Monthly Archives: December 2016

Tips for Recovering from Holiday Spending

Couple Looking at Holiday Bills

You can recover from holiday spending with focus and attention.

The holiday shopping has ended, you’ve cleaned up the wrapping paper, and now it’s time to face the music – or, rather, the bills – and try to recover from the holiday spending.

Rest assured, if you used credit cards in the past couple months, you’re not alone. According to a survey from CreditDonkey, 37 percent of people said they use credit cards to finance their holiday spending. Whether you charged a small or large amount, now is the time to get out from under that debt and move on with your financial plans.

Here are tips to help you in recovering from holiday spending.

Start with the Highest Interest Rate

If you used more than one credit card this season, then you’ll want to focus on paying off the one with the highest interest rate first. This way, you can avoid as much interest as possible while you pay down the debt. As you put most of your payments toward the higher interest card, pay the minimum on the other cards. Once you are done with the first card, move on to the next until you are paid off in full.

Consider Transferring Your Balance

If you went a bit overboard and you won’t be able to pay off your debt anytime soon, then consider transferring your credit card balances to a card with a 0% APR period. This way, you can pay off your balance over a longer period, without accruing interest along the way. You’ll want to check on the terms of different credit card offers, as each makes different allowances, such as transfer fees, APR periods, and the ongoing APR.

Limit Unnecessary Spending

Aside from the costs of housing, transportation, utilities and food, be sure you’re not building additional expenses into the mix. You’ll need that extra cash to recover from your holiday spending. Instead of fancy dinners and weekend shopping trips, consider staying in and renting a movie, cooking with friends, or playing board games with a group.

Recovering from holiday spending may take a little work on your part, but with discipline and a big picture view of what you want to accomplish, you can set realistic goals for the New Year.

 
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

Do Women Approach Financial Planning Differently than Men?

Man and Woman with Financial Planner

Men and women approach financial planning in their own ways.

Over the years, we’ve assisted all types of clients with their financial planning goals, but when it comes to men and women – some of them certainly have their differences in talking about, learning about, and handling money.

In this post, we want to highlight the major distinctions we have personally experienced in the ways women approach financial planning differently than men.

Of course, this doesn’t apply to every female client or every male client, but it might be fun to see if you notice these habits in your own interactions with personal finance.

Education

Some women approach financial planning differently than men, particularly when it comes to education about money and making decisions. Some women may need a lot of information before making a decision; they want to consider opportunities and are less likely than some men to make a quick decision.

This difference in approach sometimes means women are more conservative when it comes to investments, too. Because they may need more time to learn about options and their impacts, women may choose investments or make financial decisions that seem more modest than some men. Taking the time to be informed and making educated decisions can give women the confidence they need and deserve when it comes to financial matters.

Language

Thousands of interactions with clients have taught us that some women prefer to learn and talk about financial planning differently than men. For example, some of our male clients relate better to technical terms or respond more to competitive language.

In contrast, some female clients prefer the straight talk. Talking about finances in plain English seems to resonate more with female clients who are less interested in competition and, again, more motivated by discussion around financial education.

Long View

Financial planning is naturally about the long view, but that seems even more applicable when it comes to some female clients. For example, some male clients may trade stocks more often than female clients, and it sometimes can be a matter of women looking at the bigger picture. Women approach financial planning differently than men, especially in how they view financial progress: over the long-term and many years, rather than the day-to-day management of money.

What other differences do you see in the ways women and men approach financial planning? Tell us about your experiences in the comments.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

Is Home Refinancing Your Best Financial Option?

Man and Woman in Front of Home

When considering home refinancing, weigh the pros and cons first.

You may be considering a refinance of your home mortgage, especially with the probability of an interest rate hike later this week. The opportunity to lower your monthly payments at a better interest rate is tempting. But the real question here is, will home refinancing be the right fit for your overall financial plan?

Home refinancing can be helpful for homeowners who want to save money in the long run. Instead of paying the same interest rate as they secured at the start of the loan term, they may be able to secure a lower rate for the balance of the loan. Over the course of 10, 20 or 30 years, this can save you a great deal, and you can put the money saved toward retirement or other goals.

But just because the option to refinance exists, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the right decision for you.

For example, let’s say you are 10 years into a 30-year mortgage, and you are thinking about refinancing the remainder of what you owe. If you start your new loan with another 30-year term, home refinancing can cost you more money in the long run.

It’s important to compare your monthly payments in a 15- or 20-year refinance plan versus a 30-year refinance, so you don’t end up paying more than you would if you stayed in your current program.

Of course, if you decide to refinance, doing so before the interest rate hike can help you secure a lower payment. BankRate says that on a $200,000 mortgage, half of 1 percentage point of interest means a difference of $20,000 or more over 30 years.  

The key here is to make certain you are doing what is best for your financial situation. Don’t rush into a decision; instead, talk to your mortgage representative about different scenarios you might be able to take advantage of first.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. The economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted.