With all of our terminology and acronyms in the world of finance, sometimes consumers can feel as if they are being spoken to in a foreign language. The confusion that results can lead to mistakes and regret, especially in the area of advisor compensation. Whether it’s fee-based, fee-only, or commission-based, the type of compensation model an advisor uses can make a huge difference in the kind of advice you receive and the type of relationship you are able to build with your advisor.
Adding a child to your family is arguably one of the most momentous milestones in life. After months of preparation, a little one arrives and stirs up overwhelming emotions and a great sense of responsibility. But even if you had everything organized and prepared to bring your baby into your life and your home, there are some practical steps that you need to take now that your family has grown. From hospital bills to education, a child can cost half a million dollars, so your financial strategy needs to change to keep up!
If there’s one thing we know for certain in life, it’s that change is inevitable. And while we recognize that we will walk through different phases and reach multiple milestones, we often don’t realize the financial impact they can have on our lives. Many aspects of life are outside of our control, but one thing you can control is how prepared you are for life’s biggest moments.
It all started with witnessing the effect the dot-com market crash of the late 90s had on my parents. I saw the financial regrets they carried and wanted to break into the financial services industry to help other families avoid similar problems.
Should I rollover my 403(b) into a 401(k) or IRA? How can I buy oil as an investment? Which is the most tax-friendly account to distribute from? Should I use lifecycle funds or choose my own investments within my company's retirement plan? I recently inherited some annuities, is there a way to put a "floor under the market" to protect against a downturn in the stock market?
As the April 17 tax filing has come and gone, one thing on the mind of many taxpayers now that they have caught their breath, is how much more or less their tax liability will be as a result of the Tax Cuts Jobs Act (TCJA) -- also know as the new tax law enacted by the Trump administration. According to Howard Gleckman of the Tax Policy Center, about 80% of taxpayers will see a reduction in their tax liability, but about 5% will notice an increase in what they owe.
Most physicians prefer to get right to the point and don't care for all the fluff. They expect a short, concise explanation. After all, they are busy people so time is of the essence. With that in mind, I created a 5-page powerpoint style guide that explains how Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) works.
How does a Roth IRA grow over time? Think of the Roth IRA itself as a shield around your money that provides tax-deferred growth and then when you go to retire you can take out all of the growth and contributions tax-free. The avoidance of tax is not available had you just invested with after-tax dollars and did not own a Roth IRA.
A successful football team like a successful financial plan requires a high level of synergy across the board from several different components. In football, a significant amount of coordination from all levels of the organization helps drive the collective group towards working to achieve their end goal -- championships.
Look I get it, Americans are busy people, especially if you are raising a family or knee deep in your career. Quick answers have become the expectation. The problem is financial planning is very circumstantial and therefore a good answer to the value question must be adjusted to the person asking it. Rather than manufacture a blanketed response, the following is a detailed guide to the quatifiable value of financial advice.
Learn a step-by-step process to select the most appropriate repayment plan for your Federal student loans. For more visual learners or those who prefer to read picture books, you will appreciate the illustrative format.
The best way to use a P/E ratio for stock analysis is as a supplement when comparing companies within the same sector or industry. However, it is a bad idea to use P/E multiples to benchmark a technology company to a consumer staples company.
Having helped several clients overcome their own set of student loan problems, I decided the best way to get in front of the issue is to make more borrowers (and their parents) aware of what pitfalls they should be avoiding. Today's blog article will kick-off by examining the 4 most common student loan mistakes and what you can to do to avoid those landmines. Then, I present 2 case studies to show you how the numbers crunch out.
With the recent, yet surprising, cooperation between the White House and Congress, the Trump tax reform bill is set to take effect starting this new year. Don't worry your 2017 tax returns are not impacted. However, the tax law changes will affect personal incomes for the next 10 years, starting in 2018. So the question many of my clients have been asking me is, how does tax reform impact our personal bottom line?
Maybe there is a valid basis for the lack of confidence going into 2018. This article looks at some of those reasons, as well as other key factors driving our economy along its current path. Furthermore, I offer my interpretation and what it could mean for investors and the economy going into 2018. My goal is to give a balanced perspective so that you, the reader, understand the logic behind the arguments being postured in Washington DC and in the media.
The impact of student debt borrowing decisions and how to pay for college, even at the beginning stages, is substantial. For my client, Anne, we are talking about a difference of $94,100. It's why college planning is essential for families with college-bound kids. Especially when your kid wants to pursue a higher cost degree like a doctor, lawyer, veterinarian, or pharmacist. Regardless of career path, the economics of making sound choices, when it comes to paying for college, will have a dramatic impact on your child's adult life.
Mutual Funds, index funds, or ETFs -- which is better? With $1-trillion flowing from actively managed mutual funds to passively managed index funds and ETFs, the answer may seem obvious. However, like most things in life, these numbers need some context before understanding the reasons for the recent shift in investor behavior.
Do you find it difficult to sort through all the "expert opinions" and confidently know how much to save for retirement, how much debt is appropriate, or how much to set aside in savings for emergencies? You are not alone. To make life easier, Mellen Money Management created a list of benchmarks that can be useful for anyone looking for general guidance on whether or not they are on track financially.
FUBAR! A saying that originates from our military and aptly sums up the recent data breach at Equifax. If you don’t know what the acronym means, I suggest doing a Google search, so that I can keep this blog PG-13. I am tempted to yell every curse word in the book because my wife and I had our information compromised. From what I gather, anyone with a credit history is at risk too. Insane!
Based on estimates by AccuWeather, the cost of Irma's devastation to our economy will be somewhere around $100-billion. If that doesn't make your jaw drop, it should. That amounts to 0.5% of the United States' GDP.Hurricane Irma's destruction is an unpleasant reminder to us all that there are life-altering costs associated with such natural disasters. Unfortunately, the financial aftermath will hit some people's wallets a lot harder than others.
An annuity in its most basic form is a guaranteed income stream from the insurance company. Did you know that the social security check that we all hope is around by the time we retire is an annuity? Remember the glory days of when everyone retired with a secure pension? Those are annuities too. Then why do advisors and investors have such a serious love or hate relationship with annuities? The reason is a lot of these products have been misrepresented by commission hungry investment reps.
My grandma, Marybeth Mellen, passed away the same year I started my company. She was the last of my living grandparents. Actually, my grandma and grandpa helped pay for my college education. The fact I was planning to incorporate student loan planning into my business inspired me to name my firm after them and honor their legacy. Somehow through all the chaos in my life, everything began to converge in a way that I knew I had something. On October 17, 2016, Mellen Money Management was born.
So what variables actually played a role in my decision to leave a great income, a highly successful team, and say goodbye to the best boss I ever had? In the end, too many aspects related to my job were totally outside my control and eventually my boss'. So when no improvements seemed imminent, I decided it was time for a change. Quite frankly, I felt like I needed something fresh in order for my career to continue growing.
Raise your hand if you like paying more in taxes than you need to? Yeah, I didn’t think so… If your answer is like most Americans and you make a sizable income, then a backdoor Roth IRA is a strategy you may want to consider. However, before explaining how to unlock this financial planning tool to your advantage, it is important to know the following Roth IRA phaseout limits set forth by the IRS...
A once stereotypical Millennial, I spent a good part of my 20s wrestling between "adulting" and seeking a good time. In other words, I really wanted to be an adult. Yet I felt like an imposter because I had other priorities. Pre-wife, I was perfectly content going out with the guys and getting into a bunch of nonsense. Responsibilities? Sure, when the mood struck me. I did buy my first home at the age of 25. So a part of me was trying, but honestly, beer-thirty was high on my list of to-dos every weekend.
Welcome to my first ever blog post. Given the amount of content, I am breaking up my first topic into a 4-part series called, My Journey to Starting a Fee-only Financial Planning Firm, which focuses on how my career path brought me to start my own firm. Part I, A Road Less Traveled, tells more about why I started a fee-only firm, while the other sequels provide a deeper look into the 3 places I worked prior to Mellen Money Management and how those experiences shaped my company's mission. The purpose of this series is to give entrepreneurs a peek into how an idea can turn into a profitable company.