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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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