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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7 FAFSA Mistakes That Could Crush Getting FREE Money

In many parts of the country kids are already back at school and the rest of the children will be starting right after Labor Day.  While the college football season is kicking off, most families don’t realize that applying for free financial aid is literally right around the corner for 2018.   The problem is that most people don’t understand how the 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 2018. Fill out the FAFSA form on 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 you fill out the form matters.  Some states and some colleges ...

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When You Realize The Best Things In Life Are Free

Sometimes, people will make fun of me for driving a car with 204,000 miles of wear and tear on it.    There isn’t a month that goes by that someone doesn’t ask me, “Ted, when are you going to get a new car?”  On top it, I’m not the kind of person who buys myself much anymore.  I don’t spend a lot money on clothes, I don’t have an expensive hobby, and I don’t even wear a watch anymore.   You’d think I was bunkering up for a financial Armageddon, but in reality a few years ago I realized that no matter how much money you make the best things in life are free. Growing up as a child, we would have NEVER even thought about going to a four star hotel.  Now, for most families it isn’t even about taking a vacation.  It’s about the style points associated with the vacation.   “Hey, have you gone to the Ritz Carlton in …..?” ...

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Should I Leave My Kids A Million Dollars

Just the other week, I had one of the more interesting conversations with a client which sparked me to write this article. I’ve never been the kind of advisor that wants to ‘sell’ my clients insurance. I have always felt it to be best to implement risk management products for the best cost possible or utilize insurance vehicles in the best way to accumulate cash based upon each individual client situation. One of my clients called the other day and said they were considering buying a second to die policy. When I initially heard the request, I said, “Well, you don’t really have a need for more life insurance and we have really good accumulation strategies set up for your other goals.” As the conversation deepened, he told me that he wanted to be 100% certain that when he and his wife died that each child would get 2 million dollars no matter what happened with the rest of his ...

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5 Key Points To Know When You Decide To Refinance

With the Fed recently raising interest rates, people have already started to write and call me about whether or not it is still a good time to refinance.  You will likely see more offers from your current mortgage company, broker, or bank looking to get you locked in before the Fed raises rates again in 2017.  Here are my smart money moves to five key points to know when you make a final decision about whether a refinance is good for your property. There Is NO Rule Of Thumb — I love these random articles out there that say your mortgage rates needs to be down by a certain percentage for a refinance to make sense. In fact, Investopedia recently wrote, “The typical rule of thumb is that if you can reduce your current interest rate by 0.75-1%” This makes very little sense to me as this is going to be a math equation because all refinancing costs money.   What you are ...

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Five Important Things You NEED To Know About FAFSA

Most people relish the idea of figuring out how to get some free aid to help their families when it comes to taking care of college education.  However, year in and year out, families make multiple mistakes when it comes to filling out the Free Application For Student Aid (FAFSA).  This year, FAFSA has made multiple changes that need your attention to ensure your family has the best opportunity to reach your goal of getting some cash.  Here are the smart money moves you need to know: The Start Date Is Much Earlier Applications officially can be filed October 1st – January 1st This is a permanent change within the FAFSA system. It Will Much More Simple For Pulling Tax Information FAFSA will now use a ‘prior-prior’ method. This means that they will really be using two years prior to give everyone a chance to fully complete their tax extension. Students applying for 2017-2018 tax year which would be the ...

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Pay Off The Mortgage Or Invest The Money

One of the most difficult questions that I get from both younger and older clients is whether or not it is a good idea to pay off their mortgage or invest the money?  With interest rates continuing to hover around all-time lows, many people are still in the process of refinancing their existing homes or buying a new one.   If your rate is in the 3% to 4% range, you may be wondering if you should take your excess monthly discretionary income to pay down your home note faster or would it be a better idea to take that cash and invest it for the long term.    This decision has both financial and emotional ramifications, so let’s review the pros and cons of paying off your mortgage. The first part of this analysis is the black and white calculation on whether your money can work harder for you than the interest rate you are paying on your debt.   Let’s say, ...

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