• Planning,  Savings

    Set Yourself Up For Success In 2017

    New Year’s Resolutions can seem futile - who hasn’t taken up some form of exercise only to completely drop it by Presidents Day? There tend to be a couple of things missing when we set goals that lead to failure: a lack of specificity and a reliance on willpower. Let’s take advantage of this time of year to reflect and plan. Whether you like to call it “life planning” or “goal setting” or something else, this exercise can prove to be an invaluable way of focusing your energy on what you want to get out of life. Separate The Noise From What Actually Matters Family life is busy and it’s…

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    College,  Savings

    Should You Save For Retirement Or College?

    The struggle is real. I talk to parents all the time who ask me flat out - should I save for retirement or save for college? Many parents who had some or all of their college education paid for feel intense pressure to provide the same opportunity to their children. However, the incredible rise in college costs makes that goal feel impossible. The case for saving for college I see new medical professionals with enormous debt loads starting their careers and their families at the same time. To them, saving for their kid’s college is vitally important because they don’t want their children to experience the same stress they feel…

  • Kids and Money

    3 Fun Ways Help Your Preschooler Understand Money

    Is preschool too young to start talking to your kid about money? It depends on how you do it and what you cover. You can make learning about money fun by keeping it simple. Build your preschooler's money smarts with these 3 fun and easy ideas! Your preschooler is ready to start learning simple vocabulary and basic economic lessons- e.g., if you want to buy something you have to pay for it with money. Or, if you work, then you can earn money. Preschoolers are very literal, so the examples and experiences need to be very concrete.  First, if you haven’t read the article on talking to kids about money,…

  • Savings

    Yes Virginia, You Do Need An Emergency Fund

    What is the financial advice that people need to hear from their advisers but aren’t? Here it is: you need an emergency savings fund. And that emergency fund probably needs to be bigger than you think. I admit, it’s not as exciting as the latest IPO stock tip but way more impactful to your goal of building wealth or creating financial independence. In this post we will talk about the what, why and how of emergency funds complete with a simple 3 step plan to get started on your own emergency fund. Now you may be thinking, I’m great at my job and my boss loves me. Or, I have…

  • Budgeting

    A Simple Plan To Avoid A Holiday Spending Hangover

    Are you ready to spend almost $1,000 on Christmas this year? According to some pollsters Americans will be spending (on average) $900 this holiday season. That’s just what they PLAN to spend- there’s no way to predict how much they might overspend. Although, Kate Ashford’s recent article for Forbes “8 Ways To Keep A Leash On Holiday Spending” references a TD Bank survey that suggests 78% of people will go over their budgets. Not only that but they estimate they will run over budget by $200 on average! I contributed some ideas to Kate’s article (see "Don't be afraid of the Returns Desk"). Which got me thinking about what actions…

  • Employee Benefits

    Is your 401(k) plan good or even decent?

    Is your 401(k) plan a good deal or a rip-off? How do you know if you have a good 401(k) plan at work? What should you do if you don’t have a good plan? These are important questions. Not everyone has access to a great retirement plan with low costs, diversified investment options and a generous employer match. We will go through some questions you should ask when reviewing your retirement plan at work, and give you some ideas on what to do if you don’t like your options. Does your 401(k) offer matching employer contributions? One of the most important questions to ask is whether or not your employer…

  • Employee Benefits,  Investing

    Why Investment Fees Matter

    Do you have an extra $186,000 lying around? If I told you you could have $186,000 more in your portfolio after 30 years by simply by reducing your investment expenses, would you be interested? I would! When it comes to investing, fees matter. Whether you invest with an advisor, do-it-yourself or invest exclusively in a company retirement plan, the fees you pay to invest your money directly affect how much you end up with over time. You should always be able to easily tell what you are paying to invest your money. This article will explain some of the reasons why mutual fund fees matter to your bottom line. Index…

  • Kids and Money

    Teaching Kids to Handle Money

    Kids and money. For most of us this probably brings up memories of spending the majority of your allowance on candy. Or that really proud parent moment when your kid threw a fit in Target because you wouldn’t purchase them a $45 Lego set...No? Just me? A 2013 University of Cambridge study showed that kids learn most of their money habits by age 7. So how do we teach kids to make good financial decisions?  Money Grows On Trees Let’s start with one simple premise: kids literally think money appears out of thin air. Why shouldn’t they? Think about it - they don’t see you work (unless you work at…

  • Budgeting

    Change your mind about budgeting, change your life

    That may seem like a bold statement, but I truly believe it. Everyone squirms when talking about budgeting. People tend to talk about budgets as if they were all about depriving yourself of fun. Really though, budgets are not the carb-free diet you are imagining. While budgeting does typically mean spending less money in a few areas, it also means using that money on things that really matter. That’s why I like to refer to budgets as spending plans. Find out how changing your spending plan to reflect your values can reduce conflict in your relationships over money, help you to ignore your lizard-brain telling you to spend now, and…

  • Budgeting

    How to Easily Create a Spending Plan

    Image by FirmBee Did you know that money is a leading cause of stress in Americans 1? Even if you didn’t, I’ll bet you aren’t too surprised. One of the basic building blocks to success with money is knowing what we spend. The word budget tends to invoke some negative thoughts in people, such as, a fear of failure. As in, I don’t want to create a budget because I don’t want to “fail” by accidentally spending too much. That’s why I like the term “spending plan.” A plan is flexible. A plan can be customized and changed on the go if necessary. Having a plan is powerful. Want to create a…