit & Debt, credit card statements, Deflation, estate planning, family finances, financial advice, financial planning, Fixed Income Investing, Inflation, insurance, Investing, IRS, Life Stages, Medicare Planning, Persoanl Financial tips, Retire Happy, Retire Happy Now, Retirement, retirement, retirement calculator, retirement planning, Saving Money, social security, tax returns, taxes, TSA | 0 comments

If you are between 40 & 60, beware of these financial blunders & assumptions. Provided by  Frederick Saide, Ph.D. Mistakes happen, even for people who have some life experience under their belt. That said, your retirement strategy is one area of life where you want to avoid having some fundamental misconceptions. These errors and suppositions are worth examining, as you do not want to succumb to them. See if you notice any of these behaviors or assumptions creeping into your financial life. Do you think you need to invest with more risk? If you are behind on retirement saving, you may find yourself wishing for a “silver bullet” investment or wishing you could allocate more of your portfolio to today’s hottest sectors or asset classes, so you can “catch up.” This impulse could backfire. The closer you get to retirement age, the fewer years you have to recoup investment losses. As you age, the argument for diversification and dialing down risk in your portfolio gets stronger and stronger. Diversification is an approach to help manage investment risk. It does not eliminate the risk of loss if security prices decline. Have you made saving for retirement a secondary priority? It should be a top priority, even if it becomes secondary for a while, due to fate or bad luck. Some families put saving for college first, saving for mom and dad’s retirement second. Remember that college students can apply for financial aid, but retirees cannot. Building college savings ahead of your own retirement savings may leave your young adult children well-funded for the near future, but you ill-prepared for your own. Has paying off your home loan taken priority over paying off other debts? Owning your home free and clear is a great goal, but if that is what being debt free means to you, you may end up saddled with crippling consumer debt on the way toward that long-term objective. In late 2018, the average American household carried more than $6,900 in credit card debt alone. It is usually better to attack credit card debt first, thereby freeing up money you can use to invest, save for retirement, build a rainy day fund – and yes, pay the mortgage.1 Have you taken a loan from your workplace retirement plan? If you’ve taken this step, consider the following. One, you are drawing down your retirement savings – invested assets, which would otherwise have the capability to grow and compound. Two, you will probably repay the loan via deductions from your paycheck, cutting into your take-home pay. Three, you will probably have to repay the full amount within five years – a term that may not be long as you would...

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How Women Can Narrow the Retirement Savings Gap

Posted by on Mar 3, 2019 in 401k, 403b, bank statements, Boomers. Millenials, Budgeting, Consumer Tools, Credit & Debt, credit card statements, Deflation, estate planning, family finances, financial advice, financial planning, Fixed Income Investing, Inflation, insurance, Investing, IRA, IRS, Life Stages, Persoanl Financial tips, Retire Happy, Retire Happy Now, Retirement, retirement, retirement calculator, retirement planning, Saving Money, social security, tax returns, taxes, TSA | 0 comments

Steps toward saving more & revitalizing your retirement strategy. Provided by Frederick Saide, Ph.D. When it comes to retirement saving, many women lag behind many men. Historically, that has been the case. A recent study by Student Loan Hero offers more evidence of the problem –While 29% of men polled in the study indicated that they have no retirement savings strategy, an alarming 48% of women also answered that they have no retirement savings.1 On top of everything else, there is also the income disparity for women in the United States, where women are earning 37% less per year than men. With all these factors, it’s easy to understand both why women find challenges in retirement saving and why these challenges might seem, at first, insurmountable. It could create a frustration that might cause one to avoid learning what needs to be done to begin saving for retirement. Education and talking with a financial professional, however, have the potential to give even the most frustrated retirement saver a boost.1,2 How can women plan to address this? Here are a few positive steps you can take. Find out where you stand in terms of savings now. A simple retirement planning calculator (there are many available online) can help you see how much more you need to save, per year and over the course of your career. Retirement planning calculators are for informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for a more comprehensive retirement evaluation. A financial professional can help. Save enough to get the match. If your employer will match a percentage of your retirement plan contributions per paycheck, strive to contribute enough to your plan each paycheck, to ensure that the match occurs. Ask about automatic escalation. Some workplace retirement plans have this option, through which you can boost your retirement contributions by 1% a year. This is a nice “autopilot” way to promote larger retirement nest eggs. Ask for a raise. A higher salary means more money to put toward your savings effort. Make tax efficiency one of your goals. Consult a financial professional about this, for there are potential advantages to having your money in taxable, tax-deferred, and tax-exempt accounts. For example, when you contribute to a retirement plan, you make tax-deferred contributions. This lowers your taxable income today; the distributions from those accounts will be taxable in retirement.4 Some of these suggestions you will do on your own, but it may also be a good thing to speak to a financial professional you trust and create a savings strategy that will be of particular help for you and your needs. Fred Saide may be reached at 908-791-3831 or Frederick2@gmx.us https://www.moneymattersusa.net and https://www.wealthensure.com This...

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Bad Money Habits to Break

Posted by on Feb 17, 2019 in 401k, 403b, bank statements, Boomers. Millenials, Budgeting, cars, college planning, Consumer Tools, Credit & Debt, credit card statements, Deflation, estate planning, family finances, financial advice, financial planning, Fixed Income Investing, Inflation, insurance, Investing, IRA, IRS, Life Stages, Persoanl Financial tips, Retire Happy, Retire Happy Now, Retirement, retirement, retirement calculator, retirement planning, sales, Saving Money, social security, tax returns, taxes, TSA | 0 comments

   Behaviors Worth Changing Provided by Frederick Saide, Ph.D.   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 as good a time as any to alter your behavior.   #1: Lending money to family & friends. You may know someone who has lent a few thousand to a sister or brother, a few hundred to an old buddy, and so on. Generosity is a virtue, but personal loans can easily transform into personal financial losses for the lender. If you must loan money to a friend or family member, mention that you will charge interest and set a repayment plan with deadlines. Better yet, don’t do it at all. If your friends or relatives can’t learn to budget, why should you bail them out?   #2: Spending more than you make. Living beyond your means, living on margin, or whatever you wish to call it – it is a path toward significant debt. Wealth is seldom made by buying possessions; today’s flashy material items may become the garage sale junk of the future.   #3: Saving little or nothing. Good savers build emergency funds, have money to invest and compound, and leave the stress of living paycheck to paycheck behind. If you are not able to put extra money away, there is another way to get some: a second job. Even working 15-20 hours more per week could make a big difference.   #4: Living without a budget. You may make enough money that you don’t feel you need to budget. In truth, few of us are really that wealthy. In calculating a budget, you may find opportunities for savings and detect wasteful spending.   #5: Frivolous spending. Advertisers can make us feel as if we have sudden needs; needs we must respond to, or ones that can only be met via the purchase of a product. See their ploys for what they are. Think twice before spending impulsively.   #6: Not using cash often enough. No one can deny that the world runs on credit, but that doesn’t mean your household should. Pay with cash as often as your budget allows.   #7: Thinking you’ll win the lottery. When the headlines are filled with news of big lottery jackpots, you might be tempted to throw a few bucks at a lottery ticket. It’s important, though, to be fully aware that the odds in the lottery and other games of chance are against you. A few bucks once in a while is one thing, but a few bucks (or more) every week could possibly lead to financial...

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Strategic vs. Tactical Investing

Posted by on Feb 11, 2019 in 401k, 403b, Boomers. Millenials, Budgeting, college planning, Consumer Tools, Credit & Debt, Deflation, estate planning, family finances, financial advice, financial planning, Fixed Income Investing, Inflation, insurance, Investing, IRA, IRS, Life Stages, Persoanl Financial tips, Retire Happy, Retire Happy Now, Retirement, retirement, retirement calculator, retirement planning, Saving Money, social security, taxes, TSA | 0 comments

  How do these investment approaches differ?   Provided by Frederick Saide, Ph.D. Ever heard the term “strategic investing”? How about “tactical investing”? At a glance, you might assume that both these phrases describe the same investment approach. While both approaches involve the periodic adjustment of a portfolio and holding portfolio assets in varied investment classes, they differ in one key respect. Strategic investing is fundamentally passive; tactical investing is fundamentally active. An old saying expresses the opinion that strategic investing is about time in the market, while tactical investing is about timing the market. There is some truth to that.1 Strategic investing focuses on an investor’s long-range goals. This philosophy is sometimes characterized as “set it and forget it,” but that is inaccurate. The idea is to maintain the way the invested assets are held over time, so that through the years, they are assigned to investment classes in approximately the percentages established when the portfolio is created.1 Picture a hypothetical investor. Assume that she starts investing and saving for retirement with 60% of her invested assets held in equities and 40% in fixed-income vehicles. Now, assume that soon after she starts investing, a long bull market begins. The value of the equity investments within her portfolio increases. Years pass, and she checks up on the portfolio and learns that much more than 60% of the value of her portfolio is now held in equities. A greater percentage of her portfolio is now subject to the ups and downs of Wall Street. As she is investing strategically, this is undesirable. Rebalancing is in order. By the tenets of strategic investing, the assets in the portfolio need to be shifted, so that they are held in that 60/40 mix again. If the assets are not rebalanced, her portfolio could expose her to more risk than she wants – and the older she gets, the less risk she may want to assume.1 Tactical investing responds to market conditions. It looks at the present and the near future. A tactical investor attempts to shift the composition of a portfolio to reduce risk exposure or to take advantage of hot sectors or new opportunities. This requires something of an educated guess – two guesses, actually. The challenge is to appropriately decide when to adjust the portfolio in light of change and when to readjust it back to the target investment mix. This is, necessarily, a hands-on style of investing.1 Is it better to buy and hold, or simply, to respond? This question has no easy answer, but it points out the divergence between strategic and tactical investing. A strategic investor may be inclined to “buy and hold” and ride out episodes of...

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