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

Don’t Pay For Free Stuff

I was walking down a long pier with my kids not too long ago and there was a big splash off to our left.I jokingly yelled “Free Willy” and my kids looked at me like I was having some type of out-of-body experience. They had no idea what I was talking about since the movie was made well before any of them were born, and while they’ve seen nearly every Disney and Pixar movie made since their birth, I guess they missed some of the older ones. They know way more about “Finding Nemo” than “Free Willy.”   Read more

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Lessons From A Move

One of our financial planners, Daphne Winston, moved recently. She and I were on the phone as she was flying to her settlement and then we talked again shortly after. A few days went by without us touching base so I sent her a message asking how the move was going and she said that she was NEVER going to move again!  I asked her to put her thoughts into words for the blog and here’s what she sent to me: Read more

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“Worthless” Hunks of Junk

My daughter and I were talking about cars recently.She borrowed mine to “allow me” to drive hers for a few days to see if I could figure out what was the source of a noise coming from her car. After driving it for two days, I couldn’t figure out the noise but I was able to fill up her empty gas tank, check her fluids and inflate her tires.    Read more

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In Defense of Tax Refunds

My friend Sana is awesome. She has the ability to point out a view that I may not have considered before and makes me take a step back a minute and consider other angles.  Maybe this blog post can do for others what she has done for me at times.  
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It’s All About Perspective

Perspective can sometimes be situational. Our perspective today can be very different than it was a decade ago. I have a friend struggling with her birthday right now. She is about to turn an age that ends with a 0.  Read more

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Finding Balance

I met with a young woman recently who had a few options in front of her and we talked through the choices in front of her.She had just graduated from business school and accepted an offer with her current employer. She is in a two year long leadership development program, and during that program, the company is paying for her living expenses. They do that so that she could maintain her home back in her hometown since that’s where she will eventually live again. This woman had just gotten married and her husband moved to the new city with her and he will look for a job there since he just finished school as well.  Read more

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Good News For Credit Scores

At a time where I love to look for good news stories to combat all the negativity I’ve seen in the press lately, comes a very good news story for consumers. The 3 major credit bureaus have agreed to overhaul how they handle medical debt in credit reports. I meet with a lot of people who are looking for ways to improve their credit score so that they can buy a car, buy a house, get the nod of approval on a new job or many other reasons. Often, we look at a credit report and the biggest negative is debt from a medical provider. What’s amazing to me is that over half of the debt on credit reports is unpaid medical debt. That is gigantic.  Read more

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It’s Time For Changes to Payday Loans

In what is a positive development for many Americans, not to mention society at large, there are some changes coming to the world of payday loans. The CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) is rolling out some new regulations for the short-term loan industry that can only be viewed as a good thing by the borrowers. (Maybe not so much for the owners of the lending companies, though.)   Read more

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Don’t Take Financial Advice From Pop Music

I was out with friends recently and a new song from Pitbull and NeYo started playing. The song created a rush to the dance floor and given that when I dance, people think I’m either having a seizure or in some sort of pain, I opted to grab beverages for our group instead of risking injury (mostly to others) on the dance floor.  As I was waiting for the drinks to be poured, I started listening to the lyrics of the song. Read more

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Is Cash Becoming Obsolete?

Occasionally, my coworkers and I engage in some debates over what the future of money might look like. Daphne Winston and I had a chat one night about how I never carry more than $20 (usually it’s less than $5) at any time. (I’ll probably end up getting shot by a mugger because he’s irritated that I didn’t make robbing me worth his time…but that’s another topic altogether.)   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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