Entries by Pat

The Biggest Budgeting Mistake You’re Making

If you’ve been reading our educational articles regularly, you have already heard about the importance of retirement savings many times.

But it’s important enough to say it again: if you’re not allocating part of your budget to retirement savings, now would be a good time to start. And if you’re not saving or planning to start “someday,” you could be making a big mistake.

Here’s what you need to know.

The Secret to Long-Term Investment Results

Investing can seem complicated, but the hardest part isn’t the numbers or the asset allocation.

It’s the psychology.

In fact, the secret to being a good investor isn’t to be smarter than everyone else or to have the best ideas. It’s to have a plan and to exercise discipline and control. In other words, one of the big secrets to investing is to simply get out of your own way.

The 5 Keys to Your Social Security Benefits

Social Security is a given for most people – we’ve all heard of it, and most of us probably expect it to be part of our lives at some point. But many people walk around without any real idea of how Social Security works, or how it can help you in retirement.

Read on for a brief intro into how Social Security can be a significant part of your retirement income plan – and how to get started in making it so.

How to Pick the IRA That’s Right for You

Are you a masterful retirement savings maximizer? Or maybe just getting started with retirement planning?

No matter what your retirement savings experience, you might benefit from an IRA. These retirement savings vehicles are highly flexible and can give you greater latitude to plan for the future.

But choosing one can be tough – there are many options out there, and finding the one that works best for you can take some research. In this basic guide, we’ll cover some special situations that might make one IRA stand out more than the others.

This basic guide will help you get started in finding the IRA that suits your needs and your lifestyle. As always, before making any decisions, please consult your financial advisor or conduct some due diligence on your choice.

Do I Go On Vacation…Or Save More for Retirement?

Money is a funny thing. On the one hand, many people feel stress and fear about their financial future; on the other, we collectively tend to spend and splurge on decidedly short-term pleasures.

Two studies, both published around the same time in 2014, illustrate the point.

An American Psychological Association survey found that money was the leading source of stress among survey respondents. But an Edward Jones study released around the same time found that, among financial topics, more people prioritized their vacation over their retirement planning.

Don’t Forget to Enjoy Your Honeymoon – Responsibly!

If you’ve been trying to plan a wedding, you know very well how difficult it can be to keep expenses under control. From place settings to tuxedo rentals, you’ve probably learned more than you ever wanted to about the potential price tags involved in creating the perfect day.

As a result, you might really be looking forward to a relaxing honeymoon. In fact, at this point you may really need a relaxing honeymoon!

But how can you make it just as perfect as your wedding without breaking the bank?

Read on for a few great tips about planning the perfect getaway – responsibly.

The Secret to a Happy Marriage – Financially Speaking

For many engaged couples, the wedding looms large as a major financial planning issue. But once it’s over and done, “real life” starts – and real life is infamous for its twists and turns.

One typical plot twist? Money. Financial issues can be a major source of stress for couples.

One study even found that money conflicts early in a marriage are the top predictor of divorce later on. And that’s even after accounting for wealth, income, and debt levels, according to authors Jeffrey Dew, Sonya Britt, and Sandra Huston.

For some reason, financial arguments tend to be nastier than others, and they have a significant negative impact on marital satisfaction – both of which make money conflict such a strong predictor of divorce.

In other words, one of the best ways to help secure your relationship is to help reduce the intensity and costs of those conflicts.

Here’s how.

5 Financial Questions to Ask Before Getting Married

You might love talking shop about budgeting and financial planning with your fiancé – or you might dread it.

But money conversations will be a critical element of married life. After all, money touches pretty much every aspect of our lives, and the ability to understand each other and work together to navigate your finances will make it a whole lot easier.

So, let’s get talking. Here are five questions you can ask your partner today about their relationship with money. These questions will help you start a bigger conversation about your dreams, fears, and practical money needs – no spreadsheet required.

How to Manage “Coupled” Finances

You’re getting hitched, but does that mean your bank accounts have to, too?

There are as many different ways of managing joint finances as there are couples, but figuring out what to do can be a challenge – especially if you’re not sure whether you’ll agree.

In this quick guide, we’ll walk you through some of the key methods that couples choose in handling their new financial life together, as well as some pitfalls to watch out for and important issues to keep in mind.

What’s Your Fiancé’s Financial Personality?

It’s wedding season! And while that means wedding planning (for those about to tie the knot), it should also mean taking some time to get your budding family finances in order.

One way to approach the issue is to learn more about you and your fiancé’s financial personality. These are the basic sets of behaviors that define your relationship with money, and they can offer important clues as to your loved one’s hopes, beliefs, worries, and even bad experiences.

Just remember, personality is only the beginning. There are no simple answers or solutions when it comes to integrating your finances. That’s why it’s so important to take the time to talk not only about the quirks of your money personality, but the fears, emotions, and dreams that might come with it.