A Week of Thoughts September 15, 2018

How do you teach your kids about handling money? There are so many different ways and each kid learns differently. Some ideas include allowances, paid for chores, charitable giving, helping budget for a desired toy want, paying their own phone bill, and using a set limit for purchasing new clothes. Each one of these methods has many variations. If one way doesn’t seem to work give it a bit more time and consider how to adjust it to become more relevant to your kiddo.

Often clients find it very useful to set specific goals tied to their finances. For example, perhaps they want to celebrate a milestone anniversary in Italy. The anniversary gives them a specific date to aim for and a budget for the trip gives them the specific dollar amount to set aside for the trip. Then they are able to divide up the dollar amount by the time in order to work toward their special trip. Folks that do this are able to savor the achievement of the goal through anticipation and the actual trip to celebrate the special anniversary.

Where were you on 9/11? I was in Wiesbaden, Germany in the Army Housing Office “discussing” with a bureaucrat why I hadn’t been assigned housing yet after 60 days in country when the Twin Towers were hit. Needless to say, my housing situation seemed minor at the point. Were we going to war? If so, with whom? Lots of unanswered questions in the chaos of the moment. My military career, like many others, was turned upside down overnight. Many personal questions entered my mind. Was I ready to deploy? Were my personal affairs and finances in order? How would it affect my family? Today, my personal situation as a single parent is much different. Though, similarly, a singular event could still turn my world upside down once again. Will such an ever happen? I don’t know. That doesn’t relieve me of the responsibility to my son to have our affairs in order should something happen to one or both of us. One step, I recently took was a periodic update to my estate planning documents. While not cheap, I am now more prepared for such a catastrophic event. Today, in memory of 9/11, I will consider what other forms of preparation I might do.

Do you need to make estimated income tax payments? If so, it can be a quite annoy thing to write those quarterly checks. It is possible for some people to reduce or eliminate these check writing exercises. For example, if you receive a pension it is possible to have withholding similar to when one was working. The form for changing pension withholding is IRS Form W-4P. For others, it is possible to automate the quarterly payments to the IRS. Professional taxpayers can set up automatic quarterly withdrawals from a bank account. The amount is computed by their sophisticated tax prep software and must be approved by the taxpayer. Has your preparer offered it to you?

Most folk’s concern around their personal cybersecurity and privacy involve protecting their credit especially after the frequent hacking incidents such as with Equifax. There is more to worry about such as ID Theft. Today’s thieves often social engineer and pick up tidbits of info posted on social media so that they can act as better impostors when conducting ID theft activities. These criminals can wreck havoc. One protection is making sure you have adjust privacy settings on your favorite social media outlets. Another valuable protection is using complex passwords. Software such LastPass and Dashlane help individuals create and securely use passwords that are very difficult to break. What can you do today to increase your online security?

Having a teenager driver in your household can add a great expense to your auto insurance. Check with your insurance company ahead of time to know what you’ll be facing in rate increases. Perhaps your young driver can contribute to insurance premiums or do other things that limit the expense such as take a driver’s education course or by maintaining good grades. These discounts vary by state.

I am a proud member of the Alliance of Comprehensive Planners. This group provides the tax-focused retainer based model I use to help clients with their finances.
As an ACP member, I am a fiduciary planner who provides a distinct alternative in the financial planning marketplace. By assuring clients’ financial plans are comprehensive, I consider not only interest-earning, real estate and equity investments, but also the tax consequences that can impact or be impacted by investment and financial strategies, or tax law changes. I help clients optimize the use of assets for tax efficiency, growth and security to ensure their goals are achieved. Given this focus, I maintain my CFP® and Enrolled Agent status along with professional organization memberships.



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