Member Blogs

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  • Bees are ridiculously complex creatures, with an intelligence that rivals that of any amateur investor. Sure, they are workaholics who hoard their wealth and uphold a monarchical caste system. But they are great dancers, and adorably fuzzy. And in the realm of investing, at least, they have some sweet, sweet lessons to teach us.
  • To improve your credit score, annually check your credit reports with the three major credit bureaus and immediately report any errors.
  • Nobody wants to deal with the hassle of password security, but keeping your digital life safe can be made easier. Here are three simple steps to get your cybersecurity sorted out before it becomes a problem.
  • Estate planning doesn’t always conjure positive imagery—lawyer’s offices, paperwork, family tensions, mortality. It’s no wonder why so many people put their estate plans on the back burner. LegalZoom reported that anywhere from 50-60% of Americans don’t have a will. Although the COVID-19 pandemic brought awareness to the issue, many people remain without. What’s worse, people aren’t talking about their estate plans—whether with their spouses, kids, family members, advisors, etc., making it separate and removed. It seems like everyone is in the dark until the estate passes hands, and without proper measures in place, could result in a stressful, costly, and time-intensive process. There are several myths about estate planning, and today, we’d like to do our part to set the record straight. Keep in mind that estate planning requires several members of your...
  • African-American consumers spend $1.1 trillion a year. And as a consumer group, if it were a nation, would rank as the 16th wealthiest in the world. As consumers you can check the box. We have to unlock the economic and entrepreneurial power of black America.
  • The AmericanRescue Plan, signed into law March 2021 includes a temporary one year enhancement to the Child Tax Credit for 2021. In 2020 the Child Tax Credit was $2000 per eligible child under age 17. Look on line 19 of your 2020 Form 1040 to see if you received this credit: This client has two []
  • You may be eligible for Medicare soon, but do you know the ins and outs of your coverage options? Here's a breakdown of Medicare Parts A, B, C & D.
  • Students in U.S. schools already had uneven access to financial education before the pandemic began last year. The fact that many school systems ended in-person learning in favor on virtual school threatened to make it even more difficult for students to get a handle on financial planning in academic setting but some schools found ways [] ©Bring Clarity to Your Finances™. Getting an Education in Finance In or Outside of School is a post from Bring Clarity to Your Finances™
  • “Wouldn’t there be a situation where I would want to trigger short term capital gains?” The obvious answer would be something like the 740% runup of Tesla stock in 2020. After all, anyone could make a strong argument for cashing in on their $10,000 after it turned to $84,000 in less than a year (Feed generated with FetchRSS )
  • If you are not familiar with the somewhat apocryphal razor-and-blades business model , it goes something like this: a business sells, or even gives away, one product at a low price in order to increase sales of a complementary, more profitable product. This model is often used in the financial services industry, as I will describe below, and it can also open a window to see what a business really wants from its customers. The subject of fees in the financial advisory industry is important for a number of reasons, some of them, like how they can create clear conflicts of interest between client and advisor, I have written about before, here , and here . In this piece, however, I want to focus on the ways potential clients can figure out what the advisor or firm really wants from them, so...
  • Shelter in Motion

    It’s possible that my wife, Peggy, and I have applied the State of California’s now one-year-old “Shelter In Place” order slightly differently than some. Oh, we’ve been compliant; even diligent. We place ourselves in the presence of others only sparingly, wear masks, and otherwise quite carefully adhere to our state and county guidelines in an
  • Perhaps you had to tap into your emergency fund during the past year or so. Or maybe the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic has you thinking that it is time to start an emergency fund. Real Simple offers “5 Rules for an Emergency Fund That Will See You Through (Almost) Anything.” You might wonder why you [] ©Bring Clarity to Your Finances™. Guidelines for an Emergency Fund is a post from Bring Clarity to Your Finances™
  • Supporting your lifestyle over a 35-year retirement will be the most expensive goal you will have, and the burden is squarely on you.
  • Retirement is likely the largest savings goal of your life. Throughout your working years, you need to save enough money to support your ideal retirement for a couple of decades or more without a regular paycheck. It’s an enormous and incredibly remarkable feat. A common roadblock for many pre-retirees is knowing how much they need to save for their golden years. The problem? Many people drastically underestimate how much their dream of retiring to the beach will cost them. Today, we’re going to tackle why retirement is so expensive and concrete strategies to help you build a robust and healthy nest egg. How much should you save for retirement? This is perhaps the most asked question in the history of retirement planning—how much do you need to save for retirement? Like many other answers to financial questions, the most accurate is that it depends. Your retirement savings plan will look different than your parents, children, and other loved ones. Why? Your plan should...
  • Instances of title theft are rare and the chances of a financial institution lending money on a fraudulent title is unlikely. Lenders make every effort to ensure the title is good before they loan money, and the most lenders purchase title insurance.
  • If you have children under 18 in your household, you could be receiving an enhanced tax credit for the 2021 tax year. Here's what you need to know about this one-time change to the child tax credit.
  • Many people who are looking to implement a Roth conversion strategy also have a regular investment account. After all, retirement account contributions are limited each year, and many people are looking to set aside additional money. Over time, these taxable accounts can accumulate quite a bit of growth in themselves, particularly if you have a sensible, long-term, diversified portfolio. In that case, you might have capital gains that are now part of your tax planning picture. (Feed generated with FetchRSS )
  • In “What Pickleball Can Teach You About Investing,” Jacob Schroeder, writing for Kiplinger.com, demonstrates how you can apply everyday lessons to your investing and financial planning…if you pay attention. Pickleball isn’t tennis but it has some things in common with tennis. In pickle ball, the players use paddles to hit a small plastic ball over a net. [] ©Bring Clarity to Your Finances™. Investing Lessons from a Fun Sport is a post from Bring Clarity to Your Finances™
  • "Don't stop thinking about tomorrow," sang Fleetwood Mac on their 1977 classic "Rumors." And band member Stevie Nicks is among a handful of rockers who seems to be putting those words into action.
  • When someone uses financial planning services to transfer money or assets to beneficiaries, that is a wealth transfer. Many people believe that in the United States we will see a great wealth transfer as Baby Boomers age and leave money for those who are younger. “The impact of inheritance” on Vox.com ponders whether the anticipated [] ©Bring Clarity to Your Finances™. Turn to a Fee-Only Financial Planner When You Inherit is a post from Bring Clarity to Your Finances™
  • ESPPs can be a great way to build wealth and more quickly achieve your personal financial goals. (Feed generated with FetchRSS )
  • Like much of the world, I was riveted by the mammoth container ship that was stuck in the Suez Canal for 6 days, 3 hours and 38 minutes. The ship, one of the world’s largest container ships named Ever Given is about as long as the Empire State Building is tall! The jam backed up []
  • In retirement, money isn’t simply money. Where it’s stored has a significant impact on how you can use it and what it will cost you to do so. $1,000 looks vastly different in a traditional IRA than it does a Roth IRA. Why? Taxes. Proactive tax planning is critical for your retirement wealth-building strategy because it saves you money and helps preserve the longevity of your nest egg. Today, we’re diving into a strategy that can prove instrumental in your retirement income plan—Roth conversions. What’s a Roth conversion and how will you know if it’s right for you? The impact of taxes on retirement income Before exploring the ins and outs of Roth conversions, it’s critical to understand the value tax planning plays in your retirement strategy. Without proper planning, taxes can eat up more net gains than many retirees anticipate. Each retirement account comes with different...
  • Throughout the pandemic, we're spending more time than ever on our phones. Think it's time for a detox? Your bank account may thank you. Reset your spending habits with these 5 tips.
  • We are excited to announce that Kathryn Kubiak-Rizzone has joined the Values Added team as an associate financial advisor! Kathryn loves helping women and families navigate the many financial decisions they face on the path to financial freedom, with a specific focus on serving the intersectional needs of women, people of color and LGBT+ folx. [...]
  • This month we have highlighted women in business who have excelled for facing tough challenges and beating the odds. However, we do not want to forget that there are untold numbers of women who do not make headlines that are also doing the same thing within their own households. In “Women’s History Month: From Pin [] ©Bring Clarity to Your Finances™. Womens History: Saving, Strategizing, and Spending is a post from Bring Clarity to Your Finances™
  • An incentive stock option (ISO) is a company benefit that gives you the right to buy shares of stock at a discounted price with a tax break on the profit. On the other hand, non-qualified stock options known as NSOs (the more common type) are not as advantageous tax-wise as incentive stock options. (Feed generated with FetchRSS )
  • Many retirees don't realize that there are limitations to what Medicare covers. The best health care is preventative, especially in the early years of retirement. Here are 4 ways to keep your medical costs from negatively affecting your Return on Life.
  • Transition into retirement is stressful. It requires a significant change in mindset from contributing to your portfolio to taking distributions.
  • Olive Ann Beech (1903-1993), highlighted in the Mental Floss article “8 Daring Female Entrepreneurs from History” demonstrated her interest in financial matters from an early age. This woman entrepreneur had her own back account by the time she was 7 years old. At the age of 11, she was managing her family’s finances too. All [] ©Bring Clarity to Your Finances™. Olive Ann Beech Took Her Aviation Company to Great Heights is a post from Bring Clarity to Your Finances™
  • As a highly compensated employee you may find that company stock is now a part of your overall salary package. For some, managing these different types of stock grants and planning what to do with them can be frustrating and confusing. (Feed generated with FetchRSS )
  • Everyone has felt the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic in one way or another—economic, health, social, psychological, or a combination. Retirees, especially, have been deeply afflicted by COVID-19, being most vulnerable to catch the various strains, experiencing deep financial commitments, and being isolated from family, friends, and loved ones. Since March 2020, there have been two significant stimulus packages to help curb some of this loss—the $2.2 trillion CARES Act and the $900 billion Consolidated Appropriations Act. Now, there is another package, the American Rescue Plan. The $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package passed with a 220-211 vote in Congress and was signed into law by President Joe Biden on Friday, March 12. What support does this bill provide? Here are the major components. What’s the American Rescue Plan? This package was designed to support individuals, families, businesses, and the economy at large, which has sustained negative impacts due to...
  • The Latin Way saluted women entrepreneurs who are either from Latin America or of Latin descent in The most successful Latina entrepreneurs.  Many of the women mentioned are known as entertainers but they have also had success in business. Columbia’s Sofia Vergara is known for her work on the televisions show Modern Family. She also is [] ©Bring Clarity to Your Finances™. Finding Success in Entertainment and Entrepreneurship is a post from Bring Clarity to Your Finances™
  • The SEC defines payment for order flow (PFOF) as “a method of transferring some of the trading profits from market making to the brokers that route customer orders to specialists for execution.” This practice has been in the news lately, in part because of the recent scrutiny of trading practices at Robinhood – a firm
  • Lesson 1 from 2020: The Power of Diversification The first investment lesson from 2020 is diversification. Everyone knows that it is important to diversify in order to stabilize your portfolio.  In more technical speak, this means holding some assets that tend to zig when other holdings zag  To accomplish this, many investors hold long-term bonds.… [Continue] (Feed generated with FetchRSS )
  • Bitcoin began use in 2009. It was invented by an unknown person, or group of people, using the name Satoshi Nakamoto. Today, the total value of all Bitcoin is over one trillion dollars. Since the startup of Bitcoin, over 200 other cryptocurrencies have been established, with a total value of over $1.7 trillion. A recent The post Cryptocurrencies and Control first appeared on Michael Garber Financial Planning .
  • The Motley Fool highlighted investment advice from Mellody Hobson. Hobson is known as the the co-CEO and President of Ariel Investments, where she had worked for almost thirty years. Late last year, Starbucks names Hobson as its board chair making her the first African American woman to hold that position. The financial difficulties Hobson experienced [] ©Bring Clarity to Your Finances™. Investing Advice from Mellody Hobson is a post from Bring Clarity to Your Finances™
  • Researchers have found that a major threat to the performance of your portfolio is uncertainty. Investors hate uncertainty. Uncertainty leads to stress and anxiety which negatively impacts decision making.
  • Investing can be complex. Building a tax-efficient, diversified portfolio (or several) suited to your risk tolerance and capacity, time horizon, and goals is no small feat. But the process doesn’t simply end with the portfolio’s construction—several elements swirl in the background that often go unnoticed unless you know what to look for: fees. Investment fees come in all shapes, sizes, and percentages, all of which can have a significant impact on your net returns. These fees also live in every investment account you have like your 401k, IRA, and a brokerage account. Understanding these fees will give you more control over your investments and help provide greater context to how the process works. Here’s what you need to know about investment fees, so you can walk into investing with both eyes wide open. Investment fee basics Investment fees are akin to buying tickets online. Have you ever browsed...
  • “Women entrepreneurs reveal lessons from the pandemic and how they dealt with unprecedented times” focuses on women entrepreneurs in India. It highlights their businesses and the lessons they’ve learned as they navigate the pandemic as entrepreneurs. Several entrepreneurs used a word we hear a lot in these times: pivot. Depending on your business and area [] ©Bring Clarity to Your Finances™. Women Entrepreneurs Overcome Pandemic Challenges is a post from Bring Clarity to Your Finances™
  • A study by Associate Professor of Economics Jason Abaluck at Yale University last year showed discouraging results when it comes to the efficacy of retirement health care plans. The study attempts to approximate a randomized controlled trial, by analyzing the outcomes when people were forced to switch plans due to a plan’s termination. They compared The post All Retirement Health Care Plans are NOT Alike. But Take Charge of Your Own Health. first appeared on Michael Garber Financial Planning .
  • Like many taxpayers, you might get a refund each year when you file your taxes.Last year ≈74% of individual tax returns resulted in refunds. The average refund was $2,476. It’s no secret that taxpayers use the tax withholding system as a form of savings. Too much tax is withheld from your paycheck throughout the year []