SURF, RIP TIDES AND PERSONAL FINANCE – WHAT DO THEY HAVE IN COMMON?

It was a beautiful sunny day at Stinson Beach. The temperature was perfect, and the water was inviting. Unfortunately, you ignored the rip tide warning signs. It was not until you were being swiftly pulled away from shore that you realized that you were in danger. Lucky for you there was a lifeguard on duty.

That beach experience reminds me of what my budget clients’ experiences before they find me, their financial lifeguard. It has all the same components: denial, fear, a sense of a loss of control, and helplessness. READ MORE

What your 2013 tax return might say about you, your personal finances and your financial future.

Here are ten possible indicators that might improve your personal situation:

1. A large tax due and little or no tax withholding – You may not be managing your tax liabilities during the year. Are there other debts that you’re not managing?  READ MORE

Moon Doggie, Get Your Board ‘cause the Home Equity Amortization Wave is Coming

Amortization sounds like a nerdy, financial term. It’s really a simple way to describe the process of paying off of debt in regular installments over a period of time according to Investopedia. Home equity lines of credit are debt. So, how and when are they paid off, other than when a home sells? Unfortunately that’s a question to which too many homeowners have given too little consideration. READ MORE

Are Your Investments Working As Hard As You Are?

How do you want your portfolio to work? If the first words that come to mind are “More, harder, faster!” then you may need a portfolio review.

Let me tell you about a new client of mine who came to me for a portfolio review. She’d done enough reading online to know that excessive fees could significantly reduce her returns and her ability to retire. READ MORE

Financial Abuse and Charities– It’s Not Just Your Elderly Mother Who is a Target

You want your money to work hard for you when you invest it.  Helping my clients make the best decisions about investments is part of what I do in my financial planning practice. Shouldn’t you also want the money you donate to charities to work hard doing good things for your chosen cause?  Unfortunately, too many people are drawn to give to a charity by a guilt-tripping phone solicitation and sympathetic sounding name. The Center for Investigative Reporting found in a recent in depth investigation that:

“The 50 worst charities in America devote less than 4 percent of donations raised to direct cash aid. Some charities give even less. Over a decade, one diabetes charity raised nearly $14 million and gave about $10,000 to patients. Six spent nothing at all on direct cash aid.”  http://cironline.org/americasworstcharities READ MORE

Talk is cheap…or may be not if it’s a cell phone.

I know, I know….you’re locked into a contract. Well, that won’t last forever; and then you have some choices. Of course, you can pick out the latest phone and start another two-year contract. Or you may also want to consider how much you’re paying for that “free” phone. You might want to take a look at your cell phone and consider how you’re using it. READ MORE

Brokerage accounts – a necessary evil for the accidental investor?

Who is the accidental investor?  It’s the tech genius who moves from company to company, participating in 401(k)’s, which he forgets once he moves on to the next opportunity.  Or perhaps it’s the self-employed entrepreneur whose CPA told her to set up a retirement account at year end.  Or maybe it’s the working Mom who recently inherited a small next egg she would like to use to fund her kid’s education.    READ MORE