Debt Sucks: Life Lesson 20 of 50

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

Debt Sucks

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC

debt sucks

I have several beliefs, but two just can’t be disputed: it takes a long time to earn money, and it’s easy to spend it like water flowing out of a faucet. I like to call this “financial leakage.” Many people are affected by financial leakage; for some, the situation is out of control.

Frankly, debt sucks. Debt makes us slaves to our lenders. Debt limits our future lifestyle and choices. But let me be clear. There are two kinds of debt—good debt and bad debt—and it’s bad debt we need to stop.

What are some ways to accumulate bad debt? Credit cards, buying that big dream home, paying for a college degree in a field with no promise of employment, expensive cars or boats…the list goes on.

Good debt, on the other hand, is investing in a business that’s cash flow positive.

A degree that can help you become employed, actually make a living, and pay off your loan within 5 years (not 20 or 30) is an example. There are times where it is good to invest upfront. The payoff can sometimes be much greater in the future.

Debt sucks, but luckily, one of the most effective ways to avoid it is also one of the easiest. Take a breather before doing anything drastic. Pause for a week or two to consider before you make a life-changing decision to take on debt. Give yourself a chance to see that big-ticket vacation. Ponder that spur-of-the-moment change in a clearer light by taking the time you need to think it over.

Getting Married? You’ll Need a Prenup

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Ask yourself- can my portfolio support my lifestyle in my retirement? 

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Starting a Business: Life Lesson 3 of 50

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

The real fear of starting a business?

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC

starting a business

For many of you, you made the leap of starting your own business and would never go back to work for someone else. Many might say you might be unemployable at this point. Others of you have an idea, passion, or seek to be fulfilled in another way, and you know becoming a business owners would do that. But yet, one major item holds most people from starting their own business and it simple…It’s the lack of a paycheck.

It’s hard for many to start their own business because of the that need, or desire, for a reliable paycheck. That’s the biggest roadblock for most people who want to be entrepreneur – money. Even with the best business plans and hard work, 50 percent of businesses don’t make it five years. The odds are not in your favor.

I’ve been self-employed for 18 years and it wasn’t always an easy road.

Even today, it’s not easy, but the challenges can be easier to overcome. Maybe that’s because of experience, on the job training, my ability to handle stress or that my perspective on life and business have evolved.

If starting a business was easy, everyone one would do it. However, it requires a level of personal and professional commitment like nothing else. Sacrifices will happen including time with your family, friends and your money. If you are looking to start a business, let’s talk on creating a plan that allows you to fulfill your dreams, passions and hopefully make a living at.

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Ask yourself- can my portfolio support my lifestyle in my retirement? 

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Why are so many people afraid to ask for a pay raise?

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

Why are so many people afraid to ask for a pay raise?

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC

Here’s the strategy your boss won’t be able to argue with when it comes to asking for a pay raise. In our world today, talking about how one earns is such a private and taboo subject, and it shouldn’t be. As a Certified Financial Planner, I must disclose in writing how much money I make, and it drives Mrs. Anderson nuts when I ask others how much they make off me. You and I provide value/service for our customers/clients and we should be compensated for it accordingly.

One area to focus on is value. It’s not about your hourly rate or salary, but rather about the value you bring to the organization. It isn’t something that’s focused on, but it should be. Once you start thinking about it, putting pen to paper, you’ll never look at how you are compensated the same way.

So, when asking for a raise, how do you calculate your value? It’s easy to calculate compensation for a salesperson, but what about everyone else? Let’s say you’re a marketing professional and your current salary is $100,000 year. When you look at your position, what expertise do you bring? What knowledge, skills or abilities you utilize each day to help the organization reach its goals? Do you directly contribute to additional sales or an increase in customer traffic to your employer? What’s the value each new customer means to the company? How have you not only made the company money, but how have you saved the company money?

Customer Service – how many calls do you make or take on a regular basis? What expertise you bring to the table? Do you take more calls vs others in the company? Do you have a skill set that’s hard to find and you wouldn’t be easily replaced? Is your work above and beyond what’s expected of you each day and have you been documenting how you are adding value to the company?

Receptionist – It’s the front door to the store or business. This person can make or break a business. This person sets the tone on most calls. It’s that tone that can make or break everyone else’s day. Do you build client relationships? Do customers know you by name? Are you able to process calls quickly and have a high satisfaction rate or take on other side projects as needed? This list could go on.

Value comes in all forms to an employer. Most employees would never approach the owner of the company or CEO and tell them I’d like to make you more money and here’s how I can make that happen. If you did, they’d be thrilled and wouldn’t look at you the same way (in a positive way) going forward. Your employers want you to succeed.

It’s not always about the money. But money helps. Understand and demonstrate the value you bring to your employer. Talk about it with your boss. Be confident knowing that you make a difference and that you bring value to your employer.

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Ask yourself- can my portfolio support my lifestyle in my retirement? 

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Dream Board Session

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

Dream Board Session

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC

Have you heard? We are hosting a dream board session on July 28! Learn more by going to this facebook event page. We decided to hold this event because dream boards have become very important in our own lives. We use this boards, which sit right next to our desks, as daily reminders of the ideas, goals, dreams, plans, and visions we have for ourselves and our futures. By having these within sight every single day, we become much more motivated to do something about those dreams. Another piece of it is that these dreams cannot be accomplished alone. There is power in community and in sharing with others. For these reasons, we have created this session that will allow you to do the same for yourself and even sign up if you’re interested in follow-up.

OR watch the video below

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Ask yourself- can my portfolio support my lifestyle in my retirement? 

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Here are 5 tips to make your 2018 tax season better than 2017

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

Here are 5 tips to take your 2018 tax season better than 2017

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC

It’s tax season and Uncle Sam comes collecting taxes; again.

With Trump tax cuts in effect for 2018, know the key areas that impact you.

– Many of us will see some form of income tax deduction as the rates have decreased. That’s good news. With the increase in personal exemptions to $12,000 for individual and $24,000 for married taxpayers, you may not need to file an itemized tax return.

$10,000 Federal deduction limit for high-income tax states.

– We now have a cap of $10,000 federal tax deduction for state and local taxes. This has an adverse impact on higher wage earners. This provision makes living in an income free tax-free state very appealing. For those of us living in Minnesota or Wisconsin, not so much.

For those still working – fund Roth 401k and/or Roth IRA accounts.

– Pay now or pay later. It’s just that simple. If you’ve been told you cannot contribute to a Roth account, you’ve been told wrong. There are various rules on how to fund these accounts, but you’ll appreciate that tax-free income when you retire.

Keep great records – it’s easy to forget and miss deductions.

– Use technology to track your records and numbers. Keep detailed records and receipts so you don’t have to work too hard early in the New Year.

Schedule a tax-planning meeting with your CPA over the summer months.

– CPA’s want to have tax planning meetings with their clients. They want to have these meetings mid-year to allow for time to make adjustments and make necessary changes as needed

Let’s work on just paying our fair share today and tomorrow. Taking the time now can help you to make strategic money decisions and hopefully keep more money in your checkbook vs. Uncle Sam’s. If you need to add a CPA with a business acumen to your team, I’d be happy to make an introduction.

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Ask yourself- can my portfolio support my lifestyle in my retirement? 

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Certified Financial Planner & Fiduciary – What’s the difference

ST. CROIX INSIGHTS

Certified Financial Planner & Fiduciary – What’s the difference

BY BRETT ANDERSON/ST.CROIX ADVISORS, LLC

What is a Certified Financial Planner?

First of all, I have a financial planner, but they are certified? Secondly, what does it mean to be a fiduciary? Honestly, I’m just trying to find someone who can help me make good financial decisions. As of now, the differences between the variety of advisors are confusing to me. Moving forward, I want to know what I should look for and focus on.

So are all financial advisors, financial coaches, financial planners, wealth advisors, and brokers CERTIFIED? Well, the answer is no.

Only CFP’s (Certified Financial Planners) are certified. Furthermore, CFPs have an entire education process to complete. Moreover, rigorous exams and ongoing education requirements are part of the gig. Also, it can take a year or two of education to obtain this designation. Certainly, it doesn’t happen overnight. Correspondingly, the requirements are not the same throughout the industry. Provided, some titles require less time and energy to obtain. Personally, if I’m searching for a financial advisor, I want to understand the different designations. Additionally, I want to know what was actually required to obtain that designation.

Nowadays, many brokers, representatives, and advisors have to only meet a ‘suitability’ standard. Namely, the investment must be suitable to make today. Again, CFPs have a more ongoing duty to their clients.

A fiduciary has a higher standard to meet. It’s an ongoing standard. They have to ensure that your investments are hitting certain targets on a regular basis. It just doesn’t stop after the service is sold.

Also, fiduciaries document everything. For instance, they outline how they work, their processes, and how they get compensated. Realistically, Besides, I’d only work with someone who is a fiduciary. Most of all, I want to know someone has my back and is held to a high standard.

Not all planners are created equally.

There are many different types of financial firms or companies. Some are compensated through commission, while others are hourly or fixed-rate. Most financial advisors are not fiduciaries nor Certified Financial Planners. Don’t be afraid to have meaningful conversations and ask questions. It’s important to understand the differences between all these types of ‘advisors.’

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