Planning to Give

August is not a time we typically hear a lot about charitable giving.  Most donations occur at the very beginning or end of the year, which on top of making mid-year cash flow a challenge for nonprofits, also means that their causes are often out of sight and mind. In a race to stay front of mind with donors, giving can feel a little chaotic.  I know in my house, it’s rare to go a day without receiving a charitable request in the mail.  Community organizations, causes we’ve supported in the past, schools we attended… [read more]
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The Impact of Money Mistakes

Isn’t it the best feeling when you get a good deal?  When I get a coupon code, rebate, sale combo going or I find an amazing item on the clearance rack, the first thing I want to do is tell the next person I see about my shrewd purchase.  Nothing tops the time I found the right amount of engineered hardwood floor in the exact oak color I needed for $.90 per square foot when the big box stores wanted over $4.00.  I still brag about that and it was over five years ago. Whether… [read more]
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When I’m 65

Last week I attended “Building the Bridge to Ohio Investor Education,” a community event hosted by the PBS affiliate in Dayton, OH.  The program included an opportunity to screen the documentary, When I’m 65 and discuss issues around financial planning, financial education and just how far behind so many Americans are in planning for their futures. The program was put on by the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education (AFCPE), the Investor Protection Trust, the Investor Protection Institute and the Ohio Department of Commerce, among others.  The documentary is being… [read more]
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Rolling with the Changes

Every year our Jones family tree comes together over the 4th of July holiday week to share hugs and conversation, and erase the physical and emotional distance that comes from living hundreds of miles apart from one another.  We look forward to this trip each year, and as we ‘kids’ have reached our late 40’s to early 60’s, and our children and grandchildren have grown up too, we’ve been great examples of the truism that life is what happens to you while you’re making plans. One sister and her husband are close to retirement age,… [read more]
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How Should I Pay?

In financial planning, a common question goes something like this. . .
  • I’m thinking of remodeling my bathroom
  • We need to have the driveway replaced
  • She’ll need a new car by the end of the year
. . . how should I pay for that? Of course, in its simplest form, the answer is always the same. With money. From there, things get slightly more complex.  Is it better to use cash on hand, pull from the investment portfolio or borrow at low interest rates?  Are there tax considerations?  Maybe it’s a blended approach of… [read more]
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How to Avoid Running an Illegal Casino in Your Home

College Admissions Counselor: “You don’t have enough money.” Father of incoming Freshman daughter, Alex: “It says right here we have $401,000. You missed it!” Mother of Alex: “Jackpot!” Counselor: “Uh, that says you have a 401k account.” Later at home Mother: “Alex thinks we can afford tuition and we can’t.  What are we going to do?” Father: “We’ve got to lie.  That’s what parents do.  Because otherwise the kids are going to realize that we don’t know what we’re doing!” These few exchanges give the basis for the plot of the soon to be… [read more]
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Rebuilding After Madoff

On Saturday, May 20th, HBO released its new film, The Wizard of Lies, which depicts the events leading up to and following the arrest of Bernie Madoff.  While it does a reasonable job explaining how Madoff ran the largest Ponzi scheme in history, its core storyline is about the type of person Madoff is and how he justified continually deceiving virtually everyone in his life.  It details the impact of his crimes on his investors, many of whom had no idea their investments were even associated with Madoff, and the impact to his… [read more]
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Where Does It Go?

“I just can’t figure out where the money goes.  We should be doing well with our salaries, but we never seem to have anything left over at the end of the month.” My client’s frustration is shared by many other people I’ve worked with over the years, regardless of their age.   Knowing the amount we spend, and who and what we spend it on, is one of the key questions to unlocking financial security.  But it’s also the one we have the most trouble with, for many different reasons. One couple I worked with years… [read more]
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How Thin is Your Ice?

When something goes wrong, how do you respond? Last Thursday morning I read that opening line in Seth Godin’s blog, and I had to laugh. A few minutes earlier I’d received an email from the associate pastor of my church, letting me know the food and preparations we’d made to serve the congregation between services on Easter Sunday had to be cancelled due to flood damage.  Calls had to be made, food orders cancelled, and apologies delivered to the folks who had already prepared food and rearranged their schedules to help. It was by no… [read more]
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Investment Shock Absorbers

(from Dimensional Fund Advisors’ Outside the Flags blog by Jim Parker dated February 2017. Jim is a Vice President with DFA, leading the communications and marketing team in the firms’ Australian office.)    Ever ridden in a car with worn-out shock absorbers? Every bump is jarring, every corner stomach-churning, and every red light an excuse to assume the brace position. Owning an undiversified portfolio can trigger similar reactions. In a motor vehicle, the suspension system keeps the tires in contact with the road and provides a smooth ride for passengers by offsetting the forces of gravity,… [read more]
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