Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse
Blog Post
  • I was chatting with one of our Client Service Managers, Cassie Brunelle, about how expensive it can be to have great friends in your 20’s — everyone’s either getting married or celebrating milestone birthdays, and these days that involves a lot more than just showing up to a hotel ballroom with a gift off the couple’s registry. Cassie may not be a financial coach, but she’s a great role model for ...

Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse
Blog Post
  • Many divorces start out rather amicable. When two people decide they will  “consciously uncouple,” there is often a high level of trust as they begin to unwind their lives. However, once you make this decision the process can still take a while. Depending on where you live an uncontested divorce can take from 2 days up to 18 months. In other cases, it may be to your advantage to end the year marri...

Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse
Blog Post
  • In today’s extremely litigious society, it’s not usual to hear stories of people suing other people for things like injuries, property damage, medical costs or even for libel and slander. It’s also not uncommon to hear how that process often leads to the defending party declaring bankruptcy, sometimes for a thing that they had insurance to cover, like a car accident. It wasn’t because the person d...

Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse
Blog Post
  • As an unbiased financial wellness coach, one of my personal missions is to help people realize that much of what they need to make the most of their finances is available through work by using their financial wellness benefit. Many of the employees I talk with via the Financial Helpline aren’t even aware of the full suite of benefits they have. Even if you don’t work for a company that offers our ...

Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse
Blog Post
  • Along with contemplating wills and death, putting together a set of medical directives and a living will is right up there amongst our least favorite things to do. Realistically, it is also a very important thing to do. As in do it right now, after you finish reading my blog post. You can even take care of it before you finish reading. I’ll make it easy for you. You can do it right now if you want...

Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse
Blog Post
  • Every year around tax time when I’m talking with people about filing their taxes on time, I’m reminded of an old friend of mine who, no matter what, always extended his taxes. He was always due a refund, but he just never got it together in time to file by the April deadline. It confounded me — why wouldn’t he want to get his refund ASAP? He just laughed it off and chalked it up to procrastination...

Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse
Blog Post
  • Twenty or so years ago, my employee Greg and his soon-to-be wife, Susan, opted to take a pre-marital course that would help them prepare for life as a couple. They had talked about their plan for their marriage before stepping into a counseling room, but they both knew there were aspects they hadn’t considered. Not everyone discusses this stuff first There were several other couples in that course...

Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse
Blog Post
  • Investing can seem complicated and even intimidating to a lot of people, but I’d argue that’s it’s actually the easiest part of financial planning. All you really need to do is make sure you’re reasonably diversified (there is no “perfect” here), keep your costs low, and stick to your plan through thick and thin. No hours of reading the Wall Street Journal or watching CNBC are required. Here are t...

Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse
Blog Post
  • My family and I just returned from an amazing vacation, which has me reflecting on some of the major life lessons that I have been trying to teach my children. As a financial planning professional, many of these life lessons have a financial theme, but the most impactful money lessons are really the ones that are about life – not just “getting through life” or “trying to make ends meet” though. I’...

Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse
Blog Post
  • If you have a graduating high school senior and haven’t completed the FAFSA form yet, it’s time to get moving — some aid is given out on a first-come, first-served basis, and since you can now start filing as early as October of the year prior to the school year where the aid will be used, time is of the essence. As you prepare to complete the form, it’s important to understand how different asset...

Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse
Blog Post
  • The idea of including your pet in your estate plan may sound odd or eccentric – like something a Hollywood diva would do – but it has started to become a more mainstream idea. I wrote recently about our beloved dog Nick and how we were wrestling with whether or not it was time to let him go with dignity. Sadly, the time has come where the humane thing to do is to let him go and end his suffering. ...

Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse
Blog Post
  • One of the most common things we talk to people about at Financial Finesse is deciding to take control of your spending. The most crucial step in making that happen is figuring out how to manage your cash flow. In order to take that commitment and turn it into habits that stick, you’ll need some strategies to help you along the way. Let’s look at a few ideas that can help you master your cash flow...

Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse
Blog Post
  • We’ve recently received several calls on our Financial Helpline from people who entered their Roth 401(k) contributions as Roth IRA contributions in tax software and were told that they had over-contributed. Since Roth 401(k) plans are relatively new, it’s easy to get these mixed up but the differences are important and not just when filing your taxes. What’s the same? Let’s start with the similar...

Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse
Blog Post
  • It is easy to imagine experiencing a house fire and needing homeowner’s insurance coverage. We have heard the horror stories of the consequences of not having enough life insurance. But what about insuring what’s arguably your most valuable asset: your paycheck? Disability insurance is the coverage that kicks in if you find yourself unable to work, either for a period of time or for the rest of yo...

Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse
Blog Post
  • Whether you are still trying to get your tax information organized to meet this year’s income tax filing deadline or using this time of year as a proactive start to your tax planning efforts based on the new tax law, here are a few tips to help make the most of that time. When you’re not sure about DIY software vs. using a tax pro Online tax preparation software is relatively inexpensive and fairl...

Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse
Blog Post
  • This is a common question posed to financial planners and advisers: “Should I save more for retirement or pay off debt first?” Even well-known personal finance pundits disagree on this one. Mathematically, this is a fairly simple question to answer. Behaviorally, however — actually taking action and sticking with the plan – approaching this question can be much more difficult. Let’s assume you sat...

Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse
Blog Post
  • Years ago, I had a friend who was a single, recently divorced, full-time working mother of four, with three of the kids under the age of 5. To call her life busy would be an understatement. She asked me for help organizing her finances and I agreed — I knew whatever strategy we developed had to be easy and automated. Here’s what we did: Automating the budget The first thing we worked on was her bu...

Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse
Blog Post
  • At Financial Finesse, I have had the honor of working with former NFL, NBA, and MLB players through the financial wellness benefits their leagues have established for them. As we work together, these guys have generously confided in me many things that they and their wives wish they’d known during their pro career. Most of us may never be professional athletes, but I’m pleasantly not surprised to ...

Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse
Blog Post
  • Technology has revolutionized everything from choosing a restaurant to getting directions or even a ride to that restaurant, but is it time for technology to get you to your investment destination as well? While this may sound like science fiction, the rise of “robo-advisors” over the last few years has made this into a plausible option. These online automated investment services can provide inves...

Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse
Blog Post
  • There are multiple reasons to contribute to a Roth IRA, but if you make too much money, these arguments may seem like a moot point. However, there are a few things to keep in mind before completely writing off the Roth IRA. The limit is based on MAGI, not total income One is that the income limits are based on MAGI (modified adjusted gross income). That means if you contribute enough to a pre-tax ...

Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse
Blog Post
  • One of the things that is toughest to grasp about taxes for non-tax professionals is the difference between income (a.k.a. gross income), adjusted gross income (a.k.a. AGI), modified adjusted gross income (or MAGI) and taxable income (the amount that actually determines your marginal tax rate). Gross income is actually (kind of) irrelevant We all know that our gross income is really only just a nu...

Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse
Blog Post
  • If your goal is to become a better steward of your hard-earned money, what does it take to improve your odds of succeeding once you decide to make some positive financial changes? It helps to make your goals as specific as possible. Since the acronym SMART was introduced in a Management Review article in 1981, many of us have become familiar with the notion of making our goals: Specific Measurable...

Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse
Blog Post
  • Have you ever heard a financial advisor describe the virtues of an annuity and found yourself thinking it sounds like a pretty good deal? Or maybe you are interested in an annuity because you like the idea of a guaranteed source of income when you retire? Perhaps, being the savvy investor you are, you’ve also read or heard that annuities are a rip-off and mostly benefit the agent that is selling t...

Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse
Blog Post
  • Having a baby is an exciting time! It’s also a time to make financial adjustments. As my husband and I prepare to welcome our second baby boy within the next month, we are definitely looking forward to our new life and prepared for many aspects of our life to change, some more than others. Our free time, family time, and date nights will look differently than they do now. Our financial world will ...

Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse
Blog Post
  • The prospect of buying a new home can be exciting. Once you zero in on that property and prepare to make an offer, all types of dreams begin to rush in like your new commute to work, your first time having family or friends over, grilling out, enjoying the scenery of your space. As exciting as all of this sounds, before you make your offer, you must take a moment consider the long game. You must d...

Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse
Blog Post
  • If you are looking to improve your financial wellness, it is important that you are aware of the role your financial attitudes and beliefs have in shaping your future. These beliefs help explain key differences between savers, spenders, and people who try to avoid money matters completely. They can be extremely stubborn and are difficult to change since they can become a part of our ongoing “money...

Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse
Blog Post
  • In my 11 years in the financial services industry, I have noticed an interesting phenomenon when it comes to spending plans (aka budgets – those terms will be used interchangeably in this post). Most people I coach understand the importance of tracking their spending to ensure they are spending less than they make. Despite that understanding, many people do not actually have a spending plan in pla...

Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse
Blog Post
  • It’s no doubt that there is no greater time to be a woman in the history of our civilization — I agree that there’s still a lot of work to be done, but I can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude to be alive right now as who I am today. It’s true that there continue to be barriers for women, particularly women of color, but generally speaking, we have more choices today than ever befo...

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