Scariest Financial Things

Halloween can be pretty scary — but not as scary as Open Enrollment for health coverage!  Enrolling for healthcare (Flexible Spending/FSA, Dental, Health Savings Accounts/HSAs, or Medicare, among others) can scare the living daylights out of even the smartest, strongest person.  We are presently in or near the “Open Enrollment for Healthcare” season.

Pumpkin

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A Very Cool Nobel Prize Winner

Under the heading of ICYMI and because of how meaningful this man’s work is to every human being:

The Nobel Prize in Economics, announced a week and a half ago, may be a real yawn for most people.  But this year, the winner is practically a rock star.  He made a cameo appearance in a hit movie with Selena Gomez and has written multiple best-sellers.  His name is Richard Thaler and he is an economist by trade but over the years chose to combine his studies of economics with psychology — and is widely known as “The Father of Behavioral Economics”.  Are you still yawning?  Read on.

Richard Thaler
Source: Personal Financial News

 

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Year-End Tax Planning

Tax planning is important stuff.  Not as exciting as the markets, but saving money on taxes can be more exciting than you think.  The beginning of October means we are in the 4th Quarter…and the countdown begins to year-end. The following is a handy Tax Planning Checklist.*  Some of these items, if done now, could make a big difference to your 2017 tax situation AND add to your savings. Continue reading “Year-End Tax Planning”

On Hugh Hefner, Rick Pitino…and Markets

One look at the headlines this week and it may leave us lamenting the end of a life “well-lived” by an American icon …or shaking our heads in disgust at a major figure in sports (and the end of a different kind of life well-lived).  All this amidst US markets that continue to go UP, UP, UP leaving investors happy, perhaps carefree and with a sense of confidence in their portfolios and savings.

Time

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The Equifax Breach

By now, amidst two major, debilitating hurricanes in the South and Southeastern parts of our country, most Americans also know that a major security breach occurred at Equifax, the global consumer credit reporting company.

Equifax

According to news reports and press releases from Equifax the security breach — or leak of personal data — affected as many as 143 million Americans (that is more than HALF of the adults in the US with a credit history).  There are numerous ways to react to this maddening occurrence.  But most important, there are certain steps within your control that can be taken to defend against (while not entirely preventing) an identity theft incident happening to you.  Continue reading “The Equifax Breach”

Quadrant #4 of Saving: Protecting Your Savings

This recent series has been all about Saving Money.  Just as with any task, saving money can be broken down into stages.  In this case I outlined “4 Quadrants of Saving” to illustrate how each quadrant (or stage) builds on the previous one, and how the task can be made more achievable.  

protecting money

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Quadrant #3 of Saving: Personalize Your Savings Plan

More on Saving.  Saving is a critical subject at all ages — for the simple reason that savings and investments give people choices at various points in life.  In my latest series, I have broken down the concept of Saving into “4 Quadrants”:

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Quadrant #2 of Saving: Personal Vision

Last week we explored Quadrant #1 of Saving, or Personal Vision.  This week we take the next step beyond vision to build a portfolio that attempts to bring the vision to life… at some point in the future.

portfolio

This is what “Quadrant #2 of Saving” is all about:  Building a Portfolio.

Unfortunately, this step is often mistakenly addressed first (prior to the vision step) by investors and less-qualified advisers alike.  Why?  Because the portfolio is the part everyone likes to talk about!  Of course, the portfolio is essential; but success depends first on Quadrant #1 and addressing the “Commonly Overlooked” items (see last week’s edition).  plan must be in place to build the savings that go into the portfolio — no savings, no portfolio. Continue reading “Quadrant #2 of Saving: Personal Vision”

The 4 Quadrants of Saving

What are you saving your money for??  Or maybe I should take a step back and ask, ARE you saving?
Saving
Life is a lot easier with savings in the bank (no ####, Sherlock).  However, the act of getting around to saving money may be one of the hardest tasks to achieve in life.  It can help first to figure out for what — and when and with whom — would we even save in the first place?  Accumulating savings can be much more attainable after asking yourself these questions.  From here, a “savings plan” can begin to form.

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What Jordan Spieth Can Teach Us About Investing

For the non-golfers you may ask, “Who is Jordan Spieth?”  But like Michael Jordan and Derek Jeter, Jordan Spieth is one of those characters who nearly everyone now knows, golfer or not…sports fan or not.

JordanSpieth

Jordan Spieth is, of course, the 23-year old professional golfer who is nearly topping the record books with his winning of three major professional golf tournaments before the age of 24.  His win at “The Masters” back in 2015 (at age 21) was almost as publicized as the Cubs winning the World Series.  At the end of that same season, he won the season-long (nearly 11 months) “FedEx Cup” which comes with a bonus of… $10 million. Continue reading “What Jordan Spieth Can Teach Us About Investing”