Horan - Health. Wealth. Life

The Cost of Debt

Posted by Anna Pfaehler on Tuesday, February 24, 2015 in Financial Planning | Comments (0)
In the last post, we discussed how the return on investment of a debt determines if it is a “bad” or “OK” debt. In this post, we’ll look closer at the investment side of the equation. The cost of a debt is the interest paid. This cost changes based on the interest rate, the payment schedule and the length of the loan. Let’s consider three types of debt at various interest rates: Mortgage $150,000 – 30 Years, 4.0% Interest  Student Loans $33,000 – 10 years, 4.75% Interest Credit Cards $...  Read more...

How to Manage Debt - Part 1

Posted by Anna Pfaehler on Wednesday, February 11, 2015 in Financial Planning | Comments (0)
For many people, money is the powder-keg and debt is the match. Debt is a tremendous stressor. It carries a negative stigma. It can be expensive. It can be overwhelming. There’s no shortage of talking heads espousing the evils of debt and how to live debt free (just buy their audiobook and you’re on your way!). For precisely this reason, the next few weeks will be dedicated to focusing on debt..    Your first lesson in debt – not all debt is created equal. Your first corollary – ...  Read more...

Mobile Apps to Help You Track Your Budget

Posted by Anna Pfaehler on Monday, February 02, 2015 in Financial Planning | Comments (0)
With the boom of smartphones, accessing your financials is easier than ever. There are banking apps, mobile trading apps and budgeting apps. Budgeting apps have become particularly popular and useful.  Recently, we spent time reviewing several budgeting apps. The following are a few of our favorites.    Mint is one of the most popular budgeting apps on the market today. This app allows users to track expenses and link bank and retirement accounts. Mint also seamlessly links to ...  Read more...

Tips for Sticking to a Budget

Posted by Anna Pfaehler on Monday, January 26, 2015 in Financial Planning | Comments (0)
There are two parts to budgeting – seeing where your expenses are now and prioritizing your spending going forward. The next step is to create spending targets for each type of expense.  The percentages presented last week – 50% necessary expenses; 20% debt reduction and saving; 30% lifestyle expenses – can help you determine where your spending should be. Give yourself certain amounts that you can spend on various expenses, especially lifestyle expenses, and stick to it.    As...  Read more...

How to Create Your Target Budget

Posted by Anna Pfaehler on Monday, January 19, 2015 in Financial Planning | Comments (0)
As we discussed last week, your budget should categorize expenses as necessary, debt reduction/saving and lifestyle choices.    This week we’ll give some rules-of-thumb about how much you should spend in each category. Your personal situation is unique and may not fit exactly with these guidelines; however, they provide a place to start.   Your “necessary” expenses, as the name suggests, are ones that are difficult to do without and the fat here may be tough to trim. We typica...  Read more...

Happy New Year!

Posted by Anna Pfaehler on Friday, January 09, 2015 in Financial Planning | Comments (0)
If you’re a resolution maker like me, the beginning of January is a time of promise and motivation. Now is the time to start tackling your goals. Just north of 30% of Americans will make financial resolutions for 2015, according to Fidelity. If your resolution is money-related, you’ve come to the right place. Each month I will address a new topic to help you on your way to healthier finances. Let’s start at the beginning – budgeting. Budgeting really has two parts. First, it involves trackin...  Read more...

Statistically….. Who is Getting Audited?

Posted by Michael Napier on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 in Financial Planning | Comments (0)
The IRS recently came out with their audit statistics from last year (2013). Let’s start with the good news.   For the first time in nearly a decade, they are reporting record low audit rates….less than 1% of all returns.  Most news publications, such as Kiplinger, believe that this rate will continue to slip, mostly due to budget cuts and lack of enforcement personnel. What income bracket got the most audited last year?   No surprise that the IRS is going after t...  Read more...

Want High Stock Market Returns? Root for the Seahawks.

Posted by Michael Napier on Monday, January 27, 2014 in Financial Planning | Comments (0)
Does the Super Bowl winner predict annual stock market performance? A recent USA Today article, “Stock indicator says root for Seahawks in Super Bowl”, shares an interesting statistic that a super bowl win for the National Football Conference (NFC) will predict annual positive stock market returns.  A win for the American Football Conference (AFC) typically predicts a loss in the stock market. The Seattle Seahawks are members of the NFC (bull market signal) and the Denver Broncos are m...  Read more...

Attention: Big Changes for Flexible Spending Accounts

Posted by Michael Napier on Thursday, December 19, 2013 in Financial Planning | Comments (0)
 Finally, the IRS has loosened up its rules on Health Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs).  A flexible spending account (FSA), also known as a flexible spending arrangement, is a tax-advantaged financial account that can be set up through a “cafeteria plan” of an employer.  An FSA allows an employee to set aside a portion of earnings to pay for qualified expenses, most commonly for medical expenses but often for dependent care or other expenses.  Money deducted from an emplo...  Read more...
On August 29, 2013, the IRS and the US Department of Treasury released memorandums stating that for federal tax purposes legally married same sex couples may file, married filing jointly or married filing separate.   As long as the same sex couple marries in a state that permits gay marriage, they will be treated married for federal tax purposes.  The ruling applies regardless of whether the couple lives in a jurisdiction that recognizes same-sex marriage or a jurisdiction that does...  Read more...
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