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 ...

Read More →

Are You Breathing Easier?

Have you ever heard of “Breathwork” or “Rebirthing”? I’ve been doing various forms of breathwork for years. The concept behind it is that when you breathe deeply and rhythmically you oxygenate the body and emotions, feelings and even beliefs that you no longer choose to keep are brought to the surface and released from your body and energy field.  It’s always best to do this with a coach that you trust because some of those emotions and feelings are ones that we’ve labeled bad and we don’t want to feel them. They are the ones that have been stuck for years in our sub-conscious mind.  When they come out, we have to be in a non-judgmental space so we can feel them fully, release them and let them go. We release them so we can Breathe Easier!! It’s kind of like looking at your financial situation. Sometimes we’ve avoided looking at our finances. We may have hundreds of thousands or ...

Read More →

The Best 2018 Tax Moves To Make Now

As the new tax law goes into effect, many people are starting to wonder how this will affect their overall paychecks.  You should see some bump in your paychecks when the new tax tables go into effect somewhere in Mid-February or early March, but there are a host of financial decisions that you need to start considering now in order to maximize your own tax situation. Adjust your withholdings – It’s ironic that most people give themselves a high five when they get a refund come tax time. Not only do you allow the Government the use of your money for a year, you also get taxed on your own state refund federally the following year.  Since we have new tax brackets and tax tables, you should really look at your withholdings here in the spring to maximize your cash flow here in 2018. Remember, if you are getting your taxes done, Turbo Tax and Tax Slayer are two low ...

Read More →

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 ...

Read More →

What Happens To My Frequent Flyer Points When I Die?

When a loved one passes away, there are often many financial matters to deal with in the estate planning process. Often, you have to deal with collecting life insurance policy proceeds, closing out bank accounts, and dealing with the transfer of IRA and 401(k) accounts. In most families, there is also lots of discussion over possessions including automobiles, jewelry, or other collectibles. But, what about all of those frequent flyer points? Will they continue on to a beneficiary or just drift away into a black hole of frequent point oblivion? Before we discuss various programs and what the potential outcomes are at death, let’s talk about some best practices. Most families don’t even really track their miles or points. This is why we encourage people to use the online personal financial dashboard with oXYGen Financial because you actually have the ability to track all and any point programs to know exactly what you have. It’s not a great idea to ...

Read More →

Is It Time To Make A Roth IRA Conversion?

Over this past year, more clients have asked me about whether or not it makes sense to do a conversion from their Traditional IRA to a Roth IRA.   I’ve written before on the merits of a back door Roth IRA (http://bit.ly/2jNBfFA) before on Your Smart Money Moves, but the larger question about converting an existing account can be a tricky one to approach in your personal finances.   More importantly, if you are not proactive in your tax planning, you could miss a tremendous opportunity to take advantage of a bad year with your business or if you have a substantially down year of income.  Given the volume of planning cases I see every month, especially those in their late 40’s to late 50’s should be looking at this strategy very closely if you are in a transition phase. With the potential upcoming changes in the tax code suggested to move from seven tax brackets down to three, each family needs ...

Read More →

Why Are You Such A “Poor” Millionaire

As I continue to help more and more people approach the end zone of making work optional (a.k.a. – retirement) it continues to shed light on just how little one million dollars seems these days.    It was once believed that the ultimate pinnacle for wealth building was to have one million liquid dollars, but with the uncertainty in the bond markets, stock markets, and real estate markets, it has baby boomers about to retire shaking in their boots about being sacked before they score a touchdown. Many people hear this notion being thrown about called the 4% percent rule.   This rule was initially laid out by a financial planner William Bengen.   He had back tested a variety of withdrawal rates using various historical rates of return and found that 4% withdrawal with the absolute highest rate that held up over a period of 30 years. So, if you are a “millionaire” with $1,000,000 of starting capital at ‘work optional’, you ...

Read More →