Manage The Plastics

The 2004 cult hit movie Mean Girls provides a surprising number of useful and life-affirming lessons. Perhaps the most notable is how NOT to manage credit.

Get in LoserEmbroiled in a wide array of  truly deplorable and self-destructive behaviors, members of “The Plastics” reach for their credit cards when it’s time to unwind and enjoy the necessary comforts of teen life in suburban Chicago. This most agreeable arrangement works so long as someone else pays the bill; the girls are eventually chastened, disband, and learn a slew of valuable life lessons. What can we learn from The Plastics? Read on to find out!

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Preparing To Adult: Millennials & Money

adulting Well-educated, collaborative, technology savvy and socially conscious are just a few terms that are often associated with Millennials. Their comfort with technology and the incessant pace of change makes them prized employees in many organizations.

Less comforting, however, are the numerous challenges that Millennials face as they become card-carrying adults: crushing student loan debt, the ongoing economic hangover from The Great Recession, and housing prices that are quickly approaching pre-recession levels. Add in an uncertain labor market, and slow economic growth and it’s no wonder many Millennials feel anxious about life and money.

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You Graduated With Student Loan Debt: Now What?

Game-of-Loansgrad

Congratulations to the class of 2016, your hard work and perseverance has paid off. You are newly minted graduates and may be facing a variety of decisions surrounding your life and career that you feel totally unprepared to make. Should I take that crazy job teaching English in Tibet, or the stuffy office gig with a 401 (k)? Mom and dad said I could move back home, but living with my friends in a sixth-floor walk- up apartment just seems like more fun. Do I need to start saving for retirement already, oh, and what about my student loans? Continue reading

Using Deferred Income Annuities For Retirement Income

Those approaching retirement are looking for ways to provide lifetime income; a recent ruling from the United States Department of the Treasury has placed renewed attention on the use of deferred income annuities, also known as longevity insurance, in a retirement income plan.

First, A Little Background

Deferred income annuities are generally paid for with a single-premium and income payments commence after a minimum of one year. The recent Treasury ruling allows participants  in a 401K or Traditional IRA retirement account to use the lesser of twenty five percent of their account balance or $125,000 for the purchase of a qualifying deferred income annuity. Income from the contract may be postponed up to age eighty five and will be excluded from Required Minimum Distribution calculations.

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Checklist for a Midyear Financial Checkup

With tax season ending and the start of summer, it’s easy to forget about your finances.  However, this midpoint in the year, as things begin to slow down, is one of the best times to evaluate where you stand, to become aware of issues before it is too late, and to make any necessary course corrections.

We recommend evaluating your:

BUDGET

Now is a great time to fine-tune your budget or spending plan based on any changes (raises, bonuses, additional debt).

 

SAVINGS

Make sure that your emergency savings fund is on track.  While some suggest setting aside 3 months worth of household income, we suggest 6-9 months of cash readily accessible, particularly as the timeframe to fine employment increases.

Check in on your other savings goals such as: your children’s educational planning, retirement savings, family vacation, or home improvements.

Retirement: make sure you are maximizing your annual contributions to your 401k, traditional or Roth IRA, or any other sort of savings you’re looking towards.  For more information check out our retirement posts.  If you see you’re falling short, you may want to consider increasing your contributions.  Take the time to evaluate your company match to maximize your full match potential

 

CREDIT

Guard against identity theft.  Request your free credit report from the 3 credit reporting agencies online, for free at http://www.freecreditreport.com.  Make sure your credit report is updated and accurate – check for any problems or unusual activity.  Close down credit cards that are no longer in use.  Make sure the debt that you’ve taken out is in your name.

 

TAXES

The midyear checkup is a good opportunity to review your tax withholdings and make any estimated tax payments.  Contact your CPA or check the IRS withholding calculator.

 

INSURANCE

Take a look at your current insurance plans: life, health, disability, long-term care, auto, homeowner’s policy.  Do you have the right type of insurance and coverage? Make any policy changes or modifications based on changes in the first part of the year.

 

INVESTMENTS

Now is a good time to review and adjust your asset allocation or your goals, particularly if you want to take on more risk or your retirement time horizon has changed.