Archive for Financial Planning

Let’s Talk Money, Honey

Financial Planningon February 6th, 2019Comments Off on Let’s Talk Money, Honey

Written By: Karen Simons

Love can make the world go ’round! But when you think about your favorite memories with your sweetheart, do you think about your financial conversations? Probably not. Money talk with your significant other is an important part of a complete and healthy relationship, although it can also be a major stressor and have an impact the relationship itself. This can be, in part, because of the emotional nature of money which is often accompanied by a deep personal history. Taking the time to have pillow talk that includes money talk can help to enhance your relationship and avoid conflict down the road. With this in mind, we share some financial conversation starters for you to consider to get started in making money talk an intimate part of your relationship.

  1. Make Time for “Money Talk.” We all try to make time for fun and getaways for our love life to escape from the crazy pace of our daily lives, rebalance, and refuel. Consider using this away time to discuss your goals and aspirations for the next year. You can start the conversation by asking an open-ended question like: “What do we want to achieve this year?” Scheduling time to have a constructive conversation, whether an actual retreat, a money date night, or just “pillow talk,” can ensure you and your loved one are on the same page financially.
  2. Share About Yourself. Sharing about yourself is part of any relationship, romantically or otherwise. When it comes to an intimate topic like money, however, sharing your personal history can be difficult. We are often raised to be secretive about money (how much we make, what and where we spend it, how much we have saved) and as a result, it can be hard to let someone into your financial world. While revealing and sharing can make you feel vulnerable and accountable, it can also be deeply bonding as you think about financial decisions such as raising a family, shouldering debt, assessing credit, evaluating employee benefits, and establishing an emergency fund. More importantly, sharing can help keep serious money problems in check proactively and set the groundwork for future financial plans.
  3. Be Mindful of Your State of Mind. Honest, direct, and respectful conversations can change your relationship, and being able to speak your voice and be met with love and acceptance from your partner can help you both move to a place of genuine trust. Keeping this in mind when you talk to and listen to your partner can help you work together as a united team, and lends an opportunity to build a stronger financial relationship with each other.
  4. Set Goals to Turn Dreams Into Reality. Find common ground to dream about instead of dwelling on differences over money. For example, work together with your sweetheart to identify expectations and aspirations, such as buying a vacation home, sending your children to college, or retiring at a particular age. Having long-term goals encourages people to think more strategically, adopt new financial habits, and develop a financial roadmap to realize their dreams. And with long-term goals, the opportunity exists to continue the conversation and check-in regularly to help keep you excited, united, and focused on achieving your goals. You may even find the conversations to be fun; levity and humor can foster clearer thinking and help you connect more deeply.

As you think about these financial conversation starters, remember that the goal is not to complete all of these discussions at once. Rather, consider using these ideas to gradually incorporate money talks into your regular conversations with your sweetheart to make it an intimate part of your relationship.

Your Second Wind: Starting a New Business in Retirement

Financial Planningon January 10th, 2019Comments Off on Your Second Wind: Starting a New Business in Retirement

Written By: Cole DeLucas

Prior to recent generations, the typical work pattern of an individual was to enter the workforce, work until their 50s or 60s, and then retire and never think about going to work again. The Baby Boomer generation, however, is redefining retirement by exploring different ways to continue working during the time they are viewed to be “done with work,” and many are doing so by starting their own business. According to the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurship, people ages 55 – 64 make up 24% of new entrepreneurs!1 If you’ve fantasized of being your own boss, finally chasing your greatest passions, or even learning something totally new, let’s explore why retirement may be an ideal time to pursue your entrepreneurial spirit.

Why does entrepreneurship in retirement make sense?

Retirees Have the Experience

  • The uncertainty of entrepreneurship at the age of 22 or 23 can be daunting. A young, aspiring entrepreneur might have the appropriate drive and creativity, but it is unlikely that they have the reassuring, real-world experiences or even the necessary capital to launch a business. In this regard, a retiree has an entrepreneurial edge over younger people because they have experienced the working world for many years and have seen the hard work, determination, and planning it takes to be successful. Additionally, a retiree has seen enough of life to know the different facets that could possibly go into building a strong foundation for their business, and they have likely built a network of contacts and business partners throughout their working years that they can turn to to help them get their idea or skill out into the market better than if they were on their own.

They Also Have New Free Time

  • After managing your time and balancing your priorities over a 30 – 40 year career, retirement offers a significant amount of free time that can feel completely foreign to many people. This is another reason that many retirees turn to starting their own business in retirement. Being an entrepreneur means you get to be your own boss, and choose when to tackle the next obstacle that faces your business or take that next vacation! Starting a business in retirement can provide a retiree with the opportunity to occupy some, not all, of that free time chasing a passion they developed over the years, while leaving enough time for themselves to not feel like they’ve begun a second career.

Where’s the Risk?

  • As was stated before, the thought of entering the workforce at 22 or 23 and trying to carve your idea or passion into a business that can financially support you can be daunting. Add to this that down the road, you may have a family to provide for, and all of a sudden that entrepreneurial idea probably seems even riskier and harder to attain. Of course, there are always risks associated with starting a business, but a retiree is likely to have more savings and possibly an income stream from Social Security to help offset the financial risks of entrepreneurship.

Good for Your Health and “Staying in the Game”

  • Being productive, acting on our passions, and attaining goals can do wonders for the mind, body, and soul. In fact, some say the most important thing to a long-term healthy life is to keep the mind active. According to research by the Institute of Economic Affairs, they have confirmed that mental functioning can decline if the brain isn’t stimulated2; there’s no doubt that a small business venture can keep the brain juices flowing and engaged!
  • Furthermore, one of the hardest adjustments in retirement can be the decrease of social interaction. Not seeing coworkers and colleagues everyday can be a huge change for some retirees, and starting that small business in retirement could be the source of “staying in the game” and enjoying that much-needed interaction with others.

This all sounds great, but what should I do?

  • As you have probably caught on, developing a small business after retirement is all about what YOU want to do. You get to choose the time, the days, the people you work with, and the service or product you want to provide. So, what are your interests, your passions, or that one invention you never got around to creating? Maybe you love a certain sport or a sports team; have you ever thought about organizing tours for ballparks or football stadiums? Do you love to write or speak to entertain? You could start a blog, a podcast, or a radio show for your local station to share your expertise on a certain topic. Some retirees also consider consulting for other companies that could benefit from their expertise in their specialized field.
  • Of course, it’s also important to consider what the financial impacts would be if you did decide to start a business. Creating a budget is a great way to start thinking about all of the associated expenses and potential inflows that can serve you now and into your retirement future.

Our team would love to dream big with you about your goals, priorities, and passions for your retirement, so please feel free to share with us any second wind ideas that you might want to explore more seriously. We’d love to walk an idea around the block with you and be a part of your decision-making process in whatever way you feel would be helpful.

RESOURCES:

The Best of 2018

Financial Planningon December 20th, 2018No Comments

Each year around this time, we find ourselves reflecting on the year that has unfolded. In this final 2018 edition of the Digest, we share a collection of some of our most popular posts from TheLiveBigWay® Digest this year. We hope you enjoy reading (or re-reading!) these pieces and we wish you and yours a restful New Year’s break and a happy and prosperous New Year.

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Economy and Investing Posts

1.What is Bitcoin actually Worth? 2. Hello volatility my old friend… 3. The Correct Way to Think About Corrections 4. What the Stock and Bond Markets are Telling Us

5. Defining the “Perfect Investment”

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  1. We share what we feel is a great explanation from The Unassuming Banker of why Bitcoin, whatever its market value, has zero intrinsic value. Plus a very funny video.
  2. As was surely inevitable, volatility returned to the markets after an historically quiescent couple of years. What should we make of this and what, if anything, should we do?
  3. While the concept of a “correction” has no formal definition in economics, it is commonly used when a stock or market falls by 10%. There have been 37 corrections since 1980, which is to say that they’re pretty common. You know that we believe in the fundamental resilience of the economy, even in the face of uncertainty. But that doesn’t mean it won’t be a bumpy ride.
  4. While we never really know what the markets are telling us, we can harness economic theory to tell us what “might” be going on.
  5. What defines a “perfect” investment? We share our thoughts on judging an investment and building a portfolio that fits an individual’s needs “perfectly”.

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Financial Planning Posts

1. The Science of Spending 2. Beyond the Crypto Craze 3. Get More from Your Credit Score 4. Sailing the Financial Seas 5. What is Your Retirement Vision

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  1. What if there was a way to increase your happiness and satisfaction without much work, energy, or effort? The emerging field of positive psychology says we can!
  2. Hardly a day went by in 2018 where we didn’t see headlines about Bitcoin, the rise of cryptocurrencies, and the emerging technologies fueling the craze. Here’s our take on the crypto-craze.
  3. We breakdown the composition of a credit score and share some simple ways you can get more from your score.
  4. We explore the research behind human behavior in the face of uncertainty and how we at Yeske Buie look to be your experienced sea captain during trying times.
  5. Without properly preparing for retirement, you set yourself up to “quit” your 30+ year routine cold turkey. We share three important questions to keep in mind as you plan for retirement.

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Firm News and Events Posts

1. It’s a Boy!  2. Congratulations to Yeske Buie’s Newest CFPs! 3. Yeske Buie’s 2018 Retreat: Boulder, CO 4. Elissa and Dave’s Live Big Safari

5. Yeske Buie Celebrates Its 10 Year Anniversary!

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  1. Yusuf Abugideiri and his wife Maegan gave us the honor of introducing you to their new addition, baby Noah Ali Abugideiri. See how much Noah has grown in the last year!
  2. Ryan Klemm and Zach Bennedsen officially earned the CFP® Certification this year! Hear from Zach and Ryan about their individual journeys in working to become a CFP.
  3. We invite you to re-live Yeske Buie’s 2018 Annual Staff Retreat in Boulder, CO via a 4 minute audio and visual presentation.
  4. Elissa and Dave enjoyed a three-week Live Big trip to Africa this August. While they were away, the rest of the Yeske Buie team ran the office to ensure that our care for our Clients didn’t skip a beat. Here we share a small gallery of photos from their trip.
  5. In celebration of Yeske Buie’s 10th Anniversary, we’ve compiled a timeline of photos that shows the evolution of our team and major milestones.

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Yeske Buie in the Media Posts

1. Elissa Buie Recognized by Washingtonian Magazine 2. Cash Back Considerations 3. A Close Bond? 4. The Gift of Planning 5. The Financial Planning Success Series

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  1. Elissa Buie was recognized again as one of the area’s best fee-only financial planners as part of Washingtonian Magazine’s Top Wealth Advisors for 2018.
  2. Lauren Stansell shared her thoughts with BankRate.com on cash back cards and the considerations to evaluate when making the decision of which cash back option is most suitable for you.
  3. Dr. Dave Yeske shared his opinion on bonds with CNBC for an article in which they claimed that bond funds were “America’s favorite investment.”
  4. Yeske Buie has long supported the Foundation for Financial Planning, who connected us with a young family in need of financial planning after the husband was diagnosed with cancer. Our experience in working with them is one we’ll always remember.
  5. Always willing to share with others in pursuit of growing the profession, Elissa and Dave are very proud to have been part of Ed and Jody Jacobson’s Financial Planning Success Series, an online collection of wisdom, tips, and strategies from 30 leading experts.

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Cybersecurity Posts

1. Monitoring, Alerting, Locking, or Freezing 2. Cyber Spring Cleaning 3. The Ins and Outs of Identity Theft 4. Protecting Your Digital Identity 5. Don’t Fall for the Imposter

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  1. Monitoring, Alerting, Locking, or Freezing: What to do after the Equifax (or any other) breach.
  2. When is the last time you “scrubbed” your digital life? We offer a cyber spring cleaning checklist to add to your other spring cleaning initiatives.
  3. We share information from industry experts on the ways phishers can steal your information and what you can do to make yourself a less attractive target.
  4. We share our thoughts on the importance of social media identity monitoring and IdentityForce’s new feature that can help protect your digital identity.
  5. According to the Federal Trade Commission, complaints of imposter scams are on the rise. Read on and arm yourself with the knowledge of current imposter scam.

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The Astronomical Cost of Living – Bringing it Back to Earth

Financial Planningon December 13th, 2018No Comments

Written By: Zach Bennedsen, CFP®

You overhear it in restaurants, at the office, on public transit, or at family dinner—it’s on everyone’s mind: things cost so MUCH these days. Whether it’s coming from the generation ahead of you or from a generational peer, everyone wants to wax nostalgic about the cost of living “back in the day.” While the cost of living has certainly gone up, most people conveniently leave out the fact that wages have been steadily climbing as well. However, the increase in wages hasn’t always kept up with the rising cost of living, especially in certain sectors. Today we explore the country’s supposedly astronomical cost of living and see what talking points actually hold true.

The “Astronomical” Statistics

According to the Federal Housing Finance Agency, housing prices rose in every state between mid-2017 and mid-2018. Using the Case-Shiller index, a measure of residential real estate prices, we see that home prices have risen by over 50% since 2012. If we look specifically at San Francisco or Washington DC, the price increase has been even more drastic. Couple this with a less than stellar growth rate of real wages and you have an environment where home ownership and other financial goals, such as retirement, seem always out of reach.

Bringing it Back to Earth

The above statistics don’t exactly paint a rosy picture and can make you feel out of control of your living expenses. However, it is important to contextualize these numbers with a dose of reality—personal reality, that is. Cost of living, home prices, and wage growth figures are presented as averages for an entire nation, region, or city. They are not reported for your individual household. As such, it’s important to acknowledge that your individual situation does not have to be governed by national averages. It is true that you do not control the inflation rate. Nor do you control the housing market or the general wage growth of the country. But you do, however, have some control over your personal wage growth and your personal spending. For example, often ignored in the statistics reported by the Federal Bureau of Labor, your individual wage growth is also heavily influenced by the quality of the work you do. Similarly, you also control your investment and savings strategies, both of which can help you combat the ever-encroaching inflation rate.

When you turn away from generalities and look at your specific life, you may realize you have more control than you may think.

Live Big®

If you still feel like you can’t keep up, you may consider taking a look at your core consumption assumptions of what is “necessary”. If you often find yourself complaining about how much things cost, try to avoid spending your money on those kinds of things. If something doesn’t seem worth it to you, no one is requiring you to buy that item or pay for that experience. No one is requiring you to buy a home with a formal dining room or drive a luxury car. While society pressures us to keep up with the Joneses, we know from previous Digest articles like “Can Money But Happiness?” and “The Science of Spending” that that’s not a strategy for fulfillment. No matter where you live, there are many ways that you can find fulfillment without spending a lot of money: for inspiration, you may take a look at our Live Big list.

So, if you feel like you can’t keep up with today’s astronomical cost of living, that’s fine. No one is asking you to do that. Remember, as we always say, it’s about the size of your life, not the size of your wallet®.

ABLE: Achieving a Better Life Experience

Financial Planningon November 29th, 2018No Comments

Written By: Ryan Rasmussen

Many parents of kids with disabilities will tell you that supporting and caring for them is one of the hardest yet most rewarding things they’ve had the privilege of doing. These families have many facets of their lives to manage, and money typically is the most substantial factor weighing them down. Fortunately for these families, recent changes to  ABLE accounts will better assist them financially.

ABLE accounts were created in 2014 under the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act. The primary objective for this account is to authorize a person with disabilities to establish a tax-exempt account to save for disability-related expenses without impacting eligibility for resource-based benefits. At their inception, little to no attention was directed towards the ABLE Accounts because of restrictions but due to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA), they are more appealing than ever.

The Benefits of ABLE Accounts

ABLE accounts can be opened for individuals that are disabled before turning age 26. Friends, family, and owners of the account can contribute after-tax dollars into the account. Investment growth within an ABLE account isn’t taxed, resulting in a quicker increase in value. Distributions from ABLE plans, including accumulated earnings, are entirely tax-free to the designated beneficiary as long as they are used to pay qualifying expenses. Some of the qualified expenses are listed below:

  • Daily living expenses
  • Education
  • Housing
  • Transportation
  • Costs associated with going to work
  • Expenses related to keeping a job
  • Health care
  • Assistive technology
  • Legal fees
  • Financial management fees

One of the most significant advantages of an ABLE account is that the disabled individual and their families can build savings in this account, without losing eligibility for alternative critical benefits including state-operated benefits plans, Medicaid, and Social Security Benefits, which have asset ceilings of $2,000. Furthermore, some state plans like Medi-Cal and CalFresh will provide benefits no matter the amount saved in the ABLE Accounts. In addition, asset values within the ABLE account will not affect eligibility for medical assistance through Medicaid. Social Security Benefits are permitted for individuals with ABLE accounts with a balance lower than $100,000. It’s important to note anything above $100,000 in an ABLE account will result in the loss of Social Security Benefits.

As was mentioned earlier, the TCJA made many changes to the ABLE accounts that make them more attractive and more suitable to implement, and the hope is that these changes will result in increased numbers of ABLE accounts and/or higher balances. The changes are listed below:

  • Contribution limits increased from $14,000 to $15,000 per year.
  • Employed beneficiaries not actively participating in their employer-provided retirement plan can contribute 100% of their earned income to their ABLE account.
  • ABLE account holders who work are eligible to contribute above $15,000 a year.
    • The limit is either the lesser of the Federal poverty limit ($12,060) or the individual’s overall compensation for the year.
  • ABLE beneficiaries could claim the Saver’s Credit based on the allocation of the earned income directed into their ABLE account.
  • ABLE account holders are permitted to roll over funds from a regular 529 College Savings plans to ABLE accounts tax-free up to $15,000 per year.
  • Lastly, under the PATH Act of 2015, not TCJA, individuals can choose ABLE accounts outside of the state of residency.
    • This allows individuals to have more control over investment options, expenses, and even the state-based maximum account limits.
    • This link will provide you a brief insight into each state-sponsored ABLE account.

Maximizing ABLE Account Benefits

Let’s explore situations where ABLE accounts can benefit a household with a disabled person.

  • ABLE accounts are much more affordable and easier to activate compared to its counterpart the Special Needs Trust. This is useful for families that do not have the means to create a Trust or simply a lower cost replacement for small trust.
  • Qualified Tuition Programs 529 Plans allow an annual $15,000 to be rolled over to ABLE accounts.
    • This change helps families to reallocate initially funded 529 College Savings plans for their children before receiving a child’s diagnosis into an account better fit to pay for disability expenses.

There is a useful planning strategy that coordinates ABLE accounts with Special Needs Trust. In this scenario, a family would fund the ABLE account over several years, taking advantage of tax-free growth while simultaneously funding a Special Needs Trust. The ABLE account value should not exceed $100,000 in an effort to preserve the beneficiary’s public benefits. In this scenario, a rule of thumb is to have little to no assets in the ABLE account upon the death of the disabled individual because assets within the ABLE account are likely to be recovered by Medicaid at the beneficiary’s death whereas assets in the Special Needs Trust can be bequest to surviving family members. Therefore, the ABLE would be the first savings bucket to draw down.  Once the ABLE account has been exhausted, then the family or individual would utilize the assets within the Special Needs Trust. This strategy combines the benefits of tax savings and postmortem asset control.

Families affected by disabilities continually manage areas of complexity outside the norm. More times than not, disabilities surprise families and forever change the way they operate. Sure enough, money seems to follow with every obstacle that arises. With the proper use of an ABLE account and guidance from a financial planner, money can better serve the family’s needs rather than be a burden.

The Gift of Planning

Financial Planning, Firm News & Events, Give Big, Yeske Buie in the Mediaon November 29th, 2018No Comments

Written By: Lauren Mireles, FPQPTM

Yeske Buie has long supported the Foundation for Financial Planning, the nation’s only nonprofit charity solely devoted to supporting the delivery of pro bono financial planning. We believe so strongly in the importance of the work that they do that we’ve consistently given our time, our talent, and our treasure to the organization for over a decade. Through our involvement with the Foundation, we had the privilege of meeting a young family whose life had been upended with the terrible news of a cancer diagnosis.

“Everything we worked so hard for came crashing down,” said Leslie. “We had medical decisions to make, Mike was in the hospital for months at a time… we were overwhelmed by everything.  The last thing you are thinking about is paying the bills, but they are still there, they don’t go away.”

Listening to this couple tell their story, we were indelibly drawn to help them in whatever way we could; and the Foundation’s Pro Bono for Cancer Campaign made that desire a reality.

The Pro Bono for Cancer Campaign was launched earlier this year with the goal of supporting efforts around the country to connect cancer patients and their families to free, quality financial advice. Yusuf Abugideiri, CFP®, Senior Financial Planner in our Virginia office, was matched with Mike and Leslie to help them navigate their financial challenges. This engagement included gathering their financial data, presenting a holistic plan that put all of their finances in one place, and sharing some new ideas to improve their cash-flow. In Leslie’s words, Yusuf also, “gave us answers to questions that we wouldn’t have known the answers to, and getting answers to even the smallest questions makes a huge difference.”

The experience didn’t just make a difference in Mike and Leslie’s lives, it also made a difference in Yusuf’s life. Yusuf shared the following sentiments during a presentation detailing his work with the family at the Financial Planning Association’s Annual Conference:

It’s been an honor to participate in this initiative and a privilege to work with this family. Working with Mike and Leslie made me appreciate the role I play as an objective advisor, dedicated to instilling confidence in a family faced with many difficult and sometimes overwhelming financial decisions. We provided the structure and offered our skill-set, but it was Mike and Leslie who ultimately drove the work. Not only did they display a willingness to embrace the financial planning process, but they also took significant steps during the engagement to improve their financial situation.

I am grateful for the small role I’ve played in Mike and Leslie’s story – to have been able to combine our support and reassurance with their incredible courage and diligence. It’s meant so much to me to partner with them as they navigate the continuing financial challenges brought about by Mike’s diagnosis.

As is the case with all of our Clients, we appreciate the opportunity to continue building our relationship with Mike and Leslie; hoping to be an anchor during life transitions and a sounding board for ideas and questions that arise along their journey. To repeat Yusuf’s sentiments, it is an honor and a privilege to be welcomed into the lives of Mike, Leslie, and all of our Clients. We receive such an invaluable gift by planning with each and every one of you.

To learn more about the Foundation’s Pro Bono for Cancer Campaign, we encourage you to take a few minutes to explore the following resources:

Financial Perfection vs. Financial Progress

Financial Planningon November 15th, 2018No Comments

Written By: Daniel Tripp

Winston Churchill, arguably one of the twentieth century’s greatest statesman, had many lasting and impactful aphorisms. One saying, attributable to his wit and insight, is, “Perfect is the enemy of progress!”. Churchill likely borrowed this saying from the late seventeenth century Enlightenment philosopher, Voltaire, who probably adopted the aphorism from an earlier unknown work. But regardless of its origins, here at Yeske Buie and as members of the financial planning profession, the saying’s truth and timeless wisdom resonates with us.

The reality of the world today is that we are living in an age of perfectionism. According to a recent Harvard Business Review article, “A record number of young people worldwide are suffering from serious depression or anxiety disorders. In some sections of society, there is a tendency to dismiss this trend as the product of an over-indulged, over-entitled, and over-sensitive ‘snowflake generation.’ To the contrary, there is growing evidence that the increase in psychological ill-health of young people may stem from the excessive standards that they hold for themselves and the harsh self-punishment they routinely engage in. Increasingly, young people hold irrational ideals for themselves; ideals that manifest in unrealistic expectations for academic and professional achievement, how they should look, and what they should own. Young people are seemingly internalizing a pre-eminent contemporary myth that things, including themselves, should be perfect.”1

Think about it: all around us, we’re bombarded with images of perfection. Advertising and social media tell us that we must act a certain way, hold a particular job, drive the right car, live in the right place, have the right friends, and possess the right amount of money to achieve success. That said, the idea of perfection and of having the “perfect” life is an abstraction, an impossibility in reality. What researchers are finding as a result of this chase is a subliminal but profound connection between perfectionism and procrastination.3

From a financial planning perspective, some may consider procrastination to be the enemy of financial success, just as time is its greatest ally. When we value financial perfection over financial progress, just getting started in creating a financial plan can feel overwhelming. We tell ourselves we shouldn’t start investing because the market is too high or too low. That we shouldn’t begin to save because the job we have doesn’t pay enough, we have too much debt, we’ll owe more in taxes, or we don’t have enough investment knowledge. We tell ourselves it’s not the right time to re-evaluate our insurance coverages, build or update our budget, or complete our estate plan because we’re too busy with work, family, friends, and life. In each of these cases, we feel like the perfect time to accomplish our financial goals isn’t now, and we think at some point in the future, the ideal time will come. The problem is, as we all know, there is no perfect time; life always happens.

So, what are some ways to overcome the tendency to seek perfection so you can get started on tackling your financial goals?

  1. First, recognize there is never going to be the perfect moment to get your financial life in order. The markets are always going to be in flux, there will always be competing claims on our income and time, and debt and spending will be a part of life. If you allow the apparent complexity of the topic to overwhelm you, it will. And if you wait until the perfect moment to get started, you’ll never start. When it comes to successfully managing your finances, taking small steps now can lead to huge rewards later. For example, start by taking a few minutes each week to learn more about saving and investing. Warren Buffet famously said, “The best investment you can make is in yourself. The more you learn, the more you earn.” One of our favorite books on the topic of investing is The Investment Answer by Daniel C. Goldie and Gordon S. Murra. If you’re looking for a place to get started learning more about saving and investing, this concise and approachable book provides an excellent overview.
  1. Next, get organized. Take stock of all your accounts, know your online login and passwords, and review and save important financial and personal documents in a safe and secure place. Make a list of the tasks you need to get done to bring your financial life into order. Set deadlines to achieve these tasks, and tackle each item, one at a time, piece by piece. Also, it’s a good idea to make it a habit of reviewing your bank and investment accounts as often as you feel comfortable. You don’t need to watch your accounts every day or even every week, but you should check in a couple of times a month to review statements and to look for any abnormal activity. After you’ve organized your personal and financial accounts, spend time observing and tracking your monthly cash flows. Begin to notice how you’re spending your money, and how the money flows out. As the old saying goes, “You can’t manage that which you don’t measure.” We’ve written about some excellent online tools such Mint.com that can help manage this task. Or as an alternative, you can create a simple cash flow statement using excel, or a pen and paper to track all the income you have coming in and going out.
  1. Finally, a great way to overcome feelings of perfection in your financial life is to consult a financial planner. Financial planners, through the financial planning process, offer a unique perspective on your finances that aren’t otherwise available if you try to manage all the aspects of your financial life on your own. Here at Yeske Buie, we help our Clients make sense of the complexities of the financial landscape. To overcome the tendency to seek perfection and to procrastinate, we act as ambassadors of your future financial self. We prioritize competing interests, model trade-offs, organize important documents and keep track of time-sensitive deadlines. The synergy of our relationship with our Clients allows them to make progress in overcoming financial challenges. And perhaps the most critical element a Planner can provide a Client is peace of mind, knowing, regardless of external world circumstances, that they are doing all they can to maximize the chances of achieving financial success. So next time you feel like it’s not the perfect time to address your pressing financial problem, give us a call and allow us to help you see the situation from a new perspective.

SOURCES:

  1. Hill, T. C. (2018, May 30). Perfectionism Is Increasing, and That’s Not Good News. Retrieved October 10, 2018, from https://hbr.org/2018/01/perfectionism-is-increasing-and-thats-not-good-news
  2. (n.d.). Retrieved October 10, 2018, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/perfectionism
  3. Clear, J. (2014, March 03). No, You Shouldn’t Obsess Over Being Perfect — Especially When Starting Up. Retrieved October 18, 2018, from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/231771

I Bought a Home – Now What?

Financial Planningon November 15th, 2018No Comments

Written By: Alishia DuBois

After hours of researching the perfect neighborhood, touring who knows how many houses, and signing what feels like one hundred papers, it’s finally yours. Your very own home. The reality of this new chapter in your life can be both exciting and overwhelming. And whether it is your first home or you’ve been around the block a few times, it’s worth creating a plan to ensure your home buying decision aligns with your big-picture financial plan. The following bullet points are items for you to consider as you move along the journey of buying a home. We hope you find them informative.

  • Think About Your Long-Term Goals
    • Why did you buy the home? To raise your family? To downsize? Something else? Whatever the reason, it is important to consider how this decision matches your long-term planning goals. We believe that one of our most important roles as financial planners is to be a sounding board for our Clients as they articulate their individual goals, and to create policies to help them use their resources in ways that support these goals. We encourage you to leverage us as a resource on your home buying journey at whatever time you feel most comfortable – as we like to say, we’re great people to think with!
  • Make Sure You Understand the Full Cost of Ownership
    • The expenses that come with owning a home add up quickly – examples include property taxes, utilities, HOA fees, lawn cutting and housekeeping services, and more. Be sure to update your budget to account for these items so you can be fully aware of your anticipated monthly expenses.
  • Consider Funding a “Home Maintenance” Account
    • In addition to your emergency fund, you may consider setting up a separate “home maintenance” account for expenses like insurance, property tax, HOA dues, renovations, and repairs. Economist Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research suggests setting aside 1% of the purchase price for repairs and maintenance. That means if you buy a $375,000 home, plan to stow away $3,7501. You may not need that money for some time, but it is a good measure to take for when you do.
  • Research Additional Insurance Coverage
    • The most important insurance policies for new home buyers include homeowner’s insurance to protect your home, property and casualty insurance to protect your belongings, and umbrella insurance for broader coverage. As you think about your insurance needs, you may find it helpful to create a spreadsheet of your valuables and take pictures to match each item. While this may feel like a tedious task, having an inventory of your belongings can assist in the claim process in the event of an accident. Use your pending move as a trigger to complete this exercise by updating the file as you pack and/or unpack your belongings and purchase items for your new home. Don’t forget to keep several copies of this document in a safe place, perhaps even in the cloud, to ensure you have access to it no matter where you are.
  • Take Care of Your Investment
    • Your intentions for purchasing a new home may be to embody Chip and Joanna from HGTV’s Fixer Upper; renovate, sell, and (hopefully) make a profit. Or, your intentions may reside in finding and growing your forever home. Wherever you lie on this spectrum, purchasing a home is still an investment – and a significant one at that. As such, it is important to keep the home in good condition; not only because you invested your time and hard-earned money into it, but also because poor home maintenance can result in large expenses down the road and/or affect the listing price and leave you with less cash in your pocket if/when you decide to sell it.
  • Get (and Stay!) Organized
  • Other Housekeeping Considerations
    • Make any necessary home improvements before moving in – it can be a real pain moving all of your furniture when laying down new flooring or painting walls.
    • Do a deep clean of the home before you move in. If you plan on hiring someone to do it, check for services on websites like Angie’s List or Groupon to see if you can snag yourself a deal.
    • Update your address all of your assets and liabilities, set up utilities, and change the locks on the home.
    • Map your circuit breakers to their outlets to save time and hassle when power goes out.
    • Figure out where your shut-off valves are in case of a homeowner emergency like water pipes bursting.
    • Assemble an emergency supply kit.
    • List emergency contacts, and post them where it’s easy to see.
    • If moving to a different state, remember to register your vehicle(s) in the new state.
    • Make sure motion lights and other security lights have working bulbs.
    • Ask your neighbors about who to go to for bigger-ticket items like landscaping and exterior painting – they may not have a recommendation, but they may have someone to warn you about.
    • Throw a housewarming party – it not only gives you a set deadline to get the place in order, it will also allow you to share your excitement and hard work with the people you care about!

Remember, your team at Yeske Buie is always available to help you navigate major life transitions including the home buying process. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us – we are happy to help.

SOURCES:

  1. Just bought your first home? Here’s what to do next.
  2. New Home Checklist: 12 Things Homeowners Should Do Right Away

What is Your Retirement Vision?

Financial Planningon October 31st, 2018No Comments

Written By: Ryan Klemm, CFP®

We spend our entire adult lives working to reach the destination known as retirement: a period of life that many imagine filling with travel, relaxation or endless rounds of golf. In actuality, retirement can be one of the most challenging phases of life and one with many new unknowns. If you do not prepare for retirement both financially and personally, then you ultimately “quit” 30+ years of a known routine cold turkey. For this reason, it is important to ask the right questions and seek guidance on how to navigate this phase of life before you reach it and unfortunately, this is often an overlooked step of retirement planning. With that being said, we share three retirement FAQs to consider as you plan for retirement.

  1. How much can I safely spend from my portfolio when I retire?
    • This can easily be considered the most important question to ask, and have answered, when planning for retirement. Throughout your career, your entire financial life was based off of a regular or semi-regular paycheck, and therefore you need to identify your spending capacity once that paycheck is no longer automatically deposited into your account. Additionally, as you think about your level of spending in retirement, it’s important to understand what your cash flow will look like and to determine the safe amount that is available for withdrawal from your portfolio. Some financial outlays may drop off of your Cash Flow Statement (for example your mortgage, a portion of taxes, retirement savings, etc.) while other expenses may increase (travel, leisure activities, gifts). We implement a Safe-Spending System for our Clients during retirement that calculates a Safe-Spending Target, and when factoring in decision rules, allows for a safe amount of spending throughout the duration of one’s life.
  2. When is the best age to retire?
    • Another great question! And one that has a few objective answers and other subjective answers. The objective answer includes specific ages that signify important milestones in your path towards retirement and should therefore be factored into your decision:
      • Age 59 ½ is when you are able to take penalty-free distributions from your IRA or 401(k);
      • Age 62 is when you can take early Social Security distributions (at a reduced rate); and
      • Age 65 is when Medicare kicks in.
    • The subjective answer is also quite simple – it’s when you feel ready to! As long as you are factoring in the answer to our first question shared today. Once you have identified how much you can safely spend, and it fits into your retirement picture, then you have the freedom to select when the Golden Era begins.
  3. How do I spend my time in retirement?
    • You’ve officially decided to retire, had your retirement party at work and woke up the first morning thinking “now what?” It’s often the case that we are working towards retirement, but don’t actually think about what retirement will consist of. In a finite approach, retirement provides you with, on average, an extra 40 hours a week of unfilled time. What does that time look like? We spend years exploring this with Clients to help them prepare for the surplus of time they expect to encounter in retirement. We often use Money Quotient’s “My Ideal Week in Retirement” worksheet to help Clients paint a picture of what their weeks may look like and to determine what the priorities in their life are.

At Yeske Buie, we often spend a lifetime with our Clients working towards answering each of these incredibly important questions. We employ an investment philosophy geared towards servicing your spending needs in retirement, continually run analyses to determine the “best” financial age to retire, and exploring what your ideal retirement looks like. Enlist the help of your financial planner to ensure you have the proper planning and support needed to make retirement one of the most joyous celebrations and phases in your life.

How to Save in a Hurry

Financial Planningon October 18th, 2018No Comments

Written By: Cole DeLucas

As you travel along life’s journey, different opportunities can come across your path that require pooling your resources; buying a house, taking your family on vacation, building an emergency fund, or buying a new car. And when you decide to pursue one of these opportunities, the next step is to think about what needs to be done to achieve the goal. Sometimes the timeline for the goal is long-term, but what do you do if you need to save in a hurry? In this post, we explore different quick-saving tactics to consider when you want to save for a big expense in a timely manner.

The Power of Budgeting

Consider the following two phrases…

  • “A penny saved is a penny earned.” – Benjamin Franklin
  • “A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.” – Dave Ramsey

In our opinion, the principles behind these phrases are the backbone to developing and staying true to a budget. In a time where saving up for that next large purchase needs to be done quickly, developing a budget can help you discover money you thought you never had. Now, that’s not to say that once you’ve mastered budgeting your money will start to grow on trees! Rather, a budget can help you see where and how changing your spending habits can make saving for that big expense a bit more realistic. Once you have identified expenses that you can reduce, place that money to the side in a consistent periodic manner until the date of the upcoming expense. You may be surprised how quickly those expenses add up! Review the following two areas of your budget to identify opportunities to free up additional cash.

Discretionary Expenses: Cutting back on some discretionary (non-essential) expenses may help you reach your savings goal more quickly. Below are a few starter expenses that, if temporarily halted, could free up cash you never thought you had:

  • Subscriptions you may not use too often (Netflix, Hulu, Apple Music, Spotify, Hello Fresh, AudioBooks, etc.)
  • Cable TV
  • An unused gym membership
  • Eating out frequently

These expenses do not need to be eliminated permanently; consider removing them from your budget for as long as it takes to reach your savings goal.

Money-Generating Ideas: Another possible avenue one may explore to create savings is to generate more money rather than cutting expenses. Have you ever re-discovered something that made you think, “when was the last time I used or wore this?” Or, have you noticed that you have some old items piling up and that are rarely being put to use? But have you ever considered selling some of your belongings? E-bay, Craigslist, Offer Up, and Let It Go are just some of many websites people use to help them declutter their garage or attic. You may also consider a yard sale, or taking things to a consignment shop to sell gently-used clothes or items.

There is an Emotional Factor, Too!

The trade-offs associated with a budget can make sticking to that plan rather difficult. As such, it’s important to believe in yourself and try to picture yourself reaching that goal and the fulfillment that it will bring to your life. Once you have saved enough for that first large expense, you will have validated that you are capable of achieving such saving goals, and you may even find that you enjoy saving money fast and develop a practice you never thought you had.

And of course, we are always here to help you plan for your short-term and long-term savings goals. Please don’t hesitate to share these goals with your Yeske Buie team so we walk with you every step of the way to help you make that goal becomes a reality.


“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that others won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ~Marianne Williamson