• Investing,  Planning,  Retirement,  Savings

    How Much Do I Need To Save For Retirement?

    One of the biggest questions I get, from virtually every client and most of my survey respondents, is: How much money do I need to retire? There are so many things to think about and so many potential options it can be overwhelming to even know where to start. (Trust me, it’s complicated, and I’m a Financial Planner!) This is part of why so many people don’t even start saving for retirement. Let’s spend some time de-mystifying how much to save for retirement. Today we’ll go over some of the most common stumbling blocks to figuring out your target savings rate. We will also discuss how to evaluate online calculators…

  • Investing

    Hedge Funds, Private Equity, Commodities, Real Estate: Asset Allocation part 2

    “Alternative Investments” is a catch-all phrase used to describe investments that don’t fall neatly into the traditional cash, stock or bond categories. You may have some in your portfolio already. Or perhaps your financial sales rep called you with a suggestion to invest in a new hedge fund-like mutual fund. In this post I will provide you with a brief overview of some of the most common alternative investments. I also want to give you permission to pass on any investments that you don’t understand. It’s not you, it’s them. Not all that glitters is gold: Commodities Commodities were originally designed to help farmers reduce their risk by using contracts…

  • Investing

    What is an Asset and how can I get one? Asset Allocation part 1

    How the heck are you supposed to judge whether a specific asset allocation is right for you if you don’t fully understand the differences between the assets you are allocating? What does that even mean?! What is an asset and how can I get one may be your first question. Let’s start at the beginning so you can understand what your financial adviser, financial planner or salesperson (let’s be real - most people in “financial services” are actually in “financial sales”) is talking about. Today let’s focus on empowering you with knowledge you can use to better understand your financial picture. I’ll be frank, I don’t think the vast majority…

  • Employee Benefits,  Kids and Money

    Dependent Care FSAs: The Employee Benefit Parents Shouldn’t Skip

    Do you have a kid under 13? Do you pay someone to watch them so you (and your spouse) can work? You may be eligible for a Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (this is separate from your Healthcare Flexible Spending Account ). Childcare is a huge drain on many families’ budget but few families seem to know about or take advantage of this employee benefit. In this post we will go over the who, what, why, and how of Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts so you can make the best decision for your family and possibly save some serious money. What is a Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account? OK, first,…

  • Employee Benefits,  Investing,  Retirement,  Savings

    The Roth 401(k): 8 Things You Need To Know

    The Roth 401(k) is a retirement plan option that is becoming increasingly popular. It’s similar to the Roth IRA in that it allows you to save after-tax money in a retirement account. Also like the Roth IRA, the money grows tax-free and can be withdrawn tax-free in retirement. This can be an awesome opportunity to allow your retirement money to grow tax-free and then be withdrawn tax-free after age 59 ½. 1. Why Should I save money in a Roth (k)? There are four big draws for a Roth 401(k) Withdrawals from a Roth 401(k) are tax-free. (Awesome!) You don’t pay any taxes on capital gains or interest on money…

  • Employee Benefits,  Savings

    Can An HSA or FSA Save You Money?

    Recently a friend asked me if she should participate in her employer’s Healthcare Savings Account (HSA) or Flexible Spending Account (FSA). Signing up for employee benefits can be very confusing. Especially if you are trying to figure out your 401k, HSA, HDHP, FSA and DSA. What the heck does all of that mean? In this post we will explore the Healthcare Savings Account (HSA) and the Flexible Spending Account (FSA). These are two of the most common employer-provided savings accounts for healthcare costs. We will talk about how they can save you money, their unique features, and the risks of each type of account. By the end of this post…