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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What’s Best? Buy, Lease, or Rent A Car

One of the day to day family financial decisions we have to make as adults is whether or not we should buy a car or lease a car.  Over the past twelve months, there have also been options popping up across America around the concept of joining a subscription service and renting a car.  Making the right decision for your family can potentially not only improve your budget, but it could also improve your lifestyle.  Here are my side by side on whether you should buy, lease, or rent a car. Buying A Car – There are lots of considerations when you buy a car, but traditionally I have only been a fan of buying used cars that are two to three years old and the large initial depreciation wears off.  You can cover yourself by buying a bumper to bumper 100,000 mile extended warranty if you have concerns about something major happening to the car, but I like the ...

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Why Investors Can’t Measure Their Own Risk Tolerance

When people start investing money, one of the exercises they engage in is determining their own risk tolerance.  Usually, this process is handled by filling out some sort of questionnaire that has multiple choice questions like the one below. ‘If you had $10,000 to invest, would you….’ Be willing to chance earning 30% growth knowing you could lose 30% Be willing to chance earning 10% growth knowing you could lose only 5% Be willing to lose nothing knowing you could earn no more than 5% We often whisk through these quizzes at a blazing pace because in a simulation exercise we know exactly who we are.  However, there are two types of behaviors that we have within our personality.  How we act in a natural state when we are relaxed and have no pressure.  Then, there is the adaptive state when we are under heavy pressure.  Unfortunately, these quizzes don’t really put us under any pressure so they don’t really ...

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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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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 ...

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After this holiday season, who are you cutting out of your will?

I usually tell clients to read their will around the time of their birthday, every 3 years. This year, it’s January and I’m thinking “Hmmmm. Who wasn’t so nice to me this year around the holidays? Do they need to remain in my will?” All joking aside, it’s good to read your will every few years just to see if there are any additions or deletions to make. It’s also worth paying your attorney for an hour or two of their time to make sure everything is up to date with current tax laws and current state laws that pertain to estate planning that may have changed effective January 1st. For instance, I know Georgia made some change to one of the estate planning documents recently. Always check with your attorney but I discuss the advantages and disadvantages of establishing a revocable trust in addition to having your Will, Healthcare Directive, and Durable Powers of Attorney in place. In states ...

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5 2018 Sticky Financial New Year’s Resolutions

It’s 2018, and that means that most of you have made at least one New Year’s resolution.  For most of you it will surround either diet or exercise, but for some of you getting your financial plan in order may rise to the top of the list. With the average American now surpassing more than $16,000 of household credit card debt, it may appear that feeling flush has left us spending out of control.  In your smart money moves fashion, here are my ideas for a sticky 2018 financial New Year’s resolution that can help you grow your bottom line. Get Your Financial House In Order Set Up An Online Account Aggregation System – At oXYGen Financial, we have been using a personal financial dashboard for almost 10 years in helping our clients get their financial house in order. You can learn more about this by going to oXYGen Financial, but there are also other systems online including Mint and ...

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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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