Is It Time To Consider I Bonds

I was reminiscing the other day about the gifts that my grandmother used to give me for my birthday and at holiday time.    She wasn’t a great gift giver, especially when I would get a sweater vest with the big letter “T” etched right in the middle of the sweater. Oh yeah, I also got socks a few years which is a swell gift if you want to end up on the loser list at middle or high school.   But, the one gift that didn’t mean much to me at the time and paid dividends later were the series EE savings bonds that I stuck in an envelope and let sit in my drawer until they matured.   Those very bonds helped me be able to put a down payment on my first car so I can thank my grandmother for that. With interest rates hovering at an all time low over the past seven or eight years, hardly anybody talks ...

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Is It Time To Make A Roth IRA Conversion?

Over this past year, more clients have asked me about whether or not it makes sense to do a conversion from their Traditional IRA to a Roth IRA.   I’ve written before on the merits of a back door Roth IRA (http://bit.ly/2jNBfFA) before on Your Smart Money Moves, but the larger question about converting an existing account can be a tricky one to approach in your personal finances.   More importantly, if you are not proactive in your tax planning, you could miss a tremendous opportunity to take advantage of a bad year with your business or if you have a substantially down year of income.  Given the volume of planning cases I see every month, especially those in their late 40’s to late 50’s should be looking at this strategy very closely if you are in a transition phase. With the potential upcoming changes in the tax code suggested to move from seven tax brackets down to three, each family needs ...

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How Life Insurance Made Jim Harbaugh, Not Nick Saban, the Highest Paid Coach in the NCAA

Most that follow collegiate athletics are familiar with Nick Saban, arguably the most successful head coach in NCAA history. Heck, even if you don’t follow college sports, Saban has become a figure that is well known throughout the country for his Alabama teams and their ferocious defenses. But did you know that despite his track record on the field, he is not the highest paid coach in the NCAA? That distinction belongs to Jim Harbaugh, head coach of the Michigan Wolverines. Despite not having reached the pinnacle of the sport yet in terms of national championships, Michigan made Harbaugh the highest paid head man in the country in August of 2016. The avenue in which Harbaugh and the University accomplished this is not commonly seen in professional or amateur sports. After his first season with the Wolverines, Harbaugh and the leaders at Michigan entered into a Split-Dollar Loan Agreement under which the University agreed to make seven loan advances, of ...

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Why Are You Such A “Poor” Millionaire

As I continue to help more and more people approach the end zone of making work optional (a.k.a. – retirement) it continues to shed light on just how little one million dollars seems these days.    It was once believed that the ultimate pinnacle for wealth building was to have one million liquid dollars, but with the uncertainty in the bond markets, stock markets, and real estate markets, it has baby boomers about to retire shaking in their boots about being sacked before they score a touchdown. Many people hear this notion being thrown about called the 4% percent rule.   This rule was initially laid out by a financial planner William Bengen.   He had back tested a variety of withdrawal rates using various historical rates of return and found that 4% withdrawal with the absolute highest rate that held up over a period of 30 years. So, if you are a “millionaire” with $1,000,000 of starting capital at ‘work optional’, you ...

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5 Key Points To Know When You Decide To Refinance

With the Fed recently raising interest rates, people have already started to write and call me about whether or not it is still a good time to refinance.  You will likely see more offers from your current mortgage company, broker, or bank looking to get you locked in before the Fed raises rates again in 2017.  Here are my smart money moves to five key points to know when you make a final decision about whether a refinance is good for your property. There Is NO Rule Of Thumb — I love these random articles out there that say your mortgage rates needs to be down by a certain percentage for a refinance to make sense. In fact, Investopedia recently wrote, “The typical rule of thumb is that if you can reduce your current interest rate by 0.75-1%” This makes very little sense to me as this is going to be a math equation because all refinancing costs money.   What you are ...

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Quit Buying Stuff You Can’t Afford

Generation X is classically defined as people born between the years 1965 and 1979.    Pretty much those of you in your late 30’s and now, *GULP* into the early 50’s.  Having given personal financial advice to thousands of people, I can tell you that many of you who were born 1960 to 1964 fit within the Generation X type of financial and personal attitude.   Since I am 47 and have had a good deal of financial success on my own, I’ve noticed some big mistakes that I see my generation making with their money and how they think about money.    One of the main problem with our generation is that it seems we can defy gravity when it comes to buying anything but savings for our own future. Where do you think we should take the kids away for spring break this year?      Should we go away for Thanksgiving or would it be better during the holiday season?    I know ...

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Five Smart Money Moves To Make When You Are Offered A Severance Package

When the consulting companies are done offering advice to your corporation on how to make it more effective, the one word you don’t want to hear from upper management is “reorg”.    Reorg, short for reorganization, if often a labor intensive process where a large organization systematically eliminates a section of the workforce to streamline their overall processes, people, and systems.   When these reductions in workforce happen, one of the possibilities that may occur is to offer you a severance package.    The problem for most families is that decisions have to be made so quickly that people often make poor choices on how to best maximize this package. Here are five smart money moves to make when you are offered a severance package. Double Dip On Pay If your company offers you six months or one year as a severance package, this is not the time to take an extended vacation.   Every month that you can work for a new employer ...

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Is It Time To Fed Proof Your Portfolio

We are all witnessing the antics of the Presidential election that we see and hear in the media every day.   The Fed recently chose not to raise rates again recently and we don’t know if they will do it in September, December, or not at all this year.   However, when rates rise you will want to be prepared on what to do with your portfolio, so here are my tips on money moves to consider. Consider Locking In Rates While They Are Low If you have benefited from having a low adjustable rate mortgage over the past five or six years, you might want to consider locking into a 15 year or 30 year fixed rate mortgage while rates are low. This would prevent you potentially getting hurt if you plan to live in your property for a long period of time and you expect the Fed to raise rates. Also, you might want to make a long term real ...

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How To Win The Gold Medal With Your Financial Plan

The 2016 Olympics have officially kicked off and it should prove to be exciting with USA Basketball, USA Swimming, and many more new events including golf this year.   It is always amazing to hear the Olympic stories of gold medal winners and their struggle to make it to the top.   Here are your smart money moves on what to do to win the Gold Medal with your financial plan. Get rid of debt as quickly as possible – Even though most people are excited about low interest rates today, just because you can borrow money doesn’t mean you should borrow money.   Consumer debts are the absolute most important to get rid of in your financial plan, and consider trying to pay extra on your long term debt.  Going into retirement with no debt will allow you be nimble and flexible with your choices down the road. Plan for the unexpected – With companies seemingly doing a reorganization or a rightsizing ...

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Pay Off The Mortgage Or Invest The Money

One of the most difficult questions that I get from both younger and older clients is whether or not it is a good idea to pay off their mortgage or invest the money?  With interest rates continuing to hover around all-time lows, many people are still in the process of refinancing their existing homes or buying a new one.   If your rate is in the 3% to 4% range, you may be wondering if you should take your excess monthly discretionary income to pay down your home note faster or would it be a better idea to take that cash and invest it for the long term.    This decision has both financial and emotional ramifications, so let’s review the pros and cons of paying off your mortgage. The first part of this analysis is the black and white calculation on whether your money can work harder for you than the interest rate you are paying on your debt.   Let’s say, ...

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