Tips for Changing Your Name After a Divorce

post-divorce Sep 14, 2021

Did you recently change your name as part of your divorce? If so, it's time to get it updated everywhere.

First Steps to Changing Your Name After a Divorce

When you have your final divorce papers identifying your name change, your first step will be to contact the Social Security Administration to legally change your name on your Social Security Card. The details of what you’ll need are listed out on their website under "corrected card" (https://www.ssa.gov/ssnumber/ss5doc.htm). 

You can either visit your local social security office or send your documentation by mail with form SS-5. Your social security number will not change - just the name associated with your social security number. It typically takes at least two weeks to receive your new card in the mail, so you can take this time to make a list of all the places where your name will need to be changed. The IRS is automatically notified when you update your information with the social security administration.

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Post-Divorce Security Tip: Change Your Logins!

post-divorce Sep 04, 2021
Going through a divorce creates a lot of change but also generates opportunities to establish healthy boundaries. One of those boundaries (and one of the first steps in financial planning after a divorce) is to make sure you're protecting your online accounts.
 

Post-Divorce Tip: Update Your Passwords

To secure your online accounts after a divorce, start by making a list of your online accounts and generate new secure passwords for each of your logins. Keep in mind that your ex knows quite a bit about you, and you don't want to choose something that's easy to guess. Besides being a good periodic habit, this will ensure that your former spouse will not have access to your confidential correspondence or be able to withdraw funds without your knowledge.
 
As you log in to each of your accounts, this is also a good opportunity to review beneficiaries on accounts, understand account permissions, and notate any joint accounts owned and that need to be...
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What do cream-filled cookies and financial advisors have in common?

personal finance Jun 23, 2021

If you grew up with a sibling, you likely learned about conflicts of interest the hard way. I remember one instance where my mom said we could split the last Oreo cookie and my brother gave me the half without the cream filling – I was mortified. In situations like that, you can see how easy it is for a decision maker to prioritize themselves over the other person. Technically there’s a number of ways to half a cookie, but finding a fair split is another matter.

When it comes to financial advisors, consumers are tasked with choosing someone who will treat them fairly and an important part of this is understanding inherent conflicts of interest.  

There are many, many titles in this industry: money coaches, financial consultants, advisors, brokers, planners, wealth managers, and so on. And since there aren’t legal requirements associated with using these terms, it can get confusing. To help sort it out, advisors have started to identify themselves by...

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Principles of Sound Investing: Balance

Balance is a universal principle that works wherever it is applied. For example, a balanced nutritional program is better than an unbalanced one; a balanced exercise program is better than an unbalanced one; and a balanced life is better than an unbalanced life.

This same investing principle of balance has historically worked in portfolio management. Adding diversity of style, geography, and asset class has historically mitigated volatility, and made it easier for our clients to remain “buckled in.”

Balance helps us to see what’s worked in the past and make decisions from an informed place. Then, it allows us to make wise investment choices based on what we know about consistency and courage.

Asset Classes Move In and Out of Favor

Diversification across asset classes may keep investors from chasing last year’s performance. What works in one year doesn’t necessarily work in the subsequent years. Oftentimes, last year’s outperformer falls to the...

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Principles of Sound Investing: Courage

A historical perspective can help inform and guide investment decisions. In a recent blog post, I shared how this combined with the investing principle of consistency was the best way I’ve found to increase your returns. But it doesn’t stop there. Maintaining that disciplined perspective often requires that we exercise the principle of courage in investing, especially during times of uncertainty and fear.

Every Generation Faces Challenges...Have the Courage to Stay With It

Each generation faces challenges that often appear both unique and overwhelming, but when viewed through the sobering lens of history, we find they are neither. Today, we face any number of challenges which, while significant, are arguably no more daunting than: A global depression, two world wars, the Cold War, the assassination of one president and the resignation of another, 9/11.

And yet the market has continued its inexorable climb. After all, humans are remarkably resilient, as well as masterful...

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Principles of Sound Investing: Consistency

When you listen to financial news commentators, it can feel as though financial markets and investment decisions are capricious and arbitrary. Over the short term, that might be accurate. However, over the long term, there are universal investment principles that may ultimately help govern your success and which guide all of our wealth management and investment decisions.

Adhering to principles like balance, consistency, and courage will help you stay on course and provide a buffer from the constant drone of crisis and fear promoted by some news and media outlets.

While I’ll share info about all three of those principles of investing (you can read more about the other two, courage and balance, in their own posts), we’re going to start with consistency.

Investing With Consistency Brings Long-Term Results

Humans are not fans of consistency, yet it’s one of the most powerful principles of investing. I cannot tell you how many clients I’ve worked with over...

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Retirement Plan Options for Business Owners

You may be familiar with traditional retirement plans available to employees, but there’s a lot of confusion about retirement plans for self-employed or business owners. The great news is that if you are self-employed or own a business, you can create retirement plans for yourself and any employees you have. Having a retirement plan option for your employees can even benefit your business by attracting quality people who are in it with you for the long haul!

Either way, a huge advantage of having a retirement plan is that you’re able to begin saving for the future. The earlier you start saving, the better, but there is by no means a “wrong” time to start investing or contributing to a plan.

The Benefits of Having a Retirement Plan

Like I mentioned before, having a retirement plan could help you attract qualified employees who wish to stay with your company. This is true whether you have 2 or 200 employees.

Also, in the case of qualified plans and some...

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3 Benefits of a Self-Directed 401(k) or 403(b)

A self-directed 401(k) or 403(b) is an additional investment option to the traditional retirement plans offered by your employer. It might be available to you and you don’t even realize it. In those traditional plans, your employer pre-approves funds you can invest in, whereas a self-directed 401(k) or 403(b) allows for a little more flexibility in choosing what you can invest in.

Whether it’s you or someone outside your company’s organization, the option of a self-directed 401(k) could be great for you if you like having a little more say in where your money goes. It’s important to note that not all employers offer this option, so check with your organization to see if you’re able to participate in a self-directed brokerage of your investments.

Do you know what’s happening with your money? 

I can’t tell you how many people I’ve talked to who have no idea how their 401(k) is invested. It’s usually not managed well because...

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How the CARES Act Could Impact Retirement Savings

retirement savings Jul 31, 2020

The coronavirus has created some interesting situations around money and managing investments, one of which is the CARES Act. The CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) includes a number of ways to help retirement savers find relief in an economically turbulent time.

A few benefits of the CARES Act include… Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) for 2020 have been suspended and if you’ve already taken a distribution, you may be able to return it. Loan repayments from workplace retirement plans could also be delayed.

Additionally, the IRS has relaxed the rules around early distributions of retirement plans. The 10% penalty is waived for “coronavirus-related distributions” of up to $100,000 in 2020 if you take the distribution before age 59.5. This includes both IRAs and 401(k)s, as well as 403(b)s, 457(b)s, and similar tax-deferred plans.

Coronavirus-related distributions apply to individuals or spouses who have been diagnosed with...

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6 Investor Tips for Handling Wild Market Swings

investing Apr 09, 2020

Whether you are a relatively new investor or you've been at for a while, the recent market swings have not been for the faint of heart. Yes, it's common knowledge that what goes up, must come down. However, even if you view market volatility as a regular occurrence, it can be tough to handle when you're watching your account balance drop.

While there's no fool-proof way to handle the ups and downs of the stock market, the following common-sense investor tips can help.

6 Investor Tips to Help You Stay the Course

  • Don't put your eggs all in one basket
  • Focus on the big picture
  • Look before you leap
  • There is a silver lining to market volatility if you look for it
  • Temper your optimism
  • Don't stick your head in the sand

Investor Tip #1: Don't put your eggs all in one basket

Diversifying your investment portfolio is one of the key ways you can handle market volatility. Because asset classes often perform differently under different market conditions, spreading your assets across a...

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