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Review Category : Investments

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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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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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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The October 1st Deadline For Small Businesses

After an owner makes heads or tails at the end of the year, they will usually determine whether or not money is left behind for setting up some sort of long-term retirement plan within their business.   Since there are so many people setting up individual LLC’s or home-based side businesses, you need to keep a close eye out this time of year for setting up one kind of retirement plan, a SIMPLE IRA.   The deadlines are just around the corner in the next few weeks, so could this be the right type of retirement plan for you? A SIMPLE IRA (Savings Incentive Match Plan For Employees) was first available to small business owners in 2001. A SIMPLE IRA plan is an IRA-based plan that gives small employers a simplified method to make contributions toward their employees’ retirement and their own retirement. Under a SIMPLE IRA plan, employees may choose to make salary reduction contributions and the employer makes matching or ...

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Did You Just Get A 6.2% Raise At Work?

It’s pretty amazing to me how many people still don’t understand our payroll tax system.  When you work as a W-2 for an employer, both you and your employer are going to pay certain payroll taxes.  The two main types of taxes are the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax and the Medicare tax.   Both you and your employer pay 6.2% into FICA up to $132,900 this year and Medicare is a perpetuity tax at 1.45%.  Depending on your pay grade and what bonuses you have earned, you may have already received a raise in your paycheck and don’t even know it. The reason is, once you hit the $132,900 limit, you will no longer be paying into Social Security. Unfortunately, since there are many individuals who pay their full amount into social security and their income exceeds $132,900 in a particular calendar year, your HR department won’t send you a notice that you now have an extra 6.2% in ...

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Could E-Sports Earn Your Child A Scholarship?

There has probably been an afternoon or evening where your child was playing Fortnite with their friends and you could hear screams and yells, thinking to yourself, “what in the heck is going on in there?” You’ve probably had to yell once or twice before dinner or bedtime to get off the gaming system, and it’s likely you’ve had a family discussion about how to stop your child from playing the gaming system as much as they do today. WAIT! Maybe it’s time to switch gears and start thinking about how this could provide a FREE RIDE for your child to college! 30 million dollars.  That was the prize money for the Fortnite World Cup that took place at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York last weekend.   And yes, the stadium they chose to host the finale was actually larger seating-capacity wise than Madison Square Garden.  E-Sports is now a $900 million-dollar industry with nearly 400 million viewers worldwide.   Gamers ...

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Slip The Maître D a $50 Bill

What’s your worst nightmare on a Saturday night?  We live near a massive outdoor shopping and eating complex called Avalon.   Filled with 20 or so restaurants, it’s generally buzzing on the weekends with couples and families walking around, spending money in the stores and grabbing a bit of the cuisine of their choice.   My worst nightmare on a Saturday night is taking the family out or meeting some friends and stepping up to the hostess who tells me it is going to be an hour and a half wait to get a table, and puts our name into the software so we can track how far back we are in the line to eat.   Nightmare, nightmare, nightmare!! A few weeks ago, a friend of mine flew into town and we went to grab dinner at a hot spot in Buckhead, where they told us our wait was going to one hour and fifteen minutes.   When I heard the hostess shout ...

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Five Money Moves To Make When You Turn 50

Recently, I had the opportunity to experience something really special.  Several of my college roommates were turning 50 years old, and there was a multiple person birthday gathering in Washington, D.C. that I attended.  As we reminisced about the good old days in college and I watched their children run around (most of them six to eight years old), it occurred to me that my very own friends are going to be starting down the backstretch towards retirement.  It’s hard to imagine that for some of them they will be 65 years old when their kids either get into college or graduate college, so does this mean they will take a different path to retirement? Either way, there are smart money moves you should be making when you turn 50.  I know this first hand because the two co-founders of oXYGen Financial (Kile Lewis and myself) both turn the age of 50 this year.   While we started oXYGen Financial to ...

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