Your Financial Destiny

Do you feel “in charge” of your financial life?  Or, do you feel like you are being swept along by a set of personal and financial circumstances that are beyond your control? Do you take responsibility for making your own financial decisions, or do you acquiesce to the plans and opinions of others?  Does fear, denial, or complacency keep you from taking a proactive approach in your money matters?

The person who should be in charge of your financial life is YOU!  The degree of power you feel you have in shaping your financial life is both objective and subjective in nature, and is determined, in part, by your sense of locus of control. (more…)

Picking Winners and Losers – It’s Anyone’s Guess


When you lay out the returns of a variety of asset classes over time it’s hard to find any meaningful patterns. The chart below shows the returns on 10 different asset classes over time and it’s quickly evident that what was the star of last year rarely shines the brightest the following year.

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Insurance: Planning for the Risks in Life

“We devote much of our lives to making and living out our long-range plans.  We go to school, have children, plant gardens, and save for the future with the expectation that we’ll see the fruits of our efforts.  Probably for our benefit, the working out of these plans is full of surprises, often pleasant ones.  It’s part of what makes life interesting and worthwhile.  Some of the surprises, though, bring bad news, even tragedy.”

Richard E. Vodra, CFP®
Enough Money!: How to Create and
Manage Financial Success in Your Life (more…)

Estate Planning Update: Make Sure to Address Social

By: Vidhya Babu

Think twice before guffawing over the idea of addressing social media in your will. Not only can it make life easier for your survivors, a social media will is recommended by the United States Government.

After, or in anticipation of, any lifetime change, we suggest clients review their estate plans. The sale or purchase of a business, a windfall, divorce and marriage are all reasons to update your plan. Ultimately, your estate plan carries on your wishes when you pass away, and if you have personal, musical or other interests online, giving directions and naming an administrator of your online identity is important. (more…)

Counting Your Retirement “Assets”

A successful retirement experience takes more than money.  As you plan for your life in retirement, your current skills, interests, values, and preferences should be given thoughtful consideration.  These characteristics will be the personal assets that you take with you into retirement to make it a successful and satisfying chapter of your life.

Skills

Think of your skills as a portfolio of abilities that you can build on throughout your lifetime.  Here are several examples:  ability to communicate effectively, ability to solve problems in creative ways, ability to visualize interior or landscape designs, ability to understand and work well with animals, ability to be an empathetic listener, ability to repair almost anything mechanical, ability to be an inspirational leader, and so on. (more…)

Invest in Yourself for a “No Rules Retirement”

The concept of retirement is undergoing a metamorphosis. Demographic, societal, and workplace trends have all converged to offer a stage of life at midlife and beyond that is much more fluid and flexible than what most of us ever imagined.  When planning for retirement, individuals are discovering that the “old rules” have been thrown out and “no rules” apply.  In fact, “retirement” has become a matter of personal definition.

For this reason, the No Rules Retirement model advocates proactive planning throughout adulthood and in all areas of life.  Retirement should not be viewed as a single event, but rather as one of the many transitions in a continuum of life experiences. (more…)

Raising Your Money Quotient

“Money Maturity does include skills, such as understanding investment options and using a budget effectively, but it goes much deeper—to the feelings, the heart, and yes, the soul.  Money Maturity helps resolve the troubling emotional conflicts around money that never seem to go away.”

George Kinder
The Seven Stages of Money Maturity (more…)

What’s Your M.Q.?

Do you know someone who is really smart, but makes really dumb decisions when it comes to money?  These individuals are likely to be successful in other endeavors, but their financial lives are out of kilter.  Here are a few examples:

  • Joan has a great job and earns a six-figure salary. Even though she gets a generous raise each year, she can’t seem to be able to save and invest for her future.
  • Three years ago, John received a large inheritance from his grandmother. If well managed, her generous gift could provide John financial security for the rest of his life.  However, he feels anything but secure.  The responsibility of financial stewardship has challenged his self-confidence and triggered anxiety attacks and depression.
  • Tina recently graduated from law school and landed a position in a top firm in San Francisco. Although she was offered a very competitive starting salary, she finds that it is inadequate to meet her living expenses, car payments, and student loan payments.  After all the sacrifices she has made to reach this career goal, she is angry and frightened about her financial outlook.
  • Tim wants to micro-manage the family budget and it is driving Karen crazy. They have been married five years, and Tim’s attention to their money matters is becoming increasingly obsessive.  To assert her independence in this relationship, Karen frequently goes on shopping sprees.
  • Ken checks the market several times a day. On down days, he is filled with anxiety about his shrinking retirement nest egg.  Recently, after several days of steady declines, the Dow precipitously dropped another 300 points.  Ken immediately called his broker and demanded that she sell every one of his investments and put the proceeds into a money market.

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The Risk Tolerance Continuum

When you are making a financial decision, do you intentionally weigh the potential risks and rewards?  Is weighing that balance more of a rational or emotional process for you? In other words, do you tend to rely more on facts or on feelings?

For example, when Karla got a promotion at the architectural firm where she is employed, she gave serious consideration to buying a new car.  She thought about the practical and emotional rewards of having a new car such as:  1) having a dependable means of transportation, 2) getting better gas mileage, 3) portraying a successful image to her clients, and 4) experiencing the pride and pleasure that comes with owning a new car (there’s nothing like that new car smell!). (more…)

Does Your Estate Plan Need a Makeover?

By: Vidhya Babu

Does Your Estate Plan Need a Makeover?You have an estate plan. In fact you just created one last year. So why would your estate plan need a makeover? Estate plans should never be rigid or concrete. Instead they should be malleable and easily adapted to meet your current situation. After all, an estate plan you created a year ago (or longer) may not reflect your current situation. In the event that something should happen to you, an out-of-date estate plan can cause contention and strife among beneficiaries.

When deciding whether your estate plan needs a makeover, ask yourself the following questions: (more…)