10 Tips to Help Retired Couples Use Money Wisely

Sabrina Lowell / Sep 21, 2017 / Retirement Planning / Financial Planning

If you’re like most couples, you’ve dreamed big together about how you’ll enjoy your retirement, but you haven’t really addressed the specifics of how you’ll turn those dreams into reality. A NerdWallet survey found that while 76 percent of couples saving for retirement say they’ve discussed general decisions such as what age they want to retire and where they want to live, 30 percent say they don’t talk about how much money they will need to retire.

Communication about financial matters is important throughout your married life, including when you’re ready to retire. As you approach retirement, your money dialogue will evolve. Now, instead of just saving toward retirement, you’re beginning to develop a strategy for how to manage ongoing withdrawals from your portfolio, understanding how you’ll spend your nest egg, and knowing what you need to do to ensure it keeps growing so that it lasts for your lifetime. Discussions will grow to include health-related planning, and preparation for the possibility of one partner outliving the other.


Navigating Retirement Together: Tips to Help Retired Couples

As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM, I’ve worked with numerous couples who were entering or navigating retirement. Here are the 10 most important lessons I’ve learned from couples who’ve retired successfully—meaning they have enough money to fund the lifestyle they choose, and a plan in place to sustain themselves financially for the rest of their lives.


Data Breach Protection: Credit Freezing, Credit Locking, and Other Tips to Monitor Your Credit

Norm Boone / Sep 19, 2017 / Investments / Life Balance / Financial Planning

The widely-reported Equifax data breach affected 143 million United States consumers. The breach exposed names, Social Security numbers, addresses, birth dates, and driver’s license numbers—all critical pieces of information used by identity thieves to impersonate people and conduct fraud.

Let’s break down what you can do to keep a close eye on your information, now and moving forward.


Initiate a Credit Freeze

If you have been the victim of a stolen identity, you know that the onus is on you to proactively prove that you are not responsible for the things that someone else did in your name. It is an arduous and painstaking process.

In light of the recently reported Equifax data breach, one action we recommend is to consider freezing your credit at each of the three major credit reporting companies. Taking this step will make it much more difficult for identity thieves to obtain new credit in your name. Here’s how.


In The News: Effects of the Housing Bust, Overspending on Weddings

Mosaic / Sep 7, 2017 / Mosaic News

Mosaic experts wrote and were featured in financial news in August, weighing in on diverse topics such as:

  • Keeping wedding expenses from spiraling out of control, 
  • Traveling on a budget, 
  • Navigating the aftereffects of the housing bubble, and
  • Practical tips for investors who want to dabble in risky leveraged ETFs. 

 Read on:



Circle Roundup: Investment Risk & the “Sleep at Night” Factor

Mary Ballin / Aug 25, 2017 / Investments / Women's Events

Another successful Women’s Circle rounded out our financial understanding. This time, the Circle focused on tackling investment risk in a way that is optimal to reach long-term goals while still feeling comfortable with your everyday choices.

Market volatility can feel hard to experience emotionally, even potentially keeping you up worrying at night.

This can be overwhelming.

Risk is taken every time an investment is made, but what is the right level of risk for you, as an individual?

This post rounds up a few key tools, terms, and takeaways shared by Circle participants that can help bring you clarity.



Celebrating a great event with Jeffrey Kleintop

Mosaic / Aug 16, 2017 / Mosaic News

Recently, Mosaic hosted Jeffrey Kleintop, CFA and Chief Global Investment Strategist at Charles Schwab & Co, Inc, for an in-depth analysis and discussion of trends and events in the global markets and what they mean for U.S. investors. 


4 Money Conflict Resolution Tips for Established Couples

Sabrina Lowell / Aug 11, 2017 / Financial Planning

When it comes to counseling couples about money disagreements, there’s no lack of research to draw on. Plenty of studies and surveys point to the undeniable truth that money differences are a leading cause of strife in marriages.

There’s a study I’ve not yet seen but would like to: what money issues do couples fight about at different stages of their marriage? We can probably safely assume engaged couples tango over wedding expenses, while newlyweds struggle to merge their finances along with their households and lives. But what do couples who’ve been married for a decade or three argue about? What are sources of money strife in established marriages?

One Money magazine poll sheds some insight into which money issues generally cause the most conflict, regardless of the vintage of a couple’s marriage:

  • Frivolous spending tops their list, with 55% of respondents saying it is the money issue they fought over most. Interestingly, both sexes think their partner is more likely to make a wasteful purchase.
  • Saving is a point of contention for 37% of couples. Twenty-one percent cite deceit as a problem, while 22% admit to hiding expenditures from their spouses, mainly because they don’t want to hear a lecture over the purchase. In the planning world, we call this “financial infidelity.”

Married life can be quite complex, and couples in the “middle years” of marriage can have no lack of money concerns to squabble over. Each partner may have a career that requires an investment of time and money to continue developing.

If they have children, add in all the financial demands associated with parenthood, including teaching their kids financial literacy and saving for college. Established couples may also be taking care of aging parents; the financial burdens on members of the sandwich generation are well-documented and highly stress-inducing.

On top of all that, established couples have the daily challenge of running and funding a household, and the long-term goal of saving for retirement. What keeps their financial partnership strong? 


Money tips for established couples

My job as a financial planner is often part financial advisor, part relationship counselor. While I wouldn’t be comfortable advising clients on how to resolve marital issues, I can offer surprisingly simple yet effective insights into financial management strategies that I’ve seen work for couples who were experiencing conflict in their money management roles.

Here’s 4 money conflict resolution tips for established couples based on my experience. 


State of the Markets: An Economic Event for Clients and Friends

Mosaic / Aug 8, 2017 / Mosaic News

The global economy has become increasingly intertwined, through monetary policies, trade agreements, and geopolitics. What does this mean for American investors? 

On August 10th, join us to hear Jeffrey Kleintop, CFA, give an in-depth analysis, and discuss significant trends and events in the global markets.



In The News: Entrepreneurs Planning For Retirement, Saving VS. Debt

Mosaic / Aug 3, 2017 / Mosaic News

Mosaic experts wrote and were featured in financial news in July, weighing in on diverse topics such as:

  • Loans with high debt-to-income ratios,
  • Recognizing and dealing with elder abuse,
  • How immigrants can plan for retirement,
  • Crafting personal financial policies, and
  • Tax-savvy retirement tips for entrepreneurs

 Read on:



Financial Advice for Newlyweds: 5 Keys to Bliss

Sabrina Lowell / Aug 1, 2017 / Financial Planning

How long does the “honeymoon phase” last for newlyweds? A few weeks after coming home from the actual honeymoon? A few months?

Actually, for many people that blissful period when you’re totally in love with your new spouse can last up to two years, according to research published in Prevention Science.

How long you linger in that honeymoon phase depends on many factors, including how happy you were with each other before you got married.

However, one thing is certain—conflict over finances can help hasten the end of your newlywed bliss.

In fact, 35 percent of couples who report stress in their relationship say finances are the leading cause of friction, according to a 2015 study by SunTrust Bank. What’s more, past basic incompatibility and infidelity, arguments over money are the third-leading cause of divorce, according to the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts.


Keeping the love alive

It’s not uncommon for couples today to start their married lives with debt. If you’re like most newlyweds, you just dropped a boatload of money on your wedding. Unless you eloped, got a lot of financial help funding the wedding or saved like crazy when you were engaged, chances are your post-wedding finances are far from robust. Many people also have debt from before they were married, such as credit card balances or student loans.

All these factors can create the perfect environment for conflict over money to occur between couples, even if they’re otherwise happy.

Here's where I step in and offer financial advice for newlyweds based on my experience working with couples over the years.

Newlyweds who successfully manage money—and prevent it from interfering with their marital bliss—apply these five principles to their financial partnership:


Market Watch: Our Take on the Second Quarter of 2017

Mosaic / Jul 27, 2017 / Investments / Market Watch

Stocks have been doing very well, especially US markets, emerging markets, and the worlds developed economies. But what about interest rates and bond returns? And whats in store for the US economy?


Stocks enjoyed strong positive returns over the last 12 months, in both the US and overseas.

US markets, as represented by the S&P 500 Index, rose 17.9% in the last 12 months. Small US stocks were even better at 24.6% (Russell 2000).

The world’s developed economies, as represented by MSCI EAFE, rose 20.8% over the last year while small overseas companies were up 23.6%.

Emerging market stocks rose 24.2% year-to-date (MSCI Emerging Markets Index).

With interest rates rising, bond market returns over the past year have been impacted and most bond indexes were slightly negative.

Economists believe that inflation will remain benign for the immediate future, and that interest rate increases from the Fed will likely be implemented slowly, with careful consideration.

Given the variety of alternative strategies we hold, inevitably some performed better than others during this period. The category as a whole was comfortably positive. Among the leaders were timber and business development companies.

More inside the issue, including a breakdown of current economic factors influencing the markets:

Click here for the full issue.



Self-Employed Retirement Planning: Individual 401(k) or SEP IRA?

Liz Revenko / Jul 25, 2017 / Retirement Planning

Working for yourself can be pretty great. As the boss, you can set the dress code at “jammies.” While you miss out on having a 401(k) plan set up for you (along with an HR department reminding you to make contributions), you can take care of those things pretty simply yourself. And you should, because as a self-employed worker, you have access to more and better retirement plan options than most people who are working for someone else.

Two of the most popular retirement savings accounts for the self-employed are Individual 401(k)s, otherwise known as Solo 401(k)s, and SEP IRAs. You’ve probably heard of both of these. Which is best for your situation?


Before the Wedding: 7 Steps to Financial Harmony for Engaged Couples

Sabrina Lowell / Jul 18, 2017 / Financial Planning

Marriage joins two people in a commitment to build a life together, but if you’ve recently become engaged, you’re probably realizing that the union of your money-management tasks starts well before you say your vows. Planning a wedding, honeymoon, and your life afterward involves numerous decisions, many of them financial in nature.

How much will you spend on the wedding? Will you have it in a church (less expensive), a reception hall (more expensive) or somewhere like a destination resort (big bucks)? What will be the price tag for your dress and who will pay for it? Where will you go on your honeymoon? Where will you live afterward and how much will you pay for rent or mortgage? As far as taxes go, are you prepared for the marriage penalty?

Are these questions making you consider eloping?

According to a 2016 survey by The Knot, the average cost of a wedding in San Francisco now tops $42,716. For the average wedding nationwide, the bride’s parents pay 44 percent of the total budget, the bride and groom pony up 42 percent and the groom’s parents get off easy with a 13 percent contribution, the Knot found. Just 10 percent of couples paid the entire costs for their weddings, and even fewer—8 percent—had the entire wedding paid for by others. If you head into your nuptials without a plan for how you will pay for them, you could end up with wedding-related debt that lingers long after the honeymoon is over.

Taking control of your joint finances now can help you establish a sound and stable financial foundation for your future together.

Here are seven things for every couple to engage in before the wedding:



Upcoming Women’s Circles: Investment Risk Tolerance

Liz Revenko / Jul 11, 2017 / Women's Events

You take on risk whenever you make an investment, but what is the right level of risk for you? It’s a financial decision, but you can’t ignore the emotional components.

Just how do you feel about risk, anyway?


In The News: Financial Coaching, Earthquake Insurance, ETFs and More

Mosaic / Jul 6, 2017 / Mosaic News

Mosaic experts wrote and were featured in financial news in June, weighing in on diverse topics such as:

  • The world's most expensive ETF,
  • Considerations for earthquake insurance, 
  • Financial coaching gaining traction, and
  • An ongoing debate between certified financial planners about who should have control when it comes to defining goals (spoiler: Mosaic says its the client).

 Read on:



Moving In Together - Financial Advice Starts with Money Talk

Sabrina Lowell / Jun 27, 2017 / Women's Issues / Financial Planning

You’ve learned a lot about each other in the time you’ve been dating, and you agree you’re ready to take your relationship to the next level.

You don’t feel ready for marriage or formal partnership yet, however, so you decide to live together. Combining households, whether you're married or not, means you’ll need to address financial questions like shared bills, housing costs and saving for the future.

You’ll need to learn to merge money-management styles, designate responsibilities and establish shared goals—all in close quarters and while keeping the love alive!

When it comes to moving in together - financial advice starts with money talk. Here are four elements to consider.