Child: But Daddy – that’s not fair!
Daddy: Well, son, life’s not fair. Whoever said it is lied to you. Fair is where you go to ride rides.
Anyone who’s ever been in one of my CFP® classes has heard me use this expression, and indeed I picked it up in one of my own CFP classes. Yes, the practice question you’re trying to answer may not be fair, but the CFP® Board tests you with questions like this, so toughen up.
I’ve been thinking about fairness lately, along with justice and equity, and the different shades of meaning in the words. I think of fairness in terms of fair play, i.e. the referee applies the rules even-handedly to both teams with no partiality. Justice, on the other hand, speaks to issues of right and wrong in our relationships with one another. Right behavior is just behavior, and wrong...
I see it from acquaintances who are looking for houses: sellers receive multiple offers, often over ask, and properties are sold before they even get a chance to swing by for a look!
I loved living in New York City (years ago) and I love living in Miami. To me, Miami is New York with good weather. Everyone is from somewhere else, and came here to work, go to school, or have some fun. I love the cultural diversity, and the physical beauty of the city. Still, I will stipulate that Miami isn’t for everyone. It is expensive. And it can be off-putting when no one around you speaks English. We see clients make this calculation: Hmm. I can sell here for $700,000 and buy twice the house in North Carolina (or many other places) for a lot less and bank the rest. What’s holding me back?
In this blog post, I want to get into one...
Ah, greenbacks, lettuce, clams, or Benjamins – no matter what we call it, cash is still king! There are few places in the world that will not take the American dollar as payment. I fact, I can only think of two: inflight on American Airlines, and Uber.
Here’s a valid reason NOT to use cash: if some young socialist decides to knock you over the head to redistribute your wealth, those dollars are gone and cannot be replaced. Had the young socialist only reaped your credit cards, you can get on the phone and stop those cards, and you have only a maximum $50 liability per card, if even that.
Another reason not to use cash is airline miles and hotel points. This is my personal practice. We run as much as possible through the American Airlines cards and the Marriott Visa, and the points (and benefits) really add up! But if you’re going to do this, you must have the...
Here’s a question for you, ladies. You’re out on a first date at a restaurant with someone new. You’re interested . . . not sure, but interested. It’s just a date . . . let’s see how the evening goes, you think to yourself. When it comes time to pay the check, he:
If it is #3, dump him right then and there and block his phone number.
But between #1 and #2, which impresses you the most?
Way back when I was a young man people paid cash for most everything. In fact, it was a mark of pride to do so. Credit was for people who couldn’t afford to pay cash – losers, in other words. But now! After working with many clients on cash flow organization, I can tell you that most people simply use a card to purchase everything, and most millennials don’t even carry cash....
Everyone at some time or another needs some cash - and quickly! The question is, have you anticipated this need and saved into it? Or do you need to scramble? What follows is a list of ten helpful suggestions.
What follows is one of my all-time favorite quotations, from Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland. The background is that Alice has come to a fork in the road and wonders out loud which way to turn. The Cheshire Cat materializes, and the following conversation ensures:
Alice asked the Cheshire Cat, who was sitting in a tree, “What road do I take?” The cat asked, “Where do you want to go?” “I don’t know,” Alice answered. “Then,” said the cat, “it really doesn’t matter, does it?”
This gets to the very heart of financial planning. How are your invested assets to be used? What is the purpose for these dollars? What do you want to accomplish?
Our point is that investment accounts don’t (or shouldn’t) exist in a vacuum. Purpose and time horizon inform the ultimate investment choices. ...
I can now pay for a Tesla with Bitcoin. And the Mayor of Miami wants to pay City employees in Bitcoin and allow tax payments in the same cryptocurrency. Honestly, until I can go into Bloomingdale's and buy a shirt with Bitcoin, it doesn't much matter to me.
And neither should it to you, if you’re in the process of getting your financial house in order. In my world of financial planning and investment management, the basics are still the pathway to financial freedom and prosperity: spend less than what you earn and invest the rest.
The rub is that many people don’t know what they spend because no one uses cash anymore. It used to be that if a man wanted to impress a lady, he’d flash a bankroll when paying the restaurant check. Now, she’d probably flee the table at such Neanderthal behavior: it is the gold or platinum cards that...
by Glenn J. Downing, MBA, CFP®
With mortgage rates so low, we’ve been looking at mortgage refinancing for a few of our clients lately, to see if it might be in their best interests. Here’s what we know:
Although I usually blog about financial topics. Now and then I like to switch it up and get personal. That's the case here - a few observances of the absurdities in modern life. I hope you are amused!
While on vacation recently I stopped at a store to pick up a bottle of wine – we’d been invited to someone’s home for dinner. The young woman at the checkout asked for my driver’s license. I asked why, as I had cash ready in my hand to pay for my purchase. She replied, “You’re buying alcohol. We need to verify your age.” To which I replied, incredulously, and probably a bit too loudly – “Honey – just look at me!” At that point another clerk came over and explained that the store’s policy is to card everyone who is purchasing an alcoholic beverage with no exceptions, and that retaining her job is more important than this particular...
*That is, don’t do it without reading this first.
If you have employer stock in your company retirement plan, there are some special tax benefits that you’ll lose if you put that stock into an IRA.
Generally, when you leave your employer you’ll roll your retirement account out to an IRA. Once you’ve passed age 59½ you can take distributions from the IRA with no tax penalty, but all distributions are taxable at ordinary income rates. In current brackets these will typically be from 22% to 37%.
But there’s a special provision for employer stock. You can distribute the stock from your retirement plan in kind, moving it to a non-tax qualified account. Your taxable event will be only the stock’s basis. Then when you sell the stock you’ll be taxed only on the gain over the basis, and at the more favorable long-term capital gains...