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The Importance of a Plan

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

- Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Every time I hear this quote, I think about how true it is. Don’t get me wrong, wishes are good things. I still make a wish when blowing out the candles on my birthday cake—I hope it comes true, but I don’t necessarily expect that it will.

I don’t think that any of us would decide to take a road trip, blindly hop in the car, and start driving, hoping that we make it to our intended destination. Rather, we would likely sit down, research where we want to go, what we want to do, and develop a plan to get there. Not only would we plan out what we’d do while on vacation, but we’d also think about the financial part of it:

The SEP IRA: Is This the Best Retirement Plan for Your Business?

As a self-employed individual or small business owner, you have the ability to establish a simple and cost-effective retirement plan for you and your employees. There are a few options available, but one you may want to consider is the simplified employee pension (SEP) IRA. This plan type is an attractive choice for self-employed individuals or small business owners who want to maximize their own retirement contributions.

4 Steps to Successfully Achieve Your Goals

For many of us, the start of a new year is synonymous with setting new goals, and while this is an important first step, achieving the goal requires more than simply writing it down on paper.  Whether your goals are related to your personal finances, getting healthier, or pursuing your passion, there are simple things you can do to increase your chances of successfully achieving them.

Avoiding Common Errors Surrounding RMDs

When it comes to retirement accounts, many investors fail to think about required minimum distributions (RMDs). This oversight can lead to unnecessary tax burdens and other financial issues. In order to handle RMDs effectively, an understanding of the rules and common misconceptions can be beneficial.

Long-Term Care: What You Need to Know

According to the department of Health and Human Services, 70% of people over age 65 will need some type of long-term care services and support during their lives, and 20% of those will need it for longer than five years. 

 

For a married couple, this means that there is a 91% that one of them will need long-term care.  These odds are simply too significant to ignore.  Let’s talk about what you need to know about long-term care.

The Basics of Credit Scores and Credit Reports

As consumers, we know that having a good credit score is important. Whether you are applying for a loan or signing up for a credit card, your credit score plays a major role in determining if you will be approved. Your credit score can also have a significant impact on loan terms and borrowing costs.

What is a credit score?

When you borrow money from a lender or sign a contract pledging to make payments, the other party needs to assess how likely it is that you will fulfill your obligations. Your credit score is a measure of risk that helps lenders quantify this likelihood in real time.

Talking to Your Kids About Money

When it comes to talking to kids about money, many parents can be a bit nervous.  

An annual “Parents, Kids and Money Survey” conducted over the past 10 years by T. Rowe Price has consistently found that parents are just as uncomfortable talking to their kids about money as they are about sex and drugs. So, you’re not alone!

It’s never too early to start teaching children about money. 

Simply start at an age appropriate level and build on the concepts as they mature.  And don’t worry if you haven’t started talking to your teen about money yet – it’s also never too late!

Budgeting Basics

One of the things I frequently ask clients is “How much money do you need every month?”  Not surprisingly, the most common answer is “I’m not sure.” 

It’s easy to not pay attention to how much we’re spending – we’re busy, and if we’re not spending more than we’re making, we’re fine, right?  The short answer is -  as long as you’re saving enough, you should be okay.  But, how do you know if you’re saving enough if you don’t know what you need?

The idea of creating (and sticking to) a budget can be daunting, so I’m breaking it down into a few easy steps to help get you started.

Basic Estate Planning Documents

Although many of us don’t like to think about planning for a future that we won’t be around to experience, a well-thought-out estate plan helps to manage and preserve assets during life and conserve and direct the distribution of assets at death.

Basic estate planning is for everyone. Through an estate plan, you have a say in the “how, when, and to whom” your assets are transferred, in addition to achieving your own specific tax and non-tax planning goals.

Spring Cleaning in Your Financial House

Spring is in the air, which for many means waking up from hibernation and cleaning out the clutter. But don’t forget about clearing the cobwebs from your “financial house,” too! Even if you recently took a look at your finances as you prepared for tax season, there still may be some items that could use your attention. The following list highlights five commonly neglected areas.

 

Dust off your credit report and score

If you’re planning to buy a home or make another major purchase, a good credit rating can be critical. Businesses also inspect your credit history when evaluating applications for insurance, employment, and even leases. With so much in the balance, it’s important to review your credit report for accuracy at least annually. Plus, it’s a good way to catch signs of identity theft.