Category Archives: financial advice

myRA – Starting Small

dreamis

ffpcovermarch2016lulufinalAs a broker and financial advisor I used to dream that someday (the wishful someday we all know about) there would be a way for lower and middle class income people to start preparing for retirement with a small investment account.

I had seen how getting people started with a small investment of $25 a month increases their confidence and understanding of the value of the concept of accumulating funds.  Over time it has been less financially attractive for the investment community to offer services to small individual investors  who aren’t part of a larger level of overall contributions from a workplace retirement plan like a 401k and 403b.  This means that people who want to contribute to a Roth IRA often had few choices except to accumulate money just to get started.  That of course, usually didn’t happen and nothing changed.

A new program called myRA is an option to fill that gap between getting started and entering the investment community.  Is it all I dreamed of?  Yes, pretty close.  Is it worth learning more about if you aren’t accumulating money for retirement?  Yes!  Is it perfect?  No, but then neither are we and our best intentions to invest when we accumulate some funds are overcome with this option.

The information below is from the myRA.gov website.  As always, tell your friends and family.  It doesn’t take an investment professional to get you to this solution.

About myRA

The United States Department of the Treasury developed myRA® to help more people start saving for retirement.

Why was myRA developed?

myRA was developed to remove common barriers to saving and help people take the first step toward a more secure retirement.

Who is myRA for?

myRA is designed for people who don’t have access to a employer-sponsored retirement savings plans or lack other options to start saving for retirement.

How does myRA work?

People can contribute to their myRA account with as little as a few dollars a month generally up to $5,500 per year (or $6,500 per year for those age 50 and over).

Millions of Americans aren’t saving—or aren’t saving enough—for their retirement. myRA offers a simple, safe, and affordable way for people, especially those who don’t have access to a retirement savings plan at work, to get started.

myRA is a Roth IRA retirement savings account with no start-up cost and no fees. myRA has no minimum contribution requirement, so people can contribute the amount that best fits their budget.*

Contributions to myRA accounts are invested in a new United States Treasury security, which safely earns interest at the same variable rate as investments in the government securities fund for federal employees. This investment is backed by the United States Treasury and the account carries no risk of losing money.

People can fund their myRA account directly from their paycheck, or from a personal account, such as a checking or savings account, or by directing some or all of their federal tax refund to their account when they file their taxes.

myRA can be a first step

myRA can help people without access to a retirement savings plan get started saving, but it is not intended to be the only way they save for retirement. myRA is not a replacement for 401(k)s or other types of employer-sponsored retirement savings plans. People can have a maximum account balance of $15,000, or a lower balance for up to 30 years. When either of those limits is reached, savings will be transferred or rolled over into a private-sector Roth IRA where people can continue to grow their savings

From: myRA.gov. You can learn more there and enroll!

 

Financial Freedom Party for Women, Workbook Edition for 2016 Now Available

ffpluluthumbnail

I often say that I agree with a well-known author who says she likes                          I wrote better than  I write.

Once something is written, published and out into the world it is a relief and an accomplishment.  For me, going back and updating is something that is really important and a luxury these days because of on-line publishing, but it takes focus and commitment.  This is true for all of us in so many important things we do in our lives.  Focus and finish.

So, I am very excited to tell you that a spiral bound version of Financial Freedom Party for Women, A Little Book about Money for Women, Workbook Edition 2016  is now available.  This version has some updates,  is easier to use as a workbook,  has a new cover to make it more fun, and a tagline of Party with a Purpose!

Just click here to access the private link to purchase the book, or click on the area above on the side of the webpage at the small x.  It will pull up the Lulu tab.

Please consider having a Financial Freedom Party and also ordering a book for your personal use.  This book  makes a great high school and college graduation gift and is a good resource for those getting married or in relationships which involve joint money decisions.  After working with girls and young women and teaching life skills over the last six year, I have learned that it is never too early to teach financial fundamentals.  The audience is pretty limitless!

We women, our families and friends work hard to earn money and spend it.  As Mary Hunt says, The degree of a woman’s financial  confidence greatly determines her success.  Let’s be part of leading women to financial confidence and financial freedom, even in these challenging financial times!

Debra

 

Withdrawing from Education Savings Accounts

educationsavingsaCCOUNTcartoon

Page 13 of my book, Financial Freedom Party for Women, A Little Book about Money for Women, covers basic information for types of accounts to consider for funding education expenses.  I enjoyed the article from CBS News about the rules for withdrawing from one of these options, Education Savings Accounts (ESA).

Confused about exactly what can be used when taking distributions from an ESA,  just click here to read the article!

Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday—and all is well.  Corrie ten Boom

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Military – Saving Lives Through Financial Literacy

militarylifeandmoney

In May 2014, I blogged about military members finding help from some special financial advisors.  You can read that post by clicking here.

When a problem involving so many people is identified; usually studies are conducted, articles written, and things stay the same.  It is the nature of the highly regulated and tradition bound financial services industry and government agencies (including the military services and the Department of Defense) to move slowly.  However, something different is going on as a result of Financial Planning magazine’s storytelling about the how the lives of our military members and their families can be greatly enhanced through financial literacy and personal financial analysis.  Change is coming and it seems to be coming quickly!

You can learn more by clicking here to get an update titled House Approves New Planning Initiatives That Could Stem Military Suicides.  The article is on the Financial Planning site, so you may need to click on the advertisement and then look in the upper right corner on the screen to click on “Go to Site”.

My first career was as a civilian employee of three military services and the Department of Defense.  My second was as a  financial advisor, broker, and insurance agent.  I know how valuable it is for those in challenging financial situations to have access to trained professionals who have knowledge about a wide range of topics (not just investing) and who have only best intentions for the client.  Unfortunately, access to this type of service is usually limited to those who have money to pay for advice, or assets to invest. That is not always the case with many people, like military members and their families,  who need  information and services the most.

It is exciting to see leadership in the financial services industry coming from those in the financial services industry who deal with people on a day-to-day basis and from  top level leaders in both the military services and the legislative branch.  I look forward to hearing more.

 

 

 

 

Women and Money, Time for Women to Teach Each Other

Working on the laptop and doing some website changes.  Kind of listening to the TV in the other room.  Realized the morning show out of Austin (Texas) had a speaker explaining how the role of women in personal finance has changed.  Started actively listening to statistics about how women own homes, are Chief Financial Officers (CFO) of their lives and the lives of their families, and how we care for our families and often other generations of friends and family members.  Basically the conversation hit all the topics we as women already know because we live it.

Then I really paid attention and realized the speaker was– a man.   So I walked to the TV to see the male speaker telling the woman talk host all this information.  The visual reminded me that about 70% of the people in the financial advisory and investment communities in the U.S. are men, even though there are more women than men in the  overall population.

Oh HAPPY DAY when we see as many women financial advisors, brokers, insurance agents, and teachers of financial literacy in our neighborhoods as we see Starbucks or Walgreens.

Doesn’t it seem odd to you that men remain our biggest resource for financial “stuff”?  We can change that!

This isn’t about men versus women.  It is about choices.  Some women prefer to learn from men.  Others prefer to learn from women.  With such under-representation of women in the advisory and investment communities, we as women need to teach each other the basics to balance out the equation.  This gives us a choice in who is teaching us, and benefiting from it.

Thanks for reading my posts and being interested enough in your financial future to learn the fundamentals.  Please help by sharing  your knowledge so the next “experts” on the morning shows are women.  It could be you.  Start in your living room with a few friends.  Buy my book to start, or find other resources which speak to you.  It’s easier than you think.

 

 

 

 

 

Consider Veterans’ Benefits in Financial Planning

veterans_benefits

Advisors: Don’t Ignore Veterans Benefits

This is the title of an article which was printed in Financial Planning magazine.  It is a good reminder to both financial services professionals and all those who have served (or are serving) in the U.S. military, to think about how VA benefits fit into individual financial analysis and planning.

Things change.  Benefits change.  Military service that was provided years ago may result in a new or unexpected benefit.  Personally, I have observed how  a widow of a service member benefited through the availability of assisted living through a VA program.  There are lots of rules for each benefit provided, no big surprise there.  But the surprise is that often family members such as spouses, children, and grandchildren  aren’t aware of any of the possible options available because they didn’t serve in the military and don’t have an understanding of the VA, or they just assume that since the military member wasn’t retired or disabled, there are no benefits available. 

Financial Advisors who ask about VA benefits as a routine part of the analysis process can encourage the client to learn more from the VA.  Yes, it can be a daunting process with all the paperwork and questions, but it can also be a very rewarding one if the benefit meets the need.  Adult children can be very helpful in navigating a system which may seem overwhelming to someone who is ill or elderly.

A little research and information are all that are needed to consider VA benefits in the financial planning process. 

Until next time.

Debra Hadsall

www.financialfreedomparty.com

copycroppedfinal.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Financial Freedom Party for Women

ustpopic

Today’s daunting task, calling the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to figure out what the letter they sent me about the Financial Freedom Party logo actually means.  20 years as a government employee and 15 as a financial advisor, and even I can’t figure it out.  Much prefer meeting with women and sharing financial education than dealing with trademark issues, but being the owner of a “mark” is pretty awesome.  Now to fax off what they want….this time.  Changing how women learn about money is sometimes just a bunch of boring detail work, but so worth it!

Debra Hadsall

www.ffptalk.com

financialFreedom_book

3 Ways to Improve Your Financial Life

In my book, Financial Freedom Party for Women ®, A Little Book about Money for Women,  I teach the basics of financial management.  Most of us never learn basic concepts and then become frustrated when we aren’t reaching our goals, assuming we even set goals.

Life has become more complicated with each consumer expected to be an expert on all things financial.  In talking to women over the years, a common concern is about wanting to change and do better, but not knowing where to start.  Haven’t we all had (or still have) that conversation with ourselves?

It isn’t magic to create a new lifestyle, but it does take some introspection and then action.  A good place to start is with what I call 3 Ways to Improve Your Financial Life.  They are things we think about, but often haven’t written them down and then figured out which ones will benefit us the best.  So, you can start in the beginning by thinking about any or all which apply to you.

Spend Lessspendlesspic

Make Moremakemorepic

 Do Better with What You Have

betterpic

Simply write these titles on a piece of paper and make notes over the next couple of weeks about how you can focus on the one which will have the most impact on your life.  Start small, but start.  Talk it over with your spouse, partner, friends or anyone else you feel can give you positive feedback or be a support system.

Until next time.

Debra Hadsall

www.ffptalk.com

financialFreedom_book

To order my book, please click here

Military Members Find Help from Some Special Financial Advisors

booksclipart1

Today my on-line version of Financial Planning magazine showed up in my email in-box.

As a former broker and financial advisor, I used to read everything in he magazine.  Now I read mainly articles about women and money.  However, the one today is titled “Financial Planners Help Stem the Rate of Military Suicides”. Having spent my first career working for three of the military services and then the Department of Defense, and being aware through news stories that suicide rates in the military are rising, I was curious and clicked through to the article.

Personally, I understand that some financial advisors and planners can do more than just hand out wisdom and match clients up with products.  What they can do better than most anyone else is listen to a client and then use their brains like a search engine to scan all the considerable knowledge they have about the entire financial management process, not just the lucrative and more glamorous investing component.  With their talents, a lot of patience, and a willingness to take the lead in filling out paperwork with the client, they can help make things happen.  People in trouble are too exhausted to do it all by themselves.

The article is worth reading whether you are a military member, a health care professional, a financial services professional, clergy, or just a caring person.  I am excited to learn this story of how a few risk-taking financial professionals have stepped up to the challenge and changed people’s lives.  I’m hoping they have also started a movement to expand how financial professionals are allowed to give clients what they really need.

Please click here to read this story.

Until next time.

Debra Hadsall

financialFreedom_book

 

To order my book, please click here

www.financialfreedomparty.com

www.ffptalk.com

Turning Down the Money, Really?

no-money

It never occurred to me that a beneficiary of a life insurance policy or a retirement account could choose not to take the money. As a financial advisor and insurance agent, I found that most people were more concerned about having resources than giving them away. However, I did learn that sometimes beneficiaries may not want or need the money. In these cases the beneficiary can choose to decline payment and allow the money to move on to the next-in-line beneficiary or beneficiaries.

There are a variety of reasons why one beneficiary may wish to defer to other named beneficiaries. Please click here to learn more about disclaiming benefit in a retirement account.

Until next time. Debra Hadsall

financialFreedom_book

To order my book, please click here

www.financialfreedomparty.com

www.ffptalk.com