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 →

Tricks To Spend Less Money At The Store

Stores and restaurants are really really smart at figuring out how to get you to spend more money.   These are time tested marketing techniques that you won’t even think about before or after you make your purchase.  The key for these stores, restaurants, and outlets is to make you feel good…..like you got a deal or you are special or you are one of the exclusive few that got this opportunity.   The goal is to separate you from your money.   Here are six traps to watch out for that will trick your brain into spending more money. THE NO DOLLAR SIGN TRICK —This one is most seen when you eat out at an upscale restaurant. You’ll notice that they will list a meal with the number 15 (note NO $$) or they will actually spell out in some artsy fartsy font By not showing you an actual dollar sign it literally makes you think less about money thus tricking your ...

Read More →

Where To Invest Under A Clinton Presidency

As I shared a few months ago, Americans aren’t quite sure what to make of this three ring circus we are calling a Presidential election.   With the two candidates in the throes of back and forth debates, the stock market has seen its share of nervous jitters going up and down almost in yo-yo like fashion.   What will happen with the markets if Hillary Clinton is elected President nobody knows for sure, but here are some potential smart money moves to be considering if Clinton becomes POTUS.   Will she borrow more money?  Will she change Obamacare to Hillarycare?  Will she build a wall? Will she bring jobs back to America? Infrastructure – While I cannot give you specific stocks, mutual funds, or exchange traded funds (you’ll have to call me or e-mail me for that info;), I will divulge that one of the best opportunities under a Clinton presidency will be US infrastructure. Consider this for a  . . If ...

Read More →

Five Smart Money Moves To Make When You Are Offered A Severance Package

When the consulting companies are done offering advice to your corporation on how to make it more effective, the one word you don’t want to hear from upper management is “reorg”.    Reorg, short for reorganization, if often a labor intensive process where a large organization systematically eliminates a section of the workforce to streamline their overall processes, people, and systems.   When these reductions in workforce happen, one of the possibilities that may occur is to offer you a severance package.    The problem for most families is that decisions have to be made so quickly that people often make poor choices on how to best maximize this package. Here are five smart money moves to make when you are offered a severance package. Double Dip On Pay If your company offers you six months or one year as a severance package, this is not the time to take an extended vacation.   Every month that you can work for a new employer ...

Read More →