Compass Newsletter for April 2010 - Financial Planning for Baby Boomers Starts Here


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The Compass monthly e-newsletter is compliments of Quest Financial Services, a fee-for-service Registered Investment Advisor that helps Baby Boomers prepare for all of life's transitions from family finances through retirement.

The newsletter is a financial educational resource on a range of topics regarding retirement planning, IRA and self-directed IRA strategies, college funding, investment strategies using active as well as passive models and transition planning for business owners including divorce, estate planning and asset protection for their busines and their families.

Published in: Economy & Finance
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Compass Newsletter for April 2010 - Financial Planning for Baby Boomers Starts Here

  1. 1. Q u e st F in a n c i a l S e r v i c e s , I n c . T HE C OMPASS Preparing You For the Road Ahead Living a No-Debt Lifestyle—First Steps by Steve Stanganelli, CFP ® Volume 7 Issue 4 Any financial planning process begins with necessary changes in financial behavior. The de- gree of change varies based on financial priorities, but in the end, it’s about adopting good April 2010 habits and abandoning bad ones. T H I S I S S U E: Before you take any of the following steps, it makes sense to talk to an expert who can help you see your whole financial picture. That’s where a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER Living a No Debt Life- 1 ™ Professional can help. style In the meantime, here are some ideas: Avoiding These Cash 1 Mistakes Start with nickels and dimes: You can’t wish your way out of debt – it takes cash. And re- Retirement Seminar held covery literally can start with loose change. If you’ve never done a real budget, it’s time. That at Quest Office third means tracking every cent of your spending either online ( is a free online website Wednesday of every that offers some unique expense-tracking tools) or on paper. Once you see what’s left in your month—see details on wallet in the last month, start cutting non-essential spending like designer coffee, takeout and deluxe cable and start applying that extra cash to the highest-rate, non-deductible debt you have. Seeing everything you spend in black and white is the first step in changing your rela- Important Financial Dates tionship with money for a lifetime. Attack the highest-rate debt first: In most households, this means attack the credit card bal- April 15 th ances. While February’s credit card reform law has given borrowers a slight boost by applying (or May 11 for certain areas monthly payments to highest-rate balances within every credit card statement, it won’t matter in Massachusetts due to much unless you begin paying more on each than the minimum balance. Zero in on your flood declaration) highest-rate cards first paying more than the minimum and then work downward.  File Personal, Partnership, Trust/Estate returns (or ex- (Continued on Page 2) tensions)  Federal 1st quarter estimated Are You Making These Cash Mistakes? taxes due  IRA Contributions Due A majority of Americans reported cutting back on their spending in 2009. Fifty-six percent said they were eating in restaurants less often, 59% were spending less on vacations, and 36% postponed an auto purchase. In all, 76% said they had cut back in at least one area.1 So, it’s not surprising that the personal saving rate has been running higher than normal. Join us on Saturdays from 9 It even hit 6% in May 2009, the highest point during this century.2 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. on 104.9 FM Spending less and saving more is always a good idea, but what should you do with the money you save? Here are some common mistakes to avoid if you have been stockpil- Free Rollover Helpline ing your cash. 888-323-3456 Locking It in Too Long Certificates of deposit are a popular place to park money for the short term, but locking in your cash for years when rates are low means you may not be able to change course if conditions improve. Although inflation has been fairly low, many economists believe it could make a resurgence in the next few years. Inflation is bad (Continued on Page 2)
  2. 2. Page 2 Volume 7, Issue 4 Living a No Debt Lifestyle Starts With These Steps (continued from page 1) Refinance if you can: Mortgage rates are still at histori- cally low levels. You’ll need at least 10 percent equity in your home and a credit score exceeding at least 740 (out of 850) to qualify for the best rates, but negotiating with your current lender first is a great place to start. Make debt-fighting a family lesson: When you’re talking to kids about budgeting and lowering your expenses, you have to walk a fine line between discipline and fear. But setting money priorities is part of growing up, and it’s es- sential to discuss and agree upon them as a family. Set some post-debt money goals: Getting out of debt means you’ll be in for an extended period of frugality, and that might be a bit depressing. But as you battle your bal- ances, make some time to really think about what you want to do with your life after the debt is gone. Having a debt- free lifestyle doesn’t stop at having zero balances. Being debt-free is the gateway to better money management that will help you reach your dreams. Shop differently: Keep a centralized shopping list on a big sheet of paper that lets you see all the spending you feel you have to do, and then try to handle it during one organ- ized trip. Seeing everything in front of you will make it eas- ier to prioritize what you really need and what you don’t. Are You Making these Cash Mistakes? (continued from page 1) Playing It Too Safe news for consumers but good news for fixed-income inves- FDIC-insured savings accounts offer a safer way to tors because they can benefit when interest rates rise. If you preserve your principal, usually in exchange for a low want to put your cash in CDs, consider those with shorter return. In fact, the long-term effects of taxes and infla- maturities; they pay lower interest rates but don’t carry a high tion could actually reduce your money’s spending opportunity cost. FDIC-insured CDs generally provide a power over the long term. A little money in the bank fixed rate of return. is essential, but it may be a good idea to put larger Not Paying Off Debt sums to work. If you have significant personal debt, it’s usually a good idea It may be comforting to have a cash position, but to pay it down before you start building a cash reserve. Al- keeping too much in cash alternatives could result in a though you probably shouldn’t send every last penny to your lower-than-expected nest egg. If you’ve got some cash creditors, keep in mind that interest expenses actually slow on the sidelines, consider whether it’s working hard your ability to save money. The sooner you pay off your enough to help you pursue your future goals. debts, the more you can devote to building the cash in your portfolio. 1) The Pew Research Center, 2009 2) Bureau of Economic Analysis, 2009 For a more comprehensive discussion about how a debt and cash management plan can be tailored to meet your needs, please call Steve directly at 888-323-3456 or email  We Offer Flexible Planning Programs. Ask About Our NEW Advisor-on-Call Program The Quest Team includes two CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER ™ Professionals. Bob Dubee and Steve Stanganelli offer conflict-free, independent and objective advice on a full range of challenges you may face:  College Planning Strategies, Divorce Settlement Analysis, Evaluating Mortgage Loan Options, Elder Care Options The Compass is produced by Quest Financial Services, Inc. for the benefit of its clients. Although the information herein is gathered from reliable sources, readers should not act upon it without professional advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Examples with hypothetical returns illustrated are not representative of a specific investment. Quest Financial Services, Inc., Lynnfield Office Park, Building 2, 40 Salem St., Lynnfield, MA 01940 Tel: 888 323-3456 Fax: 781 246-2787 Email: Website: