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Financial Resolutions for 2022

I’m sure most of us hate the idea of New Year’s resolutions. We have trouble keeping with them, and when we lapse, we feel like we’re failures. The most popular resolutions are weight loss, sobriety, going to the gym consistently, or maybe getting a new job. While any resolution can be good for you when taken with the right attitude, there’s one resolution I can definitely get behind that we should all consider trying regardless of the time of year: financial resolutions.

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The FIRE Movement—Is It for You?

If we’re saving for retirement—and I recommend it—and we’re making great money, is it possible to speed up our retirement age? If instead of putting, say, 30% of our income into savings to retire at 65, we put in more like 70%, could we retire sooner? Would we be able to stop working at 60, or maybe even 55? Are we describing a pipe dream or a genuine financial possibility?

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Digging Out of Debt

You want to hear a mind-boggling statistic? As of September 2021, American consumers have a combined debt of $14.96 trillion. The average American debt rate among consumers sits at about $92,000. Between college, homes, kids, cars, business expenses, credit cards, home improvements, you name it, Americans have accrued massive debt to pay for their bills, their lifestyles, their needs, and sometimes just their wants. It can decades to pay it all off.

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Financial Planning During COVID-19

We’re only now coming to realistic grips with the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects. For the last year and a half, this deadly pandemic has upended our news, our plans, and our world. What once seemed so simple and straightforward has taken on new urgency and life all around us daily.

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Funding the (Realistic) Fairy Tale Wedding

But the thing about milestones is that they aren’t often cheap. In fact, some of them can be downright expensive. We’re accustomed to the idea of an arm and a leg in exchange for the big things we need: weddings, births, health events, funerals, college funds, mortgages. Our first car and our first child are both milestones, but they’re also far apart on the financial scale. Whereas a new car can cost thousands of dollars, a child can cost hundreds of thousands. Factor in other costs such as college, and your balance sheet keeps going up.

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So You Want to Pay for College

If you’re considering college, great! College education can open up innumerable doors. It’s not for everyone, but, depending on the field that you want to work in, a college education might be required. For example, most healthcare positions, lawyer, engineer, computer scientist, accountant, or another specialized field, almost always require a specialized college education. If you just want to get an education but aren’t sure what you want to do, college can help you find it. Education has tremendous value inherent in itself.

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The “Great Resignation” and How to (Responsibly) Change Careers

The average person changes jobs 10-15 times throughout their career, with an average of 12 job changes. Job pivots usually can be chalked up to more money, better benefits, a better opportunity, or better working conditions (such as boss, coworkers, etc.). Some people who change jobs just want a change of scenery. Others can’t stand where they’re at and need change for their mental and physical wellbeing.

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Making Personal Finance Easier

This line of thinking doesn’t apply to any one thing; most of us consider it at many different points in our lives, and for as many topics. But I’d wager it comes up for one topic more than any other: finances. Personal finances can be a complicated, headache-inducing endeavor that makes many people give up before they even try.

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Let’s Talk About Taxes

Each year, we get to deduct money from our paycheck, and then come spring we get to compile W2s and 1099’s from each place we worked and carefully calculate numbers and withholdings, along with deductions. We get to think back on business purchases we made, and find enough receipts to help prove what we can write off. We then get to file and hope we don’t get an audit. And if we do get an audit...

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Maintaining Good Credit (and What to Avoid)

It’s relatively straightforward to maintain a checking account balance: you never spend more than what you have. Spend too much and you have a deficit; spend less than you thought, and you have a surplus. From a budgeting point of view this is easy to maintain. It gets more complicated with larger budgets and investments, of course, but at its course the idea is maintainable and widely understood.

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Do You Need a Financial Planner?

Ask almost anyone about financial planning, and you’ll probably get different answers from each person about what it is and what it can do. Some will say it’s best for taxes; others will say it’s best for portfolio investments or retirement funding. You might hear that it’s only for the rich, or that it’s just an expensive luxury that goes along with having money in the first place. Some will say it’s good for nothing, and it’s a waste of money and time.

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Coming to Grips with Risk

This is a distilled conversation, but not an imaginary one. I’ve heard it countless times; every financial advisor or planner has. Clients declare that, in order to make more money, they need to take bigger investment risks to make it happen. The part that seems to elude people’s understanding is that you tend to make higher AVERAGE returns in the market with higher risk investment over a LONG period of time.

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The Strategic Retirement Planning Roadmap

Pretend that retirement is a road trip and that you want to go to the West Coast from the Midwest. San Francisco sounds nice this time of year. You know the direction, and you drive your car straight toward it. Simply head west straight, you say to yourself; it’s so easy you can set the cruise and fall asleep and you’ll wake up at your destination. The autopilot will take care of the whole thing.

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Willeke’s Nuggets of Wisdom

When to Buy or Sell Investments