Category : financial wellness

Hawaii Hammock Retirement

How to Treat Your Retirement Planning Like Spring Break

IMG_5937.JPG Every year, the activity most college students look forward to is spring break. It’s the halfway point from Christmas to summer vacation and, let’s be honest, it’s a week of freedom from exams, boring lectures, and responsibility.

Depending on how excited you are about your spring break, planning can start as early as October – finding available houses or condos, coordinating travel and learning about the local hot spots. Hopefully around that same time, the savings start, as well. Each year, college students get to spend a week away from their parents, surrounded by their closest friends on a beach – or some other Instagram-worthy destination. That’s something worth saving up a bit of extra spare change.

Unfortunately, once college has ended and you are off in the real world, spring break becomes a thing of the past. A week-long vacation where you can forget about your responsibilities and sit on a beach sipping an adult beverage is no longer a given each March.

But this year, when the weather began to warm up, I started thinking about those days and how I can relax from work and other daily stresses, and I asked…

WHY CAN’T THAT BE MY RETIREMENT?

Trick is, like spring break, retirement – and the saving for it – requires planning and the need to start saving early.

Now, I can already hear your thoughts: “I have debt I need to pay off,” or, “I’m only in my 20s, why do I need to start planning for retirement?” Trust me, I get it. At 21 years old (almost 22!) and finishing up my Master’s degree, I feel like I have a lot of other ways to spend my money than putting it towards my retirement. But I’ve learned that the longer my money has to grow, the more it can do for me in the future. That’s the power of compounding interest

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Fitness & Finances: When Help Helps the Most

Now that we’re a month into 2017, how’s that New Year’s Resolution going for you? If you’re like 80% of the population, my guess is you’ve already called it quits or will by Valentine’s Day. Let’s face it, life gets in the way. It’s not easy.

By far the most common resolutions we all hear about or set for ourselves will involve getting in shape, eating better or losing weight. All those things sound great, but take a lot of time, energy, and dedication to accomplish. And this is especially true if you’re planning to go it alone.

As someone who’s had some success prioritizing my own health and fitness into a daily routine, I see it all-too-often at my gym, especially early in the year. There’s generally two kinds of what I call the “New Year Newbies”, the tortoise or the hare. The hares start out of the gate pushing themselves way too hard. They generally end up hurting themselves or making themselves feel like such a pile of you-know-what afterward that they never want to come back. And then there are the tortoises. They got themselves to the gym but they think that’s all it takes.  Tortoises typically spend their time reading through three gossip magazines while throwing their legs in slow circles on a bike for an hour (without ever breaking a sweat). But hey, can you believe Tarek & Christina (HGTV) are getting a divorce?!…

In this story of the tortoise and the hare, neither win. Because while those people may have taken the right first step by getting themselves to the gym, they probably aren’t going to make much progress. They’ll end up like nearly everyone else when it comes to their resolutions – just another statistic. Let’s face it, this stuff takes time, patience, and a ton of mental strength. And it’s often a process that can feel like lots of small baby steps forward, followed by falling flat on your face repeatedly.

Having someone by your side (that knows what they’re doing) is the key to training.  Specifically, those that seek help from a trusted source, like a personal trainer, tend to achieve far better results than those going it alone. There are several reasons to hire a personal trainer, and it’s not just the motivation that they will charge you if you don’t show up to your work out.  Personal trainers give you individualized workouts that are more likely to provide tangible results. Personal trainers are there to supervise you, tell you when you are using the correct form so you don’t injure yourself. They also provide consistency and a sounding board when you’re not sure your training is going in the right direction (or even progressing like you want).  Trainers are trusted partners who want to see you reach your long-term physical goals.

Now, as you’d expect, herein lies our investing analogy…

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2016 End of Year Review

A lot can happen in one year…

2016 was no exception. It may have felt like it had more downs than ups, but hey, you made it through. And if you can make it through 2016 then you can make it through any year.

This year was packed with election prognosticating, Britain Brexiting Europe, and doomsday predictions in China. It also had the potential to be a HORRIBLE year for the markets. Turns out it wasn’t. Nonetheless, it would’ve been exhausting had you actually paid attention to the markets day by day.

Still, we thought it’d be fun to a quick once-over of last year’s stressors… these are events that threw the average investor for a loop. Luckily, you’re not an average investor. We can tell because you’re actually reading this!

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retirement-savings-blooom

Dear People Who Want to Retire

I’m 34-years old and barely a millennial. I’ve worked in finance for 10 years, which relatively speaking, is not a long time, but enough to look back with insight and a vested eye on the future. I grew up in Kansas and double majored in History & Sociology at the University of Kansas so I don’t even have a business or finance degree to impress you with. In college, my interests aligned more with understanding socioeconomic status and how groups of people are treated, rather than supply chain management, retirement savings and investment banking. And if I were going to be really honest with you, my biggest concern during my formative college years was making sure there were enough handbills around the KU campus to promote my rock band’s next show at the Granada Theater.

This all changed after my parents’ divorce. Their divorce immediately threw me into the realm of understanding discount points on mortgages, cost basis calculations on taxable investments, and estate and insurance planning in an effort to help my mother. During the marriage, she never earned much and always relied on my father to handle the finances. After the divorce, she had to rely and trust in others. This included an investment professional who, despite my mother being fresh off a divorce, low income, and insufficient savings, put her in a variable annuity. More on that in a minute.

And then there is my wife who, in her late 20’s, also sought guidance in an advisor. At that time, she was single, no kids, had heaps of school loans, zero IRA’s and insufficient emergency savings. Yet, she left a meeting with a trusted advisor with a term AND a whole life insurance policy. What she failed to leave with was a strategy on how to pay off her student loans or a plan for retirement savings.

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Why should 401k Advisors care about financial wellness?

Financial wellness…What exactly is it and what’s all the buzz about anyway? For starters, here’s a quick overview, along with three reasons why plan level advisors really should start taking financial wellness seriously.

Financial wellness is the state of personal knowledge and access to resources to plan for and help manage fundamental financial events, which everyone is likely to face – budgeting, saving, transacting, borrowing, protecting, and investing. The typical talking points about financial wellness revolve around how financial instability affects employees and employers – lost productivity, increased work comp, medical and disability claims, theft, turnover, etc. Important stuff?! Advisors SHOULD care, but so far it doesn’t seem like advisors are fully on board. Maybe it’s simply due to the fact that nobody’s honestly discussed how it affects your piece of the pie.

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