What To Do If You Win The Lottery

This past Tuesday, the Mega Millions jackpot became the third largest jackpot in the history of the game with the winning prize at $548,000,000.  The Powerball and Mega Millions combined was almost $1,000,000,000!  That is a jackpot which will permanently change lives, and it is the largest Mega Millions prize since 2013 when $648,000,000 was split between two winners in California and Georgia. Yes, Georgia!  The record jackpot happened in 2012 and was split between three winners.  Whether you win the lottery, get an inheritance, or receive a windfall, there are important steps you need to know to make sure you plan your finances correctly.  With the jackpot being so high, here are my tips what to do if you win the lottery. Make sure to sign your ticket– The last thing in the world you want to do is to lose or misplace the winning ticket. You should sign the back of the ticket and then make a couple ...

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How Do You Know If Your Portfolio Is Doing Well

Happiness is all about expectations met or unmet.  There have been so many articles written about how to discuss fees with your wealth manager or financial advisor, but very few that talk about the mutual responsibility between the advisor and the client about how to measure performance of your investment portfolio.   This is an important discussion because whether you are managing your money yourself or you turn it over to a professional, the question is do you know how to measure the performance of your portfolio? In 2008, when the S & P 500 had a -37% return, if your portfolio achieved a return of -35% because you were using the S & P 500 as a benchmark would you have been happy?  Conversely, in 2013 when the S & P 500 had a 32.39% return, would you have been happy if you and your advisor agreed that 6% return was the absolute return that was agreed on with you ...

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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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