Creating Financial Plans

Using Advisors: Start Early

Congratulations, recent 2014 graduates. You now embark on an exciting new chapter of your life. You are eager to start a career and work toward achieving all your goals. But where do you begin? How do you make the best out of your first paycheck, and others to come, to finance for your ambitions and dreams in life? Answer: Get a good financial advisor.

When to Call a Professional

Can you handle your investments on your own? Some can. Many can’t. That’s not to say that you don’t have the brains for it. You may simply lack the time to master the investing world. That’s when you should consult a professional financial advisor.

VA Mess Shows Deeper Woes

The problems plaguing the Veterans Administration underscore an unpleasant truth about aging: Ever-increasing costs and red tape endanger quality health care for older Americans, whether they are veterans or not. Their best defense is to build up enough personal capital to pay for better care on their own.

What an Advisor Should Ask

A common question that we get from people after telling them that we own our own financial planning firm is: What do you ask clients at the first meeting?

Risk and Your Financial Goals

Most people poorly understand tolerance for investment risk. They also have a flawed – or even absent – understanding of the risk in their current investments.

Understanding risk tolerance and how it aligns with actual investment risk is crucial to your own investing. For instance, how do you respond not only to the downward jolts but also to euphoric market times? How does the current mood of the market affect your buying and selling decisions?

How to Face the Future

Planning for the future, which includes the inevitability of death, has practical and spiritual dimensions. There are believers, unbelievers and skeptics when it comes to concepts of God, heaven and hell. Your view of such things colors your perception of the future and choices made along the way, including how you earn money and deploy resources.

Coping With Market Moves

When markets near high records, you wonder, “Is this a bubble?” When markets dive, you wonder, “Is this a crash?” Your biggest question: How do you keep your head on the recent Wall Street rollercoaster?

The Rewards of Goal Setting

Saving for retirement is like preparing for a big race. The dedication and sacrifice required are tough to muster. Psychologically, it pays to fix on the far-off goal. But just as important are the little mile markers along the way.

When you train for a physical challenge, the goal is to complete the course. En route to that goal, though, you find yourself in good shape: trimmer, stronger, lighter.

Need for Financial Literacy

April was Financial Literacy Month. What did you learn? Do most of your neighbors keep a household budget or save for retirement? Does your cousin live hand-to-mouth? Is gold worth its own weight?

Money habits of the average American reveal that only 40% of adults use a budget and track spending. More than three out of four adults (76%) live paycheck to paycheck, half maintain three months’ expenses in an emergency fund and more than a quarter (27%) have no savings at all.

Life Cycles and Market Cycles

How this spring’s market turbulence affects you depends upon how old you are. For people in or near retirement, it is scary – yet there are ways to offset a shrinking stock portfolio. Regardless of your age, look at market dips as opportunities, not threats.

The recent market gyrations remind me of the vaudeville joke about one’s spouse. Q. “How’s the stock market?” A. “Compared to what?”

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