Member Blogs

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  • What are the pros and cons to using a robo-advisor? Who needs a comprehensive financial planner, and what are some alternative options?
  • Between two professional credentials that each need a lot of continuing education, plus family vacation time, youll find that Wendy works in weeks-long surges but is frequently out of the office in between. Thats okay, were planners, were good at this! Heres what happens: Wendy is the only one who can create trade proposals if [] The post Wendy’s Vacation Conference Schedule for 2021 appeared first on ProsperiTea Planning - Wendy Marsden, CPA, CFP® - Greenfield, MA .
  • We just finished one of the most tumultuous years in modern history. A global pandemic. Widespread civil unrest tied to policing and racial justice. A disputed presidential election marked by hyper-partisanship. Despite these challenges, the year demonstrated resilience of people, institutions, and financial markets. The 2020 global stock market with selected headlines*. (Click the graph to enlarge)Investors []
  • Donald Trump was impeached for a second time on Jan. 13, 2021. For investors, could this historical move (plus an impending Senate trial) affect the markets? A look at past presidential impeachments may help determine the answer.
  • Federal and State Income Taxes are often the largest expense for a household. Therefore, we recommend paying regular attention to tactics that will minimize each year’s taxes, as well as strategies to minimize lifetime taxes. The rules about these accounts, and therefore the strategies to use them, are many and varied. In today’s post we The post Tax Planning: Asset Location Basics first appeared on Michael Garber Financial Planning .
  • RealSimple.com answers the question “What is “Phased Retirement?” and points readers to other retirement-related phrases that might be new to them. Exposure to these phrases is not simply a way to learn new lingo; some of these phrases might introduce readers to ways to envision retirement. Boomerang Entrepreneur: A retiree who stops working and starts [] ©Bring Clarity to Your Finances™. Redefine Retirement with New Lingo is a post from Bring Clarity to Your Finances™
  • Financial planning is deeply entwined with nearly every facet of your life. Whether consciously or not, it motivates the way you spend, save, invest, and plan for the future. For married couples, those financial habits assume a deeper meaning because each action impacts both you and your spouse. Financial planning for married couples is a beautiful journey—one that can augment your life and the lives of those around you. Interestingly enough, the central tenets of a healthy financial plan are similar to that of a strong marriage: openness, honesty, transparency, communication, and grace. When both spouses are actively engaged in the planning process, it helps them work toward a shared vision. Each day, each moment, each action becomes a stepping stone toward that vision, which brings you closer to your goals. Married couples must embark on their financial journey together to...
  • Many Americans will be receiving second stimulus checks soon. Discover if you're eligible and get your biggest questions answered.
  • The Washington Post reported on “Six ways your office will be different in 2021, assuming you ever go back to it.” An important part of what may change for some people in the coming years is recruiting and salary negotiation. Solid financial planning can help you weather changes in hiring and compensation. Some employees have [] ©Bring Clarity to Your Finances™. Are You Ready for Changes in Recruiting and Hiring? is a post from Bring Clarity to Your Finances™
  • Most people can start collecting benefits as early as age 62, delay taking benefits (in exchange for a larger monthly amount) until age 70, or chose an option in between. As with most financial planning questions, there is no universal right answer, although you might want to take some time to consider an answer that is most correct for your specific situation. (Feed generated with FetchRSS )
  • There are many factors to be considered before making extra payments or pulling from your savings to pay off your mortgage.
  • Each decade in your life comes with different goals, and while the best things in life may be free, some of the OTHER best things in life aren't quite that cheap. Having a baby, buying a house, or retiring early... all of these require a savings plan.
  • If you are someone who has received or will receive a stimulus check from the federal government, you may be concerned that you will need to pay taxes on those funds in the future. Kiplinger.com addresses that and a few other related tax issues in “Is Your Stimulus Check Taxable?”  Although we are taxed on [] ©Bring Clarity to Your Finances™. Will You Have to Pay Taxes on Stimulus Money? is a post from Bring Clarity to Your Finances™
  • Image credit: decoist.com Whenever the market has a good run, as it has lately, people start thinking it may be overvalued and ripe for a fall. Thoughts turn next to other forms of investments, such as real estate or more esoteric alternatives like options, oil or other natural resources, or precious metals.  Real estate is The post Real Estate: Should I Own a Home to Rent Out? first appeared on Michael Garber Financial Planning .
  • At the start of every new year, you might think to yourself, “Is this the year I’m going to retire?” The New Year embodies fresh starts and new beginnings, and it’s no surprise that visions of retirement (not sugar-plums) dance in your head. But before you turn that dream into reality, be sure you can answer these six questions. 1. Are you confident in your retirement number?A top concern for retirees is having enough money to sustain their lifestyle throughout retirement. That “enough” number will shift for each couple depending on their unique needs. Your housing, location, activities, health, debts, and general lifestyle requirements will all factor into your retirement number. A globetrotting couple might need more money per month for flights, insurance, food, and lodging, than someone who takes a more conservative financial approach. How can you discover your number? Start by building a retirement budget. You’ll need to include items like housing, food, utilities, internet...
  • Three Words for 2021

    Pick three words to guide you through the new year.
  • As 2020 finally draws to a close, Bridget, Ari, and I have been finding ourselves extremely grateful to do meaningful work with clients we admire and love to serve. This year has made us more aware than ever before of what a privilege this is.  We've been looking for ways to give back to our [...]
  • CNBC.com offers “Last-minute money moves to make before you ring in the new year” and even if you don’t do these things before the year official ends, you can do still some of these things as the new year starts. You can “reflect on your spending.” In the rush to see the end of 2020, [] ©Bring Clarity to Your Finances™. Reflect on This Years Finances Before The New Year Starts is a post from Bring Clarity to Your Finances™
  • Growing older is a part of life, and while it's difficult to see your parents age, ensure that they have the protection they need by identifying and preventing these signs of elder abuse.
  • Each year PNC Bank releases a Christmas Price Index that tabulates how much it would cost to give the gifts mentioned in the lyrics of the song “The 12 Days of Christmas.” Each year’s list looks at the prices with costs adjusted for the current economy and this year’s list did factor in the pandemic.  [] ©Bring Clarity to Your Finances™. The Value of Giving Gifts is a post from Bring Clarity to Your Finances™
  • Far too many organizations do a poor job of translating their well- formulated strategies into their anticipated results. Whether related to unclear goals, lack of accountability or undertaking activities irrelevant to results, the inability to deliver comes from poor execution. To actively manage your organization so that everyone is working toward a common vision, strategy and set of priorities requires aligning “seven gears of execution” to alleviate the friction that’s slowing you down. These involve ensuring you have the right people in the right roles with the right capabilities; you align your organizational architecture in the direction of your strategy; you promote a culture of communication; and more. Join us for our discussion with Sean Ryan on Execution Execution . Sean Ryan is a world-renowned business consultant, speaker, trainer and executive coach. As the founder of Whitewater International Consulting, he has worked internationally with companies such as Disney, Nucor...
  • Can money buy happiness? The answer is complicated – certainly money is important, there is no denying that. But does it make us happy?   My colleagues and I have all worked with wealthy clients who are miserable.  We also have clients of modest means who are not only happy but spread that happiness to everyone []
  • 2020 Year in Review

    2020 was an “interesting” year for the Hoole Family. The kids are getting older and more independent. Carsyn is loving school and becoming quite the social butterfly. Brody on the other hand learned how to ride his bike without training wheels and potty trained himself (surprisingly enough, in that order).
  • Jean Jaques Rousseau, a notable French philosopher, challenged his readers’ idea about the role money played in their lives. He said, “money can buy material things, but real happiness must be truly earned.” He is credited with the earliest written form of the phrase money can’t buy happiness. But is that sentiment true? It turns out, Rousseau knew a thing or two about the role money plays in our lives. Happiness is ephemeral— it’s a state of mind whereas joy and peace are enduring. However, seeing life through that lens can be difficult when there is a pandemic and bills to pay. It’s completely normal to be worried about money, but oftentimes we allow those worries to dictate our lives. How can you change your perspective on the role money plays in your life? Let’s take a look at a few examples. Stop chasing the idea of “enough” It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the idea of finding “enough” money. But we will let you in on an insider secret: there will never be “enough.” Even...
  • Are you the financial planner for your family? If you have singlehandedly taken on the responsibility for your family finances, consider that you don’t have to go it alone. In fact, you may find that things are easier when you share the load. You can still play to your strengths and do the work that [] ©Bring Clarity to Your Finances™. Keep Financial Planning in the Family is a post from Bring Clarity to Your Finances™
  • Why do so many people experience problems in managing their finances? As Tolstoy famously wrote in his novel Anna Karenina: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. And so it is with our financial lives. Any one aspect of a family’s finances that is not working well can The post On Human Nature and the Challenge of Accumulating Wealth - part 6 of a series first appeared on Michael Garber Financial Planning .
  • There are a lot of great tax resources, for people who don’t have an accountant, or have a problem that their accountant can’t help them with. Below are a few of the IRS tax resources that I’ve used, which are available for free. (Feed generated with FetchRSS )
  • Things to consider before you child heads off to college.
  • Are you worried about how your investments are faring this year? We can’t say there is absolutely no reason to worry but what we can say is that you are not left with no recourse. You can find ways to worry less and strategize about how to make the most of the earnings you do [] ©Bring Clarity to Your Finances™. Work Through Your Investment Worries is a post from Bring Clarity to Your Finances™
  • Darren Dahl, https://www.greatgame.com/
  • The secret to developing an interest in spending time improving your finances is creating a vision of what you want your money to achieve.
  • If you're eligible to participate in your employer's 401(k)/403(b) plan, there's really no excuse for not doing so. At the very least, contribute a minimal amount--you can always increase your contributions at a later date. (Feed generated with FetchRSS )
  • COVID-19 has upended every area of our lives — but it hasn’t all been negative. Every business has been affected, but people are stepping up like never before. According to Fidelity Charitable, charitable giving has significantly increased since the start of the pandemic. We truly are all in this together. Our propensity for charitable efforts varies greatly from person to person but at the end of the day, we can all agree that we want to leave this world better than it was before. Making charitable giving a cornerstone of your financial plan is a fundamental stepping stone to achieving that goal. How can you make charitable giving part of your financial plan during a pandemic and beyond? It’s not as complicated as you might think. Let’s dive into the details of how to make charitable giving a tradition. Make a plan, set a goalFirst things first, set a goal amount you’d like to give to charity...
  • In the worst of times, investing can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. In the best of times, investing can be exciting, but it shouldn’t be. It’s when people get too excited, or too scared that they tend to make the biggest mistakes. (Feed generated with FetchRSS )
  • In the final part of our charitable giving guide, we’ll discuss how you can make use your charitable giving program to reduce your taxes. There are a huge number of technical opportunities and challenges to doing charitable giving in a tax-efficient way. I won’t go into these in depth but I will offer a few [...]
  • So far we’ve talked about why you should give, how much you should give and how to choose the organizations you donate to. That’s enough to get you started in your giving program, but how can you make your charitable activities more personally meaningful? Create a ritual for charitable giving Simply increasing your donations won’t [...]
  • Up to now we’ve talked about why you should give and how much of your income you should ideally think about donating [link]. Now we get to the fun part. Deciding which organizations deserve your money. Finding the most cost-efficient charities: Effective altruism. One way to choose the charities you want to support is to [...]
  • In the last post, we discussed why people give to charities—for many reasons, but most importantly because it’s important to do the right thing and knowing you are doing it is fulfilling. So, congratulations if you’re still here. You’ve decided to make charitable giving part of your life. Once you decide to give, the next [...]
  • As the year approaches its end, lots of people begin to think about charitable giving. Unfortunately, this means that many people are rushing around trying to cram a year’s worth of giving back into one of the busiest months of all. If this is you, maybe it’s time to consider developing a well-planned, strategic, year-round [...]
  • Ron Lieber, at the New York Times, is one of my favorite personal finance writers. His commitment to consumers is unerring and his ability to make complex issues understandable and actionable is exceptional. Given my admiration for his work, I was especially honored when he reached out to discuss financial planning and investing during moments [...]
  • The Kiplinger.com article “Estate Planning During the Pandemic” includes a scenario many of us want to avoid: a widow approached a financial planner with screenshots of texts her husband had sent from the hospital with information about investments and instructions.The husband passed away from COVID-related complications but one spouse not knowing enough to manage financial [] ©Bring Clarity to Your Finances™. Avoid Panic with an Estate Plan is a post from Bring Clarity to Your Finances™
  • This isn’t exactly news, but it’s been a tough year. In the midst of a pandemic and economic crisis, many have lost income. Some have lost loved ones. Non-profits such as food banks are having difficulty keeping up with demand. Perhaps you have been more fortunate and have donated money to charity this year. Good []
  • Even with a pandemic putting a damper on big shopping events, people are still getting ready to spend this winter holiday season. Some may still be going out to big box stores or small independent stores, while others may be ready to shop at home using their computer or cellphone. Every year we caution you [] ©Bring Clarity to Your Finances™. Count Yourself Fortunate If You Can Shop This Holiday Season is a post from Bring Clarity to Your Finances™