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…)

The Stuff the Fights are Made of

By: Vidhya Babu

Estate planning is important. Many of us have assets we want to pass along to our loved ones, easily. Many wish to leave their estate equally to their children. Perhaps they do this to be fair or they believe an equal distribution will circumvent a fight. Assets like financial accounts are easy to divide. But what about the other assets and the “stuff”? (more…)

The Power of Purpose

live-on-purposeIn Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, bestselling author Daniel Pink presents (in a very engaging and understandable way) the latest research in human motivation. One section, “The Good Life,” is particularly enlightening in regard to how we as individuals establish and pursue our life goals. Pink makes the point, and science confirms, that “satisfaction depends not merely on having goals, but on having the right goals.”

One of the studies that Pink cites asked a sample of soon-to-graduate college students about their life goals and then followed them early in their careers to assess their progress and well-being. The students’ goals were categorized as either “extrinsic aspirations” or “intrinsic aspirations.” Becoming wealthy or achieving fame are examples of extrinsic motivators and labeled “profit goals.” In contrast, learning, growing, and helping others are examples of intrinsic motivators and labeled “purpose goals.” (more…)

Values Define the “Rich” Life

Financial Life Planning is a holistic process that will first help you to clarify your values and then guide you in defining and designing your unique version of the “rich” life.

When thinking about values, we often think in terms of principles or standards we consider important such as honesty, loyalty, or altruism. We also tend to think of values in terms of what we hold most dear such as family and good health.

(more…)

3 Boosts for Your 2022 Goals

Financial planning starts with goal setting.  Here are 3 “power boosts” that I have found useful personally and in my financial planning practice.

1. SET THE RIGHT GOALS

“The more intensely we feel about an idea or a goal, the more assuredly the idea, buried deep in our subconscious, will direct us along the path to its fulfillment.” – Earl Nightingale

The primary reason that we fail to achieve our goals is that we choose the wrong goals, according to author and coach Martha Beck.  We imagine situations (wealth, fame) rather than experiences and direct ourselves toward unintended consequences.  We may set a goal to make more money, thinking that wealth will offer security, but end up so focused on work that we destroy the security of our closest relationships and find that it’s not money that makes us feel secure. (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…)

The Magic of Appreciation in Money and Life

The word “appreciation” has at least two important meanings and applications.  In the world of finance, it refers to the increasing value of an asset. In the inner realm of thoughts and emotions, appreciation involves recognizing the value of and feeling gratitude for specific relationships, resources, and circumstances.

In her book, The Soul of Money: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Life, Lynne Twist teaches that appreciative thinking is the opposite of scarcity thinking: “When your attention is on what’s lacking and scarce—in your life, in your work, in your family, in your town—then that becomes what you are about.” (more…)

Resilience in the Time of COVID-19

The COVID-19 global pandemic and resulting economic uncertainly have had a profound effect on our sense of safety and control.  The closest experience that many of us have had in our lifetimes was the financial crisis in 2007-2008 followed by a deep recession.  Although the root causes are dramatically different, the impact on our sense of financial well-being is similar.  Few of us expected to face such challenging economic circumstances again within such a relatively short period of time. (more…)

Why a Stock Peak Isn’t a Cliff

Many investors may think a market high is a signal stocks are overvalued or have reached a ceiling. However, they may be surprised to find that the average returns one, three, and five years after a new month-end market high are similar to the average returns over any one-, three-, or five-year period. (more…)

How to Nurture Financially Savvy Kids

In 1988, financial planner and best-selling author Venita Van Caspel wrote in her bestselling book Financial Dynamics for the 1990s:

“Our educational system continues to send forth our young with so little information about financial matters that they are like time bombs about to destroy their own and their families’ economic futures. We equip them to earn good incomes and to live the good life, but we fail miserably as a nation to prepare them to know what to do with the money they earn.” (more…)