Archives for August 2015

Technology Takes a Stand

With the increase in technology, I like to take the opportunity to highlight some apps that improve how to conduct business. The following apps can improve how you see your business.

ScanBizCards

Like many people in business, I have a tendency to collect business cards. The question is what happens to them. Most of the time they end up in a desk drawer or worse lost. This app is a way to collect business cards and always have them at your fingertips. The perfect thing about this app is it take the data off the card and puts into a digital format that I can actually use, an actual contact in my email system.

You simply open the app, and take a picture of the business card. ScanBizCards then works its magic and recognizes the text on the cars. It populates the title, company name, email address, phone number, and other information. It is very accurate, but it does allow for adjustments and the ability to reassign, edit, or delete various fields. After adding the new contact, it will then send an email to them. They will then have your information and not just another business card to add to their pile. This app is quick, easy, and cheap. They have a free version if you just want to try it, and the full version is $1.99. It also is available in both the iOS and Android formats.

Linkedin Connected

Recently Linkedin launched a new app that replaces the old Linkedin Contacts app. It is a new way to look at how you keep in contact with professional in your network. This app has a nice deign that is card-based. Each card has the picture of your contact, and details of upcoming events such as meetings, birthdays, work anniversaries, etc. It also has a button for an action such as to congratulate or connect to the contact. You can sort through the day’s events by swiping sideways or tapping on any card.

Linkedin Connected might appeal to you if you do all your networking on Linkedin. The only problem is if your contacts don’t update their Linkedin profile often, this feature might not be useful. There are some kinks to work out, but it is off to a great start. It links to the Linkedin website. The cost is free, so that is always a bonus, and it is available on both the iOS and Android systems.

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Don’t Make These Retirement Mistakes

Most of the people that retire at 65 can expect to spend about 20 years in retirement, however about one quarter of them will reach the age of 90 and about 10% will make it past age 95. Those numbers add up to a lot of time spent in retirement. If you want to live comfortably in retirement, no matter how many years you live after you punch that clock for the final time, financial experts say you should avoid these retirement blunders.

  1. 1.       Not having a plan for retirement money. It is important to plan what you will do with your retirement money. How much will be used toward paying bills and everyday expenses, etc. Experts say this is the biggest blunder that most retirees make. To avoid this create a cash flow scenario. This will show you how much money you will need for everyday living and how long it will last.
  2. 2.       Forgetting about inflation when planning. Another mistake is forgetting that the dollar today will not be the same dollar twenty years from now. Inflation can erode the money you have saved by not giving you enough purchasing power. Retiree should put this into their cash flow scenario when determining what to invest for retirement.
  3. 3.       Failing to save enough money. There really is not much more to say. You can’t compensate for what you don’t save. It is better to save more than you think you will need, then not enough.
  4. 4.       Raiding retirement accounts early. Many retirement accounts will allow you to take a loan against the account balance, but in reality, this is just taking away from what you have worked hard to save. That money needs to stay in that account to accumulate interest that compounds annually. You could be losing out on tens of thousands of dollars by pulling money from the account early.
  5. 5.       Poor investment behavior. Over the course of 30 years, the market is bound to take a down turn. It is important to pick reliable stocks and mutual funds to help grow your investments. Don’t stock jump, and remember it is all in the timing. This can also be said for the opposite. If you are too conservative in your investments, then you may not make enough money over the 30-year period.
  6. 6.       Missing out on employer’s 401(k) match. It is estimated that American workers miss out on $24 billion per year in matching funds for their 401(k)s. This money is what employers would be depositing into retirement accounts if the workers would have made their own contributions. You are missing out on free money.
  7. 7.       Letting all money be taxable. Take advantage of retirement accounts that allow your money to be tax free later in life. Roth accounts is taxable, but grows to be tax-free. Explore account opportunities that may cost you more up front, but allow you to enjoy the benefit later.
  8. 8.       Underestimating health care expenses. People don’t always plan for the “What ifs” life can throw your way. Medical care can be one of the ‘what ifs’ frequently overlooked. Review the Medicare options and make sure you have enough money to cover any gaps.
  9. 9.       Filing for Social Security too early. You can begin to withdrawal social security as 62, but if you leave it until the full retirement age of 66 you can maximize the money in your social security. The government gives retirees an extra 8% for every year they leave their benefits unclaimed, up to age 70. Married retirees can coordinate spousal benefits to maximize their social security.
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Planning for Life Events Part II

In the last part, we started a list of life events that require financial planning. Here are a few more events that will require help financially.

  1. 1.       You just got an inheritance. Unexpected money cannot only bring you a large sum, but questions on how to spend it, charitable donations, or tax payments. Getting professional help in figuring out what to do with it can be important when dealing with a large sum of money. Remember it is a large responsibility to take on any sum of money. Make sure you put it to work for you, instead of you working for it.

 

  1. 2.       And baby make three, or more. When you finally decide to start a family, you know that for the next eighteen years you have a responsibility to provide and care for that baby as it grows. You might want to think about starting a 529 account to help them pay for college, or post high school education. You will need to consider taking out insurance policies on the children and maybe start a savings account for them. There is much more to having children then picking out baby names and shopping for blue or pink. Planning for their future will help you plan for yours.

 

  1. 3.       You’re hired. Whether it is your first job, or fifth job, it is important to make adjustments each time you take on a new job. For you first job, you might want to consider paying for a onetime fee to a financial planner to help guide you during this key life transition. It may even be a good idea if you will experience a large pay raise with the new job.

 

  1. 4.       You are offered a generous severance package. Emotion can run wild when your employer offers a big severance package. It can be heart breaking to know that you put so much time into a company and they are wanting to cut ties, but at the same time, there are so many possibilities to consider. It is important to understand the complex financial issues associated with severances packages. Talking to a financial advisor before signing on the dotted line could be very beneficial. You need to understand if the package will be taxed immediately or if you will be responsible for moving the money in your retirement you’ve accumulated to another account. Understanding the fine print will make everything easier for you.

 

  1. 5.       You retire. Retirement is considered a pivotal financial moment in a person’s life. It is vital to plan for this moment. Financial planner encourage people to start planning for retirement in their 20’s and 30’ to ensure that you have enough money to make this major life transition. You spend your peak earning years saving for the last third of your life. Some people want to spend their retirement traveling; others will find themselves doing something they never planned for. Make sure you have enough money to cover what you want to do and the unpredictable life likes to throw you way. 
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Planning for Life Events Part I

Last month we talked about how people are delaying life events because they do not have the money to afford a change. This month we are listing several life events that need planning. As we age and mature we find that our priorities change, reflecting where we are and where we want to go instead of where we have been. Many life-changing events require financial planning to make the dreams a reality, and with the right guidance from a financial planner, your dreams are within your grasp.

  1. 1.       Buying a vacation home. For many people this may not even be on the radar, but think of the endless summer nights that will be spent relaxing and enjoying family and friends. Many times buying a vacation home is often wrapped up with the emotional ending of summer. With careful planning with a real estate agent and a financial planner, you can plan, allowing you to choose the perfect home to spend those fabulous days with your family and friends.

 

  1. 2.       Wedding bells are ringing, loudly. So you finally popped the question. You saved for a few months, found the perfect ring, and she said yes. Now comes the complicated part. Combining finances. Couples are take more time before they tie the knot, so combining finances can be complicated when brining in already established financials. Prenups may be a buzzkill, but they can be something that protects each person savings and prevent any misunderstandings if something should go wrong.

 

  1. 3.       You got the raise you’ve been counting on for years. Pay raises are usually small, so a big raise can be cause for celebration. This also means more responsibility financially. This is a good time to bump up the retirement savings, invest in stocks, pay off some bills, or put it away for a rainy day. Talking to a financial advisor to help you decide what to do and make a new budget.

 

  1. 4.       Congrats, you’ve graduated. Even though when you graduate college you don’t have a lot of money, but talking to a financial advisor can be helpful in guiding you in the right direction for your future. They can help you make choices in how to begin repaying your share of the $1 trillion in college debt students leave college with.

 

  1. 5.       You’ re relocating. Whether it is for a job or to be closer to family, moving can be an overwhelming experience. There are different tax rates, cost of living can vary greatly, moving expenses, finding a place to live, timing, etc. Talking to a financial advisor that has offices in your old and new place can be beneficial when helping you make the changes.
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