Inside the Economy: Inflation, Earnings, and More

By | Economic Discussion, Economy, Larry Howes, SH&J Blog | No Comments

 

On this week’s Inside the Economy, we review core inflation numbers. Now that we have the highest core inflation in the past decade, what could this mean for the U.S. economy? Have the second quarter earnings numbers supported the all-time highs in the U.S. stock market again? Tune in to find out the answers to these questions along with a review of the U.S. debt to GDP ratio and a new challenge public utility companies are facing.

Scholarship Websites

By | SH&J Blog, Tips | No Comments

With the cost of college tuition rising, more students are looking to scholarships to help take pressure off the cost. However, when it comes to athletic scholarships, the odds of a male high school athlete playing basketball at a NCAA Division I school are 107:1, and 88:1 for a female high school athlete. If your student was fortunate enough to receive an athletic scholarship, for the 2014-2015 school year, males received athletic scholarships of $14,270 and females received $15,162 on average at a Division I school. This likely still would not cover the full cost of tuition. So where else should students look for scholarships? According to a report completed by Sallie Mae, many families don’t apply for scholarships because they think they won’t qualify due to grades, finances, or simply because they don’t know what may be available.

Scholarships can come from each school independently, private or community organizations, or state and local governments. With close to $49 billion in grants and scholarships available it is likely that there is a scholarship out there for every student, the tricky part is finding it. Below is a list of websites put together by The Scholarship System to help students get started.

  1. Big Future (College Board)
  2. Broke Scholar
  3. CareerOneStop
  4. Chegg
  5. JLV College Counseling
  6. Student Scholarships
  7. Tuition Funding Sources
  8. Unigo

By using these websites, students can narrow their search by filtering scholarships that tie to their interests and majors. This saves time so they can put more focus into applying for awards they have a better chance of receiving. It is important to track deadlines for each scholarship and be wary of scams. Also, be cautious not to avoid scholarships that seem too small or not worth the time to apply. Others may not apply under the same reasoning, therefore reducing the competition and increasing your chances of receiving the award. Every dollar received can quickly add up!

Contact Sharkey, Howes & Javer at 303.639.5100 to speak to a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ about how to incorporate scholarships into your child’s education savings plan.

Inside the Economy: GDP, Mortgage Rates, & the Bond Market

By | Economic Discussion, Economy, Larry Howes, SH&J Blog | No Comments

 

On this week’s Inside the Economy, we discuss the second quarter GDP numbers. The U.S. economy is continuing to see robust growth. We review some of the supporting components, and how long this expansion may last. As mortgage rates and home prices continue to increase, what effect does this have on new home buying? Tune in to find out the answers to these questions and more!

A Financial Checklist for New and Expecting Parents

By | SH&J Blog, Tips | No Comments

As a new or expecting parent, there are a number of expenses you need to prepare for. Raising a child isn’t cheap, and it only becomes more expensive as time goes on. If you want to be sure that you’re prepared for many of the major financial obligations associated with raising a child, this financial checklist will help confirm that you have everything in order.

Step One: Plan for Hospital and Delivery Costs

The average cost of birth in the United States is more than $30,000, without even factoring in the costs of prenatal care and checkups in the months leading up to it. Much of this amount will be alleviated by insurance, but you’ll need to consult with your provider to fully understand the amount you’ll owe following delivery. You will also want to make sure your doctor, hospital, and anesthesiologist are all in network with your insurance, prior to your delivery. By planning for these expenses, you can stay one-step ahead and take at least one worry off your plate when your child arrives.

Step Two: Build Up Your Emergency Fund

You may already have an emergency fund set up, but the amount you save up will change when you have a child. Ideally, you want to have 3-6 months of required expenses including rent or mortgage payments, car and insurance payments, groceries, and more in your emergency savings fund. The goal is that in the event of a job loss, you will have enough to be able to take care of your family while you search for a new job. Your emergency fund will also help cover things like emergency child care, hospitalization for illness or injury, or unexpected home repairs.

Step Three: Examine Your Will

Have you been putting off writing your will? Now is the time to write one or update an existing one. Make sure you’ve designated the individual that you and your spouse would like to raise your child or children in case something happens to you as well as how your assets should be handled. Do you want to create a trust for your children to access when they’re older? Do you prefer to hand over control of your assets to your child’s guardian? Make sure that your estate planning documents leaves your family with everything they will need.

Step Four: Update Your Insurance

Aside from adding your child to your health insurance plan, this will also be a good time to review your life and disability policies. As your family grows, it is more important than ever to make sure that your insurance plans are adequate to provide for the needs of your family in case of death or a disability.

Step Five: Revise Your Budget

Your budget is going to change significantly with the arrival of your child and some of your discretionary income may decrease. Make sure that you’re prepared for the changes to your budget, including:

  • The cost of items the baby will need (clothing, crib, diapers, etc.)
  • The cost of formula or baby food
  • Child care expenses
  • Medical expenses

Step Six: Start a College Fund

Many parents want to give their children the best possible start in life and that includes helping them pay for college. By opening a 529 or other college fund for your child, you can help make it possible without having to worry as much about budget constraints or taking out loans.

Getting your finances in line is an important part of preparing for a new addition to your family. By following these important steps, you’ll put yourself in a better place to deal with the new financial challenges that might be coming your way and set yourself up for better ultimate financial success on this new parenting journey. If you would like to speak to a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ to learn more or for help setting up a financial plan for your family, please give us a call at 303-639-5100.