Smart about money

Investing in the stock market can seem like a roller coaster ride. There are lots of highs and lows. And that can be emotional when your money is at stake....

There’s nothing like an economic crisis to inspire you to reevaluate how you’re spending money. Don’t waste this crisis. If you make some choices now, you can position yourself to come out financially stronger...

Retirement is a major life goal. It can also be scary. Especially if much of your identity is connected to your job. Traci Richmond, CDFA™ explains a few smart moves you can make now, to set yourself up to really enjoy your retirement....

New legislation is rewriting the old rules for retirement. From small business tax incentives to raising the RMD (Required Minimum Distribution) age, Traci explains how the SECURE Act could impact you....

It’s an adventure – as Traci recently discovered when her 13-year-old son went on an Amazon shopping spree: Tommy wanted to upgrade his Xbox gaming console, and give his old one to his little brother as a birthday present. To help Tommy finance this purchase,......

So you’ve adopted the first 3 wealth-building habits: You Pay Attention. You Avoid Bad Debt. You Live Beneath Your Means. Now it’s time to get serious about saving. ...

Keeping up with the Joneses costs a fortune. You’ll need more money coming in than going out. Otherwise, you’re not building wealth. You’re building a mountain of debt....

Imagine buying a house without asking the price. That’s essentially what you’re doing if you take out a loan or rack up credit card bills without fully understanding what you’ll actually pay to pay off that debt....

You’re driving down the highway when smoke starts billowing from under the hood. Do you keep going, hoping the engine fire will magically put itself out? Of course not. You pull over and face the reality of your situation....

According to the College Board,15 years from now (that’s 2033!), a private four-year college degree will cost $323,900. Gulp. Some families have been saving in 529 accounts that can be used for qualified educational expenses like higher education tuition, room and board, books, and computers. The benefit of a 529 is that educational savings grows tax-exempt as long as the funds are used for qualified expenses....

Congratulations! You’ve finished your estate planning. You have a will or trust, you’ve designated a financial power of attorney, and you’ve picked your health care power of attorney. At this point many people think they are finished. That’s a mistake. Watch this video to find out the final steps you need to take to make sure all the effort you’ve poured into estate planning isn’t wasted:...

Everyone who has anyone who depends on them financially or in any other way needs to make estate planning a priority. It’s just 3 documents but it’s hard actually to get the paperwork in order. What’s the hold up? Frankly, it’s hard for people to think through a scenario where you pass away. If you are married and have kids you’ll be thinking about a situation where one parent is continuing alone. It’s really difficult to think through but it is so important, because if that tragedy happens it’s so much better if you’ve planned and prepared. You don’t estate plan for yourself. You do it for your family. Watch this video to see where to start:...

If you’re like me, your mailbox is brimming every day with paper! Some of it is junk but some of it you need to hang onto. It can be hard to know what to keep and what to get rid of, but this video will help straighten it out....

As best we can, we prepare our kids to be adults. One of the most crucial turning points for a kid becoming an adult is that first job out of college. In many ways they are on their own. As much as we prep them, train them, and give them opportunities to practice – this is when they leave the nest. As parents, we have to let them see if they can fly....

Building a “smart money” pattern for our kids starts when they are young. According to a Cambridge University study, most children’s money habits are formed by age 7. So, from the earliest time that they have money of their own, whether from a weekly allowance, doing chores, baby-sitting, or birthday money – whatever the source, they need to practice dividing it into 4 financial uses....

By 2030, the average four-year degree will cost $205,000 according to the US Department of Education.  Have you started talking to your kids yet about the cost of college?  It’s a conversation you should be having with them from the day they start school.  Initially you don’t need to focus on the price tag, but start talking about WHEN they go to college, not IF.  This gets them in the mindset that they are going and starts the conversation about college.  Later, when they reach the freshman year of high school, you can start talking tuition.  They’ll be hearing about the college applications the seniors are submitting and the SATs the juniors are taking, so college will be on their radar.  It’s the perfect time to have multiple conversations about paying for their college education....

Giving back to our community is an important part of our lives. As busy adults, we sometimes substitute writing a check for direct involvement in a cause that is important to us. When kids are young, though, simply handing over money – or worse, money substitutes like checks or credit card numbers – doesn’t make an impact. It’s too easy. Kids need to give their time and have hands-on involvement for their community service to be meaningful to them. Charities need us to write those valuable and important checks, but to really instill a charitable sense into our children’s souls, the children need to be involved....

Your child’s first bank account is your opportunity to teach her vital financial skills. The first thing to make sure your child understands is that money gives her power. With money comes the power to make the decision as to what to do with that money – every single dime. There’s no amount too small to be worthy of your child’s attention....

Every month you can count on needing to sit down to pay household bills. In our household it seemed to be my daughter Madelyn who would hang around looking interested. So, I started inviting her to come in, sit down, and pull up a chair next to me. She likes to use the letter opener on the envelope and then to sort out the important contents from the parts that go straight to the recycle bin. She’s learned to identify the invoice or statement and really study it to find the amount that’s due and the due date. This can be a challenge because each statement is laid out differently. On one statement, it may say “balance due” and another may say “payment”. Sometimes it also has a certain amount due by x-date but a different amount due by y-date. Some statements have “round-up” amounts. She has learned to hunt for the right amount and the right due date....

Grocery shopping with your child does not need to be an exercise in finding all kinds of ways to say “no” or stealthily navigating around the candy and sweets aisles. Instead, involving your child in the grocery shopping for the family can create solid financial management skills – and more....