Blog

The Basics of Credit Scores and Credit Reports

As consumers, we know that having a good credit score is important. Whether you are applying for a loan or signing up for a credit card, your credit score plays a major role in determining if you will be approved. Your credit score can also have a significant impact on loan terms and borrowing costs.

What is a credit score?

When you borrow money from a lender or sign a contract pledging to make payments, the other party needs to assess how likely it is that you will fulfill your obligations. Your credit score is a measure of risk that helps lenders quantify this likelihood in real time.

Talking to Your Kids About Money

When it comes to talking to kids about money, many parents can be a bit nervous.  

An annual “Parents, Kids and Money Survey” conducted over the past 10 years by T. Rowe Price has consistently found that parents are just as uncomfortable talking to their kids about money as they are about sex and drugs. So, you’re not alone!

It’s never too early to start teaching children about money. 

Simply start at an age appropriate level and build on the concepts as they mature.  And don’t worry if you haven’t started talking to your teen about money yet – it’s also never too late!

Budgeting Basics

One of the things I frequently ask clients is “How much money do you need every month?”  Not surprisingly, the most common answer is “I’m not sure.” 

It’s easy to not pay attention to how much we’re spending – we’re busy, and if we’re not spending more than we’re making, we’re fine, right?  The short answer is -  as long as you’re saving enough, you should be okay.  But, how do you know if you’re saving enough if you don’t know what you need?

The idea of creating (and sticking to) a budget can be daunting, so I’m breaking it down into a few easy steps to help get you started.

Basic Estate Planning Documents

Although many of us don’t like to think about planning for a future that we won’t be around to experience, a well-thought-out estate plan helps to manage and preserve assets during life and conserve and direct the distribution of assets at death.

Basic estate planning is for everyone. Through an estate plan, you have a say in the “how, when, and to whom” your assets are transferred, in addition to achieving your own specific tax and non-tax planning goals.

Spring Cleaning in Your Financial House

Spring is in the air, which for many means waking up from hibernation and cleaning out the clutter. But don’t forget about clearing the cobwebs from your “financial house,” too! Even if you recently took a look at your finances as you prepared for tax season, there still may be some items that could use your attention. The following list highlights five commonly neglected areas.

 

Dust off your credit report and score

If you’re planning to buy a home or make another major purchase, a good credit rating can be critical. Businesses also inspect your credit history when evaluating applications for insurance, employment, and even leases. With so much in the balance, it’s important to review your credit report for accuracy at least annually. Plus, it’s a good way to catch signs of identity theft.

Tips on Saving for Retirement

When it comes to saving for retirement, one of the most important things you can do is contribute to a retirement account. Whether it be $25, $500, or $1500 per month, getting started and automating the process is a huge first step.

The next step is to identify what type of account to contribute to.  

Employer Sponsored Plan vs. Individual Plan

Many people have access to an employer sponsored plan at work, most commonly a 401(k).  

 

Coordinating with Your Tax Professional and Financial Advisor

Many of us have questions about how the new tax law will affect us going forward - namely, will I be paying more or less tax?!

Here are a few things for you to keep in mind as you prepare to meet with your tax professional this year:

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017: What Taxpayers Need to Know

On December 22, 2017, the President signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (the act or TCJA). The legislation makes significant changes to the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), including individual, corporate, and gift and estate taxation.

 

Individual income tax changes

Although the act maintains seven tax brackets, these brackets will change.