Posts Tagged With: Financial Planning

The 1-Page Financial Plan: 10 Tips for getting what you want from Life

Carl Richards, author of The One Page Financial Plan, knows the financial mistakes–including the ones he has made–that people make.  Based on his experience as a financial planner, he provides 10 tips to help people get what they want from life.  Note:  An explanation and examples to illustrate each tip are provided in this article.  His tips are:

  1. Ask why money is important to you.
  2. Guess where you want to go.
  3. Know your starting point.
  4. Think of budgeting as a tool for awareness.
  5. Save as much as you reasonably can.
  6. Buy just enough insurance today.
  7. Remember that paying off debt can be a great investment.
  8. Invest like a scientist.
  9. Hire a real financial advisor.
  10. Behave for a really long time.

For more information, click here. 

Teaching Suggestions

You may want to use the information in this blog post and the original article to

  • Illustrate how each tip provided in this article could affect an individual’s financial plan.
  • Encourage students to read the entire article to help determine what’s really important in their life.

Discussion Questions

  1. It’s often hard (or maybe close to impossible) to determine what you value and where you want to go in the next 20 to 30 years with perfect accuracy. Still, experts recommend that you establish a long-term financial plan.  What steps can you take to make sure your plan will meet your future needs?
  2. Why is it important to evaluate your plan on a regular basis and make changes if necessary?
Categories: Chapter 1, Chapter_14, Financial Planning, insurance, Retirement Planning | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

How the Presidential Election Will Affect Your Investment Strategy

“The sky is falling!  If my chosen candidate doesn’t win, the markets are doomed and so are my investments.”

In this article, Bijan Golkar points out that a presidential election can cause excitement or despair depending on if you are a Republican or a Democrat and who the major parties nominate for the highest and most powerful office in the world.

The article discusses market returns both before and after a presidential election year and some of the underlying reasons for market volatility.  Then the article stresses the importance of a person’s long-term goals and a plan for long-term growth as opposed to “emotional investing.”  Finally, the article discusses the pros and cons of our economy that could affect investment values.

For more information, click here. 

Teaching Suggestions

You may want to use the information in this blog post and the original article to

  • Discuss the importance of a long-term investment plan that will take advantage of the time value of money.
  • Describe some of the pitfalls of “emotional investing.”

Discussion Questions

  1. What are the typical characteristics of an emotional investor? Of a long-term investor?
  2. What are the advantages of a long-term investment program when compared to “emotional investing?”
Categories: Chapter 1, Chapter_11, Economy, Financial Planning, Investments, Savings | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

How to Find a Financial Advisor

“Finding your next financial advisor is as easy as counting from one to five.  You just need to know where to look and what to ask.”

The information in this article is provided by the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) and was developed to help people find a financial advisor.  Specific suggestions include

  1. Before beginning a search for a financial advisor, have a conversation with your loved ones to determine what is important, what you value, and what you want to accomplish.
  2. To develop a list of potential advisors, talk to friends and relatives and visit websites like http://www.napfa.org.
  3. Narrow your list to the top three contenders then do your homework. Visit company websites and read each advisors biographical sketch, check information available on the SEC website (www.sec.gov), and develop a list of questions that you want to ask when you meet each advisor.
  4. Request a meeting with each potential advisor. Ask questions to help assess your comfort level with each advisor.  For help, visit the NAPFA website (www.napfa.org) and click on “Tips and Tools.”
  5. Often the key to building a relationship with a financial advisor is communication. Review your relationship with a financial advisor over time.  Don’t just look at investment results, but also determine if the advisor (and her or his firm) is helping you achieve your important goals.

For more information, click here.

Teaching Suggestions

You may want to use the information in this blog post and the original article to

  • Remind students that it is better to start financial planning earlier rather than later in life.
  • Stress that even beginning investors or investors with little money can still use a financial advisor.
  • Encourage students to visit the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors website (www.napfa.org). There is a great deal of quality information available with a click of a mouse.

Discussion Questions

  1. Often, the first step when choosing a financial advisor begins before you actually meet a potential advisor. How can determining your goals and what you value help you start financial planning?
  2. While many investors think that financial advisors are only for the rich, beginning investing or investors with little money can benefit from professional help. What steps can you take to find the right financial advisor to help you obtain your goals?
Categories: Chapter 1, Chapter_11, Financial Planning, Retirement Planning | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Financial Security and Longevity

While Americans are living longer and healthier lives, they also are facing more financially fragile situations. Uncertainty related to financial health in the later years of life has become more common. Lower, less predictable incomes among those retiring within 10 years has resulted in difficulty paying their bills. This group also reports a lower net worth. In 2013, the typical 56- to 61-year-old had an average of $17,000 in retirement savings. This lower level of net worth is partially the result of higher levels of debt than the previous generation. This debt is in the form of higher mortgages and education loans, including amounts owed for their children’s education.

To address these concerns, several policy actions are proposed:

  • Requiring and supporting strategies for to build effective financial capability, including coaching and workforce development programs.
  • Tax policies and other incentives that encourage savings and investment among lower-income and lower-wealth families.
  • Policies to increase educational opportunities without excessive debt.
  • Efforts for protection from financial difficulties caused by medical catastrophe.
  • Policies for improved housing stability of both owners and renters.

For additional information on financial security and longevity, click here.

Teaching Suggestions

  • Have students interview people to determine common actions used to save for retirement.
  • Have students create a presentation to suggest action for improved financial security for various income levels.

Discussion Questions 

  1. What are some financial pressures faced by households as people approach retirement age?
  2. What actions might government and business take to reduce the financial pressures of people approaching retirement age?
Categories: Chapter 1, Chapter_14 | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Eight Measurements of Financial Health

The Center for Financial Services Innovation has identified eight indicators to measure financial health. These measurements can serve as a framework for guiding individuals and financial service providers toward an improved quality of life for consumers.

The eight indicators of financial health, presented in four categories, are:

SPEND

  1. Difference between income and expenses
  2. Percent of bills that are paid on time and in full

SAVE

  1. Number of months of living expenses in liquid account balances
  2. Amount of one’s long-term savings, assets, and investments

BORROW

  1. Debt-to-income ratio
  2. Credit score or credit quality tier

PLAN

  1. Type and extent of insurance coverage
  2. Behaviors that demonstrate future financial orientation

For additional information on financial health indicators, click here.

 

Teaching Suggestions

  • Have students ask people to describe what is meant by “financial health.”
  • Have students create a list of actions that might be taken to achieve financial health.

 Discussion Questions 

  1. What are additional factors that might be considered when measuring a person’s financial health?
  2. What actions are you taking to achieve financial health?
Categories: Chapter 1, Financial Planning | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Finances for Newlyweds

An estimated one-third of recently married couples are surprised by the financial situation of their spouse.  A similar number (36 percent) are not aware of their partner’s spending habits.  Based on a study by Experian Plc, only 40 percent knew the credit score of their partner.

Men more often hid money from spouses.  About 20 percent of men had secret bank accounts about which their partners didn’t know; compared to 12 percent of women. Regarding the maximum amount that they would spend before consulting with their spouse, men replied $1,259; women said $383.   Hidden financial information can have a significant adverse effect on the relationship of a newly married couple.

For additional information on newlywed finances, click here.

For additional information on the survey results, click here.

Teaching Suggestions

  • Have students survey newly-married people about their disclosure of financial information to their spouse.
  • Have students create a list of problems that might arise between newly-married people who do not inform their spouse about their personal financial information.

Discussion Questions 

  1. What financial information would be most important for newly-married people to disclose to their spouses?
  2. How could a lack of disclosure of financial information to a spouse create relationship difficulties?
Categories: Budget, Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Financial Planning | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

The Gig Economy

Online selling, personal taxi services such as Uber, and renting a spare room to tourists, are examples of an increasing number of people generating or supplementing their incomes by trading goods and services online.  This trend is often replacing traditional employment.

Measurement of the “gig economy” (working outside a formal work environment with temporary, short-term employment by independent workers) is difficult.  Many situations are not reported in current labor statistics. In recent years, the fastest growth for self-employed workers has been in hairdressing, cleaning, and management consulting. While these services may be in the gig economy, this trend may also indicate growing formal self-employment in these fields.

Gig economy activities may start as temporary work due to a lay-off or a need to supplement household income. However, as time goes by, these self-employment positions can become a person’s ongoing employment status.

For additional information on the gig economy, click here.

Teaching Suggestions

  • Have students describe examples of the “gig economy.”
  • Have students explain the “gig economy” to others (including different generations) and get their reactions.

Discussion Questions

  1. What factors influenced the development of the gig economy?
  2. How might the gig economy affect a person’s financial planning activities?
Categories: Career, Chapter 1, Financial Planning, _Appendix B | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Income Tax Identity Theft Baffles IRS

“Income tax identity theft is a huge problem that is only getting worse.”

According to a 2015 report of the General Accountability Office (GAO), the IRS paid out $5.8 billion in bogus refunds to identity thieves for the 2013 tax year–the latest year that complete data are available.  To make matters worse, the actual dollar amount is probably higher because of the difficulty of knowing the amount of undetected fraud.

To combat the problem, the IRS announced a new cooperative effort between the IRS, state tax administrators, and private tax preparation services to fight income tax identity theft.  A number of specific steps are outlined in this article.  Unfortunately, the experts admit there are additional problems to stopping identity thieves that are not addressed in the new program.  In fact, most experts agree that additional regulations are required to coordinate employer reporting of employee wages with Social Security reporting requirements.

For individual taxpayers, bogus tax returns become a very real and personal problem if their social security number is stolen and their personal tax return is flagged by the IRS as suspicious.  To help resolve disputed tax returns, the office of the National Taxpayer Advocate, which is an internal watchdog for consumers at the IRS, suggests that you file a police report and then mail a paper tax return with an attached Form 14039–Identity Theft Affidavit with a copy of the police report.  In addition to additional documentation, expect that it may take on average 278 days to resolve a claim if you become a victim of income tax identity theft.

For more information, click here.

Teaching Suggestions

You may want to use the information in this blog post and the original article to

  • Discuss the importance of protecting your personal identity and especially your social security number.
  • Stress the importance of monitoring your credit report and all financial documents that could indicate your personal identity has been stolen.

Discussion Questions

  1. What steps can you take to protect your personal identity?
  2. There are a number of credit monitoring services that will help protect your identity. Most charge $75 to $100 or more a year to monitor your financial and personal information.  Do you feel this  service is worth the cost?
Categories: Chapter 3, Chapter 5, Financial Planning, Identity Theft, Taxes | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Financial Fragility of American Households

A recent study from the Federal Reserve reports that almost half of consumers are not able to come up with $400 to cover an emergency expense.  In contrast, the study of 5,800 Americans reported that almost one-third of Americans believed their income would increase in the upcoming year.  However, many appear to be living one big expense away from financial disaster.

Other findings of the study include:

  • Forty-seven percent didn’t have the cash to pay for a $400 emergency expense.
  • One in five participants in the study reported spending amounts greater than their income.
  • “Underemployment” is a major concern for workers since part-time work often means a lack of benefits, especially health care coverage.
  • Nearly one in five Americans has nothing set aside for retirement; 39 percent of report that they have either given no thought or only a little to planning for retirement.

Despite these difficulties, Americans have seen a “mild” improvement in how they view their economic well-being since the recession ended. About 40 percent reported they were either “somewhat” or “much better” off than they were in 2009.

The report reflected that the recovery is only benefiting some.  About half of college-educated respondents said they are better off than in 2009; only 37 percent of those without a bachelor degree reported an improved economic situation.

For additional information on the financial fragility of Americans, click here.

Teaching Suggestions

  • Have students talk to various people about their economic situation compared with five years ago.
  • Have students create survey questions that might be used to measure the financial condition of a household.

Discussion Questions 

  1. What are common measurements of personal economic well-being?
  2. How might a person take action to improve personal economic well-being?
Categories: Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Financial Planning | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Teaching Financial Literacy

While science, math, and history are vital for academic and career success, many high school graduates lack knowledge of basic money management skills.   Along with other subjects, effective financial education should be rigorous, relevant, meets standards, and have engaging learning experiences. Those teaching personal finance should be well-qualified and supported by adequate resources.

In recent years, financial education is referred to as financial literacy or financial capability.  In the past, these topics were taught in math, social studies, business and, consumer science (previously called home economics) courses.  More recently, an extensive number of free or low-cost financial literacy programs and resources have been developed.  Financial institutions, businesses, government agencies, professional associations, and non-profit organizations have collaborated in this effort.  The National Standards in K-12 Personal Finance Education, published by the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy, provides teachers with a guidance.

For additional information on teaching financial literacy, click here.

Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy

Teaching Suggestions

  • Have students ask people to describe their definition of “financial literacy.”
  • Have students develop a learning activity to effectively teach financial literacy.

Discussion Questions 

  1. What are considered to be the main elements of financial literacy?
  2. Why is financial literacy important for all students?
Categories: Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Financial Planning | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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