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

Independence On Several Fronts

As we take this long weekend to celebrate our nation’s independence, keep checking back with our blog team to learn some tips and tools that can help you in your quest to become financially independent. We at Financial Finesse wish you a happy 4th of July. Celebrate, enjoy, be safe and take a few moments to reflect upon your path toward financial independence. Enjoy the long weekend!

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Un-Crushing Student Loan Debt

Very often, I talk to people who have financial concerns that are weighing on them. I’ve noticed a correlation between the age of the person and the concern. Lately, a lot of people who are within a few years of retirement have been concerned about the stock market and relatively new hires who are just establishing a career have been concerned about their level of debt impairing their ability to make progress toward their important life goals.  Those are two mini-trends I’ve been seeing lately.  Read more

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Financial Lessons From The Game Of Thrones Season Finale

My apologies if you haven’t watched the Game of Thrones season finale yet. But if you haven’t and you’re a fan, exactly what are you waiting for??? I’ll take a few liberties with the show’s broader themes and hopefully won’t spoil anything that you haven’t already heard or watched.  Read more

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The Only Extended Warranties I Usually Buy

I am not normally a fan of extended warranties on many things.I once worked with someone who owned car dealerships and in discussing their business, I learned that the extended warranties have very high profit margins so the consumer in me said “if the profit margins are that high, they probably aren’t a good deal for me as a buyer.” I usually opt out of the warranties on relatively durable goods like a car, washer/dryer, microwave, etc. So far, it hasn’t come back to bite me (so far…). However, I do give consideration to buying the warranty on less durable things, like electronics (laptops, TVs, etc).  Read more

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Which History Matters?

Risk is something most people want to avoid.For that reason, and with 2008’s stock market crash and a lot of talk about today’s market being at or near all-time highs, I am seeing people re-evaluating the level of investment risk in their 401k’s. One trend that is a bit troubling is going on with young employees in their 20’s and 30’s who entered the workforce or were relatively new hires when the 2008 collapse happened. Many of these employees are shunning investment risk at perhaps the expense of their future financial security. Read more

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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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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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