Blogs

  • The summation of a Bloomberg article that states that many Americans opt to receive Social Security benefits at the wrong time may be confusing: “Most retirees should wait longer to access their benefits, researchers find. Some should claim them sooner.” Why does this advice seem to be contradictory? Because there is no one rule for claiming [] ©Bring Clarity to Your Finances™. Deciding When to Claim Social Security Isnt a Guessing Game is a post from Bring Clarity to Your Finances™
  • Receiving or accumulating a lump sum of cash can result in a major investment quandary - "Do I investment this all at once, or invest it over time?"
  • When it comes to the retiree health care costs, there are two distinct stages that result in very different considerations, decisions, and costs. The first is the retiree who has yet to reach age 65 (Medicare age). The second is the retiree who is 65 years old or older.
  • The concept of making more money than you spend is not revolutionary, complex, or new; yet many Americans struggle to save for retirement because they overspend. More often than not, it’s the carefree daily or weekly spending habits that lead to excess consumption which ultimately results in a reduced savings rate.
  • Last December, I went to my annual two day tax education class and sat with several old-timers at lunch. I felt like a whippersnapper next to them. One of them opined I remember the Tax Act of 1986 and proceeded to entertain us with stories of fixing mistakes using a quaint cut and paste method []
  • Retirement can be a new, complex world. Our goal here is to help you understand that the retirement distribution game – spending assets in retirement – is much different than the accumulation game when you’re saving for retirement. Chances are, you have been in the accumulation phase of your life for several decades. You’ve been working hard trying to save money and hopefully your accounts have grown. But now, as you enter or prepare for retirement, you’re in an entirely different phase… The distribution phase. And the distribution phase has new, strange rules that can catch people off guard. Along with those new rules, there are often many changes in your own personal life that can have a big impact on your taxes, too.
  • Stock prices have soared in 2019, breaking records repeatedly, and the latest economic signals — though less robust — indicate no recession is on the horizon. Perhaps the biggest risk threatening to end the 10-year old expansion is the Federal Reserve Board’s inflation policy.
  • Set Financial Goals – Establish long term goals and action plans to guide your spending, saving and investing decisions.
  • Even if you are a temporary worker in the US, you can buy a home. When does buying a home make sense when you're on an H-1B visa? (Feed generated with FetchRSS )
  • In “The Personal Finance Industry is a Scam,” a writer for GQ discusses her thoughts on why “Suze Orman’s rant against coffee is the latest in cable-news advice that puts the blame for an increasingly unequal financial system on individuals.” The writer recalled meeting Orman years earlier as an unpaid intern saddled with heavy law school [] ©Bring Clarity to Your Finances™. Spending on Little Luxuries Can Add Upto More Happiness is a post from Bring Clarity to Your Finances™
  • This July Fourth, amid seemingly unprecedented crosscurrents, The Great Expansion enters its eleventh year. From the depths of The Great Recession, this growth cycle is officially now the longest expansion in U.S. modern history, and the latest data extends the star-spangled banners economic wave of growth.
  • If you have a job at a company that offers incentive stock options (ISOs), you may be excited and curious about how to understand, exercise, and benefit from them. (Feed generated with FetchRSS )
  • On July 4th, the United States celebrates its Independence Day. And if you remember anything from history class, you know that the United States did not complete the process of becoming independent all in a day. It took time but July 4th was chosen to mark the occasion after there was a vote for independence [] ©Bring Clarity to Your Finances™. Fee-Only Financial Planners Have Independence is a post from Bring Clarity to Your Finances™
  • There are lots of articles out there touting the benefits of ‘backdoor’ Roth conversions. Many of these articles will even ‘show’ you how to do them. As straightforward as they might appear in a Forbes article, there are many things that might trip you up if you’ve never done a backdoor Roth conversion before. (Feed generated with FetchRSS )
  • Most healthcare practitioners aren’t trained to develop a career as a successful entrepreneur. Check Out This Interview On BulletProof Business Foundation http://masteringyourmoney.com/
  • The current economic expansion, as of July, is officially the longest growth cycle in modern U.S. history. In turning 11, this growth cycle eclipses the longevity of the 10-year expansion that bracketed the 1990s.
  • An ESPP can be a great way to get a discounted deal on your company’s stock. But when is the best time to sell your shares? (Feed generated with FetchRSS )
  • The Washington Post reports that “Couples are taking out loans to pay for their weddings.” And while one person interviewed found that it wasn’t all that difficult to get a personal loan to pay for an engagement ring (adding that it might not be the only loan he takes out for his upcoming nuptials), he [] ©Bring Clarity to Your Finances™. Talk to a Financial Planner Before Getting a Wedding Loan is a post from Bring Clarity to Your Finances™
  • If you owe more than six figures of tax debt, then you might need to submit a down payment just to get your outstanding balance to a point where your plan is accepted. For many people, coming up with the cash for such a down payment can be a significant challenge. (Feed generated with FetchRSS )
  • Leaders don’t have to be smart to have a successful business. Check Out This Interview On Risk Management http://masteringyourmoney.com/
  • In retirement, with a little effort and initiative you have the time and flexibility to find great travel deals to fulfill your travel goals.
  • If you just received an offer letter for a job in the United States, you’re probably very excited! It can be tempting to sign right away. However, whether it’s your first job offer you’ve received in the US or your fifth, it’s important to go over an offer letter carefully. (Feed generated with FetchRSS )
  • You don’t have to be as wealthy as Bill & Melinda Gates in order to set up your own private charitable foundation. There is an alternative to a private foundation for those of us not as wealthy as the Gates called a Donor Advised Fund (DAF). What is a Donor Advised Fund (DAF)? Simply put, a DAF is your own private charity, funded in a lump sum or over time with cash or securities. You can then invest the dollars in your DAF and allow it to grow, or you can direct your DAF to donate some or all of the funds to the charities of your choosing whenever you decide.
  • What’s happening in the world often goes unnoticed, even when it occurs in plain sight right before our eyes. Check Our Video Blog On The Explosion In Real Retail Sales You Never Hear About http://masteringyourmoney.com/
  • Father’s Day has just past and once this holiday has ended, many fathers return to business as usual at home and on the job. We once wrote about that Fathers Are Reluctant to Take Paternity Leave and while that may still be the case for some, things are changing. The Washington Post recently reported on [] ©Bring Clarity to Your Finances™. Fathers Sue for More Parental Leave is a post from Bring Clarity to Your Finances™
  • Dear Dad, Today marks the eighth Father’s Day without you. Hard to believe it has been that long already, yet it seems like just yesterday you were here. I still have times when I find it almost impossible to imagine going through the rest of my life without you my best friend and mentor. [Continue]
  • At Mastering Your Money, we will gladly applaud people taking cost cutting strategies. Check Our Video Blog On Can You Become A Millionaire http://masteringyourmoney.com/
  • In my work helping single women make sense of their money and their taxes, I frequently talk to women who used to be married, but are not now. If you are a married woman, the odds are high you will not be married in the future. Longer lifespans for women and increasing rates of divorce []
  • Is it possible to sell property in India if you are a Non Resident Indian (NRI) currently living in the US? The answer is yes but the process can be cumbersome. (Feed generated with FetchRSS )
  • In May, uniformly positive economic fundamentals turned mixed over fears of a two-front trade-war. Check Our Video Blog On Amid Signs Of Weakness, Fed Reverses Course; Stocks Rally http://masteringyourmoney.com/
  • This is the time of year when we hear about graduation and moving up ceremonies. People gather to congratulate students of all ages as they move forward from one grade to another or as they make a leap from one part of their schooling to start anew in junior high school, high school, college, or [] ©Bring Clarity to Your Finances™. Celebrate Your Financial Planning Milestones is a post from Bring Clarity to Your Finances™
  • In many divorces, parents spend a lot of their time negotiating the terms of equitable distribution of their assets and spousal support. Because child support terms are largely dictated by state law, there’s not as much deliberation in that area. And caught in the middle are things like 529 plans, which are assumed to be the ‘child’s’ asset, but are in fact usually the asset of one of the parents. Not accounting for this in a divorce might lead to unfortunate consequences down the road, even for the most well-intentioned families. (Feed generated with FetchRSS )
  • Few people really understand their own minds or the minds of others. Check Out This Interview On Career Success http://masteringyourmoney.com/
  • Marriage is certainly an exciting time in life that is filled with joy and exuberance. However, once the honeymoon is over and life sets back in, you may soon be faced with the reality that as a married couple you need to reevaluate your financial situation to create a plan for two, not two individual plans.
  • FDIC deposit insurance covers checking, savings, money market and Negotiable Order of Withdrawal (NOW) accounts as well as CD’s, cashier’s checks and money orders.
  • We talk a lot about retirement planning: taking time out to think about your financial goals and planning out how to reach them. But in Forced to retire? Here’s what to do Marketwatch covers a scenario that you may not be able to anticipate: being forced into retirement before you are ready. The article advises [] ©Bring Clarity to Your Finances™. Dont Make Rash Moves if Youre Forced Into Retirement is a post from Bring Clarity to Your Finances™
  • In many divorces, money is a primary cause of the divorce. This is supported by numerous studies conducted by a range of people. Whether it’s from Dave Ramsey or academia, it’s pretty clear that many divorces happen because of fights over money. (Feed generated with FetchRSS )
  • Aretha Franklin is the latest celebrity to have her estate in the news because of a lack of estate planning documents and unclear instructions. Not long after the singer’s death, it was reported that she had left no will. Then last week, news surfaced that Franklin had indeed left a will (Did Aretha Franklin Leave Her [] ©Bring Clarity to Your Finances™. The Debate Over Aretha Franklins Estate is a post from Bring Clarity to Your Finances™
  • In many divorces, a qualified retirement plan (such as a 401k) can be the largest asset for the spouses to divide. This is especially true when there isn’t a house at stake. While each employee should be familiar with the rules (or be able to talk with their plan administrator), this can be a big challenge for the non-employee spouse. In most cases, the spouse has had little or no knowledge of the qualified plan details, because that’s what the employee spouse usually did. (Feed generated with FetchRSS )
  • May 22, 2019 Between two professional credentials that each need a lot of continuing education, plus family vacation time, Im on the road a lot when its not tax season.  Most of the time Ill be able to get a voicemail/text/email and answer within a reasonable time frame, except except for one week when Im [] The post Wendys Upcoming Vacation and Travel Schedule appeared first on Wendy Marsden, CPA, CFP® .
  • You may have heard it said that those who fail to plan, plan to fail. That isn’t just a clever rearranging of words; it really has meaning. Financial planning is about the long-term and the short-term. The weather is getting warmer and in the short term, it is easy to spend money and be carefree [] ©Bring Clarity to Your Finances™. Find Ways to Save on Summer Fun is a post from Bring Clarity to Your Finances™
  • The May/June edition of the Brown Alumni Magazine features Zach and Values Added (link)! "Brown’s alumni ranks are full of people who aim to do well and also do good. Zach Teutsch ’05 has made it his mission to help others do the same."
  • Later this year, the first of my husbands and my term life insurance policies expire. Twenty years ago, I found out I was pregnant. In between waves of nausea I remember thinking We should get life insurance. We chose 20-year term life insurance policies. Term life insurance pays a benefit in the event of the []
  • Financial planning done well, allows you to align your money with your life.  Money is a tool. We want to use it optimally. So before we determine what we should do with your money, it is vital that we take time to focus on what matters most in your life.   At Stone Steps, we Continue reading "What is the EVOKE process?"
  • A portfolio that is well aligned with your risk profile helps you avoid emotional reactions to sudden changes in the market. Too much risk causes stress and worry that often results in the sale of stock mutual funds when they are down. The goal is to set an asset allocation that takes enough risk to meet your long-term goals, while giving you peace of mind to stay the course during rough market conditions.
  • Now that Mother’s Day is over and we are back to business as usual, let’s really take a look at and appreciate mothers in the United Statesmany of whom are balancing a lot of different responsibilities. According to Pew Research (6 Facts about Moms): The median age at which women become mothers is older than [] ©Bring Clarity to Your Finances™. Mothers: Make Time for Financial Planning is a post from Bring Clarity to Your Finances™
  • Where Should I Retire?

    3 Questions to Ask Yourself before Determining Your Retirement Housing Needs
  • Since I began my career as a financial planner, I have always been searching for the best way to help clients plan and take action so they can live their ideal life. Traditional Financial Planning Traditional financial planning was where I started since that is how I was trained.  In traditional financial planning, we look Continue reading "Financial Life Planning = Financial Planning Done Right"
  • Déjà Vu All Over AgainFirst Quarter Market Review 2019 Once of the reasons that Step By Step Financial is a Dimensional Fund Advisor is DFA's focus on data driven investment strategies, and nowhere is that better reflected than in their quarterly market reports. These are great tools for not only us as professionals, but also for the private investor. The following excerpt from the conclusion starting on page 18 is an excellent example. Investment fads are nothing new. When selecting strategies for their portfolios, investors are often tempted to seek out the latest and greatest investment opportunities. Over the years, these approaches have sought to capitalize on developments such as the perceived relative strength of particular geographic regions, technological changes in the economy, or the popularity of different natural resources. But long-term investors should be aware that letting short-term trends influence their investment approach may be counterproductive. As Nobel laureate Eugene Fama said, “There’s one robust new idea in finance that has investment implications maybe every 10 or 15 years, but there’s a marketing idea every week.” After reviewing the data (which is fascinating!), read the conclusion on pages 18-19 in this first quarter market review: WHAT’S HOT BECOMES WHAT’S NOT THE FUND GRAVEYARD WHAT AM I REALLY GETTING? Read the full review here.
  • Identity theft protection services cannot prevent identity theft, they monitor your personal information and alert you of any unusual or suspicious activity. There is no way to fully protect your identity, the information needed to compromise your finances is already out there.