Areas of Expertise
Since 1999 Peace of Money has provided thorough and objective financial planning services. We enjoy teaching our clients about the basics of wise financial planning and investing. We believe in the importance of financial literacy. Through the steps of the financial planning, we are committed to a thoughtful, transparent and productive process.
Saving for Retirement
Much of the money you need in your retirement years primarily comes from your own savings in IRAs, 401(k)s and other retirement plans. Typically Social Security only covers 40% of living expenses during retirement. So if you don’t save much during your primary working years, it may be difficult to retire completely without having a much lower standard of living. We can help you determine your retirement savings needs. Careful planning can help you establish a minimum level of savings for a comfortable retirement.
Developing an Income Producing Retirement Portfolio
In retirement you will probably need to add income to your Social Security check or pension income to meet your living expenses. That is accomplished by investing wisely in various types of income producing assets. A carefully invested and diversified retirement plan will provide monthly income with the reduced risk of losing your principal investment.
Best Management of an Inheritance
Receiving an inheritance is both a gift and a burden. Managing a large amount of money may require more attention and work than you had thought. Often there are emotional issues to handle as well. Having a financial planner to consult with, to educate you about investments, to guide you towards a long-term vision for use of the money, and to walk you through the steps of investing can be very helpful.
Evaluating Estate Planning Needs
Proper estate planning is important for everyone with assets - small or large. Estate planning can be as simple as making sure to name account beneficiaries or having a basic will prepared, naming a health care proxy, to more complex questions about setting up trusts or powers of attorney. We do not give legal advice, but can help refer our clients to qualified professionals who may be a good match for their needs.
Decision Making Around Home Ownership
You may have the goal of buying a home but are uncertain what you can really afford, not just what the bank says you can borrow. This and other housing questions can be a focus of your financial planning sessions. We can help you decide whether or not to refinance, whether to rent or buy, how best to save for a down payment, or which type of mortgage to look for.
Evaluating Insurance Needs
If you are single and not independently wealthy, you may need to look at your disability insurance needs. If you have dependents, you probably need life insurance.We are not an insurance salesperson, but I can help you determine what your insurance needs are for your own financial security as well as that of your children or spouse. We usually advise my clients to buy affordable term life insurance from an independent insurance broker. Self-employed clients may need help with purchasing an appropriate health insurance plan.
Managing Cash Flow
Establishing and Living Within a Budget
Many people are struggling to live within their means. If you don’t manage to spend less than you earn, debt can build up to unmanageable levels over the years. By working with a financial planner to clarify your current expenses, and to establish budget limits in particular areas of expense, it is possible to bring spending to a level you can handle without incurring more debt.
Reducing Ongoing Debt
If you have built up a significant amount of ongoing debt, you would benefit from creating a payment plan to eliminate it altogether. You may want to consider debt consolidation or the transfer of loans or credit card balances. With a careful look at your cash flow, we can develop a plan together which will increase the rate at which you pay off that burdensome debt.
Reviewing and Improving Investments
Most clients have an established portfolio that may have been formed without much of a plan in mind. With education and guidance, you can learn how to evaluate your present investments and decide whether changes should be made. If your portfolio needs greater diversification or a move to better performing investments, we will help you establish a wise long-term investment plan.
Our investment philosophy is centered around balancing the risks and rewards of particular investments, matching investments to clients’ goals, differentiating between short and long term needs, and stressing the importance of diversification.
Recommendations of mutual funds will include index funds, funds with no loads and low fees, tax-efficient funds, and those with consistent performance and lower risk.
Creating a Socially Responsible Investment Portfolio
If you hope to have your values reflected in your investments, together we can review the extensive list of socially responsible mutual funds and stocks, and consider community development banking. We are knowledgeable regarding what is available and can help you determine which assets would be the best for you, both ethically and financially.
Saving for Anticipated College Costs
We all know that college costs have skyrocketed; most people find it difficult to save enough to cover all of a child’s college expenses. Together we can set a target for college savings, which will cover a portion or potentially all college costs depending on the child and the type of college chosen. You should learn about the tax-advantaged college savings plans that are available now and are well worth using.
Getting the Most out of Employee Benefits
Often employees do not take full advantage of the benefits offered by their employers. If there is a cafeteria plan of potential benefits, including voluntary insurance plans or tax-deferred retirement plans, you should make those benefits part of your financial planning. We can help you clarify what is available and get a better understanding of how each benefit works.