Life is about so much more than money.  Have you truly defined what you want out of life?  Of all those things – family, lifestyle, contribution, causes, comfort, freedom, etc. – which ones have NOTHING to do with money?  Even the things that aren’t directly connected to income or savings are still affected by them.  Some of you may want to amass a fortune.  Others want to live comfortably, but then give to and volunteer time to efforts you are passionate about.  Either way, a lack of information and lack of planning could keep you from reaching those intentions.

Money absolutely isn’t everything, but it impacts nearly every part of life – how you spend your time, the moments you enjoy with loved ones, the options you have regarding your health, and so much more.  Wisdom with money can put you ahead of someone who has a much higher income but is wasteful. Good planning can give you options to choose from in an emergency.  Having an overall strategy can help you make decisions as unexpected situations come.

When you’re about to drive to a new place you’ve never been, do you start driving randomly and hope you stumble across it by chance?  No!  Don’t you put the address in your GPS?  And then, it tells you what your route options are, what the current conditions are like, and when you can expect to arrive.  Back to my question at the beginning…  What do you want your life to look like?  What options do you want to have?  Most people don’t plan to fail, they just fail to plan.  With no money plan in life (like with no GPS), you can bounce around randomly with no idea where you’ll end up or when you’ll be there.

The greater impact you want to make in life, the more deliberate you need to be about how you’re proceeding.  The greater lifestyle you want, the more discipline you need to have.  The more you want to spend time with your grandchildren and spoil them, the more secure your retirement needs to be.

If you’re not sure about your plan, or if you don’t have one at all, then it’s time to sit with someone who can actually help you evaluate your current situation, explore your options and then set a route to get there – a GPS for your financial life!  We can be this for you.  Some financial professionals charge for consultation, we have decided not to.  Some financial professionals only represent one company, we work with more than 200!  Set up a free appointment to talk with us.  If you like what you’ve seen here and like how we do things, then we can go to work together to get you to your goals.

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At the end of last last year, we talked a lot about saving, starting with an emergency fund and then moving forward into thinking long term. But I have an interesting question to ask…have you ever thought of insurance as a part of your emergency fund or saving strategy?

First let me give the high-level, overall saving strategy we advise people to follow… You must have some cash available at home – what if a natural disaster knocked out all of the electricity so you couldn’t use a credit card or withdraw anything from the bank? It’s a good idea to have at least a few hundred dollars that you have access to at all times. After that, you need at least a few thousand dollars, ideally 3-6 months of your expenses (in an account that can grow to keep up with inflation), that’s designated for your emergency fund – if you lost your job, this is what you might start tapping into so you don’t run up your credit card balance. This needs to be liquid funds that you can access within a day or two. And finally, you want to build long-term savings that’s growing for your retirement, and don’t touch it until then.

Now, let’s consider what insurance is in general… Insurance transfers some risk from you to an insurance company. You pay them a small amount ongoing, and they agree to pay a large amount IF certain circumstances arise. The idea is that if something happens that is covered by insurance, it doesn’t ruin you financially – in that moment they pick up the bulk of the responsibility. There are many kinds of insurance that cover all kinds of areas of life. Some insurance coverage is required by law, some kinds are very important to have, others are a good idea, and others are basically a total waste of money.

So back to my question, could insurance be part of your overall emergency strategy? You don’t want to sacrifice building your savings in order to pay for an insurance that is unlikely to ever give you a benefit. But some insurance coverages could be a very smart move, especially if there’s an indication that you will likely face the circumstance that it covers. It’s also important to point out that it’s very important for you to understand what an insurance policy does do and what it doesn’t do. Some people get burned because they think they’re covered for something, but they misunderstood what the policy actually does or that thing isn’t actually part of the contract. Be informed and don’t make assumptions.

Insurance isn’t saving, but they go hand-in-hand. If you have the right coverage when a situation happens, it could save you a huge amount of money at that point. You’ll have to balance your actual saving strategy with what protection you want to put in place, but make sure you protect the things you should. You also should review your insurance coverage periodically to see if what you have is still a good fit and if there might even be a better product or better rate available to you now.

Have questions? Comment below or message us and we’ll do our best to help.

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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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