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Review Category : Financial Independence

Do Men Feel Stress When Their Wives Earn More Than They Do?

Even though we haven’t solved the equation of equal pay for the same job that a man and woman do at work, there is a new phenomenon going on where husbands around America are literally becoming clinically depressed because their wives earn more than they do at work. Say what? Yes, as times are changing in America, more men are uncertain about their roles at home and how to handle new responsibilities in their families. According to Pew Research, in 1980 13% of women earned more than their husbands in income.  By 2013, 38% of women earned more than their husbands in income. Now, that number has crossed over 40% and is climbing.  The stereotype of ‘male breadwinners’ is changing for sure, and there is a new dynamic that families have to deal with as they handle responsibilities and money control at home. Interestingly enough, there is actually a magic number that once triggered at home can make men psychologically ...

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Should You Be Self-Gifting On Black Friday

As the holiday season approaches us, one of the trends that is growing is called self-gifting.  Have you been annoyed in holiday seasons past because you end up getting gifts that you’ll never use or a drawer full of gift cards from stores you don’t really like?  We get so cautious about telling people what kind of gifts we want because we still like the element of surprise, but more often than not you end up dissatisfied because your expectations are unmet by gifts that just don’t cut the mustard.  So, is self-gifting an indulgence or is it an investment that will help us flourish going into 2020? Is it time like they say on Parks and Recreation to treat yo’self? Probably the most famous investor is the Oracle of Omaha who said, “By far the best investment you can make is in yourself.”  Last year, I wrote a significant piece that made the front page of the Wall Street ...

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Know What You Own and What is a Bad Financial Product

As an advisor pre/post- the 2008 financial crisis and throughout subsequent periods of market volatility (such as 1994, wars, terrorist events, Brexit, you name it), when working with a new client I am regularly surprised by how often they do not have a handle on what is in their portfolio and/or purposes of an asset allocation or lack thereof. During periods like the one we are in now, we watch television pundits that depending on the channel/time of day, are either predicting total market chaos, or a continuation of an extended bull market. Inevitably, it can create a lot of stress and confusion for an investor (and some financial advisors). In the end, investing should have the intended goal of creating “peace of mind” that a person(s) is on track so that they can breathe easier® (shameless plug), feel okay when they turn on the news and can live their lives the way they want to. Knowing What You Own ...

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How To Avoid A Holiday Charity Scam?

Over the past few weeks I have covered elderly scams and romance scams, but this one could hit one of your family members over the holidays… Last year, a New Jersey couple launched a fundraiser for a homeless man.  Donations poured in as hearts were ripped out about this tear-jerking story.  We see charitable causes all the time that pull the purse strings of our wallet, especially during the holidays. The story of the homeless man and the $400,000 GoFundMe money unraveled and we learned about the money that completely disappeared.  Everyone behind the GoFundMe campaign was playing America, but inevitably, they were outed. As we approach the season to be jolly, here are some tips on how not to get scammed when giving to charity. Start with the IRS – Yes, the IRS.  The IRS website has a Tax Exempt Organization Search you can use to see if the charity is in fact a legitimate organization.  Remember, you want ...

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Is Your Sister Or Brother Laughing All The Way To The Bank?

They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder.  I say it makes it grow absent.  One of the most challenge items facing families today is the fragmentation of brothers and sisters spread out across the country and the challenge of who will ultimately become Mom or Dad’s caregiver.  What does this mean to the family inheritance?  Should your brother or sister get paid?  Is the total decisions a proxy by proximity or something that should be more fully discussed?  It’s challenging to get siblings on the same page when it comes to money and it’s why so many squabble about the family inheritances even before Mom and Dad pass away.  Here are some tips to make sure your brother or sister aren’t laughing all the way to the bank as you discuss this delicate situation with your parents. Have An Estate Plan This means that your parents should have something more in many cases than just a will.  It ...

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Are Your Elderly Parents Being Financially Exploited?

Picture this scenario at the bank: A woman walks into her branch with her 25-year-old grandson and they’re ready to transfer $4,000 or so out of Grandma’s account into his. Is the grandson running a scam? And, if so, can the bank do anything to stop it?  Maybe, yes, on both counts.  “People are literally being robbed every day through scams or financial exploitation from members of their own family,” said Debra Whitman, executive vice president and chief public policy officer at AARP.   The average victim can lose $120,000 to financial exploitation, according to AARP research. Repeated, out-of-the-ordinary cash withdrawals are a big clue to exploitation and scams.  (source: Detroit Free Press) In fact, every year it is estimated that 2.6 billion dollars are lost by elder financial abuse and the problem only seems to be getting worse and worse.  The initial threat for most of our elderly parents were the dreaded robocallers.  The imposters that would pose as the Social Security department or the ...

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Would You Spend Less Than $100 On An Engagement Ring?

Buying an engagement ring can be an emotionally draining purchase. For most people, it’s more than jewelry: It’s a symbol of love and affection and of the serious commitment they want to make to a lifelong partner.  For years, it’s been bandied that the diamond industry spearheaded this notion that you have to spend 3 months of your salary on an engagement ring.  As we have witnessed millennials and now generation Z changing the way we do many things in their lives, are they going to change what we spend on engagement rings?  How much is love worth? In a recent study that was one, here is what late-stage millennials and generation Z had to say about engagement rings:  Engagement rings should cost… Less than $100: 11 percent of Gen Z and 8 percent of young Millennials  Between $100 and $999: 43 percent of Gen Z and 31 percent of young Millennials  $1,000 to $2,499: 28 percent of Gen Z ...

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Impeachment and the Stock Market

A lot of people are nervous about the stock markets after the latest drama with the President and the potential for his removal from office. After Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that the House would launch a formal impeachment inquiry in response to the President’s dialogue with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky concerning former VP Joe Biden’s son, the US markets quickly fell. Investors were shaken by the potential of removal of President Donald Trump from office. By the time the closing bell rang, most sectors in the US were in the red after starting the day in the green. How does this process work and what history do we have to draw on for past performance of the stock market during impeachment proceedings? The answer to the former I can lay out for you, the answer to the latter is a bit harder to gather answers from. From October 1998 to February 1999, stocks rose despite the Clinton impeachment. But the ...

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Why Your Parents Financial Advice Might Be Wrong (Sort Of……..)

A recent study that came out on CNBC showed that when it comes to debt, Gen Xers are now at the top of the class.  Especially in the category of personal debt where the average Generation X individual (ages 39 to 54) has racked up $36,000 of personal debt.  This is on top of the student debt that is still lagging in the background and potentially taking on new college debt for their children. I think about the advice I got from my parents and the advice that I am giving today.  We all need to consider that as life evolves, so may some of the traditional financial advice that we give when it comes to money decisions.  Here are four areas where parents’ financial advice may be (kind of) wrong: Go To College And Get A Degree:  Let me say up front, I’m not advocating that a college degree is a bad idea.  But we need to consider what’s ...

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Do You Want To REALLY get FREE College Money?

The debates are on and every presidential candidate is promising thousands and thousands of dollars of FREE college money. Wouldn’t that be nice? Now that the kids are back in school and the football season is in full swing, most families don’t realize that applying for free financial aid is literally right around the corner for the school year in 2020. The problem is that most people don’t understand how the college aid process actually works and often sell themselves short of getting free money that could help offset the growing cost of college. Here are seven mistakes that could crush your ability to get free money for 2020. Filling out the FAFSA form AFTER October 1st– If you are interested in getting the most possible money from the Free Application For Student Aid, then you must fill out the forms by October 1st.   Some of the financial awards are issued on a first come first serve basis, so when ...

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