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debt Archives - Sharkey, Howes & Javer

7 Beneficial Habits to Move You Towards Financial Freedom

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Many of us dream of the days of not having to work and traveling whenever we please. Some of us dream of living in a home owned outright. Some are looking for the security of a large nest egg to know loved ones will be taken care of when we are gone.

Whatever financial freedom means to you, there are a few important habits to help get you there.

Automate Savings and Payments
We live in a digital world and with it comes helpful tools, such as automation. Set up an automatic withdrawal from your paycheck to your retirement and savings accounts to make it feel like it was never there in the first place. Avoid unnecessary fees and keep your credit score high by setting up automatic payments for your mortgage, insurance and credit cards. These small things can help reduce stress and keep you on track to financial freedom.

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Inside the Economy with SH&J: May 9, 2016

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

While our last discussion highlighted segments of the U.S. economy, this week’s discussion highlights segments of China’s economy. Gain insight on China’s debt bubble and the potential effect (or lack thereof) on the U.S. consumer, as well as a comparison of Corporate China today to Corporate America in 2005. This discussion also addresses the latest on U.S. consumer debt, auto sales and the labor markets. Listen in to hear about these issues and more, including updates on the U.S. energy bankruptcies.

The Value of Objective Financial Planning

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Outside of a portfolio’s rate of return, it’s often easy to overlook the value that objective, client-focused financial planning brings. Although many financial professionals offer “free” services, do you stop and ask yourself “Hmmm, I wonder how he/she is paid if it’s not by me?” (source).

As objective financial planners, we fully support the “you get what you pay for” belief. Below is a list of just a few of the values we believe objective planning offers. Please feel free to let us know your thoughts on any of the following.

1. An independent financial planner helps protect you from financial salespeople.

According to Bob Veres, “…the Wall Street firms that pretend to offer financial planning guidance are seldom (if ever) looking out for the best interests of their customers.” Unfortunately, as a consumer in our industry, it’s not always easy to recognize when there’s an underlying motive or incentive behind the financial advice you receive.

Brokers might have business cards with the title of “Financial Advisor,” but in reality are often simply salespeople who are paid by their company to sell you as many products as possible. Unless they are a fiduciary, they are expected to do what is in the company’s best interest, not what is in your best interest. They are rewarded when they meet sales targets, and bonuses are often based on the clients they sign (source).

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5 Questions to Ask Before Taking on More Debt

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5 Questions to Ask Before Taking on More DebtThe term ‘debt’ generally has a negative connotation. While being in too much debt or the wrong kind of debt can be risky, sometimes debt makes sense. If you are considering taking on more debt, sit down and answer the questions below first to make sure the new debt won’t get in the way of your long-term goals.

How much debt do I currently have?

When thinking about debt, it’s important to first analyze your current financial landscape. Be sure to review everything: credit cards, lines of credit, mortgages, loans and possibly IOU’s to family or friends. Once you have totaled all monthly recurring debt payments, divide that number by your gross monthly income to find your debt to income ratio (DTI). The lower the number, the better. Talk with your financial planner about your ratio and ask for his/her recommendation on whether you should consider taking on more debt.

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Inside the Economy with SH&J: July 20, 2015

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

The middle class isn’t growing, businesses are looking for a competent labor force and our ‘Greece next door’, Puerto Rico, can’t pay it’s $72B debt — all in this week’s Inside the Economy. Larry also covers the excitement in China’s markets, growth potential in Europe and touches on good news for Italy and France. While Larry may say there isn’t much excitement in the economy this week, a lot of worthwhile questions are raised by the SH&J team during the discussion. Listening in will bring you up to speed on many U.S. and global economic issues.

10 Ways to Show Your Money Some Love

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SHJ Show Your Money Some Love

In the month of love, we thought it was important to share our tips on how to show your money some love so it can help you attain your goals. While we could add many more tips to the list, the 10 below are an excellent place to start when thinking through your financial strategy.

1. Don’t Wait

“Oh, I’ll do that tomorrow… or next week… or next month.” We can all find excuses about getting fit, starting a diet, cleaning the house or… taking care of our finances. When it comes to showing your money some love, the first step is to put the excuses aside and take action. Money problems are associated with stress, relational challenges and decreased happiness. Waiting to take care of your finances only prolongs the hurt.

2. Save First

When a paycheck comes in, it can be tempting to pay the bills, buy a few things on the wish list and head out to a nice steak dinner. While it may be well deserved, saving before splurging can really show your money some love. When money is saved, it earns interest and the more interest it earns the more money you have later. Savings accounts, 401(k)s, IRAs and other investments are all part of a good saving strategy.

3. Look for Tax Free

Many retirement plans, such as a 401(k), allow you to save with certain tax advantages. Look into your employer’s retirement plan and possible matching programs, as well as other available programs such as the 529 plan for college education savings. Financial advisors, like the team at Sharkey, Howes and Javer, can be excellent resources when it comes to creating a smart saving strategy.

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