Your Journey to Financial Freedom

Your journey to financial freedom can seem daunting.  But remember, you don’t need to be a financial expert.  All you need is a solid foundation of basic financial education in order to make wise financial decisions and work effectively with your financial advisors.  To steady your course, here are eight basic principles of investing that you should know: (more…)

Kids Need Money Mentors

With the level of consumer debt skyrocketing and the cost of housing, education, and health care increasing at double digit rates, younger generations are facing unprecedented challenges to achieving economic security and financial independence.  Therefore, helping our youth to learn effective money management skills, and to adopt good financial habits and attitudes, is more important than ever.

So what can you do if you are worried about the financial future of your children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews?  The place to start is by considering the positive influence you can have in shaping their financial well-being.  Next, think about and choose specific ways that you can be a proactive Money Mentor in their lives.  Here are suggestions and resources to get you started: (more…)

Put Savings (and Yourself) First With a Budget

Americans, it seems, are spenders. Although personal savings rates have increased recently, they remain low by historical standards, as many people continue to spend beyond their means.

If you’re among those Americans who can’t seem to save, it might be time to create a budget. A budget allows you to understand where the money goes and may help you free up cash for important savings goals, such as college and retirement.

Getting Started

Setting up a budget will require some work, but the benefits more than offset the time invested. How you create your budget is up to you. You may choose a piece of financial planning software such as Quicken, or you may choose the paper and pencil route. The worksheet below is a simple yet inclusive budget that you can use to get started. (more…)

College Saving: 5 Mistakes to Avoid

Next to housing costs, paying for college may be the most significant financial commitment Bay Area families face. The average cost of attendance at public schools this year is $20,000 and for private, closer to $40,000 – for four years that is $80,000 to $160,000 per child! With this level of commitment, it is critical that parents have a college saving strategy that avoids these costly college saving mistakes. (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…)