Financially Simple

Getting on the path to simplifying your finances, depends on where you are.
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September 22, 2017
what to do with old 401k

What Should I Do With My Old 401k?

In years past, retirement meant drawing around 65% of your income from your Social Security and funding the rest with your pension. Today it’s quite the opposite. Income in retirement won’t come 100% from your Social Security Benefits, and pensions are pretty much a thing of the past. Now, you’ll need to save money in a 401k or other similar retirement account in order to cover expenses.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average worker will have had at least ten jobs by 40 years of age. With Millenials being labeled at job hoppers, they are predicted to average somewhere between 12 and 15 jobs in their lifetime. That means they will most likely end up with multiple 401k accounts. Recently a friend of mine found himself in this situation. He called and said, “Justin, I just took another job for a new company. So, what do I do with the 401k I have at that company I’m leaving? I’m completely clueless.”  With 12-15 jobs looking to eventually be the normal, it is very likely many others will find themselves in a similar situation. First of all, do not leave your money at your old company. If you […]
September 21, 2017

Best Way to Invest?

What is the best way to invest money if you do not need the money for ten years or more? The survey from Bank Rate: 1. Real Estate – 28% 2. Cash – 23% 3. Stock Market – 17% 4. Gold – 15% 5. Bonds – 4% Bank Rate conducted a survey for the last five years, yet the stock market has not managed to ever come in above number three on this list! That’s in spite of the fact that the stock market has tripled the last ten years according to Real Estate, Cash & Stocks Let’s look at the winner, real estate. Going all the way back to 1900 through today, real estate has increased 1.3% per year. The stock market, on the other hand, averaged 7% per year. I get it. Real estate makes money. However, according to Forbes, from 1980 to 2005, real estate increased by an impressive 247%. Meanwhile, compare that to the S&P, which gained more than 1,000%, and there’s really no comparison. Stop the “Flip it” mentality. Yes, you can make money in real estate, but you can also lose a lot of money too. An example of this is the ‘CAT’ smart beta hypothetical […]
September 20, 2017

Carrying Debt: The Roller Coaster Effect

Not long ago, I shared a post about paying off your mortgage versus investing. As I stated in that post, I was dealing with the mathematical data in a vacuum. Most of the time, when math is done in a vacuum, it does not account for the “what ifs” of life. Each and every one of us rides a roller coaster of emotion from one day to the next. In that blog post, I simply provided the scenarios based on average statistics. Mathematically, it does not make sense to pay a mortgage off! However, that doesn’t mean it’s the wrong choice to make. Let’s take a ride on the debt roller coaster to understand. I received tons of feedback concerning the post. Why did I use age 50 in the previous blog post? Why would you ever pay the mortgage off? What if the stock market performs lower? Etc. Each and every one of the questions are valid. So I decided it was time to look on the flip-side, just to give you a contrarian thought to this whole process of continuing to carry the debt on your home. There is almost a Jekyll and Hyde mentality when you start […]
September 19, 2017

The Storm Passed: What’s Next?

The recent hurricanes have dealt low blows all across the southern U.S. along with many of the beautiful Caribbean islands. Just last week millions of Floridians, Georgians, and Carolinians evacuated ahead of the massive storm Hurricane Irma. Just prior to her brutality, Houstonians and others along the coast of Texas broke down as Hurricane Harvey crippled the nation’s 4th largest city. Now, even today, we watch and wait to behold the devastation Hurricane Maria leaves in her wake, as she tramples the U.S. Virgin island of St. Croix. Natural disasters are horrendous. They not only bring about physical devastation but a hurricane of emotions with them as well. Knowing what to do after the storm is just as important as prepping for it too. Now that the storm passed, what should you do once you return home? Well, if you come back to your house and find everything in disarray, there are a few steps you need to take. Video documentation and claims Whether it’s a commercial building or your personal home, the very first step you need to take is to survey the damage. Make a video documenting all of the damage your home sustained. Once you have enough evidence […]
September 19, 2017

Tax-Exempt Organizations Affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma Granted Tax Relief

Tax-exempt organizations affect by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, in parts of Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, may qualify for tax relief from the IRS. Organizations may get some extra time to file returns if they: are in the Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma disaster areas, and have a filing due date after the hurricane hit and before Jan. 31, 2018. These organizations now have until Jan. 31, 2018 to file. The relief applies to original and extended due dates in this period. The start date of the relief varies by area. Texas: Aug. 23, 2017 Florida: Sept. 4, 2017 Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands: Sept. 5, 2017 About annual information returns for tax-exempt organizations: Most organizations are required to file an information return each year. These may include Forms 990, 990-PF, 990-EZ, 990-T or 990-N. The normal due date for 990 returns is the 15th day of the fifth month after the close of the organization’s accounting period. For example, if it runs on a calendar year, the due date is May 15. Organizations can use Form 8868 to request six more months to file. An organization that runs on a calendar-year basis would then have until Nov. 15 to file. To reconstruct lost […]
September 17, 2017
student loan debt

529 Plans facts: What you need to know

According to the College Board (2016) study,  called The Trends In College Pricing,  by the year 2024, the average sticker price on a public in State College is expected to move up to $34,000 per year. For private schools that number is estimated to be around $76,000 a year. Let’s face it college is getting ridiculously expensive and If you have little ones at home that you expect to help pay for their college, then you need to know how to set aside money for that. Yesterday we explored an alternative to saving for college. Today we’re going to look at a more traditional route, the 529 savings plan. This particular investment vehicle allows you to save or put away money specifically for education. Parents or grandparents contributing to a 529 plan get to invest that money and watch it grow, wait for this: TAX-FREE!! Yes, you read that right, tax-free. Now, let’s consider what you may or may not know about 529 plans. The Tips 1. Allows Tax Advantage Investments First, a 529 plan allows you to make tax advantageous investments.  So, when making contributions, it grows tax-deferred. The catch, because there’s always a catch, when you use to […]
September 16, 2017
alternative to college savings plans

An Alternative to College Savings Plans

College tuition costs are a hot-button issue for most. After all in our recent Presidential election, one candidate planned to take on the rising cost of higher education if elected. Being a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ in Knoxville, TN, which is a college town, I know the extra strain saving for tuition puts on some of my clients. I’ve known them to use everything to help cover education costs; 529s, prepaid plans, UGMAs, and even Roth IRAs! In a recent conversation with one client, he blew me away with his novel idea on how he planned to pay for his child’s college education. I felt it was such a brilliant alternative to college savings plans that I needed to share it. Now his idea will not be for everyone, and it certainly isn’t a full proof plan. However, he certainly mastered the most creative way that I know of to lessen the burden and prevent his child from going into debt with student loans. The Idea This particular client told me he knew that college costs for his son were going to be about $100K for four years. He also conveyed to me that he knew he had the money to […]
September 13, 2017
tips to keep your wedding expenses under control

Tips to Keep Your Wedding Expenses Under Control

Move over summer; there’s a new wedding guest in town. According to a 2015 survey, wedding bells are now ringing more in the fall than the summer. With the newly crowned wedding season king upon us, this CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ in Knoxville, TN can certainly vouch for the vivid array of colors the Smoky Mountains offer as a wedding backdrop. While the autumn equinox lends a picturesque setting, it may not be any kinder to your wallet than a summer wedding. Nevertheless, there are ways to actually have the wedding of your dreams (whether your Team Fall or Team Summer or anything in between) on a budget. Here are 12 tips to keep your wedding expenses under control.  According to, the average cost of a wedding in the United States tops $35,000 in expenses. Couples typically spend anywhere from $20,000 to $40,000, not including the honeymoon! That’s a lot of money! That amount could be five years worth of mortgage payments for some people! You could own a new car for that amount! Honestly, there are several different ways you could spend $35,000! Recently, I had a discussion with some friends of mine on how to save money on the […]