5 Reasons to be Frugal Even When You Can Spend More

shj021317_5_reasons_to_be_frugal_blog_imageWhy go out of your way to save $20 when you can make it back in a few minutes of work? What’s the point in shopping for a deal when you have extra income? The difference between being frugal and being cheap is caring about value as opposed to caring about cost.

Retirement is Coming
Whether it’s 5 years or 25 years away, your dream of retirement is coming. If you’re living the life of luxury now instead of pushing money into your retirement plan, you may end up having to pinch pennies during retirement. Do what you can to cut your costs now, while still living comfortably, so you can live with less financial worry during retirement. Talk with your CFP® about about your plans to help get you on the right path for a comfortable retirement.

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Financial Planning for Blended Families: 3 Stages of Life

Financial Planning and Blended Families: Three Stages of LifeThe idea of a “traditional” family is ever evolving, and the United States Census Bureau has the research available that clearly outlines the profound shift in family formation. The reports show that families made up of two married heterosexual parents raising their biological children under age 18 now comprises only 20% of households, down from 40% in 1970.

As the traditional family reforms into modern day living, the financial challenges felt by blended families continue to increase. Although there are many definitions of blended families, we are focusing on second marriages and parents sharing custody of children from previous marriages for the purposes of this article.

There is no clear cut “right or wrong” way of managing household finances. Each family needs to find the method that works best for them. We have helped many blended families organize their financial lives, and here are a few themes we find in three different general stages of life.

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5 Important Questions to Ask Yourself Before Deciding to Go Back to School

5 Important Questions to Ask Yourself Before Deciding to Go Back to SchoolGoing back to school can give you a sense of accomplishment and open the door to new opportunities, but is going back to school for a new or advanced degree worth the investment? We all know pursuing a degree can have a strong impact on finances, career and family.

Here are our 5 questions to ask yourself before going back to school:

Why do I want to go back to school?
Exploring why you want to go back to school is an important and necessary first step. Are you interested in learning something new? Are you looking to move to a new career? Maybe you are hoping an advanced degree will give you a significant income boost. Whatever your reasons for thinking about going back to school, take some time to write them down. Discuss your list with trusted mentors and family members to get their honest input. Their advice could help you find other avenues to reach the same result without the cost and time required by pursuing a degree, or determine that a degree is your best option.

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7 Beneficial Habits to Move You Towards Financial Freedom

shj010417_financial_freedom_blog_imageMany of us dream of the days of not having to work and traveling whenever we please. Some of us dream of living in a home owned outright. Some are looking for the security of a large nest egg to know loved ones will be taken care of when we are gone.

Whatever financial freedom means to you, there are a few important habits to help get you there.

Automate Savings and Payments
We live in a digital world and with it comes helpful tools, such as automation. Set up an automatic withdrawal from your paycheck to your retirement and savings accounts to make it feel like it was never there in the first place. Avoid unnecessary fees and keep your credit score high by setting up automatic payments for your mortgage, insurance and credit cards. These small things can help reduce stress and keep you on track to financial freedom.

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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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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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8 Important Times in Life to Talk with Your Financial Planner

SHJ062016_Sharkey_Howes_Javer_When_to_Meet_Blog_ImageLife moves quickly and big changes often happen in the blink of an eye. As your life circumstances change, it’s important to meet with your financial planner to discuss the potential impact to your financial plan and goals.

Getting Married
Merging two sets of finances together can be difficult. Shortly after you get married, or even before the big day, meet with your financial planner together. They will help you discuss goals, direction for investments and can create a joint financial plan. Combining assets can be much less stressful when you include your financial planner in the process.

Buying or Selling a Home
Your home is likely the largest purchase you will make in your lifetime. When buying, most real estate agents will recommend you talk with your lender to find out what you qualify for, yet the agent and lender rarely consider any of your other financial goals in the equation. On the selling side, the impact of the sale on your overall financial plan is rarely taken into consideration. Since your financial planner understands and is trying to help you achieve all of your long term goals, talking with him/her before buying or selling a home can help you stay on track and avoid mistakes. Continue reading