Financial Matters

Tips and news from the financial experts at Attentive Investment Managers.
Mar
11

Pay Yourself First

woman-saving-money

Earlier this month, we discussed dollar-cost averaging as a strategy for investing which can offer you a higher average rate of return over the long-term and a seamless means of investing each month without too much pain for your wallet. Today, we will discuss the best way that you can achieve this strategy through the concept called “Pay Yourself First”.

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Aug
27

Estate Planning

estate-planning

What happens to all of the wealth you have accumulated after you pass away? That is Estate Planning—making a plan ahead of time to decide who will benefit from all you accumulated during your life. This concept has recently been highlighted by the passing of a music icon. Ms. Aretha Franklin passed away without having a will or a trust in place, meaning her estate and its beneficiaries will be decided through the public probate process. This can be lengthy and costly to an estate.

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Dec
28

Seasonal Cleaning and the New Year

financial-goals

Everyone likes spring cleaning – dusting off the cobwebs, cleaning the windows and letting the light shine through the windows, the freshness of spring and the renewal of the spirits. I’m a bit of an odd bird, though, I like to have that feeling of renewal at the start of every season and winter is no exception. Winter offers us a unique opportunity – like the dawn of a new day – the New Year offers us a fresh start, one that can be even more impactful than dusting off cob webs or even that new gym membership. Ultimately, you are pretty stuck inside anyhow.

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Dec
04

’Tis the Season

busy-season

The period between Thanksgiving and the end-of-year holiday season would seem like a sleepy time for financial planners, but in fact it is anything but. You might be surprised at how much activity takes place on behalf of you and your investments in the final month of the year.

For instance? Even though this has been a good year in the markets, not all investments will have gained value. This is the last opportunity to harvest any losses we find in taxable accounts, by selling investments that have gone down and “booking” the loss. Then we can look for investments that have gained value, sell some of those to offset the losses, and thereby save capital gains taxes in the future. Up to $3,000 of ordinary income can be offset by investment losses as well.

This is also the time of year when mutual fund companies post, in advance, the amount of ordinary income and capital gain distributions they will make to their shareholders. Since the value of the shares drops by the amount that is distributed, this would seem like a non-event performance-wise. But in fact some mutual funds are poised to make 20% or even 30% distributions, and this cash is immediately taxable, unlike gains in the share values, which are only realized when you decide to sell. By selling funds before the distributions, and buying them back later, we can reduce your tax bill this year.

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Sep
05

Facts About Powers of Attorney

power-of-attorney

Everybody should have a power of attorney, but not everybody knows exactly what it is or why it's so important.

A power of attorney is a legal document that empowers a person you trust to handle your financial affairs if and when you become incapacitated. While you're up and around, the document just sits in a file. But if you're in an accident and suddenly can't act on your own behalf, the document allows somebody else to make decisions on your behalf—usually temporarily, until you can start handling your own affairs again. At that point, the document goes back in the file, and you're back in charge.

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Aug
16

Teach Kids About Money: Recommended Books

kids-money

Kids have a unique way of blowing any parent's budget. The endless requests of "Can I get ….?" give us a clear indication as parents that children do not understand the value of money, and teaching them important values about spending and saving can be a difficult task.

Spare your budget and your patience by teaching your children the value of money early on and help them become super saving smart adults! We recommend these books to help YOU teach your children about managing money and saving.

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Aug
07

Managing Health Care Costs in Retirement

health-care-retirement

Many people say that their #1 retirement concern is now not outliving their money but the cost of health care in retirement. There is much debate over Medicare and health care costs overall. The important idea to take from this overall concern is that financial planners can be of assistance and bridging this gap can be addressed relatively simply.

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Jul
05

Getting a Grip on Your Credit & Financial Health

checking-credit-score

Credit is an arbitrary idea that affects us all and has a huge impact on our overall financial life. According to the US Debt Clock, the average personal debt per citizen in the US is $56,322. Whether you have good credit or are struggling to take control of your credit, here are some tips to help you navigate this difficult concept.

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Jun
06

Risk Management / Long-Term Investments

risk-management

What is your Risk Tolerance? Identifying and analyzing your preferred level of potential loss is essential in Financial Planning. Once you have saved toward any given goal, the idea is to leverage it so that you can gain more. Risk Management involves the trade off – how much you are willing to risk on the downside to potential gain on the upside.

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Mar
29

Financial Planning Goals

Financial Planning Goals

Defining one's goals in the Financial Planning process is an integral part of creating a basis for analysis of current financial conditions and how they relate to future plans of action to be developed and implemented. It is critical for goals to be realistic, but more importantly specific and measurable. A Financial Planner can assist you in asking the central questions and guiding you toward how to think about and accomplish your goals. One would develop and recommend actionable steps that can allow you to both prioritize and achieve your goals. Goals can be either short-term or long-term in nature but understanding their role in the overall planning process is important so that you don't mismanage your assets along the way.

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Mar
21

Financial Planning is...

Financial Planning is...

Financial Planning is the comprehensive analysis and evaluation of an individual's current financial state and needs used in the development of a strategy to successfully meet your financial goals in the future. Professionals, like Mike, utilize their knowledge of client's future life goals, transfer plans (in life and death) and future expense needs to develop comprehensive Financial Plans.

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Apr
28

Your Financial Pyramid

Your Financial Pyramid
When you develop your Financial Pyramid there are numerous factors that you need to be mindful of. One of the most important is the concepts of managing your risk versus reward and diversification. With this in mind it is of critical importance that you start off with a good financial base which mitigates your risks. Insurance needs, including medical, home & car insurance (just to name a few) are imperative for protecting your assets from unforeseen loss. As an example of how this can affect your Financial Pyramid and your overall budget, we once had a client whom had drastically cut their annual budget expenditures. After further inspection, we discovered they had cancelled their medical insurance – thinking that they were young and healthy; they didn't need to be concerned with that "unneeded" expense. At that point, we advised them to immediately reinstate their insurance. They had saved up a large nest egg which they intended to invest in the stock mar...
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