Financial Wellness @ Work

Author Archives: Erik Carter

About Erik Carter

JD, CFP®

Erik Carter is a Senior Resident Financial Planner at Financial Finesse and leads our social media team. He also contributes to our curriculum and is a member of our Think Tank, specializing in research and content regarding generational issues.

Erik’s experience in financial planning and wealth management ranges from running a branch office for one of the largest brokerage firms in the country, to advising members of Congress as a financial adviser on Capitol Hill, to serving as a vice president in the private client division of a major brokerage firm in Manhattan. He earned a B.A. in Economics with honors from NYU and a law degree on a full academic scholarship from the University of San Diego, where he focused on tax and estate planning.

Favorite financial blog: EarlyRetirementExtreme.com

Fun fact: He hasn’t owned a tv for the past several years (and never missed it).

Favorite Quote: "I will tell you how to become rich. Close the doors. Be fearful when others are greedy. Be greedy when others are fearful." – Warren Buffett

Should You Have an Anti-Budget?

A friend of mine recently sent me this blog post called “How the Anti-Budget Can Save Your Wallet.” The basic premise is that a traditional budget isn’t realistic for most people because they just don’t stick to it and it isn’t even necessary to have one. Instead, it suggests simply setting aside your savings first (at least 20% of your income) and just spending the rest without having to categorize each of your expenses. Read more

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How to Minimize Your Investment Costs

In my last 2 blog posts, I discussed the various ways financial advisors can be paid and how they can present conflicts of interest to an advisor. But how would your actual investment returns be affected? Let’s take a look at some scenarios: Read more

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Should You Use a Fee-Only Advisor?

Last week, we discussed the dangers of using  a commissioned-based financial advisor. One way to avoid those conflicts of interest is to work with a fee-only (not fee-based, which is fees PLUS commissions) advisor. Instead of selling investments for a commission, they typically charge a fee that’s a percentage of the assets they manage for you. You can search for a fee-only advisor through NAPFA, the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors. Read more

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Should You Use a Commission Based Advisor?

When it comes to getting advice with your money, are you suspicious of financial advisors? How can you find one that you trust? We received another question from our Ask a Planner campaign on Facebook last week asking “Is Edward Jones looking out for the best interest of clients? Is it best to rather use a fee based CFP®?”    Read more

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When Should You Sell Your Mutual Fund?

As the stock market reaches new highs, have you been wondering if you should sell and take profits before the next eventual dip? If the stock market does take a dip, should you sell and cut your losses? With the launch of our “Ask a Planner Week” on Monday, here was the first question we received: “I have absolute percentage rules for taking profits and losses on individual stocks. When should one consider taking profits or losses on index funds?” Read more

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The Three Most Useless Things a Financial Columnist Tells You

I often like to question much of the conventional wisdom of the financial services industry so I was intrigued when I saw this article titled “The four most useless things financial advisors tell you” by Howard Gold. Instead, I found myself questioning most of the conclusions in the article itself as pretty useless (with one exception). Let’s take a look at each of these “four most useless things:” Read more

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The New Cell Phone Plan That’s Allset to Save You Money

A couple of years ago, I wrote about prepaid cell phone plans and how they can save you money. I ended up switching from the LG Optimus V on Virgin Mobile to the Samsung Galaxy Nexus on Ting. However, I’ve recently had some problems with my phone losing data connection and battery power so I decided to upgrade again. That’s when I discovered Verizon’s new “Allset” prepaid plan. Here’s why I think it offers the best deal in cell phone plans right now: Read more

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Lessons From a Tragedy

If you’re like me, you were shocked and horrified when you found out about Robin Williams’ death. I can’t tell you how many interviews I listened to and movie clips I watched of him in the days after the horrible news. Buried in all that media coverage, I also saw this article pointing out that unlike so many other celebrities with untimely ends, at least Williams spared his family additional stress and grief by taking care of his estate planning with a revocable trust.  Read more

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Should You Buy Life Insurance as an Investment?

In response to this article we published on Forbes, we received this question on our Facebook page:

I recently read your article “Should You Use Life Insurance as an Investment?” on Forbes. I wanted to know how this article would apply to me. I just graduated and started my first job that pays pretty well. I don’t have any dependents so I didn’t think about life insurance until I meet with a financial advisor. He said starting insurance young is a better investment where I could keep safe dollars and be more risky in other parts. Would I be better off buying insurance now and benefiting from compound interest or use that money in other investments? Thanks! Read more

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In Defense of the Traditional 401(k)

Should you make pre-tax or Roth 401(k) contributions? I recently read this article by Penelope Wang called “The Great Retirement Account You’re Not Using” that argues for Roth contributions. However,  I still think pre-tax contributions make more sense for most people. Here is my response to each of her main arguments:  Read more

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