USEFS: Money Management Tips | 3 Ways to Simplify Your Money Management
USEFS: Money Management Tips | 3 Ways to Simplify Your Money Management

“‘Tis the gift to be simple,” begins the legendary Shaker dance song, “Simple Gifts,” written in 1848 by Joseph Brackett. And while virtually all of the world’s major religions have extolled the benefits of simplicity for millennia–many even making it a central tenet of the faith–the nothing-short-of-religious pursuit of money is marked by scores of painfully circuitous paths. So, if you are one who enjoys being overwhelmed by hordes of statements for a collection of seemingly random latest-and-greatest investments, if you are prone to bending the tax law to the point of breaking in search of every last loop-pin-hole that might squeeze out an extra buck, if you are into manufacturing tax-privileged growth investments out of insurance policies optimally suited for another objective, if you enjoy bouncing debt from lender-to-lender, and you’d prefer to live on the hairy edge of financial sanity rather than rest in financial peace, this post might not be for you. But if something in you yearns for a simpler financial existence, consider these three recommendations designed to reduce stress and increase efficiency: 1) CONSOLIDATE How many 401(k)s do you have from past jobs still languishing in the old plan? How many IRAs or regular, taxable investment accounts do you have? How many bank accounts do you have, with how many banks? Credit cards? Mortgages? How many financial advisors, stock brokers or insurance agents do you attempt to integrate? I think you see where this is going… You don’t need more than a single, current 401(k), 403(b) or other retirement plan–the one with your current company. Then, you need only have a single Traditional IRA, which should likely be the receptacle for aggregating your old tax-deductible retirement plans. If you’re self-employed, you may combine both of these into a single SEP IRA or individual 401k. Hopefully, if your income falls below the threshold, you have a Roth IRA, storing up tax-free money for what is likely to be a tax-heavy future–but you only need one. If you’re blessed to have money to invest beyond retirement vehicles, you need not have more than a single taxable, liquid brokerage account. And in all likelihood, you don’t need more than one checking account and one savings account with one bank. One of each–401k, IRA, Roth, liquid, checking and savings. (There are exceptions, of course, but they are unique.) Maybe you prefer to have multiple financial advisors–pitting different investment or financial philosophies against one another–but it probably means you simply haven’t found one advisor you actually trust. Larry, Moe and Curley may be competing for your business to your detriment if they’re not each aware of the other’s strategy (and willing to accommodate). When you enter into a trusting relationship with a single advisor–a truly professional (ideally fee-only) financial planner–he or she should have a suite of vetted referrals for all of your investment, insurance, tax and estate planning needs. More is not better; it’s just more. 2) PRIORITIZE Whenever I deliver a slate of categorized recommendations following a comprehensive…

Credit: Tim Maurer, Forbes read the full article, click here
Proper Estate Financial Planning Now a Must, in View of New Tax Rules

A Wall Street Journal article dated September 6, 2013 tackles the changing trends in estate planning. Following the recently imposed $10.5 million ceiling, more folks now aim to reduce their income tax payments in an effort to secure their estate plans. Couples whose estates exceed the ceiling amount will be required to pay a progressive federal tax. (more…)

Credit: Tim Maurer, Forbes read the full article, click here

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