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3. Pay Off High-Cost Debt

  1. Free Money Finance: Financial Planning
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  4. Roth IRA 101

Aside from real estate, investing in dividend stocks is another popular option. Setting financial goals is extremely important because without goals you will lack direction. Goals help you to have something to work towards, increase your motivation, and give you something to gauge your progress. You can work backward from your goals and create a plan that allows you to reach those goals.

When it comes to your finances, you can either take a DIY approach, or you can hire a financial advisor. Start with the first rule of spending less than you earn. The impact of simply following that one rule will go a long way. Posted in Financial Planning Permalink Comments 0. The following is a guest post from DollarSprout. When it comes to building wealth, there are many technical steps and strategies you can follow.

And if those technical strategies are what you are lacking, there is no shortage of expert information available. One piece that is often forgotten, however, is the impact an optimistic money mindset can have on your financial success. In general, your mindset is made up of your attitude and beliefs. Therefore, your money mindset is the attitude and beliefs with which you approach money.

Your money mindset is at the core of how you make financial decisions and whether or not you achieve your financial goals. Your money mindset is incredibly personal to you, and there are so many factors that might go into it. In general, however, there are two basic money mindsets a person might have: an abundance mindset or a scarcity mindset.

When you have an abundance mindset, you believe there are plenty of resources i. In this case, that resource would be money. When you see others making money, you believe there will be less left for you. Many of our central money affirmations come from observing the subconscious messages we received from our parents.

Your own life experiences since childhood have also played a part in forming your current money mindset. If you feel that money has not come easily to you as an adult, your experiences are reaffirming your scarcity mindset. In general, a positive mindset about money is likely to result in better financial outcomes. A survey conducted by a University of Pennsylvania researcher , in conjunction with Frost Bank, showed that those with an optimistic mindset were significantly more likely to see financial health and to engage in healthier financial habits.

Those with an optimistic money mindset are more likely to take financial risks, because they really believe they will reach financial success. Because of this, those with a positive money affirmations are more likely to start their own business or seek advancement in their current career. A different study done at the University of Pennsylvania found that optimistic salespeople considerably outsell those with a pessimistic mindset. Someone who lives with a scarcity mindset feels that no matter what actions they take, financial success is not coming their way.

Because of this, your mindset might be stopping you from taking any action at all! And by failing to reach those financial milestones, your mind will use that as evidence to reaffirm your already pessimistic financial mindset. Those with a scarcity mindset believe there is only so much to go around. So when they see someone else reaching financial success, they are likely to believe, at least on some level, that the result is less money for them.

This mindset can, and almost certainly does, lead to feelings of jealousy and resentment toward those who are financially better off than we are. And when those we are feeling jealous and resentful of are our friends or family, this mindset can take a toll on our relationships. How to Develop an Optimistic Money Mindset. In order to change your beliefs around money, you first need to identify the beliefs that have been holding you back so far. Try to write down all of your beliefs about money, and the role that money has played in your life so far.

What did your parents teach you about money? Do you believe that a lack of money has held you back from achieving certain things in your life? Do you feel a significant amount of stress about your lack of money or your financial future? This is about how you think about your money. You might be surprised by the answers you come up with here, especially if you think of yourself as a relatively optimistic person, but find you actually have a pessimistic money mindset. You can replace your money blocks and create a new mindset that truly serves you and your bank account in the future.

Take each of your biggest money blocks and write a new, positive money affirmation to challenge it. Work on writing or saying those affirmations on a daily basis to help shift your mindset. By taking time to show gratitude for the money you have, you can focus on the abundance in your life instead of the limitations. Studies, including one done by Harvard Medical School, have shown that practicing gratitude on a daily basis can increase your happiness and optimism.

You can challenge those beliefs by setting financial goals for your future. Sticking to these long-term financial goals will really force you to reevaluate and rework your current money habits, having a long-term impact on both your bank account and your mindset. Researchers with the academic journal Psychological Science found that the more generous you are with your time, the more time you feel that you personally have. It gives you an abundance mindset about time. We could apply the same principle to money and assume that the more money you give away, the more abundance you have around money.

Having an optimistic money mindset allows you to set big goals for the future, invest in yourself, and truly live with the belief that financial success is coming your way. Though it will take a lot of mindset work on your part, the steps above can leave you well on your way to a more positive money mindset.

Personal finance is just that - personal. In today's world of smartphone apps and fintech, it's often hard for consumers to receive detailed and actionable financial strategies online. LINK by Prudential is an experience that combines online, phone, and video chats to help you develop your own financial roadmap for success. And, because Prudential backs LINK with its insurance, investing, and financial planning experience, you can shop for financial products and solutions to your problems all from one company. There are real people on the other end of the phone or computer screen to help you every step of the way.

While other companies and apps rely exclusively on customer questionnaires and algorithms to provide their financial advice and product recommendations, LINK by Prudential combines advanced technologies with personalized support from highly qualified, human advisors. The team at LINK works with you to look at your investing, insurance, and retirement needs. And, they look at the whole picture. While many fintech companies and app-based financial services offer guidance, but most only focus on one aspect of your financial life.

But, with LINK, you have a team in Prudential that looks at your inputs and offers financial guidance. There are many ways that you can connect with the team at LINK by Prudential initially and on an ongoing basis. Customers can receive help and advice through several different options such as phone calls with financial professionals, web videos and online resources, and video calls with an advisor. The amount of access and ways to connect with financial professionals who are on your team is not typical for the financial industry.

That is, of course, unless you have a lot of money to invest or assets to manage where you can hire your own financial advisor. Additionally, after you set up your financial roadmap, you have several ways that you can implement your plan. When you decide on products or services for your plan, you can purchase the investments and insurance directly through the LINK by Prudential web portal or remotely over the phone with advisers. When you sign up for LINK by Prudential, you begin with an initial session either online or over the phone.

The initial session helps you to create your customized roadmap. It starts with you answering questions to help LINK understand your financial goals. A knowledgeable advisor can help you create your LINK roadmap — or you can choose to do it on your own. Your LINK by Prudential roadmap is a strategy to help you meet your financial goals and typically includes things such as:.

Your Prudential LINK advisors help you break up short and long-term goals into manageable pieces, based on your current financial situation and tolerance for risk. You need help. You often need someone to walk you through things, help you track your progress, and then hold you accountable - much like a personal trainer. LINK by Prudential is like your personal trainer but for your finances. The team at LINK can help you build a roadmap or plan for your financial goals. They walk you through everything and are available to answer questions. They can also help you purchase the product you need for your plan.

And, then LINK helps you monitor the plan along the way. As things change in your life and your goals and timeline shifts, they can also help you adjust and rebalance things. Personal finances are personal. It takes more than an algorithm and a questionnaire to plan for your financial future. There are so many factors like your goals, income, debts, retirement dreams, and the like that need to factor into your decisions along the way. LINK by Prudential is an excellent alternative to the smartphone apps and other online fintech solutions that focus on only one part of personal finance.

You need a highly personalized approach to accomplish your financial goals that include consistent access to human advisors at every stage along your journey. Instead, you get advice that you can take action with right away. With LINK, you get actual, realistic strategies to help you achieve your goals. A lot of financial smartphone apps and websites tell you the steps that you should take to accomplish your goals.

But, LINK has a team of advisors along with a great site and in-person assistance if needed that helps you determine exactly how to achieve your goals. The following is a guest post by Scott from Making Momentum. After listening to countless hours of the best personal finance podcasts and pouring over the top recommended books on money , there were two concepts ever-present. Manage your spending like the Millionaire Next Door and continue to diversify your income streams or make focused efforts to grow existing ones. If you can compound wins through the punch of those concepts, you will expedite the timelines to reach your financial goals.

Small shifts in your mindset and habits with money can change the landscape of your finances without depriving your quality of life or have you pursuing get rich quick schemes. Generally the first steps to more mindful spending is tracking your current cash flow, setting a budget and then monitoring and adjusting. After you have that money management system in place you can start to identify opportunities to save more. What are the big three? Housing, transportation and food. With that in mind, the best place to focus your time and efforts are those big three.

The opportunity for bigger savings are around these line items and there are some proven tactics to do so. All of the above sound like pretty simple solutions for saving money on housing, transportation and food. However, putting them into action and sticking to a more mindful spending approach is the pitfall for many.

Most personal finance advice will focus on the saving and frugality aspects of money management. The first place to start is your career and maximizing those earnings through a focused approach. Your career is a million dollar asset and for Personal finances are personal and the same can be said for side hustles. Your skills, experiences, interests and lifestyle might skew what fits best for you.

But the goal and benefit remains the same. Earning more money through side hustles , building passive income and growing your career salary will help you reach your financial goals much sooner. The first step is to just get started. As you gain experience and find your strengths, the ideal scenario is you can scale your side hustle efforts to something that might grow to generate a full-time income or supplement your finances in retirement.

These examples are not the optimal scenarios or a picture-perfect representation of paying off debt or investing. The expected timeline for repayment would be approx. Assuming every dollar of that was redirected into our student loan repayment:. The expected timeline for repayment is now approx. Want to experiment based on your own financial situation? For this example we have the following:. Personal finances are personal, so test the numbers based on your own situation with this Smart Asset investment calculator.

The numbers in these examples are almost arbitrary and only meant to inspire taking a different approach to your mindset around spending and earning. The next time you pull out the debit or credit card ask yourself if this is the best course of action for your money. Posted in Financial Planning Permalink Comments 1.

The following is a guest post from The Master Dukes of Dollars. The two bloggers held court frequently, delving into lifestyle and personal finance discussions as they searched for ways to live an optimal life, eventually deciding to invite a global audience into their mindsets by establishing their own blog together. They believe anyone can build their financial kingdom — start building today! In our adventure through life, we are constantly making decisions.

In fact - a study was done that left me flabbergasted. I mean, who would have thought on an average day, adults make an estimated 35, decisions every day!! Now many of these decisions are on things that have little consequence, where our habits take over and only a small amount of energy is expended when making them.

Free Money Finance: Financial Planning

It's easy for me to decide whether or not my coffee mug will be within reach during breakfast each day - it always is! But life isn't always so easy, and with the short-cuts we've developed as humans to tackle the onslaught of decisions each day, it is in our best interest to take big decisions heavily! That's where rational thinking comes in. Rational thinking is our ability to draw unbiased conclusions by using logic, rules, and data to justify them. By utilizing this process, you are able to handle life's tough decisions and we sincerely believe that there's power in doing so.

Because we have subconscious biases that go into every decision made. Add a few mental models all happening at once - generalization fallacies, headline nostalgia or emotional responses - you have a lollapalooza effect leading to actions or beliefs that may not be beneficial to you! Want a few examples of news being emotionally charged? Check out Joshua Kennon's article on statistics. With rational thinking in mind, a new concept can be introduced to help how we make better decisions - Mental Models! Mental Models are your toolbox for making decisions!

Here's a quick video to give a quick overview. Mental models were made famous by Warren Buffet's partner in crime, Charlie Munger. He gave a speech on cognitive biases and how they can influence decision making, even on those who are experts on leadership or physics. Further, he mentions them throughout a talk he gave to graduates of USC. Charlie believes understanding the world from this broad perspective gives you opportunity to make fast, smart, and reliable decisions - sometimes even finding answers quicker than those who specialize in their field.

Which of course can be a very dangerous tool, in other words, use your rational thinking wisely. Charlie has said because of these mental models and the latticework of them entangled within his brain, he has been awarded with great success in investing and business. He says one can never underestimate the power of incentives, ignore the potential second order effects of decisions or forget the self-bias story below each one of us tangles with in our daily decisions.

This story shows the power of using mental models in your life, because sometimes it can be detrimental to your career if you don't! Confirmation Bias: Reading, researching, and reflecting only on information that confirms pre-existing beliefs or ideas. These three are just the tip of the mental model iceberg. The more you learn, the better they can be utilized as you accelerate your path to freedom. Personal finance and rational thinking go hand in hand. Mental models help you drive better decisions in your career and life, which lead to compounding results see what I did there?

Saving high percentages of income is much easier when your level of income continuously increases! Bosses and businesses love rational thinking, and by taking advantage of mental models — you can become the employee they love because of it! Posted in Financial Planning Permalink Comments 3. Putting money into a savings account Going to Vegas and winning at the blackjack table Unfortunately, gambling at the casino is eventual financial suicide and we all know it A new start-up out of San Francisco, Long Game is one of the first apps that actually makes saving fun.

Sure, Mint can help you track your money, and Digit gets you to put a few pennies into savings here and there, but admit it, your life is still pretty dull even with these technological advances in your financial life. You need to grow up you know it. Not a few pennies, not even a few dollars Sounds a little sketchy, right? You must be paying for it somehow, right? They give you 0. Most banks pocket all the earnings, but Long Game found a few banks that want to help people win in life. Long Game then sets up games for you to win and earn some of those gifted bank dollars!

So yeah, you could win some money through Long Game, but is that it? Is that the only draw? Nope, not even close. Are you ready to get started with Long Game? Why or why not? Give us your opinion in the comments below! Budgets are Sexy asks if you are financially average and shares these ten financial averages in the US:. The average personal savings rate in the U. The average American pays an effective federal income tax rate of I'm surprised that the income number is so high.

Anyway, this gives me more hope for Americans overall. Yes, earning a good salary is a great way to grow net worth. If you don't believe me, just read what millionaires have to say. We are big believers in helping others as much as we can, so giving has always been a big part of our family, as has volunteering. This was pretty good back in the day but many of today's early retirees make that look like slacking.

Our tax refunds had wild swings since we had so much going one every year -- especially after we bought our rental properties. I'm looking forward to the day when my tax return isn't pages. Yet another reason I use a CPA to do my taxes. My federal tax rate was way over I haven't looked at my Social Security benefits since I have a couple decades before I'll claim them.

I'm not even sure they'll be around at that time which is why I don't have any financial plans based on needing them. That said, if they are around, I should get a decent amount since I paid the max amount to Social Security for many years. The following is a guest post from Aaron of Personal Finance for Beginners.

There are many important areas of money management — debt, budgeting, saving, investing — that make it hard to decide where to prioritize your attention and how you should measure your progress. Improving any one of these metrics has the potential to improve your financial wellness — but is there one number that rules them all? Your credit score is a number that lenders use to measure how responsible you are with managing debt.

A credit score is calculated from five major factors. The two most important factors are making your payments on time each month payment history and how much you owe in relation to your total available lines of credit credit utilization. Pros: What are the benefits of having the highest credit score possible? Having a high credit score qualifies you for the lowest interest rates available on your mortgage, auto loan, student loans, etc.

A bad credit score will likely hold you back from achieving some of your financial goals far more than a good credit score will be able to help you. Because most of us depend on a salary for our income, getting a raise or promotion is the most common way to increase this the number.

You can also take on a second job, find a side hustle that suits your interests, or start your own business. Pros: Increasing your income allows you to reach your financial goals more quickly. You can pay down any debt, max out your investment accounts, and have cash available on hand should a good financial opportunity present itself. Just take a look at the celebrities, professional athletes, and lottery winners who receive seven-figure paychecks — many find themselves broke and filing for bankruptcy just a few years later. How do you adjust your finances after you get a raise?

Any dollar without a purpose is likely to go to waste. Without a budget and long-term financial plan, you can find yourself struggling without financial uncertainty regardless of your income level. Savings rate is likely to be the least commonly discussed financial metric of the four mentioned in this post. Pros: For most people, the end goal of personal finance is reaching financial independence. Cons: Maintaining a high savings rate often depends on keeping your spending low.

Military Buyback for Federal Retirement

Your net worth is the sum of all of your assets minus all your liabilities. This number provides a snapshot of your financial situation at any specific point in time as it fluctuates in real-time with any personal transactions or changes in the market. Pros: Your net worth offers a balanced understanding of your financial situation by considering both the positives assets and negatives liabilities. Calculating your net worth requires reviewing all of your financial information in one place, which is becoming easier than ever with tools like Mint or Personal Capital.

Cons: A high net worth, just like a high income, only holds value if you know how to make it work for you. To really optimize your finances, you still need to drill down deeper to identify areas of improvement. If you have significant amounts of student loan or consumer debt, you may have a negative net worth that takes years to reach the positive. Each number can have a major impact on your finances in its own right, and your interest in each metric will likely shift as your progress through your financial journey. When all is said and done, your net worth dictates when you reach financial independence.

This is a guest post by Millionaire Mob , a blog focused on investing in dividend growth stocks and travel hacking. It was August I was freshly out of undergraduate school and about to start my first day working as an investment banker for a large bank in Chicago. I was eager, motivated and ready to do whatever it took to be the next finance king.

The cover of Fortune magazine was so close. I could just see it. The paychecks are great. I found myself being the complete opposite. Wearing beaten down shoes to saving every dollar to pay down student loans. Or, save enough to buy a reasonable home. We all only have one life to live. Making a difference and working with people that also want to change the world is important.

I truly learned a lot working in investment banking. You learn several points that are invaluable and can be leveraged into new ventures such as:. What is the better way forward for freedom financially too? I found myself back to the drawing board. This lead me to becoming an entrepreneur or a multi-tasked side hustler. The true meaning of financial freedom to me is building an income to cover all of your expenses, traveling the world and learning every day. This enables me to continue my path of saving and investing.

In addition, our favorite way to secure the most optimal total return is by investing in dividend growth stocks and using all additional income to reinvest in a dividend growth portfolio. The future of work is no longer in a traditional cubicle or desk. The future of work is collaborative and shared work. The freelancer economy is growing at a rapid rate.

Find ways to get involved now and start earning some side hustle income to build a better financial future. When you think about your next move, ask yourself is the timing right? Develop a prudent plan to hit your goals and do what you love. Obtaining financial freedom is easy. Do what you love and love what you do. How do you find out what you ultimately want to do in life? Whatever hobbies you have in life, you can earn a living off of. For me, this is travel.

I suggest following the below steps to achieve financial freedom and ultimately live a better lifestyle:. By doing what you love, you put yourself in a position for success at day one. This success is enabled by unlocking your abilities with your passion. The money will follow. Focus on doing high-quality work that helps others. Build a source of income that enables you to unlock your true passion. What are you doing to achieve financial independence? The following is a guest post from The Financial Journeyman.

Do you earn a high salary or a high combined high household income and feel like you cannot get ahead?

Interview Questions for Choosing a Financial Planner (

When I hear about these households, one thing comes to mind. They do not know how to budget. The salary amount that a family earns is only part of the equation. Earnings are finite.

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If you spend what you earn, you will always feel poor. If you spend more than you earn, you will be poor. Like with most topics in personal finance, there is a solution. The solution is simple, but it might not be easy. It is not easy because it will require a person to make changes to how they budget and spend. When setting up a budget, there are a few general guidelines to follow as to how much you should be spending per category. That comes out to 2, per month.

This amount must cover all your housing expenses. This amount needs to cover taxes, insurance, and miscellaneous expenses. For those who rent, the same percentage applies. Rent can be almost as expensive as a mortgage in desirable neighbors. The one break that renters do get is that renters insurance is far less expensive than home owners insurance.

Housing is the largest percentage category in this template. For most people, it is normally their largest expense. To fix this, the best option is to downsize to a home that is more suited for your earnings. If you live in an urban area this percentage is for public transportation. If you own one or more cars, this amount needs to cover car payments, fuel, insurance, and repairs. That is a generous amount. Look for coupons. Eat out less. Use coupons when you do go to a restaurant. Buy your groceries at Aldi or other discount stores.

There are plenty of ways to save money in this category. Entertainment is a want and not a need. This includes TV, internet, movies, books, ball games, nights out with friends. There are many great ways to maximize your entertainment budget. Cut the cable cord and use streaming sources. Rent books from the public library. Watch the game at home instead of paying for high price tickets. Have pot-luck dinners with friends instead of going out to eat at fancy restaurants. You might think this rate is high, but this is how much you need to save if you plan on being able to have a decent quality of life in retirement and to be financially independent.

Make it count. This is to be used to cover utilities, personal expenses, phone, charity, consumer debt, vacation fund, education fund, and whatever else you need to pay for. Try to get creative and get the most for your money. Shop around for the lowest cost utilities provider as well as reducing consumption. Cut coupons and look for sales on personal items. Charity can be money, but you can also volunteer your time. Pay off consumer debt. Practice travel hacking and vacation for free. You already pay high taxes, so you might as well take advantage of the public education system.

Get creative and do more with less. By having a budget, you know how much you should be spending and saving. Without a budget, it is easy to spend more than you earn, not have adequate savings, and fall into debt. If that is your current situation, it is easy to empathize with your feelings of not being able to get ahead even though you earn an above average salary. The above template is a good place to start. Here is how to use it. Take all your spending and bills from last month.

Add them to the categories that best matches the expenses. Calculate your household net income for the month. Measure what your percentages are compared to what is recommended. Once you see where your money is being spent, it is much easier to optimize your budget. Every household has different and unique situations. It might take one year or longer to get your budget optimized to reflect the suggested percentages. When dealing in percentages, you can track progress. As you start adjusting your budget, track the improvements you are making. This is not about being perfect. It is about right sizing your life to fit your income.

Roth IRA 101

Posted in Financial Planning Permalink Comments 4. Here's a very interesting post and infographic on what people think it takes to "make it" in America. Their answers provide some interesting results. That said, if they want to, they need to get started asap at growing their careers as well as begin a side hustle.

First of all, these people are either living in high cost-of-living areas or they want HUGE houses! Maybe it's because they associate "making it" with an expensive, luxury car. Otherwise, I don't get it. A recent Freakonomics podcast listed three questions to determine financial literacy developed by an economist who teaches at George Washington University. After 5 years, how much do you think you would have in the account if you left the money to grow? Question 2: Imagine that the interest rate on your savings account was 1 percent per year and inflation was 2 percent per year.

After one year, how much would you be able to buy with the money in this account? A More than today. B Exactly the same as today. C Less than today. Question 3: Do you think the following statement is true or false: buying a single company stock usually provides a safer return than a stock mutual fund. But if you only earned 1 percent in your saving account, you basically can buy less. Answer 3: False. Because a single company is a lot riskier than a basket of stocks. Want to guess how financially literate Americans are those who got all three questions correct?

Ok, I'm not sure these questions should be the test to determine financial literacy, but supposedly they are predictive of it even when more questions are asked. So what do I know? Investopedia lists the seven most common financial mistakes as follows:. Posted in Financial Planning Permalink Comments 2. This post is written by Chelsea, an investment professional and personal finance nerd who founded the personal finance blog Mama Fish Saves. Busy has become a lifestyle. A false virtue synonymous with important and valued.

Adverse aspects of the busy mindset have been covered in the media and by productivity gurus everywhere. However, we may have overlooked a major part of our lives that faces a long-term risk from all that go-go-go: our finances. Have you ever had a major task to do and suddenly you find yourself changing that flickering light bulb in the kitchen or cleaning the tile grout in your shower? Sure, those things need to be done. But do they need to be done now? Probably not.

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Most often, our retirement. They worked with a financial advisor from their brokerage a few times a year but wanted a second opinion on fund choice and asset allocation. When she sent over their figures, I was shocked. While she was invested in all index and target date retirement funds, she and her husband were paying a weighted average of 1.

I called her immediately to tell her that we could talk about asset allocation, but she had a bigger problem. Plus, if she was willing to try a three-fund portfolio we could reduce their costs to a weighted average of 0. She told me she had to talk to her husband and she would get back to me.

Can we talk about it again in a few months?

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  7. We just do. However, if we want to reach our goals, we need to spend our energy smarter. In a world where busy is a virtue, many of us end up placing chaos on a pedestal. Instead of looking for the simple solutions, we accept the complicated ones, especially when it comes to the difficult areas of our lives. These confusing and chaotic solutions so closely match our view of the problem, they just make sense! But for many people, money and investing pop to the top of their tough questions list. A place where chaos can destroy your wealth. Investing is hard for a newbie. It is overwhelming. So when your friendly neighborhood personal finance blogger tells you the key to building wealth boils down to a few easy steps, they might as well be telling you to jump out of a plane.

    When busy is our normal, patience and consistency is hard. In our lives of busy, we forget that investing is like gardening. Find ways to improve your budget, earn more, and invest more if you want to reach your goals faster. Consistency and dedication are worth far more than busy. We say that our schedules are full and they become full. We only have so many hours in the day and those who are best at building wealth know how to spend those hours wisely. They spend hours reading to boost their knowledge instead of watching TV, developing skills to increase their earnings power, reviewing their goals, and thoughtfully considering how they want their lives to look in the future.

    Continuous learning is a key to long-term financial success. Making time for developing and learning is an investment in yourself. It will allow you to be opened up to new ideas and lessons, a way to find a career path or advancement opportunity to increase your overall satisfaction as well as your worth. There is a reason the average CEO reads nonfiction books a year! It is still something I work on every day. But to help get you started, here is what has worked for me. First, take the time to make a budgeting and investment plan. Find the time in your schedule to be thoughtful, e.

    Remember, simple is better! Then, when a news headline or neighbor with a stock idea has you wanting to throw the whole plan out the window, sleep on it. Jot the idea down and give yourself 24 hours to decide how it fits in with your plan. Have your goals changed? What could it mean for your future if you're wrong about this new path? Second, make time. We get done the things we believe we need to get done. Try to prioritize your to-do list not by how long each thing will take, but on how much its completion will impact your life.

    When I started to keep track more carefully, I found that I was terrible at predicting how long things would take. Not because they were really complicated, but because their virtue of being new to me led me to cautiously overstate them. When real priorities were at the top of the list, they just got done!

    Our friends, our sanity, and our future selves will thank us for it. Nerdwallet lists three steps to be financially healthy as follows:. Debt, retirement, and emergency funds seem to be the killers for most people. These are really, really basic. I'm surprised the percentage who meets them all isn't higher. Posted in Financial Planning Permalink Comments 5. I was pleased with these results since my state Colorado was in the top ten.

    I guess I'm getting a good bang-for-my-buck tax-wise. The following is a guest post from Jon at Money Smart Guides , a personal finance site that helps readers get out of debt and start investing for their future. I had the privilege of a view into how the wealthy manage their money when I worked for a high net worth financial planning firm. At first I felt out of place to be honest. However as I met these people and became intimate with their financial lives and their goals, I felt more at ease. They were a lot like me.

    Except they could buy almost anything they wanted on a whim. I also learned a lot. In fact, I have started to use many of the things I learned from working with them in my personal life to help me get ahead. Today I am going to share with you 10 lessons I learned. But taken together, you can go far. While the sample size of my experience was small, only wealthy people, I found this to be very true.

    When clients would come in for a quarterly meeting or just to say hello, you would never guess they were worth millions by just looking at them. One client always wore shorts, even in the middle of winter! At first, the lack of exotic cars disappointed me as a car guy. I would look out the window into the parking lot hoping to see something exciting. It is about being smart with your money. Sure when you make it, you could buy a huge house and drive brand new cars, but chances are you are going to end up broke.

    Many people might think that being a doctor means you have an easy financial life. While this is true in the long run, in the short term it is not the case. Most of the doctors we dealt with had a lot of debt. But they also had a ton saved for retirement. Since they earn a high salary, they put everything they can into retirement accounts to shield it from income taxes. This means they have a lot saved for retirement but often had nothing outside of these accounts. They tend to have education debt and huge mortgages too, which can be stressful.

    That was a quarter of my annual salary! When it comes to high paying jobs outside of the medical field, your financial life is not a breeze either. Often you are in social circles with other wealthy people which leads to expensive cars, second houses and country club memberships. They just had a membership because it was a status symbol. At the end of the day, your money decisions determine how much wealth you have. If you choose to spend all of your money, you will never get ahead financially. But if you save, regardless of your income, you can grow your wealth.

    Too many of us look only at the cost of things and not the benefit it provides. Or you might scoff at paying someone to manage your investments when you could do it yourself. For some people, doing your own taxes or managing your own investments is possible. But for others, it might not be the best idea. He had been a client for close to 20 years. To me, and probably you reading this, that sounds like a lot of money. But what he said next is why he was a client. He said it was the best money he ever spent. In those 20 years, he saw a couple of recessions, the dot com bust, the housing market collapse and a couple of wars.

    Through it all, we held his hand and kept him invested for the long term. He would have sold out of his investments a long time ago and not come back. Many times the price is only a fraction of the benefit. This applies to everything in life. Even clothing. A high quality suit that costs more money lasts much longer than a bargain suit. In the moment, that bargain suit looks like the smarter financial move, but in the long run, you save money by buying quality.

    This lesson might be the most powerful one I learned and one that is still with me today. In many of the meetings, our clients talked to us about buying things and their thought process was completely different than the thought process of most people.

    They made decisions based on the future. Those not financially well off tend to be short sighted and the wealthy look long term. In other words, those not financially well off are fixated on short term happiness. The wealthy look at the long term and see how spending and saving will affect their finances over time. The best way I can put it is this. When buying a car, the wealthy focus on the total price of the car. People who struggle with money look at just the monthly payment and end up spending a lot more overall.

    Take your time and think through things to make sure it is the best use of your money. Up until now, my lessons have shown all of the right things the wealthy do. Takeaway Lesson: Make sure you know where your money is going. If you can do this, you will make progress financially. Many of our clients started their own businesses.

    My boss often joked about how he was in the wrong profession. Others ran insurance companies. While we also had a bunch of clients that worked for someone else, the wealthiest of the group all ran their own business. When you work for yourself, you are able take part in the profits of the business in addition to your salary.

    You also build equity so that one day should you decide to sell, you can realize a nice windfall of money.

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    Takeaway Lesson: Running a business is the best way to become a millionaire. While you can save and invest your way there as well, running a business will get you there faster. We followed a passive investing approach with our clients. When you came into our office, we sat you down and got to know you personally. We wanted to know what your values and goals were so we could help you grow your wealth and do with your money what you wanted to.

    Part of this investing strategy was to keep our clients invested in the market. After the market collapsed in , we kept the majority of clients invested. We fielded a lot of phone calls from worried clients, but we held their hand and walked them through the uncertainty. And it all paid off. By , most everyone had seen their portfolio values higher than they were before the crash. Of course there were some clients we did shift to cash, but only if there was a reason and it made sense based on their investment plan. Just get your money invested.

    Be sure you have a plan and follow it for the ultimate chance of success. If you watch the news or read magazines, you see a lot of hate towards the rich. They spend a lot of their time volunteering, donate a lot of their money to causes they believe in, and are more than willing to help out others. They are not what the media portrays the rich to be at all. In fact, they are a lot like you and me.

    I remember our clients sending us Christmas cards in December along with cookies and chocolates. They would call the office to wish our employees a happy birthday. They would even send in thank you cards to thank us for walking them through some tough decisions they had to make. Takeaway Lesson: While you might get ahead in the short term by making money illegally or in a shady manner, at the end of the day, honest hard work and being a good person will get you much farther in life. As I mentioned, we invested based on a passive strategy. While most of our clients were happy with this, there were a few who wanted to gamble and pick the hot stocks like Tesla and HerbaLife.

    There was one client infamous for this. This approach was against our core value and after a couple of meetings, we came to an agreement. The goal is to create and implement investment plans designed to help investors adhere to their financial plans. FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, and the SEC provide free, online research tools where you can look up employment history, education, select customer complaints, and disciplinary history for investment adviser representatives IARs , registered agents of broker-dealers, and their firms.

    Asking each potential advisor the same set of questions can help you evaluate your options. Use the list below to get started, although you may have additional questions that are specific to your situation:. If you uncover any of the following, view it as a potential red flag and find out as much information as you can before making a decision to work with, or to pass on, a potential financial planner or advisor:.

    So, what does a financial planner do, and how can you benefit from working with one? To be effective, good financial planners know they need to gather information about their clients. After gathering your financial information, your planner should use it to prepare a plan designed to help you reach your goals. If you hire a financial planner and pay a one-time fee for services, you may not receive ongoing monitoring.

    When you work with a financial advisor, however, the advisor should monitor your wealth and plan over time and work with you as needed to make adjustments. The percentage is usually expressed as an annual figure but is calculated and paid quarterly. You could instead work with an advisor who takes a flat fee. Plan on bringing the following information to your initial meeting:. By following the tips outlined above, you can make more informed decisions about hiring an advisor to help you reach your ultimate goals.

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