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

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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Would You Rent a Stranger’s Bedroom on Vacation?

Have any remaining travel plans before the end of the summer? You may have noticed that with gas prices and airfare on the rise, travel can be quite expensive. I’ve written previously about using ride sharing services like Uber or Lyft to save on short distance trips but the same sharing concept can be applied to longer, overnight trips with services like AirbnbRead more

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Simple Ways to Save Money and Lose Weight at the Same Time

We’re a little past halfway through the year so now’s as good a time as any to check in on how those New Year’s Resolutions are going. If you’re like most people, there’s a good chance your resolutions involved losing weight, saving money, or both. Well, here are some simple ways to do both at the same time. Read more

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What to Do When Your Pension is Terminated

As traditional pension funds continue to go the way of the typewriter all across America, you may find yourself in the position of having to decide what to do with a pension plan that’s being terminated by your employer. Fortunately, that doesn’t mean the money disappears. It just won’t be added to anymore and you have to choose what to do with the money. While this may sound like the kind of thing you’d rather not deal with, these come with an expiration date and a default option that may not be your best choice. So let’s look at the pros and cons of some common options.  Read more

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8 Steps to Improve Your Credit Score

Have you had a rough patch in your financial life? Or maybe you’re trying to position yourself to get the lowest possible rate on a mortgage or even a new job. For whatever reason, you may be like one of the many people I speak to on our Financial Helpline and Ask a Planner sessions who are trying to improve their credit. If so, here are some steps you can take: Read more

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3 Alternatives to Borrowing From Your 401(k)

Last week, I wrote about some reasons it might actually make sense to borrow from your 401(k). After all, there’s no credit check and the interest goes back into your own account.  But even in those situations, there may be better options. After all, borrowing from your 401(k) means your money isn’t growing for retirement, the money generally has to be paid back over a relatively short 5 year period, and the outstanding balance could be subject to taxes and penalties if you leave your job. Here are three alternatives along with their pros and cons relative to a 401(k) loan and a couple of sites you can use to find them: Read more

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Should You Borrow From Your 401(K)?

Have you ever borrowed or thought about borrowing from your 401(k)? According to this recent study, almost half of those who took out a loan from their retirement plan later said they regretted the decision. So when does it make sense? Here are 3 situations:  Read more

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Be an Owner Rather Than a Loaner in Retirement

One of the most common pieces of investment wisdom is that you should invest more in conservative “loan” investments like cash and bonds and less in more aggressive “own” investments like stocks and real estate as you get closer to retirement. This may have made sense when bonds were paying 6% or more but with long term bonds rates now closer to 3%, this could actually make it harder to retire comfortably or more likely you could run out of money in retirement. Cash is paying less than inflation. Rather than to low-interest bonds and cash, why not shift towards high-yielding dividend stocks and real estate? Here are some advantages of this approach: Read more

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