Creating Financial Plans

Bettering Kids’ Lives (Pt. 1)

We all want better lives for the next generation. Here are some of the challenges we must address first.

Most of us born in the baby boom or before remember grandparents with no indoor plumbing and no car. They lived through the Great Depression and World War II. Our grandchildren can't imagine how we grew up without computers, smartphones or satellites. Today's children are the first who didn't learn childhood games from their parents; many of us lack the technological skills to understand their games – or even understand our own smart phones.

Dollar Cost Averaging Woes

The general concept of dollar cost averaging (DCA), a systematic and gradual method investing, seems like a sound approach. The standard advice is that this is the way to commit your money. Well, not always.

Specifics vary, but DCA involves investing a fixed dollar amount at regular intervals over a specified period, as opposed to lump-sum investing (LSI) – that is, investing all at once.

Know Annuities’ Hidden Costs

Annuities come with a lot of nuts and bolts – and sometimes slick sales pitches. Here’s what to know.

I recently received an invitation to a dinner session on annuities. Financial dinner seminars are a traditional method for investment advisors, estate planning attorneys and insurance and annuity sales types to get their message out to potential clients.

Inheritance for the Kids? Why?

A survey done by the financial services company HBSC finds that only 59% of U.S. parents intend to leave their children an inheritance, the lowest of the 15 nations studied. The fact the U.S. is last came as no surprise to me. What did surprise me was that 59% seemed high.

Sochi and Retirement Plans

To listen to me commenting on the Olympic figure skating in Sochi, you’d think I was an expert. But I know very little about it. Tragically, too many investors make decisions whose basis is as thin as my knowledge of skating.

As we watched the Winter Olympics skating competition on TV, I pointed out to my wife a Salchow jump and then a death spiral. She looked at me with surprise and marveled at how much I knew about the sport.

A Simple Way to Set Goals

Setting goals for a new year can feel overwhelming.  We all know that resolutions don’t last, but we also feel the energy that comes with a new year of possibilities.  Here’s a clearer path for setting and reaching your goals.

I love complex processes. Intricacies of a large spreadsheet really get my brain going and I can spend lots of time deeply analyzing financial questions.

What Forecasts to Believe

Market and economic forecasts for 2014 abound throughout the financial news media, especially cable shows. Take them with a ton of salt. Even someone who makes a great call once is unlikely to repeat that feat. Several one-hit wonder pundits showed us that. Better ways exist to direct your investing.

There is only one forecast that is guaranteed to be accurate.

Back to Basics Investing

If you follow financial news, you hear a lot of ideas about strategies to strike it rich. Some advice: Don’t listen. Every once in a while it’s important to go back to basics when evaluating how you manage your money.

There is an investment strategy out there for just about everyone, whether you want to be aggressive or preserve your capital long-term. What is often too easy is getting bogged down in the Investing section of a Barnes & Noble bookstore, looking at all the books promising to make you rich in five easy steps.

Get Financially Organized

You need to get financially organized for 2014. Here’s how.

Many people remain unsure where to start with their finances. Kick off with this printable financial checklist with actionable strategies, boxes to check off and spaces to fill in on your own. Stop stressing about your money and start writing down goals and checking your financial status.

How to Think Long-Term

Thinking – and acting – long-term is not easy. It requires the resolve to be consistent and persistent into the future. More than that, though, it requires that you set the right objectives. What’s the point of expending cost and effort if the objective is ill-defined or unwise?

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