Creating Financial Plans

Stewardship and Your Money

What traits of the wealthy make them good at managing money? That question assumes a direct correlation between your wealth and your skill at managing that wealth. Wrong idea.

Better to ask, “What are the traits of someone who is a good steward of wealth?”

Planning for Complex Estates

Our first article looked at the documents you need to pass on your estate. Here’s a look at the professionals whose help you might also need and the special trusts used to whittle the tax bill of complex estates.

Money Lessons From Baseball

As you cheer your team in this year’s World Series, consider that America’s favorite pastime can teach you a lot about America’s main preoccupation: money.

How does baseball resemble your investing or financial decisions?

1.      Probability of outcomes matters, whether concerning stolen bases or investment returns and financial goals.

2.      Separating a manager’s skill and luck takes a long time.

3.      A quality process matters more than immediate or short-term outcomes.

Retiring, Your Lifestyle Intact

No matter what tools we use to calculate the numbers, we financial advisors always come to a plain and simple truth: Some clients are well-positioned for retirement and others are not. Which are you? What advice do you need?

Investing? Know Your Goals

You know you need to put money away. You might want to save for retirement or for your child’s education or just need a rainy-day fund for emergencies. Whatever your target, know that different financial goals require different strategies.

I hate it when a client says, “I have X amount of dollars to invest” and yet won’t tell me anything about his or her goals. I can’t give you a good answer unless I can understand what you’re trying to accomplish with money.

Envisioning Your Success

One of the big plusses of entrepreneurship: It allows you to be creative, test new ideas and have fun with your business. In fact, simplicity and fun may be one of your best avenues to innovate and grow your enterprise.

Recently I signed out of email for the afternoon, turned on the radio and busted out my old magazines, a glue stick and scissors to create a good old-fashioned vision board. I loved making collages as a teenager; anything I could glue down seemed fun and artsy.

Getting Free Advisor Help

Financial advisors are not just for the wealthy. If anything, the financially insecure need advisors more. If you can’t afford one, the good news is, free advisory services exist to help you stand on your feet.

“We do tons of planning for people with very limited assets,” said Anthony Canale, president of the Financial Planning Association, New York Chapter, during a panel discussion.

$ To-Do List for Rest of 2014

With most of this year suddenly behind us, plenty of financial chores remain for you in 2014. Here are eight to-do items for your list.

1. Review your 401(k). With the Standard & Poor’s 500 and other market indexes at or near all-time highs, revisit your 401(k) asset allocation and, if needed, rebalance. Why not take this chance to activate the auto-rebalance feature if your plan offers one?

The Rich and Their Advisors

Rich people have different problems. For the more affluent, the financial planning process is more complicated. That’s why this clientele often turns to a team of professionals.

But there typically is one central advisors to play quarterback, coordinating the efforts of such experts as accountants, real estate attorneys, estate planning attorneys, said Stephen Stabile, senior vice president and wealth management advisor at Merrill Lynch, in an advisor panel.

Planning Beyond Investing

Financial advisors can reach far beyond a portfolio and investments. Most people have no idea that advisors can assist with matters as diverse as estate plans and insurance, to ensuring you invest with your head and not always your heart.

“Emotions will overcome economic considerations every time,” said Tim Maurer, wealth advisor with Buckingham Asset Management and director of personal finance for the BAM ALLIANCE, speaking on a recent advisory panel.

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