Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse
Blog Post
  • You’ve probably heard by now that Congress recently enacted a significant tax cut for most of the population. Beyond adjusting for lower withholding rates is there anything else you could consider? What about whether you should be saving into a pre-tax/traditional retirement account or a Roth/after-tax? Get out your crystal ball Making this decision is a bit of a prognostication game. If you make ...

Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse
Blog Post
  • Have you noticed a little boost in your paycheck recently? That’s probably because employers have just started updating their employees’ withholding based on the new tax law, which reduced tax brackets across the board. So what should you do with the extra money? Should you contribute more? It may seem like the responsible thing would be to contribute it to your 401(k). After all, if you’re like t...

Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse
Blog Post
  • In case you missed it, the IRS gave retirement savers a little boost this year by increasing the limit you can contribute to a 401(k) or 403(b) to $18,500 (the catch-up contribution stays the same, so 50+ can now save a total of $24,500). However, there are a few common misconceptions about this limit I’d like to clear up: If your job’s retirement plan allows you to pick between pre-tax/traditiona...

Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse
Blog Post
  • One way to make sure you don’t spend more than you make is by sticking to cash only by using our good old debit card. That helps you make sure that you’re only spending what’s available in your checking account and can be an easy way to budget, as long as you’re setting money aside outside of your checking account for emergencies and other goals. However, there are some instances where you may not...

Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse
Blog Post
  • Ah yes, the annual tradition of gathering receipts and channeling our inner accountant! Tax Season is upon us. For millions of Americans, it also a time of great anticipation as we await the annual windfall that is our tax refund. Considering that in 2016, the average tax refund was a little over $3,000, it is easy to let our minds go to all the fun we can have with our tax refunds. But before spe...

Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse
Blog Post
  • Long term care (LTC) insurance can be an important part of retirement planning and one that many of us postpone doing anything about because, well, it is depressing to think about. It is also a complicated insurance product. And there is the added expense, of course. Thinking about it might make you feel a little bit like Goldilocks: Too much or too little? Too early or too late? Too expensive or ...

Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse
Blog Post
  • Having total control over cash flow is a critical step toward optimal financial wellness, yet it proves to be more elusive than we’d like. Why is it that cash management seems to be so easy for some people, and yet so hard for others? Is it simply a matter of income—the more I have the less difficult it is to manage—or is it something more than that? According to our research, 73% of employees say...

Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse
Blog Post
  • Many years ago while attending a wedding, I overheard the couple’s accountant (it was a HUGE wedding where literally everyone the couple knew was invited) tell them that the best way for them to manage their money was to just, “go all in, combine it from day 1.” The couple looked skeptical, and for good reason — what works for one couple when it comes to money very rarely works for the next. The t...

Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse
Blog Post
  • Are you getting close to retirement but feel like you’re behind on your retirement savings? Have you considered investing more aggressively to catch up? This is a question I’ve gotten a few times on our Financial Helpline (and is probably a sign that the market is getting closer to a peak). Let’s take a look at the pros and cons The main advantage is that a more aggressive portfolio is likely to p...

Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse
Blog Post
  • It might sound like a great deal to get your hands on your refund money today versus waiting until you’ve not only filed your taxes, but the IRS has issued the check, but it’s a bad deal all around. The storefront tax preparation companies that offer these deals are no longer allowed to charge the outrageous interest rates of prior years, but they still make a great deal of money off of these by c...

Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse
Blog Post
  • I was hanging out with a friend last week when I noticed that she had an unusual amount of magazines and sales ads around her. Knowing that she is one receipt away from being a shopaholic, I asked her what was going on. She told me that in anticipation of her the tax refund she thought she was going to get, she had started creating a list of the things she was going to buy. I mentioned her New Yea...

Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse
Blog Post
  • If you’re reading this, chances are you are you can relate to the way I spend many of my weekends: bundled up, bad cup of coffee in hand, watching your child skate at a ridiculously early hour of the morning. You’ve just paid a coach $80 for a private lesson and the rink more for the ice time. The team fees, tournament fees, lessons, extra ice time, skates, travel costs, equipment and apparel for ...

Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse
Blog Post
  • The new year is a perfect time to take a look back at the progress you made in your financial life last year and kick it up a notch for this year. So many New Year’s resolutions fall by the wayside by St. Patrick’s Day (eating less ice cream and calling old friends always makes my list – and by April there’s ice cream in the freezer & old buddies still get the occasional “like” on Facebook but not...

Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse
Blog Post
  • There are three kinds of questions when it comes to personal finance. The first are those with objective answers like what tax bracket you’re in or whether you would be subject to a penalty for withdrawing from your retirement account. The second are those with a pretty strong consensus among financial planners. For example, most would say that you should generally build up an emergency fund, cont...

Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse
Blog Post
  • The short answer is, yes, as long as your child has earned income, you can open a Roth IRA in their name and contribute up to the lower of either their total earned income or the annual limit ($5,500 for 2018). But there are some watch-outs to be aware of first. Defining earned income The key here is that the money you’re depositing into the Roth IRA is earned. That includes doing things like mowi...

Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse
Blog Post
  • As we embark on a new year, one of the top goals I am hearing about is improving one’s credit. If this is one of your goals, just remember that as you look for help with this goal, that all that glitters is not gold. One of my cousins came to see me excited over a meeting she recently had. She was excited because she had just met with a credit repair company that promised that they could get all o...

Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse
Blog Post
  • Tax laws have just changed, and that is likely to affect you. Whether your see a net benefit in your paycheck (which I hope you do) or end up paying more is a function of personal factors like your mix of income sources, your overall income, what you currently deduct, how many children you have and where you live. Here are some steps you can take now to adapt to the new law: Step One: Run a tax pr...

Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse
Blog Post
  • Just like the seasons change (and pretty much everyone on the East coast is being reminded exactly how bad winter can be right now),we all know that we go through different seasons of life. You wouldn’t wear shorts in January – at least not in the Midwest – nor would you enjoy the fall colors in spring time. To enjoy the season you have to adapt your activities (and your wardrobe). The same is tru...

Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse
Blog Post
  • Last week, I wrote about setting goals. Let’s face it. That’s the easy part. What about actually achieving them? Losing 30 pounds last year Two of the most common topics for New Year’s resolutions are weight loss and finances. At the beginning of last year, I set a goal to go from 222 pounds to 185 pounds and 8-10% body fat. I knew this would be a stretch goal but also doable because that’s what I...

Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse
Blog Post
  • After the gluttony of the holidays, it’s no surprise that the word “cleanse” is floating around my world. While my waistline wouldn’t mind a little food cleanse, I’m more apt to try a spending cleanse after the spend-y days of December. You don’t have to go cold turkey Going on a spending cleanse doesn’t mean you don’t get to buy anything, it just means you’re limiting financial outlays to the bar...

Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse
Blog Post
  • Last year Business Insider reported that 80% of News Years resolutions fail by February. If you are a gym rat like me, you see it all the time: in December you have your pick of gym equipment. Then by the second week of January, the gyms are so packed that you are lucky to get one 3-lb. dumbbell. Fast forward to February and you once again, have your pick of gym equipment. I don’t know about you, ...

Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse
Blog Post
  • Happy New Year! As we launch into 2018 here at Financial Finesse, we are reflecting on a successful 2017 — a year of tremendous growth in our business as well as in the number of lives we’ve had the privilege and honor to change for the better. We hope that this blog, written by our own financial planner team, has helped you to have a more prosperous year. Here’s a breakdown of what our readers lo...

Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse
Blog Post
  • Note from the editor: As we round out 2017, many people will be setting goals and intentions for the year ahead. To help with that, our blog team will be sharing their take on goals throughout the week — we all have a different opinion! We hope you enjoy hearing how each of us approaches the idea of goal-setting and New Year’s resolutions. From Michael: You’ve probably heard the old expression abo...

Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse
Blog Post
  • Note from the editor: As we round out 2017, many people will be setting goals and intentions for the year ahead. To help with that, our blog team will be sharing their take on goals throughout the week — we all have a different opinion! We hope you enjoy hearing how each of us approaches the idea of goal-setting and New Year’s resolutions. From Erik: It’s that time of year again when many people m...

Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse
Blog Post
  • Note from the editor: As we round out 2017, many people will be setting goals and intentions for the year ahead. To help with that, our blog team will be sharing their take on goals throughout the week — we all have a different opinion! We hope you enjoy hearing how each of us approaches the idea of goal-setting and New Year’s resolutions. From Kelley: I’ll admit that I’m the Queen of failed resol...

Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse
Blog Post
  • Note from the editor: As we round out 2017, many people will be setting goals and intentions for the year ahead. To help with that, our blog team will be sharing their take on goals throughout the week — we all have a different opinion! We hope you enjoy hearing how each of us approaches the idea of goal-setting and New Year’s resolutions. From Tania: It’s confession time. I started off the year a...

Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse
Blog Post
  • Note from the editor: As we round out 2017, many people will be setting goals and intentions for the year ahead. To help with that, our blog team will be sharing their take on goals throughout the week — we all have a different opinion! We hope you enjoy hearing how each of us approaches the idea of goal-setting and New Year’s resolutions. From Cynthia: Every New Year, I set intentions for the com...

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