Member Blogs

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  • Financial stress is no joke, and the anxiety you feel about your money can be crippling. If you're starting to experience financial stress, try these 5 tips.
  • When it comes to estate planning, many LGBTQ+ couples face additional challenges in making sure their assets are protected. Here are 6 of those challenges, and what you can do to overcome them.
  • We’ll try to describe retirement in one word: options. Retirement is not a one size fits all deal. You have infinite options to build a retirement lifestyle that aligns with your vision and values. You might want to sell your house and rent an RV to travel the US or maybe you want to downsize in an ideal beach town or perhaps you want to stay in the home where you’ve raised your children, built your life, and established roots. Again, you have options. Aging in place is a common ideal for many retirees. According to a recent survey, 90% of seniors intended on remaining in their homes over the next decade. Among these 85% were certain that they would be confident remaining in their home if it had a few modifications. Do you know what modifications would help make your home safe and comfortable for you to age in place? *Let’s take a look at some options. Add Ramps To Entrances And Exits As you age, you may need a walker or wheelchair, which takes stairs out of the equation...
  • One of the best parts of my job is giving clients permission to spend. A typical situation is a retired client (or couple) who has spent a lifetime accumulating wealth. First, they followed the fundamental equation for reaching financial independence: They paid attention to the outgoing dollars. Maybe they looked for sales. Maybe they always []
  • LifeCraft Financial Planning, an independently-owned and operated financial planning firm, which is registered with the Division of Financial Regulation – State of Oregon, today announced they have opened a virtual office. Founded by Miriam Whiteley, CFP®, CeFT®, RLP®, LifeCraft Financial Planning offers […]
  • If you decide to invest in cryptocurrency, treat it as an extremely volatile speculative investment.
  • In 2020, June was officially dubbed Black Lives Matter month. If you’re looking for ways to show your support while uplifting Black community members, here are a few easy things you can do.
  • Are you ready to retire? Everyone’s retirement timeline is different. Some want to retire as early as possible whereas others never feel the desire to hang up their hat. But these two groups do share a common goal: to live retirement on their own terms and know they’ll be financially able to do so. Let’s say you wanted to retire tomorrow—could you? These 5 signs can help you decide if retirement is within reach. You’ve Got Your Finances Squared Away First things first: you need to make sure that your finances are prepared for retirement. At this point, you should have ample savings and your investments should be meeting or exceeding what you expected. Social security can also have a big impact on your finances depending on your retirement age and when you plan to claim benefits. You can take social security as early as 62, but your benefit will be reduced by about 30%. However, if you’re able to wait until your full retirement age, you’ll be able to collect 100%, and even more...
  • Don’t Chase the Bus

    “Never run after a bus or a stock. Just be patient — the next one will come along for sure.” André Kostolany André Kostolany was a Hungarian-born stockbroker who prospered during the reconstruction of Germany after WWII. He was known for his pithy insights into investors’ behavior, and his pragmatic understanding of the equity
  • Cryptonite

    As of this week the SP500 is up 40% over the last year, and in the same time period Bitcoin is up over 300%. Why aren’t we all investing in Bitcoin? The recent volatility has shown us that it’s not a suitable investment for every portfolio. Part of Bitcoin’s recent wild ride can be attributed
  • If you've amassed a significant amount of wealth, you want to know it'll be cared for by future generations. Here's how to help your loved ones become responsible stewards of your wealth.
  • Cryptocurrencies work using a technology called blockchain. Blockchain is a decentralized digital ledger that prevents central control and guards against cyber-attacks.
  • Everyone’s retirement journey is different. For some, working becomes a significant addition to their personal and financial lives. But working in retirement doesn’t just bring added income and a full social calendar, it could also impact other areas of your financial plan like your tax liability as well as your Social Security benefits. What do working retirees need to know about Social Security? Let’s find out. Why Are Retirees Working Longer? Retirement is often synonymous with relaxation, but is there a benefit to not hanging up your hat? Lifestyle Reasons Several new and seasoned retirees find it challenging to create new routines. While it’s good not to get too stuck in the way you always do things, some sense of order and regularity to your life can inspire action and purpose. Working gives retirees a chance to build new routines that suit their desired lifestyle . Perhaps...
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  • How to Invest Like a Bee

    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...
  • 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 []
  • BLUECHIP: Fiscally Fit by Miriam Whiteley and Janet Hollander, Columnists Originally published in The Register-Guard: Jun. 2, 2020 at 10:05 AM One thing we notice: people are getting depleted. We’re tired of managing uncertainty. We’ve been kept from ordinary ways of coping […]
  • Choose your habits

    BLUECHIP: Fiscally Fit by Miriam Whiteley, Janet Hollander, Columnists Originally published in The Register-Guard: May 6, 2020 at 11:36 AM When people worry about aging, thoughts often turn to two areas of concern: health and money. Will I be able to keep […]
  • Steady Gets the Rebound

    BLUECHIP: FISCALLY FIT by Miriam Whiteley Janet Hollander Originally published in The Register-Guard: Apr 7, 2020 at 12:01 AM Miriam’s dad had an apt saying for almost any moment, especially the difficult ones. And as we reel from the abrupt changes […]
  • 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.
  • 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™
  • 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...
  • 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 )
  • Transition into retirement is stressful. It requires a significant change in mindset from contributing to your portfolio to taking distributions.