Archives for June 2012

Co-Founder Honored with Local and National Recognition

Candace Bahr named top wealth manager in San Diego for fourth consecutive year; also named national leader in assisting women in areas of finance by LPL Financial, the nation’s largest independent broker-dealer* and investment firm in the United States.

Are You Really Ready for Marriage?

Marriage is an enormous commitment. Before you take the big plunge, do a quick check to see if there is water in the pool. The following quiz can help you and your beloved assess your readiness for the responsibility of marriage and help you communicate about important issues from the beginning. Print out two copies […]

How to Manage Money — Together

“When people argue over money, the argument is likely to have little to do with money. It almost always has to do with issues of control, security, self-esteem, and, above all, love.” –Grace Weinstein, author In our lives, we are pulled in many directions. We both desire and fear the power of money, and most […]

The Love Letter: Talking to Parents About Financial Concerns

Women today are in the sandwich generation, trying to balance the needs of their own families as well as their parents. But not much has changed over the years. When my grandmother became ill years ago, it was my mother who took care of her. In her late 60s herself, mom put her own needs […]

529 Plans—Not Just for Kids

Education isn’t just for the young – it’s also for the young at heart. In the future, the changing world of work will send many mid-life adults back to school for better career options. And surveys show that retirement-minded Baby Boomers want to continue working after retirement, often in a new career, or round out […]

Prenups Aren’t Just for the Rich and Famous

Who had a prenup when they married, Britney Spears or Paul McCartney? Score one if you chose the blonde bubblehead over the savvy billionaire Brit. Paul McCartney lost $50 million to his ex-wife Heather Mills in their March 2008 divorce court battle.  But Britney’s preplanning paid off: she paid just $300,000 to shed Kevin, leaving […]

Mrs. Winkler Was Right

Many years ago in a Milwaukee schoolroom my first grade teacher Mrs. Winkler worked hard to instill in her young pupils the principles of personal responsibility and proper behavior. She also made sure we girls and boys left her care with a solid grounding in the fundamentals of basic math—Two plus Two equals Four. Mrs. […]

Is Your Home Keeping You Together?

Home sale prices dropped during the past few years, and in many communities the market is starting to move up, with buyers outnumbering sellers. But even so, if you are divorcing, selling your home can be a challenge in dividing up your assets. Your home likely is the largest asset that you and your spouse own, and […]

A More Perfect Union

“All marriages are happy.  It’s living together afterward that’s difficult.” Anonymous  Flags, parades, picnics, and fireworks.  July is the month we celebrate those traditions and institutions that make our society strong and free. Before the Founding Fathers wrote their plan for “a more perfect union,” they did a lot of thinking, discussing, and a fair […]

Vacation on a Budget

Are your vacations so hectic that you need to get back to work to relax once you return?  Are you still paying off your last vacation while booking your next one?  Here’s a way to abandon the stressful vacation payment treadmill, and relax on the cheap this summer. Get away without going away. Whenever my […]

Money Camps and Other Ways to Inspire Your Budding Tycoons

As most parents agree, financial education for children is a great idea. In fact, many parents wish that they had learned more about money management way back when. Children are happy asking for and spending the money — until the day when Mom or Dad says, “That’s too expensive” or “We can’t afford that right […]

It’s Never Too Late to Get Started Saving for College

The best thing you can do is start saving for college while your kids are in diapers. But it’s never too late to begin. Even if you don’t implement your strategy until your kids are in high school, you can make great strides toward meeting your savings goals. Here’s how to get started. Start a […]

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It’s Off to School We Go

As your children begin their college careers, there’s lots they need to know. Click here to read what your student needs to know about handling money, budgeting, buying textbooks, managing phone bills, working part time, and using credit cards wisely.

Cutting College Costs

Hopefully you planned ahead and have a nice chunk of change set aside for the costs of college. Figure out how much you’ll need for junior’s education with the Save for College at VISA USA’s education website Practical Money Skills. If your savings come up short, don’t despair — there are a lot of things you can […]

How Do You Rate on the Money Conflict Scale?

When it comes to money and marriage, do you and your honey talk through issues? Or scream about them? Or just ignore them? Communicating clearly about money is critical, so take this quiz to see how you score on the money conflict scale. Quiz Instructions Write the numbers 1 through 10 on a sheet of […]

15 Ways to Date Your Mate

Is Date Night a drain on your finances, with the babysitter, fancy restaurants, theatre tickets, and cab fares? Here are some ideas for great cheap dates with your honey that will save you lots of cash without skimping on the romance. Eat a simple, nutritious dinner at home, and then go out for a truly […]

Teach Your Children Well

Giving your children the gift of a financial education will pay off year after year. Of course, teaching your children about money goes beyond practicing their math skills with your change purse. There are 10 basic areas in which your children can learn about money, and how it works in their lives. Teaching Children Responsibility […]

The Difference Between Men and Women

Until recently, the world of finances has been pretty much male dominated. And men and women think and learn very differently. For the most part, men don’t enjoy group interaction and sharing. Men are more likely to go it alone, prizing independence and autonomy, while women seek interaction and chemistry. There are a number of […]

Five Money Myths That Can Keep You Apart

Managing money with your significant other is difficult enough. Don’t burden your relationship with half-truths that can make it even harder. Make sure these five money myths aren’t keeping you apart.  The partner who earns more, knows more. Your earnings are only a measure of how much you earn right now, period. They don’t represent […]

10 Sweet Ways to Say “I Love You” — on the Cheap

Use these ten sweet ways to say I love you without breaking the bank. They will improve your relationship more. Leave him a love note in his lunch box. Leave her wildflowers at the breakfast table. Call him at work and tell him to come home for an emergency-you. Show up at her work with […]

Finding Your Dream Castle, and Other Housing Dilemmas

If you decide to invest in a home, you have to find the right one for your needs at the right price. As a first step, get clear on your vision of the house that fits your lifestyle. Do you want a quiet bungalow in the countryside, or a duplex in the heart of downtown? […]

What Our Parents Teach Us

When I was growing up, I remember hearing my parents discuss money. It wasn’t usually pleasant: my father loved to find bargains, while my mother’s nickname was “Mrs. Rockefeller” for the way she spent. Now that I am grown, it is difficult for me to feel neutral about money. I always have the struggle within […]

Divorce and Family Finances

Dear Dollar Stretcher, Unfortunately, so many families are splitting that guidelines are needed for that form of family. When a family has split, what would be an equitable financial plan? How big a piece of the husband’s income pie should go to the household occupied by two growing children with their mother, and how big […]

Helping Creates Happiness and Health

Give your abundant life a hearty boost this fall—find a giving opportunity! Shelve books for the library, work the community health fair, bake cupcakes for the nursing home’s monthly birthday party. Choose a way to give back that pleases you—and see how good doing good can make you feel. Amazing new research shows a direct […]

Are You an Enterprising Woman?

Do you dream of having your own business? More and more women each year discover the excitement of being self-employed. If it sounds good to you, the prospects have never been better or the resources greater to help you get started. Enterprising women across America are building businesses that now employ 7.8 million people and […]

What We’ve Learned So Far

After well over 25 years at the non-profit Women’s Institute for Financial Education ( we find that we’ve learned a lot. Here are some of the things that experience has taught us about investing. Saving a little can mean a lot. If you save $5 a day for your entire working life, you can retire […]

Success Is Contagious – Catch Some Today!

Attention, ladies! Don’t let yesterday’s negative perceptions dim your financial hopes. In case you haven’t heard, financial stars are on the rise for today’s woman. Almost half of Americans with assets greater than $500,000 are women, and women control more than half of the private wealth in America. Women hold almost 50% of all corporate […]

Change Your Habits, Change Your Life

“Bad habits are easier to abandon today than tomorrow.” —Yiddish Proverb Habits start out like cobwebs but end up as strong as steel cables.  In his classic book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey describes the good habits that keep us on track in our life endeavors.  In working with many successful investors, we’ve […]

Going Back to Work? Start Fresh…And Smart!

If you are among the thousands of women who will be sticking their toes back in the job-hunting stream soon, take a deep breath! It’s okay to feel a bit nervous. Whether you’ve been at home raising a family, suffered recent divorce or widowhood, lost your employment, or re-located, the game remains the same. You […]

Finding Your Passion

  Sometimes a job just isn’t enough. Your career should reflect your passions and your deepest values. The following worksheet can help you get started identifying the passions that can lead to a fulfilling career. Finding Your Passion Worksheet To figure out what you like to do and get someone to pay you for doing […]

Top Ten Signs that it’s Time for a Career Change

You keep hitting the snooze button because don’t want to get out of bed in the morning. You wonder if why you didn’t join the Peace Corps when you had the chance. You wish you were someone else. You have bad dreams about work. You over-eat, over-drink, over-exercise, or over-analyze to escape. You have frequent […]

Tailor Your Career To Your Lifestyle

Whether or not you have children, you need to strike a balance between pursuing your professional goals and feeling fulfilled on an emotional level. Let’s take a closer look at some of the ways that women are balancing their career pursuits with their personal lives.  Flex-Time Because so many women are in the workplace, employers […]

Can Network Marketing Work for You?

Network marketing is the fastest growing economic sector in North America. Some 600,000 new families are attracted to network marketing each year as a way to create a second income on a part-time basis. That’s because network marketing doesn’t require a large investment of money, nor does it require special degrees. And you don’t have […]

Make a Difference: Capture the Power of the Three E’s

What can you do to make a difference? How can you use your time, talents and money most effectively? When we started WIFE twentythree years ago, we developed five guiding principles to make sure that we were using our resources in the most effective way. We continue to use these principles today. And so can […]

If I Had A Million Dollars

What would you do if you won a million dollars in the lottery? Never mind that your chances of winning are just slightly better than the chances of being abducted by aliens. But still, winning the lottery is a favorite daydream for a lot of us. So what would you do? The answer depends on […]

Feeling Philanthropic? Read This First

There are thousands of worthy causes that could benefit from a donation of your time or money. In fact, there are more than 800,000 charities in the United States alone. So how do you decide which organizations to support? Think about two or three areas or causes you want to assist, and make this your […]

What Matters Most

What matters most to you? Is it having the best, the shiniest, the most expensive new-fangled thing? Having it before everybody else? Or is it… To awaken each day relaxed and happy and not dreading the day to come, to have the time to enjoy your children, to watch your garden grow, to be free […]

What Do Women Like More Than Chocolate?

What do women like more than chocolate? Lots of ideas might be coming to mind, but the surprising answer is that women like cooperation even more than chocolate! A recent study at Emory University used an MRI brain scan during an experiment that involved alternating cooperation and conflict. The (male) scientists thought that conflict would […]

If You Shop ’til You Drop, Will America Prosper?

The headlines are abuzz with predictions of lower holiday spending this year, which the pundits say will mean the recession is a long way from being over. So if we shop ‘til we drop this December, will that improve our national economy? That makes no sense, and here’s why. If you spend $100 on dinner […]

Magic Wands and Roadblocks

Here’s the good news you’ve been waiting for. You have a Magic Wand, and when you wave it you can have anything you truly want. Do you dream about winning the lottery? You’ve got it. Now what? The luxury cars and magnificent life-styles are nice, but what lottery winners relish most is the financial security […]

Is Money More Important Than Sex? Most Women Think So

An excerpt from the seminar “Investing in the Future: What Every Woman Needs to Know” by Gail Buckner, Senior Vice President of Putnam Mutual Funds. Men think more about sex than money. Women think more about money than sex. Those were the surprising results found by Money Magazine in its 1996 survey. Why do men […]

Calendars and To Do Lists

Color code your calendar for quick identification of type of function or personnel on a project. It works well for clarity and creates a more attractive calendar. Keep only the number of calendars you really need. Be sure one calendar always contains everything and is the most current and reliable. Track multiple or large projects […]

Managing Time and Interruptions

Managing Time Schedule large projects into a series of short segments. You can accomplish much of the project in this way, and you may be motivated to keep going past the allotted time. Set a time limit on involvement in a task. It will seem less boring or overwhelming if you know you will stop […]

Get Organized! Start Your Spring Cleaning Here

One of these days I’ve got to get organized! Is that your daily mantra? If so, here are some good ideas for organizing your business life to increase your effectiveness and enjoyment each day. Handling Paper and Files Use a vertical step rack for “hot files” or current project files, in view and quickly available. […]

Restful Moments Of Relaxation

Are you stressed? Who isn’t? In today’s fast-paced society stress has reached major proportions. Relax, say the experts, but who has time to relax for any length of time? Believe it or not, you can relax a little bit at a time. Just do these brief exercises at intervals during a day. First, pay attention […]

Get Off the Credit Card Roller Coaster

Remember your New Year’s resolution? Not the one about losing weight, the one about finances. You resolved to save more this year and only use your credit cards in an emergency. Then your favorite department store had that great half-price sale and your resolve disappeared. You are in good company. The American Banker’s Association says […]

Mortgage Insurance

Dear Dollar Stretcher, My husband and I bought a house 18 months ago. We went in with less than 20% down, and so are stuck paying mortgage insurance to the tune of over $80 per month. What exactly is mortgage insurance for, and is it possible for us to “cancel” our mortgage insurance by showing […]

Bartering Clubs

Hi Gary, I just read an article on joining a bartering club in order to barter for bargains. The fee to join the club is $350. Is it worth it and are there other clubs available with lower membership fees? — Donna Even though we might not think of it, almost everyone is part of […]

The Ten Secrets To Attracting Money

Are there really secrets to attracting and saving money that most people don’t know? Probably not. When you get right down to it, most money management concepts are centuries old. But, sometimes it’s worth our while to refresh our memory of what we already know to be true. So with that in mind, here are […]

The Dollar Stretcher

Dear Dollar Stretcher My husband and I aren’t quite sure which way to go to conserve on our heating bills. We have steam radiators in our old Victorian house and just replaced the boiler. The old one was over 60 years old and very inefficient. We have a programmable digital thermostat. Does it make more […]

A Five-Step Blueprint for Growing Your Money

Mutual funds are supposed to make inventing easy, but picking and managing mutual funds is bewildering for most novice investors. Fortunately, you don’t have to know a great deal about investments to make money in mutual funds. All you need is a reasonable knowledge of your own financial situation and goals, and some basic guidelines […]

The Utility Scam and Three Days to Cool Off

The Utility Scam A member tells us that she was recently contacted by a utility company about an overdue electric bill. Her estranged husband had agreed to pay the utility bills, and she was surprised to learn that he had not. The caller threatened immediate disconnection and pressured her to send a check right away, […]

Starting Your New Business the Right Way

If you decide to start your own business, you will need an idea, a plan, and financial backing. Your business is unlikely to succeed without all three, and while most people who go into business start with an idea, most businesses that fail do so because they were undertaken without enough financing to sustain them […]

Maybe There’s Gold in Them Thar Hills!

Here’s something that is more promising than a lottery ticket – an unclaimed property that may be waiting for you. And now it’s easier than ever to find that property using the Internet. Unclaimed property comes in many varieties. Perhaps it’s a savings or checking account you’ve forgotten about. Or it could be an uncashed […]

Four Smart Ways To Save Money On Health Care

Health care has been on Congress’s menu lately, from prescription drugs for Medicare recipients to HMO legislation. But regardless of what Congress decides to do, there are four steps that you can take right now to protect yourself from the high costs of health care. Step one: Become an educated consumer. Remember that you are […]

25 Ways to Divorce Without Going Broke

Excerpted from the booklet “150 Ways to Divorce Without Going Broke“ Divorce is the largest single financial transaction of most people’s lives, raising important questions that demand immediate answers. Here are some helpful tips on every aspect of divorce, including: before the divorce, gathering records, alimony, tax returns, navigating the divorce, accumulating cash, hiring an […]

Signs of a Healthy Approach Toward Money

Your financial future is up to you. No matter what your past financial history has been, you can begin today to build a solid financial foundation. With a healthy approach toward money you can cultivate sound financial management. How many of these traits do you have? You feel in control of money rather than being […]

Your Relationship with Money

Writing your money history can be helpful in identifying which money issues from your past were most important to shaping your attitudes today. Use these questions to begin exploring your relationship with money. Take one page and don’t worry about making it perfect. Write what you think and feel and get it down on paper […]

Your Money Style Quiz

Printer Friendly Format 1. You lucky devil! Upon arriving in Las Vegas for a week-long vacation, you win $1,000 on your first bet. What do you do? a. Wire the money to your tax-free bond fund immediately and stick to your pre-arranged spending plan for the rest of the trip. b. Put it all on […]

How Much Money Does it Take to Change Your Life?

Is more money what you need to change your life or add value to your lifestyle? Will an increase in your net worth have a big impact on your life-or not? Are you willing to take risks to improve your financial picture? Or is it most important for you to minimize the risk of losing […]

Five Financial Fixes for Tough Times

1. When the surf’s up, ride the waves. Dramatic fluctuations in the stock market allow you to “buy the dips”. With stock prices so volatile, prices may be down next payday when you contribute to your 401(k) plan. This means that you’ll be getting more shares for your money. Let’s say that you contribute $500 […]

How Do You Really Feel About Money?

How we feel about money-whether fearful and constricted or open and generous-greatly affects how we approach our financial lives. Use this exercise to identify your money attitudes and develop a positive approach toward your financial life. Circle the words that best describe your feelings about money and finances at the moment. Circle as many as […]

Facing Your Money Fears

Let’s clean out the old subconscious, shall we? People hang onto their money fears long after the danger has passed, and they worry about things that will never, ever come to pass. How much of what you worry about actually happens? For this one, you’ll need some paper and a timer. Set the timer for 15 […]

“If Only I Had More Money…”

“If Only I Had More Money….I could _______ (fill in the blank).” It’s true that money can’t buy happiness, but it certainly can help you live the life of your dreams. You don’t fancy investment strategies to become financially secure, and you don’t need to win the lottery either. Here are five simple steps you […]

Budget Bonanzas

Most people think that budgeting is too much work. Here are some tips to help you easily create a meaningful budget that will save you money. Review budget categories in which you spend the most money. Trimming 5 or 10 percent from these categories will make a big difference in your savings. Prime categories to […]

Choose Your Budget

When it comes to budgeting, one size does not fit all. A detailed budget will help you control every expense. But if you tend to overspend in just one or two categories, you may not need an elaborate budget. Here are five different types of budgets, one of which is right for you: A Comprehensive […]

Living Dangerously: The Lies We Tell Ourselves about Disability Insurance

Do you have disability insurance? Many of us don’t. A survey by The Consumer Federation of America and The American Council of Life Insurers found that 82% of people do not have long-term disability insurance or believe their coverage to be inadequate. One-third of working adults say that their families could only live for three […]

Insurance Coverage You May Not Know You Have

Here are some insurance coverages you may not even know you have! Your homeowner’s policy may cover lost luggage, as well as items stolen from your car and other locations, such as your purse. It also may cover items you have borrowed, property damaged by vandalism, or property damaged in a move. Your credit card […]

Mistakes People Make Buying Insurance

A catastrophic loss can scuttle any financial plan, and bring your savings to its knees. You need insurance to protect yourself against medical costs, sudden loss of life, and loss of property or earning power. Many people are mostly in the dark when it comes to insurance coverage. They worry that they are underinsured, but […]

Long-Term Care is a Woman’s Issue

Women! Hear us!  We know you don’t need anything else to worry about, what with working, caring for children, and being the only one who replaces the toilet paper roll when it’s empty. But there is a crisis in long-term care coming to America that will affect you and your family profoundly. According to US […]

Setting Up Your Budget

In Dutch it’s “begroting,” in Spanish, “presupuesto,” and the Germans say “haushaltsplan” (which make the most sense, as in “How Shalt YOU plan?  In any language, we either love or hate the word and the idea of it.  But if you have no idea where your money goes, you are bound to end up in […]

A Man Is Not a Financial Plan®

My husband and I have been married for almost three decades, and we’ve worked together for most of them.  But we both know that even the most successful marriages end, in either death or divorce. That is why a man is not a plan, even in the best of marriages. If you are married, each […]

Clean Up Your Credit

Spring is a good time to check your credit report and clean up any problems. But don’t sweep any dirt under the rug. That’s what Katherine learned the hard way. Katherine is an ambitious, intelligent business woman who had never missed a payment in her life. But when she reviewed her free credit report, available […]

Start Your Tax Planning Early

If you start your tax planning early you’ll  have plenty of time to work on strategies to lower your tax “bite” for the coming year. Review your investments If you have taxable income from investments, consider investments that are tax-deferred (retirement plans and deferred annuities) or tax-free (municipal bonds, Roth IRAs, 529 education plans).  Match […]

A Tax You Don’t Have to Pay

Is there really a tax that you don’t have to pay if you don’t want to — where you decide not to fill in the form and give them your money and you won’t end up in handcuffs? Yes, there certainly is. And yet, surprisingly most people are very willing, even anxious, to pay this […]

Get Organized — It’s Tax Time Again

It’s that time again! Whether you prepare your own tax return or employ a tax preparer, it’s time to gather information about your income and deductions. Ugh! Compiling tax information is not the most fun thing in the world- but you gotta do what you gotta do, right? First, gather all of the statements you […]

How Do You Spell Tax Relief?

The Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 was the answer for permanent relief from income taxes on the sale of a principal residence. The rules are simple — if you sell your home and the gain on the sale is $250,000 or less ($500,000 on a joint income tax return), there’s no tax due when you […]

Standing Up To The IRS

When you receive a plain brown envelope marked “Official US Business” from the Internal Revenue Service, it’s enough to strike terror in your heart. Your first instinct to the deficiency notice inside might be to pay them whatever they want, but don’t do it. There are four common notices that you might receive from the […]

Pay More Taxes – You’ll Be Richer

This time of year, most Americans have income taxes on their minds, but some people hurt themselves financially by putting tax savings first and economic benefits second. Here are some tax-reduction schemes that may end up costing you more than you save: Municipal bonds The interest paid by municipal bonds issued within your state are tax […]

The Taxing Aspects of Moving

When it comes to federal income taxes, it doesn’t matter where in the country you live – everyone is taxed the same. But state taxes, including income tax, sales tax, property tax, excise taxes, gasoline tax, and licensing fees, can be vastly different depending on where you choose to live. Most people select a community […]

Improving Your Knowledge May Be Tax-Deductible

Going back to school or taking courses to enhance your knowledge for your job may be tax deductible. You may deduct the cost of all education you acquire to maintain or improve your existing job skills or to meet the express requirements of your employer to keep your job. But you can’t deduct the educational […]

IRA and 401(k) Mistakes

Avoid these pitfalls when investing for retirement. As a financial planner for over 20 years, I’ve seen a lot of money mistakes in my time. But the worst seem to come with retirement plans. Something about them just makes people do silly things I guess. One of the biggest mistakes is simply investing too conservatively. […]

Tax Deductions for Refinancing or New Home Purchase

With the real estate market in the slump and interest rates falling, many people are refinancing their homes or buying new ones at bargain prices. If you have taken out a new home loan recently, you can deduct points that you pay on your new loan, and possibly points that you paid in the past […]

Get Wired, Says IRS

Wanted: Compatible computers for online communication. Objective: electronic transfer of tax data and refunds. That’s the lonely hearts message being sent by the IRS, which wants your computer to cuddle up to its computer for electronic filing. The IRS is gung-ho about encouraging taxpayers to file electronically, but some taxpayers aren’t sure, and so far […]

For the Record: Keeping Tax Documents

Now that your tax return is prepared, it’s time for some spring cleaning. How long must you keep records before you can throw them out? It depends. You must keep the records needed to substantiate all your income and deductions available for inspection by the Internal Revenue Service. You don’t have to spread them out […]

How To Deal With The IRS

Only one percent of all tax returns are audited each year. Even if you are audited, you should encounter few problems if you have reported all of your income and have kept careful records of your deductions. If the information reported by payers on W-2s and 1099s does not match what you reported on your […]

Tax Changes That Affect You

Wouldn’t you think that Congress had fiddled enough with the tax laws? Not hardly, it seems. Each year they find some new tax lever to pull that will “improve the economy” and 2003 was no exception. No matter whether you think the changes to the tax law are right or wrong, you can’t afford to […]

21-Day Savings Makeover

Please Sign Me Up For the 21-Day Savings Makeover Every day for 21 days, we will send you an email with one Small Step you can do to move you closer to your goal, and to motivate you to succeed and prosper. Trust your Money Guides to show you how. This is Temporarily Unavailable. Please Check […]

21-Day Debt Makeover

Please Sign Me Up For the 21-Day Debt Makeover Every day for 21 days, we will send you an email with one Small Step you can do to move you closer to your goal, and to motivate you to succeed and prosper. Trust your Money Guides to show you how. It’s free, it’s educational, and […]

What Will You Do With Your Tax Refund?

That big check you get in the mailbox after April 15 is your fun money, right? It’s your free gift from your kind Uncle Sam, who has so thoughtfully given you this chance to go on vacation or have fun at the mall. Not really. That check is the repayment of interest-free loan that you […]

Is it a Business or a Hobby?

If you have a small business and you want to deduct your expenses, the IRS says you must be able to show that you are engaged in a trade or business for profit. But that doesn’t mean your business has to be profitable every year. If you can show that you are trying to make […]

Business Deductions for Employees

Even if you don’t have your own business, you may have some expenses that are tax deductible. If you are a salaried professional, teacher or other employee, here are some deductions you shouldn’t overlook. Dues for professional organizations Personal supplies, such as pens, pencils, briefcases, calculators, executive diaries, etc. Fees for credit cards used exclusively […]

Estate Planning is Dead! Long Live Estate Planning!

In the wake of the excitement from the “biggest tax reduction in 20 years”, we taxpayers are left with the daunting task of figuring out exactly what was reduced. Take the estate tax “repeal” promised by President Bush—please. From all of the hype, you might think that the estate tax is being slowly phased out […]

Are Bonds Safer Than Stocks?

Bonds are debt instruments issued by the U.S. government, state and local governments, corporations, and foreign entities. The issuer borrows money and promises to pay back the debt plus interest twice a year. If the issuer goes bankrupt, bond holders will be paid before stock holders. Here are some key elements of bonds: Principal or […]

Managing Inherited Wealth

Dream or Nightmare? Money Can Be Both Tamara had dreamed that one day she’d have wealth. One day she did, but it came as a nightmare rather than a dream, when a fiery plane crash killed her husband and two of her four children. For five long years she battled the airline at fault for […]

Chicken Little Investing

“The sky is falling, the sky is falling” cried Chicken Little.  Some investors may agree.  What should you do If you find the stock market plummeting. 1.  Don’t panic. Remember that panic is not an effective, long-term investment strategy. But when the Nasdaq plunges as much as 5% a day for several days running, it’s hard […]

Investing Is Risky Business

These are the times that test investor’s souls, or at least their tolerance for risk. If you invest in technology, biotech and other stocks that trade on NASDAQ, you’ve seen quite a bit of volatility this year. What does the future hold?More volatility, which means risk. In stock market terminology, risk is the chance that […]

One Simple Investment and You Can Retire Early

Would you like to earn 8% or more on your money, guaranteed and risk-free? Like to trim your future expenses so you can retire early? Want to save thousands of dollars in interest expense? One simple investment can do it all: prepay your mortgage. To trim five years off a 30 year, 8% mortgage of […]

Picking The Right Mutual Fund

Your e-mails tell me time and again that one of the most daunting tasks you face is picking mutual funds and monitoring their progress. I’m so busy, you say – how can I make this task easier and less overwhelming? People often take a hodgepodge approach to their investments – even those who read the […]

Got The Stock Market Jitters?

If you like roller coasters, you might be enjoying the ride on Wall Street these days, as the stock market spikes then tumbles, then hits bottom and careens up again. But for most of us, whose stomachs clench at such high jinks, these are unsettling times. But take heart – those reckless gyrations may actually […]

Surfing The Business Cycle

Selecting stocks can be tough. But stock selection is much easier once you understand stock market and economic cycles. Diversification is key. To build a portfolio, you should own several different stocks in several of the eight market sectors: consumer cyclicals, technology, financial, energy, industrials, basic materials, consumer non-cyclicals and utilities. Decide which of the […]

Changing Lanes: Getting Ahead in the Financial Markets

San Diego is growing. There are thousands more cars on the road every day – and they are all in my lane! I’m normally a cautious driver, but when the freeway lane I’m in slows to a crawl while those in adjacent lanes are flying by, I’m tempted to change lanes. But as soon as […]

Investing In The Rain

My cat Augie loves to lie in the sun all day. Who wouldn’t?  But even in sunny San Diego, it sometimes rains. Augie hates that, and he turns away from the open door in disgust. Then he goes to a different door to be let out. He’s looking for the door where it isn’t raining […]

Honey, I Shrank Our Investments — Now What?

Uh oh, the stock market slid again. So what else is new? Even patient optimists have gotten fed up with the market, which is exactly why it’s going down.  As the last rat (excuse the expression) bails off the ship, there will be no more sellers left. With only buyers left at the party, the […]

It’s Harvest Time for Tax Losses

It’s harvest time –for most of us that conjures thoughts of picking apples and nuts, but if you are an investor, the final months of the year are the time to harvest investment losses to offset capital gains and minimize income taxes. It will take a little effort, but you’ll thank yourself come tax time. […]

Time Out: Taking the Next Step Toward a Balanced Life

An excerpt from the seminar “Your Career and Your Life: Balancing the Balancing Act” For most people, the only time their lives seem in perfect balance is on vacation, when they relax and enjoy everything around them. But in our day-to-day activity, life feels unbalanced and provides a very bumpy ride. To balance your life, […]

Home Improvements — A Good Investment or Not?

Making changes to your home can disrupt your life, and it can be harmful to your finances as well. Before you decide on your next home improvement project, check out how much it will improve your home’s value. According to figures from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, remodeling your kitchen or bathroom is […]

Should You Refinance?

Once you have a mortgage, you’re set, right? Not really—though your parents might have kept the same mortgage for 30 years, today’s fluctuating mortgage rates keep you on your toes. So when should you refinance? If you can get a no-cost loan at a rate that’s lower than you are presently paying, why not refinance? […]

Shopping for a House

Is it time to go house hunting? If so, here are eight great tips to help you get the best deal: Start with the basics. Read the classifieds, visit open houses, and let brokers know what kind of housing you’re seeking. Apply to a lender for preapproval so you’ll know exactly how much home you can […]

4 ways to stretch your paycheck and put your money back in your pocket!

Wait! Before you reach into your pocket you might want to read this. Switch to a free ATM card. Automatic teller machines (ATM) are a great convenience, but if you’re being charged a fee to use them, the costs can add up. If your bank charges a fee find a different bank. ANNUAL SAVINGS: $30+ […]

4 Credit Score Secrets

So you want to buy a car or a house? How about get a credit card or a mobile phone? You won’t get any of those things until they check your credit score. There are three main credit scoring agencies – Equifax, Experian and Trans Union. They each issue credit reports showing your creditors’ names, […]

5 steps you can take to ease your financial transition from divorce

Just because your marriage went down the drain, doesn’t mean your money has to follow. The emotional burden of a divorce can be overwhelming. Now add to that the financial adjustments you have to go through and it becomes frightening. But don’t fret, there are certain steps you can take to get your “Divorce and […]

Patience is a Virtue

Is the recent stock volatility in the market making your head spin? You’ve probably heard the comparison between the current stock market and a roller coaster ride. Both have a lot of sudden ups and downs that can make keeping your lunch down a chore. But ask yourself this question- when the roller coaster is […]

Gimmie! Gimmie! Gimmie!

Do your kids think you’re made of money? Does it seem like every time you turn around your forking out dough to your kids? Maybe, it’s time to start teaching them the meaning of that old expression, “Money doesn’t grow on trees” Here are some helpful ideas to make them start respecting the hard work […]

Building Wealth Basics

5 Basic building blocks that will  start you on the road to financial freedom. When the great master told her pupil, “You must first learn to walk before you can run.” She could have very well been giving financial advice. Wealth building is a result of organization, planning, and motivation. Take these 5 tips to […]

On-Line Investment Information

Love to browse on-line? Use the Web to locate valuable investment information. In today’s computer driven era, it seems there’s nothing you can’t find on the Internet. For all you investors out there, or even those of you thinking about investing, the Internet is a goldmine of free information. Whether it’s a company conference call, […]

Social Security Retirement? Plan for Social In-Security…

Thinking Social Security is a major source of retirement income? Think Again. If you’re counting on Social Security as a major part of your retirement income…watch out! The Social Security system is increasingly strained. With people living longer and better health care, more and more people are drawing benefits. To give you an idea:  In […]

A Penny Saved

Before saying you have no money to save, check out the “Latte Factor.” This may be a savings strategy you’ve overlooked when looking for ways to save money. What is the “Latte Factor”?  Let’s make up an example. Tom is a 23 year old, working in an office somewhere, and not getting paid a whole […]

Be Safe, Not Sorry

What Steps Can You Take Now to  Protect the Security of Your Family? One of your first financial goals should be protecting your family’s security from a financial crisis.  To do this, you need to look at four things: First, it’s important to have enough insurance in all major areas. These major areas are life, […]

Heart to Heart

It’s an uncomfortable conversation to have with your parents…and I am not referring to the birds and the bees. This one involves their estate and resolving any uncertainties before they’re gone. Death is not a pleasant subject, but it is going to come eventually and it’s better to be prepared. Assure your parents that you […]

Your Investment Strategy

Volatile Times in the Market Raise Lots of Questions. Wondering how to invest and what to invest in? Your first step should be to formulate an investment strategy. To do that, ask yourself these questions concerning your exceptions and preferences.  What period of time are you investing for?A short-term investor needs the money in one […]

Decorate Your Financial Future With Style

When I was first given the opportunity to write this column, some of my staff asked, “Why put a financial advice article in a magazine about home decorating?” They wondered whether my readers would have any interest in financial planning, and whether they would embrace the concepts I wanted to address. I understood however, that […]

Top 10 Tips for Successful Investors

There are volumes written about how to become a successful investor, and the advice is often quite complex. Here are some common-sense tips that will improve your investment success, no matter what your level of financial sophistication. 1. Come early to the party, and stay late. Begin investing as soon as you can, be patient, […]

Do Interest-Only Loan Pique Your Interest?

Home ownership has many benefits, but figuring out financing can be tricky. Many people are turning to interest only loans, touted as a way to buy more house for less monthly outlay. Interest only loans come in many variations, but in general you pay a fixed rate of interest but no principal for the first […]

The One, Two, Three of Investing

From what we’ve seen over the past 20 years, women are more likely to be better investors than men. Here’s why: They tend to research their investments more thoroughly and invest to meet specific long-term goals. They are inclined to hold onto their investments longer than their male counterparts, and panic less easily, even when […]

What’s Your Risk Factor?

To help you figure out your relationship to risk, we’ve created a short quiz. Take a few moments to complete it, choosing the answer that best describes you. The results should give you a good idea of how much comfortable you are (or aren’t) with taking risks. When taking this quiz: Answer all questions (guess if you’re not sure) Only check ONE box for […]

Will the Bull Market End?

We have now reached a milestone – the Dow Jones Industrial Average has reached 13,000, and prosperity continues. But economic indicators are mixed, and eventually the economy will slide into recession. Here’s how future economic developments may affect you. Q: If we have a recession, does it mean the stock market boom is over for […]

A Wise Risk Today Brings Good Fortune Tomorrow

Perhaps it was Confucius who said, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” Investing for the future is always a game of chance and risk-taking is part of the game plan.  The goal is to make your money grow—keeping ahead of inflation, using interest rates to your advantage in saving and borrowing, riding safely through the ups and […]

Small Steps for Achieving Your Financial Goals

Brainstorm 10 (small) money dreams that you want to achieve this year. Then choose two or three dreams and figure out what your first step should be to achieve that dream. Pick an attribute you aspire to. Make this a goal by visualizing and vocalizing it. Say, “I am feeling more _________ each day”. Say […]

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