Editorial Results (free)
1. Learn From Insurance Investments
- Thursday, June 13, 2013
Ray’s Take Insurance companies typically keep a relatively small amount of money in cash in order to pay claims, including a reserve to respond quickly to catastrophes. The rest of their funds they invest for the long term, focusing on options like corporate bonds and real estate holdings.
2. Take It From 30 Years of Experience
- Tuesday, June 04, 2013
Ray’s Take I started my career as a professional financial planner 30 years ago this month. Just as I do with my clients every year, I think it is important to review what has happened, what has worked and what has not, in order to improve.
3. Withdraw From Funds With Care
- Monday, May 27, 2013
Ray’s Take While you’re allowed to withdraw funds from your tax-qualified plans as early as age 59 1/2, many people delay making withdrawals until they have to, at age 70 1/2. There certainly can be advantages to deferring that tax liability those extra years if there are other assets available for retirement. However, if you fail to make required minimum withdrawals (RMDs) then, the penalties are substantial – a whopping 50 percent tax above the regular income tax.
4. Consider Retirement Funds Before Job Change
- Thursday, May 23, 2013
Ray’s Take Job hopping, especially in the early years, is more common than ever. Careers are more evolutionary now, as the days of lifetime jobs seem long gone. However, a lot of retirement savings can wind up lost if care is not taken when changing jobs.
5. Talk About Money Before Taking Vows
- Thursday, May 16, 2013
Ray’s Take You’re blissfully in love and happily engaged to your soul mate. The future looks idyllic. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean your fiancé is your ideal financial mate. In fact, a study by professors from The Wharton School and Northwestern University revealed financial opposites tend to be attracted to each other, and those marriages often face significant challenges. With some honest and open discussion in advance, that doesn’t have to happen to you.
6. Wise Investors Know to Avoid Distractions
- Thursday, May 09, 2013
Ray’s Take Hopefully you have a financial plan to guide you to your goals, whether they are college for the kids, a vacation home or a secure retirement. However, one of the key indicators as to whether you will be able to achieve those goals is your ability to avoid distractions from your plan.
7. Consider Norwegian Approach
- Thursday, May 02, 2013
Ray’s Take Modern Portfolio Theory argues it’s essential to determine the right mix of investments for your portfolio so your level of risk tolerance is balanced with opportunities gained. A portfolio of 60 percent stocks and 40 percent bonds has long been considered a standard.
8. Should You Delay Drawing Social Security?
- Thursday, April 25, 2013
Ray’s Take Persistent high unemployment and more than a decade of volatile stock markets have many people anxious to draw Social Security as early as possible even if they are shy of full retirement age. Some are so anxious about the system they want to get what they can before it goes bust. No one has a crystal ball, but more often than not, this is not the best plan.
9. Dream Home Nightmares
- Thursday, April 18, 2013
Ray’s Take As the real estate market recovers, more families are pulling out their dream home plans. They would be wise to watch that classic movie, “Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream Home.”
10. Take Time to Budget Your Vacation
- Thursday, April 11, 2013
Ray’s Take It’s that time when people start looking forward to summer vacations. Unfortunately, all too often, the aftermath of those vacations turns out to be more than just wonderful memories – a blown budget and burdensome debt.
11. Disconnecting Could Mean a Richer Life
- Thursday, April 04, 2013
Ray’s Take Every time you go out to lunch you see it: everyone’s smart phones are right there on the table, ready for texting, talking, checking emails, or some quick research. What happened to simply staying connected to the ones right there in front of you?
12. Are Foreclosures or Short Sales Worth It?
- Thursday, March 28, 2013
Ray’s Take This is in many ways a fantastic time to be looking for a new home. In addition to historically low mortgage rates, there are a lot of distressed properties on the market – homes for sale as foreclosures or short sells. There are plenty of bargains to be had, but also plenty of risks and financial pitfalls along the way.
13. Explore Alternatives to Banks
- Thursday, March 21, 2013
Ray’s Take In decades past you built a relationship with your bank and, more importantly, your banker. After so many mergers, that’s become harder to do. Generation low interest rates have banks piling up fees on their customers as well as limiting services It might be worthwhile to at least consider options other than the neighborhood brick-and-mortar bank.
14. Review Your Will Regularly
- Thursday, March 14, 2013
Ray’s Take Let’s assume you’ve done the right thing and have a will in place. That is a good start, but it’s not enough. You need to regularly review your will to make sure it stays in line with your intentions and the law. Congress continues to kick the can down the road on important income tax and transfer payments, but we now have pretty good guidance on estate tax laws both federally and in Tennessee.
15. Don’t Dwell on Market Downturn
- Thursday, March 07, 2013
Ray’s Take In my 30 years of investment management, I’ve found there is always someone predicting another market downturn. Eventually they’ll be right. After all, historically, there’s been a bear market about every three years. Should you be concerned? Not overly, unless your decisions make a market downturn even more painful.
16. Savings Isn’t Only Pillar of Successful Retirement
- Thursday, February 28, 2013
Ray’s Take I’m always emphasizing the importance of saving for retirement. However, you need more than a savings plan if you want to improve your odds for a more fulfilling “third act” of life. You also need to have a plan for what you actually want to do with your time.
17. Do You Need Life Insurance?
- Thursday, February 21, 2013
Ray’s Take For most people, life insurance decisions depend on two things: 1) whether anyone depends on your income to support their standard of living, and 2) whether you have enough other assets that could provide what is needed.
18. Is College Really Worth the Cost?
- Thursday, February 14, 2013
Ray’s Take The struggle recent graduates have had finding jobs has many people wondering if college is still worth the expense. According to some reports, it is. Consider this recent finding by the Lumina Foundation and Georgetown University’s Center on Education: The unemployment rate for college graduates is 6.8 percent, but it’s nearly 24 percent for those with only a high school diploma.
19. Reconsider Your W-4 Withholding
- Thursday, February 07, 2013
Ray’s Take It’s that time of year again. Your mailbox is receiving the annual tax form allotment. In addition to filing your income tax, take time to evaluate your withholding. It might be that you should adjust the deductions on your W-4 form to change the amount withheld from your paychecks.
20. Count On Rising Health Care Costs
- Thursday, January 31, 2013
Ray’s Take Think you have your retirement plan figured out? Here’s a sobering report: Fidelity Investments recently predicted that a 65-year-old couple that retired in 2012 would pay $240,000 for health care over the remainder of their lives. Those are expenses in addition to costs covered by Medicare under existing legislation, which could change.
21. You Can Still Save for Retirement
- Thursday, January 24, 2013
Ray’s Take It may feel as if those gray hairs are multiplying faster than your 401(k). Or maybe your career or other life experience has thrown you curve balls that ate through your savings. Either way, it’s not too late to save for a more comfortable future!
22. Factor Inflation in Your Retirement
- Thursday, January 17, 2013
Ray’s Take Did you realize that just a 2 percent annual inflation rate would result in 27 percent higher prices in a mere 12 years? If inflation were at 3 percent during that time period, prices would soar 43 percent. Three percent is the historic average inflation rate, but it has been much much higher at times. We have all been lulled into complacency in recent years with historically low inflation rates.
23. Set Goals to Make Saving Easier
- Thursday, January 10, 2013
Ray’s Take I’m always emphasizing the importance of saving. However, saving without specific goals in mind with their time horizons is extremely hard to do. There are just too many distractions in this world – too many well-trained marketers with different agendas. Goal setting is an essential step in the planning process. It’s the primary motivating factor. After all, if you haven’t identified any goals, what’s driving you to save? Just as important, how do you know when you’ve saved enough?
24. True Cost of Vacation Homes
- Wednesday, January 02, 2013
Ray’s Take You’re on vacation with your family. Everyone is relaxed and having a great time, so you think: Why don’t we quit “renting” our vacation and buy a vacation home here? What could be better than having a place to build family memories for years?
25. Tight Credit is Your Friend
- Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Ray’s Take Credit is tighter than it used to be. Loans are harder to come by. That’s good news as far as I’m concerned. Many people are still longing for those “glory days” when credit was easy for anything we wanted. Well, they didn’t end well for most people.
26. Consider a Revocable Living Trust
- Thursday, December 20, 2012
Ray’s Take The main advantage touted for having a Revocable Living Trust (RLT) is to avoid probate, but its strengths go far beyond that.
An RLT is a legal document created by an individual to hold all or part of his or her assets. Typically the owner of these assets is also the Trustee, retaining complete control over how these assets are handled and along with the having ability to make changes to the Trust as needed. Trust directives can even extend beyond the grave.
27. Invest in Your Career
- Thursday, December 13, 2012
Ray’s Take The days of lifetime employment until retirement are gone for good – just like that traditional gold watch. Today, companies merge and splinter or boom and bust constantly. It’s no longer enough to be well prepared at the start of your career with a good education, you have to keep up your skills to remain valuable.
28. Is Going Green Worth It?
- Thursday, December 06, 2012
Ray’s Take No matter what your position on global warming, going green and using fewer natural resources still makes sense. Why not preserve as much quality of the air, water, and earth as possible for our grandchildren? It’s another form of saving for the future. Plus, a lot of times it can save you money as well.
29. It Might Be Time to Refinance … Again
- Monday, November 26, 2012
Ray’s Take Here’s a surprising fact: the average American homeowner refinances their mortgage every four years.
Right now might be a good time to do just that, even if it feels like you just did it. We have some of the lowest mortgage interest rates of the past 50 years or so. Consider pulling out the calculator to determine how much refinancing your home could save you each month as well as over time.
30. Is Your Pension Plan Safe?
- Thursday, November 22, 2012
Ray’s Take While most companies have abandoned pension plans for 401(k) programs, there are still countless employees counting on their pension plan to fund their retirement years. The question is: Will that pension plan still be around when the time comes?
31. Think Twice to Stop Impulse Buying
- Thursday, November 15, 2012
Ray’s Take We all know that impulse spending can put you in massive debt and destroy your chances of reaching other financial goals. However, we still do it. It’s easy to say, “Think of your long-term financial plan” when confronted with temptation, but that’s not always easy to do.
32. Consider a Family Limited Partnership
- Thursday, November 08, 2012
Ray’s Take A Family Limited Partnership (FLP) can not only be a good idea for reducing estate taxes, it can also bring a number of other advantages.
33. Splitting Bills Without Splitting Hairs
- Thursday, November 01, 2012
Ray’s Take If anyone in your household has a problem with how bill paying is divided, it’s a problem for everyone. Resentments that build up over finances have a way of poisoning other aspects of a relationship. If you’re both willing to compromise and aware of your emotional responses to money, you should be able to work it out.
34. You Better Care About Global Economy
- Thursday, October 25, 2012
Ray’s Take Most people tend to think provincially. We see and weigh what is closer to us more heavily than things and events that are further away. Americans in particular have long believed that what happens to the economies outside our borders doesn’t really affect us. The euro may be threatened and certain countries facing default, but we tend to believe that our economy is so massive and insulated that it won’t really bother us.
35. Think Twice Before Pre-Paying A Mortgage
- Thursday, October 18, 2012
Ray’s Take With savings interest about nil and the stock market still volatile, a lot of people are wondering about paying off their mortgage early. For some, this may be a good idea, as we have all discovered a healthy respect for debt, but for other homeowners, there may be better options for extra cash.
36. Are You Recession Proof?
- Thursday, October 11, 2012
Ray’s Take People make all kinds of predictions about the economy and someone is bound to be right, for good or for bad. If those predicting another recession actually get it right, are you prepared to ride it out?
37. Does Your Net Worth Really Matter?
- Thursday, October 04, 2012
Ray’s Take Do you know your net worth? Mathematically it’s the dollar amount by which your assets exceed your liabilities. It can be a nice number to know and it’s important to keep tabs on it. However, it’s not all that important in and of itself. What is important is how closely you are on track to reaching your long-term financial goals.
38. Discover How Different Paying in Cash Feels
- Thursday, September 27, 2012
Ray’s Take Credit cards make shopping so easy. A simple swipe, one signature and you’re done. Then 30 days later the bill comes due and you wonder how you managed to spend all that money.
39. Don’t Buy Into TV Financial Programs
- Thursday, September 20, 2012
Ray’s Take Programs offering insider investment tips and advice on financial strategy abound on television. You might occasionally learn a valuable nugget to apply to your own unique financial needs, but a study by Case Western Reserve University showed that investors who followed televised recommendations actually lost money over the six months following.
40. High Credit Scores Not How You Win
- Thursday, September 13, 2012
Ray’s Take What’s your credit score? I say, “Who cares!“ A great credit score simply means you have successfully borrowed and repaid a lot of money. Which in turn means you are great at loading on debt. That’s not exactly a goal to aspire to.
41. Smart Investing Made Hard
- Thursday, September 06, 2012
Ray’s Take As if the complexities of stocks, bonds, and other investment options weren’t challenging enough, our own bodies can push us into poor financial decisions. The study of neuroeconomics – a discipline that encompasses economics, biology, and psychology – has determined that our brains simply aren’t hard-wired to make rational decisions involving risk. And, investing is all about risk management in one form or another.
42. Homemade Wills Can Cause Woes
- Thursday, August 30, 2012
Ray’s Take The Internet is loaded with do-it-yourself will instructions and fill-in-the-blank documents. I do not recommend using any of them. Not only is there no assurance there aren’t errors in the document you may select, they may well lead to greater problems for the very people you had intended to help.
43. Finding Relief From High Energy Bills
- Thursday, August 23, 2012
Ray’s Take We just got hit with a whopper of a utility bill and I’m sure we’re not alone. With hotter summers to come and rising energy costs, I don’t expect things to improve. Like many, we’re setting our thermostat a bit higher and using its programmable features. However, these are passive measures. We’ve recently taken a step that will eventually let us actively control what we pay for energy.
44. Squelch Those Money Squabbles
- Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Ray’s Take Disagreements over money can literally tear families apart – it’s the No. 1 reason for divorce. One reason financial matters give rise to so much conflict is that only one person typically takes on family money management responsibilities. This easily leads to the other partner becoming financially oblivious and that imbalance can lead to problems.
45. Sign Up for Your Co.’s 401(k) Plan
- Thursday, August 09, 2012
Ray’s Take The most important thing to know about 401(k) retirement savings accounts is pretty simple: Do it, and participate to the maximum you possibly can. Don’t wait and don’t quit.
46. Entertainment Costs Are Not Amusing
- Thursday, August 02, 2012
Ray’s Take If a family of four goes out for an evening at the movies, admission alone runs about $34, and you can add almost 24 percent more if it’s a 3D movie. All that’s before the sticker shock of the refreshment counter. Two hours later, it’s all over and you go home about $50 poorer. That’s a lot of money for a brief experience. Yet, even as families struggle through the recession, the average amount of money spent on entertainment admissions (along with video games and gambling) has increased 18 percent since 2000.
47. Financial Records: Shred Or Keep?
- Thursday, July 26, 2012
Ray’s Take Many people save all their financial records, quickly accumulating boxes and boxes of paper, and then find it nearly impossible to locate the one piece of information they need. My mom recently helped a friend move out of her home of 50 years, and found that she kept canceled checks for utility bills that dated back to the 1960s! She was afraid to get rid of them, thinking she might need them someday. I think there are a lot of files and boxes of financial records out there.
48. You Are Not Warren Buffet
- Thursday, July 19, 2012
Ray’s Take There’s no doubt Warren Buffet is an investment genius. He’s truly one of a kind. Still, the Internet is loaded with websites insisting you can invest – and excel – just like Warren Buffet.
49. Where Do Retirement Dollars Go Further?
- Thursday, July 12, 2012
Ray’s Take There are many things to consider when selecting a place to spend your retirement years, or as I prefer to call them, your financial independence years. Not the least is selecting a place where your financial resources have the best odds of achieving your goals. State policies on property, income, sales, and estate taxes have a large bearing on this. However, the right combination for each retiree is different.
50. Credit Card Companies Want You in Debt
- Wednesday, July 04, 2012
Ray’s Take The very last thing a credit card company wants is a customer who carefully pays their balance in full and on time and avoids having to pay any of their interest and small print penalties and fees. The companies that issue credit cards usually have the words “for profit” in their charters, and they want you in debt – the deeper the better. They certainly are successful at keeping us that way: the average American family carries some $8,000 in credit card debt, and they’re paying some of the highest interest rates that legally exist.
51. Think Twice Before Getting Reverse Mortgage
- Thursday, June 28, 2012
Ray’s Take Anytime you see celebrities promoting a financial product on television, it should give you pause. The past few years everyone from James Garner to the Fonz has hyped the advantages of a reverse mortgage, so take warning.
52. Be Careful With Charitable Giving
- Thursday, June 21, 2012
Ray’s Take Charities are facing increasing demand and costs and more cautious donors given the uncertain economy. They look to individuals for more than 80 percent of their funding. Many believe that “giving back,” if they can afford to and are meeting their other responsibilities, is part of being a good citizen. However, it is important to do basic due diligence so your donations are effective.
53. Not All Home Improvements Equally Wise
- Thursday, June 14, 2012
Ray’s Take As the housing market has cooled, the frequency of home renovations and upgrades has grown. While there is certainly nothing wrong with making improvements you can afford that will enhance your life, don’t expect them to add to the value or even the salability of your home in the future.
54. You Could Soon Determine Health Insurance Costs
- Thursday, June 07, 2012
Ray’s Take A generation ago, corporations pushed the responsibility for retirement planning onto employees by dropping pensions in favor of 401(k)s. While the jury is still out on how this is working, it looks like the next frontier may be health care.
55. Consider Buying Your First Home
- Thursday, May 31, 2012
Ray’s Take I’ve long believed the economic benefits of home ownership are overrated and renting is under-appreciated. However, for some first-time homebuyers the math has started to turn and they may find it less expensive to buy a home than rent!
56. Keep Emotions Out of Your Investments
- Thursday, May 24, 2012
Ray’s Take It’s pretty much impossible to completely suppress your emotions when making financial and investment decisions. Even though you can’t be completely cold blooded, it is important to develop a discipline to control your emotions as much as possible.
57. Teach Kids To Save
- Thursday, May 17, 2012
Ray’s Take Teaching kids the value of saving money is a tough sell. They are usually anxious to spend any cash they get, often on the first thing they see. Not only are you encouraging them to save, you also have to teach them to rein in impulse spending.
58. Should Teens Have Credit Cards?
- Thursday, May 10, 2012
Ray’s Take While I don’t like debt – especially credit card debt – I do realize that credit cards are a necessary tool today. This means part of raising your kids to be responsible adults requires teaching them how to use credit cards the right way; by teaching them to control their spending and pay off their credit card each month, on time and in full. I have seen an extraordinary amount of pain and suffering result from a lack of understanding of credit cards.
59. Eat Local For Health, Economy
- Thursday, May 03, 2012
Ray’s Take It’s the time of year when local farmers’ markets start to crop up. Patronizing these markets – along with other sources for locally grown food – can be beneficial to your health and taste buds, your family culture, and even have a positive impact on our local economy.
60. All-Inclusive Trips Help You Relax
- Thursday, April 26, 2012
Ray’s Take We recently returned from a family vacation at an all-inclusive resort. It’s the fourth time we’ve done for many good reasons. As the person whose wallet usually gets the biggest workout on family trips – opening it up repeatedly for meals, snacks, beverages, activities, and more – I really appreciate the value of an all-inclusive resort, but there other advantages, as well.
61. Don’t Be Your Kids’ Piggy Bank
- Thursday, April 19, 2012
Ray’s Take Whether 5 or 55, kids tend to turn to their parents first when they encounter financial difficulties. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but there can be a lot wrong with bailing them out with no consequences or questions asked.
62. Plan Your Funeral For Family’s Sake
- Thursday, April 12, 2012
Ray’s Take Whether death comes unexpectedly or after a long illness, it is always a very difficult and emotional time for family members. Since you won’t be there to help and comfort them, you can make the choice to pre-plan your funeral to make things a bit easier.
63. Is Refinancing Your Home Wise?
- Thursday, April 05, 2012
Ray’s Take: Home mortgage interest rates continue to be low, causing many homeowners to wonder whether they should consider refinancing, even if they feel like they just did it. The answer is “maybe,” but there are a lot of things to take into consideration.
64. Mortgage Free is Not Home Free
- Thursday, March 29, 2012
Ray’s Take Every homeowner looks forward to the day the mortgage is paid and the family home is owned, free and clear. Mortgage-burning parties are a right of passage. However, that’s not the end of home-related expenses. It is important to do the math before you absorb the amount of that monthly note back into your lifestyle.
65. Prenups: Not Just for Rich
- Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Ray’s Take There are many reasons to have a prenuptial accord: Firstly, while people expect their marriages to last forever, more than one-third of first marriages fail, and that percentage rises with subsequent marriages; secondly, people are waiting longer to marry and enter their union with more assets; and thirdly, prenups can offer protection if one spouse secretly runs up massive debt.
66. ‘Sales’ Seldom Save Money
- Thursday, March 15, 2012
Ray’s Take Stores love to run sales to entice you, and everyone loves a bargain. However, don’t confuse getting a discount with saving money. Anytime you buy something you are spending money, not saving it. You might be spending a little less – maybe even substantially less – but you are still spending.
67. Safe Investments Often Dangerous
- Thursday, March 08, 2012
Ray’s Take The economy is still uncertain, and financial reporters aren’t shedding any light on the future. The truth is things are always uncertain. Many people have retreated to “safe” investments, such as cash, CDs, government bonds or even gold. Unfortunately, these investments aren’t as safe as they may seem.
68. Fed Drug Trial Testimony Ends Fourth Week
- Friday, March 02, 2012
Martin Lewis jumped Marcus Brandon as soon as Brandon came on the line in May 2007 during a jailhouse phone call three-wayed by Lewis’ girlfriend using another prisoner’s ID number.
69. Good News At Tax Time?
- Thursday, March 01, 2012
Ray’s Take If you haven’t started taking care of your federal income tax filing with the IRS, it’s time to get a move on: April 15th seems to come around awfully quick. But, while you’re hustling to get your paperwork in order, keep in mind that there’s actually some good news for 2012 when it comes to income taxes.
70. Baby Boomers, Watch Out
- Thursday, February 23, 2012
Ray’s Take Some Baby Boomers desperate to make up portfolio losses due to the financial crisis or “catching up” from years of under-saving are being victimized at record numbers by a number of financial frauds. In one year, the number of criminal complaints and other financial regulatory actions involving investors 50 or older more than doubled.
71. Jury Hears Recording of Hit Man Talking With Petties Target
- Thursday, February 16, 2012
Tobias Pride said the drug kingpin who hired him to kill Antonio Allen in 2002 had proof “in black and white” that Allen had been cooperating with law enforcement.
72. When is Enough ‘Enough’?
- Thursday, February 16, 2012
Ray’s Take Everyone who knows me knows how strongly I believe in saving. However, I also believe in spending to enjoy the life you’ve saved for. That’s what our financial planning philosophy is all about – saving and investing responsibly with the goal of to transform your objectives and dreams into reality.
73. What Should Drive a Car Purchase?
- Thursday, February 09, 2012
Ray’s Take Whether you opt for a new or used vehicle, cars are not cheap. Even though you might spend a substantial amount of money on them, they’re not investments either. Plain and simple, a car is an expense.
74. Consider Student Loan Debt Carefully
- Thursday, February 02, 2012
Ray’s Take Student loan debt in this country now totals over $920 billion; that out-distances total credit card debt by $120 billion. Even more alarmingly, this is a 10,000 percent increase in a mere 14 years. That’s a huge headwind for young people who are just starting to find their financial footing.
75. Make Sure To Protect Your Identity
- Thursday, January 26, 2012
Ray’s Take Identity theft is any crime where someone uses another individual’s personal information in a deceptive way, usually for personal profit. According to surveys conducted by the Federal Trade Commission, 9 million to 10 million people in America experience identity theft each year.
76. Local Branches Or Online Banks?
- Thursday, January 19, 2012
Ray’s Take Currently the average interest rate for banks in America is 0.18 percent. That’s not a very compelling number. However, many online banks are paying substantially higher interest rates – as much as 1 percent.
77. Don’t Let Possessions Mar the Art Of Investing
- Thursday, January 12, 2012
Ray’s Take With an erratic stock market and banks paying virtually no interest, it’s no wonder people are looking for alternative investments. There’s been a buzz lately about something I haven’t seen interest in since the 70s – art and collectibles as investments, and I have two words to say about that: Bad idea.
78. Retiring Later Has Upsides
- Thursday, January 05, 2012
Ray’s Take In recent years many people approaching retirement age have seen their nest egg shrink, postponing the day they can finally retire. A recent survey by the Employment Benefit Research Institute showed that a quarter of all workers have pushed back the age at which they plan to retire. That’s not necessarily bad news, however.
79. Fed Drug Case Defendant Wants New Atty.
- Monday, January 02, 2012
Just two and a half weeks before he goes on trial for racketeering, drug conspiracy and murder-for-hire charges, Clinton Lewis wants a new attorney.
80. Guide Finances With Personal Values
- Thursday, December 29, 2011
Ray’s Take Your values are the things you consider important. They differ from person to person, and that’s just as true with the values you attach to money as it is with everything else. How you spend or save your money reflects your values.
81. Expect, Plan For Unexpected
- Thursday, December 22, 2011
Ray’s Take Odds are you will encounter financial emergencies in your lifetime. They could range from the relatively minor – like damaging the family car – to something as devastating as complete home destruction. You simply should expect that the unexpected will happen and, at a minimum, have six months’ worth of living expenses set aside in savings or money-market accounts you can readily access.
82. To be on Safe Side, Diversify
- Thursday, December 15, 2011
Ray’s Take The old adage “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” very much applies to saving and investing. You may think of investment diversification as simply having a variety of mutual funds, but it’s important to consider other factors, too.
83. Don’t Rely On The Future
- Thursday, December 08, 2011
Ray’s Take Traditionally, families have expected their financial future to improve as time goes on. It’s part of the American spirit. We expect annual raises and bonuses to keep coming our way. We expect each generation to do better than the last.
84. Can You Afford to Retire?
- Thursday, December 01, 2011
Ray’s Take: Baby Boomers are on the brink of retirement. Or are they? The recent market downturn changed retirement plans for many people as investments shrank and homes lost their value.
85. Start Living on One Income
- Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Ray’s Take: Some of the best advice I can give engaged couples is to live on one income right from the start, because you never know when you might be forced to do so. If you’re already married, it’s still a good idea – for the same reason. Plus, it enables you to really save for the future and the unexpected.
86. Opt for Credit Cards That Pay You
- Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Ray’s Take: Most people chose their credit cards by opting for the one that offers the lowest interest rate. And, if you’re still trying to pay down debt you have already accrued, that might seem to make sense. However, when you consider that the average credit card interest rate is still a high 14 percent, you might consider another financial resource to eliminate costly credit card debt once and for all.
87. Control What You Can When Investing
- Thursday, November 10, 2011
Ray’s Take: Somedays the financial markets seem out of control. The truth is this: Financial markets are always out of your control. You can’t make them go up or down, and you can’t time your stock purchases to assure a good return on your investment.
88. Happy Holidays Without The January Blues
- Wednesday, November 02, 2011
Ray’s Take: Santa figurines have already replaced Halloween masks in the stores and the long holiday shopping season is upon us. It’s time to put together your shopping lists and make a vow that this year you will not be paying for the holidays through next summer. Instead, take a budget-smart approach to holiday purchases. Yes, I used the B word again. Without a budget you are much more likely to be caught up in the spirit or manipulated by well-crafted marketing plans.
89. Teach Your Children To Give as Well as Save
- Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Ray’s Take: Philanthropy and volunteering are critical to building a better society. What better place for kids to learn important lessons about sharing and helping others than right at home?
90. What is Your Life Worth?
- Thursday, October 20, 2011
Ray’s Take: Before you start choosing between the various life insurance products, it’s important to first determine if you even need life insurance. Second, determine the amount needed. The type of contract should be the last decision. Performing a risk management analysis is an important first step to take before jumping into policy plans.
91. Stay Warm Without Burning Cash
- Thursday, October 13, 2011
Ray’s Take: If this upcoming winter is anything like the last one, we’re in for some substantial heating bills. But there’s still time to take some of the bite out of those bills by taking steps to winterize your home – and possibly earn some tax credits at the same time.
92. Is Poor Financial Health Killing You?
- Thursday, October 06, 2011
Ray’s Take: Is poor financial health killing you? That’s not an extreme question. Not feeling in control of your financial situation leads to stress, and stress wears your body down in many ways – silently and relentlessly working to shorten your lifespan and reduce the quality along the way.
93. Who Do You Pay First?
- Thursday, September 29, 2011
Ray’s Take: After your paycheck is deposited, who do you pay first? The mortgage company? The credit card issuer? Why not make that first check out to yourself? After all, you’re the one who earned it!
94. Is Your Board Engaged?
- Friday, September 23, 2011
In our work with nonprofit organizations, we have gained a lot of experience working with boards. We work with board presidents, people who chair or serve on the development committee, as well as the board as a whole. We work with the boards of large institutions and small grassroots organizations. Here is what we have learned: All benefit from an engaged board. When the board is engaged, it sets a tone and direction that is inspiring.
95. If You Win The Big One
- Thursday, September 22, 2011
Ray’s Take: Winning the lottery has more problems than joys for most recipients. Why? Well, for one reason, because they didn’t plan for their windfall before it fell into their lap.
96. Getting Rich Is Not a Goal
- Thursday, September 15, 2011
Ray’s Take: I constantly preach about the importance of saving, but it’s not just about accumulating wealth. One should always have specific, quantifiable goals in mind and a plan for reaching those goals. And, getting rich is simply not a goal.
97. Find Real Cost of Retirement Communities
- Thursday, September 08, 2011
Ray’s Take: As the Boomer generation ages, more and more retirement communities are in development. They are an attractive option to many, with choices ranging from permanent cruise living to college-based communities to developments with traditional apartment amenities. But before you start packing, there’s a lot you need to investigate to protect your physical, mental and financial future.
98. Vote With Your Investments Too
- Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Ray’s Take: People get passionate about politics, but you only get to cast your ballot in elections a time or two a year at the most. Of course, there are other ways to be involved in politics in order to have a little more influence on things. Or, you can put your money where your politics lean and vote with your investments all year long.
99. Shopping Local: Good for Everyone
- Thursday, August 25, 2011
Ray’s Take: Often you might find a lower price at a chain store, but patronizing locally owned stores gives you – and your community – a far better value.
For every dollar you spend in a locally owned, independent store, 68 cents stays here at home through taxes, employee payroll and local expenditures. That compares to only 43 cents for a chain and virtually nothing for online purchases.
100. Raise Money-Wise Kids
- Thursday, August 18, 2011
Ray’s Take: Most kids have no idea where money comes from or that the supply isn’t infinite. But they do know it’s mighty useful. And they want it.
As a parent, it’s up to you to teach them good money-management habits so they can budget thoughtfully, spend wisely and save regularly. Of course, the best thing you can do is lead by example, but for that to work your kids need at least a basic understanding of just what you are doing.