A Special Gift for a Special Client

Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 4.44.22 PMNot too long ago, one of our clients became extremely ill. At that time we sent her some unique chocolates from a local Chocolate company called Wild Women Truffles. We remembered this particular client enjoyed the chocolates very much, so a few days ago, when we were notified the client had become terminally ill, we called up Wild Women Truffles.

While this company is known for its catering at special events and can also be found at a variety of retailers, Wild Women Truffles doesn’t usually deliver chocolates to individuals. Yet, when we explained the situation of our client to them they made a special exception and, instead of accepting payment from us, offered the chocolate as a gift.

It is gestures like this that really touch us. Thank you to the staff at Wild Women Truffles for partnering with us to help make a difference.

Memorial Day: A Day of Remembrance

Living in the home of the free and the brave is often an overlooked privilege. On Memorial Day we will be closed to honor all those who have served to give us the great privilege of freedom. We will reopen on Tuesday, May 26th.

To all of you who have served in the armed forces, we sincerely thank you for your service.

To those who have lost a family member while in the line of duty, we are so very grateful for their service and sacrifice.

Please take a moment of remembrance as you listen to our National Anthem.

How much should I save for retirement?

We are asked ‘how much I should save for retirement’ all the time. It’s an important question! While we’d love to have a canned answer for everyone who asks, it’s just not that simple. We’ve found that answering a few questions really helps our clients hone in on their retirement savings goals.

Ask Yourself…

  • What age would you like to retire?
  • What kind of lifestyle would you like to live?
  • Are you going to sell your home, stay put, buy a second home?
  • Will you be traveling more often?
  • Will you still work part time or start a new business?

Those questions are a great place to start when planning your retirement. As Julie says in the video, “Get down to the nitty gritty of your desired lifestyle,” when answering the questions about your retirement. Being specific helps you (and your planner) set realistic goals and expectations.

In general we find SH&J clients need to start retirement with 100% of their current living expenses. It is rare for expenses to go down after retirement.

Whether you are close to retirement or decades away, we’d be happy to help you answer some of the questions above and make a retirement plan that makes sense for you. Give us a call at 303.639.5100 to set up a time to come in and chat.

Inside the Economy with SH&J: May 11, 2015

In this week’s discussion, Larry shares some insight into the slight decline in the U.S. GDP, talks about the recovery of the Euro and looks at American consumer spending. He also shares some fascinating details about Saudi Arabia’s cutback on crude oil and his perspective on France’s recession. As usual, this week is well worth a listen and is sure to generate some interesting conversation.

10 Beneficial Budgeting Tips

Taschenrechner und StatistkA 2013 Gallup poll found only 30% of American households prepare a detailed household budget (source). While budgeting can feel daunting at first, it can make a tremendous difference on your path to long-term financial success. With that in mind, here are 10 useful tips for budgeting.

10. Start with the Big 3
When building your budget, it’s important to look at your largest expenses first. For most people those are food, housing and transportation. Make sure to account for all aspects of your Big 3 from groceries to eating out and car payments to fuel costs. Starting with your largest expenses first will help you to get a more accurate view of what’s left to play with in your budget.

9. Bring Your Lunch
It seems so simple, but it’s amazing how much you can save in your budget by packing a lunch every day. In her article, “Buying Your Lunch Is A Terrible Idea. The End. No More Debates” (source), Jillian Berman figured she saves over $1,500.00 per year by bringing her lunch to work. If you are a household, multiply the savings for each person who packs a lunch. It adds up! Plus, you have the added benefit of controlling your portions and making healthier choices.

8. Shop Alone
Sometimes when we go shopping with a friend, we are tempted to buy items we don’t need. Or think about going to the grocery store with kids in tow. How often are items added to the cart based on their requests? Shopping alone may not be as fun, but it can help to control unnecessary purchases and keep you on budget.

7. Look at the Year, Not Just the Month
“Budgeting for the year is better largely because we feel less confident in our estimates, so add more of a buffer for unexpected expenses, according to University of Southern California’s Gulden Ulkumen, Cornell’s Manoj Thomas, and New York University’s Vicki Morwitz.” (source) Looking at a single month doesn’t account for holiday expenses, vacations, etc. Taking a longer view can help budgets be more accurate.

6. Start a Spending Diary
When starting a diet, people are often asked to track what they eat. The same idea applies to starting a budget. Your diary can be as simple as a small notepad or a note on your smartphone. Start with a week and write down everything you spend. After you analyze your first week, try to continue for the whole month to get a good view of your spending habits. Do you eat out more than you thought? Did you spend less on gas than you expected? Use the information to make adjustments to your budget.

5. Earn Extra Money
Bringing in more income doesn’t mean picking up another job. Rather, aggressively paying down debt such as credit cards, mortgages and student loans will free up more of your cash flow for other line items. If possible, avoid making minimum payments and consider adding an additional payment occasionally to help pay down your principal. Adding more money to your budget can be as simple as smart debt payment strategies.

4. Use Separate Accounts
Instead of having a single checking and savings account, consider opening multiple accounts for varied purposes. For example, create an emergency account and set up your checking account to automatically transfer funds each time you receive a pay check. Then create an account just for ‘fun savings.’ Add to your fun savings only when you have extra funds. Using separate accounts can help prevent spending just because the money is there.

3. Don’t Count Dollars until They Are There
Sure, you usually get a pretty hefty year-end bonus, but what if this is the year you don’t? Counting money based on what you expect to come in can be one of the easiest ways to blow your budget. Focus on the income you know is coming in, then if you receive extra, have a plan in place to use it wisely.

2. Save Room for Fun
As you plan your budget, make room for fun. Allowing yourself room for special treats or nights out can make all the difference in keeping you on track to achieve your goals. Be sure you are specific with your fun expenses as you plan your budget and stick to your allotment.

1. Don’t Give Up
Budgeting isn’t fun for most of us, but it can make all the difference in achieving our financial goals. Stick to it and it will get easier with time. Meet with a financial planner to discuss your long-term goals and gain even more encouragement to stay the course.

What other tips would you add to the list? Share them with us below!

2015 Medical Advocacy Client Event

On April 9, 2015, we hosted our second client event at The Cable Center, located on the University of Denver’s beautiful campus. As usual, our team selected a delicious array of drinks and appetizers for our attendees to enjoy before the presentation. Some of the favorites included spiced flank steak, Chile rubbed chicken skewers and apple crisp for dessert.

The topic of the evening was Medical Advocacy. As healthcare continues to change, having a partner to advocate for your care and the care of your loved ones is more important than ever. Our own Eileen Sharkey, CFP®, along with Janine Guillen, JD, MBA, LLM, RN from Anderson & Jahde, PC Law Offices gave a very detailed presentation full of tools and tips for effective medical advocacy. For those who were unable to attend, please find a video of Eileen and Janine’s presentation below.

Note: This is a large video file and may take a moment to load.

Throughout the video, you will hear Eileen refer to handouts which are available for download on our website here. If you would like a courtesy copy of the Medical Advocacy Starter Kit 101, please contact SH&J at 303.639.5100 or email Brittany with your name and address, and a copy will be mailed to you.

Thank you to everyone who was able to join us at The Cable Center. The evening was enjoyable for all of us at SH&J and we look forward to celebrating with everyone again at our 25th Anniversary and Client Appreciation Event on October 22, 2015.

Medical Advocacy Program – Starter Kit 101
Provided with permission from the author:
Janine A. Guillen 
Anderson & Jahde, PC
5554 S. Prince St., #200
Littleton, CO 80120