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Is an Online Financial Advisor Right for You?

While many people choose to handle their finances and investments on their own, a good number of households opt for the services of a professional financial advisor. This means scheduling visits to an office to discuss investments and other financial goals. Like our shopping, entertainment, and other parts of financial management, you can now choose an online financial advisor that you never meet face-to-face. But is that a good idea? Let’s dive in and take a look at the pros and cons of online-only financial advising and whether or not it makes sense for you. Why an Online Financial Advisor Makes Sense Much of our lives have moved into the digital world. While the concepts hardly existed just a decade ago, we look to our phones and computers for online banking, calling a ride, booking an overnight stay in someone else’s empty apartment and much of our daily shopping. Why…

Are You Being Careful With Your 401(k)?

In time where traditional pensions are all but extinct, 401(k) accounts are key to many people’s retirement strategies. You just set them up, make sure you put money in and that’s it. Right? Trick question. A 401(k) needs management in order to be the retirement nest egg you want it to be. Your employer put it in place for you, but it’s up to you to make it work for you. There’s plenty of information out there on managing a 401(k) and the mistakes people make with their accounts. Even the IRS has some definite opinions on how you should go about making 401(k) decisions. We’ve assembled some of the more common things people don’t realize about their 401(k) accounts, along with some resources to help you make the most of yours. It Costs You Money to Have a 401(k) “Employer-provided” doesn’t mean “100 percent employer-funded.” There are personal costs…

How to Face Off With Debt Before Retirement

As you enter your 50s and 60s, hopefully you find yourself coming face-to-face with retirement. You may also find yourself still in debt. You are not alone. In fact, nearly 70 percent of people over 55 are in debt. To really make the most of your retirement years, it is essential you do whatever you can to ditch your debt now. Still, it can be overwhelming to even know where to begin. Following these tips can help you pay down your debt before retirement. Reconsider Housing No one is saying you have to hole up in the wilderness or live in a tiny house. But what you do need to do is think about where you live and why. Give particular consideration to housing extras like property taxes and homeowners insurance. Typically, housing is the biggest expense in a budget, but people often only think mortgage payments when it comes…

9 Questions to Ask Your Financial Advisor to Start the Year Off Right

The new year is a perfect time to review your finances. From your investments to your loans, it is important to check in, make sure everything is as you expect. January is a perfect time give your finances a good audit. While you are at it, the start of the year is a great time to check in with your financial advisor, if you have one. Schedule a quick call to get an update on your investments. Ask about your outlook for the next year and get answers to any questions about your investments. While you’re at it, you can ask your advisor these nine questions to ensure your money is on track to meet your financial goals. Are You a Fiduciary? A fiduciary is a financial advisor that is required to put your best interests ahead of their own. If you have a financial advisor, it should always be…

Take Steps Today to Ensure Your Life Insurance Pays Off

If you have a life insurance policy, you have already taken the first positive step toward protecting your loved ones’ financial futures. September is Life Insurance Awareness Month and the ideal time to take the next steps to ensure that you not only have adequate coverage but that your good intentions will be carried out too. Here are key points you need to know about how to manage life insurance policies and about how insurance is paid out: Check Your Records and Update as Needed Maybe you took out the policy many years ago, during which time your beneficiaries have moved or changed names through marriage or divorce. Make sure your beneficiaries are updated with your life insurance company, including their names, addresses and Social Security numbers. Tell Your Beneficiaries About Your Life Insurance Policies The Insurance Information Institute recommends you inform your beneficiaries about the company that issued your…

Personal Finance Quiz: 9 Questions to Ask Yourself

How well do you know your money? Odds are you are more familiar with your finances than anyone else in the world. If that isn’t the case, it’s time to make a change. Find out if you know enough about your money with this quick personal finance quiz. Are You Saving Enough for Retirement? How much do you need save for retirement? Are you on track to reach that target? Many Americans never calculate how much they need for retirement. The average baby boomer is destined to see a dramatic lifestyle change after paychecks stop in retirement. Even with social security and the increasingly rare pension, most Americans are far from saving what they need for retirement. SmartAsset suggests the average retiree should have between nine and 11 times their annual salary saved for retirement. It doesn’t matter if you are five years from retirement or 50, make sure you are…

Financial Freedom: 4 Strategies to Be Debt Free in 2017

Will this be the year you experience debt freedom?  If you have debt, you probably made a New Year’s Resolution this year to work hard to get your debt under control. Think how wonderful it will be.  No more calls from creditors. Debt comes in many shapes and sizes so whether your debt is from credit cards, student loans, or anything else, these 4 strategies will help you tackle your debt and get it controlled once and for all. The Debt Avalanche The best way to get out of debt, according to math, is a strategy known as the “debt avalanche.” With a debt avalanche, you prioritize your debt by an interest rate. Each month, pay the minimum payment of every debt, but the one with the highest interest rate gets more. Put every extra dollar you have into that debt until it is paid off, then move on to…

Year-End Financial Checklist: 8 Must Haves

New Year’s is just a few days away and it’s always a good idea to assess your financial situation before the year is up. With a new presidency on the horizon as well, it’s also a good time to start thinking about how new reforms could affect your taxable income and finances over the coming months and years. By using a year-end financial checklist, you can ensure your 2017 will start off on the right foot. Here’s a simple year-end financial checklist you can tackle before December 31st to help get your financial life in order. Review Your  Insurance Policies, and Don’t Miss Open Enrollment Your HR department has probably been sending around reminders about open enrollment. Don’t delay! Set aside some time to tally up how much you’ve spent on premiums, claims and out of pocket expenses over the last few years to help you determine if you should…

5 Fun Ways to Teach Your Kids About Money and Investing

Kids learn pretty quickly that it takes money to buy things. The pace at which children develop financial literacy can be another matter, however. Most schools don’t require financial literacy and those that do typically only offer classes at the high school level. There’s no need to rely on schools or wait until your kids are teenagers to start teaching them about money. The sooner your kids can pick up practical skills like budgeting and understanding the stock market, the better. You don’t need a finance degree to teach your kids about money and investing – just have fun with it and keep things simple. Enthusiasm and patience yield good results. Below are five ways to teach your kids about money and investing. Practice Real-Life Scenarios With Board Games Did you play Monopoly or Life when you were a kid? Those games are true classics and a fun way to…

How Life Insurance Companies Choose Your Term Life Insurance Rate

Life insurance is a cornerstone of any solid personal financial plan, but to most people, there are many mysteries behind the scenes of life insurance. One of those mysteries is how insurance rates are determined. Understanding life insurance rates can help you navigate the many life insurance options and find a company that works with you to get the best rate possible. Understanding the different life insurance rates can help you quickly and easily navigate the many life insurance options available to you and to find a company that works closely with you to get the best rate possible. Insurance Policy Size When signing up for term life insurance, insurers offer a range of policy sizes. This is an important decision, but also has a direct impact on what you pay each month. As logic would have it, you pay more for a bigger policy than a smaller one. However,…

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