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

What A Lost Cell Phone Can Teach Us About Investing

Earlier this year, my boss shared with us her story of how she dropped her phone behind her bed. Her first thought since the bed was basically against the wall was to move the bed…in her words “bad idea.” After some time (and a little pain medicine), she took a second approach: use a hanger from the side to pull it out….again, “No dice.” (She thinks she actually made it worse by pushing it further out of reach.) Read more

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Garbage In, Garbage Out: The Problem With Tax Preparation Software

A couple of weeks ago, I received a desperate email from Alex who was using tax preparation software to help him prepare his tax return. It seems he thought he could avoid taxation on his 401(k) from his prior employer by rolling it directly into a Roth IRA.  While it’s true he could directly roll funds from his 401(k) to a Roth IRA, it is NOT true that this will avoid taxation. Only after-tax money may be deposited into a Roth IRA, therefore the amount rolled over—a sum of nearly $20,000—would be treated as taxable income for the year. Read more

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When To Hire a Tax Preparer

It’s February, and that usually means that you are ready for winter to be over, you are thinking about what to get that special someone for Valentine’s Day, and you can’t decide whether to do your own taxes or to let someone do your taxes for you. For years, taxpayers have been baffled by the federal income tax system and for good reason. The number of pages in the Wolters Kluher CCH Standard Tax Reporter reached 73,954 in 2013!  However, there’s probably only a handful of those pages that actually apply to the average taxpayer, while the rest of those pages are technical jargon, legalese, and other stuff that’s most irrelevant to you and me.   Read more

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Do You Need Life Insurance After You Retire?

As part of the financial education we provide on retirement decisions, we suggest a review of your insurance policies as a means of protecting your accumulated wealth.  This includes a review of your homeowners coverage, medical benefits, and long-term care insurance, but we also suggest a review of your need for life insurance. I’ve always taken the stance that life insurance protects against at least three types of risk: loss of income, insufficient liquidity, and high income taxes.  Let’s examine all three to see whether or not you need life insurance after retirement. Read more

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Be Careful Before You Use Groupon

My boss is a big fan of Groupon.For those of you not familiar with Groupon, it falls into a category of online commerce sometimes called “deal-of-the-day” websites. There are several of these out there, including LivingSocial and Woot, and they all pretty much offer deep discounts on a variety of goods and services.  My brother was the first person I actually knew who used Groupon to buy $25 worth of food at a local restaurant for $15.  Knowing how careful my brother is before he tries things, if he’s used it and it worked, then it must be legitimate. Read more

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College is NOT a Right

Today I met a man who is taking a rather practical approach to teaching his kids about college planning. This gentleman has three kids, the oldest of which will be going to college in a few years. He said something rather profound that made me reconsider how I’ve been talking to my own kids about college. He said, “College is not a right.” Read more

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Lessons From a Five-Hour Flight

On a recent flight from Charlotte to Los Angeles, I sat next to a gentleman who has had quite a rough year.  Without going into a lot of detail, he spoke with me about the recent passing of his father.  For many, the thought of losing a parent would be rather hard, but for my traveling companion, he spoke of his father’s passing as somewhat of a relief.  You see, his father began to suffer from cognitive impairment earlier in the year so much that he was eventually confined to a nursing home. His health deteriorated quite rapidly, and he was only in the nursing home for about three months when he passed. Read more

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All I Wanted For Christmas Was… a Flu Shot?

For years my friends and colleagues have been telling me to get a flu shot at the onset of flu season and for years I’ve been ignoring them, reluctant to do so for fear of somehow reducing my immunity to the virus or worse yet contracting the flu from the shot itself.  Now before you start sending me nasty emails telling me I’m wrong, let me just say that the Center for Disease Control has beat you to it. The truth is our family has been relatively healthy throughout the years, and my wife and I figured that all the hubbub over the flu shot was to create demand for something I really didn’t think most people needed.  In fact, the only reason I received my first flu shot last year was to appease my loving neighbor who insisted I get one prior to flying out for business. Read more

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My “NO” Year’s Resolutions!

This New Year’s Eve, millions of people across the country will make New Year’s resolutions about things they’d like to do in 2015.  I’m all in favor of this annual tradition but to mix things up a bit, I’m going to suggest a few things that you DON’T want to do in 2015—something I’m calling “No” Year’s resolutions: Read more

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An Unusual Place to Shop This Time of Year

Merry Christmas Eve everyone!  Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring…except my wife who found herself making an unexpected, last-minute shopping trip because someone forgot to tell her that they needed formal wear for a Christmas concert the next day. While this may cause the average person to recoil in frustration, read on to see how my wife responded under these less-than-ideal circumstances. What she has to say may just be the little Christmas miracle you’ve been looking for this year. Read more

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Financial Finesse’s unbiased financial planning blog wins Gold for "Blog of the Year" in the 2014 Best in Biz Awards!

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