News & Events

Your Money or Your Life

Your Money or Your Life

By Michael Velazquez

Many of you will remember Jack Benny, the deadpan comedian. Jack was famous for acting out a story of a holdup. He was robbed at gunpoint and the thief was not joking as he uttered: “Your money or your life!”. Jack would look at the camera in his inimitable style, sigh and put his right hand to his face. When the thief showed impatience at his lack of response, he nudged him with the barrel of the gun, and asked: “Well?”. Jack replied: “I’m thinking, I’m thinking”. Humor aside, I think most of us would consider this an easy decision.

Being Perplexed

“You cannot score a goal when you are sitting on the bench.

To do so, you have to dress up and enter the game.”

Israelmore Ayivor

Being Perplexed

by Carol Duschinsky

“What to do, what to do, what to do?” We have all been there. The dilemma of making a decision. The big fear shrouding our brains. “What if I make a mistake?” Well what if you do? Really, are most consequences so permanent that if you do make a mistake you can’t alter your course and start again? Think of it this way – this time you will have a better opportunity to be successful, because you already know what does not work. People usually take one of 2 paths – The Lone Wolf – he/she does all his own research and models himself as a do it yourselfer in everything. Or, The Advice Seeker – he/she gets advice from everybody qualified or not, and can very easily get derailed. Believe it or not there is an art to the process of making a decision.

Tax Cuts Jobs Act: Surviving the New Tax Law

 

Tax Cuts Jobs Act: Surviving the New Tax Law

By Michael Velazquez

Unless you have been on another planet or in the witness protection program, you have heard by now that there is a new tax law, effective January 1, 2018. Along with this law, there are a series of sweeping changes, too many to go into here, so instead I am offering a common-sense survival guide.

All the Money in the World

 

All the Money in the World

By Michael Velazquez

If you love good movies like I do, you want to see this one: All the Money in the World is directed by Ridley Scott (Gladiator, Alien, many others) and stars Christopher Plummer, Michelle Williams and Mark Wahlberg. It is a compelling story about J Paul Getty, who at the time of his death in the 70’s, was by far not only the richest person on earth (the world’s first billionaire) but also the richest person throughout all of history to date, hence the title.

Perhaps best-known today for the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, Mr. Getty was chiefly responsible for developing oil reserves in Saudi Arabia, and then the “super tankers” that transported the oil. He was an infamous miser as well, once boasting in the media that he installed a pay phone in his mansion for the courtesy of his guests. He was also a voracious art collector which leads to the point of this piece.

Managing Liabilities: Paying for College

Managing Liabilities: Paying for College

By Michael Velazquez

In recent issues of this forum I have written about the importance of handling your credit wisely, properly using your credit cards and understanding the information on your credit reports as well as your FICO score. These topics have to do with the other side of your net worth statement: your liabilities. Today, it’s student loan debt.

First, a little context may be useful.

Career and Family – The Tug of War

“The woman I was yesterday, introduced me to the woman I am today;

which makes me very excited about meeting the woman I will become tomorrow.”

Unknown author

Career and Family – The Tug of War

by Carol Duschinsky

This used to be a women’s only issue, but times have changed. Men today are more involved with domestic life on-the-whole and they share some stress over the concerns raised when it is decided to have a family. There are Federal and Individual State laws that apply, to both the mother and the father, but the tug of war between Career and Family is still mainly a women’s issue. The “Leave It To Beaver”  household as shown on TV in the late 50’s. where the father goes off to work and the mother stays home to rule the roost and raise the children has diminished to a small % of the population. Lots of reasons for this. Cost of living, a desire to achieve outside of the home for both females and males, more women obtaining higher education, and the shifting of role responsibilities that has evolved over the decades as well as the number of single parent homes. And so there we come face to face with the big question – Is it possible for women to have it all? Will having a family damage her career, and will her career damage her family life?

Retirement is not Rocket Science

 

Retirement is not Rocket Science

By Michael Velazquez

Predicting Your Financial Future

“The best way to predict the future is to create it”

(credited to Abraham Lincoln and Peter Drucker)

Predicting Your Financial Future

By Michael Velazquez

Can you predict the future? I suspect most of you reading this would say no. For those that would say yes, perhaps you need some therapy (humor intended).

What if I asked you: “do you feel connected to your financial future?” Behavioral finance, like any young science or field of knowledge, is a work in progress. It is now moving into its second generation and attracting bright young minds furthering our collective cause in this space. Two such individuals at Kansas State University have just published a study that suggests we might be able to predict our financial future, or at least impact it depending on our ability to visualize our future financial self. The more vividly we can imagine our future financial self, or the more connected we are to that mental model, and the related details of financial goals, the more we influence behavioral changes that will make it more likely we will accomplish those goals.

Your Credit Cards

Your Credit Cards

Credit cards are like cars. If you use them too much too fast, you get a ticket and have to go to court and your insurance goes up (your credit gets dinged). If you don’t use them enough, they get rusty and the motor goes stale (your credit gets dinged). If you tend to think of a credit card as free money, you may be surprised when you don’t have the money to pay the balance, with interest added; how could you, when you didn't have the money to begin with – the whole reason you used the credit card! This means a bigger portion of your payments are going to interest and the balance keeps growing and growing.

A Woman’s Point of View – Suddenly Being Alone

“I am woman hear me roar.”

Lyrics from song sung by Helen Reddy

A Woman’s Point of View – Suddenly Being Alone

by Carol Duschinsky

In today’s world so many women suddenly find themselves alone, without a partner. This change arises from the death of a spouse, a divorce, or a long-term live-in relationship suddenly ended. Whatever the reason, the period following, the adjustment period is now a reality, and for most women a period of uncertainty and fear. Most women’s distress are on two levels, emotional distress and financial distress. Both need to be dealt with and faced. This is so foreign. Being the only one to evaluate and make decisions. This topic can lead to a very lengthy and complicated article, so I am going to get to the healing process, at least the healing process from my point of view.  So, to begin, ask yourself “what would you do if you were not afraid?”

Dealing with emotional distress –

Most women are more social than men. They develop deeper girlfriend relationships, and because they are usually the nurturers are closer to their children on an emotional level. So, lean on those relationships and be with people instead of grieving alone and letting all the negatives overwhelm you. But, don’t just go to them to dump all your challenges, share their friendship. Listen to their stories, laugh with them, and at times yes, cry with them. You will find that in sharing in their lives too, will result in less mental anguish about your own life.

Realize that you are learning to cope without a partner to talk it out with. Build your confidence take control. You are still you, the girl you were before you had a partner. Recall those attributes and start exercising them in your daily life. This could take some dusting off. It is natural that couples adopt a role that each play in the relationship. Now you will have the only role.