The 7 Best Tips for Travel

Recently I wrote about the 7 biggest mistakes I’m made during travel, mostly international, but not exclusively. This episode will cover the best decisions, in my humble opinion, that I’ve made that greatly contributed to a fun and exciting travel experience and the lack bad outcomes.

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Is Travel Worth It?

Travel can be expensive, can’t it? Just go online to Expedia.com or some similar website and see what it costs to visit Niagara Falls, NY if you live in Southern California. Or even travel to Orvieto, Italy where I’m writing this blog now from Las Vegas, NV where I live.

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Smart moves to practice for vacations and trips

Who doesn’t like to travel? Most people do. Event though if you don’t have a travel bug in you, one of these days you’ll have to be going somewhere far from home. Before every trip or vacation, I take I have a ritual I practice to get me into travel mode.

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My Top 7 Travel Mistakes

June is a good month to plan travel at the last minute. For me, I’m usually planning summer travel around the Christmas holidays. Making plans at the last minute offers you the benefit of seeing last minute flight and hotel promotions, but it can lead to mistakes. Here are my top ten last minute travel mistakes:

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International travel tips

· Obtain or renew your passport way in advance. At least three months in advance. · Obtain or confirm that the two credit cards you will take with you do not charge currency transaction fees.

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Navigating Changing Jobs and Careers, While Staying on Course with Financial Planning

Employment changes will happen to every one of us and more than once in our lifetimes. Working for one employer or keeping one career is not viable any more. The era of lifelong employment with just one employer is long gone.

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This year’s advice for HS and College Grads

It’s that time of year for high school and college graduates - a new phase awaits. It’s called a job. Transition to the workplace is one of the most difficult tasks many high school and college graduates face this time of year.

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How to Transition to a Monthly Paycheck

For most of our working years I think it's safe to say just about all of us receive our checks weekly or every other week; and plan to pay our bills accordingly. Speaking for myself, while on Active Duty my wife and I designated the 1st's paycheck to the mortgage and the 15th's to our living expenses. Simple and easy to repeat; and I'd wager many others do something very similar.

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2 Financial Principles to Help you Survive Any Life Transition

Major life transitions, such as moving to a new city, becoming a parent, retiring, graduating from college or changing jobs, can be an exciting and invigorating part of life. Yet transitions, even happy ones, can be stressful and bring up mixed feelings, as well as get you feeling financially confused. Regardless of what life brings your way, I would like you to always remember these 2 principles:

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Doing the Flip: Saver to Retirement Spender

One of the biggest transitions in life is to go from worker to retiree, or from saver to spender (call it decumulation or spend downer if you like). Today I’m addressing an issue faced by those who have managed to save through most or all their working careers and now find it’s time to begin using some of their savings in consumption. After all, those savings, in most cases, are deferred income they put away into retirement accounts.

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Exit Strategy

Recently I've been receiving not so subtle reminders of how finite our lives are, and how much of a difference having a plan can make. I think we can all agree it's impossible to plan for every eventuality, but I also think we can all agree there is at least one exit we are all going to make - to the best of my knowledge nobody has found the secret to immortality in our present state (this is not meant as a religious or philosophical post).

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Helping Incapacitated Loved Ones

Recently, I’ve been helping two relatives since I’m the family member closest to them with both financial skills and healthcare experience (retired hospital administrator married to a retired nurse). Both relatives exhibit signs of incapacity with diminished functioning on some level. So now I must brush up on my communication skills in addition to my background and experience in helping others in financial planning.

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When the Floor Drops

This time of year (Mar - May) is rough for me, it brings back a lot of memories - most vivid perhaps the week my wife spent in the ICU until she passed, her subsequent burial over Easter weekend of 2012 and what would've been our wedding anniversary on May 18th. Certainly the most dramatic, but not the only time I've lost my equilibrium because something totally unexpected, and unwelcome, occurred. And when this happens, it's up to us to decide how we'll react - do we roll with the punches and come back fighting, or do we drop to the mat? Admittedly I haven't always responded with grace under pressure - it's taken years and multiple incidents I could've (and should've) handled better to get me to where I am; and I still consider myself a work in progress.

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3 Money Tips for a New Graduate

Spring is my favorite time of the year. We become more active with outside activities, start to travel and of course our expenditures increase. The month of May also means graduations and new beginnings for many young adults. I want to share with you the financial advice I wish I had received when I was in my 20s, but I didn’t. I had to learn the hard way! I became a certified financial planner. You don’t have to!

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Financial Detox

I am sure when you hear word “Detox,” you automatically think of diet and cleansing your body and mind. No argument here. All of these are practices are very much needed. However, today I would like to focus on our finances. Guess what? Your money also needs to be cleansed and I am going to show you how!

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Simplify – Keep, Delete or Delegate

How many of you have ever felt overwhelmed - like there was just not enough hours in the day to accomplish everything that needs to be done? I know I have in the past, and at times still do - usually because I put something off until the last minute and then other stuff pops up. But this is within my control, I have no one to blame but myself - and it's not the focus of this article.

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Best Practices For Your Not So Private Online Life

We just have to come to terms that because we live in a modern world and expose ourselves online, there are best practices we need to learn and constantly revisit to stay current. Here are my 10 “Best Practices” for the “private life” we live today.

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Check Yourself

This year my son turns 18, which by any measure is a major milestone; but I'm finding it especially noteworthy as I consider what it means with regards to my estate planning and his disability. When he was younger I could delude myself into thinking there may be a miracle cure, he'd suddenly wake up one day and no longer have the cognitive delays he's had since birth. Some of this is hyperbole, I'm certainly being melodramatic - but it has been weighing on my mind.

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Privacy anyone?...Not anymore!

‍It has become extremely difficult for consumers to navigate and manage the privacy of their financial and non-financial lives. The world is changing at a fast speed. Technological advancements allow us to have access to information at the tip of our fingers. But those advancements don’t come without a cost.

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Correction is Coming?

The correction is coming, the correction is coming. Do I sound like Paul Revere announcing the British? Well, yes, that’s my intention. Now I wrote this same introduction three years ago. Not much has changed. I am saying the same thing:

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Clutter & Chaos, or Collections & Tranquility?

I'm often told "I'm overwhelmed, I don't know where to start" by my clients; and it's understandable - without systems in place it's easy for anything to get out of control. I will admit to some OCD-like tendencies, perhaps because of spending so many years living on a submarine and having no room for anything. There were several years where I was hot-racking, sharing 2 racks between 3 people; out of necessity you learn how to pack and bring only what you absolutely need. Add to that my training as a Lean Six Sigma Green belt and it's a wonder I don't have my everything in my house labeled and it's location identified (I don't, I promise : p ). I am NOT a professional organizer, although I do know a few and will gladly recommend them if asked.

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Investment vs. Expense?

When I used to think about hiring someone my immediate thought was "how much is this going to cost"; and in this article I'm going to share why - at least for me - this was the wrong question to ask. When I was younger I was convinced I could, and should, master anything I wanted. While to some degree it's probably accurate to say if I put enough time and energy into learning something I may be able to perform adequately, it's not realistic - if for no other reason there is only so much time in the day. Not to mention all the things I just don't like doing - like cleaning the house, yard work, etc.

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Goals Are Important

We are in the goal business. Helping people define, refine and achieve their financial goals. What does it take to achieve and surpass financial goals?

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Deductable and Non Deductable Medical Expenses

This week, rather than the blog you traditionally see, I would like to share with you a list of medical expenses you can, and cannot deduct. This list is not meant to be all-inclusive, when in doubt please consult with a tax professional. The IRS doesn’t allow you to deduct medical expenses until they’ve exceeded 10% of your income, but for many of us who are caring for sick/aging parents and/or a child/relative with a disability, it’s reasonable to expect you’ll meet this requirement.

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Automate This…

I realize what I'm about to say goes against what I perceive to be "conventional wisdom". When I was Active Duty I earned my Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and I understand, quite well I think, how to become more efficient and eliminate waste. I’m not a fan of having my clients set their bills up for auto-pay, for a couple reasons.

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Smart moves for your tax refund

2017 Tax season is finally here. Many of you already completed your tax returns and many are still working on them, including me. Gosh, life used to be so simple when I didn’t own a business and only had W-2 income!

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Time to Give It Away

Have you looked at the holdings in your individual or joint brokerage accounts lately? Do you see lots of gains as you look through the portfolio of your taxable accounts? Would you like to avoid recognizing those capital gains and save on your taxes too?

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The No-Drama Approach to Personal Finance

Our daily lives are constantly bombarded with drama, courtesy of the media. Drama, in headlines, stories and videos, gets attention and helps content creators get their message across in a cluttered media landscape. As a financial blogger, I confess that I’ve attempted to do that, too, believing that a little drama will increase the chances of you hearing my advice and, in my opinion, my helping you achieve your financial goals and live a more fulfilling life.

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Roth/Traditional – What’s the Difference?

As I think most of us are aware, there are (2) types of IRAs – a Traditional and a Roth. These options are growing in availability within employer-sponsored retirement plans, and I think some explanation about the difference is warranted. Traditional accounts are tax-deferred, meaning the money put into the account is not taxed and thus your annual income is lowered. For example, if you are earning $80,000 a year and you’re filing Married Joint, you would start in the 25% bracket. If you contribute 6% of your income to a traditional retirement plan (401k, 403b) your taxable income drops to $75,200 and you end up in a lower tax bracket (15%).

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Charitable IRA Distributions

Most of us are aware the IRS requires us to take distributions from IRA’s no later than the year you reach 70 ½ (Source IRS.gov). For those who don’t necessarily “need” the money this can become an extra tax burden, and could impact how much they are paying for Medicare; because Medicare Part B premiums are based upon income reported (2) years ago (Source medicare.gov). So, what can you do if you don’t want to pay an increased income tax, increased Medicare and you don’t really “need” the money?

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Loving Your Elderly Parents

We recently interviewed Mr. Farr on our YouTube video series, Swim with Jim, where he told us about adult children who love their parents and want the best for them, coming to see him for advice and counsel. These elderly parents may not have planned and in fact, in many cases, don’t have much of an estate plan, if any.

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College – It’s not for everyone (and that’s OK!)

If there is one theme I feel very confident in saying I run into in almost every planning encounter I do for families with young children, it's college planning. Yet the research I've done, using Pew Research Center, indicates only "56% of students earn degrees within 6 years". Combine this with an average student loan debt amount of almost $29,000 per borrower ($28,950, Institute for College Access & Success, 2015) and you have a recipe for financial disaster. Because if these students are not finishing their degrees, are they finding jobs paying enough to cover the loans, or did they fall victim to a feeling of failure and take unskilled labor positions?

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Why it’s tough to save (and how to help)

I think most of us can relate to having wondered if we'd be able to save enough for our goals at some point in our lives. For one thing, it can be much more fun to spend than to save - especially with the instant gratification of receiving whatever it is you just purchased. Saving can seem like it takes forever, and it may not look like the money is growing, or it isn't growing fast enough.

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Charitable Giving - A Gift To Yourself

I think most of us know it's possible to receive a deduction from your income taxes when you donate to a charity, whether it's clothes, cash or even a vehicle; but if you're like me this in and of itself is not enough incentive to give.

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Love means My Will is Up to Date

Having worked for two bank trust departments and observed so many complex problems created by the lack of a will, I have always urged clients, friends, and family members to keep their estate planning documents up to date. Those documents include a will, durable power of attorney, medical power of attorney, and several other documents in many situations.

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THEY DID WHAT????!!!!!!

I think it's safe to say we've all either been in a position to say this, or know someone who has. This article is specifically focused on the titling of your estate. Far too often, in my opinion, there is conflict or confusion about what to do when someone passes away, and which is the last thing anyone should have to deal with when mourning.

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Where do I Start??!!

The New Year has lost it's luster, many of us who started with the best of intentions and a resolution of "this year's gonna be different" are finding ourselves back on the treadmill to nowhere, and may be getting very discouraged. Or maybe you aren't a resolution person, but you do have something you want to change and aren't sure where to begin. With so many possibilities how do you know which is right for you?!

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Dow Hits 20,000: Now What?

Hey folks, it’s just a number. It has very little to do with your long-term investment plan. After all, it’s only 30 stocks that are mostly not industrial anymore. The media likes drama. In fact, other parts of our society like drama too. The purpose of marking these events has people reading, watching or listening to stories or posts that supposedly bring them insight into how they should live their lives or change their lives or habits. However, in my opinion, it lets advertisers entice you to click on an ad if you’re digital or glance at an ad in a paper format.

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Beware the Deal

Ever feel like the deck is just stacked against you when it comes to saving money? After all, no matter how hard you try, something always seems to come up - and usually just when you're starting to get ahead. No doubt sometimes this is true, after all, I think we've all had those "oh crap" moments and watched our emergency savings dwindle away to nothing. However, I think if we were an impartial viewer we may draw some different conclusions. Having an unforeseen crisis occur and wipe out the money you saved is not to be confused with not having an emergency fund established because of bad saving habits, compounded by life event which would not have been considered "traumatic" if you'd done a better job saving.

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Look Before you Leap

How many of us have had something so enticing dangled in front of us we felt we just had to take advantage of it? Could have been a new car, a new home, new job - you get the idea. Frequently though, there are unintended consequences; that if we'd taken a little more time to step back and consider whatever it was unemotionally we may not have made the same decision. Or, if we had made the same decision, we would have been more prepared for what came next.

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Taking Your First Steps Towards Financial Fitness

Wow - it's already a week into 2017, and this year we're really going to get our finances straight. It's a common theme, yet something happens and often nothing changes. It's tough, overcoming what has become - whether you want to admit it or not - a habit. Much like quitting smoking or dieting, there are frequently reasons you can't save "yet". Welcome to life; where curve balls seem to be the order of the day - so what can we do?

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Wellness Time

It's the beginning of the year. Did you set any goals last year, or are you like most of us who have those good intentions, but they seem to be mostly gone by February? My job as a financial writer is to inspire and educate you. Let's try inspiration and follow up with a little education. Here are some resolutions to consider for 2017 along with an idea of how you might achieve them to help yourself and others, too.

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New Year, New You?!

Welcome to 2017! How many of us have resolved this year will be different? Perhaps this is the year you get rid of those stubborn pounds and fit back into your high school/college jeans, or maybe your focus is on paying down debt and increasing your savings. Whatever the goal, what can you do to make it happen?

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Stop Labeling Yourself

In my profession, a question I hear posed to prospects and clients very frequently is "are you a spender or a saver?" In fact, until recently I was guilty of doing this as well - unfortunately it's not helpful. You may enjoy spending or saving, but it's not "who" you are; any more than enjoying a good book makes you a "reader". We (humans) are not one-dimensional creatures, yet we assign labels almost willy-nilly to help put those we interact with into a box.

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Resolution Time

It's the end of the year. A new year looms in just a few days. Imagine that. Who would have thought last Christmastime we would be where we are now? Did you set any goals last year, or are you like most of us who have those good intentions, but they seem to be mostly gone by February? My job as a financial writer is to inspire and educate you. Let's try inspiration and follow up with a little education.

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Reverse Mortgage Line of Credit Could Fund Long-Term Care

There’s a 70% chance that people over 65 will need some kind of long-term care, including services such as home care, assisted living and skilled nursing, according to government statistics.

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Don’t Buy into the Hype

If you’re watching the markets you’ll have seen them enter record territory, and people predicting all sorts of potential endings. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter what the market is going to do in the immediate future unless you plan on withdrawing from your accounts. And if you’re planning on withdrawals, my hope is you’ve already shifted to a more conservative stance.

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Get Rich, Quick?!

In my experience, there are (3) time proven methods to getting "rich" consistently. And much like losing weight and keeping it off, none of them are magic buttons or are going to happen overnight. Sure, there will always be those who win the lottery or inherit, but for most of us this is not our reality. For us it comes down to increasing income, decreasing living expenses, and/or decreasing debt.

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How to Make Successful Resolutions in 2017

I don’t think any of us plan to work at our New Year’s resolutions for just a few months before giving up, but that’s exactly what many of us end up doing. Changing a habit is hard, and resolutions require that. Here are three characteristics of successful resolutions. The examples deal with saving money, but this advice can apply to other financial goals or goals about fitness, being more conscientious, keeping in touch with friends and family, and other aspects of our lives.

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Why to Avoid Financial Planning Over the Holidays

It’s that time of year when retailers step up their game and try to convince you that you need what they sell and that you can save so much more by buying from them. On the flip side, you can’t get away from advice to set up a plan to save for your goals — no matter how many times you’ve tried before and failed. For many people, this all leads to the nagging sense that they really should sit down with a financial advisor and make a plan.

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Why you should wait until 70 to file for Social Security when you have disabled child

Social Security makes up a very large portion of the income most people receive in retirement, and it makes sense why they would want to start collecting it as soon as possible. However, according to the social security administration, if you start collecting it before your full retirement age you could be leaving between 20 - 30% of your benefit on the table - meaning you will forever miss out on this money. However, if you wait until age 70 before collecting benefits you could earn an additional 5.5 - 8% each year you delay past your full retirement age (delayed retirement credits).

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Overcoming Obstacles to Achieving Financial Goals

We are in the goal business. Helping people define, refine and achieve their financial goals. What does it take to achieve and surpass financial goals?

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Gifts - It's Okay to say "No"

I'm always a little nervous about sharing this particular opinion, especially during this time of year; because of the passion people seem to have about gift giving. I find myself wondering if they're truly caught up in the spirit and overwhelmed with generosity, or do they feel an overpowering sense of duty to give because they "know" they'll be getting something and/or it's expected. Maybe there is a little bit of both going on.

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Holiday Gifts: Creative and Free (almost)

As the holidays approach and the budget is thin or you just need to be creative, why not start now to find creative ideas for gifts? These suggestions can keep on giving and demonstrate affection by being very personal. Here’s a collection of my favorites:

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What to Know About Tax Breaks for Disabled Individuals

It can feel overwhelming to provide the care and services a disabled family member needs. And unfortunately, many families overlook tax credits and deductions that could help defray the costs of that care. These include the medical expense deduction and the child and dependent care credit, and disabled taxpayers may take deductions for impairment-related work expenses.

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A Life Insurance Strategy for Families With Special-Needs Children

‍For families who have children with special needs — for example, a mental or physical disability — the question isn’t whether the parents should own life insurance, it’s how much they can afford. Generally speaking, families with special needs are planning retirement for two generations — the parents and the child — because the child may not be able to earn income as an adult and support himself or herself.

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Money Market Accounts Could Drag Down Your Retirement Savings

After the stock market meltdown of 2007 and 2008, many Americans grew wary of investing and moved more of their savings into money market deposit accounts. These have less volatility than stocks and a higher return rate than traditional savings accounts. In fact, the total amount in money market accounts has nearly doubled since the stock market crash, from around $2.7 trillion at the end of 2007 to more than $5.1 trillion as of this June, according to data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

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Don’t Skimp on Your Insurance

Often I hear people say, “Insurance is a scam” or, “It’s too expensive.” But I’ve never heard anyone complain about insurance when they’ve needed it. Some types of insurance are required. Banks require you to purchase homeowners insurance when you buy a home, for example, in order to protect their loan and make sure they get paid. But some types of insurance are voluntary. Nobody is forcing you to purchase policies that protect your income or assets, or that ensure your funeral expenses will be taken care of. Let’s take a look at a few of these voluntary policies and highlight key points you should know:

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Financial Planning for the 21st Century

The world is changing quickly, and it’s time for financial planning advice to catch up. It’s no longer commonplace to work at one company for your entire career and walk away with a nice pension to help you live a comfortable life in retirement. New technology combined with a surge in freelancing and the on-demand gig economy means many people no longer rely solely on their 9-to-5 income. Though in some ways this may complicate your financial plans, it also brings new opportunities to build wealth, diversify income streams and gain control over your finances.

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4 Tips to Slash Unnecessary Monthly Expenses

Most of us pay our bills around the beginning of the month, and about this time the stack can get pretty high — as does the hit to your bank account. If you’re like me, you often think, “What can I do this month to cut my expenses, in a smart way, and waste less money while I’m at it?” I’ve got some ways to do exactly that. Here are my four tips that you can implement today:

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How to Turn Big Dreams Into Financial Goals

‍A dream without a plan is just a wish. To make sure you can achieve the big dreams and desires you have in life, it’s important to turn them into attainable financial goals. Then you must prioritize your goals and consistently track your progress toward them. The following steps will help you define and prioritize your goals so you can make your dreams a reality:

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Long-Term Care Benefits for Veterans

Veterans have access to health and long-term care benefits that can have a significant impact on their family’s finances. The Department of Veterans Affairs will pay for certain long-term care services for disabled and low-income veterans. With help covering long-term care costs, many veterans and their families can focus on other important aspects of their financial planning. There are many options for veterans to take advantage of as they age and require care, but often veterans don’t even know they may be eligible. Here’s a look at the various benefits available:

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ABLE Accounts Help Foster Independence for Disabled People

Most parents don’t expect to provide financial support to their children for their entire lives. But families of children with disabilities may have to. Recent legislation makes it easier for families to set aside money explicitly to provide for the needs of loved ones with disabilities, while also helping them to become more independent. New state-sponsored accounts allow disabled people to accumulate assets in their own name, without the risk of losing their Social Security disability benefits.

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Essential Traits of a Good Investor

Investors frequently make mistakes simply because they are human. Very natural and understandable feelings, like fear and desire for wealth, can cause us to behave in ways that actually harm our financial goals. Good investors, however, are able to resist the influence of emotion on their investing decisions and often can avoid these mistakes altogether. They also tend to see positive results from their investing efforts.

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Smart Steps to Plan for Retirement

Many people worry that Social Security retirement benefits and Medicare won’t be available to them in the future. Recent reports from the Social Security and Medicare trustees indicate that if Congress doesn’t act to better fund these programs, they will face shortfalls in the coming years. However, Social Security and Medicare are incredibly important programs that many people rely on heavily, so it’s hard to imagine that politicians won’t act to ensure their survival. Even so, while we hope Congress will do something, there are steps we can take on our own to plan ahead. To make sure you have enough savings to cover health care and other costs in retirement, here are some strategies you might want to consider:

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The Art of Doing Nothing

Living in the 21st century, we are weighed down with activities, tasks, endless to do lists, technology. We are ON 24/7. It’s hard to disconnect. But we must, in order to keep our sanity.

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Divorce Doesn’t Preclude Social Security Spousal Benefits

Social Security retirement benefits are administered under a complicated set of rules that most participants don’t completely understand. Adding divorce into the equation can result in even more confusion.

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For Social Security Benefits, Timing Is Key

When to begin receiving Social Security benefits is one of the most frequently asked questions among those nearing retirement. The answer is complicated because there are so many factors involved, some of which are not easy to quantify or predict. For instance, you’d have to think through how long you’re likely to work, and even how long you’re likely to live.

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Enjoy Your Summer Vacation — Without Maxing Out Your Credit Cards

School is out, and summer is upon us. It’s time to let loose and have some fun. That sounds great in theory, but it can be horrible for our finances if we aren’t careful — especially when it comes to taking summer vacations.

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Life without cable TV

Something occurred to me during my monthly flight from San Francisco to Baltimore this past August. I was coming back to my seat from the back of the pane. As I walked down the aisle, I noticed that about 75% of passengers had a tablet or computer on and were watching something. Not reading, mind you, but watching. This observation really gave me pause me and got me thinking about the fact that I haven’t watched any movies in quite some time. And then another thought came. When was the last time I sat down to watch TV? I couldn’t remember!

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How the ‘Five-Finger Checkup’ Can Save Your Financial Life

Financial planning isn’t all that complex. Whether you live paycheck to paycheck or have considerable wealth, it comes down to planning ahead to avoid the financial ruin or distress that afflicts so many. I came up with a simple way to remember what you can do to reduce or eliminate debt, plan for the future, and live the life you want. I call it the “Five-Finger Checkup” — one question for each finger:

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Tips on Taking Over a Family Business

Taking over a family business combines two of the most important parts of our lives — family and work — in a potentially volatile process that can affect relationships and keep the transition from being as smooth as it could be.

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The Internet is a Dangerous Place

You know it and I know it. The Internet is a dangerous place. It can help us do wonderful things not imagined a generation ago. But with the internet rewards come risk and that risk is getter worse.

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How Couples Can Manage Money When Income Fluctuates

When you’re a married couple and your bills are steady but your income now isn’t because one of you has become self-employed, how can you manage your finances? Here are six recommendations to keep your finances on track as one spouse takes on a new business or creative pursuit and moves to a more variable income. by: Lucy Lazarony, Next Avenue Contributor, quoting Anna Sergunina

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7 Tips for Managing Money with Your Roommate

Living with a roommate certainly has its perks, such as having someone to split the bills with. But like with any relationship, financial conflicts, if not handled proactively, can make your life miserable.

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Do you need a will? What to know about estate planning

Do I need a will? How do I get one? The answer financial planners usually give is that it depends. But generally speaking, you should have an up-to-date will, as well as a durable power of attorney for health care, also called a health care proxy, and an advance health care directive, also known as a living will, for estate-planning purposes.

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Tax-Reduction Tips for Small Businesses

Small businesses face many challenges, especially in the early days, including developing a product or service, targeting it to the right market, hiring the right employees and keeping expenses under control. Meanwhile, taking the right approach to taxes is a crucial factor that sometimes is overlooked.

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Break the Cycle

Recently my son’s teachers and I met for his IEP (individualized education plan) and one of the goals we discussed was using money.

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Why Hire a Professional?

Over the years I’ve been asked, and I used to ask myself, why hire a professional – I can do this myself and save some money! This has ranged from things as complex as my estate plan to as mundane as getting a housekeeper; but they all have a few common themes.

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MONEY “DATES”

The idea of “Money Dates” has recently resurfaced in my mind. I was having a discussion with my husband about our finances. We had just re-balanced our portfolio, with the help of our advisor, Jim Ludwick!

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A Personal Finance Crash Course For Recent College Grads

A wonderful set of parents recently sent their son to me for financial advice. He was a new college graduate and was about to start his first “real” job. Prior to this session,...

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6 Habits Of Highly Successful Savers

By Jim Ludwick, CFP Learn more about Jim on NerdWallet’s Ask an Advisor With the utmost respect and honor to Stephen Covey for my very similar title (Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly...

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NerdWallet – Insurance Help With Jim Ludwick

Question: I'm really confused about what type of life insurance coverage to purchase for myself and for my husband. Any advice? People buy insurance to reduce or eliminate the financial risk...

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Be On The Lookout For These 7 Everyday Scams

Each year, hundreds of thousands of older Americans are victims of abuse, particularly financial abuse. As a financial advisor, it’s part of my job to be on the lookout for...

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Maximize Your Employee Benefits

Being your own boss might seem like a sweet deal, but one of the advantages of working for a company is the employee benefits package you’ll usually get. Typical benefits include a retirement plan,...

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How To Avoid Getting Stuck With A Rental-Property Dudd

If you’re thinking of buying a residential income property or converting your current residence into a rental, you might want to think again. A deal that looks good on the...

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