financial planning

wackystuff /

The best time to fire someone is before you hire them. And sometimes the best loan for you is the one you don’t take out.

I’ve had people come to me loaded down with poor past decisions, currently reflected in a crummy credit rating. Then, while treading water in a sea of maxed out credit cards, they find it… their dream home! It would be perfect for the kids, perfect for the neighbors, perfect for work and..well…it's perfect!

Guilia Forsythe /

If the purpose of a financial plan is to predict the future for you, I’d say save your money. You’ll do about as well with a monkey throwing darts at some charts.

But if you want to know what the real purpose of a financial plan is, look no further than what happened to the University of Arkansas Razorbacks and the New Orleans Saints football teams a few years ago.

If you aren’t a football fan, here’s a little background on both teams: each had a great season in 2011. And both teams brought most of their key player talent into the 2012 season.

Ken Teegardin /

How is anyone supposed to do any financial planning these days?

After all, we don’t know if taxes are doing down, the affordable care act is going away, jobs are coming back or a border fence is going up!

How are we supposed to know what to do next?

Really? Is it really that difficult?

Or are you just stuck because your concept of financial planning is proving to be fatally flawed? / duncan c /

What is your time horizon when it comes to your retirement planning?

Before you answer, check your calendar, your watch…or maybe your birth certificate. I’m guessing your time horizon is a lot longer than you might realize.

If, for example, you said that you have a 20 year time horizon, I’m guessing you mean the time until you plan to retire. So that would make you mid-forties (sorry to give that away).

You feel like you are at the base of your own personal financial Mount Everest and you’ve got a mere 20 years to climb to the top. Fine.

Tax Credits / /

Not everyone is rich. So, does the profession of financial planning have anything to offer to the average or even poor person? What could just plain old regular folks do to live better?

I have met individuals worth multiple millions who had no time, no love and no peace in their lives. I have also met others who could list all their possessions on the back of a napkin whose family, community and lifestyle were a constant source of joy to them.

So let’s begin with the understanding that wealth never made anyone rich and poverty never made anyone…well, poor.

Budget or Bust

Jul 27, 2016
Trevor Bashnick /

You’re selling your house and downsizing…or, upsizing. Either way, you’ve found the newest home of your dreams. Except that it will require a bit of…updating as they say.

As you wander through the new house, you’re making lists of carpets, cabinets and carports that will have to undergo some renovation.

Unless you’ve got more money than the Republican presidential nominee, you’d better do some serious planning before one thread of that ugly shag carpet gets ripped up.

Ken Walton /

If you’re one of those souls who get out of bed each day and can’t wait to get to work – good for you!

But even if you feel like you enjoy your work so much you can never imagine stopping – don’t for one second think that gives you a pass on responsibly planning your financial future.


Because there is a world of difference between “get to” and “got to.”

Right now you “get to” go to work. That’s as much a reflection of your attitude as it is of your circumstances.

Darrell Miller /

Whenever you say yes to one thing, you are saying no to something else.

Suppose you are thinking about buying a small lake house. The price seems pretty good, but something is bothering you. You still have some other credit card debt you haven’t paid off yet. The angel on your shoulder says take care of the debt, but the devil whispers that you’ve got to pull the trigger on this kind of thing quickly or someone else may buy it.

How do we know what’s right?

Well, we could agree to meet again in twenty years and then we would both know what the right decision was.

Ian Baker /

Medicine used to be simple. If you lived in the old west, whether you got shot, fell off your horse or just ate a batch of bad beans, there was only one thing to do: go see Doc. Doc was the only physician in town and he delivered babies (at home), removed bullets (with help ample whiskey and another bullet to bite down on) and set broken bones (again, with the help of whiskey). And life expectancy then was about 40 years. Fast forward to today and there are doctors of every imaginable specialty and sub-specialty. But try to see “Doc” today, and he might be a little hard to find.

Daniel Oines /

Question: I am in my 50s and plan to retire within the next ten to fifteen years. What should I plan for with respect to health care costs? When it comes to healthcare costs after you retire, what can you expect? Well, for one - a lot of uncertainty. That doesn’t mean to throw up your hands and surrender. It just means that precision in this prediction is going to be hard to come by. We just know it’s likely to be a big number. Healthcare costs are rising at 7% to 8% annually, much higher than inflation.