Certified Financial Planner & Fiduciary – What’s the difference


Certified Financial Planner & Fiduciary – What’s the difference


It is a great question that I receive a few times a week; what is a Certified Financial Planner? I have a financial planner, but they are not certified? I keep hearing this term also; fiduciary. What does that even mean? I’m just trying to find someone to help me make good financial decisions and I have no idea what the difference is between a financial coach, financial planner, wealth advisor, broker, fiduciary and the list goes on. Here are some questions to ask when you are looking for a financial advisor/planner or even a fiduciary so that you know the differences.

Are all financial advisors, financial coach, financial planners, wealth advisors, or brokers CERTIFIED? The answer is no. Only CFP’s (Certified Financial Planners) are certified. You have an entire education process to complete along with rigorous exams and ongoing education requirements to be at this level. It can take a year or two of education to obtain this designation. It doesn’t happen overnight. I know, because I’m a CFP. For many in my industry, coach, brokers, representative; there aren’t the same thresholds (education, number of exams, experience, criteria) to have your business card list one of those titles. If I’m searching for a financial advisor, I want to understand what all those initials mean behind their name and what was actually required to obtain that designation.

Fiduciary – that’s word that has become extremely common in the media when you talk about financial advice. One other keyword – suitability. Many brokers, representatives, advisors have to only meet a suitability standard when they make a recommendation say for a particular investment. It’s a standard that really says today it’s suitable. But they really don’t have to worry about a month or six months from now. Just at the time of “sale”.

A fiduciary has a higher standard to meet. It’s an ongoing standard. You have investment A and they need to make sure it meets that higher standard on an ongoing basis. It just doesn’t stop after the “point of sale.”

Plus, they put it in writing. They outline how they work, their processes and how they get compensated. I’d only work with someone who is a fiduciary. I want to know someone has my back and must live up to a higher standard.

Remember, not all planners are created equally. There are so many different types of financial firms or companies. Big, small, local, national, publically traded or closely held firms. Some are compensated through commission, others through an hourly or fixed rate or by a percentage of assets under management. Most financial advisors are not fiduciaries nor Certified Financial Planners. Don’t be afraid to have a meaningful conversation so you understand the differences between all these types of “advisors”.

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4 Steps on how to afford college – High School graduation is in the air.


4 Steps on how to afford college – High School graduation is in the air.


How to afford college? I’m not worried about having to pay $10,000, $15,000 or $30,000 each year for four or five years for my kids to attend college. I used to worry about having to save or pay for college. I don’t anymore. My perspective completely changed based on my personal experience that wasn’t even related to paying for college. I’m happy to have a sidebar conversation on why if you ever want. Back to paying for college and how to make it affordable. Here are 4 simple steps each and every one of our kids can take to help pay or reduce their college tuition bill.

Over my vast experience in the financial services world, talking with hundreds if not over a thousand people, it’s generally not the mortgage or the car payment, but rather just everyday life that really gets us. It all adds up. $5 here, $50 there, $250 here- it all adds up to real money each month. It’s financial leakage. We all have it, yet, some of us are better than others at controlling it.

  • ACT Score – This is the best way to obtain free money for college. When you kids focus and invest the time preparing for this exam, chances are it will be money in the bank, depending on the school if you score a 30 or higher. Most kids are not going to achieve a perfect score on the ACT to get a full ride, but I suspect many have the chance to receive some type of money based on their score. I know this is to be true as I’ve seen it firsthand.
  • FAFSA Form (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) – This is going to seem like a dah moment, but it’s overlooked and so easy to fill out your form wrong and miss out on real money. First off, you don’t even want to fill out the form, so you rush through it not paying attention to the details. For example, line 91 of the FAFSA form wants to know about parent’s current investments. Without thinking or looking into the details, you’ll look at your balance sheet and fill it in. But wait…. what are they really asking? This line has major exclusions – the home they live in, cash, savings and checking accounts (but includes money market – interesting), the value of life insurance and retirement plans (401k’s, pension funds, annuities, noneducational IRA’s, and other similar types of accounts. You want to make sure you understand the question they are asking and provide the actual number they seek. Otherwise, you might be missing out on financial aid monies.
  • Award letters – no matter what, you want to schedule an appointment with the financial aid officers. I’ve had clients knock off $3,000, $10,000 off their kid’s yearly tuition bill just by making a phone call. Many are reluctant to make a phone call or plead on their own why they need additional financial support. I see it this way, do you have another way within 10 minutes to make $5,000 or $10,000? No, you do not!
  • Save money with community college first – I know many will not find this ideal. Heading to a local community college, but it’s a great strategy on how to afford college and truly allow you time in discovering what you‘d like to pursue as a degree. Changing your college major is expensive. Remember, when you graduate with a four-year degree from a college or university, it’s doesn’t matter that you attended the local community college.

These are four simple steps on how to afford college. College will be your 3rd or 4th largest expenses in your lifetime. Let’s it get it right together. If you want to discuss other money-saving strategies, give me a shout.

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How to Hire a Divorce Attorney


How to Hire a Divorce Attorney


How to hire a divorce attorney? So, you are contemplating a divorce, or your spouse just announced they wanted a divorce? Going through a divorce can be financially expensive and emotionally stressful. But does it have to be financially stressful and expensive; I say no. Yet for many going through a divorce, they want or need to hire a divorce attorney. Very few couples that are going through a divorce handle it all on their own. Depending on your circumstances, maybe both of you are able to agree and handle everything on your own. If not, here are three steps to consider when looking to hire a divorce attorney.

Understand how your lawyer is paid. Don’t make your lawyer rich! Know how and what they charge for. I’ve yet to ever meet with family law/divorce attorney that hasn’t done well for themselves financially. Sure, they’ll charge you by the minute. But when you send an email or leave a message, are you going to be nickeled and dimed to death? I’ve had clients tell me about billings. It’s unfortunate, at times, couples will argue to prove a point or make a statement to their soon to be former spouse. I’ve heard the saying, divorce is expensive because it’s worth it. That may or may not be true. But you need to know how the clock works and I suspect if you were told it would cost you $10,000 for a divorce, you need to add 25% to 50% to that number.

Who is their typical client? You don’t want to work with just any lawyer. You want a specialist in this arena. For many lawyers, this is all they do and that’s who you want to hire. Not an attorney who does a DUI case in the morning, midday they wrote an estate plan and now divorce settlement in the afternoon. Let’s not forget, how complicated your situation is. Kids or no kids, one parent relocating to another state, maybe you’ve been a stay home spouse, you or your spouse owns a closely held business; how many clients a year do they work with that fits your situation/profile.

Fighter or collaborator in a settlement. I don’t know who first said it, being right doesn’t always pay. And sometimes it’s easy to dig our heals in to prove we are right and beat our chest in pride to prove a point and place the nail in the coffin.

To achieve that satisfaction when it comes to a divorce becomes very expensive even though you might be right. I wonder sometimes if some lawyers fight just for the sake of increasing their billable hours. They respond to every frivolous item that your soon to be spouse or lawyer brings up when its’ really not necessary. If you are going to hire an attorney, they should demonstrate to you how they work in collaboration with the other party in finalizing a mutually beneficial agreement for both sides. That probably works for 98% of divorces. In the remaining 2% of cases, you need that fighter, that “bulldog” because of your situation and that’s understandable.

Interview a couple of lawyers. Ask for references. Ask hard pinpointed questions. Don’t just hire them because you like them, or they have a nice personality. Hire the lawyer that works in the arena full-time, you know and understand how you’ll compensate them, and someone who will work in collaboration to resolve this quickly, so you can move onto the next phase of your life. Remember you might end up paying your lawyer a lot of money. You need to get this right the first time!

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3 Key Steps for women to manage your money and investments after a divorce


3 Key Steps for women to manage your money and investments after a divorce


One major reality for many women who have experienced a divorced is learning to manage their money and investments. It seems for many couples I meet with, one spouse takes the lead on paying the bills, making investments and financial retirement decisions. Before you finalize your divorce or even if your divorce is finalized, here are three key steps to take

  • Understand your new financial realities. Day to day. Do you have enough money to pay the day to day bills? Are you still able to save for retirement? Maybe you have to contend with the B word – BUDGET. That might be something you’ve never had to worry about. Or did you receive enough from your divorce settlement that you don’t have to worry about making money, but rather how to manage it, so it doesn’t go away, and you can live off the interest your investment/retirement accounts earn? 99% of us no matter how much money we have, need to budget to make our money last.
  • What does this mean for your long-term future? For some, you may have to work longer then you planned or expected. Might not sound so ideal today, but with proper financial planning, you can still pursue goals you had prior to your divorce. Understand the long-term decisions you’ll need to make today so that you can have the lifestyle and retirement you seek as that is even more important today as the CEO of your new household.
  • It’s ok to admit you might need help when it comes to your money. Asking for help is powerful. It places you in the driver seat. For many, managing money is new to them. They’ve relied upon their former spouse when it came to budgeting, investments, taxes and the list goes on. For many clients after a divorce, they don’t want to handle let alone think about money. They want help in making financial decisions and help with their investments, so they don’t screw it up.

Remember, you’ve got this and the confidence to make key financial decisions to help reach your financial goals. If you seek a Certified Financial Planner, find one that works with divorcees. They’ll better understand your personal situation, the challenges, and opportunities that are waiting for you.

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How to Save a Million Dollars


How to Save a Million Dollars


Are you ready to save a million dollars? Everyone I encounter is a millionaire…including you, even though your checking account doesn’t show it today. Doubtful? Let me prove it to you!

You started working full-time at age 25 and were making $25,000. If you do that for 40 years how much have you earned? $1 million. So, I’ve just proven that you are a millionaire but when you look at your finances you realize you’re not. The key to becoming a millionaire is keeping more of what you earn! All kinds of thoughts and beliefs are probably going through your mind right now. That’s why I’m writing this to change your mindset on how to save a million dollars or more.

So, let’s get to it!

One of my most enjoyable moments in life is when I can show someone they are on the path to becoming a millionaire. I think that old sayings are true. The first $1 million is the hardest because most of us started at $0. I also believe that’s where the saying “self-made” came from.

For almost 99% of people $1 million is a lot of money. And it is. Yet, with life expectancy continuing to improve we’ll require more money to enjoy and be impactful in our retirement.

Financial security is achievable

I wrote this manifest to help you save a million dollars and hopefully more. For some that might be five years from now, others when they reach age 65 or for some others before they pass at 90. No matter when you accumulate a million dollars the fundamentals are the same. And once you achieve the first million dollars the second is easier – just don’t screw up the first million

We live in a society that says to feel better you have to spend money. For many, our very possessions show and demonstrate a level of status. Every day, we are bombarded with ads selling us a “lifestyle” or “widget” we need to feel better about ourselves. And the message is, if we don’t purchase it now, we will not be fulfilled. Delayed gratification for most is unacceptable and for many is unheard of. We are judged constantly by the clothes we wear, the cars we drive, neighbors we live near, where our kids go to school and so on. We all know that our financial well-being is not enhanced by the amount of our spending so why do we continue to put this pressure on ourselves? We know better, don’t we?

It’s the proverbial “Keeping up with the Joneses.” It’s our own hamster wheel of life and I’m here to tell you that the “Joneses” don’t care about your status and you shouldn’t care about theirs. It’s time to hop off that wheel.

Face your money issues

Dealing with money is not easy for many people no matter your walk of life or background. Many may view money as a tool, burden or pain in the rear. Many individuals I encounter would choose not to deal with it at all. To some, that would be the ideal world. Not having to deal with money and having all of our needs, wants and desires met. Wouldn’t that be cool? Unfortunately, that doesn’t exist.

I’m going to go out on a big limb and say that even Bill Gates and Warren Buffet have to deal with money issues. Sure, they have lots of money (I suspect that much money creates its own unique problems), but I would guess that they still have problems just like you and me. Yet, the two key financial philosophies they have solved for themselves are how to earn money (and lots of it) and how to develop a money strategy. I’d argue that for many, those two items sound easy, but they are not only challenging to implement, but they also have to match your core long-term values.

The problem with money and living in the “United States of Money” (as I like to call it) is that we need cash for our basic needs. That is something we can all agree on. Whether it is food, clothing, shelter, healthcare or transportation – everything requires money. We can’t avoid it, look the other way, or neglect it because if we do, it will come back and bite us. Our money decisions today can have a long-term impact that we may never recover from. So, let’s just avoid that, agreed?

For some, money can be complicated and may see it as easier to avoid than to address. Some may not value money because they earn a lot of it and they have never worried about earning more. If they’ve run into a money problem, they’ll figure it out. I’m here to tell you, life is unpredictable. Forrest Gump famously said, “Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” Planning the rest of your life and retirement takes time, energy and resources. It can actually be rewarding and help clarify your life’s goals and values. I know planning your next vacation sounds more enjoyable, but financial security over the long-run is more rewarding.

When you were growing up, did you discuss money with your parents? That question likely receives mixed answers depending upon your background. Growing up, if you didn’t have money, there wasn’t much to talk about, or it was a difficult discussion for your family. In my family, I had to start working at a young age if I wanted anything. For others, they never had to worry about money and never discussed it. We all have a money story. What is yours? You need to understand it and write it down.

In my business, I work with higher net worth and income individuals and business owners. They make a good living and chances are they are not necessarily living “paycheck to paycheck.” However, consumption, and not saving as much as they are capable of, is a challenge for many before they started working with me. Most thought they were saving enough to reach their financial security, but shortly after we dive deep into this topic it becomes clear that they are not.

A false sense of financial security

Do you have a false sense of financial security and not realize it? I see it every day and most individuals I meet with don’t realize it. Many times, it takes multiple conversations and illustrations before the light bulb goes on. If you’ve been taught – and thought – of only one way of thinking about your relationship with money, it is time to update your understanding to reflect your core values.

Living with a greater thoughtfulness around our lives, the impact we want to make in our lives, families and communities is important. If you don’t have financial security and a financial plan you follow and live by, you won’t have financial peace. Today I wonder where most people find their greatest amount of financial advice? With the growth of “robo” advisors, websites, call centers and index funds, I find it hard to believe that financial security and wealth accumulation boils down to a yearly rate of return. If it was really that simple I wouldn’t have a job. Rate of return is secondary. It’s not the most important factor in reaching your goals.

Seeking financial security is a common theme I hear from my clients. It’s not always initially definable beyond $1 million or $5 million in an account. I believe it is more comprehensive than that. No matter your income, background or education, financial security is achievable. Yet, you need to define it for you and your family. What does it mean to you beyond having saved a boatload of money?

Define your financial goals

Here are some key items to help place definitions (parameters) around financial security:

  • How much should you pay yourself FIRST each month?
  • What type of home meets your basic needs?
  • What is your basic transportation to and from work?
  • If the stock market drops by 50% (which you know it can) can you emotionally and financially handle it? Do you have the financial capacity to handle those types of losses? (I like that question because it makes you think!)
  • What other basic living expenses do you have each month?
  • How much do you want to give/impact others with?
  • How much financial risk do you want to transfer, or not transfer, to someone else’s checkbook in the event a significant event happens in your life?

The key to minimizing your financial stress and increase your financial security is to not live beyond your means. Managing your day-to-day finances is just as important as saving for retirement or wealth accumulation. That’s how to achieve financial the freedom. There is no secret sauce but rather an open recipe for everyone to use.

Saving for financial security

Having to make up for lack of savings, many feel like they need to take great risk in one’s investment portfolio which is something I hear on a regular basis. When we don’t have our financial house in order we feel like we have to take on greater risks to make up for our previous decisions. And I’m here to tell you should be investing to decrease your stress not increase it!

Having financial security gives you the freedom to come and go. It is the American Dream. You can pick and choose what you want to do and when you want to do it? One of biggest lessons I’ve learned is that it doesn’t matter what you make financially. Let me repeat that. It doesn’t matter, what you make…it’s about what you keep. This goes hand-in-hand with financial security.

So, if all your money goes into “stuff”, it leaves little or no money for financial freedom or life experiences. I’d argue that you are missing out on so much to have the latest iPhone, biggest home or the newest automobile. Our world is always about “go big” but the impacts we can have with others is huge as we are only here for short period of time.

Financial giving with thoughtfulness

Generosity towards others is a feeling everyone knows. It is a sense of joy and pride knowing you are helping someone or spreading joy and most times even better than buying something for yourself. Have you ever had the offering plate go by on Sunday morning wishing you had the money or didn’t think you had put enough in and felt guilty?

My wish for everyone is to achieve a level of financial security to live the life you desire, impact those around you and leave a legacy that you seek. This can be an overlooked area of planning and I know you can find joy and meaning while tithing or helping others. You still can achieve financial security even while helping others.

Here are three questions to ask yourself:

  • How would you describe your values towards money?
  • What are 4-5 hard decisions you need to make today to achieve financial security?
  • Do you believe you can do it all on your own?

Essentialism – The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

It’s not the pursuit of less. It’s the exact opposite. “An Essentialist produces more – brings forth – by removing more instead of doing more!” Now that’s cool!

Essentialism – The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown was recommended by a client at St. Croix Advisors. He thought I’d connect and relate to its message and boy did I. Here’s why. It’s about “learning to filter through all those options and select only those that are truly essential.”

When you start to contemplate that you realize it’s a powerful opportunity we can implement in our daily lives. We can start to apply essentialism to three primary parts of our lives: work, family and finances. It’s not about getting more and more things done. I think we’ve all tried that and probably failed. We’ve also heard ‘work smarter not harder’ (been there, done that). Instead, it’s about investing in the ‘right activities.’ In other words, “essentialism” is a disciplined systematic approach for determining where our highest point of contribution lies, and then with little effort execute on those things.

A great question an essentialist will ask is “what are the trade-offs I’m willing to make?” A trade-off isn’t a negative.

We can apply this to our daily lives and our finances. We can have more. I’m not talking about more stuff, but instead perhaps less financial stress. Having clarity on our goals and envisioning what our retirement looks like will cause us to make different or better decisions today to achieve our goals sooner.

Below are the key steps you need to work on each day to help accumulate money to reach your financial goals.

  • Be honest with yourself – It’s so true. You know your strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, etc. Yet the biggest question you need to ask is what trade-offs am I willing to make so I can accumulate $1 million by my goal date. As I discussed above, trade-offs are not negative. They are just trade-offs. Plain and simple.

    For most individuals, technology truly is your friend in helping track where all of your money goes. Technology can track all the ins & outs of money in your life. Embrace it and let it do its job.

    When it comes to budgeting most will fail because we are not honest with ourselves. We are really good at outlining all the big expenses. But we fail in the day-to-day life and balancing out our wants. Budget right down to stamps each month. It becomes freeing when you understand where your hard-earned money goes each month.

  • Right-sizing your life – Big houses, fancy cars, expensive clothes. Trade-off all of them and the theme continues to shine through. Most advisors will disagree with me on this but it’s extremely comforting to have $50,000, $100,000, $250,000 or a $1 million just in cash. I can’t tell you how many people I encounter disagree with having so much in cash but when they start to experience how this positively impacts their life, they are hook line and sinker in on their way to becoming a millionaire! It’s totally freeing knowing you have financial control and money readily available to address whatever issues arise.

  • Budgeting – You need to pay yourself first. Focus on one key number, your gross savings rate. For most individuals, I’d target 15%-25% of your gross earnings. This is the most important number in your planning. If you don’t get this number right, reaching your financial goals will be almost impossible. Yes, that’s a big number but you have big goals. Plus, this number is very attainable within a short period of time if you’re not doing it today. If you can’t do it today, it can be achieved in 1-2 years.

This is also the most challenging area of financial planning and Because it’s the hardest most struggle to adhere to it. One of my favorite words is “synergistic.” Within this manifest, all these strategies have a synergistic relationship. If you succeed in only three out four areas, that fourth area will bring your results down. Make no mistake about it. To obtain the best results you need to hit on all four cylinders.

What is financial leakage?

Financial leakage happens, and it can’t be overlooked. It’s something I hear on a regular basis. Just change the dollar amount for how much your household makes. I bet most of us can relate, especially when you have a couple of kids, mortgage, car payment and are saving for retirement. But those are not the things that hold you back in reaching your goals.

Over my vast experience in the financial services world, talking with hundreds or thousands of people, it’s generally not the mortgage or the car payment, but rather just everyday life that really gets us. It all adds up. $5 here, $50 there, $250 here – it all adds up to real money each month. It’s called financial leakage. We all have it, yet, some of us are better than others at controlling it.

Technology is an essential competent to be successful in tracking your daily expenses versus your actual budget each day, week or month. Are you on track? Do you need to make adjustments throughout the month?

Going through this process for the first 90-120 days is hard. Remember your checkbook shows your priorities.


Debt sucks. I don’t care what you call it. Many believe there is good debt. Mortgages, student loans, business loans are examples of what people would say is good debt. Bad debt would be general credit cards, store credit cards, payday loans, anything with high-interest rates that you really should be paying with cash but instead you use credit to purchase it.

Let’s just avoid all debt. I suspect many eyes are rolling on this. You use debt as a leveraging tool. I get it. But you still have to pay it back and many times have an exit strategy of the asset(s) you’ve leveraged. Use it wisely. I haven’t met a banker who didn’t what his Ben Franklin’s back.

Credit Management

Debt sucks because it limits our future lifestyle and we have to manage it responsibly. That entails paying your bills on-time. With “auto-pay” it’s easy to never forget a bill. If used properly, it’s a tool. A tool that allows you help build your wealth, especially for business owners. But it’s something you can’t take for granted. There is always a cost and your job is to minimize the cost of debt that you leverage.

Rate of return is important…however, it’s not the most important number!

It’s usually the first question on my client’s mind – “How much money have you made me?” It’s the underlying question of what’s my rate of return for the quarter, year, etc. But one must remember how to derive at a true (net) rate of return.

Most investors only focus on their “gross” rate of return yet overlook other factors. Their biggest expense when it comes to investing is taxes. Yes, taxes. Ask yourself, “Am I going to invest with pre- or post-tax dollars?” Pre-tax dollars are dollars that will defer taxes today saving you 15%, 25% or more today. But at a future date and unknown rate, you will be taxed on those pre-taxed dollars!

You have to decide each year whether Uncle Sam is going to be taxing you on your investments or if you are going to invest those dollars in a tax-deferred vehicle so when you start making distributions, you’ll be hit with a tax bill. Taxes will be by far your biggest expense in calculating your net rate of return. Increasing your rate of return by looking at income tax planning is one of the biggest planning areas when it comes to investing.

Remember our government is broke and they need and want our money. The tax rate we pay is just as important in the success of our investments as a financial plan. Congress may change the rules, but we know the playbook today.


We can’t escape taxes which is why we need to revisit this on an ongoing basis. We need roads, schools, military and infrastructure for our country to survive and thrive. And we’re all willing to pay my fair share but just our fair share. As you continue throughout life, earning more naturally brings higher income taxes for you. We can’t avoid this topic or paying unless you’d enjoy three hots and a cot. And if you’ve read this far, I know you wouldn’t enjoy that lifestyle.

Federal taxes are the same no matter which state you live in. But a major difference is which state you live in. Some states have a state income tax. Others collect “revenue” in different ways through fees or higher property taxes. Some states tax Social Security in your retirement years while others do not.

If you believe taxes will be higher down the road, just one or two key decisions today can allow for greater financial flexibility. It may not seem like it, but we are at some of the lowest tax rates today. But we don’t know what the tax rates will be 10, 20 or 30 years from now. Here is what I believe – our local, state and federal governments are broke, and they believe our money is their money. With that perspective, each financial decision you make today is key. We can’t control our overall tax rate, but we can control which buckets we place our money into each day.

You don’t have time to keep up with all kinds of tax law changes so hire a CPA that is focused on strategic tax planning with their clients. Don’t worry about paying them – their knowledge should more than pay for themselves.

And for business owners, with proper planning, you can pick who you pay – employees or the federal government. Remember, you want money to go to your employees to reward, retain and recruit them. Don’t overlook this as a planning tool for your business.

You need a proactive CPA on your team. If you don’t have one, I’ll be happy to give a few names you can consider adding to your team.

Transferring risk from your checkbook to someone else’s

I know what you are thinking, why even discuss this topic? We do because it’s the most important building block when it comes to creating a financial plan. By doing this right, it allows you to minimize how far you’d fall financially in the event “crap” happened. This comes in all forms: unexpected medical bills, 100-year hurricane or flood, a slip of the knife in surgery that cuts your patient’s major artery, or a husband won’t be coming home because of a drunk driver.

I’ve been there too such as paying $22,000 a month in health care even with good insurance. It doesn’t take long before this becomes real money. How long can you financially support those types of payments before your financial plan and future plans get blown-up? Almost 90% of the people I talk to about this believe nothing bad will happen to them. They can’t or refuse to, see it ever happening to them. I’m here to tell you, shit happens. This category is just as important as your overall gross savings rate.

From medical, disability, life, long-term care, homeowners, auto, errors & omissions, malpractice – insurance is important.

Most of us focus only on the premiums for our insurance. That’s the least important factor in transferring the risk. The reason so many people get mad at insurance companies is that everyone thinks they have the Cadillac coverage. I bet 99% of the population have never read their insurance contracts. And 99.5% of the insurance agents have never read them. It’s the contractual language that matters not the premiums. Pay attention to the details. It’s that important in your creating financial security.

Bottom Line

Focus on the basics. Build your financial foundation well and the results you seek should pay off.

  • Define what money means to you.
  • Create a dream board so you have a daily reminder of what you want to achieve in life.
  • Face your money issues.
  • Have less “stuff” in your life so you can achieve more.
  • Stop the financial leakage.
  • Be the master of your money.
  • Build your financial foundation from the ground up. Start with transferring risk.
  • Create different buckets of money. Understand access, tax treatment, risk and investments within each of those buckets.
  • Save a meaningful amount each month.

Each and everyone one of us can save a million dollars. I see happen all the time. For most, this isn’t an easy process, but it becomes rewarding when you have achieved financial freedom.

Now is the time to save a million dollars. If you’d like to talk about how we can help you reach your personal and professional goals, drop me a note.

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Can my portfolio support my lifestyle in my retirement? 

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Women: Three ways to recover financially from a divorce


Women: Three ways to recover financially from a divorce


It’s not surprising these days when I receive a phone call from female clients looking to review their financial options before or after a divorce. Each has some common themes: “Will I be Ok financially?” “Can I afford to keep my home?” “I’ve never had to pay bills let alone manage an investment portfolio and I need help.” “I’m not used to dealing with money and I have no idea on where to start. My husband used to do all this.” You don’t have to do it alone. St. Croix Advisors can help you recover financially from a divorce.

This is can be a very stressful time in your life and having your financial house in order takes time, energy and resources. If you have your financial affairs in order it will sustainably decrease your overall stress level. This isn’t an overnight process, so start today by planning and knowing.

1. Know your financial “state of the union.” Whether you are preparing for a divorce, or you just finalized it, you need to know where to stand financially. Know your assets and liabilities from your checking, savings, investment and retirement accounts including your kids college funds, life, disability, health, property and casualty insurance, loans and credit cards. Knowing your health of your financial well-being is key to your financial future and will help you make better financial decisions going forward. Don’t be afraid to use technology to help keep track of all this.

2. Be involved with your money and finances. Generally, from my experience, one spouse knows all the financial affairs of the family. I’m a big fan of having both spouses involved. Get involved now if you are not because you need to know where all the money is or isn’t. Sometimes when going through a divorce spouses attempt to hide or shelter the money so it’s not a part of the divorce proceedings. If you are starting to contemplate a divorce know where everything this at. Get statements, tax returns, pay stubs, etc. You even want to understand delayed business dealings, promotions and other areas that could impact you.

3. Find emotional support. A divorce changes your dreams, hopes, and expectations. There is a grieving process many go through. You may search for answers on why it didn’t work, and those answers may never come. Some of my clients use the Eagle Brook Church Divorce Care program. When you talk and are surrounded yourself with others who have, or are currently walking in your shoes, you’ll find comfort to rest your soul.

This is can be a very stressful time in your life and having your financial house in order takes time, energy and resources. If you have your financial affairs in order it will sustainably decrease your overall stress level. This isn’t an overnight process, so start today by planning and knowing.You can recover financially from a divorce.

Sign up for our eNewsletter blog that includes timely financial matters, news, and planning strategies that you can implement today.

Can my portfolio support my lifestyle in my retirement? 

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