Tag

finances Archives - Sharkey, Howes & Javer

Financial Planning for Blended Families: 3 Stages of Life

By | SH&J Blog, Tips | No Comments

Planning Your Family Finances | Sharkey, Howes & Javer

The idea of a “traditional” family is ever evolving, and the United States Census Bureau has the research available that clearly outlines the profound shift in family formation. The reports show that families made up of two married heterosexual parents raising their biological children under age 18 now comprises only 20% of households, down from 40% in 1970.

As the traditional family reforms into modern day living, the financial challenges felt by blended families continue to increase. Although there are many definitions of blended families, we are focusing on second marriages and parents sharing custody of children from previous marriages for the purposes of this article.

There is no clear cut “right or wrong” way of managing household finances. Each family needs to find the method that works best for them. We have helped many blended families organize their financial lives, and here are a few themes we find in three different general stages of life.

Read More

5 Questions to Ask Before Taking on More Debt

By | Investing, SH&J Blog, Tips | No Comments

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.

Read More

10 Beneficial Budgeting Tips

By | SH&J Blog, Tips | No Comments

A 2013 Gallup poll found only 30% of American households prepare a detailed household budget (source). While budgeting can feel daunting at first, it can make a tremendous difference on your path to long-term financial success. With that in mind, here are 10 useful tips for budgeting.

10. Start with the Big 3

When building your budget, it’s important to look at your largest expenses first. For most people those are food, housing and transportation. Make sure to account for all aspects of your Big 3 from groceries to eating out and car payments to fuel costs. Starting with your largest expenses first will help you to get a more accurate view of what’s left to play with in your budget.

9. Bring Your Lunch

It seems so simple, but it’s amazing how much you can save in your budget by packing a lunch every day. In her article, “Buying Your Lunch Is A Terrible Idea. The End. No More Debates” (source), Jillian Berman figured she saves over $1,500.00 per year by bringing her lunch to work. If you are a household, multiply the savings for each person who packs a lunch. It adds up! Plus, you have the added benefit of controlling your portions and making healthier choices.

Read More