Can You Retire On 1 Million Dollars?

One million dollars used to be the gold standard when it came to figuring out how much money you would need to never have to work the rest of your life.   Now, we all know if you really put your mind to it that you could probably retire on a million dollars, but the real question is whether or not you could maintain the standard of living you have been accustomed to off of your current income.  With our society having become more of an outsourced society than a do it yourself society, here’s why 1 million dollars isn’t what it used to be. The Slient Killer – Inflation may be the number one item underestimated when it comes to overall retirement planning. Inflation is on the rise, and if it rears its ugly head at the 4% level you better seek shelter to figure out how to make your money last.  At a 4% inflation level, 1 million dollars ...

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Five Ways To Save Money On Pet Costs

As the millennial generation grows up (people born 1981-1996), many couples are actually substituting the idea of having children with have pets as the cental focus of their family.   According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AMVA), the 2012 Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook showed that almost 40% of households in American had a pet dog.  Cats were at 31% falling in seconds place and a litany of other animals were further down on the list.   It turns out that if you ask most people what they think the cost to own a dog will be during its lifetime they gave an answer of $6,000.  However, the range actually falls between $27,000 and $42,000 in actuality over the course of ten years.  Of course children are more expensive, but here are five ways you could save money if you have a pet. Schedule Regular Checkups – We know that it is always better to be proactive versus reactive when it ...

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Four Moves To Make Before Interest Rates Go Up

It’s been roughly a decade since the housing collapse in the United States, and if you haven’t checked as of late the homes and buildings are going up in your neighborhood like a 2007 party.  Part of the main reason for the boom over the past decade was the loosening of the monetary policy keeping long term borrowing rates next to nothing. Those of you who locked in 30-year mortgages between 3% and 4% should thank your lucky stars because we may not see those rates again for another 20 years or more.  Now that the United States has hit record low unemployment and corporations across America are making record profits, the Fed is now beginning to tighten the monetary policy.   Mortgage rates were between 4.5% and 4.6% for a 30 year mortgage during the week of February 25th, 2018 (source: bankrate.com) So, what four smart money moves can you make as the Fed tightens up the money supply? Cut ...

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Five Steps To Build Up An Emergency Cash Reserve

One of the most important financial planning questions we often hear from clients is around how much money to have in a cash reserve.  People struggle with this question because the reality is that there isn’t an exact answer.  For many years, the general rule of thumb was to build up three to six months in an emergency reserve in case of emergencies or opportunities.  However, some people feel with the availability of credit and other assets that can be readily liquid that they don’t need to keep much money in an account that doesn’t bear much interest.  Here are five steps to build up an Emergency Cash Reserve. Determine Your Need This is really the first step in figuring out how much money you need for a cash reserve.  Since most transactions are done electronically today, many families really don’t know how much their family ‘burn rate’ each month.  What we are talking about is how much your fixed ...

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The Best Five Places To Invest In 2018

We are a few weeks into 2018, and you might be wondering where are the best five places to invest for the rest of 2018.   With the stock markets hitting all time highs, cloudiness over the rise in interest rates, and the bitcoin practically on the news every day, this can make sorting out the best place to invest difficult for the average investor.  As we sort through all of the mazes of information and news, here are five places you should consider investing for the rest of 2018. Artificial Intelligence – AI’s growing market potential, which is estimated to be worth $46 billion dollars in just three years from has several paths to consider when investing. AI can seem confusing to people, but consider something just as Amazon’s just walk out technology http://bit.ly/2rnY8YJ or the new bill shopping chatbot Ask Trim which can automatically shop bills such as your cable bill or mobile phone bill.  AI can be used ...

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Five Items To Buy After Christmas

When the Starbuck’s Christmas cups go away and your neighbors begin to take down their decorations, the last thing in the world you probably want to do is to be thinking about shopping considering you’ve been fretting about it for the past month.  While it may feel like we get deals galore thrown in front of our faces during the month of December, once Christmas season is over, you may be able to snag yourself a really good deal if you know what to buy.  I’ve put together a quick your smart money moves guide on five items you might want to consider buying after December 25th (mind you that it’s probably better about the second week of January). Electronics – While you can get a really good deal on video game consoles and cameras, the one electronic I would really keep my eye on are high definition televisions. Remember, each January the Consumer Electronics Show takes place in Las ...

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What a Stupid Question!

So, how many times have you asked someone in the financial world a question and they make you feel stupid? Not only stupid for asking the question, but just plain stupid? That’s what often happens when working with people. There used to be stocks, bonds and cash. There used to be whole life insurance and term life insurance. There used to be disability insurance. There used to be health insurance. Now we have BDC’s and REIT’s and PPL’s and variable life insurance and variable universal life insurance and indexed life insurance and indexed universal life insurance and ETF’s and UIT’s and PPO’s and HMO’s and 401k’s and Roth 401k’s and IRA’s and Roth IRA’s and long term care insurance and then long term care riders and hybrids and properly structured life insurance and improperly structured life insurance . . . You get the point. The financial world of our parents and grandparents doesn’t exist today. It’s become much more complicated ...

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How To Save BIG Money On Your Teenagers Auto Insurance

It’s Official!  Effective November 1st of this year, I officially have three children that can drive an automobile.  On one hand, it’s a sigh of relief because now I have three drivers who can make a run to CVS or Chick-Fil-A to do those small errands I simply don’t want to do at all. On the other hand, you simply worry every time your children get out on the road and spend your nights waiting up to make sure that they get home safely.   Beyond the bad and good of having your children be able to drive, the one that really hits home is your auto insurance. In fact, when my 20 year old went on to our auto insurance for the first time, even a seasoned financial advisor like myself gulped a little bit with sticker shock as a good solid student cost more than $2,000 per year.  When my second daughter went on about two years later and ...

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What You Need To Know About Healthcare Open Enrollment For 2018 Obamacare

It may be open enrollment season for many of you at work, but for millions of Americans it will be the official open enrollment for Obamacare started Wednesday, November 1st. Amidst all the adjustment surrounding federal subsidies, there is a plethora of information to digest for those of you who are considering the federal marketplace for your health insurance. Sometimes, it may feel like you need an engineering degree to choose your health insurance. Here are my five-smart money moves Q & A to help you get an initial start to understanding the open enrollment period beginning this week. Question 1: When does open enrollment start/end and how many people are expected to sign up this year? Starts November 1, 2017 and ends December 15, 2017 You must apply by December 15th if you want your coverage to begin January 1st. There are no other enrollment periods unless you qualify for a special enrollment for life events such as marriage, divorce, birth of ...

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Should You Lend Money To A Co – Worker?

Here’s a situation I heard the other day…what do you think you should you do. Ted, I’ve got a co-worker of mine and we’ve known each other for more than 10 years. I have always known them to be a pretty responsible person and one that never brings drama to work. We are both in our late 30’s. I have a pretty good idea what they make because we have reasonably similar jobs. It was strange, but the other day as we hit the breakroom, they asked me if I would consider loaning them $7,000 for just a few months some money so they could pay off some of her debts, and then they would pay me back after they get the upcoming bonus we should be receiving in a few months. Details: They specifically told me there were some unexpected family medical expenses that caused this 7k of debt and they didn’t get into too many more details beyond ...

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