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Understanding Investment Terms and Concepts

November 19, 2014

Below are summaries of some basic principles you should understand when evaluating an investment opportunity or making an investment decision. Rest assured, this is not rocket science. In fact, you’ll see that the most important foundation on which to base your investment education is simply good common sense. Don’t be intimidated by jargon. Don’t worry Read More

What is Important

November 12, 2014

You work hard for your money and want to spend it on the things in life that are important to you. To make sure that you are saving and spending your money in the way that will make you happy is to spend and save in accordance with your values. If it is important to Read More

What is the difference between a 529 account and a Coverdell account, also known as the Education IRA?

November 05, 2014

One big difference is what you can invest the money in. Money in the Education IRA can be invested in almost anything such as stocks, bonds and other investment vehicles. The owner of the account, along with your financial advisor, decides where the money is invested. Whereas, the 529 plan cannot be invested in individual Read More

Charity

October 29, 2014

Is naming a charity as one of the multiple beneficiaries always a good idea? Not it is not. If you want to arrange for charitable gifts from your IRA assets upon your death, you can certainly do that. However, it may not always be the best strategy from a gifting perspective to name the charity Read More

What is the difference between term and whole life insurance?

October 22, 2014

Two main types of life insurance are term and whole life. Term insurance is the least expensive type of insurance you can buy. It is for a set period of time, such as 10, 20 or 30 years. If you buy a 20-year term insurance policy with a benefit of $500,000, then if you pass Read More

Understanding Investment Terms and Concepts

October 15, 2014

Below are summaries of some basic principles you should understand when evaluating an investment opportunity or making an investment decision. Rest assured, this is not rocket science. In fact, you’ll see that the most important principle on which to base your investment education is simply good common sense. Don’t be intimidated by jargon Don’t worry Read More

What are some things I can do to teach my kids how to save and spend wisely?

October 08, 2014

One of the greatest ways to teach out kids bout money is to practice what you preach. Sit down together and set goals together with your kids. This way they are saving towards something that matters to them, while they see you saving to achieve your goals. You can take your child to the bank Read More

National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October 01, 2014

“Domestic violence causes far more than the visible marks of bruises and scares. It is devastating to be abused by someone that you love and think loves you in return. It is estimated that approximately 3 million incidents of domestic violence are reported each year in the United States.” – Dianne Fernstein, Senator Here are Read More

What are some things I can do to keep my fees down in a divorce?

September 24, 2014

This list is not exhaustive, but here are some of my top recommendations: Be consice on the phone with your attorney. Write down all your questions and when you have a full list, then call them rather than calling multiple times with just one question. Find all your documents and gather as much information as Read More

Teaching Your Teen About Money

September 17, 2014

Your teen is becoming more independent, but still needs plenty of advice from you. With more money to spend and more opportunities to spend it, your teen can easily get into financial trouble. So before money burns a hole in your child’s pocket, teach him or her a few financial lessons. With your help, your Read More

What is the difference between a will and a trust?

September 10, 2014

A will is a legal document that states where you want all your property (basically all of your “stuff”) to go. A trust is a legal document that states who you want to be in charge to make sure all your property gets to whomover you want it to go to. If you don’t have Read More

Couples Retirement Readiness

September 03, 2014

How well are you communicating with your significant other about retirement? If you are wondering, we have come up with a simple questionnaire that can help you determine what you need to be talking about with your spouse. Instructions: Do the assessment separately and then share your results. Put a T after the statements you Read More

My spouse and I are separated and considering divorce. What do I need to know from a financial standpoint?

August 27, 2014

First,  know that “divorce” is a word that does not have to destroy your financial future. There are four things you’ll need to financially survive a divorce: a place to live, little or no debt, retirement assets and liquid money. You should strive for balance in each of these, you need a mix of them Read More

Kids and College

August 20, 2014

Do you plan on helping your child or grandchild pay for college? According to the College Board, a moderate college budget for an in-state public college for the 2013-2014 academic year averaged $8,893. A moderate budget at a private college averaged $30,094. That is just for one year! Over the past decade, expenses at public Read More

How do I know if I’m saving enough for retirement?

August 13, 2014

A general recommendation says that men should be saving 10 percent of their income, women 12 percent. However, it’s especially important for all of us to actually sit down and develop a plan to figure out if we’re saving enough. Then when the question “are you saving enough?” comes up, you can say “Yes!” Read More

Talk to Kids

August 06, 2014

It is so important to talk to your kids about money. I love it when my clients bring their kids into my office to meet with me and talk about money. Sometimes kids need to hear from a third party how to save and invest money. It is important to talk to kids of all Read More

How do I know I can trust the person I invest with?

July 30, 2014

First, ask the advisor if they are licensed and registered in your state. You also want the advisor to give you written information that fully explains the investment you are considering, such as a prospectus. Yes, I know your eyes are glazing over when you see a prospectus, which is another reason you need a Read More

How Much to Save

July 23, 2014

If you are not saving at least 10% for your retirement, you  may not be saving enough. If you are looking towards retirement, women should be saving at least 12% and men should be saving 10% towards retirement. This is because we as women tend to live longer than men, make less than men and Read More

How does a person find or pick a Financial Advisor?

July 16, 2014

Start by asking for referrals from friends, family or neighbors. Another good way to start is to find someone who’s financially successful and prepared and ask them who they use. You can also find Financial Advisors through community education programs or in local newspaper calendars, which often list seminars. These seminars are a good idea Read More

Merging Your Money When You Marry

July 09, 2014

Getting married is exciting, but it brings many challenges. One such challenge that you and your spouse will have to face is how to merge your finances. Planning carefullyl and communicating clearly are important, because the financial decisions that you make now can have a lasting impact on your future. Discuss your financial goals The Read More

How does a Financial Advisor get paid?

July 02, 2014

Financial Advisors get paid three main ways: fee-based, commission-based or hourly. In fee-based accounts, you pay a certain percentage of your assets that the financial advisor manags. You don’t pay per transaction as you do when you buy or sell stock but instead pay a set percentage based on the value of your account. Fees Read More

Retirement Goals

June 25, 2014

When thinking about your retirement it may feel overwhelming to figure out if you are on track towards retirement or how much money you will need to retire. For years, many thought that $1 million was enough to retire on, but it depends on your situation. If you retire with $1 million and invest it Read More

How does asset allocation help my investments?

June 18, 2014

Asset allocation is the process of spreading your money across stocks, bonds and cash equivalents in a way that reflects your goals and risk tolerance. Allocation is the primary driver of your investment performance – how well your investments do. The appropriate asset allocaon strategy  can help reduce the risk associated with any one investment Read More

Sudden Wealth

June 11, 2014

What would you do with an extra $10,000? Pay off some debt? Get rid of some college loans or take a much-needed vacation? What if you suddenly had an extra million or 10 million or more? Evaluate your new financial position Just how wealthy are you? You’ll want to figure that out before you make Read More

What is the difference between a stock and a bond?

June 04, 2014

A key difference between a stock and a bond is that stocks make no promises about dividends or returns. A company’s dividend may come regularly, but the company is under no obligation to pay it. And while the company stock might be very profitable at one time, it could also go down and cause a Read More

Getting Started: Establishing a Financial Safety Net

May 28, 2014

In times of crisis, you don’t want to be shaking pennies out of a piggy bank. Having a financial safety net in place can ensure that you’re protected when a financial emergency arises. One way to accomplish this is by setting up a cash reserve, a pool of readily available funds that can help you Read More

When is the right time to invest?

May 21, 2014

My clients sometimes ask me “Have we hit the bottom yet?” My response is always the same: I know better than to try and time the market; it’s virtually impossible. Successful investing is about time in the market and there is no time like the present to invest. You, the investor, should be committed to Read More

Do you have a blended family?

May 14, 2014

Information from a Vital Statistics Report shows that about 75% of divorced persons eventually remarry and about 65% of remarriages involve children from the prior marriage and form blended families. Also 60% of all remarriages eventually end in legal divorce. So, blended families are not out of the ordinary anymore. More and more divorces and Read More

What are some common mistakes people make with their money?

May 07, 2014

Not having enough liquid money. This money is for unexpected events that tap your pocket book. For example, if you lose your job, you will need money to pay the mortgage and monthly bills until you can replace that income. Or if there were a car accident, you would need liquid dollars to cover car Read More

Is my credit combined with my husband’s or do we each have our own credit?

April 09, 2014

You each have your own credit score; it follows your Social Security number. It is especially important for women to make sure they have credit under their own name. Once women get married, often their husband’s name goes first on just about everything: credit cards, mortgage, electric bill, etc. Or worse, only his name goes Read More

Add to Your IRA by April 15th

April 02, 2014

Did you know that you still have until April 15th of this year to put money away for 2013 in your Roth or Traditional IRA? You can put $5,500 into your account for 2013 and $6,500 if you are over the age of 50. Make sure you see if you qualify and if so take Read More

I’m wondering if I should rush to pay off my mortgage?

March 26, 2014

Paying off a mortgage is obviously a great way to eliminate debt, but you need to tak a hard look at the numbers. If you have a great interest rate you generally don’t need to. A low rate is a great thing as well as al the interest you pay on your mortgage could be Read More

I have been told I should have an emergency fund.

March 20, 2014

Any financial advisor is going to recommend you have “liquid money” set aside that will cover six to twelve months of expenses. By liquid, I mean accesible: it is underneath your mattress, in your pocket, or ideally, in some type of account where you earn interest, such as a money market account. Liquid money is Read More

Women Are Smarter

March 19, 2014

Do you know that women are smarter when it comes to investing? According to the University of California at Davis, they found that single women’s portolios earned, on average 2.3% points more per year than single men. Yes, we as women truly are smart! But, where women are not smart is that women typically start Read More

Are there hiden costs associated with buying a home?

March 12, 2014

You are right to realize there are other costs you might incur besides just the mortgage payment, closing fees, other commissions you may pay to the real estate agent and any other costs of the actual purchase. You don’t want to do all you can to buy a house, then move in and have no Read More

Getting out of your comfort zone

March 05, 2014

What’s comfortable when it comes to your money? Ignoring it? Wishing you had a different financial situation? Wishing or hoping your life will be different is generally not going to change anything. You need to get out of your comfort zone and get a plan. My life dramaticaly changed 3 1/2 years ago personally and Read More

I get a HUGE tax refund back every year and I’m wondering how I should invest the money?

February 26, 2014

Getting a huge tax refund back every year is NOT a good thing. If you have a refund every year, this means you are giving the government an interest-free loan. It’s better to have a larger paycheck every month and use the money throughout the year to spend, save or invest. If you are using Read More

I’m looking at going back to school but realize I would need to take out some loans. Is this ok?

February 19, 2014

There is good debt and bad debt. Good debt is ok: a mortgage, student loans or something that is an investment in you. Bad debt is basically anything else: credit cards, personal loans, etc. However, when you take out loans for school you may be offered more money than you truly need for school expenses. Read More

I have a lot of debt and don’t know where to start. I am overwhelmed and frustrated. What is the first step I should take?

February 12, 2014

The first step is to gather all your financial information. You want to know how much debt you have and the interest rate on each mortgage, credit card, student loan, etc. When looking at saving for the future, it is important to get rid of debt. Then stop using your credit cards; if you have Read More

I have all these expenses that I know I cannot cut back. Should I get a second job?

January 29, 2014

There is almost always an area you can cut back on. Do you have recurring expenses every month, such as a haircut? An easy way to cut some of these recurring costs can be to stretch the calendar a little more. Try adding a couple more weeks to the time between each appointment, so instead Read More

I don’t have any credit cards or any debt. I live on cash. Is this a bad thing?

January 22, 2014

Congratulations on being completely debt-free! However, in today’s world, this could actually hurt you in the future. Without credit cards or any liabilities, you will not have a credit history; it is that history lenders use to decide if they want to give you a loan. If you ever plan on buying a home, a Read More

I just got engaged. My fiancee and I are both horrible with money and have little to save after we pay our bills. What should we do to save for a wedding?

January 15, 2014

It astounds me that the average cost of a wedding is $25,000. That is a lot of money. Imagine what you could do with $25,000 as you start your life together. Your wedding day is a very special day and you want to remember it for the rest of your life – but do you Read More

My husband and I are thinking that I should quit my job and stay at home with our kids. How do I know if I can afford this?

January 08, 2014

With child care costs so expensive, it may make more financial sense for you or your spouse to stay at home with the children. I have a number of clients whose daycare costs them more than their mortgage every month. However, before you decide to quit, sit down with your spouse, weigh the pros and Read More

When I think of a budget it seems overwhelming. Where do I start?

January 01, 2014

You can start by developing a budget from today forward. It’s hard to go back in time and figure out where your money went, so just start by tracking where you spend your money for this next month. You can use our monthly budget worksheet to show you how. You’ll need to know how much Read More

Credit Card Debt

December 25, 2013

Credit card debt seems like it is a problem that keeps affecting more and more people each year. According to the VIP Forum analysis, only about 48% of credit card holders owe less than $1,000.00. It is very important to work at keeping your credit card debt to a minimum. If you have credit card Read More

Gift to Kids

December 18, 2013

I know you are busy shopping and running around during the holidays, but this holiday season, try thinking outside the box – the gift box that is. Did you know that opening an IRA account in a child’s name, gifting assets via an Uniform Gifts to Minors Act (UGMA) or Uniform Transfers to Minors Act Read More

T. Rowe Price Forsees Market Correction

December 11, 2013

So far this year, through December 3, 2013, the S&P 500 is up 26 percent. However, John Linehan, head of the U.S. equity division T. Rowe Price, “What goes up at some point must come down.” He states at a press briefing on December 3rd, that 2013 will be one of the few years in Read More

Consolidating Old Accounts

December 04, 2013

The other day a new client came into my office with a large stack of papers. Let’s just say it was overflowing out of an organizer box! This huge stack of papers was made up of all of her investment and retirement account statements. I know this new client felt embarrassed but i told her Read More

Company Retirement Plans

November 27, 2013

It is hard enough finding, not to mention the expense of training, good employees these days. So, why risk losing them to another employer just because you lack a good retirement plan? Many companies are learning it may be a smart business decision to offer a retirement plan. The plans are potentially a good deal Read More

What Is Important?

November 20, 2013

When you spend, save and invest your money, you want to purchase or save to purchase later on the things you want. To make sure that you are saving and spending your money in the way that will make you happy is to spend and save in accordance with your values. It is important to Read More

Gifting

November 13, 2013

In any given year, one can give away up to $14,000 without triggering a gift tax. This is $14,000 per person per year. So, if you have a son, daughter, son-in-laws, daughter-in-laws and grandkids, you can gift up to $14,000 a year to each one of them. Some individuals gift actual stock and may gift Read More

Charity

November 06, 2013

Is naming a charity as one of your beneficiaries always a good idea? No, it is not. If you want to arrange for charitable gifts from your IRA assets upon your death, you can certainly do that. However, it may not always be the best strategy from a gifting perspective to name the charity as Read More

Business Owner Questions

October 30, 2013

As a business owner, you should be able to answer the following questions: Are you paying too much for plan administration services for your qualified retirement plan? There are a variety of fees associated with a retirement plan; with the operating expense for the investment options, as well as the annual administrative fee accounting for Read More

IRA for Kids

October 23, 2013

If you have an enterprising son or daughter who has earned income through an after-school or summer job, you can help them open up an IRA. Your kids are eligible for the Roth or Traditional IRA as long as they have earned income. When setting up the account, a parent or another adult will be Read More

Stocks and Bonds

October 16, 2013

Do you know the difference between a stock and a bond? A key difference between them is that stocks make no promises about dividends or returns. A company’s dividend may be as regular as a heartbeat, but the company is under no obligations to pay it. And while the company stock might be very profitable Read More

Succession Planning

October 09, 2013

Have you considered what needs to be done with your business when you are doing your estate planning? If you own a business, it is important to have a management succession plan and also have a buy/sell agreement for your business interests. You worked years to build your business and sometimes are so busy working Read More

National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October 02, 2013

“Domestic violence causes far more pain than the visible marks of bruises and scars. It is devastating to be abused by someone that you love and think loves you in return. It is estimated that approximately 3 million incidents of domestic violence are reported each year in the United States” – Dianne Feinstein, Senator Here Read More

Money is a Vehicle

September 25, 2013

Life is more than just about money. Money is simply a vehicle. It is your choice. Every morning when you wake up, I believe you have the choice to be in a good mood or a bad mood. When it comes to your money, you also have a choice. You have a choice to be Read More

Teaching Your Teen About Money

September 18, 2013

Your teen is becoming more independent, but still needs plenty of advice from you. With more money to spend and more opportunities to spend it, your teen can easily get into financial trouble. So, before money burns a hole in your child’s pocket, teach him or her a few financial lessons. With your help, your Read More

Being Rational

September 11, 2013

There are many ways to be irrational with your money. Being and acting rational with your money is extremely important. There are 4 common things that can be major mistakes. Have you ever noticed one of these 4 things happening to you or those you know? Anchoring – When you become fixated on one piece Read More

Cutting off the Kids

September 04, 2013

According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, only 54% of Americans aged 28-24 have a full-time job. Of course, some of the less-thankfully-employed young adults are still working part-time and/or attending some institutions for higher learning. But the less work (and income) and more classes (and expenses) the kids have, the more Read More

Couples Retirement Readiness

August 28, 2013

How well are you communicating with your significant other about retirement? If you are wondering, we have included a simple questionnaire that can help you determine what you need to be talking about with your spouse. Instructions: Do the assessment separately and then share your results. Put a T after the statements you believe are Read More

Kids, College and Money

August 21, 2013

Do you plan on helping your child or grandchild pay for college? According to the College Board, a moderate college budget for an in-state public college for the 2012-2013 academic year averaged $22,261. A moderate budget at a private college averaged $43,289. That is just for one year! Over the past decade, expenses at public Read More

The Sandwich Generation – Juggling Family Responsibilities

August 14, 2013

At a time when your career is reaching a peak and you are looking ahead to your own retirement, you may find yourself in the position of having to help your children with college expenses while at the same time looking after the needs of your aging parents. Squeezed in the middle, you’ve joined the Read More

Talk to Kids

August 07, 2013

It is so important to talk to your kids about money. I love it when my clients bring their kids into my office to meet with me and talk about money. Sometimes kids need to hear from a third party how to save and invest money. It is important to talk to kids of all Read More

Understanding Investment Terms and Concepts

July 24, 2013

Below are some summaries of some basic principles you should understand when evaluating an investment opportunity or making an investment decision. Rest assured, this is not rocket science. In fact, you’ll see that the most important principle on which to base your investment education is simply good common sense. Don’t be intimidated by jargon Don’t Read More

Cooperative Law

July 17, 2013

There is a new way to get divorced in Minnesota. It is called Cooperative Practice. Cooperative Practice is a client-centered approach aimed at helping clients reach agreements that satisfy their best interests. A cornerstone of the Cooperative Process is a Participation Agreement which defines and governs how the process will unfold. With the help of Read More

Where do you stand?

July 10, 2013

It is important to know where you stand in your life financially. So many times we all just go about our day living life, spending and investing our money without thinking about our money – really truly thinking about our money. It is important to know where you money goes when you spend it but Read More

Your Home as a Source of Dollars in Retirement

July 03, 2013

If you own a home, you may be wealthier than you think. The equity in your home could be one of your largest assets, especially if your mortgage has been paid down over the years or paid off. This home equity can be a valuable source of extra income during your retirement years. Trading down Read More

Certificate of Deposit

June 26, 2013

Have you ever thought of buying a certificate of deposit, or CD from your bank? CD’s are low risk, but also low return investments. You are lending the bank a certain amount of money for a specific period of time, and they provide you a certain percentage return. There are pros and cons for investing Read More

How Much to Save

June 19, 2013

If you are not saving at least 10% for your retirement, you may not be saving enough. If you are looking towards retirement, women should be saving at least 10% to plan for their retirement adequately. Read More

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