4 Ways to Save Your Retirement from Lifestyle Creep

Sheila Schroeder / Jul 12, 2018 / Life Balance / Financial Planning

As we become more financially successful, many of us may find ourselves living large without quite knowing how we got there. Sometimes we find that things we once wanted have now become “needs.” As a result, though our paychecks are bigger, so too are our expenses—and this can have a real impact on meeting our personal financial goals.

Lifestyle creep, otherwise known as lifestyle inflation, occurs when your standard of living improves as your discretionary income rises. Like ivy growing up a tree, if it gets out of control, it can choke your budget. 

Read on for 4 concepts to help you navigate the creep.


6 Ways to Combat 'Bag Lady Syndrome'

Liz Revenko / Jun 7, 2018 / Retirement Planning / Saving, Budgeting and Debt Management / Women's Issues / Life Balance / Financial Planning

Women worry more than men about their financial security, according to an annual nationwide survey by the American Psychological Association and Harris. Nearly a third of women polled say they worry about finances all or most of the time, and nearly half reported stress in struggling to pay for basics. In addition, in a 2013 study by Allianz, almost half of women reported that they “sometimes” or “often” fear losing all their money and becoming homeless.

Extreme anxiety over finances is common enough among women that it has been dubbed “bag lady syndrome.” What is bag lady syndrome? This definition represents the fear of running out of money, losing your home and ending up destitute and alone, save for some plastic shopping bags stuffed with whatever you can carry.

This anxiety can erode a woman’s mental and physical well-being, place strain on her relationships, affect her career and even create the very situation she fears, no matter how money-savvy she really is. It can make a woman feel alone.


Valentines Day relationship resources that last longer than flowers

Sabrina Lowell / Feb 14, 2018 / Saving, Budgeting and Debt Management / Life Balance

Tired of giving the same old gifts to your valentine year after year?

Supplement the heart-shaped chocolates, red roses, and mylar balloons with an offering that displays a little more depth: financial literacy.


Life is short: Build a milestone fund as a targeted savings account

Sheila Schroeder / Oct 25, 2017 / Life Balance / Financial Planning

My uncle died yesterday. He was 88. His funeral is in Tokyo, this weekend, and Im going.  Funerals are important. So, too, are weddings, baby showers, birthdays, holidays, graduations, family reunions...  All of these events are about celebrating life: past, present or future. They mark the high and low points in our lives.

My milestone fund ensures I’ll be able to fly across the world for my uncle's funeral in a few days, and I wont be dipping into my emergency fund or accruing sudden credit card debt I cant immediately cover in order to pay for it.

This article discusses 4 steps to build your own milestone fund, so you’ll never miss life’s important moments.

We've also got an infographic featuring tips for using targeted savings accounts to help you decide whether this tactic may work for your needs.


Spotlight on Steve Branton, ADPA, CFP®

Mosaic / Sep 26, 2017 / Mosaic News / Life Balance

One of the core elements to Mosaic’s success is our team. Read on about how Senior Financial Planner Steve Branton, ADPA, CFP® shapes his focus based on passion and experience.



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.


Money Advice from Mom: Learn Self-Reliance

Mary Ballin / May 13, 2017 / Life Balance / Financial Planning

As busy as women are, they should not completely abdicate the responsibility of making financial decisions to their significant other.  This “traditional” thinking needs to catch up with the times. 

Both parties need to be in the know” because you never know what life will throw at you, leaving you to handle it all yourself.

I look back on my life and I realize that my mother was a strong influence on me.  She was a Depression era woman, born in 1925. She came from a family where daughters weren’t educated because they were simply expected to get married and have babies.  She married my father at 19 just before he was sent off to fight in WW2. It all worked out fine for my mother.  As a couple, they had a typical division of work for their generation.  Daddy took care of the family financially, and Momma took care of the house, my siblings and me.  I am the youngest of four children and my parents had been married for 66 years when my mother passed away. 



6 Timeless Interior Design Tips

Mosaic / Mar 14, 2017 / Life Balance

We’re firm believers in cost-conscious lifestyle choices, and updating your house’s interior design is no different. Some of your design choices may add to your home’s value; all of them will add to your experience living there, whether you're in a starter house, vacation house, or your dream house.

In this post, San Francisco realtor Emily Beaven presents 6 tips for a framework that can help you beat design overload and get started.

From Pinterest to design blogs and yearly “hot lists,” it can be exhausting and expensive to keep your home “on trend.” Stick with these 6 timeless interior design tips to create the framework for a look that you can update easily over the years. 



6 Tips for Buying a Starter Home in the Bay Area

Steve Branton / Mar 7, 2017 / Life Balance / Financial Planning

The San Francisco Bay Area has many advantages for potential homeowners—including beautiful scenery, a vibrant arts scene and proximity to some of the country’s best-paying jobs—but our housing prices aren’t among them.

A recent Business Insider survey found that 12 of the 25 most expensive housing markets in the United States are in the Bay Area, including seven of the top 10.

San Francisco is the major city with the most expensive housing market; a four-bedroom, two-bathroom home costs an average of $1.67 million.

Perhaps surprisingly, I think it’s possible to find a home in the Bay Area, even if you’re not a hot tech multi-millionaire (yet). In my experience advising clients, I’ve witnessed some effective, basic tactics that can help with buying a starter home in the Bay Area.

Here are six to keep in mind.


Spotlight on Geoff Zimmerman, CFP®

Mosaic / Feb 16, 2017 / Mosaic News / Life Balance

One of the core elements to Mosaic's success is our team. This post highlights Geoff Zimmerman, CFP®, and reveals how those pesky word problems from math class shaped his career, and how his family shapes his ideal retirement:


What brings you to Mosaic?

I joined Mosaic in 2007. I felt, according to my research, that Mosaic was one of a very few firms who I felt did financial planning ‘right’—recognized as leaders in our industry, fee-only, fewer conflicts of interest, all members of the professional staff had to be CFP® practitioners, or actively working toward the designation.

What do you bring to Mosaic?

The process of planning ahead for important events is one of my fundamental beliefs. I appreciate—and I believe our clients really appreciate—the time and the thoroughness of our planning approach.  I feel very fortunate that I get to do what I love to do; I find the work exciting, stimulating, sometimes challenging, and there is opportunity to be creative.   


Happy New Year: Thriving Through Shared Core Values

Liz Revenko / Dec 29, 2016 / Mosaic News / Saving, Budgeting and Debt Management / Life Balance

My parents got married at year end fifty years ago. In a blizzard. Here is a great photo of my snow-covered mother grinning through a mouthful of wind-blown veil as she edges down slippery stairs and into the limo, wearing gum boots generously given up by the driver:

Five decades together doesn’t come without challenges, financial and otherwise. (E.G., My sister and I were once teens. Shudder. Mom and Dad: apologies.)


Don't Let Holiday Gift Giving Derail Your Long-Term Planning Goals

Steve Branton / Dec 22, 2016 / Life Balance / Financial Planning

Now that we’re in the thick of the holiday season, it’s a good time to think about how much you really had available to spend this year on gift giving. Although delighting your loved ones with gifts can be exciting, no one likes a credit card hangover in January, or the feeling of having overextended yourself at the expense of your own long-term planning goals.

Think about how much you’ve spent on gifts this year. (Yes, bringing a bottle of wine to a holiday party counts.) Are there any gifts still left on your list?

But you need not sink into debt in pursuit of the holiday spirit. Here are some ways to set cash aside for gifts so you’ll be prepared for next year, and can focus more on the jolly and less on the coal.


12 Resources for Home Caregivers, Including Senior Care Advice

Mosaic / Dec 20, 2016 / Life Balance / Financial Planning

If you provide home-based care to a loved one, you are not alone. Millions of Americans provide unpaid family care every year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in their 2015 American Time Use Survey. The time spent providing care, on days elder care was provided, averaged to about three and a half hours. That’s a considerable commitment on any given day.

Being a caregiver can be overwhelming, particularly if you are juggling other responsibilities, such as working or raising a family. Emotional support is a big part of caregiving, especially when it's someone you love who is relying on you in this way. Knowing where to turn for help can make a difference—both in the quality of care your loved one receives and in lessening the stress and responsibilities on you. Here’s a list of reputable resources for home caregivers, including senior care advice (also known as eldercare).


Deciding What to Do With the Family Home After Divorce

Mary Ballin / Nov 15, 2016 / Women's Issues / Life Balance / Financial Planning

The family house is where you create and store memories. Family gathers for the holidays, babies come home from the hospital, children and pets rampage through the backyard and much more. It is the place that we retreat to when we are tired or sick. It is home.

But when a couple decides to divorce, they must figure out what to do with the house. You must weigh the pros and cons before making a decision that could be financially harmful to you down the road.

Here are key financial issues you must consider when deciding what to do with the house:


Better Balance in all your Personal Financial Partnerships

Liz Revenko / Nov 8, 2016 / Women's Issues / Life Balance / Financial Planning

When you hear the phrase “financial partnership,” you might instantly think of the relationship you have with your banker, investment advisor, or business associate. But what about your romantic partner, kids, parents, and friends? Finances can and do impact these other relationships in your life, arguably in deeper and more important ways.

How do we balance financial partnerships?