Check Your Beneficiaries

Another quick note this week – but important!

Whatever, whoever you want to call them: Beneficiaries, “Bennys”, Heirs… make sure to check who is listed as Beneficiary or Beneficiaries on your retirement accounts, insurance policies, IRAs or in your Will (if you have a Will).*

Inevitably, time flies. Loved ones pass away or important loved ones, well, change. (Think: divorce, relationship changes). On the positive side, new beneficiaries, or heirs, are born or enter the picture! In the busy-ness of life, often the accuracy of beneficiaries goes unchecked.

angelic statue and sunset scenery
NO ONE enjoys talking about their death, but bottom line, after your death, it is too late to change beneficiaries.

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Luck, Timing & Investing

From the Archives of TGIF 2 Minutes….

There is an element of luck involved in investing. A specific term for this luck is, “Sequence of Returns.” What on earth is that? Answer: it is a risk. And it may just be the most important concept in the world if you ever wish to spend your savings – and have them last as long as you need.

green plants on black soil
There is an element of luck involved in investing. A specific term for this luck is, “Sequence of Returns.” 

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A Warm Up For Retirement

Retirement? What do you mean, Retirement?! That is in the waaay distant future, you may say.

Well the lock down, shelter in place, husbands and wives/girlfriends and boyfriends/parents and kids working from home TOGETHER is just that: a warm-up for retirement. Or a forced “retirement together” for those already retired.

competition dispute goats
Retirement – or being one-on-one 24/7 with the same person or people – is not as easy as it looks!

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Negative Interest Rates

Staying positive in a negative interest rate world just got a little easier. Sweden’s central bank, one of the world’s first to lower benchmark interest rates to below zero, this week raised its rate up to zero from negative 0.25%, or -0.25%.

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A negative interest rate from a bank means that instead of depositing monies and earning interest, the depositor pays interest over time. The concept has been said to signify ultra-safety of deposits thus providing “value” to the depositor.

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What am I Saving For?

Most people would define their primary savings goal as “retirement.” …Or would they?

Of course, retirement is often a primary long-term savings goal, but not always. The definition of retirement itself has morphed over the recent decade with people living longer lives. “Retirement” encompasses more than simply stopping work and being on a “permanent vacation.”  In fact, recent research published in the Journal of Financial Planning* reports that quitting work cold turkey often is not reality – for a number of reasons.

selective focus photography of person holding the adventure begins mug
There is more to the long-term savings equation that a simple line from Point A (today) to Point B (retirement).

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Gut Check (Again) In Rocky Markets

From the archives of TGIF 2 Minutes comes a very handy message – one that still holds true 5 years later:

blue and yellow graph on stock market monitor
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August 2014:

Have you asked yourself lately…

  • “Is this the ‘Big Dip’ in the markets they have warned about?”
  • “Should I be selling my stocks?”
  • “Should I be selling my bonds?”

Although I stress to clients and friends NOT to listen to the Talking Heads on TV, radio & internet amidst dramatic market moves —and then make rash investment decisions – we are human! It is nearly impossible to ignore completely what is going on daily in the news and markets. And the stock markets have crept down a bit over the past few weeks. (Note, in 2019 the downturns and recoveries have been often.) Continue reading “Gut Check (Again) In Rocky Markets”

Graduation Inspiration for All

From the Archives of TGIF 2 Minutes…

In light of graduation season, it can be beneficial to review (or celebrate) the basics of personal finance which can lead to future peace of mind – both for ourselves and the kids, grand kids, nieces and nephews who mean the most to us. From May 2018:

accomplishment ceremony education graduation
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Cars: Costs & Decisions

How much is the “right” amount to spend on BUYING or MAINTAINING a car?? A loaded question. For insight on the answer, know that experts in financial planning cite the “Big 2” expenses of life that must be addressed: Shelter and Transportation. These are the “Big 2” no matter a person’s economic situation. (Note that the experts also say that when analyzing monthly spending, to start with these “Big 2” items, then pay yourself savings monthly, then figure out the rest with Food another “big” and obvious item.)

mercedes benz parked in a row
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Regarding personal transportation, consider the ever-changing world of cars. Cars remain a sizable chunk of our lives in terms of expense, enjoyment …and frustration! It occurred to me to talk a bit about this major expense item when a certain car’s (whose owner will remain nameless) odometer passed the 163,000 mile mark this past weekend. Continue reading “Cars: Costs & Decisions”

The Year Ahead

Where do we stand going into the Year Ahead?

It is always helpful to define where stand today and understand a few points about how we got here. So as a sequel to my last post, here are a handful of data points about today’s economy and market stats from the recent past. Several of these may surprise you.

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14 Numbers that May Surprise You

This is a re-run of a TGIF 2 Minutes article that appeared in May 2018, with a few updates.

The following are from a recent article in the Journal of Financial Planning* – and they are not snoozers! In fact, several truly surprised me. Check ’em out. All from formal surveys.

black calculator near ballpoint pen on white printed paper
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