Happy New Year! Now that 2018 is over it’s time to ring in the new year with new tax law changes. So if you woke up January 1st asking what’s changed then you’ve come to the right place. One big question that I hear all year round is “How much can I put into my 401(k)?” And if you asked me in December the number would’ve been different than it is today so read on for the answer…
This is a really fun and exciting time around our office. After spending time with our loved ones for the holidays, we are back at work with New Year’s Resolutions and a new tax year. Through our financial planning process, it’s our goal to help clients make more comfortable and confident financial decisions. So when someone reaches out to us this January, we want to make all this money stuff easier. But what does that actually mean?
Going into 2018 I set a goal for myself to establish a retirement plan for Merino Wealth. I looked into options, received feedback from my employees, and figured out the logistics. I then decided on the type of plan, the company match, and even planned to integrate Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors into the investments. While presenting at financial workshops to audiences all over Chicago, I announced this as my top 2018 goal. Wanna guess what happened next?
One of the tricky things about money is the awkwardness that comes with discussing your financial situation when things are going well. I rarely see Facebook status messages regarding every day financial achievements like “Who’s got two thumbs and is maxing out their 401(k)!? This guy.” But you know what? Maxing out your 401(k) feels GREAT.
One fun thing that we’re doing at Merino Wealth is helping our clients invest in ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) investments or what’s sometimes referred to as socially responsible investment vehicles. In 2015 the Morgan Stanley Institute of Sustainable Investing conducted a survey and found that 71% of individual investors are interested in sustainable investing.1 More and more I’m finding that consumers are voting with their dollars, so it makes perfect sense to want to invest in a manner that aligns with your values.
As a non-profit supporter, you’ve probably heard the buzz about #GivingTuesday and may be asking “What is this day all about?” #GivingTuesday started in 2012 and is observed on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. More than just a day on the calendar, #GivingTuesday is a movement that inspires giving back in contrast to Black Friday and Cyber Monday that promote consumption of all things holiday related. It is often referred to as the opening day of the holiday giving season.
One little known fact about me is that that I’ve actually had first-hand experience with our last two stock market crashes. First, as a young investor during the dot.com bubble. Second, as an advisor during the 2008 financial crisis.
As we’ve reached stock market highs recently I’ve been thinking a lot about our last recession. At that time we saw a peak of the DJIA, (“the Dow” and the typical benchmark used when you hear a reference to “the market”) on October 9th, 2007 and a bottom on March 6th, 2009. By that time it had lost over 54% of its value. So if someone bought into an investment tracking the Dow on October 9th 2007 their investment would have been about half that value on March 6th, 2009.
Happy October! If it weren’t for the pumpkin spice lattes I wouldn’t believe it myself. As we find ourselves treading in waters of historical market highs and approaching the end of the year, now is the perfect time to take inventory of your investment strategies.
Since I’m in my 30s, people don’t always realize that I’ve actually had first-hand experience with our last two market crashes. First, as a young investor during the dot.com bubble. Second, as an advisor during the 2008 financial crisis. I remember September 15th of 2008 when Bank of America bought out Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy. It felt like the world around me had changed in a day. I learned a lot from our last recession including a few things that may help when taking inventory of your portfolio.
When we use the term 529, I find that many people don’t realize that they have more than one option. To clear things up a bit I’ll start by saying that there are actually two types of 529 plans: the 529 prepaid tuition plan and the 529 savings plan. Not sure what a 529 is? If so then CLICK HERE to read my past article “What is a 529?”
Now that Labor Day’s passed, summer is officially over and it’s time to head back to school. But it’s not all for the kids sometimes. We’re big on education funding around Merino Wealth so this time of year can be really exciting as we see clients move forward with the goals we’ve been planning for. One thing I’ve noticed is that many of our clients hitting 10-15 years in the workforce are making moves. It’s like we hit this point where we look back at our hard work and decide we want more. In some cases, that means going back to school to earn an advanced degree. It could mean changing industries or positions. At times, it includes taking a break from work to travel or spend time with family. In extreme cases, it may involve starting your own financial planning firm in a large metropolitan area.
April 10th was a big day around Merino Wealth-Equal Pay Day. This day highlights the gap between men and women’s wages and is currently held every April to symbolize how far into the year women need to work to make what men did in the previous year. It is always on Tuesday to "represent how far into the next work week women must work to earn what men earned the previous week. In other words, because women earn less on average, they must work longer for the same pay.
A handful of years ago a couple of clients came to me with a question. The husband’s company was set to move their office from downtown Chicago to Ohio. For a minute they considered uprooting their lives and decided that it wasn’t for them. They took this change as a reason to take pause and evaluate his next move when a great idea came to mind. What if we take a break-a “career break?” Not only did they want to take a break, but they also wanted to travel the world while doing so. And did I mention that they were in their 30s? Their question to me was whether or not it was in the cards financially. Was it possible?