Financial Wellness @ Work

The Hidden Costs Of Overlooked Benefits

August is an overlooked month. Every other month of the year has a holiday or is associated with an exciting beginning, but not August. Many of us try to sneak in one last summer weekend or some back to school shopping but other than that, August is usually a lull in the calendar. A great way to make August productive is to examine the employee benefits programs that you aren’t taking advantage of so that you know which options you do want to sign up for during open enrollment this fall. A few minutes now can help you be prepared to maximize your benefits and possibly save thousands of dollars instead of rushing through a decision or just doing what you did last year. Read more

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How My Tax Preparation Software Let Me Down

For the last seven years, I have used tax preparation software to help me file my federal and state income tax returns, and I’ve never had a problem…until now. You see, each year I’ve been entitled to tax refunds, and each year when the tax preparation software asks me if I want to have my tax refund directly deposited into my bank account, I would say yes, but this year was different. This year, instead of getting a tax refund from the state, I ended up owing the state more money, so instead of asking me if I wanted my tax refund directly deposited into my bank account the software asked me if I wanted to have my tax payment debited from my account.   Read more

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Managing Your Pension In A 401k World

Lately there’s been a lot of criticism of 401k plans in the news and some of it is very valid. A 401k that is poorly designed and/or poorly managed can leave people in a bad place when they want to retire, but traditional pensions aren’t a perfect solution either. Don’t get me wrong. If you have a pension that is a GREAT benefit to have. You just can’t assume that everything will work out as planned.  Read more

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Bigger Is Not Always Better

I recently took my son to a local family entertainment center to escape the heat and enjoy a little bowling, laser tag, and arcade action with his friends. After a few hours of running around, they all started to get thirsty so I walked up to the concession stand to purchase drinks. They offered drinks in three sizes: 16, 24, and 32 ounces. The 16 ounce drinks were $1.75 and the 32 ounce drinks were $3.25, making them a slightly better deal. Read more

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How Are Financial Advisors Like Congress?

If you voted for your congressman then they’re great but the rest are bums and if you voted against him then he’s a crook like all the rest. The same feelings are often held about financial advisors. How can the industry have such a bad reputation if so many people think that they have the only good one? Read more

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The “Hidden” Sales Charge

I received a call recently from an investor that was a little confused about differences in mutual fund share classes. It seems this individual opened an IRA with a financial advisor a few years ago and purchased an “A” share mutual fund. Then, just a few days ago, they received a letter from the custodian informing them that “B” shares would no longer be available for purchase. The investor had never heard of a “B” share and wasn’t quite sure what this meant, so they decided to call the Financial Helpline.  Read more

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How to Invest While Getting a Tan

June signifies summer, a time when millions of Americans flock to frolic in the sand and soak up some sun. If only investing were as easy as a day at the beach…or is it? It can be if you follow these simple guidelines: Read more

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How Many Toys Is Enough?

My neighbor down the street is selling his camper, and so my wife walks in the house the other day and says, “Honey, did you see the camper for sale down the street?” Now I love to camp, and to be quite honest, I was stunned she even asked the question. First of all, we already have a boat, and second, she’s not really a big fan of camping. To me, camping is about “roughing” it, but for my wife, she likes to “pamp,” (which is a word my friend made up that describes people who want to be pampered when they camp—thus the name). Read more

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Getting Rid Of Your Cell Phone? Wipe It Clean First

Cell phones have become so common in our world today that we forget how much sensitive information is contained on these innocuous devices. Such information in the wrong hands could give an unscrupulous person access to private information, including links and passwords to financial accounts and statements. I recently switched cell phone providers to reduce my cost and increase my coverage and reliability, but I was not prepared to make sure the data that had accumulated on my old phone was cleared out before passing it on to the next user. Read more

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