New year brings resolutions to be better with our money. And here are some of the top resolutions Fidelity investments found in a recent survey.#1- Save more- 46% of respondents in a growing trend, according to Fidelity, are want to double their annual saving from last year’s goal of $1,200 to $2,400. Breaking that down that is $200 a month. Increasing how much they save is a top priority in the survey. Retirement saving is the savings priority of 62% of the respondents, whether through a work plan or their own IRA.#2 – Spend less. This remains a top resolution for those surveyed year after year.#3- Pay off debt jumped to third place on the priority list of resolution. Last year paying off debt was in the number 7 position but increased concerns of a unstable economy has folks ‘putting their financial houses in order,’ according to the survey. The previous #3 resolution was to make a budget.I want you to know what others are doing so you can see where you stand with peers. If you think that yours is the only family not as strong in financial savvy as your friends or neighbors, you could feel isolated and defeated. When what you need is the vision to make great changes for your financial health. Citations:
Here are 10 resolutions to make 2012 even better than 2011.Get Your Credit Reports- Check all three reports at once from- www.ANNUALCREDIT REPORT.com or call 1.877.322.8228 or contact the separate agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.Check Beneficiaries and Update records- is your ex still listed as your beneficiary? Show the family where you keep the important papers. Check passwords and all bank, legal papers & investment accounts to ensure proper title and timeliness.Check your investments + Up your contributions – If you haven’t had a review with your advisor, at least review your investments. And then consider getting another advisor. If possible make a larger annual contribution for 2012. Make sure you are on the path to your retirement goal, as far as it lies with you.Tweak your budget – you DO have a budgetâ€¦? Tell me you have a budget! Make sure things are as you planned and adjust accordingly for 2012 and expected goals and dreams. Learn from your mistakes- We are none of us perfect or doing all life as we hope to do. So where can you improve? What things need to be changed or adjusted. Take the time to MAKE the CHANGES.Talk about the family’s priorities with your peeps – Listen and discuss where you and the family hope to be as you plan 2012. You can’t control the future and these plans will change, but the New Year is an opportunity to refocus and fine-tune your financial life for an even more beautiful 2012.Happy New Year!Citations:
Philanthropy- is private contributions to humanity, vs. business or government contributions. It is according to Webster “an act or gift done for humanitarian purposes.Who?- Anyone can practice philanthropy. Frequently we use the word to mean giving by foundations or endowments. They give many thousands, even millions, of dollars to museums, schools, camperships, the hospital and other ‘non-profit’ organizations. But anytime you give. And according to one article, two-thirds of Americans gave in 2008. Why? – We give because we remember being in a tough spot ourselves and want to relieve the pain for others. We give to have a tax break. We give to feel a sense of satisfaction. These are some of the many reasons to give but there are still needs this Christmas and there is still time to give. Many organizations such as the Good Shephard Food pantry, Manna, and Penquis’ Christmas is for Kids need your help especially at this time of year. But there are other places that could also use your help.Make sure you do your research on the organization but make the season more lovely with your philanthropy. Citations:
Living on one income is sometimes a choice we make so we can make our family a priority. Sometimes it is an option thrust upon us. In any case the best thing to do is reframe the situation to focus on the blessings of this time and things we can do.Unlimited budget- Everyone has to prioritize their spending, they just may have more vacations than you. We all have to decide what expenditure is critical to our life. Just like a healthy lifestyle, we all have to be aware of how we are balancingYou may be saving simply by being home- Since you are home you may not be paying for childcare, gas, or as new a car. You may be shopping for work clothes less, eating out less or buying more expensive, prepared food because someone is home. Those costs may be offset to some extent by the cost of heating the house all day now that someone is home.Prioritize – You need to prioritize your spending. Your finances boil down to money coming in and money going out. You need to prioritize what’s going out. See what expenses can be cut from the budget. Simplify other costs by good planning. If there was only one horse and buggy the family made the trip to town less often. Save money by making lists and running errands in batches. Make lists for shopping. Plan ahead for meals. These little changes cut out some of the fat of spending. Barter- can you trade or share with other families? Can one person snowplow for you and you share something from your garden with them? Think creatively and see all the positive things you do enjoy!Forget the Jones’- you won’t have the same lifestyle of those families with two incomes. Keep your eyes out of their business and remember your blessings. Count them out loud with the family if it will help you keep your eyes on more beneficial things!Remember, life is what it is. You either chose this lifestyle because of various reasosn, or it was thro=ust upon you. In any case, life is beautiful and you have another day to celebrate it today!Citations:
What to do with money that came in beyond your paycheck? Let’s talk! It could be a bonus, or an overpayment returned to you. Whatever it is, and depending on how much, here are some tips for you.How much- If the amount was small, for instance, less than $50, your options are less than if the amount is $5,000. You may have suspected that this money was coming and you may already have a plan, but it may be a silly plan. So I want to suggest a few options for you. Do the right thing- You know what that means: pay down or off, credit cards first. Why? Because that will make everyday life less stressful. You could also make a little emergency pile for a rainy day. I know this sounds like your grandmother talking, but that’s because peace of mind last a really long time and being financially cozy is peace of mind. It sounds boring but it’s still good for you.If it’s enough to do the first two things, perhaps you could do some planning for a cozy future, when unexpected money is less likely and when your income has stopped. Just a thought to make your future brighter. Have fun- with a bit of the funds, have fun. Whether modest fun or a blow-out- depending on how much unexpected money you received, have a celebration. Citation:http://www.consumerismcommentary.com/unexpected-income-windfall/ Marion R. Syversen, MBA – PresidentNorumbegaFinancial207.862.2952Marion@NorumbegaFinancial.com
What’s a financial advisor(FA)? Anyone who helps folks with money is often mistakenly called a financial advisor. Actual financial advisors though are people who have passed a test to make them licensed professionals who can advice you on investments and aspects of money.What do FA do? FA can advise and manage an individual or business’ investments, brokerage accounts. They may make a written plan for you. Once licensed, each advisor has a business model that may differ from other advisors as they pursue their talents and interests in finance.Why should you work with an advisor? We’ve seen a lot of similar issues that you are managing and we focus on helping people with their plans, getting priorities squared away on retirement, college planning, paying off debt and other critical issues. Many of us are good at our job and offer real value. How much does it cost to work with a FA? It depends on the advisor. Some advisors charge to create a plan. Some advisors will speak with you generally about how you might proceed about a particular circumstance. Ultimately, there’s only so much pro bono work one can do because one needs to make a living. Money under management – which is when your investments are managed by the advisor has an annual fee. So, you might pay for a plan and an annual fee. It is different with each advisor so ask.How much do I need to work with an advisor? It depends on the advisor. Some have no minimum and others prefer to work with high-end clients only. Once again, you’ll need to ask.I’m frugal and I like to do things inexpensively. But I think experts are important and worth their fee. I work hard for my money and I need my money to work hard for me so I think having an expert is the frugal way to go as we are busy with life. Your money deserves to have someone whose focus in helping your money grow and working with you to get to your goal. Citation:http://www.financialadvisor.net/faq.htmlMarion R. Syversen, MBA – PresidentNorumbegaFinancial207.862.2952Marion@NorumbegaFinancial.com
Major life events can be great of they can make you feel a little nervous. Job loss is a nervous event. Let’s see what I can do to come up with a strategy.Get the big picture- What’s your status? What do you have coming in from other sources of income such as savings or from unemployment? What do you owe and where can you cut spending right now? Eating out, movies, other ways you pay for entertainment need to be closely scrutinized.Prioritize the bills- You know what matters when the ground feels a bit shaky from the job loss? Shelter matters. Food matters. Figure out minimum payments and bills that can be deferred. Making calls to defer payment of change a payment plan is necessary so don’t put it off and communicate with the people you owe. Don’t add debt- if at all possible, don’t add more debt. If you must add debt do it for really good reasons and not that your depressed so let’s go buy something.Be creative- ask around and see if you can secure part-time or seasonal work if full-time work is not possible. Be creative with family fun. This I a tough time and fun can be really good medicine. So invite folks over for a potluck dinner and play games or watch old movies and laugh. Your character really shows in tough times. Make it beautiful.Citations:Ameriprise
The stock market has been volatile. It may continue in that pattern, or not. If we knew the future with certainty it wouldn’t involve risk. So what do you need to do, or what should you do with your advisor?Where are you? How are you doing? Are your investments up of down? With weekly swings of hundred points on the Dow Jones Industrial Average how your investments are doing today could be very different than how they were doing last week.Your Goals- How do your investments compare to your goals? If you are an aggressive investor and your portfolio is swinging up and down, that may be expected. If you are a moderate or conservative investor you may or may not see your investments moving a great deal. The Economy- Now consider the overall economy in Europe, Asia, the U.S. and around the world. Every economy has downward pressures and risks, such as political situations and credit risk, as well as areas of growth such as consumer spending and company profits. In every economy there are reasons to hope and to fear. Depending on how you see it will your investment strategy be determined.Your View- So how do you see things going forward? Do you see individual businesses pushing ahead in difficult times or will the economy come to a screeching halt with Will Smith walking down a dusty road and our food being eating from dumpsters? Your risk tolerance, goals and other financial questions are the essential elements in figuring out how to position your 401k. Your investments probably provide you with options that offer you a variety of investments for you. Take a look and answer these questions to make your decisions. Marion R. Syversen, MBA – PresidentNorumbegaFinancial207.862.2952Marion@NorumbegaFinancial.com
Some of you mat remember Consurmer Credit Counseling. This national non-profit agency helped thousands of people working with creditors when they faced job losses, illness or other reasons to be in financial trouble. They are now called Money Management International and they offer web-based information on practical financial issues.I thought I’d show you their site to help you figure out your net worth.
In my web travels I ran into this financial literacy test, which teaches you things as it quizzes you. Thought our viewers might like to see how they score.Whatâ€™s a credit report?Who insures your stocks Â in the stock market?Federal law gives you three days to cancel the purchase of a new or used car from the dealer?Negative financial information can stay of a credit report (including bankruptcy) for â€“ years?By using â€˜unit pricingâ€™ you can compare brands and packages in the store. (true or false)The â€˜rule of 72â€™ tells you how long it takes to double your money. (True or false) Whatâ€™s a credit report?Â Â Â A credit report is a payment and loan history kept by a credit bureau. Your history determines your credit score, which determines your interest rate for additional loans, and may be used when seeking employment or insurance. Who insures your stocks Â in the stock market? No on. Agencies such as the FDIC, the SEC or the U.S. Treasury fill roles, but investing involves risk. Federal law gives you three days to cancel the purchase of a new or used car from the dealer? (True or false) FALSE. This is a discretionary benefit given to you by certain dealers. Negative financial information can stay of a credit report (including bankruptcy) for â€“ years? Accurate negative information can stay on your report for seven years and bankruptcy can stay on a report for ten years.Â By using â€˜unit pricingâ€™ you can compare brands and packages in the store. (true or false) TRUE. Unit pricing is a tool for comparing various brands by the same UNIT, a pound, an ounce or a foot. The â€˜rule of 72â€™ tells you how long it takes to double your money. (True or false) TRUE. To use the â€œRule of 72,â€ divide 72 by the interest rate youâ€™re getting. For example, if you deposit $3,000 into an account with a 2% interest rate, divide 72 by two. The answer–36–tells you that you will double your money in 36 years: in 36 years, you will have $6,000.Citation:http://www.getthebearessentials.com/downloads/TCU-Financial-Literacy-Quiz.pdfMarion R. Syversen, MBA – PresidentNorumbegaFinancial207.862.2952[ mailto:Marion@NorumbegaFinancial.com ]Marion@NorumbegaFinancial.comCheck out our website that includes weekly streaming videos[ http://www.norumbegafinancial.com/ ]WWW.NorumbegaFinancial.com Vote Norumbega Financial for Bangor’s Best Financial Planning Firm at [ http://www.bestofsurveys.com/vote-poll.html ]Market Surveys of AmericaIn compliance with requirements from FINRA, all e-mail sent via the WSFG domain will be subject to review and archiving by Wall Street Financial Group, Inc. Email management, archiving & monitoring technology powered by Smarsh, Inc. 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.
Income and expenses, inflows and outflows, it’s the basics of money talk. If you were a business figuring out on paper your income and expenses has an official name. it’s an Income Statement. Sometimes this may be also be called a profit and loss statement.Profit and Loss Statement- In its simplest form you total all revenues, or money you’ve earned and subtract expenses from the earnings. Money really boils down to this very simple income minus expense equation. If want to change the bottom line, or what remains by increasing it, you have two options:Increase earnings – besides working more hours, or getting a job that may pay better, your could sell things you no longer need. Do you have a hobby that you love like carpentry, baking, decorating? One or two jobs every few weeks could add to your household bottom line.Cut expenses -First figure out what you spend your money on and think of better options. Though rent and utilities are typical cost drivers, consider even perceived smaller costs such as snacks, coffee and those pesky other habits like drinks with pals or smoking. If you can socialize less expensively you could cut a few dollars that could add up on your bottom line.Citations:http://www.wikihow.com/Reduce-ExpensesMarion R. Syversen, MBA – PresidentNorumbegaFinancial207.862.2952Marion@NorumbegaFinancial.com
Finance may be fun, but sometimes life can be unexpected or just really hard. If you face a major illness your family could face some serious financial problems. Here are a few ideas that may help in this crisis.Plan- some financial institutions refer to it as Plan B. Plan A is that life will be great and no one will become injured or hurt. But what if things don’t go according to the plan? Thinking about what to do is something. But actually planning is better still. Have the conversation!Insurance- Major medical insurance coves part of the medical expenses of any hospital care you might need. Worker’s comp is income replacement insurance if you are injured while on the job. Disability insurance may be offered at your workplace and it would provide income replacement if you are hurt outside of work, in the course of working around the yard, playing in summer or winter, working on the car.Face the reality- Whatever problem has occurred, face it head-on and begin piece by piece to get control of your life and then your finances. Set priorities – LIFE is the most important gift, the bills need to be paid but get life under control. Make a budget for the additional expenses. Let folks know what you need. It will be okay. You will get through this. Many other people in this community have lived through tough setbacks and have got back up. You have people who love you, folks who are cheering you on and you are strong! Citations:Plan B
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.