Life is full of surprises and some of them are unpleasant, so if we can organize some things maybe we can alleviate some ickiness in our lives. Here’s some money mistakes and how to avoid them.No plan- do you have a will, trust, living will or advanced directive? A plan helps, especially if you have little onesâ€¦ Not enough insurance- if you have insurance only through work, that may not be enough. Losing you would be devastating for the family and a check isn’t going to make up for it, but it could help the family stay in this house and in the scholl that they have grown accustomed to.Ignoring finances- Discuss finances with your spouse or partner, please. Address things that need attention, please, especially if you have children.Over spending- if you currently are spending more than you make, please stop. If you used to and have stopped, good for you! Waiting to invest- Every year that passes and you are not saving for your future is time you cannot recapture, BUT if you start today it’s better than waiting until tomorrow!Piling on debt – All financial times are uncertain because who knows what tomorrow will bring for YOU and your family. Debt limits your options, High school loans mean you are committed to certain cities to earn certain dollars. The more debt the less freedom. So try to stop adding to your debt.Making money too important- Money may keep the heat on, but it really doesn’t keep you warm at night in the cozy sense. Making earning money the most important goal of your life will leave you empty. Please reconsider your goals.Looking for the easy way- Get-rich-quick schemes tend to be just that, schemes. Saving money involves the repetition of spending less than you earn. It can be GREAT fun, and I hope you will find it so! Citations:
All of my clients – to have money to invest- spend LESS than they have. That’s how they have any money set aside for other purposes, like retirement of for emergencies.Frugal- is a ‘thrifty and efficient use of material resources’ according to the Merriam – Webster dictionary. It’s a characteristic that New Englanders are known for and it’s a trait I practice.How- a Google search of the word frugal turns up coupons, blogs and web sites, even a t-shirt that reads ‘proud to be frugal’, providing ideas for your frugal journey. For me, yard sales and providing the labor for many home improvements projects for our own and for friends is how we work our frugal muscles. I have good friends who are expert couponers.Why- I don’t know very many folks who have ALL the resources imaginable. Prioritizing how to use what one has is my take on frugality’s definition of efficient use of what we have. Why waste? Why have dolloars running through your hands and not take control and prioritize their use? Marion R. Syversen, MBA – PresidentNorumbegaFinancial207.862.2952Marion@NorumbegaFinancial.com
How to make this more beneficial for the child and less traumatic for you.Set limits- and don’t feel guilty. What’s up with that? So, mom or dad doesn’t have a job and you have a tiny budget? Don’t get all crazy under that issue. Conversely, if you have plenty, you are not doing the baby any favors to not teach them limits, so set a spending limit. Entrepreneurship- When the child wants more activity fees, different sneakers or more clothing options there’s always an allowance of summertime earning for next year’s additional expenses. Get them understanding that they can have lots of things they might rather have if they supplement the basics with their own money. If it’s late for them to alter things this year, next year will be an opportunity for the baby to get into the planning process so they can add to the basic back-to-school supplies with earned money.Teach savvy consumption- There are many stores offering similar objects. Jeans are everywhere and from yard sales to Goodwill, to J. Crew. Notebooks and pencils are also available in many price points. When you empower the child to know the budget, when you show them the price variations and then let them pick- and REALLY LET THEM PICK- the outcome is more peacefulGet the child involved, ditch the guilt and let them really have the final say about it. This may make for a less chaotic shopping season. Marion R. Syversen, MBA – PresidentNorumbegaFinancial207.862.2952Marion@NorumbegaFinancial.com
A couple of weeks ago I spoke about financial literacy web site at MyMoney.gov and today I have another great web site for parents and teachers and students from the State of Wisconsin. This site doesn’t have as easy a web address but it’s an easy-to-use site with great information. http://www.finlitwi.org/default/index.htmlStudents- Let’s start with info for students. The Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions is specifically targeting elementary and middle school kids. It’s a colorful site when you click on the students’ tab. Inside is all text but you could make it more fun and perhaps use it as a starting point to learning about the various topics: History of Money Savings Options Financial Institutions- which sounds boring Investing. It’s not as much fun as a game or a coloring book, but for some kids it might be a good tool.Parents- This site is WAY more fun! When you roll your mouse over tabs there’s a sound of coins going into a bank! And the tabs have great pictures and engaging info. For instance under the tab ‘Fun for Kids’ one page reads: ‘ What things do you love to do? Go shopping? Watch movies? Play video games?’ The site then explains how everything costs money, so where are you going to get that money? Seven ideas are offered for kids plus a “Be Your own Boss” challenge. I liked this site a lot. It’s fun! There is a teen tab, pointers for parents and tips for teachers.Speaking of teachers, the state of Wisconsin’s site has an Educators’ tab has curriculum used by the state of Wisconsin as well as others such as the National Institute of Financial and Economic Literacy. There are 21 games featured on the site as well as the appropriate grades for some of the games, organizations to contact and other resources are also listed for you on the site.It’s looks like there is something for homeschoolers, grandparents, teachers and parents to help get this generation well-educated on their money! Marion R. Syversen, MBA – PresidentNorumbegaFinancial207.862.2952Marion@NorumbegaFinancial.com
Dealing with debt is an important topic for the folks and how to tackle it is a frequently asked question. So, I’ve got a blog and a get out of debt calculator to show viewers today.Blog
The Credit DowngradeWhat is it- S & P – a credit rating agency- has said we are a higher riskthan the triple A rating which was called ‘no risk.” Why- We spend more than we make and our recent ‘fiscal consolidation planfalls short’ of really solving long term debt and repayment. The ‘debtceiling plan isn’t cutting enough planned spending.What does it mean for the US- practically it will mean what it would mean atyour house if your credit rating went down: higher interest rates = moreexpensive to borrow money. What does it mean for me- higher interest rates across the board, on creditcards, mortgages, etc.What happens next? – S & P will re-evaluate in 6- 24 months for a potentialADDITIONAL downgrade. How do we turn this around?- Cut our expenses.becomemore efficient. In an interview, an S & P managing Director gave thechances for ANOTHER downgrade at a 1 in 3 chance. If the Deficit Committeesrecommendations are accepted S & P says we may stabilize at the New PresentAA+ rating.Marion R. Syversen, MBA – PresidentNorumbegaFinancial207.862.2952Marion@NorumbegaFinancial.comCheck out our website that includes weekly streaming videosWWW.NorumbegaFinancial.com Vote Norumbega Financial for Bangor’s Best Financial Planning Firm at Market Surveys of America Disclosure:Only securities and advisory services offered through Wall Street FinancialGroup, Inc. Registered Investment Advisor. Member FINRA/SIPC. Wall StreetFinancial Group, Inc., Norumbega Financial and all other entities listedherein are separate entities, independently owned and operated.
Boyfriend, girlfriend, it doesn’t matter. What we’re talking about today is being in a relationship that has become serious enough to share information on your personal finances. First, you may have noticed behavior about money. Credit card use, overspending based on their guessed income. Are they borrowing money or other things. Are there many high-end consumer products in the apartment that most other friends can’t afford. Be attentive. Throughout the relationship, you should be talking about finances and each other’s views of personal finance as you date. But when the relationship gets more serious you need to be able to talk openly about this subject. Some of the questions you want to ask and answer are: What’s your income? How much debt to you have? What do you hope to do? What’s your income?- You certainly don’t love another for the money but you need to know if this relationship is serious. How much debt to you have?- People make mistakes, so today’s debt isn’t necessarily an indication of their lives in the future. But understanding what debt they have, how they accumulated it and the plan for repayment is an important talk in a serious relationship. What do you hope to do?- Obviously, no one knows the exact future, but what plans for the future do they have? If observations have not alarmed you and you fell good about the talk now you can apply yourself to the relationship! Citations:
By- Marion SyversenHere is a useful and seemingly easy-to-use site about money. Individuals, parents and teachers could find this site useful. It’s a government site which is a portal to many other sites and their various tools, articles and resources pertaining to personal finance. From the Departments of Agriculture and Labor, to the Treasury, the FDIC and the Office of the Comptroller, this site connects them all in a fairly straightforward site.Mymoney.govWhat’s it got?On the left column it has a heading called ‘popular topics’ and those include Dealing with mortgages, debt and credit, planning for retirement. It has articles on getting a loan, consumers rights information and articles on insurance.A major heading includes calculators and tools. This area includes budgeting worksheets, a college preparation checklist- including how to file for student loans, and a timeline of things to know and do- and other checklists that include a series on 5 Tips forâ€¦getting the most from your credit card/ shopping for a mortgage. This also has a link for Money Smart and adult financial education program. Here I also found the Spending Plan Worksheet from the Department of Agriculture is an Excel spreadsheet of a simple income and expense table. But it’s already created for you to make it easy to use.Under My Resources there is an array of material by category: teachers, parents, military, women, researchers and plenty more. Once you choose a particular heading, say teachers, then there is a large list of curriculum called Money Smart or lesson ideas from Money Math. This is terrific site. I’ve been using these resources for years but this site has really streamlined the hunt for all these materials.Disclosure:Only securities and advisory services offered through Wall Street Financial Group, Inc. Registered Investment Advisor. Member FINRA/SIPC. Wall Street Financial Group, Inc., Norumbega Financial and all other entities listed herein are separate entities, independently owned and operated.
A budget is the story of your money. So budgeting for a vacation is figuring out the future story and setting money aside for the fun. Destination- if you are planning a vacation to Europe, you won’t be able to drive, so airline costs will be a mandatory cost. Whatever your destination, you can make it less costly if you plan to go during more off-season times. You don’t need to go at the bleakest time, but if you travel on the edges of the destinations’ high season you may still enjoy a delightful time but with less costs.Travel + lodging- These will probably be the biggest costs, so hunting for deals could really help. Booking at the last minute, or far in advance may be the strategies you may employ to save money. Think creatively, read books on great ideas for saving money and do some online hunting for great deals.Food + fun- Plan ahead of time how many meals will beat the high-end restaurants or cooking on your own. Buy staples to feed yourselves for less when possible. Take part in a cooking class at your destination city for a great memory and yummy food.Cheap fun- Is being a tourist in your own region. Plan day trips to cool sights you haven’t visited before. Camp in the back yard or at State parks. Generally a great way to save for a destination vacation is to enjoy cheap vacations for a while and save.Taking breaks is important and the memories are terrific. Whether a destination vacation is on your annual calendar or it is a rare treat, remember you can have fun for little money when you use your imagination.Citations:
Tax deferred- Investments in which taxes payments are postponed. This occurs with ‘tax-deferred accounts’ such as IRAs (Individual Retirement Accounts) annuities and some bonds. Taxes are due under different circumstances depending on the vehicle, so check with your tax professional. Rollover- Retirement investments moved from one provider to another. The reasons for this may be job change or the consolidation of accounts to a new advisor. The change is reported to the IRS. Mont Carlo Simulation- This is a statistical calculation done by advisors to provide various scenarios to investors. Computer programs are generally used and it attempts to provide some degree of certainty about how long your income will last in retirement. For instance using Monte Carlo, withdrawing your assets at a 4% withdrawal rate per year provides a 90% certainty hat your will have income for your lifetime. The Monte carlo simulation expresses answers in probablilites. Annuitization- The process of converting a sum into a stream of payments. Particulars vary. You can have a flow of income for a certain amount of years (period certain) or a lifetime. Annuitization provides payments over a period of time.Citation:
Summer in Maine is delightful. But have you ever considered the affect weather has on the stock market?! Researchers have given this topic quite of bit of study and here are some of their results.Warmth affects subtleties such as your first impressions of people. In an experiment people whose hands were warmed by holding a cup of hot coffee were more lickly to have positive impressions of others compared to those who had not handled the cup.That same tendency of positive feelings are found in investors on warm days. Research has demonstrated a strong link between sunny days and higher stock market returns. Another study has shown a link between warm, sunny days and investors’ choices of riskier investments.In contrast, cold, cloudy days on Wall Street correlate in many studies, though not all, to lower stock market returns.Believing that only logic and financial statements are what drives investment performance would be missing the mark on the research into the nuances that cause changes in the stock market.Another study on the market and our health found that for some, stock market volatility can be difficult on one’s health. In several studies, researchers have found a connection between the percentage change in the stock market and the rate of investor heart attacks. Extreme volatlity. One study noted in the Wall Street Journal article, studied 2006 through 2008 and found that changes up and down in the market of 1% could result in increased cardiac deaths of 2%. The study is backed by others with similar finds.What do these studies mean to you? I think it means to let go of too tight a belief that you can predict how stocks will behave. Let go of too intense a relationship with your joy and your investments since you can’t control the future or the behavior of others as they trade. And make a good plan, and work your plan the best you can. Citations:Sunshinehttp://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304520804576349213528554824.htmlMarion R. Syversen, MBA – PresidentNorumbegaFinancial207.862.2952Marion@NorumbegaFinancial.com
I talk to a lot of people and you should know that arguments, special about money, happen at many peoples’ houses.Kids – Oh, the little darlings. We love them to pieces, but maybe I love them more than you because I will buy them things you and insist on them earning money. I have heard folks say that they grew up with nothing and they just have to take care of their kids’ needs to the highest possible level. Even, and often, not taking care of their own future needs. I have frequently been able to help folks think in a different way by aksing if this lifestyle:e is what they would advise their children- as adults- to emulate. Do they want their, daughters, for instance, to neglect themselves in the future and give over all their money to the kids? The answer is usually noâ€¦Who earns more- You love each other and need to find a balance with that fact as your focus. If you have separate accounts or divide the bills, in this case you may divide them proportionately, and not simply 50/50, cause that division would not be equitable. I have seen folks with more income be a real bully to the less well-earning partner. That’s not love, kids. Look yourself in the eye and imagine how your activity or behavior would look if you saw it in another couple, your best friends. How would you see that behavior?Family / Ex-family- You may argue because family intervenes in your money lives. Are their grandparents who insist on gifts that make one or both of your uncomfortable? Do you have an ex who makes more than the new family, from whom you still have financial ties of debt ? Speak to a counselor to help you sort out a better approach since this can be all wrapped up in emotions that have nothing to do with the present situation. Be efficient, make things better now!Spending / Saving- It’s not uncommon to have one partner be a spender and the other be more or a saver. These descriptions are neither bad nor good. They are just different and you love that about your baby! But under certain circumstances these differences can be more difficult. Have a talk about how to balance these characteristics and make a lovely and harmonious outcome that uses the best in both of you for your family.Citations:
The wedding is a ceremony at which you and your future spouse make a lifetime commitment of love. Those who witness the ceremony pledge to support you both during the struggles and victories of your many wonderful years together. The average wedding costs more than $20,000 with some articles I researched saying as high as nearly $30,000. Poppycock, that’s what I say about that! That’s a lot of money for most families and I think it would be wiser to spend less and make progress towards your future togetherâ€¦ A wedding isn’t the day you are crowned king or queen. Try to balance the importance of the ceremony with the party to which you are looking forward.Who’s paying?- Some families can pay for all of your dreams, and it might be the bride or groom’s family. In some cases certain special elements of the wedding, such as the wedding dress or the honeymoon, are paid by grandparents or aunts or uncles. It is important to be clear about their budget and grateful for their kindness. Of course, if you are paying for everything, you can do what you’d like. Budget even less – On one site, Brilliant Wedding Pages, I read a very practical and helpful budget tip: cut your budget back so that unanticipated expenses will not crush you and cause your happy day to be stress-filled. Hidden expenses- what are some of the expenses you may not think of? Dress alterations, gift for your future spouse, stamps, favors, marriage licenses, and more add up. Recognize they exist and prepare. Suggested amount to save for that ‘rainy day’ is 5% of the budget, some suggested as high as 20%. Cheaper alternatives?- Put on your thinking cap and see if you can figure out creative ways to save, without losing your mind. You will be busier and busier as the wedding approaches. You need to balance out saving and additional tasks organized – or done – by you, with being relaxed enough and awake enough to enjoy the ceremony and the reception. Some tips: used gowns, unusual favors, picking a time of day or day of the week out of the norm, rings from estates, online or on lay-away. Use your very clever noggin and be realistic. Sometimes you realize that certain aspects of the wedding are crucial to you. Try to figure out where you can cut back but what is really important to you. Keep the REAL focus- Ultimately, this is a ceremony of your commitment and love with the people whom you most love. It’s not about the dress. If you faced a terrible tragedy you might be better able to put this day in perspective. It’s not about money or outdoing others. Keep the focus. Citations:Suggested percentages-
Kids and summer can be a great time for jobs. But what can they do and how much supervision do they need? Here are some ideas that may work at your house.Passion- What do they like? Though we know as grown-up we sometimes have to do jobs we don’t like, that’s not what out goal is for our lifetime work. So, why not try to plug your cutie into something they might really DO because they not only like the extra money but they also like the work?Working for others- Ideas- Pet care (while neighbors are on vacation or for the summer.) babysitting. Red cross offers babysitting training courses through the Bangor Y that would make your little pumpkin well equipped. The kids could do direct sales with a firm you like. Computer skills put to work and tutoring other kids.Working for the family- Are there jobs where your baby could do work above and beyond the usual? Might there be extensive gardening or building projects for which you could hire a kid? Maybe cousins could work a few hours and then send them off for fun? I always found a little work mixed in a summer day gave just enough ‘shape’ to the day, just enough needed focus, that the rest of the day proceeded with very few squabbles. Always an answer to every parent’s prayerâ€¦ Citations:Red Cross-
Social security and the ins and outs of benefits is a tough nut for most of us to crack. Here are some points that may help you.Meant as foundation- The intent of Social Security was to provide some income for retirees. With the absence of pensions it has become the sole source of funds for some retirees.Set at initial withdraw- Benefit amount won’t increase, once you take your Social Security benefit the amount will not increase, except for ‘COLA’ or Cost of Living Adjustments meant to help keep up with inflation. The decision regarding at what age to take the benefit then becomes even more critical.Age dependant- retirement Benefits are available as early age 62, but the longer you wait to take- what will become set amount- Social Security, the higher the benefit will be. At ‘Full Retirement’ the benefit amount is higher and if you wait till age 70 the benefit is higher still.Taking Social Security at age 62 permanently reduces your ‘full retirement’ benefit amount by 20%.Your benefit will increase every year you hold off retiring until age 70. At and after age 70 there is not increase to your benefit amount.You can call the Social Security Administration 800.772.1213It’s such an important, but confusing, topic that I am hosting a Social Security administrator June 21st to help people get a better handle of this really important topic. Citations:The Complete idiot’s Guide to Social Security and Medicare, Lita Epstein, MBAPgs. 36, 43, 73,78 Marion R. Syversen, MBA – PresidentNorumbegaFinancial207.862.2952Marion@NorumbegaFinancial.com
When you are a business owner you are absorbed in finding new customers and doing the technical aspects of providing your service or product. Finding groups that offer support or information is time consuming. Let me help!Networking groups – I’m speaking more to formal tip club groups at which a variety of businesses meet weekly and commit to give leads and to promote each other’s business. Realtors, bankers, attorneys, plumbers and the like learn about each other’s business and the services offered and look for opportunities to share what they learn about you and your services with their own customers. Advocacy groups – These groups may be specific to your town, or region, or may be statewide or national merchant groups such as your local Chamber of Commerce, or the NFIB provide advocacy for business. The groups are comprised of retailers, manufacturers, service providers, non-profits and large and small businesses so they don’t always take perfect care of you. But when there are 80,000 members of a group such as NAWBO – the National Association of Women Business Owners- that’s more clout than you have with you 20 employees have on your own.Training groups- SBA and other resources provide free or low-cost training and help for procurement of government contracts, or marketing help, and also help with writing a business plan or securing financing for your business.Trade Associations- May also provide advocacy and training for the specific needs of your business.Marion R. Syversen, MBA – PresidentNorumbegaFinancial207.862.2952Marion@NorumbegaFinancial.com
I’ve found some online budget tools, worksheets and the like, that may be a help to viewers.There are plenty of budget tools but in most cases the user has to sign in. This sites allow easy access and no sign-in.
Get organized- Sit down with your past month’s expenses. Review what the heck you have purchased. You may find that you waste more money than you realize. Many tips to the supermarket, lunch, coffee, snacks out many times a week. For most of us with that kind of careless spending using way more money than we can really afford to spend in that way. So, you need to see what you have done that was out of balance, see what you must pay in mortgage, utilities, etc, and make those payments as automatic as possible.Stop spending- Alter the spending that was out of balance. Cut is back. Don’t put anything else on credit. Take a breather for a year, or two, so you can tackle the debt you have already accumulated. If you pay double what your present credit card payment is you will cut that debt down in short order! Be wise- Don’t buy something simply because it was cheap or on sale. LOVE IT before you buy it. Be the picky princess I know you can be and don’t settle for okay even if the item is on sale. Only buy what is wonderful – and on sale.Save- Even when you are paying down debt, save! Even if it’s $5 a week, or $25 a week, the habit is really a great one and will start making you see the savings as the luscious delight that a savings account can be. Learn to love your savings account.Marion R. Syversen, MBA – PresidentNorumbegaFinancial207.862.2952Marion@NorumbegaFinancial.com
Money weaves through all of our lives and is woven in to our relationships, too. So when a couple divorce, there are financial consequences. Here are the things to keep in mind before, or during, a divorce.Your credit- The credit rating for both of you could be badly affected during a divorce. There is confusion, disruption and intense emotions and all the bills may not get paid on time during these months. Do what you can, but don’t be surprised, if this occurs. Make sure you communicate with the lenders during this time. And if you have a god relationship with a particular lender, have a talk about what else you might do to come out with flying colors on the single side of the road.Your income- Depending on what your role has been before the divorce, your income could be a problem. Some women make more than their husbands. But some have made the home and caring for the family a full-time job and in that case, there will be some income concerns. Marital assets divided ‘equitably’- I am not an attorney, but the State of Maine is an ‘equitable asset’ state. Meaning that assets (including stocks, bonds, mutual funds, boats, houses, land, outstanding loans, artwork, collectibles, etc.) accumulated together are divided fairly, according to the law. One of the most important questions is do you know anything about your finances? You need to know all you can about how to manage your finances in your new single life. Take control. Don’t be a victim!Citation:Marital assetshttp://www.divorcesource.com/info/divorcelaws/maine.shtmlhttp://financialplan.about.com/cs/divorceandmoney/a/DealWithDivorce.htmMarion R. Syversen, MBA – PresidentNorumbegaFinancial207.862.2952Marion@NorumbegaFinancial.com
New book I Hate Money by doctoral student Sarah Morehead will be available for sale May 27th. It has some terrific insight.Sarah theorizes that if you know the key things that help make up the real you can better appreciate what you can do about your money. Because, she says, you can add and this money math isn’t really that hard. Money messages- Do you think money is bad or good? What messages float in your head about money? Is it a tool to create jobs and develop business? Is it evil? Does it corrupt? Is it to be avoided and abhorred? You might want to examine your money messages.Internal or external control- Do you think your life is controlled by an outside force and you just sit on a treadmill? Do you have any power over your life and your future? Are you energized by power, achievement or relationships? Here’s an example to help you see the three elements at work. You are in a competition and part of a team. Your team wins but you won because the other team was really bad.. If you are driven by power you think, “We won! ‘ If you are driven by achievement you think,’ That doesn’t count. I didn’t really win. The other team stunk.’If you are driven by relationships you think,’ I met the best people during that competition. ‘Maslow’s need- Morehead Developed by Abraham Maslow in 1943, this pyramid theorizes that human needs are met in a certain order and that ‘higher’ needs, such as beauty and one’s spiritual life are not sought before the more primary needs, such as food and shelter, are met. And why she delves into this area is to say that we need to use money where we HAVE to use money, like at the grocery store and with our rent payment, and that we need to use non-monetary solutions to fulfill the other needs that can be addressed more creatively. So that you pay your rent and buy your food and wait for a great sale, use Marden’s or Goodwill, or clothing trades with friends, to solve beauty needs creatively.Marion R. Syversen, MBA – PresidentNorumbegaFinancial207.862.2952Marion@NorumbegaFinancial.com