New Year, New Goals: Evaluate Your Finances and Make a Plan for 2017

shj121916_new_years_resolution_blog_image2016 has been a whirlwind of a year, but hopefully not on your finances. Life changes and with it come new expenses or new financial goals. It’s important to regularly check in on your finances to ensure you are staying on track. What better time than the new year?

Here are 5 things to review as we move into 2017:

Income and expenses
The key to managing a spending plan is knowing how much money is coming in and how much is going out. As we head into the new year, review your pay stubs, earnings reports and other sources of income and crunch some numbers. Once you’ve figured out your income, do the same with your expenses.

Try out an online budget tool or use online banking to automatically categorize your expenses so you can see where you are spending the most. Pull up your budget from last year to see what may have changed and adjust as needed. Remember to be realistic about how much you will spend, not how much you want to spend.

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What Data is Telling Us About Investors and Investing

business, investing, investors, who invests

We all make assumptions about investors, but what does the data actually say? Today we take a look at recent studies and publications to get more insight into the mind of investors.

Increase in Social Responsibility
Big investment firms and banks are embracing corporate social responsibility, both in their own organization and in their investing. Since the United Nations supported the Principles for Responsible Investment Initiative, there has been a growing network of international investors fighting to practice responsible investing. This new network represents $59 trillion in assets. (source) Continue reading

Will Millennials Ever Retire?

“60% of Millennials think it is harder to plan for retirement than to stick with a diet and exercise plan.”

Will Millennials Ever Retire?

One word sums up how Millennials tend to view planning for retirement: overwhelming. This is a very clear conclusion from this 2015 survey, which reveals attitudes about retirement in the U.S. You can easily guess why Millennials feel this way: soaring student debt, increased cost of living, stagnant wages for college graduates, and a lack of confidence in Social Security and the stock markets.

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The Value of Objective Financial Planning

Starkey Howes & Javer Value of Objective Financial PlanningOutside of a portfolio’s rate of return, it’s often easy to overlook the value that objective, client-focused financial planning brings. Although many financial professionals offer “free” services, do you stop and ask yourself “Hmmm, I wonder how he/she is paid if it’s not by me?” (source).

As objective financial planners, we fully support the “you get what you pay for” belief. Below is a list of just a few of the values we believe objective planning offers. Please feel free to let us know your thoughts on any of the following.

1. An independent financial planner helps protect you from financial salespeople.

According to Bob Veres, “…the Wall Street firms that pretend to offer financial planning guidance are seldom (if ever) looking out for the best interests of their customers.” Unfortunately, as a consumer in our industry, it’s not always easy to recognize when there’s an underlying motive or incentive behind the financial advice you receive.

Brokers might have business cards with the title of “Financial Advisor,” but in reality are often simply salespeople who are paid by their company to sell you as many products as possible. Unless they are a fiduciary, they are expected to do what is in the company’s best interest, not what is in your best interest. They are rewarded when they meet sales targets, and bonuses are often based on the clients they sign (source). Continue reading