As the new year approaches, many people look back and think about what they have and haven’t accomplished in this year. Has my life advanced how I expected? Have I accomplished the goals I set out to hit? Almost certainly there is a mix of good and bad as we reflect.

Then we shift our focus to what we want to be different in the coming year. It’s a time to make changes, to set a new course, to grow to the next level. At that point, when someone is serious about making changes, they set New Year Resolutions. Always at the top of these lists are resolutions about money and health.

A “resolution” is a firm decision. It’s not something you should take lightly. It’s not just a want or a hope or “wouldn’t it be nice?”. If you’re really deciding, then you need a real action plan to make it happen. An example you hear every year is related to health. Gyms are packed at the beginning of January, but by the time February rolls around, the crowd is gone and things are back to normal. People like the idea of being in shape, but they don’t have a lasting plan that they’ll stick with to actually get there.

Since with this page we’re here to help you with money, let’s talk money… First of all, you can’t close your eyes to the problem. Be real with yourself. How much are you saving? Are you saving enough so that you will FOR SURE have enough money to enjoy the retirement lifestyle you want to live? If there’s any doubt at all, then we need to sit together and create a real plan that will work.

If you know you need to save $1000 per month, but you currently don’t do anything, then that’s not a realistic place to start at this moment. Start with $300 per month (just $10 per day). Most people waste $10 per day without even thinking about it – coffee, snacks, parking, unused subscriptions, etc. Be mindful of waste, find adjustments that will free up that money and shift it to savings. As you get used to $300, then bump it up to $500, then bump it up again…

So why do you need us? Our specialty is helping you develop a saving habit, growing your money, protecting what you care about most and even minimizing your taxes along the way. We don’t charge you anything to do all of this for you, so why wouldn’t you take advantage of free expertise? Oh, and we highly value doing the right thing for every one of our clients – seeking out the best solution for you. We’re working to build a lasting reputation in this community and will give you the very best we can give.

Don’t wait until January to begin your plan. Start now. Build some momentum before we even hit the new year. Schedule an appointment: and let’s do this together!

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Saving for Growth

Why don’t people save as much as they should? Or really, let’s keep it personal… don’t you wish YOU had more saved right now? The story for most people is about cash flow – either not having enough income to cover expenses or spending too much to have anything left over. Do you fall in one of these camps?

The main real problem is that people aren’t really aware of how truly important it is to save and plan for the future. As life happens and needs keep popping up, it’s easy to put off the long-term saving or even saving up an emergency fund. In the US, 65% of people save little or nothing and the average 401(k) balance is only about $98,000. How are we going to retire on that!?

Saving can’t be just stashing money under your mattress (or nearly the same thing – in a bank account earning 0.1%). You are working hard for money, but you have to also put money to work for you. When you put money to work, it doesn’t take vacations and can work around the clock, no matter what the weather is.

When you think about investing your money to put it to work, do you get a panicky feeling about not knowing how to? Or have you stayed away because you can’t stand the thought of losing money when the market drops? In our last post, we teased the possibility of a strategy that gives both GROWTH and SAFETY. There are actually several options to achieve that, and we have to consider each person’s situation before giving actual advice, but think about it…never losing! You put money in and it can’t disappear when the market turns negative. But unlike a bank account, you actually can see growth when the market grows. This growth isn’t guaranteed, but historically the US market has grown – sure there have been setbacks, but overall it goes up over time (at a rate significantly higher than your typical bank account interest). But also remember that with this strategy, any time you’re not growing, it means the market is negative for everyone else – they’re losing, but you aren’t.

The most important thing is that you decide to save. Yes, really, decide! Even doing something small is better than nothing. The second step is getting a handle on your cash flow (we can help you you with that). And the third step is to make a smart move forward to actually get started saving (and we can definitely help you with that!).

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