Financial Wellness @ Work

Author Archives: Michael Smith

About Michael Smith

MBA, CFP®

Michael Smith is a Resident Financial Planner at Financial Finesse with over 15 years experience in financial planning and service. His primary role is in service delivery of Ask-a-Planner Days, and the Financial Helpline.

He writes weekly on the ins and outs of daily life as a financial educator.

He has an extensive background in the full service financial services, banking, accounting, and financial planning industries. He achieved the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designation in 1999 and joined Financial Finesse in April 2010.

Favorite Blogs: Darwin's Finance, Zero Hedge.

Fun Fact: Played rugby for a long time & still has all his original teeth, but has had four knee reconstructions.

Favorite Quote: "Never drink a beer you can see through." -Self

Do You LUV Your Brand?

As someone who travels a lot for work, news from airlines always gets my attention.  Southwest Airlines is doing an overhaul of their logo, their paint jobs on planes, their snack bags…virtually everything associated with their brand.  We see the same images and messages all the time and after a while we stop noticing. I always think of Charlie Brown’s teacher when I hear a friend of mine threaten her kids with some form of punishment (which never happens, they still get ice cream after failing to listen to anything she says).  The same “you’re going to bed early” or “no technology if you don’t do X” or some similar thing is held out as a consequence, yet there are never consequences. In order for her kids to take her seriously or for companies to get us to pay attention again, sometimes a change is required.  Southwest is doing exactly that with their makeover of their logo and branding efforts. Read more

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Fooling Ourselves

I was scrolling through the SiriusXM radio dial while driving recently and found a song I hadn’t heard in at least 20 years.   Styx – Fooling Yourself  was playing as I was weaving in and out of traffic, trying to get home in time to meet my girlfriend at a reasonable time for sushi.  It seemed like the more I changed lanes and zoomed past a line of cars, I’d get behind a super slow car and the line of cars passed me by.   Read more

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Estate Planning After Your Will is Drafted

I talk with a lot of people who have absolutely nothing done in their estate planning efforts.No will, no medical directives, nothing. So, I spend a lot of time talking about what would make up the standard “Estate Planning 101” package that they could have an attorney draft.  The basic documents that nearly everyone should have in place are a will, powers of attorney for financial and medical decisions, and advance medical directives.  With these basic documents in place, most people could check “estate planning” off of their to do list.  But, to dig a layer deeper, what are some things that you can do after you’ve signed your basic documents, never to look at them again? Read more

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Worst Thing Ever

Occasionally, I’ll be in a conversation with a group of people and will throw out a random phrase and everyone has to give a quick response to it.  Recently, the phrase I threw out to the group at happy hour was “Worst Thing Ever.” One of my friends, without hesitation, blurted out “New York Yankees fans!” As the group was made up of lifelong Baltimore Orioles fans, we all agreed that Yankees fans can be obnoxious but they aren’t the worst thing ever…close, but not quite.  Read more

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Student Loan Debt a Major Threat

I read this article about student loan debt resulting in a portion of a man’s Social Security income being garnished. In the article, not only is the garnishment discussed but also discussed is the growing trend of older Americans still having outstanding student loan debt. If that debt is not repaid prior to retirement, Social Security payments may be impacted and the retirement lifestyle that you’re expecting may come up short. It reminded me of a couple of situations I’ve encountered in coaching sessions recently where student loan debt became a central part of the conversation. Read more

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Regrets…I’ve had a few…

As a dad, I often try to impart life lessons to my kids just like people did for me when I was growing up.  And, just like I did when I was their age, there is some eye rolling and a less than full understanding of the message being delivered.  Some of the lessons I try to impart on my kids deal with more optimistic, forward looking items.  Others are lessons I learned while making mistakes in my life.   Read more

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What Old School Insurance Sales Reps Won’t Tell You

I will admit that I own life insurance…lots of it. If a meteor were to fall from the sky and incinerate me today, my kids would benefit tremendously from a financial standpoint. They’d miss the wisdom (yeah, that’s what we’ll call it…) that I could pass down to them over the next 50+ years but they’d be OK financially.   Read more

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Tipping Point – Could Restaurants Be Your Budget Solution?

One of the “hot button” issues in my personal budget is dining out.  If there’s one area where I overspend occasionally, it’s this area.  I live a pretty nice lifestyle and am fairly frugal but I do like the experience of going out to eat periodically.  I know I’m not alone because in my consultations with people, this is quite often brought up as an area where they can shave expenses and get a bit more fiscally responsible with their funds.  Read more

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How Making Mac-n-Cheese is Like Investing

I was talking with my friend Diane recently and she told me a story about a visit she made to her daughter’s house.  Here is her email recap of a portion of that visit:  Read more

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Are You in a Cash Flow Drought?

Living on the East Coast but working for a California based company, I get to hear about things that are newsworthy on both coasts. One of the more recent news items that I talked about with my CA coworkers was the drought that they are currently experiencing.  This article talks about the drought and what it has done to the price of water in California. Read more

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