Wednesday, January 2, 2554

Time (second) best of the year

Mid March. Northern climates are emerging out of their cocoon winter as temperatures climb, while southern climates (Northern Hemisphere) savor temperatures are perfect for all types of recreation and leisure. Yes, the nature and love in bloom — not to mention the pent up energy.

Still two creatures remain in hiding — college basketball fanatics and your Certified Public Accountant (CPA). I confess, come summer, I'm jealous of my tax preparing siblings, but not now. They work just as much, if not more so than most when adjusting for their program of 14/7 this time of year. I spotted one swim CPA-MOM work last weekend to nose-bleed seats, working on his laptop.

So this season with your CPA. Not with a card that requires time to open or with food since they don't have time to exercise. Thank you to:

Provide your information as early as possible and in an organized manner. If anything is missing, making an obvious note of it with an expectation of when it will be provided. And if you can provide the real numbers that are on the form so that they can add and view the implications, which is ideal.Highlighting problems compared to the previous year that have fiscal implications. And take note of those elements that will impact estimated taxes for the current year. Don't expect the CPA to recall a conversation by July, with long hours and little sleep. And don't be offended when they ask.That connects directly with other professionals. Make sure your CPA and your financial planner are authorized to communicate and share information directly, mainly because your financial planner can help you with the first two elements. Having an intermediary between two professionals competent loses time and increases the chance of errors.If you wait until April to provide your information, you should introduce the idea of an extension of deposit and bear the consequence of paying the extra 15 April or risk a penalty. As the adage goes, "the delay on your part does not require an emergency on their part."

Remember these thoughts and the CPA you will appreciate a lot more. You can bake them cookies in June for the energy to walk the course during their well-deserved down time. Here are some of my favorite quotes for the season.

It would be a hard rule that would tax his people one-tenth of their income.
-Benjamin Franklin's poor Richard's Almanac, wary of strong drink 1758Be. You can shoot at tax collectors … and not to be missed.
-Robert a. HeinleinWe argue that, for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to raise the same for the handle.
-Winston ChurchillThe hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax.
-Albert EinsteinIt is a good thing that you don't get as much Government as we pay for.
-Will Rogers

Aaron Coates

Aaron Coates, CFP ? TOP
Financial Advisor
Valeo Financial Advisors, LLC
Indianapolis, IN

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You need financial therapy?

Is my favorite time of year.

You might wonder if that has something to do with the spring. Perhaps partially ... Enjoy cleaning and cleaning that traditionally takes place this time of year.

No, today marks the first day of the season lacrosse high school, which for me is also ' season coaching. " Although there is likely to be of snow on the ground for some time here in Michigan, we are just a few days since our earliest contests, and there is precious little time to coalescence and always on track.

Recently, I saw an emerging topic in the field of personal finances – that of the therapist. Anything that can advance the financial well-being has always been of interest, and this profession could potentially be a new growth area for the financial planning industry.

But, I wonder how many people really need financial ' therapy '?

Many do, for sure. Erroneous beliefs about money can be deeply ingrained to the point of needing advice. We see this statistic so money affects relationships, in particular to be the main cause for failed marriages.

But, misconceptions ' always ' better correct advice, or there might be another way? Are the most dysfunctional best helped by talking, or by a more ' natural ' in the right direction?

It is my belief that the vast majority of individuals in the country might be better served through the use of a financial planner with the mentality of a coach. And it is here that is emerging as another interesting area of our profession – that of a financial manager that is not necessarily (though can also be) Councillor preparing reports and recommendations for a game plan in the long term. This individual is the master of drill; the educator; and holding you responsible for the actions necessary to improve your game.

You're like the majority of Americans with a ' saving ' dysfunction? It may be that a lack of understanding of the appropriate amount is necessary to save; or, could it be that benefit from being liable for a game plan. In my opinion, this is the role of a coach, or maybe even a ' personal financial trainer. '

Not, lest you think I agree with Tom Cruise and Charlie Sheen on the usefulness of therapy … not so fast. There is a place for therapy – and not least among those needs is financial treatment.

But, the reality is that many if not most of financial concerns, could be solved better by a coach. Many traditional dysfunctions can be best maintained by understanding and action – depression is often aided by volunteers; the lack of physical exercise and have a better understanding of what to eat.

The financial manager performs these activities and would lead to their role in the financial life of an individual:

Provide motivation, education and instruction on financial areasCreating and reviewing the game a planBeing voiceEncouraging Drilling and driving for individuals healthHolding tax liable for action and follow-through

Maybe I'm biased in my opinion as a coach. But, I wonder if the idea of holding therapy does not leave the largest group of individuals who qualify to change habits of money behind. Counselors wear many hats – and sometimes that hat is an amateur therapist – but I believe that more fitting for many is that of a coach.

Because I believe that the early days of the season and the upcoming coaching scrimmages, there will be problems with pulling the team together. Even the most dedicated and talented players need a coach on the sideline to increase their level of play. For this reason I encourage you all to find a financial advisor with the mentality of a coach to help you increase your financial well-being. A place to start looking is here at FPA, with the help of the instrument PlannerSearch.

robertSchmanskyRobert Schmansky, CFP ?
Financial Advisor
Sound Capital, LLC
Royal Oak, MI

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Wayne, Burt, Willie and u can't touch this

Have you challenged yourself lately? Did take on the challenge of cash 7 days? What were the results? The feedback I've received is that most ran out of spending cash from day 4 or 5. If you started the challenge on Monday, the next weekend looked pretty bleak. This is the point behind the exercise. Want to become better acquainted with your money and where to spend consciously. That is what it spends, is where to spend it.

I recently gave a public presentation entitled "Budgeting 101." Now you know my visceral reaction to the budget speech and I was told not to make changes to your PowerPoint slides. Cringed. The slide to end all the slides, read the following: the secret of financial success is to save more and spend less. In fact, it's all I have to do to become financially secure is to follow the formula of "secret"? You know the "secret" to losing weight? You guessed it, develop a sensible eating plan and exercise more. Wow, now that our secret miracle weight loss is out millions of our society will soon become indulgent and become a fit and trim. To the right.

It all comes down to choices. It is the moment to moment choices and decisions that ultimately our lives. Choices about how we spend, where to go and if we decide to change our behavior.

What do the following people have all in common: Francis Ford Coppola, Wayne Newton, Burt Reynolds, Donald Trump, Willie Nelson and M.C. Hammer. They are from a wide variety of environments and at one time or another, icons in the worlds of entertainment and business. Give Up? They all declared bankruptcy! At one point have transported more debt than they were worth. So as someone like 90 's megastar M.C. Hammer end up with nothing after raking in tens of millions of dollars? In his case is simple. He chose to spend much more than what he was doing and eventually captured him. The ring of high-profile sports figures, film stars and tycoons who find themselves in a position to spend more than they do with the public at large is unable to understand how it happened maybe.

I find it very difficult to believe that there is a large percentage of the population who doesn't understand the basics of money. I've heard stories of individuals who did not realize that when issued a credit card were responsible for paying the balance due or the couple who bought their "dream home with no down payment and an interest only loan not realizing that it might be in over their heads. My Favorites are the stories of families who are barely making ends meet and consider whether it is time to upgrade to the new iPhone or if you have enough HD channels to go with their recently purchased. Most people fully understand what they are getting themselves into. It happens only at the pleasure of today, more than the pain of future potential.

The secret to the challenge of seven days in cash, is not whether "won" by having extra money at the end of the week, but be aware of where it is past your hard earned money. If you complete a plan for spending cash or challenge, you'll discover what elements are working affects that prevents you from achieving your financial goals. Is not magically discover that control $ 500 that you forgot to write every month, which is the little things that matter most. We as a society we are being bled financially to death. Slowly, quietly we be removed from our money.

Take a look at some of the need to "base". Over 60 million households have cable television. 43.8 million have access to high-speed internet1. There are over 270 million cell phone subscribers in the United States2. Let's combine the last three: we are now sold on the fact that high-speed video feeds on your phone are the wave of the future. Speaking of convenience, Starbucks sales exceeds 10 billion per year3. These are expenses or did not exist or no material measure 30 years ago, but which are seen as a necessity today. We're nickel and dimed, or better yet fived and treated (for regular-expression for inflation) at our expense. The line between need and desires are blurry.

Why is it that most are so eager to fall for scholarship advice or are drawn to other ways to get rich quick? It is simple. We need our incomes to achieve with our spending. Hot tip that can give us a couple of thousand extras in our pocket that will allow us to spend even more beyond our means. Spending is the key to financial success. Most understand and become consciously aware of where to spend, you have more chance of reaching your financial goals. Just ask Wayne, Burt, Willie and M.C. – is not what to do, is what you spend.

1 National Cable and Telecommunications Association
2 Federal Trade Commission Chairman Julius Genachowsk

Ed GjertsenEdward II Gjertsen, CFP ?
Mack investment securities, Inc.
Glenview, IL

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The new consumer financial protection Bureau wants to hear from you

Last year's passage of the "Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act" established the creation of the new consumer financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The CFPB was established to enforce consumer finance laws, to oversee large banks and financial services company and to adopt or to simplify the rules to make financial markets and products work best for American consumers. While this new Bureau has become a partisan issue, it was strongly suggested since March 2008, when former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson proposed establishing a Federal Commission to protect consumers. In my opinion, is a little late to the party and long overdue. We must ask whether the CFPB existed 10 years ago, if the mortgage bubble would have grown, finally bursting, leaving so many American families experiencing a personal financial nightmare instead of the American dream.

As a financial planner so that every individual deals with a certain level of uncertainty when it comes to financial issues that affect your life. That could include the unexpected illness, jobs, higher cost of living and support a family – but worry about the fine print of financial documents should not be one of them. Each of us should be able to count on an innate fairness when dealing with financial services companies and that the contracts that you sign and accept they are not full of tricks and traps that can set individuals for financial failure. The CFPB was created to level the playing field for American consumers.

At the beginning of February the new CFPB launched "Open to suggestions" on its website at As the agency prepares to formally begin operations on July 21, 2011, Elizabeth Warren, who currently directs the Bureau asks the audience for suggestions. The website says, "as CFPB build an agency to ensure that consumers the information they need to make the best financial decisions for themselves and their families, we need to hear from you. Before you begin playing the federal consumer financial laws, we want to know what you think. The Bureau of consumer financial protection exists to serve the American public and open to suggestions "is your opportunity to offer input." You have a story to tell – a suggestion to make? It is also possible to upload your YouTube videos. If you like social media tools, you can send your suggestions via Twitter and follow the CFPB on FaceBook. Subscribe to our newsletter and receive important updates as they occur.

People have begun to tell their stories and make proposals relating to areas such as credit card agreements and credit scores. Some contributors have suggested that the CFPB make financial education a priority and as a financial planner, I agree. The financial planning Association long has put financial literacy at the forefront of our contribution to the public and many of us offer pro bono services and events throughout the year. Check financial instruments to take advantage of consumers online and stay informed on any upcoming events in your area.

If you thought that nobody was listening to Main Street, while Wall Street has been getting all the breaks, you now have the CFPB plainclothes and a consumer lawyer Elizabeth Warren, Chief of the Bureau. Want to hear from you – tell them what you think!

Pamela SandyPamela Sandy, CFP ?
Trust, LLC, Financial & Investment Advisors
Cleveland, OH

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You are engaged. Now what?

7 March 2011 by Lee Baker, CFP ?

So he got down on one knee and popped the question. He said "Yes!" What happens next? Maybe say yes was the easy part. After calling family and friends to announce the good news, the real work set. Let's take a look at some questions and guidance that could give a couple of real life. I'll call them and Timmy Lailah.

Timmy and Lailah, like a lot of couples met, dated for a while and eventually fell in love. Timmy got up his courage saved up some money and asked for her hand in Lailah marriage. Well, now the ring is on his finger and sizes correctly. They had a nice dinner and then "Wham!" Reality hits. Where we're married? Who is going to be there when we tie the knot? Where are we going to Earth after Jump the broom? We meet? Who is going to be the flower girl? And let's not forget what cummerbund color Timmy is going to wear? All these things are important and many involve monetary decisions but they are temporary. After the wedding are old news. Let's peer into our crystal ball and watch some future problems.

Who will pay the bills after Timmy carries Lailah through threshold? I would advise Timmy and Lailah to sit and have a discussion about this. They should come to an agreement of how family invoices will be paid. There are many different ways that couples have managed this topic. Many couples pay all expenses of the families of a cosigned. In most cases, each spouse has a separate account that can use at their discretion. Perhaps personal accounts can be used for mad money, golf or whatever makes them happy. In some cases, couples have simply divided the responsibilities of certain bills. Maybe Timmy will take care of the mortgage and utilities, while Lailah covers payment of car, grocery stores and the like. There is no cut answers, but the discussion should happen as soon as possible.

If it hasn't happened already, Timmy and Lailah should also have a heart to heart discussion about their past. No, I do not mean past lovers. I'm talking about their past. Timmy has a sparkling credit history? The Lailah has a ton of student loan debt to bring along for the ride? Everything must be put on the table. There may be some things that affect the decision of how to file taxes going forward. For example, if one of the spouses has tax related matters following them around it might be best to keep relatively separate finances. In this way, if there is a sort of withdrawal or seizure may be attenuated any potential fallout.

None of this stuff sounds terribly romantic, but it is incredibly important. Nothing can put a damper on romance down the road as money problems. Having an open and Frank discussion now can go a long way to keep the fires of burning love story later.

Good luck to you Timmy and Lailah! I'm rooting for you.


Lee Baker, CFP ?
Pinnacle financial services
Tucker, GA

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How much money is in Your trash can?

10 March 2011 by Saundra Davis

I'm not a big on resolutions and not making them at the dawn of the new year. If you are not satisfied with how things are, I think it is an area that my behavior is different from what I want to be and try something new. No "shoulds", without shame, just checking out other options. That said, I have to admit that I am really on a roll with my discretionary money "revolutions" and I feel pretty good about that. Before moving to my new "challenge Cash" I want to give you an update on the budget.

Last month I told you about my successful venture into a cash commitment for all things related to yarn. After you have saved more than $ 200 using only money, I attended the "Conference of yarn" that everyone was sure that would destroy my budget and my determination to keep the credit and debit cards in your wallet. Well the naysayers were wrong! Simply wrong! I have been quite successful in the West of stitches and was part of the budget. I had saved for two months to have a budget of $ 300; I have no idea how I decided on this amount, since this was my first visit, so I just pulled this amount out of ** censored ** [air]. I must admit I was tempted to use the card – just for convenience; Had the money, but it was in a long line and the person who takes payments seemed to prefer the cards (I doubt that she was the owner of which I suspect it would be more concerned with profit margin). Four hours later, fondling yarn I had spent $ 115 smaller budget. I attribute this to use cash only for my purchases.

Since I am so happy with my personal financial revolutions so far this year (day 15 cash challenge and my chest awe-inspiring savvy-ness at the extravagance of knitting), I began to think about a new adventure. I read an article that said that an American family of four spends nearly 9,000 dollars a year on food 1 Add articles of paper, personal care products and other items in the supermarket, and the family is spending $ 10,000 per year. Yes, I was shocked too, especially since we spend quite close to that for my family of two. This got me thinking about how much of what I was going unused (Yes, too much to buy food that ends up in the trash or compost heap).

There are usually healthy eaters (we are in California, after all) and buy fruit and vegetables, organic grass fed meats – which can be expensive – but I don't really know the cost of food we throw away. So once again: challenge! We will use the money only for groceries and food out for 15 days to see if we spend less. To track the value of unused food, we put our food intake on the refrigerator and place a checkmark next to how to use them and an x if I should throw it away. At the end of 15 days I tally them both and see the result.

The idea of this is exciting and scary, I mean if there is something more I love it is eating yarns (and chocolate but that anyone who throws away?). I did some research and found a blogger who posts pictures of food that went wrong in his refrigerator; I don't think I'll try to do that, but I like the idea of responsibility. My dear partner in blog, you're my accountability … until next month!

1 according to the survey of consumer expenditures of the Federal Government

Saundra Davis
President & CEO
Sage financial solutions
San Francisco, CA

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Tuesday, January 1, 2554

You, your parents and long-term care

3 March 2011 by Rick Miller, CFP ?

Even after they have all grown up, your parents may still have a big impact on your life. Even if they want to be independent, and you want them to be, you may feel the need to help them in various ways both formal and informal. Many children are helping their elderly parents directly – doing chores, running errands, pay bills, to provide care. Some children provide financial support, too. As with many aspects of life, interact with your elderly parents may run more smoothly with some preparatory and planning discussion.

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal , "' talk ' with MOM and Dad" described an area that many children help their parents with – the decision on which should live as you get older and need more help. The choices can be staggering – stay at home and get help, move into an independent living arrangement or witnessed, possibly a continuous care retirement communities, and if a lot of help is needed, a nursing home.

As the article suggested, however, decisions beyond the nature of the agreement are also important. What area you live in – who know and where are their friends, or one close to you, so that it is not easy for you to visit and lend a hand? And, once you decide on a location, there are often several choices within a category – some bigger, with more resources, some smaller and friendlier – some closest to you, others more distant.

I'm going to concentrate on another aspect of this decision – how to pay for this and especially how to pay for long-term care.

Firstly, what is long-term care? It comes to medical care. Long-term care is help with activities of daily living or ADL (eating, bathing, dressing, transferring and using the bathroom). If your parents need help with some of these, they need long-term care. Can receive long-term care in all places that I mentioned earlier – at home, assisted living, retirement communities or care in a nursing home.

In addition to finding the right place, there are two further problems with long-term care: can be expensive, and it is uncertain if your parents will be required and if so, for how long. While the conversation may be difficult, it can be very useful to discuss it with your parents well in advance of when they need long-term care. In fact, it is almost impossible to start soon enough.

Why the need for long-term care is uncertain, and the potential cost is very great, is a natural opportunity for insurance. Today, the Government of the United States and States providing insurance for all those who cannot afford care through the Medicaid program. However, to be fully eligible for Medicaid, your parents will have very few goods and very low income and eligibility requirements were tightening.

Alternatively, your parents can self insure – can simply plan to pay for any care are need. If they need little or no treatment, or if their assets are very large, this work well. However, if you need a lot of care, cost can dramatically reduce their estate, they (and you!) can be found to be very painful. Also, if you end up paying the Bills, and you're looking at the assets drain away as you pay for their care in the long term, you may end up worrying about whether there will be enough and what to do if the assets run out.

Finally, there is no insurance for long-term care. Insurance long-term care provides a sum of money that is available to finance long-term care. Insurance for long-term care to describe their benefits in terms of daily benefit (e.g., $ 100 per day) and a benefit period (say, 2 years). The total is the total value of the dollar benefits newspapers (in our example, $ 100 per day times 365 days a year times 2 years or $ 73,000).

Your parents can buy a small (a small total benefit) or a lot (a great benefit) of insurance for long-term care. Important if your parents decide to buy insurance, they don't need to buy enough to cover the full cost of care. For example, if you have $ 24,000 per year in social security benefits, which will cover the first $ 24,000 a year (or so) of the costs of long-term care.

How you can help your parents decide the best approach for them? The first step is to start the discussion. You can ease into it by talking to help them remain independent for as long as possible (at home vs. an institution, assisted living vs. home care). Then you can talk with them as you would pay for long-term care. Thinking through the three great choices (Medicaid, self-insurance, insurance for long-term care) with them.

If you decide to insurance long-term care would be sensible, help them examine the alternatives. Policies of long-term care can be very complex, with lots of options. Two heads may be much better than one in coming to a decision.

In addition, purchasing a policy sooner rather than later has two important advantages. Annual premiums are lower for people who buy a policy early in life. And, the longer your parents wait, the more chance there is for their health to deteriorate. Insurance companies, strongly prefer to sell insurance for long-term care to healthy people. If your parents wait too long, it may not be able to get coverage.

Finally, if your parents decide who cannot afford insurance, long-term care, you and your brothers can offer help to pay premiums. Even if your parents are eligible for financial benefits from their insurance, long-term care, you and your brothers may be intangible benefits. Knowing that your parents will be able to afford some long-term care, and together they made steps to protect your inheritance can provide a significant peace of mind.

rickMillerRick Miller, CFP ?
Sensible financial planning & Management
Cambridge, MA

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