Gift Cards That Make A Difference

Traditionally, we recognize, commemorate, and celebrate special occasions, milestones, and holidays with gifts.  However, many individuals are looking for meaningful alternatives to giving and receiving more “stuff.”

If you are one of those looking for a different kind of gift, consider making a donation in the name of the individual, couple, or organization that you want to honor.  In addition, in lieu of receiving gifts, you can request a donation to a cause that is near and dear to your heart.  The concept of alternative gifts is growing in popularity, and a number of online resources are available to assist you in making this type of charitable donation. (more…)

Feeling Down About a Down Payment in the Bay Area?

By guest: Brian Lee

Is anyone surprised that Atherton is the country’s most expensive housing market? A recent Forbes article reported the town has a median home value of more than $6.7 million. Atherton also topped that list a decade ago, but back in 1998, the median home value was more than $1.4 million. These days, $1.4 million for a Peninsula home seems like a bargain.

Navigating the local housing market requires some expert help, so I’ve asked Coldwell Banker’s Brian Lee for advice. Brian is a real estate agent who serves the Half Moon Bay area and the Peninsula. (more…)

Fresh Perspective & New Resources to Guide Your Giving Decisions

Regardless of how or where we choose to give, most of us would like to feel confident that our financial donations are being used wisely.  Thanks to technology and some out-of-the-box thinkers in the social sector, we now have a bevy of new tools at our fingertips and excellent educational resources that will guide our giving in a smart and purposeful ways.

Picking a Charity

Until recently, most guidelines for charitable giving recommended that we spend time researching charities and then select from those that limit overhead to less than 20 percent of their total budgets.  However, many experts now question these criteria because expense ratios alone provide a limited perspective of a charity’s value and effectiveness. (more…)

Don’t Call Me A Mean Mom, But … You Shouldn’t Pay The Entire College Bill

You expect your kids to go to college, of course. And if you’re like many parents, you probably expect to foot the bill for a good chunk of that education—or maybe even all of it. After all, isn’t sacrifice what “good parents” do to help their kids get ahead?

I’m going to take a slightly controversial stand here and argue for the importance of having college students shoulder some of the burden of their education. Here’s why: (more…)

Listening to the Wrong Money Messages

For many of us, managing our finances and building economic security is a nagging concern.  We know we should be making greater strides in taking control of our money matters, but nothing changes.  What keeps us from achieving the financial peace and satisfaction we desire?

One of the main obstacles to financial freedom is listening to the wrong money messages.  Our attitudes and beliefs about money have their roots in the value-laden messages we have picked up along life’s journey.  These money messages are not only clothed in the words of others, but in their behaviors as well. (more…)