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

How a Journal Gave Me a New Perspective on Money

A few months ago, I started to keep a journal so that I could capture my thoughts about life and record them for the benefit of my children. I figure I work all day long and don’t really have much time to teach them some of the important lessons that I’ve learned along the way. My hope is that one day they will pick up my journal and hear my voice as I speak to them about what is really important. In the same way, there are some things that are just more important than others when it comes to our finances. Here’s how journaling has helped me deal with this concern: Read more

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We’re Not Talking About What’s Right. We’re Talking About The Law

One of my favorite TV shows of the 80’s was “WKRP in Cincinnati.” If you’re my age, you probably remember Johnny Fever, Venus Flytrap and of course Jennifer and the infamous Turkey Drop: http://youtu.be/lf3mgmEdfwg. As much as I loved that episode, my favorite quote came from another episode where Mr. Carlson is talking to the station’s attorney about a legal issue. When Mr. Carlson is talking about a situation that is morally wrong, he says, “That’s not right,” and the attorney responds, “Arthur, we’re not talking about what’s right. We’re talking about the law.” Read more

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How Costco Is Like An R-rated Movie

My colleague, Doug Spencer, and I have a lot in common. We’re married, we both have wonderful children, and we both love being reminded just how much our kids are like us or in some cases, how much we are like our kids. Take for instance this recent conversation Doug had with his family, written from Doug’s perspective: Read more

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J. Money Socked Away $400,000 in 7 Years – Who Cares?

A friend of mine recently sent me a Forbes article with the following headline: “How Blogger J. Money Socked Away $400,000 In 7 Years.” My original reaction? WHO CARES? Read more

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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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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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