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…)

Does Goal-Setting Give You Stress?

This piece on goal-setting (reprinted with permission from Money Quotient) is one that I share with my clients during the initial stages of our Financial Life Planning ® goal-setting process. The article offers “7 Tips” for setting effective goals – insights that can help you laser-focus on the right goals for you. (more…)

The Art and Science of “Smarter” Spending

Although a number of studies have focused on the effect of income on happiness, Elizabeth Dunn, a social psychologist at the University of British Columbia, also wanted to understand the effect of spending choices on happiness.

For example, previous research clearly demonstrated that income has a predictably positive effect on level of happiness, but these levels remain flat over time even as income increases. This finding puzzled Dunn and she wanted to find out why happiness did not increase along with income. (more…)

Spring Cleaning

Come Clean: It’s Time To Clear Out The Clutter and Do Some Good

Let Those Treasures Go—And Make Room for What Matters to You

Unlike other icy, snowy and utterly frozen parts of the country, the Bay Area has been basking in some spring-like temperatures for a few weeks already. As the days get longer and the mercury edges upward, I’ve spotted plenty of my neighbors venturing outdoors and puttering around in their garages. (more…)

Why I (yes, I!) hired a financial planner

I wouldn’t dare try to replace the timing belt on my car. And I’d never cut my own hair—unless I was willing to wear a hat until my lopsided trim grew out. But financial planning … that’s another story. I am a financial planner. Helping people make smart money decisions is my passion and my career.

So why couldn’t I capably handle my family’s financial planning needs?

I’d pulled all our numbers together, but I hit a roadblock when I tried to find the right time and the right way to launch a discussion about money with my husband. I realized we needed to do what every one of my clients has been brave enough to do: Bring in a neutral, expert third party to lead the conversation and help us take action to reach our goals. (I admit I had a bit of a selfish motive, too: I hoped that working with a planner would help me better understand my clients’ experiences.) (more…)

Setting Goals That “Make Your Eyes Shine”

As I mentioned in a recent post, Are SMART Goals Wise? certain types of goal setting may actually be limiting rather than liberating. The principle of SMART goal setting is that your goals must be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Tangible. I believe that while these types of goals can be helpful in some situations, they can pull us back into the frame of measurement and competitiveness, shutting down creativity and vision.

The only purpose of having goals is to make your eyes shine!” ~ Benjamin Zander (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.

The 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. (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…)