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Resources to help you set your goals and meet your financial objectives.

A New Year ...“Sow What”?

Thursday, 02 January 2020

A New Year ...“Sow What”?

Ah, January 1st -- a time when gym memberships skyrocket, people start a new diet or a cleanse, and we can even “cleanse” our budget with the help of books such as “The 21-Day Budget Cleanse[1]” (full disclosure: I’ve not read this book).  A new year brings new hope, and this time it’s more than just a new year--it’s a new decade, the 2020’s!  However, even in the midst of the anticipation and excitement, some of you may be overwhelmed with challenges such as getting rid of credit card debts and the feeling that you should do something different about your finances in the new year.  While I do not have a “2020 quick fix” for finances, a good way to start is taking a look back on 2019.

Retirement Roadmap

Thursday, 26 December 2019

Retirement SMH

Retirement Roadmap

Getting to retirement is a long, eventful and exciting road, and it may progress like this for some people:

                                                                                                      WIDOWHOOD        

                                                                                            RETIREMENT

                                                                                  GRANDPARENTHOOD

                                                                        REMARRIAGE

                                                              DIVORCE

                                                  EMPTY NESTING

                                          CAREGIVER

                                CHILDREN

                     MARRIAGE

           SINGLEHOOD

   CAREER

The environment for retirees and those approaching retirement is changing significantly. Life expectancy is up 30 years since the last century. The U.S. 65-year-old population, currently 53 million, is expected to grow by 50% to 79 million in 2050[1], and the 85+-year-old’s is the fastest-growing demographic in the country. The average number of years we spend in retirement in the 1960s was about five, in 2010 it had grown to 30. All this has led to some retirement financial fears for people, such as - the rising cost of healthcare, the chance of outliving your money, will all my social security benefits be there? Along with this, will there be another market crisis, and how much will inflation eat into savings.

These are real retirement concerns people face for themselves and others.

The Best Way to Avoid Getting Tricked by Scammers this Holiday Season.

Friday, 06 December 2019

Being scammed can take the shine out of your holiday season or any season for that matter

The Best Way to Avoid Getting Tricked by Scammers this Holiday Season.

I thought it would be valuable to you if I listed some strategies to keep your finances safer during the holidays and into 2020. With the help of the Bank of America, I have listed some areas for you to be aware of – forewarned is forearmed!

Also, if you are responsible for someone, such as an elderly relative or friend, I suggest you warn them about scams, giving them a copy of this blog may not be the best idea, I suggest you tell them about some scam scenarios that you think are relevant to them and to contact you before you do anything. As a general rule a scammer will want someone to act immediately, so “do nothing” can be a good strategy.   AARP has a free helpline if you think you or loved one has been scammed – 877-908-3360.

Tips for Small Business Owners

Friday, 15 November 2019

Tips for Small Business Owners

Small business is vital to the U.S. economy, it employs half of the private-sector workers and creates two-thirds of net new jobs, according to federal data. As of 2018, there are 30.2 million small businesses in the U.S (99.9% of United States businesses):

  • Small businesses employ 57 million people in the U.S.
  • 66% of small businesses will outsource services to other small businesses
  • 53% of small business owners rank their happiness level at 9 or above (scale of 1 to 10)

The biggest challenges of running a small business, according to small business owners - Economic uncertainty, the cost of health insurance benefits, and a decline in customer spending, with regulatory burdens almost tying for that third-place spot.

Small Business Tax Planning 2019

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Getting close to December 31

Small Business Tax Planning 2019

Federal state and local taxes are up there with your biggest bills, about one-third of all you earn in your lifetime is going to be paid in taxes, so it makes sense to plan ahead and make sure your tax bill is as low as possible. Being a business owner or self-employed provides greater opportunity for tax-planning when compared to the salary and wage earner. Your goal is to minimize your tax bill (cash outflow) or defer your tax bill to a future period. Yes, tax planning can seem complicated, it involves planning for your retirement, tax installment payments, keeping up-to-date and accurate records and managing a key component of your cash flow. Tax planning also comes with the temptation to underreport earnings, what I refer to as “crossing the line”, but there is no need to put skeletons in your closet, you’ll sleep better, and your life will be less complicated. A former boss and President of a public company gave me some very sage advice early in my career:

“If you can see the line you are too close.”

Financial Planning is All About Your Future Self

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

During National Financial Planning Month, send your future self an email

Financial Planning is All About Your Future Self

How do you encourage yourself to do something that you swear today you’re going to do? Easy: Send yourself an email today for delivery to you in the future.

Think about how amazing it would be to get a surprise from the past. From yourself. “Send your future self some words of inspiration or comfort. Or maybe a swift kick in the pants” reads the introduction on futureme.org, where you write and store emails to yourself for eventual, scheduled delivery.

The Working Performing Artist

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Doing What You Want to Do

The Working Performing Artist

Your life of a performing artist is far from routine, it is not the typical 9 to 5 workweek, there are no employee benefits, annual leave, or a need to climb the corporate ladder, however, you are working in an extremely competitive industry, and especially in New York City. Accordingly, your life needs to be on-the-ready, searching for that next performance opportunity, the next audition, and doing your best to create your own luck. To operate like this you do what is needed to pay your bills, you are a freelancer, waiting for your 1099, that always seems to arrive late, living and loving the “gig-life”.

Performing Artists and Weighing Financial Wellness

Tuesday, 01 October 2019

You have to be special to be a performing artist, and unlike many others, you are going to earn a living from your passion. The question is, how is this going to be possible?

Performing Artists and Weighing Financial Wellness

“Artists are the gatekeepers of truth. We are civilization’s radical voice.” – Paul Robeson

It is easy for us “civilians” to underestimate the tenacity, drive, persistence, and energy of the performing artist, and that they only know to give 110%. They are entrepreneurs, idealists, and they understand that job security is not there for them and, as a result, they hustle to generate several sources of income to pay your way. A study in 2016 [1] estimates alternative work arrangements comprise 16% of the workforce in 2015, up from 10% in 2005. This work life is often referred to as the “gig life” (e.g., freelancer, independent contractor, on-demand or temporary worker, and excludes those who rent an asset (e.g. Airbnb) or sells goods they produce (e.g. Etsy)). You are the original members of a fast-growing group in the workforce.

Budgets and Breaking Through Barriers

Wednesday, 04 September 2019

How do you roll? Have you discovered that if you want to help someone to do something new or differently, you had better know something about how they “roll”?

Budgets and Breaking Through Barriers

Each of us has preferences, boundaries, biases, experiences, and beliefs about money that all play a role in the daily decisions we make. Let us call our beliefs about money “money scripts”. These money scripts are hard-wired belief systems, our automatic pilot settings that make for quick decisions. Here are some money scripts[1] examples that may be familiar to you:

  • “It is/is not important to save for a rainy day.”
  • “It is okay to keep secrets from your partner around money.”
  • “If you are good, your financial needs will be taken care of.”
  • “It takes money to make money.”
  • “I will never be able to afford the things I really want in life.”

These scripts (belief systems) play an important role in determining our behavior when it comes to money. Some of these behaviors can be destructive when it comes to money management and achieving our financial goals...

Single and Loving It Part 2

Monday, 12 August 2019

SO MUCH OF THE FINANCIAL ADVICE AND RESOURCES OUT THERE IS FOCUSED ON MARRIED COUPLES.

Single and Loving It Part 2

I received a lot of positive feedback from the “Single and Loving Itarticle. “I really loved that blog”, “I never see anything written for me...Finally!”, “can you write another one?”, “I’m never really sure if I’m doing the right thing with my money, retirement, savings”, “There’s a lot of us out there that needs this!”

Single and Loving It: Part II

Startups

Many single adults are employed by startups, which often do not provide workplace 401k or 403b. So, what should a startup employee do? In 2019, an employee can contribute $19,000 per year to an employer 401k or 403b, however, if these are not provided by your employer an individual can only contribute $6,000 pa to a Traditional Individual Retirement Account (IRA). That’s a big difference, $19,000 vs $6,000, and all the more reason for starting your retirement savings early. I often give this example to highlight the value of starting early:

Self Employed with a Solo 401(k) and Loving It – more for the “Yacht-less”

Monday, 29 July 2019

I like to walk my neighborhood and see the businesses that have stayed the course, popped-up and who has moved on with the times.

Self Employed with a Solo 401(k) and Loving It – more for the “Yacht-less”

I like to walk around my Brooklyn neighborhood. I notice the businesses that have stayed the course or have recently popped-up and those that have moved on with the times. Walking down Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, I see the cabinet maker’s workshop, then there is the fine art picture framer whose main clientele are museums, the new coffee and Wi-Fi spot, and the Urban Outfitters building still with its 1859 decal “Sale Makers - Canvas Goods”. Not to mention the many restaurants.

The Uncommon Average

Monday, 08 July 2019

"I have found that the importance of having an investment philosophy—one that is robust and that you can stick with— cannot be overstated."

David Booth

The Uncommon Average

The US stock market has delivered an average annual return of around 10% since 1926. But short-term results may vary, and in any given period stock returns can be positive, negative, or flat. When setting expectations, it’s helpful to see the range of outcomes experienced by investors historically. For example, how often have the stock market’s annual returns actually aligned with its long-term average?

Annuities for the “Yacht-less”

Monday, 08 July 2019

Annuities for the “Yacht-less”

There is a lot of advertising for annuities today. Many people feel a little skeptical about these financial products. Be warned: This topic can be a little dry, so let me say at the outset that this blog post is most relevant for those near or in retirement. Here we go: “Are annuities a good idea for you?”

Before we continue, please let me emphasize that I’m a fiduciary fee-only financial advisor, which means I do not receive commissions directly or indirectly on the sale of a financial product. As a fiduciary, I put my client’s needs first, always. Also, this blog post is not a recommendation to buy or sell an annuity; rather, it is an outline of my approach to annuities, and the things to consider when evaluating them. As always, before purchasing any investment or insurance product, be sure to do your own due diligence and consult a properly licensed professional should you have specific questions as they relate to your individual circumstances.

Reaching the heart’s desire for the “yacht-less”

Monday, 17 June 2019

One has to trigger that “eureka” moment – “Ah ha, I want this, I’ve got this.”  The question then becomes: How can a financial planner achieve this for you?

Reaching the heart’s desire for the “yacht-less”

Recently I was in Brooklyn giving directions to a friend. Simple directions: “Go west on Atlantic, take the second right and then look for the TD Band on your left.”  My friend understood the directions but the look on his face made me feel that he was not going to get there.  I said to myself, I need to make this meaningful and memorable.  So, I told him, “Go this way, then turn right at Trader Joe’s.”  It was a “eureka” moment as his face lit up and I knew that he would make it to his destination in no time.  That’s what it is like with financial planning--it may not be difficult to give and receive clear and logical instructions, but it doesn’t always mean that someone will get there.  One has to trigger that “eureka” moment – “Ah ha, I want this, I’ve got this.”  The question then becomes: How can a financial planner achieve this for you?

Utilizing Home Equity in Retirement, for the “Yacht-less”

Monday, 17 June 2019

Introduction – A Brooklyn healthcare worker and artist

Utilizing Home Equity in Retirement, for the “Yacht-less”

Let me tell you about a healthcare worker that purchased a three-level walkup in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn in the early 1980s at a cost of $35,000. She wanted an easy commute, was prepared to “deal” with the neighborhood, and she wanted to own and collect some passive income. The property is now worth $4.5 million (that is a CAGR of 14.0%). In the same neighborhood, a couple purchased a similar property primarily so they could afford an art studio, they also experienced enormous growth in their residential property value. In New York City, and no doubt other cities around the country, there are many property owners entering retirement with significant home equity wealth. Your retirement portfolio can be made up of the following - residential equity, deferred tax...

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