Tag

Finance

Shakespeare on Finance

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For centuries, people have studied Shakespeare for his wit and his wisdom. He never wrote about finance, of course, but I have found that many of his lines contain important financial lessons. Let’s look at one such line from perhaps the most famous of his plays:

“Go wisely and slowly. Those who rush, stumble and fall.” – Romeo and Juliet, Act 2, Scene 3.

In this scene, Romeo asks his mentor, Friar Laurence, to wed he and Juliet as quickly as possible. In response, the friar counsels Romeo to “go wisely and slowly. Those who rush stumble and fall.”

You can probably guess the lesson here: avoid the temptation to rush into rash, impulsive financial decisions.

Have you ever noticed how often people act on impulse? Advertising companies sure do! So do car dealerships, banks and your local gyms. In fact, every time you go to the checkout counter at a grocery store, take a moment to look at all of those candy bars and tabloids strategically placed to take advantage of people’s impulsiveness.

Entire industries are built on capturing the human impulse. Most of the time these impulses are harmless enough, but the worst of them can have grave consequences. In fact, one of the greatest dangers to our financial health is that we don’t always think before we act. We rush into things. Read More

The True Origins of Labor Day

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Labor Day! Most of us consider the upcoming three-day weekend as the perfect excuse to get out of town or relax in the hammock. Kids know it as their last bit of freedom before school starts (well, the lucky kids that haven’t gone back to school yet). And, according to the fashion-conscious, it’s the last chance to wear white.
But, like so many holidays, the origins of Labor Day are rooted in adversity, not pleasure and relaxation. While the day now stands for the official end of the summer, it was once a concession given to the thousands of laborers who struggled for fair pay, benefits, and improved living conditions in our country.
It all started when John P. Altgeld, the former Governor of Illinois, received a letter from the citizens of Pullman, a business-owned community for employees of the Pullman Palace Car Company. Due to the poor economy, the demand for Pullman’s products (they made railway cars), dropped significantly. In response, Company owner George Pullman cut wages for his employees, including the ones living in the town bearing his name. Despite the cut, the workday was increased (employees worked an average of 16 hours a day) and the price of rent and food in town remained extremely high- too high, in fact, for the workers to afford.
Most of the workers protested and eventually went on strike, but their employee refused to budge. In desperation, the citizens of Pullman sent Governor Altgeld this letter: Read More

The Six “W” Questions of Retirement

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As you know, a major part of my job as a financial advisor is to help you plan and save for retirement.

That said, it’s critical to take a hard look at what you are doing to ensure that you remain on track to reaching your retirement goals. Has anything changed in your life that could effect your retirement? Has your vision of retirement changed? Do you need to change how much money you’re saving, or how you’re saving it? Are your income needs still taken care of?

To make sure that you are still on track, I recommend that you ask yourself the following questions at least once every few years. I call them:

The Six “W” Questions of Retirement Read More

Being impulsive with financial decisions can cost you.

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Ever notice how much human beings act on impulse? Advertising companies sure do! So do car dealerships, banks and your local gym. Every time you go to the checkout counter at a grocery store, the strategically-placed candy bars and tabloid magazines are practically crying out: “Buy me!”…even though, five minutes before, you neither needed nor wanted them.

Pay attention the next time you watch television, or go to a store, or even open your mail. Entire industries are built on capturing the human impulse. Most of the time these impulses are harmless enough, but the worst of them can have serious consequences. In fact, one of the greatest dangers to our financial health is the fact that we don’t always think before we act. We don’t look before we leap. And we give up things we want most for the things we only want right now.

Not surprisingly, our best defense against these dangerous impulses is simple common sense. Whenever I need to renew my stock of common sense, I turn to the legendary Aesop who explained common sense in his fable, The Fox and the Goat: Read More

How a 529 Plan can work for both you and your child

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Let me start off by saying, we all know that one of the most important parts of being a parent is making sure that your child is well provided for. A large part of providing for your child is making sure that they get a good education. Which brings me to the topic of this post: funding your child’s education.

In today’s world, it’s becoming harder and harder to afford a good college education. The last thing you want is your 35 year old son or daughter sitting on your couch, flipping through different TV channels all day, eating all of your food, and sucking the life out of your bank account. So, it’s very important that you plan things out in a way that won’t bankrupt you but will still allow you to provide the best quality of education for your children so that they may be successful just like you.

Most parents, when they think of helping their child out with school, think of writing a check to help pay for tuition, books, etc. Well, rather than doing that, why not consider a 529 plan or some other kind of education-funding account? Read More

J.K. Rowling and the power of self-determination

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I believe in the power of self determination.

It might seem odd to feature one of the most famous, and wealthiest authors in the world for this post, but Joanne Rowling, as she is formally known, is actually the perfect example of how anyone can be successful, regardless of their background, upbringing, or circumstances.

As you undoubtedly know, Rowling is the author of the Harry Potter novels. What is less well-known is how similar both the creator and the main character are. If you’ve never read the books, the story starts with an orphaned Harry Potter living inside a cupboard under the stairs in the home of his less-than-affectionate aunt and uncle. Rowling, meanwhile, grew up with a mother suffering with Multiple Sclerosis, and a father with whom she was not on speaking terms.

In the books, Harry learns that he is a wizard, and travels to a magical school called Hogwarts – a place very strange and unfamiliar, and where he doesn’t always fit in. As a young woman, Rowling also traveled to a strange and unfamiliar place. Needing a job, she traveled to Portugal to teach English. Here she met her first husband, but it was not a happy marriage. Read More

How to teach your kids about money

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At times I get asked, “Paul, what gift would you recommend I get my daughter or son?”As a parent and financial advisor, I can’t help but relate that question to my life. Aside from love, what’s the most meaningful gift I can give my daughter? Well, knowing what I know about money and finances, and that the reality that financial problems and stress plague 7 in 10 individuals, my gift suggestion is to teach your kids and grandkids about money. Studies have shown that parents have the greatest influence on their children’s financial habits, and now, more than ever, mothers and fathers are taking the primary role in educating kids about healthy money management.

“Most financial experts agree there is a need for financial discussions among families to avoid or soften potential future economic upheavals,” says Suzanne Poole, Executive Vice President, Retail Sales Strategy, TD Bank. “According to a recent financial literacy poll by TD Bank, only 50% of families report having weekly conversations with their children about finances, even though there are easy ways to incorporate tips about money in everyday conversation. Read More

Just One Mistake on Your Tax Return Can Cost You Big Time! If There’s More Than One, OUCH!

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Just one of the mistakes that we are sharing with you below can cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Look them over, and if there is even a little question fluttering in the back of your mind that you might have missed these last year, call me. We’ll set up a time to do a quick review of your tax return. If there are no mistakes, I’ll give you a pat on the back and send you on your way. If we do find a mistake, I would love to help you. Read More