It’s About How Much You Save: Life Lesson 8 of 50


It’s Not About How Much You Make, But Rather How Much You Keep


how much you save

It’s not about how much you make, but rather how much you save. It’s not too often I get surprised in my day-to-day life. Despite my relatively young age, I feel like I’ve lived a lifetime. However, for others observing my life, it may seem uneventful. Being in this business, money is a daily topic in most conversations.

It’s common that a good percentage of Americans don’t have any retirement savings. Zero savings. That’s not really the surprise.

We live in a world of consumption.

It’s a world where we are judged by our jobs, clothing, cars, home, etc. As a financial advisor, I find it refreshing when I meet a family of four making $100,000 and the have money in their savings or checking account, don’t live paycheck to paycheck, and have $100,000+ in their retirement account. They made a choice about their spending, values, and desires to not keep up with the Joneses.

They want to keep more of their own money, live by their values, and be good stewards of their finances. They understand the ease with which money can go out the door and the effort it takes to earn it.

Do you need assistance planning for your retirement? Contact me for a free consultation. 

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

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We Got Retirement All Wrong: Life Lesson 4 of 50


We Got Retirement All Wrong


retirement all wrong

We got retirement all wrong, but we don’t want to admit it. It’s not surprising. 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, are saving for retirement, etc.

Even if you believe you have a solid grasp of your financial situation, the reality is that you may have misjudged retirement. Drawing from my extensive experience in the financial services realm, having conversations with hundreds, if not over a thousand people, it’s often not the mortgage or car payment that poses the greatest challenge — it’s the day-to-day expenses that accumulate.

Those seemingly inconspicuous amounts, like $5 here, $50 there, or $250 here, collectively add up to significant money each month—a phenomenon commonly referred to as financial leakage. While everyone experiences it, some individuals are more adept at controlling it than others.

Consider this quote from another article I’ve penned on the subject:

Chances are you’ll hit the retirement lottery one day and it may well be your biggest payday ever. For most it comes in one of two forms – the sale proceeds of your business or that 401(k) you’ve been saving in for the last thirty years. Either way you are going from working for a paycheck to “mailbox money.” And I have to tell you nothing beats mailbox money because it just shows up for your retirement enjoyment.

From my years of working with clients, I’ve observed that within three to six weeks, and certainly within six months of retirement, individuals often develop a different philosophy towards money. This shift is typically towards a more conservative approach, prioritizing spending less to preserve their financial assets.

During this time, I would recommend you do not to commit to any major purchases that you may regret.

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

14 + 7 =

2023 Year-End Financial Checklist and Considerations


2023 Year-End Financial Checklist and Considerations


Before we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of family events and holiday gatherings, let’s take a moment to consider some important end-of-year financial matters. As 2024 approaches, life tends to get busier, making it worthwhile to address these tasks now and clear some mental space.
In the ever-changing landscape of personal finance, staying ahead of the curve is crucial for securing a stable future, whether you’re actively working or enjoying a well-deserved retirement.

To assist you, I’ve compiled a comprehensive year-end financial checklist covering vital aspects of financial planning. Let’s delve into the checklist to ensure you’re on track for financial success.

Financial Checklist for Those Still in the Workforce

With open enrollment around the corner, it’s a great time to evaluate your job benefits and retirement savings strategy.

Health Savings Accounts (HSA):

If you’re enrolled in a high-deductible medical plan, seize the opportunity to maximize your Health Savings Account (HSA) contribution. Aim for the cap of $7,750 for families and $1,000 for individuals. For those aged 55 and older, an extra $1,000 contribution is permitted.

401(k) Contributions:

Your 401(k) is a cornerstone of your retirement savings. To make the most of this valuable resource, maximize your contributions, reaching the cap of $22,500 (excluding employer contributions). If you’re aged 50 or older, an additional $7,500 is allowed. Proactively managing your 401(k) ensures that you’re on track for a comfortable retirement.


For those utilizing SIMPLE IRAs, consider maximizing your contributions, which have a limit of $15,500 (excluding employer contributions). Individuals aged 50 and above can contribute an extra $3,500.

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA):

If you have an FSA, use those remaining dollars before the year ends. In most cases, FSA dollars follow a “use it or lose it” rule. This means that any funds remaining in your FSA at the end of the plan year typically do not roll over and are forfeited.

Not sure the best strategies for your work benefits? Consider letting me help you review your employer benefit options for the upcoming year.

Financial Checklist for Those in Retirement

While the following checklist isn’t tailored to employment, individuals in the workforce can still benefit from these essential to-dos.

Property and Casualty Insurance Checkup:

With home prices rising, revisit your Property and Casualty (P&C) coverage. Ensure that your policy aligns with inflation, scrutinizing individual line-by-line limits and the full replacement maximum. Proactive adjustments now can save you from unforeseen challenges down the road, particularly if you’re in storm-prone areas like Florida.

Roth Conversions for Tax Efficiency:

Seize the opportunity presented by historically low tax rates through Roth conversions. Assess whether this strategy aligns with your current tax bracket and time horizon.

Monetary Gifts and Strategic Giving:

Take advantage of the annual gift exclusion by gifting up to $17,000 per person in 2023. For couples, this means a joint gift of $34,000. Leverage this allowance to support your loved ones financially.

Year-End Charitable Giving:

Contribute to causes close to your heart through cash, IRA Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs), or stock. Explore avenues that align with your philanthropic goals, providing both benefits to recipients and potential tax advantages.

Donor-Advised Funds for Strategic Philanthropy:

If you find yourself uncertain about specific organizations, consider establishing or contributing to a Donor-Advised Fund (DAF). This innovative approach empowers you to invest funds strategically for future charitable donations, offering both flexibility and valuable tax deductions.

Estate Planning Review:

Regularly reassess the beneficiaries listed on your retirement accounts and insurance policies. Life is dynamic, requiring updates to your overall estate plan. Stay proactive in aligning your assets with current intentions and circumstances.

Let’s Ensure You’re Ready for 2024

In summary, here’s your year-end financial checklist:

    ❍ Maximize contributions to your Health Savings Accounts (HSA).

    ❍ Maximize your 401(k) Contributions.
    ❍ Maximize contributions to your SIMPLE IRAs.
    ❍ Use any remaining Flexible Spending Account (FSA) dollars.
    ❍ Review and optimize your job benefits for the upcoming year.
    ❍ Conduct a comprehensive Property and Casualty Insurance Checkup.
    ❍ Explore the benefits of Roth Conversions for improved tax efficiency.
    ❍ Make the most of the annual gift exclusion for Monetary Gifts and Strategic Giving.
    ❍ Contribute to Year-End Charitable Giving through cash, RMDs, or stock.
    ❍ Consider the advantages of Donor-Advised Funds for flexible and tax-efficient philanthropy.
    ❍ Review the beneficiaries in your various estate planning documents.

This is by no means a comprehensive list and not all of them will pertain to you. If you’d like to delve into any of these tasks together, reach out today for a tailored strategic discussion.

Let’s ensure these financial matters are addressed, allowing you to wholeheartedly focus on welcoming the new year with friends and family. Your financial well-being is my priority.

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

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

9 + 10 =

Make a Dream Board: Life Lesson 49 of 50


I’m Done Asking for Permission


make a dream board

Photo by Rana Sawalha

When you make a dream board, you’re setting powerful internal forces in motion that will move you toward your goals, even when you’re not consciously aware of it. Visualization is one of the most powerful tools we humans have for achieving our dreams. 

It may seem silly that by collecting words and images on a piece of paper, we can channel some magic power that influences our lives—but studies have shown that through visualization, we can actually train our brains to work for us in surprising ways.

Make your subconscious work for you

There’s a reason cultures and traditions around the world use visualization to effect powerful change. By constantly envisioning ourselves achieving the things we really want in life, we’re forming habitual thought patterns that keep us moving toward that goal.

Make a dream board- it isn’t just a symbolic action; it’s a way to keep your mind focused on achieving your goals so your subconscious can keep working for you.

Focus your energy through constant reminders

It’s not enough just to jot your dreams on a piece of paper and file it away somewhere; dream boards work best when you keep them in plain sight. Post yours in your office, your bedroom, even your bathroom—anywhere you’re sure to see it every single day.

I personally use a dream board to help focus my personal and professional financial decisions. It hangs right next to my desk as a daily reminder of the ideas, goals, dreams, plans, and visions I have for myself and my future. By keeping it within sight every single day, it’s easy for me to get motivated to do something about my dreams.

Help others help you

Some dreams just can’t be accomplished alone. There is power in sharing your dream board with others. As soon as you start to tell people about your goals and desires, they’ll be able to help hold you accountable for making them happen.


Article: I Don’t Want To Share

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

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Your Money or Your Life? – Life Lesson 41 of 50


Your Money or Your Life?


your money or your life

Society tells us that accumulating money is what life is all about, but you and I know that isn’t the whole story. We’re all trying to survive, but making a living isn’t just about accumulating as much money as possible—it’s about living. When it comes to the guiding force in your life, you have just one choice to make: Will you choose money or your life?

It may sound odd to hear this from a financial planner—someone who makes his living by helping others manage their wealth—but it’s the truth. In my experience, more money tends to lead to more stuff, and more stuff leads to more stress.

As the Notorious B.I.G. once observed: “Mo’ money, mo’ problems.

It’s not like this is the first time we’ve heard this, though I know I still need to be reminded of it myself at times. We’ve all been told to buck this materialistic trend. That long-term happiness isn’t about stuff; it’s about the people we surround ourselves with, the connections we form, and the difference we make in the world.

No one’s asking you to choose a life without money. I’m simply asking you to choose life.

Work on building a fulfilling life, one with more focus on family and friends, God, and meaningful experiences…and less focus on having the right material stuff to impress others.
After all, you can’t take your stuff with you when you go, but you can make a lasting impact while you’re here.

Article: Don’t Retire with a Mortgage

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Don’t Retire with a Mortgage. Life Lesson 38 of 50


Don’t Retire with a Mortgage.


retire with a mortgage

This lesson is a short one, but that’s because it’s simple: don’t retire with a mortgage.

Other financial advisors might disagree with me on this. They might tell you about the great interest rates, they might highlight the tax deduction benefits, yada, yada . . . but they’d be wrong.

As far as I’m concerned, the question of whether or not to retire until your home is paid off boils down to one simple fact: debt sucks! Why deal with the burden of a major monthly payment when you’re on a limited income?

Don’t retire with a mortgage!

I don’t care about the interest rate, the tax deduction, or any of the other “benefits” you’ll hear about; it’s just noise. Take my advice and don’t retire with a mortgage—period. Your future self will thank me for it.

Investopedia has some sound information on the matter as well: Part of the rosy picture associated with retirement is the thrill of kissing that monthly mortgage payment good-bye—on the presumption you’ll have paid it off by then. Lately, there has been a shift in thinking that has seen many financial planners suggest that retirees continue to carry a mortgage into and throughout retirement. Reinvest the money from your home equity, and suddenly you’ll have a stream of new income, making your golden years a little more golden.

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

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

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