The news may be too much, but there are financial matters to review, if you just set aside time

Many people react to the bombardment of news on the economy, the European debt issues, the presidential campaign and legislative gridlock by wanting to shut it all off! That is understandable, but not often the best solution

It is one matter to just not open investment statements; it is a wholly different matter to postpone addressing financial issues

So, while you may not want to review re-balancing of your investments to match your long-term allocation or hear about the dismal returns on bonds, there is more that you can still address

We have suggested a list at: finance health day your own financial planning focus

It is like a “mental health day” but for your personal finances.
After you look at the list, let me know what you think, what you decide to do,
and if we can help you or anyone you know accomplish what is needed now. Thank you,

Steven

Web-Based Financial Planning Tools for College Students and others

In advising a senior going to study abroad, I learned that he did not know how to obtain his own credit card, how to set up banking before and during his trip and how to manage the entire process. This was a surprise, as some many web sites seem loaded with information.

However, the bank sites tell you some but not all of what you need to do. Similarly, college sites may mention ATMs without connecting to Handbooks may suggest Parents may have no clear understanding of

No single place gives you a complete road map, let alone telling you how to connect all the resources to get your answer, so you have to turn the web into your own tools.

The first step is contacting the overseas college for local banks, currency exchanges and connecting to close by ATMs and banks. The next step is getting your own credit card or a additional cars on your parent’s account. Then you get to finding a US bank into which your parents can deposit or from which they can wire so you have funds in you bank at college.

The key is to link all the information that is on the web to create a plan for your study abroad, using the web sites to answer and obtain all you need

Whole Life is not a great “Investment Alternative” – use the death benefit when age becomes a factor

Whole Life is a poor “investment alternative.” Consider what an insurance company may say, annotated with our comments:

1) Tax Deferred
Does not make up for fees and poorer returns. The mortality fees alone can bring the total fees up over 2%, which compares poorly to a stock index bought via an ETF, were the fees are below .1%
2) Attractive returns compared to bank alternatives
Yes, to a bank, but NOT to your own portfolio of stocks or funds
3) More than initial deposit guaranteed in early years
Only at first and at some cost
4) Strong dividend history
Dividends are only a part of the return on investments – whole life is far worse than a good variable life policy let alone stocks purchased directly or via mutual funds, over time
5) Death benefit (DB) income tax free
Always true of life insurance because it is subject to estate taxes
6) Returns very high if DB paid in early years
“so what?” This is intended to be a long-term purchase
7) Beneficiary can be changed easily without having to redo wills and trusts
Meaning that proper estate planning is not being done
8) Annuitization of other assets easier to do, which can lead to higher retirement income
“Easier” means you pay them to do it instead of doing it yourself, which means shifting the allocation of your own portfolio depending on cash needs