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

Climbing The Debt Mountain

One of the things I love to see is a different perspective. When we hire a new financial planner on our team, they offer a lot of “new employee energy,” a fresh set of eyes and a different life experience to the table. Fortunately, we recently hired Cynthia Meyer as a part of our team and she sent me this blog post about her view on a very common type of call that we see on our Financial Helpline.  I like her approach… Read more

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Retirement Isn’t All About The Numbers

Once in a while, usually during a long cold winter in the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic area, my thoughts wander into a warmer place. I’ve joked that one of the requirements for my next home is that I have to be able to call the local Home Depot/Lowe’s and when I ask if they sell snow shovels, their answer MUST be… “NEVER!  Not a single day during the year do we sell snow shovels.” It was while discussing that philosophy with a friend that she pulled up this article on her phone to discuss her retirement dream. She would like to explore the world for a decade or so and then settle down in whatever place she feels like calling home. That sounds like a pretty cool lifestyle and one that a lot of people would love to experience.  Read more

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Financial Education, Literacy, or Wellness?

I was talking with a friend recently who is a big fan of words and language, which could explain the presence of more bookshelves in her house than I’ve ever seen in anyone else’s house. We started talking about the language and words involved in my role at Financial Finesse. I’ve noticed an evolution in terminology during my 5 years here. There have been three terms that have been used a lot by our employees, our clients and in the general corporate environment. I see the terms evolving in the corporate workplace and a few members of our financial planning team discussed the evolution recently and found that the evolution of the terms aligns with the evolution in the way people process information. Read more

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Small Changes Now Can Mean Big Long Term Results

In a conversation I had recently with an employee of a large healthcare company, the topic of retirement planning and investing merged together. She had recently started her job and wanted to be sure that she got off to a good start. Her prior employer had no financial wellness benefits provided so this was her first conversation with a financial planner. The conversation was very revealing about her views of herself, the world of investing and the level of financial knowledge that many people who work in financial services business assume that individuals have when they walk in for a conversation. Read more

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Laughter Can Be Retirement Medicine

Earlier in the day, I had a conversation with a couple who were convinced that they didn’t have nearly enough money to retire any time soon and this was a very problematic issue for them.While she loved her job and said she planned to work until she’s the oldest employee ever at her company, he is absolutely miserable. Through a reorganization at his company, he now reports to a manager that he absolutely cannot stand and he said he feels like life is being slowly sucked out of him. The new boss, in his view, is an absolute megalomaniac who makes life miserable for everyone in their department. Nearly half of the staff has left for other opportunities within the last 6 months and the workload for those remaining is overwhelming to the point that he feels like his health is being compromised.  Read more

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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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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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