How To Protect Your Finances In Uncertain Times

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I hope you had a wonderful weekend! Are you going to watch the NCAA championship basketball game tonight?

LRPC’s Monday Morning Minute for this week, “How To Protect Your Finances In Uncertain Times” (presented below) comes to you courtesy of Charles Schwab & Co. As an independent, objective Registered Investment Advisory firm, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC has access to research from many sources. Be assured that I will share enlightening, useful information with you each week.

We always seem to be living in uncertain financial times. Take a look at the suggestions provided by the folks at Charles Schwab below to protect your finances.

Have a wonderful week!

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How To Protect Your Finances In Uncertain Times

By Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, Charles Schwab & Co.

Key points

  • Apprehension about how political and economic changes may affect your wallet is understandable.
  • In times of uncertainty, you can prepare yourself by sticking to some time-tested basics of money management.
  • Here are some practical things you can do to not only protect your money but also to help it grow.

I’m getting a lot of questions from readers who are understandably apprehensive about what’s in store for their money in this year. So much is up in the air: taxes, interest rates, health care choices and costs, the future of Medicare and Social Security. All of these things have the potential to impact the economy, the financial markets — and our wallets.

But here’s some good news. Although we can’t predict or control the future, we can prepare ourselves by sticking to some time-tested basics of money management. After all, even though we may not be aware of it, we all live with uncertainty every day.  Always have, always will.

The best way I know to feel more in control is to take action. So here are some thoughts on things you can do to help ease your anxiety. Even as market forces change, these principles hold true. In fact, it’s in times of uncertainty that they’re probably the most valuable of all. [Read more…]

Six Critical Rules For Successful Retirement Investing

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MMM Newsletter and Website Header 10.2.15I hope you had a great weekend! The kids are now done with school for the summer — look out!

LRPC’s Monday Morning Minute for this week, “Six Critical Rules For Successful Retirement Investing” (presented below) comes to you courtesy of Jean Folger. As an independent, objective Registered Investment Advisory (RIA) firm, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC has access to research from many sources. Be assured that I will share the most relevant information with you each week. If you are short on time, make sure you review each of the six rules highlighted below.

Everyone should be aware of the rules of retirement investing (I think Rule #6 may be the most important). Take a look below at Jean Folger’s thoughts on how you should invest for your retirement. Ms. Folger is an award-winning author of investment planning books.

Have a wonderful week!

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Six Critical Rules For Successful Retirement Investing

By Jean Folger

Retirement planning is the process of identifying your long-term income, determining your intended lifestyle and defining how to reach those goals. When planning for retirement, you’ll need to consider a variety of factors, such as when you’ll retire, where you’ll live and what you’ll do.

Keep in mind with each additional year you hope to retire early, your investment needs greatly increase. Also consider the difference in cost of living between cities, or even among neighboring zip codes. Add on daily expenses, medical expenses, vacations and emergencies, and you begin to see how the costs of retirement add up.

Your retirement goals will rest largely on the income you can expect during your retirement, and will likely evolve as your ideals, risk tolerance and investment horizon change. While specific investing “rule of thumb” guidelines (like “You need 20 times your gross annual income to retire” or “Save and invest 10% of your pre-tax income) are helpful, it’s important to step back and look at the big picture. Consider these six essential rules for truly smart retirement investing. [Read more…]

Five New Year’s Resolutions To Get Your Finances In Shape

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MMM Newsletter and Website Header 10.2.15
Happy New Year!

LRPC’s Monday Morning Minute for this week, “Five New Year’s Resolutions To Get Your Finances In Shape” (presented below) comes to you courtesy of Schwab. As an independent, objective Registered Investment Advisory firm, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC has access to research from many sources. Be assured that I will share the most relevant information with you each week. If you are short on time, make sure you review the Key Points and major headings below.

Start the New Year out right — resolve to improve your personal financial situation by reviewing Schwab’s recommendations below.

Have a wonderful week!

_______________________________

 Five New Year’s Resolutions
To Get Your Finances In Shape

By Rande Spiegelman, Charles Schwab & Company

Key points

  • The New Year is a great time to reevaluate where you stand financially.
  • Consider these five resolutions to reshape your finances in 2015, including tips on budgeting, estate planning and more.

It wouldn’t be the New Year without resolutions. But whether it’s trimming your waistline or firming your financial profile, the key isn’t making the list, it’s sticking with it. Here are five steps to get you started on the road to financial fitness. [Read more…]

Ten Ways To Save More For Retirement

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MMM Newsletter and Website Header 10.2.15
I hope you had a great weekend. The leaves are at their peak color here in Wisconsin!

LRPC’s Monday Morning Minute for this week, “Ten Ways To Save More For Retirement” (presented below) comes to you courtesy of Schwab. As an independent, objective Registered Investment Advisory firm, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC has access to research from many sources. Be assured that I will share the most relevant information with you each week. This is a short piece that I believe everyone can finish in less than a minute.

We all struggle with retirement savings. None of us is probably saving enough. Maybe one of these suggestions can help you save more.

Have a wonderful week!

______________________________

Ten Ways To Save More For Retirement

By Rande Spiegelman, Charles Schwab & Company

Key points

  • If your risk tolerance is conservative to moderate, consider aiming for a portfolio that’s approximately 25 times as large as your withdrawal during the first year of retirement.
  • If you’re behind on your retirement savings, your options include saving more now, spending less in retirement, retiring later or working part-time after you retire.
  • Avoid ramping up your portfolio risk or assuming your investments will produce an overly optimistic rate of return.

[Read more…]

How To Measure Progress Toward Your Investment Goals

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MMM Newsletter and Website Header 10.2.15
I hope you had a great weekend!

LRPC’s Monday Morning Minute for this week, How To Measure Progress Toward Your Investment Goals (presented below) comes to you courtesy of Schwab. As an independent, objective Registered Investment Advisory firm, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC has access to research from many sources. Be assured that I will share the most relevant information with you each week.

Some simple steps to help you determine how you are doing with your personal savings and investment goals. Scan the four steps below if you are short on time.

Have a wonderful week!

_______________________________

How To Measure Progress Toward Your Investment Goals

By: Rande Spiegelman

Key points

  • Compare your returns to the appropriate benchmarks to assess your portfolio’s performance.
  • Cash flow statements can reveal whether you’re on track to meet your long-term investment goals.

For U.S. stock investors, the year 2013 came in above the long-term historical averages, with the broad-based S&P 500® Index up 32.4% on a total return (dividends and appreciation) basis. As usual, some categories did better than others, with diversified international stocks returning 22.8% while intermediate domestic bonds lost 2.0% (MSCI EAFE® Index Net of Taxes and Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index, respectively).

But how did your portfolio do? And more importantly, what progress did you make toward your long-term financial goals? While investment performance is important, long-term financial success depends on a lot more than what “the market” does from year to year. Below, we’ll walk through four key steps to help you understand just how you’re doing vis-à-vis the market and your financial goals.

[Read more…]

Five Commonly Overlooked Tax Planning Strategies

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MMM Newsletter and Website Header 10.2.15
I hope you had a great weekend!

LRPC’s Monday Morning Minute for this week, “Five Commonly Overlooked Tax Planning Strategies” (presented below) comes to you courtesy of ThinkAdvisor. As an independent, objective Registered Investment Advisory firm, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC has access to research from many sources. Be assured that I will share the most relevant information with you each week.

You may wish to quickly review the 5 items highlighted below to see if you can benefit from their use this year. This is a fairly short piece that I think most readers can get through in less than 60 seconds.

Have a wonderful week!

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Five Commonly Overlooked Tax Planning Strategies

By: Carleton English

I assume many of you took advantage of forced time indoors from record snowfalls this winter to get an early start on your taxes. Surely, I’m not the only one who delights in organizing my tax information and paperwork at the start of the New Year? For those of you who have yet to scan your W-2s and 1099s, here are a few tips that will make the road to April 15 less painful and will potentially save you money. [Read more…]

Does Market Timing Work?

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MMM Newsletter and Website Header 10.2.15
I hope you had a great weekend!

LRPC’s Monday Morning Minute for this week, “Does Market Timing Work?” (presented below) comes to you courtesy of Schwab. As an independent, objective Registered Investment Advisory firm, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC has access to research from many sources. Be assured that I will share the most relevant information with you each week. To keep your time with this piece to the promised minute, review the first few paragraphs immediately below.

Many investors believe that picking the right moment to invest in the stock market is crucial. Is it really? Read on below to find out!

Have a wonderful week!

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Does Market Timing Work?

By: Mark W. Riepe, Senior Vice President, Schwab Center for Financial Research

Imagine for a moment that you’ve just received a year-end bonus or income tax refund. You’re not sure whether to invest now or wait. After all, the market recently hit an all-time high. Now imagine that you face this kind of decision every year – sometimes in up markets, other times in downturns. Is there a good rule of thumb to follow?

Our research shows that the cost of waiting for the perfect moment to invest exceeds the benefit of even perfect timing. And because timing the market perfectly is, well, about as likely as winning the lottery, the best strategy for most of us mere mortal investors is not to try to market-time at all. Instead, make a plan and invest as soon as possible.

[Read more…]

Five New Year’s Financial Resolutions You Should Make

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MMM Newsletter and Website Header 10.2.15
I hope you had a great weekend!

LRPC’s Monday Morning Minute for this week, “Five New Year’s Financial Resolutions You Should Make” (presented below) comes to you courtesy of Schwab. As an independent, objective Registered Investment Advisory firm, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC has access to research from many sources. Be assured that I will share the most relevant information with you each week. To keep your time with this piece to the promised minute, scan the Resolutions headings to see if any are of interest.

Everyone should take a hard look at their financial plans at least once per year. Most of us tend to do that around year-end as we review what happened in the old year and resolve to do better in the new. Before you sit down to review your situation, take a look at the checklist provided below to ensure that you don’t miss anything.

Have a wonderful week!

_______________________________

Five New Year’s Financial Resolutions You Should Make

By: Rande Spiegelman, Vice President, Schwab Center for Financial Research

Key points

  • The New Year is a great time to reevaluate where you stand financially.
  • Consider these five resolutions to reshape your finances in 2014, including tips on budgeting, estate planning and more.

It wouldn’t be the New Year without resolutions. But whether it’s trimming your waistline or firming your financial profile, the key isn’t making the list, it’s sticking with it! Here are five steps to get you started on the road to financial fitness.

[Read more…]

Got Kids? Make Life A Little Easier With This Financial Checklist

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MMM Newsletter and Website Header 10.2.15
I hope you had a great weekend!

LRPC’s Monday Morning Minute for this week, “Got Kids? Make Life A Little Easier With This Financial Checklist” (presented below) comes to you courtesy of Schwab. As an independent, objective Registered Investment Advisory firm, Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC has access to research from many sources. Be assured that I will share the most relevant information with you each week. This is a short piece that I believe most readers can complete in less than a minute.

Many of you that have kids have probably checked a number of these points off already. Those thinking about having children might find the list helpful from a preparation standpoint. Anyone with children is probably not surprised to learn that children are expensive. According to Schwab, it costs about a quarter million to raise each child.

Have a wonderful week!

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Got Kids? Make Life A Little Easier With This Financial Checklist

By: Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, President, Charles Schwab Foundation

There’s no doubt that having a child is a huge financial responsibility. A United States Department of Agriculture report released in 2012 estimated that it costs around $241,000 to raise a child these days. That may sound unbelievable, but when you consider the rising costs of everything from food to gas to childcare — not to mention education — this estimate is probably realistic.

But being prepared for the financial realities of a new baby isn’t just about having enough money tucked away. It’s also about taking the steps necessary to protect your child and yourselves from unforeseen economic challenges. With a little planning, you can make smart financial decisions that put your growing family on a path toward financial security. Here’s a financial checklist that every parent should follow for greater economic stability and overall peace of mind: [Read more…]