How do you know your partner is good with money if you aren’t?
In my 25+ years as a financial planner, I’ve seen people, often women, relinquish the job of managing money to their spouse. Of course, this isn’t always the case—some women are very interested in finances. But the ones who aren’t need to pay attention to their money regardless.
Giving up the duty of managing your finances because you aren’t interested could be one of the biggest mistakes of your life. Your partner, or whoever is managing your money, may not be as good at it as you think—and it’s always good to have a second set of eyes to ensure you’re on track to reach your goals and to avoid fraud.
Here is an example:
In April of 2000, after the tech bubble burst, Janice (not her real name), a woman in her mid-60s, sat down across from me in my financial planning office. Her husband handled their finances, and she wanted a second opinion on her retirement plan. She showed me a statement for December 31, 1999 and a statement for March 31, 2000.
Here’s what I remember from her statements:
Continue reading “9 Things You Need To Know About Money If Your Partner Handles The Finances”
One of my friends asked me this question the other day. Here’s what she said:
Nancy, I am in sales, so keeping up my appearance is important to career success. Since I turned 50, I’ve started seeing an esthetician and am getting botox injections for deep wrinkles and specialized skin care procedures. My skin looks fantastic. People tell me I look 10 years younger.
Since these are medical procedures, can I use my HSA to pay for them?
Continue reading “Can I Use My HSA To Pay For Botox Treatments?”
If you are over 50 and haven’t started saving for retirement, you most likely already know that you need to save more.
Running a retirement calculation that estimates that you’ll work until you’re 80 could be counterproductive. You might just throw your hands up and say, “Why bother?!”
You’ll want to map out a savings strategy (ideally with a financial planner), but your very first step doesn’t need to be using a retirement calculator. You know you are behind. Instead, make your step one more productive.
First, think about ways to increase your income with your current employer. In other words, start right where you are standing.
Continue reading “Your First Step If You Are A Late Starter To Retirement Planning”
You don’t want identity theft. Believe me.
One of the scariest moments of my life was when my data was stolen. A woman walked around Sacramento with a drivers license with her picture and my data. Since she had my Social Security number and date of birth, along with false documents, she opened up instant credit (or tried to) with over 15 retailers including Target, Lowe’s, Best Buy, and Home Depot.
The police recommended I report this to all three credit reporting agencies. When I tried to create an account with TransUnion online, I was told that I already had an account but it was locked out.
A shiver of fear went up my spine. I’d never been on the TransUnion site before.
Continue reading “Take The Equifax Data Breach Very Seriously. Take These 5 Steps.”
Aging is inevitable. There are things we can do to stay healthy, but let’s face it: Sometime in the future, our hearing, sight, and even the quality of our teeth will start to diminish.
That knowledge probably makes you want to set aside funds now for your (basically guaranteed) health expenses in the future. A Health Savings Account (HSA) is the perfect account for that purpose.
An HSA has triple tax benefits. Contributions are pre-tax, the account value grows tax-deferred, and “qualified” distributions—those used for medical expenses—can be withdrawn free of income taxes.
If you have a high-deductible medical plan, you may qualify for a health savings account. The IRS allows individuals to put aside $3,400 and families to put aside $6,750 in 2017. The year you turn age 55, you can add another $1,000 as a “catch-up” contribution (even if you’ve always maxed out your account).
Even if you don’t need to use your HSA for out-of-pocket medical expenses now, you may want to let your balance grow for the future to cover these common medical costs:
Continue reading “5 Ways Your HSA Can Unlock Benefits In Retirement”
Retiring is a decision you usually can’t undo.
Your employer has most certainly made plans to replace you with a successor who’s been waiting in the wings. So this isn’t one of those choices where you can come back and say, “I’ve changed my mind.”
Retirement planning is complex; there are so many moving parts that it can be a challenge to know if you’ve done enough. You run retirement calculators, rebalance your investment portfolio, and get a second opinion from an unbiased financial planner. All these steps are positive! But there are a few more to take.
Continue reading “5 Money Moves To Make 5 Years Before You Retire”
Many locals in Park City, Utah will tell you, “I came for the winters but stayed for the summers.”
There is so much to do in Park City in the summer; hiking, mountain biking, outdoor festivals, concerts, and so much more. In fact, there is almost too much to do if you live here full time.
My furniture carries a thin layer of dust, as my living room only gets a quick vacuum on the weekends. I’d much rather be out enjoying the beautiful summer days in the mountains than being indoors.
I asked a few locals to share what makes them happy in the summers at Deer Valley Resort in a “four-word-story.” This is an idea I picked up from writer, Maya Kachroo Levine, who collected stories from people of all ages on what made them really happy. Why don’t we try it here in Park City?
Continue reading “Exercise Your Brain: Take The 4-Word-Story Challenge”
Many people, including me, dream of having a “mortgage burning” party the week they retire. The very thought of making my last mortgage payment makes me jump for joy. No mortgage payment means peace of mind, freedom and a strong sense of security.
But is it a false sense of security?
Given today’s low interest rate environment, it might make sense to hold onto a mortgage, since the cost of money is relatively inexpensive. With the uncertainty around health care costs, maybe it’s not smart to tie up assets in an illiquid investment.
Continue reading “Should I Pay Off My Mortgage Before I Retire?”
While we may have goals to build a solid emergency fund, buy a home, retire early, or pay off debt, sometimes we can be our own worst enemy.
Let’s face it — we all make poor money choices. Sometimes we may even be sabotaging our finances unconsciously. We are only human, after all.
Breaking those bad financial habits can get us closer to meeting our goals.
Here are a few to avoid:
- Letting groceries go to waste because you picked up takeout on the way home.
I have to raise my hand here and say “guilty,” because I’ve done this many times in the past. When you are hungry and tired after a long day at work, it is tempting to pick up food on the way rather than taking the time to cook.
Financial Planner tip: Plan meals ahead with a weekly system. Add “take out” to the meal plan on certain days when you know you won’t want to cook. Set up the slow cooker or make extra meals and freeze them to make weeknight dinners easy.
Check out Just a Girl and Her Blog for some free printable weekly meal plans.
Continue reading “Big Money Wasters: Break These 10 Expensive Habits Today”