Tag: Financial Planning

Establishing Good Credit in College

Dec 9, 2019

Wallet and Credit Card
After you get that first card, how can you manage your FICO score?

Good credit may open doors. It is vital to securing a loan, a business loan, or buying a home. When you establish and maintain good credit in college, you create a financial profile for yourself that can influence lenders, landlords, and potential employers.

Unfortunately, some college students do not have good credit. In fact, Credit Karma says that the average 18-to-24-year-old has a credit score of 630. A FICO score of 730 or higher is considered good. (more…)

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Ways to Repair Your Credit Score

Nov 29, 2019

Laptop and Credit Card
Steps to get your credit rating back toward 720.

We all know the value of a good credit score. We all try to maintain one. Sometimes, though, life throws us a financial curveball and that score declines. What steps can we take to repair it?

Reduce your credit utilization ratio. Your credit utilization ratio (CUR) is the percentage of a credit card’s debt limit you have used up. Simply stated, if you have a credit card with a limit of $1,500 and you have $1,300 borrowed on it right now, the CUR for that card is 87%. Carrying lower balances on your credit cards tilts the CUR in your favor and promotes a better credit score. (more…)

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Cash Flow Management

Nov 25, 2019

Scale
An underappreciated fundamental in financial planning.

You’ve probably heard the saying that “cash is king,” and that truth applies whether you own a business or not. Most discussions of business and personal “financial planning” involve tomorrow’s goals, but those goals may not be realized without attention to cash flow, today.

Management of available cash flow is a key in any kind of financial strategy.Ignore it, and you may inadvertently sabotage your efforts to grow your company or even build personal wealth. (more…)

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Protection Against Uninsured Drivers

Nov 22, 2019

Broken Glass
Getting in an accident with the uninsured might be costly.

About 13 percent of all motorists, or one-in-eight drivers, do not have automobile insurance.

Having the misfortune of getting into an accident with an uninsured motorist may have serious financial consequences depending upon the state in which you reside and whether it is a “no-fault” or “tort” state. (more…)

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Insurance When You’re Newly Married

Nov 15, 2019

Car with a "Just Married" sign
Assess the coverage for your new household.

Marriage changes everything, including insurance needs. Newly married couples should consider a comprehensive review of their current, individual insurance coverage to determine if any changes are in order as well as consider new insurance coverage appropriate to their new life stage.

The good news is that married drivers may be eligible for lower rates than single drivers. Since most couples come into their marriage with two separate auto policies, you should review your existing policies and contact your respective insurance companies to obtain competitive quotes on a new, combined policy. (more…)

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Spotting Credit Trouble

Nov 1, 2019

Credit Cards
How to check for problems.

Americans aged 45 to 54, who have credit card balances, carry an average debt of $9,096 per individual.

The wise use of credit is a critical skill in today’s world. Used unwisely, however, credit can rapidly turn from a useful tool to a crippling burden. There are several warning signs that you may be approaching credit problems: (more…)

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End-of-the-Year Money Moves

Oct 30, 2019

Laptop, Cell Phone, and Notepad
Here are some things you might consider before saying goodbye to 2019.

What has changed for you in 2019? Did you start a new job or leave a job behind? Did you retire? Did you start a family? If notable changes occurred in your personal or professional life, then you will want to review your finances before this year ends and 2020 begins.

Even if your 2019 has been relatively uneventful, the end of the year is still a good time to get cracking and see where you can manage your tax bill and/or build a little more wealth.

Keep in mind this article is for informational purposes only and is not a replacement for real-life advice. Please consult your tax, legal and accounting professionals before modifying your tax strategy. (more…)

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Minimizing Probate When Setting Up Your Estate

Oct 16, 2019

Locked Documents
What can you do to lessen its impact for your heirs?

Probate subtly reduces the value of many estates. It can take more than a year in some cases, and attorney’s fees, appraiser’s fees, and court costs may eat up as much as 5% of a decedent’s assets. Probating a “routine” estate valued at $400,000 could cost as much as $20,000.

What do those fees pay for? In many instances, routine clerical work. Few estates require more than that. Heirs of small, five-figure estates may be allowed to claim property through affidavit, but this convenience isn’t extended for larger estates.

So, how canyou exempt more of your assets from probate and its costs? Here are some ideas. (more…)

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Understanding Long-Term Care

Sep 11, 2019

Doctor Typing
The important question: Are you prepared?

Addressing the potential threat of long-term care expenses may be one of the biggest financial challenges for individuals who are developing a retirement strategy.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that 69% of people over age 65 can expect to need extended care services at some point in their lives. So, understanding the various types of long-term care services – and what those services may cost – is critical as you consider your retirement approach. (more…)

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Getting a Head Start on College Savings

Sep 9, 2019

Student with books
The hows and whys of college savings.

The American family with a child born today can expect to spend about $233,610 to raise that child to the age of 18. And if you’ve already traded that supercharged convertible dream for a minivan, you can expect your little one’s college education to cost as much as $198,000.

But before you throw your hands up in the air and send junior out looking for a job, you might consider a few strategies to help you prepare for the cost of higher education.

First, take advantage of time. The time value of money is the concept that the money in your pocket today is worth more than that same amount will be worth tomorrow because it has more earning potential. If you put $100 a month toward your child’s college education, after 17 years’ time, you would have saved $20,400. But that same $100 a month would be worth (more…)

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More Insights

Dec 9, 2019

Good credit may open doors. It is vital to securing a loan, a business loan, or buying a home. When you establish and maintain good credit in college, you create a financial profile for yourself that can influence lenders, landlords, and potential employers. Unfortunately, some college students do not have good credit. In fact, Credit … Continue reading “Establishing Good Credit in College”

Dec 6, 2019

Financial generalizations are as old as time. Some have been around for decades, while others have only recently joined their ranks. Let’s examine a few common retirement assumptions. Retirement means I can stop investing. In the past, retirement was viewed as an “end” in many ways. These days though, retirement is often seen as an opportunity … Continue reading “Debunking Common Retirement Assumptions”

Dec 4, 2019

What is a relationship with a financial advisor worth to an investor? A 2019 study by Vanguard, one of the world’s largest money managers, attempts to answer that question. Vanguard’s whitepaper concludes that when an investor works with an advisor and receives professional investment advice, they may see a net portfolio return about 3% higher … Continue reading “Measuring the Value of a Financial Advisor”

Dec 2, 2019

Can your IRA be put directly into a trust? In short, no. Individual retirement accounts (IRAs) cannot be put directly into a trust. What you can do, however, is name a trust as the beneficiary of your IRA. The trust would inherit the IRA upon your passing, and your beneficiaries would then have access to … Continue reading “Can You Put Your IRA into a Trust?”

Nov 29, 2019

We all know the value of a good credit score. We all try to maintain one. Sometimes, though, life throws us a financial curveball and that score declines. What steps can we take to repair it? Reduce your credit utilization ratio. Your credit utilization ratio (CUR) is the percentage of a credit card’s debt limit … Continue reading “Ways to Repair Your Credit Score”

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