Tax Help for Your 2018 Filing

2018 Marginal Income Tax Rates and Brackets

Revised  Income Brackets and Marginal Tax Rates  What are marginal tax rates?  It’s the percentage of your income that you pay in taxes.  Good news –the brackets (or income ranges) were lowered so most of us will be paying 2-3% less income tax. Find your annual income range and the associated percentage you'll pay below

Example: If you are single making $50,000/year you are in the 22% tax bracket

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Standard Deduction 2017 compared to 2018

The standard deduction was almost doubled to simplify the process and encourage less people to itemize their deductions. The 2018 tax reform bill got rid of the personal exemptions. To see what was eliminated click here.

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Your Budgeting Worksheet

Your Budgeting Worksheet

With this easy to use DIY budget worksheet you can start tracking your earnings and your spending, be mindful about your money and make better decisions that will lead to financial stability. Start gaining control by routinely checking back on just that one spreadsheet...and the best part is that your privacy is protected since the budgeting spreadsheet resides in your drive, so you don't have to share any information with anyone.

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How well do you receive money?

By: Liz Wolfe

I recently read a moving and insightful book called 365 Thank Yous: The Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life by John Kralik.  It’s a true story of a man who completely turned his life around when he decided to write a thank you note every day for one year.  This memoir is an example of how powerful gratitude can be.

The story that I remember most from the book, though, was one that Kralik tells in the beginning.  He describes how as a young boy his grandfather gave him a silver dollar, telling him that if he received a thank you note, he would send another one.  As long as Kralik sent him a thank you note, the silver dollars would keep coming.  In this way, his grandfather taught him a life lesson in etiquette, while simultaneously illustrating how gratitude generates more abundance.

As the story goes, Kralik did indeed send his grandfather a thank you note, and true to his grandfather’s word, a shiny new silver dollar came back to him in the mail.  Once again he wrote a thank you note, and in return another silver dollar.  By the third silver dollar, however, Kralik had lost enthusiasm for the exchange, and did not send another thank you note, and thus the flow of silver dollars stopped. 

My husband and I don’t give an allowance to our children, so one day my son Julian came to me asking if he could earn some money.  “Sure,” I told him, and he presented a list of activities and how much each was worth.  Getting out of bed when called in the morning and getting dressed was worth 25 cents.  Making a bottle of seltzer was worth 10 cents.  Doing a complete load of laundry, including folding and putting it away was worth $1, etc.

For two weeks, Julian enthusiastically completed tasks, and as he did I dropped quarters in to a cup for him.  I noticed, however, that I was the one reminding him that if he did certain things he would get the money, and I soon tired of that game.  One day I said to him, “When you complete a task, you let me know, and I’ll put the money in the cup.”  I figured if he really wanted the money, he would tell me, plus, I wanted him to be the one taking the initiative.

For a while, Julian accumulated a fair amount of money in his cup, and got to spend some of it.  However, once I told him that he was responsible for letting me know he had earned money, the rate at which he earned it dropped significantly.  In fact, for the past month, he hasn’t asked me for money at all.  He still makes seltzer, he still gets out of bed and gets dressed in the morning, and does a host of other items that we decided on -- but he doesn’t collect on them.

The similarity between these two stories is that in both cases, had the child simply taken the initiative to do the prescribed activity as directed, they would have received more money easily and abundantly.  It caused me to think about how often I “leave money on the table.”  For instance, I have a check for $100 sitting on my desk right now that I just haven’t taken to the bank.  I’ve written in previous blogs about various gift certificates that end up buried in piles on my desk.  I even occasionally delay in submitting invoices for work I’ve done.  People actively owe me money, but I don’t collect on it, just like Julian and his chore money.

If inadequate cash flow is a frequent theme in your life, take a look at how well you are RECEIVING the money that is already out there in the universe waiting to come your way.  While there is a common belief that receiving is easy, many of us could use practice in this area.  Receiving is an action that requires conscious attention.  You can practice receiving by being gracious when people give things to you – compliments, gifts, a seat on the subway, and of course, money. 

I have a personal practice whereby any time anyone offers me money, I take it.  I want to tell the universe that I want money, and that I am ready to gratefully receive it.  That way, like the author’s grandfather, it will send me more.


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Liz Wolfe is a skilled and energetic motivational speaker, coach and trainer. For more than 20 years she has inspired hundreds of people with her passionate stand of abundance: “There is plenty for everyone, including me.” As a coach for entrepreneurs, she empowers clients with her unique system: “A Clear Vision + Purposeful Action – Hidden Barriers = Breakthrough Results.” Lizwolfecoaching.com

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Liz Wolfe

Liz Wolfe has lead trainings professionally for over 20 years. She is originally from Western Pennsylvania where she grew up on a sheep farm. She began her public speaking career as a child, doing spinning and weaving demos at local festivals with her family. In her formative years, she was money poor but resource rich. Her days on the farm supplied her with a wonderful foundation to learn about the abundance of the universe.

She came to New York City in 1987. Since then she has created a successful business with her husband, Jon, that focuses on helping companies and individuals realize their full potential.

Money Talks - Get in on the Conversation

By: Liz Wolfe

A hot topic these days is why the “1%” have accumulated so much wealth.  Perhaps you’ve seen the video that went viral demonstrating, with impressive graphics and mind-boggling statistics the chasm between the nation’s wealthiest and the bottom 20 percent.

So how did 1% do so well?  Is it because they greedily and purposely hoard wealth to keep it away from the rest of us?  Are people poor because they are lazy or financially irresponsible, especially when on public assistance?  Does the government unfairly favor the rich and big business?

Here’s my question:  who cares?

How much money they have has nothing to do with how much money you have.  There is an unlimited amount of money available to all of us, and the key is not figuring out why they have more than you do, but rather why you don’t have as much as you want. 

Here are some common ideas about money that keep us from creating as much as we want:

#1 –Money is a “thing” or a fixed entity

Money is energy.  Dollar bills and coins are merely symbols of the life energy we exchange and use as a result of the service we provide to the universe and to each other.  Thinking of money as an object restricts our ability to create it freely.  By learning to acknowledge it as energy, you will have unlimited access to it.

#2 –There is a limited supply; if wealthy people have too much, it takes away from my supply.

Back to reason #1.  There can be no limit because money is not a fixed entity.  There is an unlimited supply.  How much someone else has does not affect how much you have now, or will have in the future.  Ever!

People from the poorest and most difficult backgrounds — Steve Jobs and J.K Rowling are two — have found great fiscal success.   The top 1% didn’t stop them.

#3 –Money is directly related to personal worth.

People have the mistaken notion that you have to "deserve" money.  Wealthy people, the argument goes, shouldn't have so much, because no one "deserves" that kind of money. Who came up with this idea of “deserving” anyway?  To say “all that I deserve” puts a limit on it.  How do you know if you deserve it? Who decides if you deserve it?

Money is neutral.  It doesn’t care if you deserve it or not.  You have as much money as you have created up until now. End of story.

#4 – It is more noble to be poor than rich, and rich people are selfish.

Stories often portray the rich as unfeeling and stingy, and the poor as benevolent and generous.  While true that the working class gives more to charity proportionate to their income than wealthy people, it’s not true that all rich people are selfish.    

#5 – You have to have money to make money. 

Since money is energy, it can be created from nothing.  Don’t believe me?  Try this.  Just ask someone for money,   someone that you know will give it to you. You ask, they give, and you have it.  There!  Created from nothing!

#6 – Money is good – wait, no, it’s bad...

We’re told “Money makes the world go round” yet “money is the root of all evil.”  “Money can’t buy happiness”, but we’re convinced that we’d be happier if we had more of it.  No wonder money seems so perplexing.  We’ve received mixed messages about money that are confusing and incorrect!

#7 – We are not skilled at receiving money. 

Actually, we’re usually not skilled at receiving in general, but money in particular presents challenges for people.  It stems back to reason #3 (we don’t think we deserve it) and reason #4 (if we accept it we’re not good people.) 

I have a personal policy – whenever anyone ever offers me money, I take it.  I want the universe to know that I am open to receiving money at any time.  So, I always say yes!

It’s all about perspective

The makers of the video I mentioned before despair at the chasm between the top 1% and the bottom 20%.   However, if we took the bottom 20% of the US demographic and compared just that portion to the demographics of most "developing" nations, it would likely fall in, if not the top 1% then at least the top 10 or 20% of a graph of all those nations.

Think of it this way.  First, put yourself somewhere on this scale:

Affluent

Prosperous

Managing

Struggling

Impoverished

Destitute

Most "middle class" people put themselves somewhere around “managing” or “struggling”. Now, think about the photo of that child that UNICEF sends out when soliciting donations – the one that hasn't eaten for a month and has a distended stomach and two parents with AIDS. Now, compare yourself and your situation to that child, and place yourself on the scale. Compared to that child, you're affluent.

Back to my original point.  How much the 1% has, while certainly unbalanced, is irrelevant to how much money I have the OPPORTUNITY to create.  For that, we’re all on equal footing.


Liz Wolfe cropped.jpg

Liz Wolfe is a skilled and energetic motivational speaker, coach and trainer. For more than 20 years she has inspired hundreds of people with her passionate stand of abundance: “There is plenty for everyone, including me.” As a coach for entrepreneurs, she empowers clients with her unique system: “A Clear Vision + Purposeful Action – Hidden Barriers = Breakthrough Results.” Lizwolfecoaching.com

Comment

Liz Wolfe

Liz Wolfe has lead trainings professionally for over 20 years. She is originally from Western Pennsylvania where she grew up on a sheep farm. She began her public speaking career as a child, doing spinning and weaving demos at local festivals with her family. In her formative years, she was money poor but resource rich. Her days on the farm supplied her with a wonderful foundation to learn about the abundance of the universe.

She came to New York City in 1987. Since then she has created a successful business with her husband, Jon, that focuses on helping companies and individuals realize their full potential.

Worried About a Market Downturn? These 3 Yoga Principals Can Help

By: Manisha Thakor, CFP®, CFA

The late economist Hyman Minsky observed that cycles of risk-taking follow a consistent pattern. He found that stability and absence of crises encourage risk-taking, complacency, and lowered awareness to the possibility of problems ahead. Then a crisis occurs, resulting in people being shell-shocked and unprepared.

Indeed, we have seen this cycle play out in the way many investors behaved before and after the 2001 technology bust and 2008 global financial crisis. In tracking cash flows for fixed income and equity mutual funds over several decades, we observe that investors pile into risky assets following years of strong market performance and retrench into fixed income after suffering stinging losses—in effect, buying high and selling low.

As the current economic expansion enters its tenth year this June (now the second longest in modern history), and U.S. equity investors have enjoyed annualized investment returns of nearly 18 percent per year since March 2009 (the long-term average is 10 percent, dating back to 1926), it is timely that we call attention to George Santayana’s famous warning: those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. 

So there you have it. Like a game of musical chairs, the party is going to end with many losers. How can you increase your odds of being a “winner” in the next market downturn?

Surprisingly, the answer may be found in some ancient yoga principles.

Huh?

Let me explain. I recently came back from a yoga retreat in Nicaragua where I was introduced to the concepts of Dharma, Sankalpa, and Vikalpa. To keep things simple, I will define Dharma as “the way that you do everything”—in other words, your overarching approach to life. Your Sankalpa are the specific steps you will take over the next 12-18 months to bring you into closer alignment with your Dharma. Your Vikalpas are the behaviors that keep you from acting on your Sankalpa and ultimately embodying your Dharma.

What struck me as I was thinking about how to apply these three concepts to my own life was the beautiful overlap they have with the ideal way to manage one’s own money. In fact, these three ancient principals can be used to help you navigate through the next market downturn.

Your financial Dharma is akin to the overarching investment philosophy you choose. (I recommend following an evidenced-based approach, but to each their own). Your Sankalpa is similar to your asset allocation—have you set aside a portion of your portfolio to immunize your standard of living long enough to weather a bear market? Your financial Vikalpas are the human tendencies that get in the way of sticking to your financial Dharma and Sankalpa.

Here’s an example. John and Jane are nearing retirement. They are believers in efficient market theory and have chosen an evidenced-based portfolio that incorporates funds such as those from Dimensional Fund Advisors and Vanguard. This choice of investment philosophy is their financial Dharma; it’s the way they “do money.”

John and Jane have a detailed conversation with their wealth advisor and identify what money they’ll need from their portfolio over the next 10 years to maintain their minimum desired standard of living. As a rough baseline, 15 percent is a solid benchmark for this allocation to ensure a base level of a safety net. Next, you add in any expected annual withdrawals, either for recurring or one-time expenses. Then you take the net present value of those 10 years of cash flow and discount them back.

Your financial Sankalpa is to set up your finances such that, no matter what happens in the market over the next 10 years, you will not have to sell securities outside of your capital preservation bucket in a down market. This figure is a rolling one, which is why you want to revisit your Sankalpa regularly—every 6 to 12 months is ideal.

The third and final step is to acknowledge your financial Vikalpas, those pesky behavioral traits that can trip you up along your way to Dharma. Examples include a tendency to panic and sell in market downturns, to follow hot tips you hear at cocktail parties, or to keep too much (or too little) in cash out of greed (or fear).

Whenever I hear someone tell me 2007-2009 market “ruined my retirement,” I know that one of two scenarios happened. Either they didn’t have a Sankalpa or asset allocation that included an appropriate capital preservation bucket and were forced to sell securities at fire-sale prices. Alternatively, they had the right asset allocation but did not have an overarching financial Dharma—their investment philosophy—on which to fall back. They sold in a panic, acting on their Vikalpas.

As you work to maintain a sense of financial well-being during the next market downturn, spend some time making sure you are comfortable with your investment philosophy (financial Dharma) and asset allocation (financial Sankalpa) to ensure that natural human emotions like fear, panic, and terror (financial Vikalpas) don’t drive your decision-making.

Blending these mental well-being principals of yoga into your overarching life can enhance your financial well-being.

This article was originally published by Brighton Jones, nationally-recognized wealth management firm based in Seattle. You can follow Manisha on Twitter @ManishaThakor.  


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MANISHA THAKOR  is the Director of Wealth Strategies for Women at Buckingham Strategic Wealth and The Bam Alliance. Manisha is the co-author of On My Own Two Feet and Get Financially Naked. Manisha has been featured on CNN, PBS,NPR, The Today Show, Rachel Ray, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The LA Times, Real Simple, Glamour, Essence, and more. Manisha is also the founder of moneyzen.com.

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Manisha Thakor

From Manisha's linkedin profile page:

Manisha Thakor is the Director of Wealth Strategies for Women at Buckingham Strategic Wealth and The BAM Alliance. 

Manisha and her colleagues provide both evidence-based wealth advisory services for high-net-worth households and core asset management solutions for women and families nationwide with $80,000 or more in investible assets. 

An ardent financial literacy advocate for women, Manisha is the co-author of two critically acclaimed personal finance books: ON MY OWN TWO FEET: a modern girl’s guide to personal finance and GET FINANCIALLY NAKED: how to talk money with your honey. She is on Faculty at The Omega Institute and serves as a Financial Fellow at Wellesley College. Manisha is also a member of The Wall Street Journal’s Wealth Experts Panel, a member of the 2015 CNBC Financial Advisor’s Council, and wearing her financial educator’s hat serves as a part of TIAA-CREF’s Women’s Initiative. 

Manisha's financial advice has been featured in a wide range of national media outlets including CNN, PBS, NPR, The Today Show, Rachel Ray, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The LA Times, Real Simple, Women’s Day, Glamour, Essence, and MORE magazine.

Prior to joining the Buckingham team, Manisha spent over twenty years working in financial services. On the institutional side she worked as an analyst, portfolio manager and client relations executive at SG Warburg, Atalanta/Sosnoff Capital, Fayez Sarofim & Co., and Sands Capital Management. After this she moved to the retail side and ran her own independent registered investment advisory firm, MoneyZen Wealth Management. 

Manisha earned her MBA from Harvard Business School in 1997, her BA from Wellesley College in 1992 and is a CFA charterholder. She lives in Portland, OR where she delights in the amazing Third Wave coffee scene and stunning natural beauty of the Pacific NorthWest. Manisha’s website is MoneyZen.com.

Six Financial To-Do’s (and Don’ts) of Wedding Planning

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by Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

From choosing decorations and centerpieces, to deciding on the dream tailor-made dresses for you and your bridesmaids, weddings are one of the biggest and most memorable milestones in our lives. While wedding planning can be exciting, we don’t always take into account the financial toll “the perfect wedding” can have on the pockets of you and your significant other, but never fear, by following these six tips you can be financially savvy on your big day and long after!

1. Have the money conversation!
Sit down and discuss your goals, values, interests, and relationships. This will help to determine how finances will be prioritized and the roles and responsibilities within the marriage. Be sure to continue going on money dates and speak openly about finances, post-nuptials. If you are in need of further financial consultation, there are professionals who specifically meet with couples to go over conversations to create financial expectations within the marriages.

2. Open a savings account, specifically for money for your wedding, and develop a budget!
Save, save and save some more! First, you need to determine how much you can afford to spend on your nuptials. If you need to have a long engagement to stick to your budget, do it and understand the costs associated with what you want.

3. Don’t accumulate debt from financing your own wedding and don’t tap into your retirement savings
With money already a stress on a relationship, overspending on your big day could lead to deeper debt that will not be beneficial to the health of your marriage. I would suggest saving for your wedding, rather than borrowing. This can help you avoid paying the interest associated with loans and credit card debt. If you do not have the cash to pay either a loan or credit cards, then avoid financing your wedding with these payment methods. If you borrow from your 401(k), you must repay the loan within five years or else you would have to pay taxes on the amount that was withdrawn as well as a 10% early withdrawal penalty.

4. Save for the big things in life and look for bargains when you can!
When furnishing your home or saving for a first deposit on a home – it will be important to save and find some good deals when you can. When planning for your wedding, there a million ways to find exactly what you have been dreaming of as a little girl. There are plenty of DIY crafts you can use for favors, bridal showers, and wedding décor. Pinterest will be your best friend!

5. Meet with a financial advisor
A financial planner will put a comprehensive plan in place to help prepare you for all financial matters that may arise in your marriage. If you or your significant other are concerned about how financing your wedding will affect your financial future, sitting down with a financial expert can help you plan for your special day and all of the special days to follow.

6. Combining finances and keeping some separate
If after your money conversation, you find that you may have different goals, consider having a “Yours,” “Mine,” and “Ours” account. Have an account for shared household expenses and keep your own accounts for personal expenses and discretionary spending, so you can buy those shoes and he can buy those tickets for the game.

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Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

Stacy Francis is the Founder, CEO and President of Francis Financial, Inc., a Wealth Management and Financial Planning firm. With over 18 years of experience in the financial industry, she is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®), a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ (CDFA™), and a Certified Estate Planning Specialist (CES™). She is the Co-Director of the Association of Divorce Financial Planners’ (ADFP) Greater New York Metro Chapter and a member of the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO) and an honoree member of the Private Risk Management Association (PRMA). A nationally recognized financial expert, Stacy has appeared on ABC News, CNBC, CNN, PBS Nightly Business Report, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Fine Living Network, and The O’Reilly Factor. Stacy attended the New York University Center for Finance, Law and Taxation.

March is Women's History month

Do we have something to celebrate? This year marked a milestone in the movement for gender equality and the advancement of women. The world has recognized that gender equality is critical to the development and peace of every nation. Women are not only more aware of their rights; they are more able to exercise them. This includes being empowered to make strong decisions about financial issues. Unfortunately, there is not one country where women are truly equal with men. Where are the best – and worst – places for women to live? The answer is not as obvious as it may seem. The worst countries for women to live in – by our standards at least - are likely to be poor and war-torn, or unsympathetic to women’s rights. However, it is surprising to find that the gap between the haves and have-nots makes the US “shocking” for many women, says a University of Adelaide academic, Barbara Pocock. Many women are being left behind because of the low minimum wages, a welfare system aimed at pushing people back into work, and expensive health care.

As women, there is a natural fear of money. We learn so much about healing and restoring other aspects of our lives – such as relationships, body image, parenting - and yet we are sometimes afraid to tackle anything to do with the business of financial reality. We are afraid of not having enough, of losing what we have, and of having more than enough.

So how can we find serenity in all that financial angst? We can start by being honest with ourselves. Compare notes with your friends; untangle some of your economic package; figure out the specific symbolic nature of your relationship to money versus the reality of what you need for you and your family to get by; and isolate the lies you’ve bought into about money.

It’ll be scary and painful at first, but it’ll get easier as you continue to learn and embrace the topic of money. If we are to change the past that put women at a disadvantage in most societies, we must implement what we have learned on a larger scale. It is fundamental to create more economic opportunities for women. Promoting gender equality and facing financial reality, is not only women’s responsibility -- it is the responsibility of all of us. Let us rededicate ourselves to making that a reality.


What Is Your Money Personality?

by Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

Personalities are as different as snowflakes. And our personalities around money are no exception. Deborah Price, money coach and author, suggests there are eight money personalities that people fall into.

By understanding your own personal mythology and the history behind your current money type, Deborah believes you will become conscious of patterns and behavior that are preventing you from having the life you desire.

Read below to learn to understand how your money personality was formed and what you can do to change it.

The Innocent The Innocent takes the ostrich approach to money matters. Innocents often live in denial, burying their heads in the sand so they won't have to see what is going on around them.

The Victim Victims are prone to living in the past and blaming their financial woes on external factors. Victims generally have a litany of excuses for why they are not more successful, and they are all based on their historical mythology.

The Warrior The Warrior sets out to conquer the money world and is generally seen as successful in the business and financial worlds. Although Warriors will listen to advisors, they make their own decisions and rely on their own instincts and resources to guide them.

The Martyr Martyrs are so busy taking care of others' needs that they often neglect their own. Financially speaking, Martyrs generally do more for others than they do for themselves.

The Fool A gambler by nature, the Fool is always looking for a windfall of money by taking financial shortcuts. Until the Fool becomes enlightened she will continue to attract money easily, only to have it quickly slip through her fingers because she’s simply not paying attention.

Creator/Artist Creator/Artists often find living in the material world difficult and frequently have a conflicted love/hate relationship with money. Their negative beliefs about materialism only create a block to the very key to the freedom they so desire.

The Tyrant Tyrants use money to control people, events, and circumstances. The Tyrant hoards money, using it to manipulate and control others. Although Tyrants may have everything they need or desire, they never feel complete, comfortable, or at peace.

The Magician The Magician is the ideal money type. Using a new and ever-changing set of dynamics both in the material world and in the world of the Spirit, Magicians know how to transform and manifest their own financial reality.

Any of these sound familiar?

Read more about the games we play with our money and our "types" of relationship with money in Money Magic: Unleashing Your True Potential for Prosperity and Fulfillment by Deborah Price.

Stacy Francis is president and CEO of Francis Financial, Inc., a fee-only wealth management practice dedicated to investment advisory services for women, couples and those experiencing divorce. She is also the founder of Savvy Ladies®, a nonprofit organization that educates and empowers women to take control of their finances.

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Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

Stacy Francis is the Founder, CEO and President of Francis Financial, Inc., a Wealth Management and Financial Planning firm. With over 18 years of experience in the financial industry, she is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®), a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ (CDFA™), and a Certified Estate Planning Specialist (CES™). She is the Co-Director of the Association of Divorce Financial Planners’ (ADFP) Greater New York Metro Chapter and a member of the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO) and an honoree member of the Private Risk Management Association (PRMA). A nationally recognized financial expert, Stacy has appeared on ABC News, CNBC, CNN, PBS Nightly Business Report, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Fine Living Network, and The O’Reilly Factor. Stacy attended the New York University Center for Finance, Law and Taxation.

Reduce Stressful Decision-Making

by Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

My brain short-circuited today at Subway. Did I want tuna, or turkey, or veggies, or chicken? I’m sure you know the feeling. Your head spins with what-ifs and doubt and anxiety until you can’t think at all. And this was only a lunch sandwich!

Moving into finance, decisions can be extremely stressful – and rightfully so. While it is true that you can’t buy happiness, doubtlessly, where, how, and when you invest your money will have a huge impact on your future. Taking a wrong turn can cost you your dream home, or chain you to your office chair for another couple of years. So what’s the secret to worrying less?

First of all, accept the old words of wisdom “embrace change, because it’s inevitable”. Not only does your life situation change continuously, but so does the economy, the business world, and the laws and regulations that affect personal finance. If the thought of spending hours every week staying up to date with all these changes makes you sweat – don’t worry about it, just find someone who can do it for you. Politicians all rely on trusted experts for decision-making, and so do most successful business people. A financial advisor could be the solution for you, or a friend or family member with a flair for all things financial. You can appoint anyone you want, as long as you feel comfortable and trusting this person takes stressful financial decision-making off your shoulders.

Another tool that can be of great help is the good old-fashioned gut feeling. Your intuition is always there for you – and it is always right. If you learn to filter out noise and really listen to it, there is no better advisor. And when you act from a point of clarity, results are never far behind.

Should all this fail, there’s always what if/so what if-thinking. Whenever a what-if keeps you up at night, turn it around and instead ask yourself “so what if?” Most of the time, you will find that the worst-case scenario isn’t so scary after all.

No scarier than a sleepless night, anyway.

1 Comment

Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

Stacy Francis is the Founder, CEO and President of Francis Financial, Inc., a Wealth Management and Financial Planning firm. With over 18 years of experience in the financial industry, she is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®), a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ (CDFA™), and a Certified Estate Planning Specialist (CES™). She is the Co-Director of the Association of Divorce Financial Planners’ (ADFP) Greater New York Metro Chapter and a member of the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO) and an honoree member of the Private Risk Management Association (PRMA). A nationally recognized financial expert, Stacy has appeared on ABC News, CNBC, CNN, PBS Nightly Business Report, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Fine Living Network, and The O’Reilly Factor. Stacy attended the New York University Center for Finance, Law and Taxation.

March Is Women's History Month - Share Your Story

This year's theme for Women's History Month is "Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives." In the coming months, Savvy Ladies would like to highlight your story. We’ve all had victories and defeats in our financial lives – sharing your wisdom from personal experience is a way to help support and encourage others in the Savvy Ladies community.

Please share your personal experiences, “aha!” moments and lessons learned by either leaving a comment below or sending your story directly to me at lisa@savvyladies.org

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Lisa Ernst Executive Director

 

Provide a Safety Net for Your Family

by Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

I spent last night in bed with the latest Eckhart Tolle book and, not surprisingly, it got me thinking about the ever-changing nature of the universe. From Sartre to the Dalai Lama – this is one of the few things on which all the wise men agree. No matter how much we wish it would, nothing remains the same forever, and especially not our life situations. We get promoted, lose jobs, relocate, marry and get divorced, have children, and lose relatives. As though this weren’t enough to keep us up at night, all these things affect our finances. While the following four actions most likely aren’t enough to make you the next Buddha, they may very well add an hour or two to your shuteye.

1. Leave some equity in your house. That way, if you (or someone in your family) run into difficulties, you can always free up cash by upping your mortgage. But as nothing is more frightening than drowning in debt, save this option for emergencies only.

2. Keep a credit card you don’t use, for code reds only. As you may have noticed, when you don’t use a card, the issuing bank tends to up your limit to tempt you to use it. You can, but only when you have no other choice.

3. Keep a financial “cushion” – enough money to get you through six months without a job. No matter how secure your current employment feels, there is always an element of uncertainty. Put this money to work for you so it doesn’t get eaten up by inflation, but make sure it’s in liquid investments only so you can access it quickly and easily, should disaster strike.

4. Diversify your portfolio. While some investment risks are impossible to insure against, keeping your money in a variety of securities, industries and countries will certainly dilute many of them.

Stacy Francis is president and CEO of Francis Financial, Inc., a fee-only wealth management practice dedicated to investment advisory services for women, couples and those experiencing divorce. She is also the founder of Savvy Ladies®, a nonprofit organization that educates and empowers women to take control of their finances.

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Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

Stacy Francis is the Founder, CEO and President of Francis Financial, Inc., a Wealth Management and Financial Planning firm. With over 18 years of experience in the financial industry, she is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®), a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ (CDFA™), and a Certified Estate Planning Specialist (CES™). She is the Co-Director of the Association of Divorce Financial Planners’ (ADFP) Greater New York Metro Chapter and a member of the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO) and an honoree member of the Private Risk Management Association (PRMA). A nationally recognized financial expert, Stacy has appeared on ABC News, CNBC, CNN, PBS Nightly Business Report, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Fine Living Network, and The O’Reilly Factor. Stacy attended the New York University Center for Finance, Law and Taxation.

10 Secrets to Masterful Business Networking

by Alison BW Pena

1) Ask your best clients, colleagues and friends the most effective place(s) they network for business. Allow them to introduce you into their community. That simple action already increases your Know, Like and Trust factor.

2) Pay to network. That said, most paid networking groups allow prospective members to attend 1-2 meetings FREE before they decide or have a non-member price for events. Check them out before you commit.

3) Do your Google research on the group and event. Then go forth and network.

  • Meetup.com, eventbrite.com, BNI, Chambers of Commerce, search online for your audience (i.e., business networking, women’s networking...)

  • Who is on the membership roster? Would you like to know them?

  • What is the topic of the activity and does it sound fun or interesting?

  • When do events happen – mornings, 9-5 pm M-F or weekends? Ideally, you want networking to be at a time when you are at your best.

  • Does your target audience go to these events?

  • Do professionals who serve your target market attend the network?

4) Schedule 1-2 networking events each week and go. Networking is a muscle that atrophies when it is not flexed. You don’t have to be perfect. You can’t say the wrong thing to the right person or the right thing to the wrong person.

5) With each conversation, you hone your capacity to open and deepen your connections with people. You get clearer about what aspects of your work are most important to them. That shapes what you say next to them or a person like them. That can guide your marketing copy.

6) A person is not only their profession or business. Asking about family, hobbies, restaurant or travel recommendations is not a technique. The more common touches you have with the person you are talking to, the more likely they are to become a client or refer you to one, partnership or friend.

7) Don’t try to meet everyone in the room. I aim to truly connect with 3 people at every event. Anything more is a bonus. If you notice there are more than 3 people you are eager to get to know, that is a group you might consider joining.

8) Get to know the connectors (especially if you are an introvert). You will notice people who easily make organic connections for themselves and others. They exist is EVERY group and are what I call circles of influence. Their ripple effect is HUGE!

9) If you go to a networking group or event, connect with 3 promising-looking people and that network does not resonate with you, it’s OK to leave.

10) Your time is valuable. Think of networking as a kind of play or dance. What’s the next move? Network consistently and you will find YOUR best practices for connecting as you discover people and networks you truly enjoy. Have fun!


Affluence is not a mindset. It’s not a destination. It’s not a fixed dollar amount. And it’s certainly not just for rich people. In fact, affluence is more like a secret code. Which means that whoever you are, wherever you live, whatever the numbers in your bank account, you have options. You can choose lack, scarcity, and “not enough.” Or you can choose affluence.

Alison believes that true affluence is having the time, money, freedom and aliveness you desire. She helps entrepreneurs, business owners, professionals shift into bounty, wealth, purpose and new possibility.

Do Money Books For Women Hurt Women?

by Manisha Thakor

What do you think...

  • Do personal finance books written by women for women perpetuate the myth that women are bad with money?

  • Why is there a "money management for women" section but no "money management for men" section at Amazon and other booksellers?

  • What's up with all the diet analogies in these books - could they be any more demeaning?

A recent Slate article entitled "The Shopaholic Myth" and follow up piece at GetRichSlowly called "Women and Money: Slaying Stereotypes and Facing Reality" raised these very important questions. As a 40-something woman who co-authored two personal finance books for women, those questions hit me smack in the gut. These well-written articles (by two journalists I very much admire) forced me to think long and hard about whether my focus on financial literacy for women...was actually hurting women.

My conclusion: With the exception of age-based asset allocation guidelines (where I feel women should invest their retirement funds slightly more aggressively than men to prepare for statistically longer life spans), I'd argue that the fundamentals of personal finance 101 are identical for women and men. The reluctance of some younger women (notably in their 20s and 30s) to read female-oriented finance books is in a sense a victory for the equality movement. So here are the reasons why I still support personal finance books by women for women. (If you prefer video, you can watch me discussing this topic on ABC News Now.)

  1. Women are not worse than men with money. Poor personal finance skills are rampant across gender lines. Why? The financial landscape has increased geometrically in its complexity over the past 20 years while financial education has not kept up. We all can use help.

  2. But modern life still has a tendency to spit in women's eyes as their career paths progress. The twin combinations of what economists call "occupational segregation" (the tendency of women to voluntarily choose to work in less remunerative fields) combined with the time commitments of child rearing and elder care (which lead to women spending an average of 11 more years than men out of the paid workforce) mean learning financial basics are all the more essential for women. It also means we need more dialogue on these areas of inequality...

  3. The default language of finance is still male. As Nicholas Kristoff pointed out our financial system might be in a very different (and better) place had it been Lehman Sisters instead of Lehman Brothers. As someone who worked in the financial services world for 15 years, I'd argue the reason there is no "money management for men" section at Amazon is that "male" is still the default speak of the industry. Personally, I'm not interested in talking about my personal finances through the lens of football or golf metaphors nor do I want to socialize over cigars and scotch (well, I'd drink the scotch...). Thanks to pioneers ranging from Women & Co. to DailyWorth and LearnVest - there are more organizations focusing on the way in which women enjoy learning and digesting the very same personal finance information as men. As for the prevalence of dieting analogies - personally I just think that's smart. The equation for financial and physical health is identical (inflows vs. outflows). We all eat, we all spend money... so why not compare the two? As Occam's Razor suggests, when faced with choice the simpler the path the better the outcome.

How do you feel about personal finance books written by women for women?

Want more financial love? You can follow Women's Financial Literacy Initiative founder, Manisha Thakor, on Twitter at @ManishaThakor or on Facebook at /MThakor, and enroll in her innovative new online personal finance course called “Money Rules.”  

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Manisha Thakor

From Manisha's linkedin profile page:

Manisha Thakor is the Director of Wealth Strategies for Women at Buckingham Strategic Wealth and The BAM Alliance. 

Manisha and her colleagues provide both evidence-based wealth advisory services for high-net-worth households and core asset management solutions for women and families nationwide with $80,000 or more in investible assets. 

An ardent financial literacy advocate for women, Manisha is the co-author of two critically acclaimed personal finance books: ON MY OWN TWO FEET: a modern girl’s guide to personal finance and GET FINANCIALLY NAKED: how to talk money with your honey. She is on Faculty at The Omega Institute and serves as a Financial Fellow at Wellesley College. Manisha is also a member of The Wall Street Journal’s Wealth Experts Panel, a member of the 2015 CNBC Financial Advisor’s Council, and wearing her financial educator’s hat serves as a part of TIAA-CREF’s Women’s Initiative. 

Manisha's financial advice has been featured in a wide range of national media outlets including CNN, PBS, NPR, The Today Show, Rachel Ray, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The LA Times, Real Simple, Women’s Day, Glamour, Essence, and MORE magazine.

Prior to joining the Buckingham team, Manisha spent over twenty years working in financial services. On the institutional side she worked as an analyst, portfolio manager and client relations executive at SG Warburg, Atalanta/Sosnoff Capital, Fayez Sarofim & Co., and Sands Capital Management. After this she moved to the retail side and ran her own independent registered investment advisory firm, MoneyZen Wealth Management. 

Manisha earned her MBA from Harvard Business School in 1997, her BA from Wellesley College in 1992 and is a CFA charterholder. She lives in Portland, OR where she delights in the amazing Third Wave coffee scene and stunning natural beauty of the Pacific NorthWest. Manisha’s website is MoneyZen.com.

What to Consider When Setting Your Prices

by Elisa Balabram

I received great feedback on Facebook and by email about the article “Six Myths that May Be Stopping Your from Valuing Your Work Well”. The key to setting your prices is to first investigate if you believe in any of those myths, and if you do, figure out what’s behind it and let it go before you come up with your prices.

The steps to setting up prices include:

  1. For a product-based business, make sure to add all the costs to purchase the materials and to make your products, including shipping costs, utilities, insurance and labor. Research the markup of your industry, so that you know where to start.

  2. For a service-based business, calculate how long it actually takes to deliver the services, not just the time you spend with the client.

  3. Investigate your competitors’ prices but do not obsess about them. This information will give you a clue of how the market is and what your clients may be willing to spend.

  4. Get clear on your target audience and research what they can afford and how they associate prices with quality. Keep in mind that people are usually able to come up with the funds needed when purchasing something that they truly value.

  5. Make a list of at least ten reasons why you are unique and what sets you apart from your competition. (Huge Value!) This will give you the strength and confidence to possibly charge a higher fee than your competitors are charging.

  6. Yes, great customer service is an unbelievably important value added, don’t take it for granted.

  7. Calculate your personal and business breakeven point.

  8. Consider your lifestyle, are you going to be able to afford it with the prices you are setting?

  9. Take in consideration the number of hours a week you are planning to work, and the number of billable hours available.

  10. Double the amount you came up with.

How do you feel about the last one? If doubling your prices is too much for you, start by increasing the number you came up with by 10-15% and see how it feels. The ultimate price should make you a little uncomfortable but not too much, or you will be stuck and hope that nobody ever asks you how much you charge.

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Elisa Balabram

Elisa Balabram is a business and self-love coach, a writer, speaker and the author of “Ask Others, Trust Yourself: The Entrepreneurial Woman’s Key to Success”. She is passionate about coaching women in a deeper, spiritual, mental and emotional level to help them become more self-aware, practice self-love and realize their desire to start or grow a business or creative endeavors and pursue their life’s purpose. She launched and published WomenandBiz.com for nine years, and received the SBA Women in Business Champion of the Year Award in 2008. You can read her blog, schedule a complimentary Skype call and/or order a copy of her book at www.askotherstrustyourself.com, and you can follow her on Twitter @womenandbiz.

Simplify Your Life and Save Time

by Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

I spent an hour last night paying bills and double-checking credit card transactions after my son and daughter went to bed. When I told a friend about it over the phone, she laughed and told me that’s nothing. Last weekend, she spent Friday afternoon through midnight on Sunday running errands. What have our lives come to? A morass of things to do, errands and just have to finish this up?

While this may sound a bit extreme, the truth is, many of us feel overwhelmed more or less all the time; like we are spending so much time and energy on things we couldn’t care less about, we have nothing left for those that truly get us going. Fortunately, the problem can be fixed and your life can be turned around.

The key is to identify the things that are important to you, focus on those, and outsource the rest. So take some time – a couple of minutes may be enough, or it may take several months – to look into your heart and see what you are truly all about. Write these things down. They will change over time, and that’s all right. Change is the very essence of life, and you can realign the way you spend your time and money accordingly.

Then, keep a journal for whatever amount of time you need in order to learn where your time goes. Once you have this settled, you can compare what you care about to what you spend time on, and identify your time thieves – the things that frustrate you and steal your time. The solution for these things is outsourcing.

Hire someone to clean your house or do your grocery shopping. Recruit your teenage son to make sure your bills are paid on time – in exchange for a larger allowance. Have your daughter take your car to the wash in exchange for that dress she’s been drooling over. For complex tasks, there is always AssistU and numerous other services. We live in a global economy. If you take advantage of it and let go of the ways of the past, your life will be simpler, more efficient, and much more rewarding.

Happily, I now work only four days a week and have three day weekends every week. I am getting more done in less time with a higher paycheck at the same time. This works – so try it!

3 Comments

Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

Stacy Francis is the Founder, CEO and President of Francis Financial, Inc., a Wealth Management and Financial Planning firm. With over 18 years of experience in the financial industry, she is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®), a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ (CDFA™), and a Certified Estate Planning Specialist (CES™). She is the Co-Director of the Association of Divorce Financial Planners’ (ADFP) Greater New York Metro Chapter and a member of the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO) and an honoree member of the Private Risk Management Association (PRMA). A nationally recognized financial expert, Stacy has appeared on ABC News, CNBC, CNN, PBS Nightly Business Report, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Fine Living Network, and The O’Reilly Factor. Stacy attended the New York University Center for Finance, Law and Taxation.

Money Myths That Hold You Back

by Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

Last week, I had the opportunity to help an extremely wealthy woman sort out her finances. Now, my favorite part about this is not the fact that she is one of the largest clients I have ever signed, but that she is an interior designer. She personifies evidence that the money myth holding so many people back from their true potential – that the key to financial success is the right occupation – is not true. Indeed, many lawyers and doctors make a decent living. But so do many musicians, caterers, animal chiropractors, and contractors. With this in mind, allow me to sort out four other money myths that hold people back.

1. Wealth is the result of hard work. I’m amazed that this myth has survived for so long. Just look at all the people who, after a lifetime of hard work, are now struggling to retire. If wealth were truly the result of only hard work, wouldn’t they be loaded? I am not saying that you should quit your job and meditate about wealth as the answer; just that making money is about much more than hard work.

2. Making money is boring. I would beg to differ. Success and passion go hand in hand. If you love what you do, you will prosper. If you couldn’t care less, your apathy will show in the fruits (or lack thereof) of your labor.

3. Money is like fossil fuels; there is only so much of it in the world. Therefore, if your wallet is stuffed, someone else’s must be empty and you should feel bad. Out of all the myths, this may be the most destructive. Devotees tend to resent rich people, and this stops them from getting ahead because if they did, they would have to resent themselves. Sounds silly but many people believe this.

4. Finally, many people hold on to a false belief that money cannot make you happy. Statistics, however, point to the contrary. Age and gender make very little difference, but people who make good money are significantly happier than those who don’t.

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Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

Stacy Francis is the Founder, CEO and President of Francis Financial, Inc., a Wealth Management and Financial Planning firm. With over 18 years of experience in the financial industry, she is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®), a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ (CDFA™), and a Certified Estate Planning Specialist (CES™). She is the Co-Director of the Association of Divorce Financial Planners’ (ADFP) Greater New York Metro Chapter and a member of the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO) and an honoree member of the Private Risk Management Association (PRMA). A nationally recognized financial expert, Stacy has appeared on ABC News, CNBC, CNN, PBS Nightly Business Report, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Fine Living Network, and The O’Reilly Factor. Stacy attended the New York University Center for Finance, Law and Taxation.

Will Millions Make You Happier?

by Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

You've heard it ad infinitum, "Money can't buy happiness." Now there's scientific data to give the old saw new teeth.

University of Southern California economist Richard Easterlin surveyed 1,500 people over nearly three decades to see what gets high marks on their “Happy-O-Meter.” His results revealed that time with family and good health are the stuff of happiness.

Money? Did this play a role in happiness? The study found that wealth doesn't necessarily lead to joy and contentment. In fact, the magic number that equals satisfaction is far lower than you would expect. It's $40,000 a year. Once enough is earned to meet basic needs, money in relation to happiness is a very personal equation.

Oprah's magazine says so. And so does Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert, who studies such things. In fact, the rule is well established in research: The first $40,000 makes a big difference in one's level of happiness. After that, the impact is much smaller. The difference between someone making $40,000 and someone making $15,000 is far greater than the difference between $100,000 and $1 million.

Your Happy-O-Meter

So technically, most of you should be happy. And if you're working for the next big raise, forget it. You're better off working on teaching yourself how to look at your money with a different eye.

The sad truth is that we're twice as rich as we were in 1957, but only half as happy. As Dr. David G. Myers, an authority on the psychology of happiness, wrote in Does Economic Growth Improve Human Morale?, "Never has a culture experienced such physical comfort combined with such psychological misery. Never have we felt so free, or had our prisons so overstuffed. Never have we been so sophisticated about pleasure, or so likely to suffer broken relationships."

Despite air conditioning, TiVo, carb-free wine and high-speed Internet access, we're not as happy as our parents and grandparents.

Super Rich ≠ Super Happy

But what about the Donald Trumps of the world? Surveys reveal that even lottery winners and the superrich soon adapt to their affluence and are little if any happier than the average Joe. Moreover, those who strive most for wealth tend, ironically, to live with a lower overall well-being than those focused on intimacy and relationships.

"By far the greatest predictor of happiness in the literature is intimate relationships," Sonja Lyubomirsky, a researcher at the University of California-Riverside, told a Chicago Tribune reporter. "It's definitely not money."

In the end, happiness is about wanting and managing what you already have, spending time with friends and family, as well as taking care of yourself. So the next time you get green with envy when you see your favorite Fendi handbag go parading by, take comfort in knowing you would not be happier even if it was on your own arm!

1 Comment

Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

Stacy Francis is the Founder, CEO and President of Francis Financial, Inc., a Wealth Management and Financial Planning firm. With over 18 years of experience in the financial industry, she is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®), a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ (CDFA™), and a Certified Estate Planning Specialist (CES™). She is the Co-Director of the Association of Divorce Financial Planners’ (ADFP) Greater New York Metro Chapter and a member of the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO) and an honoree member of the Private Risk Management Association (PRMA). A nationally recognized financial expert, Stacy has appeared on ABC News, CNBC, CNN, PBS Nightly Business Report, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Fine Living Network, and The O’Reilly Factor. Stacy attended the New York University Center for Finance, Law and Taxation.

Top IRA Trouble Spots

by Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) now hold more assets than any other retirement savings vehicles, but many people do not understand how they work and many IRA owners make critical mistakes that can cost them money. Here are some ways you can ensure that your IRA works for you.

1. Begin your required minimum distributions on time. Regardless of whether you are still working, you must begin taking an annual minimum required distribution from your traditional IRA no later than April 1 following the year you turn 70 1/2. You have much more flexibility with a Roth IRA and are not required to take distributions. However, for a Traditional IRA you will have still penalties if you don’t withdraw enough or you don’t withdraw it on time. You will owe up to 50 percent of the difference between the amount you took out and the amount you should have taken out. Why is the IRS so strict about taking distributions from a Traditional IRA and not a Roth IRA? The IRS wants your tax dollars. You must pay taxes on your distributions from a Traditional IRA while distributions from Roth IRAs are generally tax-free.

2. Don’t wait until the last moment. Don’t wait until the April 1 deadline to take out your initial minimum withdrawal. Don’t forget that you’ll have to make another withdrawal by December 31 of the same year. Watch out because these withdrawals in the same year could bump you into a higher tax bracket and increase your tax liability. Don’t let this happen.

3. Name a “real” beneficiary. One of the biggest mistakes is not naming a real (human) beneficiary. If you do not name a person, your assets will most likely go to your estate and this will cost you more money. That’s because if you hadn’t already started taking distributions yourself by the time of your death, the IRA assets must be distributed to your estate’s heirs within five years of death. Or if you had started, distributions must be paid out to the heirs over what would have been your remaining life expectancy. Either way, leaving your IRA to your estate deprives your heirs from “stretching out” the tax-deferred assets over their own lives and creates a bigger tax bill.

4. Name a contingent beneficiary. This allows the primary beneficiary to “disclaim” (reject) the IRA inheritance if he or she doesn’t need the money so that it automatically passes to the contingent, who typically is younger and can stretch out the inheritance longer.

5. Name the right beneficiary. Your spouse or parent isn’t always the best choice to name as the primary IRA beneficiary. An adult child might be a better choice. If you choose a young child you will want to consult a professional to find out if you need to set up a trust in their name to control the assets and distributions.

6. Changing your beneficiary. Don’t forget to change, in writing, your beneficiary in the event of a marriage, divorce, birth of a child, death of a beneficiary or similar circumstances.

2 Comments

Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA

Stacy Francis is the Founder, CEO and President of Francis Financial, Inc., a Wealth Management and Financial Planning firm. With over 18 years of experience in the financial industry, she is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®), a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ (CDFA™), and a Certified Estate Planning Specialist (CES™). She is the Co-Director of the Association of Divorce Financial Planners’ (ADFP) Greater New York Metro Chapter and a member of the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO) and an honoree member of the Private Risk Management Association (PRMA). A nationally recognized financial expert, Stacy has appeared on ABC News, CNBC, CNN, PBS Nightly Business Report, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Fine Living Network, and The O’Reilly Factor. Stacy attended the New York University Center for Finance, Law and Taxation.