401k Fees Revealed

“Retirement plan providers have been overcharging investors for decades – creating a huge drag on returns. But new rules on fee disclosure should help drive down costs,” writes Scott Cendrowsku in a recent Fortune Magazine article, Is Your 401k Ripping You Off.

What the new 401k rules will mean to you

If you have ever wondered how much you are paying for your 401k Plan, now you will be able to find out. The new 401k rules, which will take effect on August 30, 2012, require your employer to disclose all 401k fees, including plan administration, investment management and mutual fund marketing fees. In some plans the total can top 3% of your account value annually! In the past these fees have been buried in small print documents. Now all 401k participants will receive a detailed statement disclosing all charges. (more…)

How Much Money is “Enough?”

When it comes to real estate, we are told it is all about location, location, location. When it comes to money, we are told we need more, more, more. However, this begs the question, “How much is enough?” Through the use of our personal investment management strategies and individual financial planning, we can help you answer this question; for yourself and your family.

The messages we receive every day, from radio, television, and all over the internet teaches us to focus on always striving for “More.” But, how much is enough? How much is enough to eliminate the fear of running out of money? How much is enough for us to relax and be happy? (more…)

Finances are a Major Cause of Stress in Relationships

A recent nationwide telephone survey from Harris Interactive, conducted for the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), has found that finances have become the most common cause of strife among couples in the US. To the surprise of no one, over 25% of married or co-habiting couples stated that the reason for most arguments between partners is a disagreement about money.

The survey further showed that money matters cause more arguments between couples than disagreements over work, friends, household chores – even raising children. At Tamarind Financial Planning, we believe that a personal finance plan can alleviate much of the stress between couples which are caused by money matters. (more…)

Take 3: Three easy ways to save more money

No, you don’t have to give up your Starbucks. Honest. I’m not a big Starbucks fan, and even I really dislike that advice, which seems to be common in this belt-tightening economy. What could be less motivating than the idea that saving money requires denying yourself something you enjoy?

I approach saving from the other end of the spectrum: I’m much more motivated to grow my money when I know I’m working toward a meaningful goal. That’s true for my clients, too. Some are dreaming of a trip to Maui or a brilliant piece of jewelry. Others have their eye on a home remodel or a significant college fund for their children.

Whatever your objective, saving money, just like dieting, is bound to be counterproductive when it becomes all about deprivation. Here are three creative ideas to help you painlessly spend less so you have more for what matters most: (more…)

Take 3: The three pros even DIY’ers need on their team

I have a neighbor who is a big do-it-yourselfer. He cleans his gutters every spring, prunes his rose bushes and replaces his front porch light.

I’m always impressed by people who fearlessly tackle any task.  But even my neighbor knows when to summon the pros. He called in contractors to install a new garage door and to repave his driveway.

If you’re a DIYer for tax returns and investment decisions, that’s great. You’re taking charge of your future. Still, it’s always wise to have a stable of professionals you can call on for expert advice. Like my neighbor, knowing when a task is beyond your ability is, truly, the hallmark of a smart DIYer.

Here are three people you’ll want to have on your team to watch your back and protect your assets. Together, they’ll give you unparalleled peace of mind. (more…)

Five Steps To Financial Freedom, Or How Any Mom Can Get Her Financial Act Together

If your “to-do” pile contains a bulging file of paperwork for your tax return, you have plenty of company. The months leading up to April 15 are when everyone gathers and reviews their W-2 forms, investment statements and donation receipts.

These first few months the year—when your finances are front and center—is the perfect opportunity to start (or continue) building financial security. There’s nothing more powerful and comforting than feeling confident about your financial future.

If you’re stuck or don’t know where to begin, these five steps will get you moving: (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…)

Finding the right financial planner

You have decided it is time to find a financial planner. You may have even asked your CPA, your estate planning attorney or a financially savvy friend or two for a referral.

How do you evaluate those referrals or perhaps broaden your search?

Here are 5 terrific resources to guide you in your search.

The Financial Planning Association (www.fpanet.org) is the most widely recognized professional organization for Certified Financial Planners. This is the only industry site that consistently indicates any income and/or asset minimums a financial planner requires for new clients. This level of detail is helpful because some advisors do not post this information on their websites. (more…)

Financial “Street Smarts” – teaching kids practical life skills

I presented at Woodside High School’s a few years ago – talking about my career in financial planning. The kids were terrific and the staff put on an event packed full of presentations by colleges, trade and art schools and career advice from community members.

One of the other presenters is a financial aid counselor at Stanford who has started teaching a personal finance class to graduating seniors at Stanford. The curriculum requires students to create a budget based on their research of actual living costs – tax deductions from salary, health insurance, dental bills, food, rent – and assumes a salary of $45,000. (more…)