Buying a House Might Not be a Great Investment

For most of us, owning a home will be the biggest investment you have.  But is it really a good investment, or is it just a place to lay our heads at night?   You have to live somewhere, and as I like to say, “you can’t take a brick out of your house to put food on the table.”  Many people hold the belief that a house is a good investment.  And I agree it is a worthy goal.  But the desire for owning bigger houses is widespread, especially among high income earners.  So, let’s explore the numbers by looking at the S&P Shiller 20-City Composite Home Price Index.  Over the last 10 years after the recession, the annual return of the index is 4.21%.  If you go further back to 2000 to include the Real Estate run up and bubble, the annual return is only 4.11%.  In comparison, the S&P500 over the last 10 years averaged 10.99%. You might ...

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Congress Just Passed the Biggest Bill in a Decade – The SECURE Act: 7 Things You Need to Know

On December 19th, the Senate passed the most sweeping retirement bill since the Pension Protection Act of 2006. The SECURE Act, whose progress had stalled until lawmakers tacked it onto a spending bill to keep the country running, aims to make saving easier amongst a bevy of changing rules. The House already passed the legislation, and President Donald Trump is expected to sign the bill into law. So, how does that impact you, your money, and how you will be able to save money for the future?  Does it mean you will pay more taxes?  Here are seven things you need to know about the Secure Act. (some excerpts are from Yahoo Finance) SECURE Act #1:  RMD’s Are Changing Starting January 1, 2020, the new bill pushes the age at which you need to start withdrawing money from your traditional retirement accounts from age 70½ to age 72. These required minimum distributions, as they’re called, are Uncle Sam’s way of ...

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Should More Companies Offer a Holiday Bonus?

We know that the holiday season is coming down the home stretch, but there have been some amazing stories of companies whose generosity has gone above and beyond the call of duty.  Two out of three companies say they will give some sort of holiday bonus, but St. John Properties in Maryland surprised their employees beyond belief with handing out $10,000,000 in holiday bonuses https://bit.ly/36B7pfL. The bonuses were handed out based upon your length of service with the company. So, even though the average employee bonus was $50,000, the lowest bonus was $100 and one employee who worked for the company for 44 years received a $270,000 bonus?  anta, do you hear us calling you? The news continued over the past week with a giant insurance company called the Integrity Marketing Group who paid out a $50,000,000 bonus to its some 7,500 employees, but their bonuses were skewed to the overall performance of the individuals rather than tenure or the ...

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‘Tis The Season To Be Tipping!

Why is giving the right tip such a moral dilemma? Year after year, we are faced with the same problem, yet most of us have different solutions every year. Was this a good year for me? Was this a bad year for me? Do I like this person less? Do I like this person more? It’s enough internal dialogue to make you think you were front row for your own Woody Allen movie. My mother was a fifth-grade school teacher for her entire career. We had many laughs over the gifts Mom got from kids in her class (which is why I guess they stopped this tradition). Your Smart Money Moves has prepared a holiday tipping guide for you this holiday season. First things first, you need to assess a few things before you decide what to tip. Your relationship matters. You should consider how long you have known the person, the quality of the service, and the frequency of ...

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Your Money – You Can’t Take it with You

At age 70 ½ the government (Uncle Sam), wants you to start taking money out of your tax-deferred retirement accounts.  You know, your 401K, your IRA.  Any retirement account that you have put part of your income into over the years to avoid paying tax on it.  Now they want you to take a RMD (Required Minimum Distribution).  That’s IRS talk for, you’d better start paying taxes on that tax-deferred money.  They figure, you have avoided the taxes long enough and they want their cut, before you leave this earth. So, if they force you to take money from your retirement, how do you determine how much?  Well there is a calculation to come up with the minimum distribution amount.  Most people have multiple accounts from changing jobs and not rolling over old accounts to consolidate.  You start by taking the total account value on December 31st of the previous year of all retirement accounts (except ROTH IRAs); and you ...

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20% Of Millennials Will Die With Debt?

In a shocking recent study on www.cnbc.com, the average millennial (aged between 18 to 34) is currently carrying $36,000 in personal debt excluding any home mortgage they have.  While this debt is certainly crushing this generation, just over 60 percent of millennials with debt have absolutely no idea when they are going to pay this debt off that they owe. But the real sobering data that came out of the survey is that one out of five millennials expect that they will carry this debt to the grave with them.  Is that any way to live? How did we get here? The debt that has cursed the millennials generation has come in three large forms; the largest and the most widely bandied about is the student debt.  Now, north of 1.6 trillion dollars of total student debt, the average student is closing in on $30,000 of student debt when they graduate college and with wages rising at a very slow ...

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Steps to Take When You Lose a Loved One

The population is aging, and we find ourselves more and more having to deal with the loss of loved ones.  It can be a very emotional time.  While their estate documents might be all in place, the documents especially control what happens months after their passing. So, what happens after death until the will kicks in?  Having a checklist in place for family members to follow can reduce their stress, as they go through the grieving process.  Use these steps as a guide to set up your own checklist. Letter of Instruction.  This should be a document that tells family members important information like any prearranged funeral plans, organ donations, any desired service details. Make Funeral Arrangement.  If your loved one did not put together a Letter of Instruction, then making all the arrangements usually falls to the closest relative.  This can be difficult for grieving spouses, so a next of kin may need to step in to help. Notify ...

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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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