The back-to-school season, be it pre-school or kindergarten, marks the end of summer and new beginnings. During this time of change it is easy to put managing your own lives on the back burner so that you can focus on helping your children transition smoothly. Before you know it, it is the holidays and you put it off even longer. The end result is that another year has gone by and you do not feel any better off than you did at the end of last year.
Do something different this year! Follow the three simple steps below from September through December and make the rest of this year count.
Step 1: Knowledge is Power. Just like when your children start school, the teachers want to know what they are capable of doing. Can they sit still for circle time? Can they follow directions? You need to know what you are capable of and where your money is at this point in time.
There are many free online personal finance resources to help you know where you are financially. For example, Mint.com, Personal Capital and Wikinvest are a few. These tools are very robust and can seem overwhelming. Tip: Decide what “your” goal is for using the online service. Is it tracking your expenses? Or is it getting a holistic view of several portfolios of investments? If it is for tracking your expenses, focus on that only (for now) until you have a good sense of where your money is going.
Marin Mommies presents another great guest article by Marin mom and financial planner Katy Song, CFP®.
Market uncertainty, record low interest rates, lack of housing inventory, signs of economic recovery, increasing rents… When you put all of these together, what do you get? A lot of questions about whether this is the “perfect” time to buy or keep renting.
I speak with a lot of people looking for houses and there seems to be a little frenzy developing for those looking to buy a 3+ bedroom home for less than $1million. If you are in this position or are contemplating getting in the market, first, take a deep breath and know one thing for sure: You will likely not time the market perfectly. Second, do not get caught up in the frenzy. Know exactly what is right for your financial situation and family (price, down payment size, mortgage terms, location, etc.). This is going to be one of your biggest investment decisions and you should not compromise on too many items.
Marin is a special market. The supply of housing is limited and the demand is high given its proximity to San Francisco, good public schools and family environment. The excess of demand over supply means that values tend to remain high and long-term growth prospects for this investment are strong. So, is housing a safe investment again?
Marin Mommies presents another great article by Marin mom and financial planner Katy Song, CFP®.
For most of my clients, 2011 proved to be a year of getting on more solid ground (paying down debts, getting out of underwater homes, building up an emergency fund, and even taking a vacation). This was predicted for the Year of the Rabbit (2011), in which you were able to rest and have a little peace. Well, I hope you took the time to get prepared for the Year of the Dragon (2012)!
The Dragon is said to create excitement, unpredictability and intensity. This can bring out some wonderful behaviors like enthusiasm, but throwing caution to the wind can lead to unnecessary risks. Personally, I am ready for some excitement but want to steer clear of drama. So, what does this Year of the Water Dragon mean for your financial future over the next year? Here is some advice based on Chinese interpretations of the year to come:
Marin Mommies is presents another great guest article by Marin mom and financial planner Katy Song, CFP®.
On August 8, 2011, the S&P lost 6.7% of its value, and most investors are still suffering from whiplash caused by the market’s ups and downs last week. Whether you watched your portfolio plummet, saw the drop as a good time to buy, or sat on the sidelines stunned, I have some advice… take a deep breath and exhale slowly. This is going to be a marathon, not a sprint.
It seems like every time a piece of economic data shows positive signs of a recovery, there is updated “official” economic data saying that the previous quarter is revised downward. Just like the market, if you drop 600 points and go up 400 points the next day, you are still down! So what can you do to better handle this volatility and prepare yourself for a long road ahead? Here are some simple steps:
Know what your money is for. Every account or pot of money you have needs a purpose. If you need it within the next three years, make sure it is liquid. Liquid means that you can quickly and cheaply convert it to cash. While stocks are “liquid”, you run the risk of needing to sell when the market is down.