Financial Twinkies

As a dad, one of my jobs is to make sure that my kids learn some foundational nutrition guidelines. So any time I see a story like this, that talks about how many of the popular cereals (some of which I really like…) have more sugar in them than a Twinkie, it catches my eye. Some of the cereals on the list (Honey Smacks, for instance, just sounds sweet and sugary, so that’s not a real shocker!) wouldn’t immediately conjure up thoughts of “I should worry about the amount of sugar in this.” The article goes on to say that, like we do in my family, especially since my middle child has Type 1 Diabetes, reading labels is important and it gives some tips on what to look for, as well as some alternatives to cereal that are fast and easy. I know I’m always looking for quick breakfast ideas before school for the kids, and work for me. Thinking about how reading the labels on food is important made me think about “reading the label” with some financial products, as well. Read more

What Fantasy Football Can Teach Us About Investing

I fielded my first fantasy football team back in the late 90’s, and what I enjoyed most about it was that it gave me an excuse to watch games I would otherwise care less about.  (I mean after all, unless you live in St. Louis or Cleveland, why would anyone have a reason to watch a Rams versus Browns football game?)  This year I decided to introduce fantasy football to the staff at Financial Finesse.  Those of us that had played before had to convince some of the “rookies” that experience wasn’t necessary (hey, every league needs a patsy) and that they would have fun regardless of the outcome.  The truth is, it has been fun, but more important than the bragging rights are the lessons it can teach us about investing. Read more

FSA: Use It, Don’t Lose It – 5 Ways to Use Your FSA by Year End

As the year comes to a close, many people are decorating their homes for the holidays and stocking up their pantries for company.  Others who have Flexible Spending Accounts are scheduling colonoscopies instead!  What gives?  Since the FSA has a “use it or lose it” clause, the funds must be used for health purposes by the end of the year (however most plans give an extension for  6 – 8 weeks into next year).  So to take the full benefit of the funds set aside in the FSA, the funds must be spent soon. Read more

The Day After Black Friday

What is the day after Black Friday called? I have no idea if it actually has a name, but after reading news stories and seeing things all over the internet and on Twitter, I have a few suggestions. “Retail hangover Saturday?” “How much did I spend yesterday” day? “Look at all my new store credit cards” day? I saw a lot of stories, blogs and tweets about people spending money and opening up new credit cards in order to get an extra 10% or 20% off of their purchases. Many of them plan to close the cards immediately upon getting their first bill. But is that a wise move? It might be, but let’s look at the options you have for recently opened credit cards, and how your credit score might be impacted. Read more

7 Gifts That Can Keep on Giving

Rather than give away more fish this holiday season, why not teach them how to fish with a gift of financial education? After all, New Year’s is coming up and better money management is one of the most common resolutions. (A gift about losing weight may not go over so well.) While unfortunately you can’t exactly buy our services as a gift for someone, here are 7 personal finance books that I’ve found to be particularly insightful: Read more

The Dollars and Sense of Holiday Gift Giving

The holidays are upon us, and it is often said of gifts that it’s the thought that counts, but have you ever received a gift and said to yourself, “What were they thinking?!?”  If you’re like me, you’ve spent a fair amount of money on gifts that didn’t quite hit the mark, so allow me to share with you some of my personal worst gift ideas so that you don’t end up spending money on something that really isn’t worth the hard earned money you paid for it: Read more

The Impact of Financial Stress on Job Productivity

Stress is a part of life and isn’t necessarily a good or bad thing.  Personally, I prefer less stress.  But, in small doses stress can help us perform better under pressure and provide the necessary motivation to perform important tasks at home and at work.  As a busy financial planner with countless deadlines, assignments, travel requirements, and client service related demands, my work-life balance is always a challenge.  Thankfully, I thoroughly enjoy the opportunity to help others improve their relationship with money and admit that I do indeed enjoy the sometimes chaotic life of multitasking.  Read more

Who Pays When Your Tree Falls on Your Neighbor’s House?

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it still make a sound?  That interesting  question is a philosophical thought experiment.  A question that is more relevant to everyday life is, “If my tree falls on my neighbor’s house, who pays for the damage?”  That particular question is very relevant to the citizens of Davis County, Utah, just a few miles north of Salt Lake City.  The whole town was without power last week after being hit by a freak 100 mph wind storm. Read more

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