Financial Wellness @ Work

Sometimes It’s Okay to Punt

Football season is an exciting time of year as fall has officially arrived and even the hot and humid southern states get some relief. Personally speaking, I am a college football person. Although I may be an unbiased financial educator, there is admittedly a great deal of bias when it comes to my allegiance to certain colleges and universities on the football field. You will likely hear screams of “Roll Tide,” “Go Tigers” (the orange ones from Clemson in the Palmetto State), and occasionally “Go Wildcats” (K-State- I have to support my grad school) if you are in my neighborhood on a typical college football weekend. (Yes, similar to my investment portfolio, I like to maintain a diversified portfolio of schools to support but also have the documents to prove that I am not a fair-weather fan of the first two programs on my list.) Read more

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Should You Use a Fee-Only Advisor?

Last week, we discussed the dangers of using  a commissioned-based financial advisor. One way to avoid those conflicts of interest is to work with a fee-only (not fee-based, which is fees PLUS commissions) advisor. Instead of selling investments for a commission, they typically charge a fee that’s a percentage of the assets they manage for you. You can search for a fee-only advisor through NAPFA, the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors. Read more

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The Three Most Useless Things a Financial Columnist Tells You

I often like to question much of the conventional wisdom of the financial services industry so I was intrigued when I saw this article titled “The four most useless things financial advisors tell you” by Howard Gold. Instead, I found myself questioning most of the conclusions in the article itself as pretty useless (with one exception). Let’s take a look at each of these “four most useless things:” Read more

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Student Loan Debt? There’s an App For That

Student loans may be viewed as a form of “good debt” because of the many doors a college education can potentially open throughout our lifetime.Still, paying off student loans can become a major headache (especially if you are trying to balance other competing financial priorities like paying off credit card debt or saving for emergencies). Total student loan debt in this country now exceeds $1 trillion and 7 out of every 10 college students graduate with student loan obligations.  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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Should You Buy Life Insurance as an Investment?

In response to this article we published on Forbes, we received this question on our Facebook page:

I recently read your article “Should You Use Life Insurance as an Investment?” on Forbes. I wanted to know how this article would apply to me. I just graduated and started my first job that pays pretty well. I don’t have any dependents so I didn’t think about life insurance until I meet with a financial advisor. He said starting insurance young is a better investment where I could keep safe dollars and be more risky in other parts. Would I be better off buying insurance now and benefiting from compound interest or use that money in other investments? Thanks! Read more

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How to Change Your W-4 and Increase Your Take-Home Pay

Are you looking for a quick way to increase your savings or find some extra money to pay down debt? If you are like millions of other taxpayers currently overpaying your income taxes to the IRS each year, you still have time make adjustments to how much you are sending Uncle Sam. According to IRS statistics, there were 101 million refunds for the 2013 tax year. The average refund was $2,651. This figure was a slight decrease from last year but still a substantial amount of money to be loaning out to the IRS at zero percent interest. 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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4 Ways to Plan For Long Term Care

According to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, over 70% of long-term care insurance policies are applied for after age 54. Maybe it happens after the kids leave the nest or perhaps when other goals like retirement are realized but I believe most people don’t start thinking about long-term care until they’ve experienced it through someone else.  I’ve had my share of experience dealing with long-term care but my most recent encounter with Patty Smith (name changed to protect the innocent) has made me realize why it is so important to plan for long-term care before it is too late. Read more

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3 Alternatives to Borrowing From Your 401(k)

Last week, I wrote about some reasons it might actually make sense to borrow from your 401(k). After all, there’s no credit check and the interest goes back into your own account.  But even in those situations, there may be better options. After all, borrowing from your 401(k) means your money isn’t growing for retirement, the money generally has to be paid back over a relatively short 5 year period, and the outstanding balance could be subject to taxes and penalties if you leave your job. Here are three alternatives along with their pros and cons relative to a 401(k) loan and a couple of sites you can use to find them: Read more

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