Did you know many members of our team are avid readers? Whether it is a good story or a book to help us improve as planners, you will often find our noses in a book during our downtime. Today we thought we would share our latest book reviews with you. We’d love to hear what you’ve been reading as well in the comments below!
Just for Fun
9 Ways to Keep Your Vacation Spending in Check
Summer is around the corner and many of us are starting to plan vacations. We love to explore the world, but the dollar signs quickly add up. Here are 9 ways we have found to save money on your vacation and make the most of your travels.
1. Travel off season
Try to avoid traveling during peak travel times such as spring break, summer, or over major holidays. For example, you’ll have to bundle up, but visiting Europe in the winter can be quite enjoyable and lower your overall costs. Traveling in the off season may require more preparation on your part, but should save you money in the long run.
2. Stay off the beaten path
Look for hotels, hostels or even AirBnB apartments or homes at least 6 blocks away from any major tourist destination. The farther away from the city center you stay, the more affordable your lodging bill may be. However, booking too far away from your favorite destinations increases your transportation costs and time spent on traveling. Continue reading
A Look at Tax Rates By State: Where Does Colorado Rank?
With tax day quickly approaching, it’s interesting to look at where Colorado tax rates fall in comparison to the rest of the United States. WalletHub* recently performed an interesting analysis of each state’s tax rates.
They found that Colorado falls into the bottom 25% of all fifty states with a median tax rate of 9.41%, compared to the highest taxed state, Illinois, with a 14.54% tax rate. According to their findings, living in Colorado could save the average family $700 a year in taxes. Continue reading
You Purchased a Timeshare, Now How Do You Get Rid of It?
If you have ever traveled to a resort associated with a timeshare, it’s likely you have been approached with a presentation about timeshare ownership. You’ve enjoyed the amenities and accommodations throughout the week and daydream about how nice it would be take a similar vacation every year. Timeshares give you the ability to return and relive your travel experiences or, for an additional fee, you may opt to exchange for a different resort location expanding your vacation options. You are able to enjoy home-like accommodations and your long-term savings over hotels may even outweigh the upfront purchase price. Many are drawn to the appeal of owning a timeshare; however, once purchased, you own an asset that could become more of a hassle than you originally planned for.
Over time, your situation may change and you may find that you are unable to use your timeshare as much as you would like. At that time, you may want to sell it or simply walk away. Or perhaps you have enjoyed your timeshare for many years and have no plans to sell, but start to wonder, “What will happen when I pass away?” Continue reading
10 Tips to Boost Your Travel Smarts
Traveling is fun, exciting and sometimes stressful. Break-ins, identity theft, pickpocketing, and other traveling mishaps can not only ruin a vacation, they can have a tremendous impact on your life. Learning a few travel lessons before hitting the road can help eliminate many travel misfortunes and free up your vacation for more fun!
1. Leave Home Lived In
Whether you are gone for a long weekend or a trip overseas, it’s important to leave your home looking lived in. Consider putting a light or two on a timer, ask a neighbor to bring in mail, and put a stop on daily newspaper delivery while you are away. Lock up valuables you aren’t taking with you such as jewelry, social security cards, and family heirlooms.
2. Freeze Your Credit
If you plan to be gone for an extended period, consider freezing your credit. A credit freeze blocks access to using your credit so no one can open a credit card or apply for a loan while you are away. Continue reading
Presidents Day: Fascinating Facts About 10 Past Presidents
For many, Presidents Day is simply a three-day-weekend. For others it is another day at the office. Presidents Day was first known as “Washington’s Birthday” and was established in 1885 in recognition of George Washington’s birthday. After the 1971 Uniform Monday Holiday Act, the day became commonly known as Presidents day. (source)
Join us today in learning a few facts about some of our former presidents:
George Washington (1st President 1789-1797)
George Washington’s estate was worth about $780,000 when he died which was about 0.19% of the nation’s GDP at that time. In 2014, his estate would have been worth about $34 billion in today’s dollars. (source) Continue reading
What If the World Isn’t Coming to an End? How the Media Affects our Financial Decisions
Recently we had a hesitant client tell us about all the reasons she was nervous about investing in the markets:
What if interest rates increase? What if they don’t?
What happens if we elect a Republican president? How about a Democrat?
What effect does global warming have on the markets?
What if we break out into cyber war? Continue reading
7 Tips to Save for Winter Vacations
Here in Colorado the snow has started to fly and many people are planning their winter escapes or ski vacations. As you are planning for some winter fun in the next few months, we suggest taking a look at your finances and creating a savings plan to keep the stress meter low and the fun meter high.
Here are 7 tips to save for your winter vacation while saving some additional money along the way:
Calculate the Cost
Start by figuring out how much your trip will cost. Be sure to include flights, transportation, lodging, meals, activities or excursions and souvenirs. If you have dates in mind for your trip, divide the total cost over the number of months you have before your travel. (Cost of Trip / Months Before Travel = Monthly Savings Rate) If the monthly savings goal is too much, consider pushing back your travel dates.
Create a Vacation Account
To keep from dipping into your vacation savings before the big trip, create a separate vacation savings account. Put your vacation savings directly into the account and don’t touch it until it’s time to buy airfare, put down a deposit, etc. Continue reading
10 Ways to Give Back: Time, Talent and Treasure
As the new year begins and we look to the future, many of us start thinking of ways we can give back to our communities. We’ve rounded up 10 ideas for you which include everything from financial giving to contributing your time or talents to support the charities and nonprofits you love! Check out the list to discover new ways to give back.
1. Give Money
Making a donation of money can be a very simple way of giving back. Charities and nonprofit organizations need capital not only to support their cause but also for operating costs. Make sure to save your donation receipts for your accountant.
2. Gift Appreciated Stock
Your favorite organization can benefit from a gift of appreciated stock by selling the stock at market value and realizing the full amount without paying taxes. Here’s a simple example: If you bought 10 shares of a stock at $25 a share and it is now worth $100 a share, the organization would receive the full value of $1,000 and you may be eligible to receive a $1,000 tax deduction. Donating the stock will prevent you from having to sell those shares and pay taxes on the gain and allow the charity to realize the full value of the appreciated stock. Donating appreciated stocks can be a wonderful way to give to organizations. Continue reading
2015 in Review: The Best of the Blog
Reminder: SH&J is closed at 12:00 p.m. on December 31 and all day on January 1 to allow our team to celebrate the New Year.
It’s hard to believe the year is nearly over and 2016 is about to begin. We have been steadily blogging and thought it would be fun to end the year by sharing our most popular blog posts and series. Feel free to share your favorites as well as what you’d like to see on our blog in 2016 in the comments below.
10. 2015 Medical Advocacy Event
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. If you were unable to attend our event in the Spring, we highly recommend watching the video. Watch Now>
9. 10 Ways to Show Your Money Some Love
Although it was written around Valentine’s Day, the tips apply all year long. From saving to looking for tax free options, this post is well worth a second look. Read Now>