We all know it is coming – that at one point Till death us do part becomes a reality. What a sad time - someone dear to us has gone away, never to return, and will be missed greatly.
As a financial planner, I hope that the couple has already done the basic legal estate work, i.e. the proper documents are in place, so the transition of property can occur smoothly. For the surviving spouse I have this advice: Do nothing until you really need to.
In some cases, particularly after a long illness, the surviving spouse already has a good idea of what life going forward will be like. But it is still a shock. My counsel is to go through a cycle of birthdays, holidays and anniversaries without your loved one. Let it settle in that you are no longer married. In time, you’ll find your way forward.
And what is the way forward? How will I...
You want to retire in a few years, right? And you know you haven't saved enough. But there are bills to pay, and at the end of the month there’s nothing left. In fact, there’s often a shortfall. What can you do?
Short answer: a lot. If this is your situation, you’ve let your money be your master rather than your servant. To turn it around so that your money accomplishes what YOU want it to is going to require a change of thinking and some effort on your part.
Here’s the change in thinking: In your mind separate out spending that is necessary from spending that is discretionary. In other words, what do you need to spend for food, clothing, and other necessities – car payment, various insurances, etc.
And then think about what is discretionary. What do you spend by choice and not out of necessity? ...
An area of increasing regulatory scrutiny is retirement plan rollovers to IRAs. This is a common transaction, and done every day, but it just might not be in your best interests. Why? Several factors:
You may have noticed in all CameronDowning email signatures this text:
Where 5% of all revenue is donated
To homeless assistance in Miami.
What’s behind this? I thought my readers might find the story interesting.
Shortly after Jonathan Cameron and I founded CameronDowning in 2014, I read a piece in the Wall St. Journal about companies that fulfilled their ethical obligations to the community by giving money to charitable endeavors off the top, rather than as planned gifts. This really caught my attention. Lots to consider here.
An obligation? As a business do we have an ethical obligation to the community at large? After all, one...
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....
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. ...
My industry – financial planning and investment management – unwittingly puts a lot of pressure on people to retire. We all have retirement accounts and look forward to the day when we no longer set the alarm clock. Planning for retirement is a big deal - sort of like planning for a wedding. We anticipate the date and hope all goes well. But the years after the retirement – after the wedding – are also of great importance.
Some people – like me – love what they do and look forward to each new day and its challenges and possibilities. To these folks I say: You know, you don’t have to retire. Just keep working!
What’s the source of all this retirement pressure? Probably Medicare and Social Security. Medicare becomes available at age 65, so that is sort of the turning point age. The...