5 Amazing Technology Gifts For Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is less than a week away and word on the street is that spending is up this year.    The National Retail Federation estimated that consumers will spend 19.9 billion dollars on Mom this year in 2018 which is actually down from last year.  If you are counting that is an average of $162.94 per consumer which is $6 decrease from a year ago.  Men will spend more than Mom than women by more than $70!  Being a Mom is a tough job, and we need to all appreciate what Mom’s do throughout the year. Most consumers will acknowledge that appreciation with a greeting card (81.3%), though it appears her loved ones will also look for special gifts. Two-thirds (66.6%) of those celebrating will buy mom her favorite flowers, spending a total of $2.3 billion, and 33.5 percent will look for spring sweaters and blouses, spending a total of $1.7 billion on apparel and accessory items. Mom’s loved ones ...

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Five Money Moves To Make If Your Company Files Bankruptcy

As we get deeper into the calendar year of 2018, bankruptcies are at an all-time high for the retail sector.  In fact, in 2018 store closing are expected to be up 30% and cross over 10,000 retail stores that will close this year.  There isn’t a person you run across today who won’t admit that online companies are killing brick and mortar.  Even if your company says they will reorganize their debt and not officially lay everyone off, it’s probably time you make some smart financial moves now to get your personal financial plan in place.   Make sure you take care of all of your health items- Health insurance is one of the biggest things to be thinking about if your company is filing bankruptcy. What you want to understand is what will be happening with your company benefits. If you do lose your job, do you understand the COBRA rules and the costs? Do you understand what the ...

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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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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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