10 Estate Planning Mistakes to Avoid

All too often, new clients come in, and we discover that they have been complacent about the need for proper estate planning.  They think they are either too young or too old, they are of modest means, or an estate plan is unnecessary.  Plus, no matter how much you think your family loves one another, people are greedy when it comes to free money. When assets come into play, no estate plan, or a poor one, can cause issues or allow property to fall into the wrong hands. Here are 10 mistakes that, if avoided, will smoothly transfer your estate. Not having a Will or, in the alternative, a living trust – Without a main vehicle to drive the estate, the probate court has to get more involved. Focusing solely on taxes – Under current tax law, most people will not hit the estate tax limits, so taxes do not have to be the driving decision maker. Naming the wrong ...

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Five Money Moves To Make When You Get The Pink Slip

The Pink Slip. It’s the dreaded official notification from your employer that they no longer need your services. You’ll often hear the corporate rumors flowing within your company about the impending layoffs, but you’ll never suspect that you might be a person on the hit list. We never imagine that we will be that person who gets called in for dismissal time. While getting a pink slip is an awful feeling, it’s also a phase in your life where you need to immediately get your financial act together.  Here are my four smart money moves to make when you get laid off from work. 1. When is your last paycheck? – It’s truly amazing to me how many people don’t ask the very simple questions when they get the heave ho from their employer.  You will want to ask specifically when your last day or work is and what the expectations are of you over the next 30, 60, or ...

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Five Signs Your Spouse May Be Financially Cheating

According to the CreditCards.com latest financial infidelity poll, 19 percent of U.S. adults who are in live-in relationships – which equates to 29 million people – are hiding a checking, savings or credit card account from their partner. And 20 percent of all survey respondents feel that a partner hiding a secret bank account from them would be worse than physically cheating. Forty-five percent disagree that it is worse, and 35 percent say it’s about the same. But only 2 percent of the adults in relationships we surveyed would break up with their significant others if they discovered their lovers had $5,000 in secret credit card debt. Withholding financial information from a partner can be extremely damaging to your relationship, so how can you find the red flags to determine whether or not your spouse or partner is financially cheating on you?  Here are five tips that can help you begin your forensic work on this matter: 1. Swap Credit Reports ...

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5 Valentine’s Day Gifts Under $50

Valentine’s Day is in the air and what will this mean to your wallet?  According to the National Retail Federation, 10 years ago more than 60% of adults planned to celebrate, but today that number has dropped to more than half.  Have we lost that loving feeling??  Despite the number of people who plan to participate, it is expected that sales top 20 billion this year for Valentine’s Day, and the average spend is targeting $161.96 per person by the time you throw in cards, candy, gifts, and entertainment.   So, if you are trying to continue your New Year’s Resolution and stick to a budget, what are some good ideas to have a great gift while not breaking the bank? Date Crate– Some of us have the hardest time coming up with an idea for a date night beyond eating out, the movies, or just grabbing a drink.  What Date Crate will do for you through a subscription service is ...

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Three Things Punxsutawney Phil Can Teach Us

No this is not a Bill Murry sighting or story about how Bill showed up at a party and started washing dishes. But we can learn something from his 90’s movie Groundhog Day. With Groundhog Day upon us, we await Punxsutawney Phil (the groundhog) to come out of his hole and let us know if we will have 6 more weeks of winter. In the movie Bill found himself reliving the same day over and over. Just as in the movie, we often find ourselves repeating our financial mistakes over and over. Here are three tips you can use to stop reliving the same financial spell. Plan for Tomorrow While we want to live for today, too often we find ourselves blowing our paychecks each month and not saving for tomorrow. Use the concept of Pay Yourself First. Save for those future goals first and then go have a good time. If you are saving for your goals and find ...

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What To Do When You Inherit An IRA

The other evening as I was checking client e-mails, a client sent me a short note inquiring about something her sister did with an inherited IRA and quickly after hearing the story I knew it was even too late to give advice.  The sister had told the IRA custodian to make a check out to her Father’s estate and this would cause tax consequences that are irreversible. Inherited IRA’s can be just like a dozen eggs…once you crack the shell it is impossible to put it back together.   When a loved one passes away, there is a wide array of emotions, and this could affect how you make short term financial decisions.  Especially when you don’t know all of rules or have various siblings chirping in your ear.  It is one of the most important times to seek out financial help from a professional. The overall rules for inherited IRAs are extremely complicated.  It really depends if you inherit the ...

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Four Financial Moves For Government Workers During The Shutdown

Tesla came out with a big announcement the other week that they were laying off 7% of their workforce.  We never really know when our company is going to do that reorganization, deliver some pink slips, or dust off a set of severance packages to get some people out early from the company.  We can’t always predict when these things are going to happen, but we can certainly prepare by having a financial plan in place. Do you know how much you have in emergency reserves? How much monthly income would you need to survive if you didn’t have a paycheck for 3 months? What is saved up in all of your retirement plans? What are all of the benefits you have access to currently at work? These are just a few of the questions you should be asking now in the event that something happens to your job and it’s no longer there to pay the bills.  With the ...

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How Do You Know When To Sell A Stock

You have owned one of those amazing technology stocks over the last decade and you are beginning to wonder…is it time for me get rid of this stock?  Or, should you hold on to it like your parents or grandparents held on to their blue chip stocks until the day they passed it on to you?   Maybe you just bought one of those blazing marijuana stocks and made a nifty profit and are thinking you should sell it because it may just be a fad.  Just like sitting down at the Blackjack table in Las Vegas, we all know how to pull up a seat at the bar, we know how to place some bets, but if we start winning most of us don’t have a strategy about when is the right time to cash in your chips. It’s interesting to see the different philosophies that reside on the internet today.  The Motley Fool, one of the largest investment websites ...

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