Consistency is Key When it Comes to Financial Planning and Saving
Think your family needs help managing its money? Finding a financial advisor you can trust, may be your first step toward securing your future finances.
Do We Really Need a Financial Planner?
Aren’t the services of financial planners reserved for clients with big bank accounts, lots of investments and trust funds for their children? Not always. Today, especially in uncertain economic times, even families with small balances should consider the pros and cons of turning to a financial planner.
If your family is like many, you may be tightening your belts these days, making every trip to the grocery store count. But with shrinking retirement accounts and less confidence in aggressive investment plans, what is happening to the money you have squirreled away for future use?
It is just as important to keep tabs on savings and investments as it is to keep a tight reign on your household budget. Do you have all the information you need to make sure your retirement account remains intact, that your kids have money for college?
Now may be the time to seek advice about how to protect what money you do have, so you will still have it when you are 65.
“Most people wait too long before hiring a financial planner,” says Jim Elder, a fee-only financial planner. “We see too many people coming into our office when they are in their mid-50s, when it’s too late to make any changes. The earlier [you see a financial planner], the better, to give your family direction with their finances.”
How people run into trouble
There is absolutely nothing worse that running into a financial jam and not knowing when or where you’re going to get the money from.
Getting a bank to loan you the money takes jumping through hoops. So, what is a person to do when they have bad credit and no collateral? Searching for emergency loans to help them make ends meet and cover unexpected bills is often the first port of call. This answer of instant credit or finance is often not thought-through and poorly timed.
Taking out a cash loan to pay for emergency costs or fees can often be the easiest option, see here. Then once you get paid you can pay back the loan company.
Does this sound like you? A financial advisor or planner could be the help you’ve been searching for.
Starting the Search
Finding a financial planner can be as tricky as finding a family physician. And according to Errold Moody of San Leandro, Calif., who holds a number of finance degrees and recently authored No Nonsense Finance (McGraw Hill), the same care should be taken in seeking a planner to handle your money.
Where to begin? The prospect of finding a financial advisor worth his salt can be daunting to the average family. To start, “Seek out the financially savvy people in your community and ask them who they use,” says Elder. Local certified public accountants (CPAs) and estate planning attorneys are good sources of information.
Friends and family can also provide references. “Most of my referrals come from my existing client base,” says Dan Liberatore, a certified financial planner (CFP) in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Sue Parmet of Pound Ridge, N.Y., found one of her family’s financial planners through her sister-in-law and another through a family friend.
When soliciting referrals from friends or family members, keep your special circumstances in mind. “A planner that may have been good for one family may be incapable of dealing with another due to unique circumstances,” says Moody. Ask around for information about a planner who has dealt with clients whose needs were similar to yours. For instance, if you own a business, ask fellow business owners who they work with – and who they avoid.
Once you have the names of a few good men or women, do your homework. “You should always interview at least three financial planners, just as you would get three bids for work done on your house,” says Elder.
Moody suggests you contact five or more candidates. Then draw up some important interview questions to screen the great from the not so great. Among them: What is their experience? Find out the number of years they have been in the business, where they have practiced and what types of clients they have handled in the past. The common wisdom is to find someone with at least 10 years of experience. “Since there are no residency programs for planners, a lot of time is necessary before a planner can figure out just what is going on and apply it to real life,” says Moody.
If you find you are comfortable with the planner’s experience level, ask them about their credentials. “Many planners have the CFP designation,” says Elder. “However, credentials only show that you can sit in a class and take tests. Look for experience.” According to Moody, you should even consider seeking someone with a degree in financial planning, not just a CFP designation. “After all, this is serious business, and you want someone who is committed beyond a semester’s worth of work,” he says.
Next, look at how the candidate is paid. “A planner who makes money by commissions will only be interested in selling you something,” Elder says. “Seek ‘fee-only’ advisors.” You pay a fee-only advisor a set amount to perform services for you, the client. With this type of advisor, you shouldn’t have to worry about being sold financial products you might not need, such as annuities, life insurance or mutual funds, since the planner is not dependent on commission from the sale of these services. Ask yourself: “Do you want a salesperson or an advisor?” Elder says. Moody agrees, but adds that just because a planner claims to be “fee-only” doesn’t mean he or she is the best candidate for you. Weigh experience and credentials over how fees are charged. “A [poor planner] charging a fee is still a [poor planner],” he says.
Finally, find out about the planner’s investment philosophy. What are his or her values? Do they match yours? How comfortable do you feel about the potential advisor’s ideas? If you’re not in sync with the advisor, look elsewhere.
For example, when Parmet’s “great” financial planner retired, she passed her clients on to her father, a qualified planner with years of experience. However, Parmet wasn’t as comfortable with the new advisor’s strategies. While she appreciated his expertise, she decided to look elsewhere for a new financial advisor, one who was on the same wavelength as Parmet and her growing family.
Reviewing Your Relationship
Even after you choose a financial planner who seems right for you, monitor the relationship periodically to be sure your planner continues to do his job to your satisfaction. If his performance is no longer up to par or you don’t feel comfortable with his treatment of your money, don’t hesitate to start your search again. Your financial stability is too important to allow a less-than-perfect relationship to continue.
Whether you choose a fee-only advisor, go for a financial planner with a degree or elect to hire a savvy candidate with only a few years’ experience, follow your instincts when it comes to financial planning services. Remember: You’re the boss. Stay in control, and enjoy the confidence of knowing your financial future is in the best hands.
If you want to retire “on time,” you will need to make plans now to prepare. Put together a financial plan that takes into account your goals for retirement, and work toward making those goals a reality. As you prepare for a successful retirement in the future, here are some things to keep in mind:
Consistency is Key
One of the most important things you can do as you prepare your finances for a brighter future is consistency. You need to be consistent in your savings plan, setting aside money each month. There are a number of retirement calculators out there that can help you figure out how much money you need to put into your retirement account each month if you want to reach your goal. You also need to be consistent about your spending, budgeting and other aspects of your financial life.
Debt is Bad
Nothing drains your retirement income potential like debt. All that money you are paying in interest to someone else is doing nothing to benefit you. It just leaks out of your budget and into someone else’s pocket. One of your goals, before you hit retirement, is to reduce your obligations as much as you can. Many people include their mortgage debt in this. You will feel more secure about your retirement, and have more money at your disposal, if you can pay down your debt — especially costly consumer debt — as quickly as possibly.
Fees are Bad, Too
It’s not just the interest you pay on debt that can reduce your real returns and slow your efforts to achieve your retirement goals; fees are a drain on your retirement as well. If you pay high fees on the funds in your retirement account over the course of 20 or 30 years, you will miss out on a substantial amount that could have been funding your retirement. If you want to maximize your retirement, you should look for low fee investments. Additionally, minimize transaction fees by avoiding constant trading. You should re-allocate your assets on occasion, but you don’t need to be constantly trading. That’s a good way to reduce your real returns.
Max Out Your Tax-Advantaged Accounts
If most of your investing is done for retirement purposes, it is a good idea to max out your tax-advantaged retirement accounts before you open other investment accounts. Make sure you are taking advantage of IRAs and 401Ks (you can have both kinds of accounts) before you use investment accounts that do not have the same advantages. And remember that your spouse’s contributions to accounts in his or her name are considered separate. So if you both have IRAs, you can contribute up to $5,000 to each IRA, for a total of $10,000. And while you’re at it, don’t leave free money on the table. If it’s an option, max out matching contributions from your employer.
6 Reasons to Try Cannabis Edibles
Are you looking for a reason to try cannabis edibles? If you’re wondering if there are benefits to edibles that you can’t get with other forms of cannabis, the answer is yes. Here are some of the best reasons to try cannabis edibles.
- Some edibles are boosted
When you smoke cannabis flower, you’re only getting cannabis. That’s not a bad thing, but there are brands that sell edibles that have been boosted with other ingredients. For instance, you’ve probably seen capsules with added herbs to help you sleep – the same is true for edibles.
One of the newer enhanced cannabis edibles are the Bits adaptogen-boosted edibles. These new cannabis edibles contain just 5mg of THC per Bit so you don’t overdo anything. Each flavor is packed with a unique blend of adaptogens like ashwagandha, reishi, elderflower, lemon balm, ginseng, guarana, and rose hip.
Why adaptogens? Adaptogens have been proven to have a positive impact on the central nervous system by decreasing sensitivity to stressors. In other words, adaptogens reduce stress and anxiety and contribute to an overall sense of wellbeing. When you consume cannabis edibles boosted by adaptogens, you’re going to feel more relaxed.
- Edibles provide precise and consistent dosing
One of the best reasons to try edibles is for precise and consistent dosing. When edibles are made, the cannabis is thoroughly and evenly mixed in, so each serving has the intended dosage when the final product is made. In addition, premium cannabis brands like Verano lab test each batch to ensure quality and consistency with all of their products, including cannabis edibles.
When you smoke flower, you won’t always get the same amount of THC. It’s nearly impossible to know how much THC or CBD you’re getting from smoking flower. Even when you smoke the same strain in the same amount, the THC and other cannabinoids are distributed unevenly throughout each bud.
If precise and consistent dosing is important to you, then edibles are going to be your favorite cannabis delivery method.
- Edibles are tasty
Edibles taste good, so why not try them? It’s just like eating a snack or a treat, but with a purpose. If you’ve avoided trying cannabis tinctures or oil because you don’t like the flavor, that’s understandable. Edibles are different because the taste of cannabis itself can be easily masked.
Brands go out of their way to come up with recipes that taste good because they know some people don’t like the strong flavor of cannabis. Edibles like brownies, cookies, and chocolate bars usually just taste like any other cookie, brownie, or chocolate bar. Premium cannabis brands will also use quality ingredients to produce the best cannabis-infused gummies, hard candies, and baked goods.
- Edibles are easy to carry
If you want to carry your cannabis around discreetly, that’s easiest with edibles. They usually come in smaller packages that you can fit into a pocket or bag, and edibles are easy to eat without anyone suspecting you’re consuming cannabis.
When carrying edibles, be smart about where you bring them. Make sure you know where you can and can’t have them. If you’re headed to the airport of a government building, for example, you’ll want to leave your edibles at home.
- The effects of edibles last for a long time
Smoking flower is great when you need relief quickly, but when you want the effects to last a long time, edibles are your best option. When you ingest cannabis, it takes longer for the effects to kick in, but those effects will last for a much longer time. You also don’t need to consume as much cannabis to get these long-lasting effects.
Everyone is different, and the timing depends on a multitude of factors like our metabolism and whether you’ve eaten or have an empty stomach. However, in general, it takes between 30 minutes and 4 hours to start feeling the effects of edibles. From there, the effects can last a few hours or even up to twelve hours. This is why many people take edibles before going to bed – getting that full impact while they sleep makes them wake up feeling incredibly rested.
- Edibles are a great alternative to smoking
Although smoking cannabis is probably the most popular consumption method, it’s not for everyone. Edibles won’t expose you to the potentially harmful effects of smoking. If you’ve been avoiding trying cannabis because you thought you had to smoke it, edibles are the perfect opportunity for you to try cannabis.
Already familiar with edibles? Try something new
If you’ve been consuming cannabis edibles for a while, maybe it’s time to try something new. If you’ve always been into baked goods, branch out and try some beverages, chocolate bars, or even an adaptogen-boosted cannabis gummy for example. There are plenty of edibles to choose from so you can be sure you’ll find something new that you can enjoy.
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