Archives For Finances

Financial Plans

November 5, 2015 — Leave a comment

FinancesWhat plans do you have for your finances – not only today, but into the near future as well?

Don’t have any? Do you even know how much money you’re bringing in? Not your salary, but what you actually get to bring home?

Now do you know where that money is going each month? How about each week? Don’t know?

You see if you don’t know what’s coming in each month and where it goes each month how do you ever think you’ll get out of debt? We’ve heard it over and over again: “You can never get out of debt!” OR “You can never get ahead these days.”

Those are both just flat out lies!

But you have to know what’s coming in and what’s going out first.

Take the time to track both of those for the next month – just to get a picture, to become better informed. Then do it for another month – maybe a third as well. You’ll have a good idea of your spending habits and why you always seem to have more month left at the end of your money.

You see, even the richest of the rich (NOT a dirty word) know what comes in and out with their own money. So why not track it? Then we can talk about plans for your financial future.

How to Save More

February 5, 2015 — Leave a comment

savingsHow would you like to save lots of money, while never putting away more than $30? Sound like a scam to you? Well check this out.

Begin today by putting $1 in an envelope, then tomorrow put in another $2, then on the 3rd day put $3 in and continue that for 30 days. On that 30th day you will put $30 in the envelope but do you realize that on that 30th day you will now have $465 in the envelope?

Was it magic? Did the money grow on trees? No! You simply followed a plan to set aside a certain amount each day.

Now what happens if you that each month for 12 months? You wind up with more than $5.5K!! And that’s with no interest at all – just saving it in an envelope each month.

It’s not flashy, it’s not a “get-rich-quick” scheme. It’s just developing a plan and sticking to it.

Don’t believe me? Try it yourself.

What could you do with an extra $5K?

Financial Wednesday

March 19, 2014 — Leave a comment

finance2I don’t want to reinvent the wheel about this, and I agree with what is said in this article, so just click the link and read what Dave has to say about your retirement.

Why not change the way you’re thinking about your own retirement?

Enough said.

financeFrom our friends at Wikipedia: “Finance is the study of how people allocate their assets over time under conditions of certainty and uncertainty. A key point in finance, which affects decisions, is the time value of money, which states that a unit of currency today is worth more than the same unit of currency tomorrow. Finance aims to price assets based on their risk level, and expected rate of return. Finance can be broken into three different sub categories: public finance, corporate finance and personal finance.”

For many, finance is the “four-letter F” word for today. People either do not know how to handle their own finances or they don’t know how to handle the company finances. And those who don’t learn some simple steps about their own finances will be destined to be fairly “ordinary” in their day-to-day living.

Granted, not everyone is designed to be the next Donald nor the next Warren Buffet, but you do not have to settle for mediocre if you will just take the time to learn a little about your personal financial picture.

Enter the fine folk at LearnVest. They exist for people just like you. They are a team of Certified Financial Planners who have as their goal helping you develop a great financial plan. Not some plan that worked for your parents, even though they may be doing OK. But a plan that is custom designed just for you, your own goals, and your unique circumstances.

Check out their website in the paragraph above and you’ll discover that the first month is FREE. If you’ve been with us very long you know we’re all about the FREE.

So if finances scare you, or if you have no clue about where or how to begin, or if you’re a new High School or college grad, check out LearnVest. You’ll be glad you did.

No frills. Nothing fancy, just good old common sense and learning from those who’ve been there and done it.

CNN Money went to New York’s Amsterdam at Harborside retirement community to interview couples about how they survived – both with their marriage and with their finances. What a great way to end the week!

Watch and learn HERE.

Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Last week I wrote about how to break the chains of debt.

One of the steps I mentioned was establishing an Emergency Fund. So guess what shows up in my in-box the other day? An article on the very same thing from Fidelity Investments.

So, I’m NOT blowing smoke after all.

Read their article HERE.
Then you decide for yourself – do you need one, or don’t you?

OK, if you’ve stayed with us for the past couple of days we’ve discussed several steps to Breaking the Chains of Debt. Today is the final edition of this post, though we reserve the right to re-visit the issue or add to the dialogue as needed.

So far we’ve talked about:
1. Decide now to refuse to go further into debt.
2. Find an accountability partner.
3. Establish an Emergency Fund.
4. Pay off debt using what Dave Ramsey calls the “Debt Snowball.”
5. Pray for divine guidance as you are working your way out of debt.
6. Sell something and apply the proceeds to the debt.
If you do those six steps, you will find yourself eventually out of debt and saving money. Your grandparents used to tell you why you save – “for a rainy day.” Though it’s an out-dated phrase, the principle rings true.

Here’s my 7th and 8th final steps to this whole process:
7. Become a giver.
If, up to now, you have not been giving to charities, or your non-profit of choice, or to your church – begin doing that now! If you’ve been working the previous six steps you are well on your way to financial freedom. Now is the time to establish the habit of generosity!

No matter how much you earn each year, no matter where you live, no matter what you do to earn your income – you have been given much, you can give as well. There is no financial formula that guarantees your return on giving. But it’s much like gardening or farming – if you want more flowers or to harvest more corn, you have to plant more seed. Establish giving as a habit in your life and you will reap the rewards.

8. Continue working each and every step.
My last step to Breaking the Chains of Debt is to simply continue working through each of the steps consistently, frequently, all the time, without giving up and you WILL break the chains of debt that have you bound up and restricted from doing what you would like to do financially.

Does that guarantee that you will become rich? That depends. What’s your definition of “rich”?

We can talk about that later.

Remember what we discussed yesterday – “the borrower is slave to the lender”? You now have the tools to no longer be a “slave”, but you, too, can be on the path to true financial freedom. The question remains – will you work the steps or will you remain a slave to debt?

It’s for you to decide.

“First we make our habits, then our habits make us.” – Denis Waitley

Today I wanted to begin sharing a 3-part post I call Breaking the Chains of Debt. I know what some will be thinking – “Debt’s a good thing.” or “You can’t buy any large ticket item without debt.” But I’d like to share with you a few simple steps to becoming and remaining debt-free.

1. Decide now to refuse to go further into debt.
Probably THE most important decision you can make to ensure that you break the chains of debt is to decide that you will go no further into debt. You may have many debts now, but deciding to refuse any new debt is the first step toward financial freedom.

2. Find an accountability partner.
If you are married, this could be your spouse. I say “could be” because I’ve talked with couples who are both free-spirited spenders. So they do not make good accountability partners for each other. Their typical response to the question, “should I buy this?” is “Sure, buy two!” If you’re already over your head in debt, you need someone who will speak sense to you when you are emotionally caught up in your next big purchase.

Sometimes a spouse can be just the person to keep you accountable – if they are willing to say “No!” when they need to say no. They do NOT have to become a tight-wad about purchases, but whoever it is, your accountability partner needs to be someone who has your best interest at heart, knows whether you can afford that big purchase or not, and can help talk you through the temptation to go further in debt.

3. Establish an Emergency Fund.
Dave Ramsey would tell say that you need $1,000 in the bank to act as a cushion for life events. Have you ever noticed that when you least expect it life happens?

Part of the problem is that we are not prepared for those events that arise from time to time. The 19 year-old refrigerator quits. The car’s tires wear out. The children grow and need larger clothes before school. Our favorite uncle’s birthday pops up. Or Christmas comes unexpectedly.

The idea is that we prepare for those events that we know will occur on a regular basis. If we just go around NOT planning for these events – one or more of them will catch us “by surprise” before we know it. So why not plan for them? So, as fast as you can do it, put at least $1,000 into a fund that is NOT for your next big purchase, but is there to absorb the shock of the next event that catches you “by surprise.”

When my wife and I first did this, several years ago, one evening she exclaimed, “the refrigerator is making a weird noise, what are we going to do?” I reminded her that we had our Emergency Fund sitting there for just such an occasion and she sighed a huge sigh of relief.

We will continue the conversation tomorrow. Stay tuned.

From the offices of Dave Ramsey:

The Tip:
ETFs are similar to mutual funds, but they can tempt you to buy and sell them rather than holding them for the long term. They can also be more expensive and give you lower returns.

Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are the new kid on the investing block. They’re only about 20 years old, and they’ve been growing in popularity. Investors have put more than $8 billion into ETFs this year, and they’re starting to show up in 401(k) plans.

Should you consider adding ETFs to your retirement investments?

How ETFs Work
ETFs are similar to index mutual funds in that they invest in baskets of stocks that track or mirror a market index like the Dow Jones industrial average. Expenses are usually comparable to a mutual fund and are managed either by a fund manager or via computer.

The major difference between the two is that ETFs are bought and sold like individual stocks during the trading day. Mutual fund transactions are completed at the end of the trading day.

So far, so good, right? ETFs provide diversification, have low fees, and since they track stock market performance, they’ll most likely make money long term. But ETFs don’t fit 100% with Dave’s investing philosophy.

  1. Day-trading temptation: ETFs were created to be bought and sold like stocks. So, it’s easy to get sucked in to the temptation to buy and sell for some short-term cash. That’s not how you build wealth for retirement. That’s how you go broke.
  2. Systematic downfall. Most of your retirement investing is done systematically through small, monthly contributions to your 401(k) or IRA. ETFs charge a broker’s transaction fee each time you add money—that’s in addition to the funds’ normal operating fees. Those fees can quickly eat into your returns.
  3. So-so returns. The S&P 500 averages about 12% long-term growth, so an ETF or index mutual fund that tracks it will give you a similar return. But you can beat the stock market’s average with a good growth stock mutual fund. In fact, it’s your fund manager’s job to outperform the market.

ETFs appeal to those investors who want wealth building to be “sophisticated.” But the truth is, the simpler your investment strategy, the better.

Contact your personal Financial Coach for more information and to get your overall Financial Plan off to a great start.

Dig Deeper With a Pro’s Advice
There’s more to ETFs than we’ve covered here. If you’d like to know more, talk with an experienced investing professional who can answer your questions. Dave’s investing Endorsed Local Providers (ELPs) have the knowledge to help you build a retirement savings plan and follow through with it. Contact your ELP today!

by Terri Gruca
Feel like you’re drowning in debt? You’re not alone.

According to a new University of Michigan study, one out of every five households in the U.S. owes more on credit cards, medical bills, student loans and other debts than they have in savings or other liquid assets.

The report also found that the mortgage crisis may be far from over. About 1.7 percent of families surveyed say it is “very or somewhat likely” that they will fall behind on their mortgage payments in the near future. About 1.9 percent said that in 2009.

The average savings has gone up for most families since 2008, but it is primarily for families with more than $50,000 already in savings or other liquid assets.

The significance of this study is that it surveyed the same 8,121 families before and after the economic downturn. It is the longest longitudinal household survey in the world.

Here are some other key (scary to me) findings:

  • About 3.5 percent of families owned a home and were behind on their mortgage payments in either 2009 or 2011, or in both years. While these percentages are low, the number of families affected is significant—approximately 4.1 million on a national level.
  • The proportion of families with no savings or other liquid assets rose to 23.4 percent in 2011, up from 18.5 percent in 2009.
  • About the same percentage of families in 2009 and 2011 had $30,000 or more in credit card and other non-collateralized debts (8.5 percent vs.10 percent), and about the same proportion (48.0 percent vs. 47.4 percent) had no such debt in both years.

So, what do you think? Scary or no?

Want help? Check this out.