Financial Wellness @ Work

Author Archives: Greg Ward

About Greg Ward

CFP®, AFC®

Greg Ward is a Senior Resident Financial Planner at Financial Finesse and is our chief financial research analyst. Greg is responsible for all of the data, statistics, and fact checking at Financial Finesse as well as providing service delivery of the company's Financial Helpline, Workshops and Webcasts.

Greg contributes weekly with tips on personal finance and best practices for taking control of your money.

His background includes over 19 years in the financial services industry with positions ranging from Pension Service Representative to Investment Specialist to Financial Advisor. He achieved the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designation in 2004. Greg holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Statistics from The University of California, Davis.

Favorite Financial Guru: Dave Ramsey

Fun Fact: "I have jumped out of a perfectly good airplane – twice. Otherwise, I’m a pretty boring guy"

Favorite Quote: "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." – Jim Elliot

Social Security Myth #4: Collecting a Spousal Benefit Reduces the Amount Your Spouse Will Receive

One of the most valuable aspects of the Social Security formula is the accrual of spousal benefits for couples that have been married for at least one year at the time they file for benefits. However, some think of these benefits as a pool of money that somehow is split between the two of them. For this reason, they sometimes fall under the misconception that if one of them starts to collect a spousal benefit, the other’s benefit will be reduced. Read more

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Social Security Myth #3: You Will Lose Benefits If You Collect While You Are Working

In my previous two blog posts, I’ve addressed the myths of Social Security insolvency and calculating Social Security using final average earnings. Next up is a myth concerning the receipt of benefits while employed. Most of us know that the earliest we can collect a Social Security retirement benefit is age 62, but that doesn’t mean most of us plan to stop working by then. For this reason, I am often asked about the implications of collecting a Social Security benefit while working. Read more

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Five Myths About Social Security: Myth #2 – Social Security Is Based on Your Last Five Years of Earnings

Last week, I addressed the first myth about Social Security benefits, namely that they won’t be there by the time you’re eligible to receive them. For this week’s post, I’d like to address another common myth related to how benefits are calculated: Benefits are based on your last five years of earnings. Read more

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Things You Need to Know About Social Security: Will It Be There?

When I facilitate a workshop or webcast on retirement planning, I like to poll my audience to see which areas of retirement planning they would prefer to spend more time talking about. The audience generally ranks saving and investing for retirement as their top two choices but depending on who is in the audience, Social Security may rank as third. Even when it doesn’t, I find it amusing that a government benefit that some are skeptical will even be there by the time they retire ends up being the topic that generates the most questions. I guess it’s because it’s a source of retirement income that many are familiar with yet so few truly understand. Read more

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Cyber-Thieves Strike Again: What To Do If You Are a Victim

Well, it’s happened again. Another national retailer has had its payment systems hacked. This and similar cyber attacks against corporations appear to be on the rise so as a consumer you will want to be especially diligent in watching your accounts for unauthorized use. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) offers four steps you should take when you suspect that your debit or credit card information has been compromised: Read more

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Three Ways to Skin the Asset Allocation Cat

Over the past several weeks, you’ve heard me talk a lot about investing and for good reason. Investing is one of the most important parts of any financial goal or wealth accumulation strategy. The problem, like with most things, is that there is no one perfect way to do it. You probably know the basics—diversify, re-balance, dollar-cost average—but did you realize that there are at least three forms of asset allocation? Knowing what they are, how they are different, and which one may be right for you could make you a better investor over time. Read more

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Four Steps to Car Buying

This year my daughter is turning 16,and you know what that means. Buying and selling a vehicle can be one of the most intimidating financial transactions you will ever experience, but there is a plethora of information and advice out there to help even the most nervous consumer get through the process. Here are some simple steps you can take to acquire the car of your dreams: Read more

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We’re Not Gonna Take It Anymore! (Part 3)

Several weeks ago, I introduced the idea of challenging corporate financial policies that put the company ahead of the customer. I talked about how cancellation policies are not set in stone and how consumers have nothing to lose by requesting a refund of unused services despite what the cancellation policy says. Last week, I continued the discussion by challenging the notion that new-customer deals should only be available to new customers while existing customers should be satisfied with the status quo. For this week’s blog post, I’m taking on the notion that some deals are only good “for a limited time.” Read more

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We’re Not Gonna Take It Anymore! (Part 2)

Last week, I shared with you how cancellation policies can intimidate you into not asking for a refund when you do not intend on using a prepaid service. Another policy that drives me nuts and may be intimidating consumers into settling for less is the policy that it’s okay to offer better options to new customers only. Since when is it okay to treat new friends better than old onesRead more

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We’re Not Gonna Take It Anymore! (Part 1)

One thing my daughter and I share in common is our affinity for 80’s rock music. From Def Leppard to Duran Duran, she loves the classics and one of her all-time favorite 80’s songs is Twisted Sister’s We’re Not Gonna Take It.  This song—an anthem for my generation—has inspired my attitude about many things, including money. In our current culture, we are conditioned to accept the financial policies of businesses without question but since when were we here to serve businesses instead of businesses serving us?  There’s a lot of competition out there for our money so when it comes to silly financial policies, maybe it’s time we STOP taking it! Read more

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