News

26
Mar

3 Tips to Spring Clean Your Finances

3 Tips to Spring Clean Your Finances

With the official start the Spring being March 20th, the entire country can now start shedding layers after a record-breaking winter. Along with spring comes nice temperatures, fresh crisp smells, and most importantly, spring cleaning. Typically, spring cleaning will consist of throwing out or donating unused items, organizing the house and cleaning the shed no one has touched since last spring; however, Spring is also a great time to clean up.

Check out these 3 ways to spring clean your finances:

  1. Set a goal: Although this sounds like an obvious tip, spring cleaning can engulf you if you don’t set parameters beforehand. Spring cleaning finances is usually even worse, so make sure you set goals up front. Some goals could be:
    1. Sort the top two drawers of the file cabinet
    2. Organize the dreaded ‘paperwork closet’
    3. Track and record receipts for the last 3 months
  2. Clear out the clutter: Just like cleaning out the garage, you should take time to go through old paperwork and see what you no longer need. Don’t go overboard and throw away everything. Here’s a quick breakdown of do’s and don’ts
    1. Tax Returns: Keep these forever, the IRS says this will help prepare future tax returns and show proof of filing taxes.
    2. Insurance Documents: If the document involves a claim, ask your insurance agent or company how long to hold on to them, just in case.
    3. Electronic Copies: Any paperwork or documents that are stored online should be ok to discard; BUT, if electronic documents are held by your bank, a financial company, or 3rd party, ask how long they retain electronic copies.
  3. Do A Financial Audit: With holidays in the rearview and summer fast approaching, now is a great time to see where you stand on your financial journey. Some questions to ask yourself would be:
    1. Are you on track for your retirement plan?
    2. Do you have the best tax exemptions for your situation?
    3. When was the last time you looked at your insurance coverage?

Spring Cleaning is looked forward to by some and dreaded by others. Regardless, it is an important part of the year because it allows you to review, renew, and refresh and regrow not only your household, but also your finances. These are just a few ways to stay on track with your finances, before making changes to your financial plan, speak to a financial professional today to understand your unique situation.

 

Content derived from www.consumerfinance.com, www.creditcards.com, www.moneytalksnews.com, and www.money.usnews.com

Disclosure: This information is provided as general information and is not intended to be specific financial guidance. Before you make any decisions regarding your personal financial situation, you should consult a financial or tax professional to discuss your individual circumstances and objectives.

The post 3 Tips to Spring Clean Your Finances appeared first on Adult Financial Education Services.

Source: Adult Financial Education

3 Tips to Spring Clean Your Finances

1
Feb

Your 2019 Financial Calendar

Your 2019 Financial Calendar

There are 12 Months, 52 weeks, 365 days, 525,949 minutes in a year. From holidays, to appointments and birthdays, a lot can happen and even more can be forgotten.

To help you worry about less and focus on more; here’s 5 important dates you should remember when it comes to planning your financial journey:

  1. April 15th – This day is most well known as the last day to file taxes for the prior year; but, this day is also the last day to boost your savings! You can do this by funding previous years IRA’s and Health Savings Accounts!
  2. June 30th – Are you or your child attending college this year? If so, June 30th is the last day to file for financial aid, or FAFSA. If this is not submitted in time, students cannot access federal loans and/or grants.
  3. October 1st – November 1st: During this time, keep an eye out for open enrollment period, which is the time span your employer will allow you to update/change your benefits for the upcoming year.
  4. November 1st – January 31st: Unemployed, Self-Employed, or Retired? During this time, you can enroll in new health insurance for the upcoming year through Healthcare.gov.
  5. December 31st – This date not only marks the end of the year but also is the last day to take required minimum distributions for IRA, 401(k) and inherited IRA’s!

Along with these important dates listed above, here are 3 annual financial reminders you should set up as well!

  1. Free Credit Score – Every 4 months, you should check your credit report for any errors or unwanted surprises. You can pull one free credit report from each of the three credit reporting bureaus at www.annualcreditreport.com
  2. Self-Employed and Business Owners – Small business owners and self employed individuals should mark their calendars 4 times a year as deadlines to pay estimated tax bills. These dates are April 15th, June 15th, September 15th, and January 15th.
  3. Birthdays – Whether its yours or a close family member or significant others birthday, make sure you are aware of age milestones. From the official move from parents’ insurance, to retirees ability to access Medicare and Social Security, its important to be aware of your close families birthday milestones!

A year of planning can be hard; a life time of planning finances can be even harder! Make it easier by utilizing this Financial Calendar and reaching out to a financial professional, today!

Content derived from www.money.usnews.com

Disclosure: This information is provided as general information and is not intended to be specific financial guidance. Before you make any decisions regarding your personal financial situation, you should consult a financial or tax professional to discuss your individual circumstances and objectives.

The post Your 2019 Financial Calendar appeared first on Adult Financial Education Services.

Source: Adult Financial Education

Your 2019 Financial Calendar

8
Jan

Financial Resolutions for 2019

Financial Resolutions for 2019

The holidays are in the rearview and the New Year is just over the horizon. As everyone starts the New Year off with positive changes and new annual goals, make sure your finances are one of them! Don’t let your financial dreams fall out of reach by checking out these 4 financial changes you should promise yourself as you head into 2019.

 

  1. Create a budget: According to a recent study on fool.com, over 57% of American households do NOT follow a budget. In fact, 36% of Americans feel budgeting is too much work and not enough reward. A good budget should only take upwards of an hour to set up, and at the most, 30 minutes to revisit each month. The difference between a well-planned budget and not having one at all could be missing your financial goals!
  2. Pay off Unhealthy Debt: Every debt is different, from school loans to credit card debt and more. To eliminate your debt effectively, don’t look at the amount of debt, but the different rates you are incurring interest. Whichever debt has the highest interest rate, pay this off first. Also investigate cutting expenses to pay off debts faster!
  3. Build Emergency Fund: Do you have enough money to pay for a $400 emergency? If so, you are better off than 40% of Americans. Emergencies and accidents don’t come with a warning and can happen anytime, anywhere. Before finalizing your financial goals this year, make sure you have a minimum of three months’ worth of living expenses saved away.
  4. Boost your retirement savings: If you are planning on living off Social Security as your only income once you retire, don’t. When Social Security was created, it was designed to replace roughly 40% of the average workers pre-retirement income. In fact, the average person will need DOUBLE that to live comfortably. Now in 2019, Retirement plan contributions have increased, which is more reason than ever to start saving more for your retirement goals. In addition, look at other ways to receive guaranteed income, like an annuity or IUL.

 

While the year has just started, rock your finances so you can start saving like it’s 2020! By saving more, creating a financial budget, and overall increasing retirement assets, you can start building your dream retirement, NOW. Before reviewing your current finances, reach out to a financial professional to see how they can help build your financial legacy.

 

Content derived from financial website, The Motley Fool (www.fool.com).

Disclosure: This information is provided as general information and is not intended to be specific financial guidance. Before you make any decisions regarding your personal financial situation, you should consult a financial or tax professional to discuss your individual circumstances and objectives.

The post Financial Resolutions for 2019 appeared first on Adult Financial Education Services.

Source: Adult Financial Education

Financial Resolutions for 2019

1
Dec

8 Year-End Financial Tips

8 Year-End Financial Tips

Twas a few weeks before Christmas, and all through the house, not a person was over-spending, not even  on decorations for the house.

Receipts and bills were paid and filed away with care, in hopes of a fresh financial start to the New Year. Retirement funds were nestled all snug in their accounts, while payments and savings would grow that amount.

And while taxes can be less with charitable giving, also pull an annual, free credit report to make sure my 2019 finances are winning.

When out from my phone arose such a clatter, I look at the caller ID and see it’s my Financial Planner!

Away from work I flew like a flash, into Christmas break, time to meet with my advisor, fast!

The meeting was scheduled, for the day after the snow and while it might be cold, my Advisor says my end-of-year finances were looking bold!

When, what to my wondering eyes did appear, but my advisor with 8 tips for an amazing end to the year!

And they whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:

  1. Pay off your debts!
  2. Pull A free credit report!
  3. Create a Christmas budget!
  4. Save on your taxes with Charitable giving of course!
  5. Make Pretax contributions so save on taxes even more!
  6. Build a financial calendar for the upcoming year!
  7. Contribute more to retirement so you can do what’s best for your family and you!
  8. And most importantly, meet with your financial professional for an annual review!

 

But I heard them explain, as they drove out of sight

HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL AND TO ALL A GOOD-NIGHT!

From our family to yours, we wish you Happy Holidays! If you haven’t already, schedule some time to go over your 2018 finances with a financial professional!

 

*Content provided SimplicityMarketing.com

Disclosure: This information is provided as general information and is not intended to be specific financial guidance. Before you make any decisions regarding your personal financial situation, you should consult a financial or tax professional to discuss your individual circumstances and objectives.

 

The post 8 Year-End Financial Tips appeared first on Adult Financial Education Services.

Source: Adult Financial Education

8 Year-End Financial Tips

1
Nov

4 Must Know Financial Terms

4 Must Know Financial Terms

The holidays are upon us! And with the holidays comes the fun tradition of holiday shopping! Just as you should plan when shopping, you should also plan of when dealing with finances. Although Financial Literacy month isn’t until next year, we wanted to get a head start by celebrating Canada’s Financial Literacy month, November! Before meeting with your financial planner, check out these 4 must know financial terms:

Asset Allocation

This is the most widely utilized investment strategy and is a crucial step when developing a financial plan. Asset allocation aims to balance risk and is built based off an individual’s financial goals, risk tolerance, and investment horizon. There are three main asset classes-equities, as well as fixed-income, and cash and equivalents; which all have different levels of risk and return, so each will behave differently over time. Since everyone’s finances are different, there is no simply formula to find the right asset allocation. Meet with a financial professional to see what allocation method would be best for your unique financial situation.

Indexing Strategy

An investment strategy that allows you to closely mimic the performance of the index you’re invested in. This strategy allows you to participate in a percentage of upside potential and have little to no participation to the downside risk that you would normally see in the stock market. While there are several different Indexing Strategies out there, consult with a financial professional to find the best one for your financial goals.

Tax Deferrals

In short, Tax deferral is a legally acceptable way of putting off taxes. When you invest, the goal is to make a return on your money, and depending on tax brackets, you may have more opportunity for growth if you choose a Tax deferred account like a Roth 401(k). Tax deferral is all about long-term income and long-term planning. Tax deferral is a great way to maximize your hard-earned money but has many variables to consider like tax bracket and where you are on your financial journey.

Roth

There are two main types of Roth’s, a Roth IRA and a Roth 401(k). The main difference between a Roth account and traditional account is how they’re taxed. With a traditional IRA for example, you pay income tax when you withdraw the money, where as a Roth IRA, you would pay taxes up front and receive qualified distributions tax free. Depending on where you are on your financial journey, Roth accounts are a great way to minimize tax reductions on income in qualified plans.

Bottom Line:

There are thousands of financial terms, some more important than others. While this is only a short list of some prominent terms, it is best you consult a financial professional to better understand what these mean, and how they can be utilized to help you on your financial journey.

*Content derived from Investopedia.com and Wealthpilgrim.com

Disclosure: This information is provided as general information and is not intended to be specific financial guidance. Before you make any decisions regarding your personal financial situation, you should consult a financial or tax professional to discuss your individual circumstances and objectives.

The post 4 Must Know Financial Terms appeared first on Adult Financial Education Services.

Source: Adult Financial Education

4 Must Know Financial Terms

1
Oct

Five Things to Add to Your Financial To-do List

Five Things to Add to Your Financial To-do List

The weather is getting cooler, the colors are changing, and the scent of pumpkin spice fills the air signaling the beginning of fall and holiday season. But October isn’t just known for pumpkin carving and corn mazes, October is also the month for financial planning. It’s a great time to review the fiscal year thus far and begin planning for holiday spending and traveling. Before you break out the long sleeves and pumpkin spice lattes, here are five things to add to your October to-do list:

 

  1. Make a holiday budget: With holiday season comes an increase in spending. Before you shop, create a spreadsheet of your average monthly expenses so you can plan accordingly. Applications such as Mint by TurboTax, will help you track spending and develop a budget.
  2. Review Your Credit Report: Every 12 months, you can receive a free credit report from each credit bureau. After the Equifax breach last year, it is crucial that you keeping track of your credit accounts for fraudulent activities and incorrect reporting. In your report, look for credit lines opened without your knowledge and accounts that are closed but are still being reported as open. You can grab your credit report now on https://www.annualcreditreport.com.
  1. Fill Out The FASFA: The school semester is coming to an end, and with it, your child might be exploring college options for next year. On October 1st, the Federal Application for Student Aid will become available and once filled out, will determine your eligibility for financial aid. Because federal aid can be handed out on a first-come, first serve basis, you should submit this as soon as possible. Within a week, expect the Student Aid Report to arrive and show if you qualify for federal need-based aid such as work-study programs and Pell grants. After, you should head to the school’s website and use their net-price calculator to estimate how much school will cost after factoring financial aid.
  1. Do A Retirement Plan Check-Up: Whether retirement is around the corner or down the road, you should be making periodic updates and adjustments to your retirement portfolio. When reviewing, check investments and make sure they still reflect your risk tolerance and estimated retirement time. You should also consider how much you are investing and if you should increase or decrease based on your financial situation.
  1. Set Goals For Next Year And Beyond: October is a great time to start planning out next year’s financial goals so you can be set for success in the long-term. Look at your day-to-day finances and locate where you can improve and where you can save more. After, consider which goals are most important for your long-term success. Just as time changes, so should your financial plan. Things like marriage, children, and career can impact your financial goals, so make sure you are reviewing your plan at least once a year.

By implementing some or all the tips above into your October to-do list, you can carve your pumpkin in comfort knowing your financial future is good to go. If you go through these steps and do not like where you are financially wise, schedule a meeting with your financial professional to see how they can help you get your finances back on track.

*Content derived from consumerreports.org and cobizmag.com

The post Five Things to Add to Your Financial To-do List appeared first on Adult Financial Education Services.

Source: Adult Financial Education

Five Things to Add to Your Financial To-do List

1
Sep

5 Signs You’re Ready to Retire

5 Signs You’re Ready to Retire

You are nearing the average retirement age and each day it becomes closer and closer. The question is, are you ready to retire? Check out these 5 signs you’re ready to retire.

  1. Your Savings Exceeds Your Retirement Goals: At one time or another, you sat down and made an investment plan so you could retire happily. Now the time has come to see if all your savings has paid off. When calculating the savings you have and if it will be enough for retirement, consider using ‘Rule 25.’ This rule states you should have 25 times the value of your annual expenses.
  2. All Debts Are Paid Off: When entering retirement, make sure you don’t have any large payments you will have to make. Big expenses such as mortgage, loans, and large credit balances are things you want paid off before you consider retiring. Paying off large bills before retirement will allow your money to go farther so you can enjoy your life after work without worrying about saving for your next large payment.
  3. You Can Currently Live on Your Retirement Budget: More often than not, when you enter retirement you live off of fixed monthly income that is typically less than when you were working. Before retiring, consider living on your ‘Retirement Budget’ so you can determine if you can live comfortably on your new budget.
  4. Healthcare Is Covered: Regardless if you are on the verge of retirement of not, healthcare can be very costly. Simple things like blood tests and non-generic prescriptions can make your expenses skyrocket and cause you to not live the retirement you dreamed of. When exploring options, see if you can stay on your employer’s plan, if not your spouses. Does your company offer a Health Savings Account (HSA)? You can use this for tax-free distributions to pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses. If all else fails, sign up for private healthcare, just make sure the monthly cost is included in your ‘Retirement Budget.’
  5. Have a New Plan or Project for Retirement: Although it may seem like a distant dream now, retirement will be upon you before you know it; and while you might be looking forward spending long days doing nothing, research shows this can lead to an unhappy retirement. Before you retire, brainstorm some of the hobbies you enjoy and/or consider looking for a part-time position to pass the time. Do you like golfing? Replace your weekly meetings with weekly golf outings. Just like you should test-drive your ‘Retirement Budget’, take a week or two off from work and spend your days just as you would in retirement.

Deciding when to retire comes with a lot of considerations, from being healthy and debt-free to living on a budget; make sure you are more than well off before considering the move into retirement. After reviewing these signs and feeling confident about your decision to retire, it is always best to consult a financial professional to make sure you didn’t miss any areas and aren’t in for any surprises when you open the retirements doors.

*Content derived from Investopedia.com

Disclosure: This information is provided as general information and is not intended to be specific financial guidance. Before you make any decisions regarding your personal financial situation, you should consult a financial or tax professional to discuss your individual circumstances and objectives.

The post 5 Signs You’re Ready to Retire appeared first on Adult Financial Education Services.

Source: Adult Financial Education

5 Signs You’re Ready to Retire

1
Aug

Tips for Back to School Season

Tips for Back to School Season

Although it’s not even August yet, storefronts and businesses are beginning to advertise what some kids dread, and others cherish, back to school time. In a report from Huntington Bank Backpack Index, school supplies have increased a whopping 88% since 2007. With this statistic, here are 3 tips to consider for this back to school season.

  1. Kids are good at persuading
    • Leave the Kids at Home:
      In a 2017 report from National Retail Federation, 65% of back-to-school purchases were a direct result of their children’s influence. Instead of brining your child, involve them early in the process by checking out store ads at home and pointing out what they like. This will help you get more of what matters, and less of impulse purchases
    • Bring the Kids with
      Want to bring your kids with? Use it as a learning experience by teaching them about prioritization and budgeting. Not only will this help them realize the difference between want and need, but will also help them understand the value of money and how to be a savvy shopper.
  2. Looks for the deals
    August brings slightly cooler weather and more importantly, great back to school deals. Before shopping, check your mailbox and email for the latest deals on school supplies. This will help you narrow down which stores to shop at. Beyond this, check out the stores loyalty program. Businesses like Kroger offer loyalty cards that can help you save on supplies as well as groceries and other necessities.
  3. Buy/Rent Used
    Gone are the days where required textbooks come brand new with a price tag of $100 and up. Companies like Amazon and Barnes & Noble offer online and in-store textbook rentals at the fraction of the price of brand new textbooks. Once you receive a list of required material, you can search the title and/or ISBN # to find the best deal all while saving you time.

The earlier in life a child begins learning about saving on the little things for big savings in the long term, the better off they are for ‘real world budgeting’. By utilizing some of these strategies, you will be able to make your school supplies list and credit card statement shorter, just like they should be! Most importantly, these tips will help you save all while growing your child’s knowledge on finances and how to save.

Questions about other ways to save for your child’s education? Have left over money after purchasing back to school supplies and want to put it toward your retirement goals? Reach out to your financial advisor today and see how they can help you on your financial journey!

*Statistical references and content derived from Forbes.com and Marketwatch.com
Disclosure: This information is provided as general information and is not intended to be specific financial guidance. Before you make any decisions regarding your personal financial situation, you should consult a financial or tax professional to discuss your individual circumstances and objectives.

The post Tips for Back to School Season appeared first on Adult Financial Education Services.

Source: Adult Financial Education

Tips for Back to School Season

2
Jul

Tips for Summer Travel

Tips for Summer Travel

Are you planning to get away from the normal this summer? According to AAA, so is about 35% of Americans. With vacation season in its prime, businesses everywhere are hiking prices and fees in anticipation for a busy season. With this, here are 5 quick tips to save money on your summer travel.

  1. Strategically plan your travel – Most people take vacation while schools are out for the Summer. If you can, traveling during this time is ideal.
  2. Be Careful when you book – Is there a best time to book? Yes, in fact, if you book airfare on a weekend, you would save 19% on average. Although the reason for this is still a mystery, it can be assumed that they know you are not a corporate traveler, and thus, will look for the best deal.
  3. Stay somewhere new – If you already have a destination in mind, you should spend more time on figuring out where you will stay. Often times, cheaper and nicer options such as Air B&B’s and Hotels ‘off the beaten path’ go unnoticed. Finding a new place to stay can not only save you money, but can also open the trip to new adventure!
  4. Book early, save more $$$ – When booking travels, the sooner you book the better it feels on your wallet. On average, the best time to book travel is about two months before departure date. Already booked your trip this Summer? Get a head start on next Summer by setting price alerts on Google Flights or Hopper so you know when the price is best!
  5. Know your apps – In a day and age where you can find everything with the slide of your finger, it is crucial you have the right applications to get you the best bang for your buck. Some great apps are Dealray (for cheap flights), AutoSlash (for car rentals), and Roomer (for deeply discounted rooms). You can also Google Best Travel Apps, since apps are always changing!

Whether you are planning to travel the world or just traveling to the next city over, make sure you are getting the best deal possible by following the tips above! Already planned your summer trip(s) and realized you’re under budget? Reach out to your advisor today to see how you can invest your savings for the future!

 

*Statistical references and content derived from Forbes.com and travelandleisure.com

Disclosure: This information is provided as general information and is not intended to be specific financial guidance. Before you make any decisions regarding your personal financial situation, you should consult a financial or tax professional to discuss your individual circumstances and objectives.

The post Tips for Summer Travel appeared first on Adult Financial Education Services.

Source: Adult Financial Education

Tips for Summer Travel

1
Jun

Mid-Year Financial Check Up

Mid-Year Financial Check Up

Happy Half Year! Time flies and first 6 months of 2018 are already here and gone! With the second half of the year fast approaching, it’s important to know how your finances are stacking up compared to your goals when the year began. What better way to that then to check out these quick tips for a mid-year financial check-up:

  • What’s your credit? Your credit report is basically your permanent record. Your credit score shows how your spending, the frequency of your spending, and how you have repaid money owed. Therefore, it is so important to know where you stand. Check out annualcreditreport.com for a free report to see what you can qualify for and to check for signs of identity theft.
  • Are you over paying Uncle Sam? Last year alone, millions of people overpaid on their taxes by thousands of dollars. Make sure your W-4 accurately represents your financial status so you don’t overpay or underpay on your taxes. Head over to irs.gov to see what your withholding allowance should be.
  • Do you have savings growth? Life happens, and sometimes you need a safety net when it does. Often those who are struggling the most with finances are those who have little to no savings account, thus causing large negative effects when there’s an emergency. Even if you save $1 per day from now until the end of the year, you will have $180, which is better than nothing.
  • How’s your spending? People work hard for their money, but then spend it like its burning a hole in their pocket. It is important to know how you spend and how much you are spending so you can support your lifestyle and save enough for your dream retirement. Track your spending for the next 30 days and break every cent into categories. Once this is done you can determine how you should be spending moving forward and what areas you might need to reconsider spending.
  • Ready for holiday expenses? Even though holiday season is a few months away, now is the time to start depositing money so you don’t have to worry about what you spend when season comes around. You should create a holiday account and be depositing money into it all year so you can have a debt-free holiday all while seeing the smiling faces of your friends and family.
  • Is your potential savings interest maximized? Almost every bank and credit union currently offer interest on accounts that is fairly high compared to standard rates. You can research different banks and rates on sites like checkingfinder.com or www.bankrate.com to find one that suites you. Often, you will have to have to meet certain requirements such as minimum debits or balance. However, the interest rates usually make the hoops you must jump through worth it. Make sure where you deposit your money is FDIC or NCUA insured.

Worried about where you stand after your mid-year financial check-up? Reach out to your Financial Advisor and see the steps you can take to fulfill your 2018 financial goals. Happy where you stand? Explore your financial plans moving forward and what you need to do to set yourself up for your dream retirement!

Disclosure: This information is provided as general information and is not intended to be specific financial guidance. Before you make any decisions regarding your personal financial situation, you should consult a financial or tax professional to discuss your individual circumstances and objectives.

Content derived from https://www.nfcc.org/tools-and-education/money-management-tips/time-for-a-mid-year-financial-check-up/

The post Mid-Year Financial Check Up appeared first on Adult Financial Education Services.

Source: Adult Financial Education

Mid-Year Financial Check Up