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Category: retirement planning

Starting off your new year right

Happy New Year, my LGBT friends! Here are a few ideas to help you start off the new year on a good foot!
1. Make a folder for your 2015 taxes. As year end statements and tax reports arrive, put them in your folder.
2. Review your 2015 IRA contributions. Have you put in the maximum allowable amount? If you haven’t, you should.
3. Have you gone paperless? Many utilities allow you to go paperless for statements. Make the switch if you want to cut down on paper.
4. Tax returns only have to be kept for 7 years. If you have older tax returns shred them.
5. Furnace filters and batteries in smoke detectors – Yes, these are a pain to change sometimes. Smoke detectors with low batteries only seem to start chirping at 3am during the work week. If you haven’t changed the batteries for more than 6 months, swap them out for new ones.
6. Review your investment portfolio. Check that you’re properly balanced. Make adjustments, if needed.
Sharon L. Herman AAMS, ADPA is the CEO of Silver Key Wealth Management
The opinions expressed in this material do not necessarily reflect the views of LPL Financial.
Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice offered through Independent Financial Partners. IFP is a registered investment advisor. IFP and Silver Key Wealth Management are separate entities from LPL financial.
Ms. Herman may only discuss and/or conduct transact securities business with residents of FL, MI, GA, NJ, VA, TX. www.finra.org  www.sipc.org

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Review your life insurance

Do you have enough life insurance?

As time goes on, sometimes our debt load and obligations change. We buy a bigger house, we might have some loans, we might have kids.

Do an analysis to see if you have the proper amount of life insurance.
You may have life insurance through your employer. That’s great, but it isn’t portable…. Meaning if you separate from service with your employer, you won’t have life insurance. Most employers have group plans that are good while you are an employee. So don’t count on that insurance as a major part of your life insurance planning. The exception to this is if you are uninsurable on your own. Then you have no choice but to count on what you get at work.

How much is enough?
Add up the total of your debts. This includes mortgage, car loans, credit cards, personal loans. Do you have children? Do you want to provide for them? Maybe have enough for college costs if you were to pass away before they finish school? How about your spouse? Will they be able to get by on what you have saved? Add up your outstanding debt, the amount you would like to leave your children and spouse and that gives you a pretty good idea of how much insurance you will need. After you know much you need as a total, you can divide it up into time frames. Will your mortage be paid off in 10 years?
I suggest that you speak to a financial advisor regarding insurance needs. Many have tools to help calculate how much insurance you need and for how long of a period of time. You don’t want to underinsure and leaved your loved ones short of funds. You don’t want to over insure and waste money that could be invested in other things.

Sharon L. Herman AAMS, ADPA is the CEO of Silver Key Wealth Management, and affiliated with LPL Financial. www.silverkeywealth.com
The opinions expressed in this material do not necessarily reflect the views of LPL Financial.
Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice offered through Silver Key Wealth Management, an independent investment advisor. Silver Key Wealth Management is separate entity from LPL financial.
Ms. Herman may only discuss and/or conduct transact securities business with residents of FL, MI, GA, NJ, VA, TX. www.finra.org. www.sipc.org

photo credit: Ruben Holthuijsen

 

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Easy ways to get your financial house in order

Happy New Year!

If you are like me, you want to start off the year with a bang – you promise to eat healthier, work out more and read more meaningful books… but what about getting your financial house in order?

Here are some easy things that you can do to improve your financial situation!

• Look over your bills!
o Is your cell phone plan what you really need? Maybe you can do with less minutes or data. Some employers have discount programs through designated providers. Ask your HR department if you have this perk – you could save 20% on your cell plan in some cases.

o The dreaded cable bill… Are you watching all of those movie channels? Do you need those extra channel packages? Assess what you watch and if you need it. I know folks who are ditching cable completely and going to internet streaming using a ROKU box. All you need is internet. No cable at all!

o Brown bag your lunch. I know. Eating out is easy and convenient. But if you go out for lunch twice a week, it can easily end up costing you $75 – $100 extra a month.

o Same thing for coffee. I bought a Keurig a few years ago and make my own “foo foo” coffee. A lot less expensive. And I control the calories.

• Up your retirement savings!

o Can you add more to your 401k? 401k additions are pre-tax. That means you have less taxable income when you increase your 401k contribution AND you get to have additional savings toward retirement.

o Open a Roth or Traditional IRA. Ask a financial advisor which option is best for your situation. You can even have monthly contributions sent from your checking account straight into your IRA. If you don’t see it leave the account, you don’t miss the money.

o Have someone look at your portfolio. You already have a chunk of money socked away? Great! Now the question is – Is it allocated properly? Talk to a pro to make sure you have it invested the right way.

• Take care of your stuff!

o I know, sounds silly, right? But clean out a closet or a kitchen cupboard. You might find things that you forgot you owned. Maybe you can use it. Maybe you can sell it on Craig’s List. Hey – a buck’s a buck. Dust doesn’t make you any money.

o Spring clean the house and make repairs. Not only do your fine items last longer if they are clean and taken care of, but how many times are you going to say to yourself “I should really fix that loose doorknob”.

o Take care of your car maintenance! Get an oil change. Rotate the tires. Wash and wax the car. Let’s face it. We don’t usually run around town looking like a dirty mess, and our car shouldn’t be that way either. Looking for some great car cleaning products? I highly recommend Meguir’s. The stuff is the bomb. (ok, am I the only one who says that anymore?)

It doesn’t take much effort to save a few bucks!

Sharon L. Herman AAMS, ADPA is the CEO of Silver Key Wealth Management, and affiliated with LPL Financial. www.silverkeywealth.com
The opinions expressed in this material do not necessarily reflect the views of LPL Financial.
Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice offered through Silver Key Wealth Management, an independent investment advisor. Silver Key Wealth Management is separate entity from LPL financial.
Ms. Herman may only discuss and/or conduct transact securities business with residents of FL, MI, GA, NJ, VA, TX. www.finra.org. www.sipc.org

photo credit: Anthony Quintano

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Record Keeping 101

Hello savvy investors!

One of the best ways to stay on track with your financial life is to get organized. Here’s a great tip. You should split up your files between short term and long term records. Below is a list of what records fall in which category.

A great way to start off the new year is to go through your current records, purge what you don’t need and reorganize what is left. Then just maintain what you have! It will make your life much simpler down the road. Happy organizing!

Short Term records – keep for one year

• paid bills
• bank/investment statements
• canceled checks
• credit card statements
• health records
• resume (review and update yearly)
• income tax receipts (then put with your tax return in your long term records)
• major purchase receipts
• insurance policies (auto/house/boat)
After a year, clean out your files. Most major financial institutions have online access to statements. You may not even need a paper file for some of these documents.

Long Term Files
Long Term Files should include:

• bank statements (last 7 years)
• credit card statements (with home improvement expenses)
• receipts for home improvements
• warranties
• income tax records
• inheritance papers
• investment statements for all investments – stocks, bonds, mutual funds, retirements plans, annuities
• legal papers about formerly owned properties
• birth certificates
• social security cards
• burial deeds
• wills/trusts
• powers of attorney
• car titles
• house titles

Remember not to keep any wills, trusts, power of attorney paperwork in a safe deposit box. When a death occurs banks will seal the safe deposit box and people will not be able to access your paperwork. Keep documents of this nature in an accessible place and inform your next of kin their location.

Photo credit: Hey Paul Studios

Sharon L. Herman AAMS, ADPA is the CEO of Silver Key Wealth Management, and affiliated with LPL Financial. www.silverkeywealth.com Sharon.Herman@silverkeywealth.com

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice offered through Silver Key Wealth Management, a registered investment advisor and separate entity from LPL Financial.
Ms. Herman may only discuss and/or conduct transact securities business with residents of FL, MI, GA, VA, NJ, TX. www.finra.org. www.sipc.org

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2014 Top 5 Businesswoman of the Year Award

Thanks Tampa Bay Business Journal! You made Sharon Herman one of the top 5 Businesswomen of the Year for 2014 in financial services!

We appreciate the recognition and support the community gives us.

Award is based on community volunteerism, business principals and customer satisfaction.

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What is a Leading Economic Indicator and Why is it Important?

Hello LGBT investors! Often, investing terms can make you feel like you are lost in a maze of strange vocabulary. Today I thought I’d tackle one that people talk about on the news frequently.
Leading Economic Indicators
A leading economic indicator is a tracked measurement of economic activity. It’s called leading because these indicators can be used as a tool to help predict how the economy and markets may change in the future.
Why are they important
Economists look at the trends of different leading indicators to see what industries are performing well or are in decline. Leading indicators are one of many precursors as to how the economy may react in the future.

 

Indicators include:
• Building Permits
o If more new houses are being built, people have money and feel confident in their current financial situation.

• Unemployment claims
o If unemployment goes down, more people have jobs.

• Inventory changes
o If inventories go down, that means that people are purchasing the goods

• Average weekly hours, manufacturing
o If weekly hours go up, that means the manufacturing plants have more orders to build

• Manufacturers’ new orders, consumer goods and materials
o More new orders means more demand

• Manufacturers’ new orders, nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft orders
o More new orders from businesses means more manufacturing and industrial needs

• Stock prices
o Stock prices go up when consumer sentiment is high and earnings are good.

• Bankruptcies
o If bankruptcies are down it means that less people are having financial issues

• Retail Sales
o People buy more retail items when they have more discretionary income

So the next time you hear a new report about the economy and they discuss leading indicators, you’ll have better idea of what they mean. Plus, you’ll look really smart at your next cocktail party!
How are you feeling about the economy at the moment?

Sharon L. Herman AAMS, ADPA is the CEO of Silver Key Wealth Management, and affiliated with LPL Financial. www.silverkeywealth.com
The opinions expressed in this material do not necessarily reflect the views of LPL Financial.
Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice offered through Silver Key Wealth Management, an independent investment advisor. Silver Key Wealth Management is separate entity from LPL financial.
Ms. Herman may only discuss and/or conduct transact securities business with residents of FL, MI, GA, NJ, VA, TX. www.finra.org. www.sipc.org

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The 6 steps for a Good Financial Plan

My LGBT friends – let’s not be willy nilly about how we establish financial plans! Let’s be savvy folks who strive to have financial freedom! My goal is to help the LGBT community have a step up when it comes to investing and retirement planning!
The first thing to do when wanting to gain financial freedom is to come up with a financial plan. Here are the six steps:

steps

Credit Hakan Dohlstrom flickr
Establish a Relationship
You’ll want to find a financial advisor. Someone that you get to know, like and trust. Go interview someone. They’ll be interviewing you, too, to see if both you and they are a good match. Find out how long they’ve been in business. What their philosophy is. Check their history on http://brokercheck.finra.org/Search/Search.aspx FINRA is the governing body over investment folks. You can see if your potential advisor has any disclosures (bankruptcies, complaints, etc.) I suggest using someone who is a broker and an investment advisor. They are fully licensed to dispense advice. Also, strongly think about using someone who is independent and doesn’t work at a firm that uses proprietary products. There isn’t a conflict of interest between the client and the firm when it comes to giving unbiased investment advice.
Gather Information
After you find the advisor, you’ll need to gather all of your financial information. Investment accounts, 401k info, pensions, tax return, social security information. Your advisor will need that at your appointment.
At this appointment, the advisor will talk to you about goals and expectation. What do you want to accomplish? When? These will be quantifiable goals. They will also discuss qualitative goals such as your health, do your children get along well, do you have parents you make have to take care of in the future.
Analyze the Data
Next, your advisor will analyze the data. This is where the advisor takes a look at your big picture and sees where you are currently. She will look at your trusts, wills, budget sheets, tax situation, savings, investments and see where your strengths and weaknesses lie.
Presenting the Financial Plan
After the data is analyzed, your advisor will present you with a financial plan. There will be recommendations on where you need to shore up your portfolio, your life documents (wills/trusts), insurance, etc. They will show you where you need to improve your plan , why it will help and how you can resolve the issue.
Implementing the Plan
Once the plan is presented , and both the client and the advisor are in agreement to move forward, the plan gets implemented. A plan is great, but it has to be implemented to work! There may need to be involvement from other parties, such as CPA’s and Estate Attorneys for plan fulfillment.
Monitor the Plan
Ongoing monitoring of the plan is of utmost importance. An annual review is necessary to ensure that any changes in the plan are made if needed. If you have a major life change in between visits (moving, marriage, change of job) make sure to discuss this with your advisor to keep them in the loop!
Do you have a financial plan?
An ADPA (Accredited Domestic Partner Advisor) designated Financial Advisor can assist you with your choices if you need help from professional.
Sharon L. Herman AAMS, ADPA is the CEO of Silver Key Wealth Management, and affiliated with LPL Financial. www.silverkeywealth.com
The opinions expressed in this material do not necessarily reflect the views of LPL Financial.
Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice offered through Silver Key Wealth Management, a registered investment advisor and separate entity from LPL financial.
Ms. Herman may only discuss and/or conduct transact securities business with residents of FL, MI, GA, VA, NJ, TX. www.finra.org. www.sipc.org

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