Loading
Tap on the profile icon to edit
your financial details.

Financial Advisor

Jan 16, 2020 If you own any investments, capital appreciation is probably your goal. Capital appreciation occurs when an investment asset gains value as reflected by its market price. When a stock’s price goes up, say, or when a home’s property value increases, these are examples of capital appreciation. Read More...

Jan 16, 2020 A pyramid scheme is an investment scam. Often they are business opportunity scams that solicit people to pay to distribute products or services. They, in turn, recruit additional distributors. Many people think of supplement sales when they think of a pyramid scheme. Here's how one works. Read More...

Jan 16, 2020 There is a wide variety of training for financial, investment and business expertise. Two of the most readily recognized and broadly accepted designations are the charted financial analyst (CFA) designation and the master of business administration (MBA) degree. Understanding the strengths of each one, and their differences, can help you find a financial professional whose training will be most useful to you. Read More...

Jan 16, 2020 When assessing the financial performance of a corporation, there are numerous useful metrics you can examine. Two of the main ones are operating income, which is profit minus operating expenses; and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, more commonly referred to as EBITDA. Looking at both provides a more complete picture of a company’s financial performance and potential than either one alone. We'll examine both metrics so you can understand how to use them to assess a company's performance.  Read More...

Jan 21, 2020 If you own an annuity, the part of your contract that earns returns is called the annuity fund, and it's important to understand how it works for different types of annuities. In other words, all three of the primary categories of annuities have an annuity fund. Understanding the nature of this fund can help you make better decisions about whether to buy an annuity and, if so, what kind. Read More...

Jan 14, 2020 Having $2 million to invest can ensure a lifetime income stream, provided it is wisely invested. So if you have managed to amass such a sum - whether through prudent money management, a lottery win or an inheritance - you should think long and hard about an investment portfolio that will turn your money into a reliable income stream. A financial advisor can put together an investing plan that does just that, but if you'd like to do it yourself, here are some investment… Read More...

Jan 10, 2020 Financial advisors can earn a range of certifications and designations indicating their specialty and expertise. Two popular designations are CFA (chartered financial analyst) and CIMA (certified investment management analyst). CFA is a common designation that shows someone has a background in investment reporting and analysis. CIMAs focus on strategic financial management. Here's a look at both certifications, how they're earned, what they indicate and how those who hold them can help you. Read More...

Jan 14, 2020 There are numerous savings options for retirees, from 401(k)s to IRAs, and even HSAs. But there are other savings vehicles worth considering. A fixed annuity provides retirees with regular payments. But a bank certificate of deposit (CD) or a CD ladder can provide similar benefits. Read More...

Jan 08, 2020 Most businesses are organized as operating companies, meaning they manufacture items or provide services. Holding companies, on the other hand, only have investments in other companies; they don’t have any operations themselves. When a company has its own operations and also owns other companies, it's known as a parent company rather than a holding company. Here is an overview of holding and parent companies, including how they are similar to and different from each other. Read More...

Jan 17, 2020 Retirement income can come from numerous sources, including your employer's 401(k) plan, an individual retirement account and taxable brokerage accounts. Bonds and annuities can also help create regular income, but they work in different ways. That's because one is a debt instrument and the other is an insurance policy. Understanding the differences between the two will highlight the strengths of each one. Read More...

Jan 07, 2020 Investing in stocks is a great way to build wealth and save for retirement. Choosing which stocks to invest in can be a challenge. That’s why investors turn to strategies like fundamental and technical analysis to help them pick stocks to buy and sell. Here's a breakdown of each approach so you can find the one that works best in any particular situation. Read More...

Jan 07, 2020 The work of a financial risk manager (FRM) and a  chartered financial analyst (CFA) can overlap, but they have their own specialties. FRMs identify, price and mitigate risk, while CFAs generate financial analytics and assess security markets and trends. Learn the basics of both designations, how they differ and which one is right for you. Read More...

Jan 07, 2020 Finding the right financial professional can be a bit of work. Even when you’ve narrowed the focus of precisely what you need, you may still have trouble finding the right expert to help you. When it comes to various accounting experts, you might choose between a  certified management accountant (CMA) and a  certified public accountant (CPA). Here’s the difference between the two and how to determine which one is right for you. Read More...

Jan 06, 2020 When it comes to picking an expert to handle, or to help you handle, your money, two of the more common types of experts are CPAs and CFAs. The former certification is typically earned by accounting professionals, while the latter certification is earned mainly by investment analysts. Read More...

Jan 06, 2020 Selling a business involves a lot of paperwork and a good contract. A business sale agreement is a legal document that describes and records the price and other details when a business owner sells the business. It is the final step to transfer ownership after negotiations for the transaction have been completed. It may be necessary for the new owner to demonstrate ownership of the business and register the business with state and local authorities. Read More...

Jan 15, 2020   Some investors use annuities for a guaranteed income and as a retirement planning strategy. While there are many variations of annuities, two of the most common types are fixed and variable annuities. Here's an overview of these two types to help you assess their potential for your personal financial planning. Read More...

Jan 06, 2020 Random walk theory holds that short-term and mid-term price movements of a specific stock appear to be random and thus are unpredictable. Using a share price's past movements, for example, is an unreliable means of projecting its future direction. Understanding random walk theory can help retail investors focus their investment strategy. Read More...

Jan 03, 2020 There are generally two paths to building wealth through investments: dividends and/or capital gains. They both fuel growth, but in different ways with different tax implications. Understanding dividends vs capital gains is an important part of managing your investments as well as your tax liability. Read More...

Jan 14, 2020 Annuities can help you create additional income for retirement outside of what you expect to get from your 401(k) or a similar tax-advantaged account. Thanks to the passage of the SECURE Act, adding annuities to your employer-sponsored retirement account is now a possibility. But does an annuity in a a 401(k) make sense for your financial situation? It's an important question to ask as you save and invest for retirement. Here's what you need to know about incorporating an annuity option into your workplace savings plan. Read More...

Jan 03, 2020 Whole life insurance covers you for the rest of your life, but universal life insurance offers much more flexibility. They are both types of permanent life insurance, which means they have a cash value component. However, whole life insurance can be more expensive. Compare whole life vs universal life here. Read More...

Jan 08, 2020 Reading up on investment analysis can help you better understand market trends as you make decisions in your portfolio. Buy side vs sell side analysts are two very different approaches to investing. If you're unfamiliar with those terms or how they can affect your investment, here's what you need to know. Read More...

Jan 02, 2020 Efficient market theory, or hypothesis, holds that a security's price reflects all relevant and known information about that asset. One upshot of this theory is that, on a risk-adjusted basis, you can’t consistently beat the market. The theory, which is controversial, has significant implications for investment strategy. Here is an overview of the theory that provides potential insights into how to invest. Read More...

Jan 15, 2020 Among the various kinds of annuities, which are contracts you sign with an insurance company to pay a premium for guaranteed income later, two of the most common are fixed and fixed indexed annuities. The former offers a fixed rate of return; the latter ties your rate to a market index to let you realize greater returns. Comparing the key differences between the two will help you determine which one might be suitable for your retirement saving strategy. Read More...

Jan 15, 2020 You may want to consider both annuities and life insurance for your long-term financial plan. Essentially, you purchase life insurance in the event you die sooner than expected and you buy an annuity in the event you live past your retirement savings. Both options have their benefits and downsides. The following overview will help you discover which one might be best for your unique financial situation. Read More...

Jan 15, 2020 When planning for retirement, an annuity is one option to consider for creating an additional stream of income. With this type of insurance contract, you can receive payments on a schedule that you determine, but there's one key question to ask: how much do annuities pay? An annuity can be a more complex retirement planning tool compared to something like a 401(k) or individual retirement account and it helps to understand the basics. Here's what you can expect from an annuity payout if you're thinking of using one to supplement your retirement income. Read More...

Dec 31, 2019 Hedge funds and mutual funds seem to confuse investors. Usually, rich investors favor hedge funds, while all different types of investors use mutual funds. Understanding a hedge fund vs mutual fund can help investors select the best option for their portfolio. Here's how you'll know which is right for you. Read More...

Dec 31, 2019 Owning a home is an expensive venture. But your home could be earning you money through equity and it might be time to convert that equity into cash. Read More...

Dec 31, 2019 American stocks trade primarily on the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ. The NASDAQ has a reputation as a more high-tech exchange. Meanwhile, the New York Stock Exchange, or NYSE, has a stodgier, but safer, reputation. Learn the similarities and differences of NASDAQ vs NYSE. Read More...

Dec 31, 2019 Not all retail investors have the time or inclination to manage their own portfolio of stocks and bonds. In addition, paying a professional to assess their needs and guide them as they buy and sell securities may not be the best choice either. For such folk, using a robo-advisor offers a middle ground between the DIY and pay-a-professional approach. Betterment and Wealthfront are two of the top robo-advisors on the market.  Learn which could be best for you by comparing their features and pros and cons.  Read More...

Dec 31, 2019 Data collection is one of the least appreciated but most important services the federal government provides. Much of its research focuses on business, economic and financial phenomena, and its data are disseminated at no cost to help U.S. companies, academics, journalists and investors understand what is happening in the economy at large. Federal Reserve Economic Data is perhaps the most important source for that information. Here's a primer on this highly regarded resource. Read More...

Dec 31, 2019 Socially Responsible Investing and Environmental, Social and Governance Investing have both risen in popularity among socially conscious investors. Learn the basics of each, how they differ and which option is best for your investment strategy. Read More...

Dec 31, 2019 Gift planning can be a key element in an estate plan. Done properly, an estate plan - including gift planning - ensures that your assets are given to the people and organizations you care about and also minimizes the impact of taxes and other costs on your estate. Here's an overview of the essentials of planned giving. Read More...

Dec 30, 2019 A successful portfolio requires a consistent strategy for analyzing stocks (or any security). Successful investors create long-term goals and metrics to help them decide which stocks and funds to buy and sell. They think about how each stock or fund purchase fits into their broader analytical framework. Then - and this is the most important part - they stick to that way of assessing investment prospects. Read More...

Dec 30, 2019 A transaction order is a set of instructions to buy or sell a security, such as a stock, and it sets the conditions under which you want that transaction to happen. If a broker manages your portfolio, your transaction order will send instructions to them. If you use an online system, the computer will process your transaction order. There are four common types of transaction orders: market; limit; stop-loss; and stop-limit. Recently we covered stop-loss and stop-limit orders. In this article we will discuss market orders and limits. Read More...

Dec 30, 2019 Business students call them the “quants.” They’re the people who can look at the world through a complex frame of numbers. They make investment choices based on reams of data that spin most people’s heads. And they make an absolute fortune in the process. It's not necessary, though, to be a quant to invest successfully. Retail investors can understand key stock performance data to help build a portfolio and boost total returns. Perhaps the best place to start is with a security's alpha and its beta, two ways of measuring the risk of an investment. Read More...

Dec 30, 2019 When you sell something, you’re likely looking to profit from it. Capital gains are profits from an asset sale, like your home, business, or stocks. Capital gains come in two different forms: long-term and short-term. Each face different tax issues. This is the difference between short term vs long term capital gains. Read More...

Jan 15, 2020 Governments often influence the economy through fiscal and monetary policy. A central bank, such as the Federal Reserve in the United States, typically sets monetary policy. National governments, like the U.S. Congress, may decide fiscal policy. Learn the key components of fiscal vs monetary policy here. Read More...

Dec 28, 2019 Investors can use options to hedge their portfolio against loss. Also, they can help buy a stock for less than its current market value and increase gains. Call vs put options are the two sides of options trading, respectively allowing traders to bet for or against a security's future. Here are the differences between the two. Read More...

Dec 28, 2019 Whether you're a business owner or an investor, understanding the key differences between revenue vs profit is important. You also should know how to calculate each. Revenue and profit measure business performance and relate closely. However, they are also quite different. Here's why. Read More...

Dec 28, 2019 People often use yield and return interchangeably, referring to what you'll earn from a fixed investment. However, there are some important differences to note for yield vs return. Learn the basics of these two important concepts, plus some key differences to consider when looking at each of them. Read More...

Dec 28, 2019 The term "value trap" can be used to describe stocks or other investments that may seem like a bargain but shouldn't be taken at face value. Knowing how to spot a value trap and how to build a portfolio using a value investing approach can minimize risk. Here's what you need to know about value traps. Read More...

Dec 28, 2019 Flight to quality describes how investors react and manage their portfolios during periods of stock market volatility. This strategy favors more conservative investments in lieu of riskier ones. Here's what flight to quality means and how it can potentially impact your investment portfolio. Read More...

Dec 28, 2019 If you qualify for unemployment benefits, you’ll likely receive them via the Department of Labor's Unemployment Insurance (UI) programs. But someone has to pay for the benefits that unemployed workers receive. Enter the Federal Unemployment Tax Act, or FUTA tax. Here's how it works and what you pay for it. Read More...

Dec 28, 2019 An investment advisor representative (IAR) helps advisory firms offer financial advice to investors. If you're looking for assistance with your investments, you may consider working with an IA. Here are the services investment advisor representatives offer and their fee structure. Read More...

Jan 14, 2020 The SECURE Act provides more part-time employees with access to tax-friendly workplace retirement plans like 401(k)s. Signed into law by President Trump on Dec. 20, 2019, it also lets individual retirement account (IRA) holders save in these plans indefinitely with tax-deferred growth. In addition, the SECURE Act makes it simpler for employers to place annuities into their retirement plans. Annuities can offer guaranteed income streams in retirement. But because annuities and other aspects of this sweeping new law can be complex, it’s best to discuss how the SECURE Act may affect you with a financial advisor. Most changes take effect January 1, 2020 while some begin in 2021. Read More...

Dec 24, 2019 When firms or people invest in companies, there are a few different ways to go about it. For example, there are venture capitalists and private equity firms. Both have interests in helping companies, but how they go about it isn’t the same. Read More...

Dec 24, 2019 One of the most important tools that investors use to decide whether to buy or sell a security is its market value. It is often different from a security’s market price, though sometimes market value and market price coincide. Here is a description of what affects market value and why it’s important to consider when you make investing decisions. Read More...

Jan 15, 2020 While death and taxes may both be certain, taxation is the only one of the two that can happen twice. If you own a business, the last thing you want is to get taxed on your income twice. Double taxation occurs when a corporation pays taxes on its profits and then its shareholders pay personal taxes on dividends received from the corporation. We explain why double taxation happens and how to avoid it. Read More...

Jan 08, 2020 The Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) regulates much of the U.S. financial industry. This guide goes over the most prominent rules that the SEC enforces. Many of these regulations are focused on information being available to investors. The SEC wants investors to know the facts so they can make informed decisions when deciding whether to sell, hold or buy a company's securities. Read More...

Dec 23, 2019 Managed volatility investing strategies are designed to mitigate some of the risks associated with uneven stock market movements. Managed volatility mutual funds have become increasingly popular for helping investors to balance downside risk in their portfolios without sacrificing returns during periods of market disruption. If you're wondering what a managed volatility fund is, how it works or why you might consider investing one, this guide explains some of the most important things to know. Read More...

Dec 23, 2019 Taxes can have a major impact on your financial and investing plans. Planning ahead for these costs can make your financial plan much more tax efficient. While many people only think about taxes when they're filing in the spring, tax planning should be a year-round matter, since all financial and investment decisions you make have a tax impact - even if that impact won't be felt right away. In this article, we'll go over some steps you can take to reduce your tax bill and take taxes into account as you make your financial plan. Read More...

Dec 23, 2019 Buying or selling a home is a major financial step. Whether you’re about to invest a lot of money in a property or make a lot of money from selling one, having the right real estate expert in your corner is a must. But there are different kinds of professionals to work with, and it’s not always easy to decide if you should use a real estate broker or a real estate agent. Here are the similarities and differences between the two, so you can make a decision that's best for you. Read More...

Dec 23, 2019 A sole proprietorship is a simple type of business or enterprise that is owned and run by a single person. Sole proprietorships are subject to different rules than other types of businesses. Read More...

Dec 23, 2019 Interest rate changes can have a huge impact on your personal finances, income, investments - even employment.  They affect how much you pay for loans, from credit cards to mortgages; they influence the price you pay for a cup of coffee; and they can even influence whether you get hired or get a raise. Here's how. Read More...

Dec 23, 2019 A long position is what you take when you expect a security to rise in value. Someone who has taken a long position in a given security has purchased that security, or taken a long position with a call option. It's the opposite of a short position, in which a trader bets against a stock. Here are the basic facts about a long position, its pros and cons and how it differs from a short position. Read More...

Dec 23, 2019 Blockchain, a digital technology behind such phenomena as Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, is finding profitable applications in more and more industries. Here’s a brief explanation of blockchain for investors interested in getting financial exposure to this increasingly important and commercially viable technology. Read More...

Dec 23, 2019 Investors have long relied on trading instructions, also known as orders. A basic trade instruction establishes what you want to happen in your portfolio. The most basic order is a market order, which buys or sells an asset immediately, regardless of the price. Other order types are triggered when an asset hits a certain price. Limit orders trigger a purchase or a sale if selected assets hit a certain price or better. Meanwhile, stop orders trigger a purchase or sale if selected assets hit a certain price or worse. The two main types of stop orders are stop-loss and stop-limit orders. Read More...

Dec 19, 2019 Planning for retirement can involve a lot of moving pieces, from saving funds in your 401(k) to building a diversified investment portfolio to - if you’re lucky - managing a pension plan. If you are one of the rare workers in the United States with a  defined-benefit pension plan, be sure you’re well-versed in the type of plan you have, and what it entails. For example, Taft-Hartley plans, also known as multiemployer plans, are pension plans bargained between a union and multiple employers. Here's how they work. Read More...

Dec 19, 2019 There’s a reason Wall Street firms recruit from MIT. For many investors, the financial markets are governed entirely by mathematical equations applied to aspects of a security's price and trading volume, among other variables. They evaluate rates of return, volatility, means and averages to figure out which securities will make them the most money. It is considered an alternative to investing based on underlying assets, in which you determine the qualitative strength of the company behind the financial product, or security, before investing in it. While these are often presented as mutually exclusive approaches, most savvy investors incorporate elements of both in their analysis. Read More...

Jan 15, 2020 Environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing offers investors a way to grow their portfolio while doing good. This investment strategy has two goals: generating a financial return while also promoting a positive impact for the environment, social issues and corporate governance. If you're interested in investing in companies that align with your values, an ESG approach may be a good fit. Read More...

Dec 19, 2019 If you own a small business and run it for a profit, you can likely deduct the costs incurred. Small business tax deductions reduce your taxable profits and, therefore, business taxes. From home office expenses to advertising bills, here are some small business tax deductions owners can claim. Read More...

Dec 19, 2019 Trading fees can kick in when you're buying and selling shares of stock, mutual funds or other investments. That's true whether you're trading in an online brokerage account or through a traditional full-service broker. Every broker is different when it comes to what fees they charge to trade and how much you'll pay. Being aware of trading costs is important for managing returns in your portfolio, as excessive fees can seriously cut into your returns. Here's what you need to know about trading fees and how to minimize them. Read More...

Dec 19, 2019 When you go to a doctor, you may prefer one who puts your health first. When it comes to your money, you likely want a professional with your interests in mind. An Accredited Investment Fiduciary Analyst (AIFA) can work in your best interests. Here’s how people get that title and how they work for you. Read More...

Dec 19, 2019 Corporate governance refers to policies and processes that run corporations. A company's corporate governance is of particular concern to investors. It often reflects a company's direction and health. Learn the basics of this important business principle, why it matters, and how to achieve best practices. Read More...

Dec 19, 2019 An asset allocation fund invests in a mix of asset classes, like stocks and bonds, in fixed percentages. It provides built-in diversification to investors. They can make it easier for the investor to maintain a portfolio. Read on to discover if an asset allocation fund can help you achieve your financial goals. Read More...

Jan 17, 2020 Master limited partnerships or MLPs are a way to invest for high yields, beyond traditional stocks and bonds. MLPs can trade on an exchange just like a stock. If you're looking to shake up your investments, a master limited partnership can help. However, the benefits should be balanced against the risks. Read More...

Jan 08, 2020 Dynamic asset allocation is a way to manage risk in your portfolio and generate above-market returns by moving with market trends. This type of approach combines elements of passive investing with active investing to help keep your portfolio balanced according to your risk tolerance and goals, while also keeping pace with the market. Dynamic asset allocation can be used to insulate your investments against stock market volatility and potentially maximize returns, but there are some drawbacks to keep in mind. Read More...

Dec 17, 2019 When selecting assets for a portfolio, it’s important to consider an investor’s risk tolerance. While some investors are willing to take on more risk to achieve a greater return, others may forgo any risk to preserve their capital. Capital preservation is what it sounds like - an investment strategy that preserves your money. So what's the best investing strategy to make sure that you don't lose any of your money? Read More...

Dec 17, 2019 Uniform Probate Code ideally standardizes the various state laws relating to wills and trusts. It also ideally simplifies the probate process. However, only a handful of states have use it.  Probate can be a be a time-consuming process, and Uniform Probate Code, might shorten probate time. Here's how it works. Read More...

Dec 16, 2019 Smart business tax planning can make a big difference for your company. Each of the more than 30 million small businesses in the United States probably has a different ideal tax planning strategy. However, there are some generally applicable approaches. Many or even most small businesses could use one or more of these to save on income taxes. If you're a business owner looking to minimize the impact of taxes, here's what you need to know. Read More...

Dec 15, 2019 Before it was retired in 2018, the Series 62 license was one of the most common certifications among financial professionals, allowing them to become registered representatives authorized to trade corporate equities and debt securities. Read on to learn what you need to do if you previously passed the Series 62 exam and what to expect from the updated, replacement exam, known as the Securities Industry Essentials test. Read More...

Dec 15, 2019 Businesses don't know when disasters might strike or how big a bite they'll take from their income. A business continuity plan is important for businesses trying to predict the unpredictable. It can help prevent problems and aid recovery while providing owners with peace of mind. Here's how it works. Read More...

Jan 08, 2020 A trade war is a conflict between two countries marked by rising tariffs and other similar protectionist actions. Remember, a tariff is a tax put into place by one country on imported goods or services from another country. Learn the basics of trade wars, their pros and cons, plus how they affect the economy. Read More...

Jan 15, 2020 We build our everyday lives over infrastructure. It includes water and sewer services, utilities, shipping and waste management. An infrastructure fund invests in companies providing these systems. Such funds can decrease volatility in a portfolio. Here's what to know about those funds before you invest. Read More...

Jan 07, 2020 Mutual funds are a way to invest in multiple stocks, bonds or other investments in one convenient package. Growth mutual funds zero in on stocks from some of the largest companies in the world. If you're wondering how to invest in a growth mutual fund, here are some of the most important details. Read More...

Dec 13, 2019 When used to refer to an owner of a business, the term "principal" can be a designation for any of several positions and entail a range of key responsibilities. But the rubric under which all the possible responsibilities of a company's principal can be grouped is that of managing key relationships, both inside and outside the company. Read More...

Dec 13, 2019 Financial advisors often prepare for their clients an investment policy statement, which outlines your goals, risk tolerance, time horizon and asset allocation. It may also list specific securities or sectors you want to avoid. Even if you don't have an advisor, it's a good idea to draw up this kind of statement and share it with all parties involved in your investments. Read More...

Dec 13, 2019 The College for Financial Planning is a degree-granting institution that has various financial certification programs available for students. It provides graduate degree, non-degree and continuing professional education programs for students. It was founded in 1972 and is now part of Kaplan Financial. The College for Financial Planning has trained over 165,000 professionals. Read More...

Jan 08, 2020 While investing does include stocks and bonds, it also includes many small securities put together. Sometimes portfolios have funds that are pooled, which include stocks, bonds and other securities. That type of investment is called a fund of funds. Read More...

Jan 08, 2020 Tariffs, which are taxes placed on imports and exports between two countries, have increased in prominence during the Trump administration. We break down the basics, how they work, plus their pros and cons. Read More...

Dec 12, 2019 Shares of publicly traded corporations are not all created equal. Some shares, which are also called stocks or equities, give owners greater benefits or voting rights than owners of other classes of stock. The corporation's owners can create the number and nature of share classes in almost any manner they see fit. Corporate charters - not the law or the courts - define the difference between the classes of stock, often designated as Class A, B and C.  Read More...

Dec 12, 2019 Timing the market is more commonly known as the investor’s golden rule: Buy low, sell high. It is the practice of building your purchases around expected changes in the price of an asset. (For the purposes of this article we will refer to stocks and the stock market, but timing can refer to any market and asset, including bonds, currencies and commodities.) Someone attempting to time the market will buy an asset that they expect to go up in value. But rather than holding the asset through ups and downs, they will sell when they believe that it's about to start decline. That's timing the market. And it doesn’t work. Read More...

Dec 11, 2019 Eight years ago America's baby boomers, people born between 1946 and 1964, began to retire. At nearly 75 million, they represent one of America's largest elder care challenges. Millennials, now in their 30s, will need to begin thinking about how to look after parents as medical, financial and mental health needs arise. Read More...

Jan 15, 2020 When choosing which stocks to invest in, you may run into these terms: small-cap, mid-cap and large-cap. A small-cap growth fund invests in smaller companies whose share prices are growing steadily. A small-cap value fund invests in smaller companies deemed to have underlying value that Wall Street has yet to recognize. Both types of small-cap funds can offer advantages over mid-cap or large-cap funds, but they may not be right for every investor. Getting to know the finer points of how these funds work can help you decide if investing in them is the right move to make in your portfolio. Read More...

Jan 08, 2020 Socially responsible investing funds or SRI funds are a way to grow your investment portfolio while doing something for the greater good. For example, you might invest in funds that advance social causes, encourage better corporate governance or promote a healthier, cleaner environment. In short, socially responsible funds allow you to make a positive difference in the world while enjoying the financial benefits of fund investing. If you're looking for a way to branch out your investments and support your favorite causes, SRI funds can help meet both of those needs. Read More...

Dec 11, 2019 If you're looking for an investment strategy that may beat the market, active management may be worth considering. The goal of active management is to outperform a specific market index or, in a market downturn, to book losses that are less severe than a specific market index suffers. However, active management has fallen out of favor with many investors who find that its outcomes are less consistent than passive management strategies. So is active management right for your portfolio? Read More...

Dec 11, 2019 As cost of living and taxes vary throughout the U.S., location is one of the biggest factors impacting how much money you need in retirement savings. That's why many Americans wonder whether they might want to consider relocating for their golden years. If you want to make sure you're headed for a secure retirement, consider speaking one-on-one to a financial advisor. Read More...

Dec 09, 2019 Passing the Series 86 exam — also known as the Research Analyst Qualification exam — is necessary for anyone who wants to work as research analyst for a broker-dealer member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Series 86 comprises the first portion of the two-part Series 86/87 exam. The test is designed to determine how well an entry-level representative can perform the job of research analyst. Read More...

Dec 08, 2019 Tax professionals designated as accredited tax preparers (ATP) can help ensure an individual's returns are up to the standards of the IRS. By passing an exam, the national ATP credential demonstrates a thorough understanding of the current tax code and the preparation of individual tax returns. Read More...

Dec 07, 2019 The divorce rate in the U.S. has declined since the 1980s, down from 50% to around 39%. However, you may need to prepare for it anyway. It can be financially devastating. Planning working with a financial advisor can minimize the impact. Follow these steps toward finance-minded divorce planning. Read More...

Jan 21, 2020 A Series 52 certification lets professionals trade municipal securities. Also known as the Municipal Securities Representative Qualification Examination, it's one of the first steps toward a career as a licensed municipal securities representative. Here's what the Series 52 covers and what its exam entails. Read More...

Jan 15, 2020 The Series 82 gives its holder the authority to conduct private securities transactions, among other activities. The exam is also known as the Private Securities Offerings Representative Exam. Private securities are investments only available for a select group of investors. Here's how it all works. Read More...

Dec 05, 2019 Financial professionals who plan on selling closed-ended funds, mutual funds, and variable products must follow a specific career path. They’ll take the Investment Company and Variable Contracts Products Principal Qualification Examination (Series 26) and obtain the Series 26 license. Here's what that entails, and what it means if an advisor has this license. Read More...

Dec 05, 2019 Social Security benefits can be confusing, even for the most seasoned financial professional. But those advisors who have earned the  Certified in Social Security Claiming Strategies certification are well-versed in the ins and outs of their Social Security. They can help their clients understand tax considerations, spousal benefits and other key strategies that will maximize their benefits.  Here’s what you should know about the certification and the steps financial professionals take to obtain it. Read More...

Dec 05, 2019 A Certified College Planning Specialist (CCPS) is a financial professional who helps families prepare for the costs of college. These experts are able to help fill out financial aid forms and answer questions about 529 savings plans. Here's how professionals get the designation and what it does. Read More...

Jan 15, 2020 Financial professionals seeking to gain more knowledge and expertise might look to exams and licenses to complete for further education and skills. For some, taking the General Securities Principal Qualification Examination — or Series 24 exam — will be helpful. Here's what it does and who should take it. Read More...

Jan 07, 2020 If you're a socially conscious person, it can affect every aspect of your life, from the car you drive to where you shop. It can also impact which companies you choose to invest in, and many investors choose to pursue a socially responsible investing (SRI) strategy. If you’re looking for socially responsible investments, consider working with a Chartered SRI Counselor, which is an investment advisor focusing on these investing strategies . Here's what you need to know about the certification and requirements. Read More...

Nov 27, 2019 Millions of Americans retire each year and the financial services industry is trying hard to meet demand. To that end, many advisors have specialized by earning professional certifications that highlight their retirement planning expertise. A Retirement Income Certified Professional (RICP) is one of several types of advisors you might seek if you're stepping up your retirement plans. Understanding what this certification entails can help if you're seeking a financial advisor to assist you. Read More...

Nov 27, 2019 With millions of people living into their 70s, 80s and 90s, the costs of healthcare, long-term care, aides and nursing homes are straining finances in many families. In response to this chronic problem, the financial and insurance industries have created many specializations for professional advisors. One of these, the Certification for Long-Term Care (CLTC), focuses on the complexities and expenses of services for the aged. If you're making a plan for yourself or a loved one, you may want to engage an advisor with this certification. A consultation with  a financial advisor could be a first step in determining just how much specialized professional help you need. Read More...

Dec 03, 2019 Choosing a financial advisor can be rough. That's especially true considering the alphabet soup that often follows their names. However, a Master Registered Financial Consultant (MRFC) can be useful to an investor and their financial plan. Learn about this designation, its requirements, its exam, and why it matters. Read More...

Dec 07, 2019 There are many credentials for financial professionals, and it can be difficult to distinguish one from another. A Certified Financial Fiduciary (CFF) is a relatively new certification that brokers, financial advisors,  insurance agents or other professional may acquire. A CFF indicates its holder is obligated to work in your best interests, but what does it tell you about their experience or knowledge? We'll explore that question here. If you're looking for a financial advisor, understanding just what that person's credentials really mean can make the choice easier.  Read More...

Nov 25, 2019 Selling a small business means income, and income means income taxes. But the way you structure the deal can make a major difference in how much of the sale price goes to taxes, and how much stays with you. Here's what you need to know about the tax implications of selling a small business. Read More...

Nov 25, 2019 Thinking about selling your business? There are several ways to calculate the selling price of a business — but not everyone agrees on what method is best. Here's a breakdown of the most popular options to determine the value of your enterprise. Read More...

Nov 22, 2019 Working with a financial advisor can be helpful if you need advice on creating a retirement savings plan, getting out of debt or reaching another financial goal. But they're working with your money and have to earn your trust.  As you search for an advisor, here are some hints for how to find a financial advisor you can trust. Read More...

Nov 22, 2019 A financial advisor can offer insight into what you should be doing with your money to reach your financial goals. They don't offer their advice for free, however. The typical advisor charges clients 1% of the assets they manage. Is it worth paying a financial advisor? Consider what you get for your money. Read More...

Jan 15, 2020 Several factors distinguish S Corp vs C Corp tax advantages. Choosing to become a C Corp or S Corp can have a sizable effect on a business’s future, growth, and investor base. There’s no easy answer to whether a C Corp or S Corp is the best choice. To pick wisely, entrepreneurs have to consider several interlocking variables. Read More...

Nov 23, 2019 If you have a limited liability company (LLC), electing to tax it an S corporation could be helpful. Numerous factors could help your decision. How do you treat your income? Will you use some of it as dividends? We'll take a look at some of the pros and cons of an LLC taxed as S corp and see if it's right for your business. Read More...

Nov 21, 2019 Working with a financial advisor is a good idea if you need help managing your investments or creating a financial plan for the future. But before you work with a financial advisor, it's important to understand how they get paid. Not only do you want to know how much you'll pay in fees, but you should also understand how other forms of payments could incentivize them to make certain recommendations. Here's a look at the different ways financial advisors earn money. Read More...

Nov 21, 2019 The world of finance is often challenging for many consumers. However, financial professionals who hold the Certified Financial Educator (CFEd) designation communicate complex financial ideas in simple, understandable terms. Read on to discover how a CFEd can help you better understand your financial situation. Read More...

Nov 21, 2019 Creating and sticking to a financial plan is challenging, if not impossible for many Americans. That's why some enlist a financial advisor or consultant to keep them on track. Some partner with a Registered Financial Consultant (RFC) to do so. Read on to discover how an RFC can help you achieve your financial objectives. Read More...

Nov 19, 2019 A certified financial education instructor, or CFEI, has undergone advanced training in teaching money management skills to people from all walks of life. To earn a CFEI designation, candidates must demonstrate extensive knowledge of personal financial topics and competency in methods of classroom teaching. Read on to learn about what a CFEI does and what the certification process entails. Read More...

Jan 08, 2020 If you're a business owner, you'll most likely be facing many complicated decisions when it comes time to retire — after all, selling a business is a major life event. To help you navigate this complex transition, consider consulting a certified exit planning advisor (CEPA), an expert trained to help you align your goals and build transferable value into your company. Read More...

Nov 18, 2019 Retirement planning is a worthwhile effort at any stage of your career. But if you'll soon need to decide when to start drawing Social Security payments, having a plan is urgent. A National Social Security Advisor (NSSA) is a financial professional who may be especially useful if you need to know when to start, how much more you might draw if you wait, and how much of your retirement expenses these benefits will cover. We'll explore what the NSSA certification means and whether it's a certification you'll want your financial planner to possess. Read More...

Nov 19, 2019 If you're a frequent flyer, odds are you want to make your life as easy as possible when you have to jet off somewhere. But not all cities are equally equipped to facilitate your next adventure to the friendly skies. From the number of airports in a given area to the total number of nonstop destinations you can reach from a city, there are a range of factors that determine which cities are best for people who fly on a regular basis. Keep in mind that it can be helpful to work with a financial advisor if you spend a large chunk of your income on travel to help with budgeting and financial management. Read More...

Nov 17, 2019 When looking for a financial advisor, make sure you ask how they're compensated. Some earn a commission, while others might be fee-only or fee-based. And then there are advisors who charge a percentage of your investment. When choosing an advisor who works off commissions, there are several factors at play that you should be aware of. Read More...

Nov 16, 2019 Excise taxes apply to specific goods and services. Businesses that make or sell chosen goods and services collect most of these taxes. As a consumer, you generally won’t get a bill for excise tax. But if you purchase a taxed good or service you’ll pay it nonetheless, as businesses include cost of the tax in the prices they charge. Read More...

Nov 15, 2019 Long before investing disruptors E-Trade and Betterment came on the scene, there was Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. A maverick since its inception in 1973, Charles Schwab brokerage cut its fees by half when the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) deregulated the securities industries. Today, the company is a full-service brokerage and investment advisor. It continues to innovate, offering online access, 24-hour client support, no-commission online U.S. stock trades - and most recently, the ability to trade fractions of stocks. Investor’s Business Daily named Charles Schwab, which has 12 million brokerage customers, the “#1 Broker Overall” in its 2019 survey. Also in 2019, StockBrokers.com named the brokerage firm “Best in Class Overall,” and Fortune ranked the brokerage firm #1… Read More...

Nov 15, 2019 When you need financial advice, an investment advisory is one pace you can turn. Generally speaking, an investment advisory is a firm that helps its clients with developing an investment plan to grow wealth strategically. Here's how investment advisory firms operate and what you can expect when working with one. Read More...

Nov 15, 2019 If you need help managing your money, you might be considering a financial planner. In a nutshell, a financial planner helps individuals create customized plans for meeting their financial goals. A financial planner is one type of financial advisor. If you're considering working with one, here are the most important things to know. Read More...

Nov 14, 2019 An Accredited Wealth Management Advisor is a wealth manager specializing in high-net worth clients. It's a designation bestowed upon experienced advisors working with high-net-worth clients. Also, it's or for advisors with broad financial knowledge who wish to specialize in high-net-worth clients. Here's how it works. Read More...

Jan 15, 2020 An investment professional who supervises municipal securities trading for a securities firm or bank dealer needs a Series 53 license. The Series 53 exam, also called the Municipal Securities Principal Qualification Examination, evaluates the knowledge and expertise of a municipal securities principal. Read on to learn more Read More...

Nov 12, 2019 No matter where you are in your career, sooner or later you'll be approaching retirement . While you should start saving now for your post-working life, consulting with a certified retirement financial advisor (CRFA) could be one move toward making sure you achieve your monetary goals. If you see the acronym “CRFA” after a financial pro's name, you're getting someone who has experience and education in advising clients on investing , taxes and other financial matters related to retirement planning. Read More...

Dec 02, 2019 A certified fund specialist (CFS) is a financial services professional who has acquired advanced expertise in choosing and managing mutual funds. The certification is typically obtained by those already working in the financial industry, including accountants, investment bankers, brokers, money managers and certified financial planners. Learn more about the qualifications for earning a CFS credential and how working with one can up your… Read More...

Dec 02, 2019 Medicaid isn’t the easiest federal program to navigate. A Certified Medicaid Planner (CMP) can help. A CMP has expert-level experience with Medicaid program and can help people navigate both current and new Medicaid rules. If you need help navigating Medicare, learn what it is and why one might be a good fit for you. Read More...

Jan 15, 2020 The Series 9 and Series 10 exams assess the attributes a general securities sales supervisor needs for their job. They are administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). They're also prerequisites for becoming a brokerage branch manager. Here's how you take them and what you can do once you pass. Read More...

Nov 08, 2019 A headache wrapped in a lot of bother, attached to a hefty price tag. For many people, that’s what switching financial advisors seems like - and so they put it off, indefinitely. But replacing your advisor doesn’t have to be a big hassle or come with high costs. We spoke to two financial advisors who have been on both sides of client transfers. Here’s their take on the break-up process and how to make it short and sweet. Read More...

Nov 04, 2019 More than a decade after the Great Recession, the United States has seen a mixed record of recovery. Despite record-breaking highs in the stock market and an unemployment rate that has fallen every year since 2009, other economic indicators show that the U.S. economy remains weak in critical areas. Most notably, median worker wage gains have remained far lower than a booming job market would suggest. Inflation likewise remains low, suggesting that consumers don’t have enough purchasing power to drive up prices. Read More...

Nov 04, 2019 Thousands of people reach retirement age every day, and millions more will turn 65 in the next decade. Many of them, even those who have funded a comfortable retirement, have neglected an estate plan. A Certified Estate Planner (CEP) helps people address this oversight. They create long-term plans for money and assets and ensure their clients' directives are clear. Read below to find out more about what CEPs know and whether you'd like your financial planner to carry this certification. Read More...

Nov 04, 2019 Financial institutions and businesses are expanding their operations to a truly global scale, but that scale comes with increased risk. How do banks avoid becoming vehicles for money laundering when they access new markets? What rules govern how they do business and move capital? Detecting bad actors and maintaining industry standards is increasingly difficult, which is why Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (CAMS) are valuable. We'll explore how financial professionals use this certification and why it can be an excellent professional asset. … Read More...

Nov 01, 2019 The Accredited Estate Planner designation is a professional credential for individuals who specialize in estate planning services. You might work with someone who holds an AEP® designation if you need help creating or fine-tuning an estate plan or a succession plan for your business. This guide offers an overview of what an accredited estate planner is, who they serve and what services they provide. Read More...

Jan 15, 2020 If giving back is part of your financial plan, you may consider working with a chartered advisor in philanthropy (CAP). A CAP has the necessary knowledge and expertise to help you createa plan for philanthropic giving. Here's a closer look at what chartered advisors in philanthropy do and how to become one. Read More...

Oct 31, 2019 Because registered investment advisor firms (RIAs) have a fiduciary duty to act in their clients' best interests, they are subject to scrutiny and regulation by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). This means RIAs are required to disclose certain financial and business details to their clients — essentially, information investors would want to know about. Read More...

Oct 30, 2019 Do you ever wonder who’s behind the trading desk, helping your financial firm find the best investment mix? In many cases, you’ll find a Chartered Market Technician (CMT). Read on to discover how Chartered Market Technicians achieve their designation and how they play a crucial role in managing your wealth. Read More...

Nov 12, 2019 A Certified Wealth Strategist (CWS) is a professional who has attained a higher level of education and training in financial planning. As the name suggests, they specialize in working with high net-worth clients — typically those who have at least $1 million in liquid assets. But a CWS's expertise goes beyond just offering a client financial advice. If you choose to work with a financial advisor with the CWS designation, you're also getting someone highly skilled at nurturing client relationships. In short: It's a certificate that signifies that an advisor… Read More...

Oct 29, 2019 As one of the most highly regarded compliance certifications, the Certified Regulatory and Compliance Professional (CRCP) designation helps professionals increase their skills as well as knowledge of industry regulations. Read on to discover the importance of the CRCP and how it influences the companies you may do business with. Read More...

Oct 29, 2019 Need help planning for retirement? Partnering with a Qualified Plan Financial Consultant (QPFC) can help you find the answers you seek. Since QPFCs have extensive retirement planning training, they can help guide you through the process. Read on to discover how a QPFC can help you with your retirement obstacles. Read More...

Oct 29, 2019 The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is a twelve-member body that sets and implements monetary policy for the Federal Reserve System. It does this through what it calls open market operations - encouraging lenders to raise or lower interest rates by buying and selling securities from banks. In doing so, it controls economic growth, specifically with respect to two key indicators: the inflation and unemployment rates. Read More...

Jan 08, 2020 Being a sole proprietor or independent contractor can simplify your finances. However, it's important to understand how your business structure affects your taxes. There are tax laws that sole proprietors need to know. This guide explains how to prepare, file, and pay taxes when you run a business alone. Read More...

Oct 28, 2019 Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC) is one of many certifications and designations that financial professionals can earn. The AFC indicates that a professional values sound financial principles and is trained to teach people their worth. Here’s what it takes to get this designation, how it differs from other popular designations, and which clients it serves best. Read More...

Oct 25, 2019 If you’re overwhelmed by retirement planning, it’s wise to partner with an expert who puts your interests first. Working with a financial professional like a Certified Plan Fiduciary Advisor (CPFA) can help you to find resources you'll need when planning for your golden years. Read on to discover how CPFAs can support you through the retirement planning process. Read More...

Oct 25, 2019 As you age, it can be difficult to know what decisions are best for your health, finances, or estate planning. That’s why it’s important to make those decisions with someone you trust. A Certified Senior Advisor (CSA) can help ensure your affairs are handled appropriately. Read on to discover how a CSA can help you address your needs as you age. Read More...

Oct 25, 2019 A high net-worth individual is faced with many complex financial decisions. Luckily, there are financial professionals who can address those financial concerns. A Certified Private Wealth Advisor (CPWA) is trained to tend to the needs of high net worth individuals. Read on to discover how a CPWA can help you with your financial situation. Read More...

Oct 25, 2019 Maintaining a home office for your business can yield a benefit at tax time if you're able to claim a deduction for your expenses. The IRS lays out the rules for deducting home office costs in Publication 587. There's a common myth about this deduction triggering an audit. But that shouldn't stop you from claiming it if you're eligible. Here's more on how this deduction works and what it covers. Read More...

Dec 02, 2019 The Series 3, also known as the National Commodities Futures Examination, is a licensing exam for financial professionals who wish to sell commodity futures contracts. The Series 3 allows a financial professional to sell both commodity futures contracts and options on commodity futures contracts. Those who take the Series 3 could also be stockbrokers, but they'd have to take another exam. Learn more about the Series 3, the people who administer it, and to how to best prepare for the exam. Read More...

Dec 02, 2019 The Series 79 exam, also known as the Investment Banking Representative Exam, is taken by many financial professionals, including investment bankers. Those who pass the exam ability can advise clients about debt and equity offerings, mergers and acquisitions, tender offers, financial restructuring and more. Learn how to best prepare for the exam, what's required to take it, and what a Series 79 designation means. Read More...

Oct 25, 2019 A Fellow of the Secure Retirement Institute (FSRI) is well versed in what it takes to retire in a sustainable way. As a result, their knowledge covers a broad range of retirement topics, from investment management to customer experience. To learn more about the FSRI certification, the people who hold it, and their roles in retirement planning, read on. Read More...

Oct 25, 2019 A Fraternal Insurance Counselor Fellow (FICF) is a specially trained insurance professional and member of a national network of counselors. But in order to get the FICF designation, you have to already have a Fraternal Insurance Counselor (FIC) designation. Keep reading to learn more about these certifications. Read More...

Oct 24, 2019 A Certified Financial Transitionist (CeFT) is trained to help clients navigate through major life events and the financial transitions that accompany them. The CeFT is the industry's first designation specifically geared toward financial change and transition. The certification is offered by the Financial Transitionist Institute, which is the training and certification division of the Sudden Money Institute. Here's how it works. Read More...

Oct 24, 2019 . The Fellow, Life Management Institute (FLMI) is a 10-course training program that focuses on industry-specific education in the insurance and finance industries. The FLMI also addresses insurance and financial concepts beyond the average consumer's knowledge threshold and provides a greater understanding of the insurance industry in general. Here's a glimpse at how FLMI helps professionals address insurance, regulations,  the insurance industry, and the business skills necessary to do their jobs. Read More...

Jan 08, 2020 Growing a business is hard work, but even successful business owners must consider how all that work will end and when an exit strategy will begin. It can be a difficult process and many business owners, still hard at work, may feel it's unnecessary. But without a clear exit plan, it may be difficult to sell the business at maximum profit, take it public or transfer ownership to a designated successor. This is why hiring a Certified Exit Planner (CExP) appeals to many business owners. Finding the right CExP can take time, but if you own a business it can be useful to start by engaging a financial advisor with knowledge of this specialization. Read More...

Dec 02, 2019 For many people, investing isn't just about smart financial decisions. They also want to allocate their resources in a way that is consistent with their personal values or religious principles. Many may prefer financial advice from a professional who shares those values. For those of the Christian faith, connecting with a CKA, or Certified Kingdom Advisor, may help bring financial and spiritual values into alignment. The SmartAsset matching tool can help a search for the advisor who meets your needs. Read More...

Dec 02, 2019 Retirement planning is one aspect of personal finance that every advisor should know well. Correspondingly, there are dozens of professional certifications advisors can add to their bona fides and expertise. One of these is Certified Retirement Counselor® (CRC®). The title sounds on the money, but what does a CRC do and how can one help you plan retirement? We'll explore this credential and why it can be a professional advantage in the financial advisory field. You can use the information if you're ready to find a financial advisor who can help you through the steps of retirement planning. Read More...

Jan 08, 2020 Disposable income is a key concept in budgeting, as it refers to the income that's leftover after you pay taxes. It's sometimes known as your net pay. Note that this is distinctly different from discretionary income, which is what remains after you subtract taxes and other necessary costs. Disposable income is also used as an indicator to determine the state of the overall economy. If you have questions about how to build a budget, try consulting with a financial advisor. Read More...

Oct 28, 2019 Giving to charity can be doubly rewarding. It helps other people, and it makes you feel like you’re doing something good. As a bonus, it can get you a deduction on your taxes, something a  financial advisor can help you navigate. With all that in mind, SmartAsset uncovered the places in the U.S. where people are the most charitable. Read More...

Oct 23, 2019 Discretionary income is a term commonly mentioned in conjunction with budgeting and student loans.  Essentially, it's the amount of money you can spend or save after you take care of all necessary expenses and income taxes. Discretionary income usually changes on an annual basis based on contributing factors that are both in and out of your control. So regardless of whether you're getting together your annual budget or applying for a student loan, learning about discretionary income is important. If you have questions, speak with a financial advisor in your area. Read More...

Jan 14, 2020 If you’ve ever forgotten to cash a check or left old retirement accounts behind with a job, that money might have wound up in the care of the state government. After a certain period of time, usually five years, states become the owner of accounts and property that has gone unclaimed or abandoned. This is known as escheatment - the process by which abandoned assets get turned over to the state. Read More...

Oct 17, 2019 The Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC) designation distinguishes financial advisors and other retirement professionals as experts in helping clients prepare for retirement. To become a CRPC, these individuals must meet several qualifications, undergo hours of training and take an examination. Once a CRPC has their certification in hand, there are continuing education requirements that help keep their knowledge up to date. To find a financial advisor in your area that specializes in retirement planning, you can use SmartAsset's advisor matching tool. Read More...

Oct 09, 2019 When setting a budget, it's important to differentiate between what you need and what you want. Indeed, many budgeting systems ask you to assign percentages to your needs and wants. For instance, the 50/30/20 budget popularized by Elizabeth Warren recommends putting 50% of your budget to "needs" and 30% to "wants." But what actually constitutes a need or a want? Before you start building a budget, it's crucial to understand what really fits into each of these categories, and to honestly and objectively evaluate your spending habits. You might also find it helpful to Read More...

Jan 08, 2020 Advancing into old age brings to the forefront a variety of lifestyle and  financial considerations, including the possibility of transitioning to a full-time nursing home. Whether you are thinking about nursing home care for yourself or for a parent or loved one, there are many factors to weigh and expenses to navigate. You want to make sure, after all, that the facility you choose will be comfortable, clean, well-run and affordable. Read More...

Jan 15, 2020 If you are a federal employee, you may want to work with a Chartered Federal Employee Benefits Consultant (ChFEBC) to help you address your financial concerns. ChFEBCs are financial professionals that are knowledgeable of changes to federal benefits and associated programs. They also have extensive knowledge about FERS, CSRS, and special provisions. Read on to discover how a ChFEBC can help you address your financial affairs as a government employee. Read More...

Sep 27, 2019 Registered financial advisors use custodians to house and protect their clients’ assets. Often, financial advisors offer multiple custodian options to their clients. This allows them to expand their services, investment options, and diversification of assets. By offering multiple custodians, your financial advisor can match you with one that fits your financial needs. Read on to discover how to choose the right custodian for you. Read More...

Sep 26, 2019 Retirement, illness, disputes with a partner or even lack of interest can make business owners dream of selling. All of the above legitimate reasons to sell, but even owners who aren't thinking of selling may want to plan for the unexpected. Therefore, that planning ideally should start when the business is founded. An exit strategy is an important part of any business plan. However, it’s never too late or early to make preparations for selling your business. Read More...

Sep 26, 2019 The Certified Fixed Income Practitioner designation indicates expertise in all things regarding fixed-income securities. If you are a financial professional. who wants to help people invest in bonds and other somewhat sheltered assets, this can further your career. The CFIP designation also demonstrates a desire to learn and follow ethical standards. Let's look at how the designation works and how professionals can obtain it. Read More...

Sep 25, 2019 Let’s start with some good news. It is not as bad as you’ve heard. The divorce rate is high, but it still requires a lot of variables for a couple to actually get divorced. Still, “probably won’t happen” doesn’t mean your marriage is on stable ground. If your marriage does end badly, chances are you’ll need help. That’s where a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst comes in. Read More...

Oct 02, 2019 There are three types of treasuries with which you’re likely familiar. The first, the United States Treasury, collects your income taxes every year. This isn't that kind of treasury. Scrooge McDuck or Smaug, last of the Great Dragons, control the second type of treasury. This isn't that, either. No, this is a story about corporate treasuries and the professionals who master them. Fewer dragons, but far more opportunity for career advancement. Read More...

Jan 08, 2020 More than half of Americans have invested in a stock-related mutual fund. Most invest through their retirement accounts, often with little direction beyond selecting a 401k fund. But stocks are just one way to grow your money. An increasingly number of investors are exploring alternative investments. There is money to be made here, and arguably the best person to explain that is the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst. Read More...

Jan 08, 2020 A Financial Paraplanner Qualified Professional (FPQP) has a proven expertise in the arena of financial planning, which helps them better advise their clients. They are different than most paraplanners because the average paraplanner rarely has a formal certification. Paraplanners are part of a financial planning team and often do most tasks associated with financial planning services. However, they do not usually take the lead in terms of client relationships. Read More...

Sep 18, 2019 An investment's performance could mean the difference between a comfortable retirement and a few more years of work. Therefore, it's vital for financial planners and investment managers to accurately assess investment performance for their clients. A Certificate in Investment Performance Management (CIPM) can tell clients that a financial professional has the expertise they're looking for. Learn what a CIPM does and how they qualify.  Read More...

Sep 19, 2019 There’s no shortage of required licensing exams for financial professionals. From the Series 63 and Series 65 to Series 7, there are many different exams required for various roles within the financial services industry. Financial professionals who pass the Series 6 exam are licensed to sell certain securities and insurance products. Here's a breakdown of what the exam entails and why the license matters. Read More...

Sep 19, 2019 The Series 65, also known as the Uniform Investment Adviser Law Examination, is a test and license required of most financial professionals. If you're interested in becoming a financial professional, it's just one of the many licenses you may need to succeed in the industry. Read on to learn more about the Series 65, from its issuing body to certification requirements, plus what types of financial professionals it licenses. Read More...

Sep 18, 2019 Certified Risk Managers (CRMs) are financial professionals with training in risk management, which comes in handy when helping clients chart a financial future. The CRM designation is one of the most important designations for risk managers working in the finance, insurance, accounting and legal fields. The CRM designation isn't required for a risk management career, but it can make risk managers more marketable to employers, especially in fields like insurance and finance. Here's how to become a CRM, why it may be important and how it stacks up against other certifications. Read More...

Sep 18, 2019 Your friend wants to borrow $20, so you take a minute to think about it. What happened the last time he borrowed money from you? You might see that 20 bucks again, but even odds say you don’t. So you agree to lend him the money on the condition that he pays you back $25. This is financial risk management in action. Professionals who want to get particularly good at it pursue a Financial Risk Manager certification. Read More...

Sep 17, 2019 Almost no one will know what it means if your business card has a “CPCU” after your name. The “almost” is key here though. Almost no one will understand what CPCU means, but your colleagues will. Future employers will. Business partners and (if lucky enough) investors in any firm you open will. The chartered property casualty underwriter (CPCU) certification is a mouthful, but it’s a big deal in the insurance world. Here’s why. What Is A Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter? The CPCU is a certification offered by The Institutes. It is a credential for the insurance industryRead More...

Sep 17, 2019 Whether you keep the books at a small office or review files for the IRS, accounting is a wide field with many professions in it. At the top of this field sits the CPA. Certified Public Accountants are accounting professionals who have passed both the privately issued CPA exam and public licensing requirements. If you need someone to look at your money, they’re the cream of the crop. Here’s what you need to know about the CPA. Read More...

Sep 19, 2019 The Chartered Insurance Counselor (CIC) designation conveys an insurance professional's expertise in one of seven different insurance topic areas. It's a valuable certification if you are an agent, sales manager or work with insurance agents often. Here's how to get a CIC certification, how it differs from other certifications and how to know if it's the right move for your career. Read More...

Sep 16, 2019 The Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) certification helps Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) demonstrate an expertise in all aspects of wealth management. A PFS is someone with a CPA who also offers financial planning services. There are many requirements before getting the PFS designation beyond having a CPA and taking an exam. Professionals with the PFS designation may work for consulting or accounting firms, or run their own firm. Read on to learn what it takes to become a PFS, the benefits of holding the certification and the difference between a PFS and other types of financial professionals. Read More...

Sep 19, 2019 Thinking of becoming a licensed financial professional? You'll likely have to take one - or several - licensing exams. The Series 63 exam focuses on a financial professional's ethical and fiduciary obligations. Read on to learn who should hold a Series 63 license and what the exam entails. Read More...

Sep 16, 2019 Living in a community property state may not make a difference to you if you're single, but it might if you're married or planning to be soon. Community property states handle the division of assets and debts in a marriage differently than equitable distribution states. While you may plan to live happily ever after with your spouse, it's important to understand how you could be affected by the property division laws in your state if divorce becomes a reality. Read More...

Sep 24, 2019 A Certified Management Accountant is an accounting professional specializing in financial management and reporting for organizations. The CMA certification establishes that someone is expert in financial accounting and strategic business management. As a result, the CMA focuses on business decision-making as opposed to audit, tax, or general accounting. Here's how they're certified and what they do. Read More...

Sep 13, 2019 Financial advice comes, mostly, in a sea of acronyms. There is the CPA (Certified Public Accountant), the CFP (Certified Financial Planner), the CIMA (Certified Investment Management Analyst) and more. Each certification marks a slightly different specialty in financial advice and management. That field also includes the ChFC: the Chartered Financial Consultant. They often do good work. Here’s how. What Is A Chartered Financial Consultant? The Chartered Financial… Read More...

Sep 12, 2019 Whether working through your retirement years is an aspiration or a necessity, it doesn’t hurt to have some help with financial planning when considering that aspect of your future. As you set your goals, you might be interested in the fact that there are certain cities in which the senior participation in the labor force has grown more than in others in recent years. Read More...

Sep 11, 2019 When working with a financial advisor to manage your money, it's important to know whether they're required to uphold a fiduciary duty to their clients. Being a fiduciary means advisors are obligated to act in the best interests of the investors they serve. When a breach of that duty happens, it's important to understand what rights you have and how to protect yourself financially. Read More...

Sep 10, 2019 If you’re in a position to need this article, congratulations. We'll try to contact Lamborghini to target you with banner ads. If you’re not, but have decided to read this article anyway, welcome to the 99.98%. Don’t feel too badly, though. This is just an illustration of wealth among U.S. investors. There’s comfortable, there’s rich… and then there’s family office rich. What Is A Family Office? A family office is a one-stop financial shop for the extremely wealthy. They serve as wealth management and financial advisors for high net worth clients typically focused only on the category known as “ultra high net worth.” (This is generally defined as anyone with $30 million or more to invest. A… Read More...

Oct 18, 2019 Here’s the situation: You would like to invest your savings or retirement account. However, not wanting to trust your money to eTrade and luck, you hire an investment advisor who steers your money into mutual funds. Did this advisor gave you good advice? Or does he simply get a commission for each new investor he brings into the fund? This is the question of fiduciary duty, and it is essential to getting good financial advice. The certification of Accredited Investment Fiduciary tries to address this. Read More...

Sep 09, 2019 Chartered financial analyst (CFA) is a designation bestowed by the CFA Institute on financial professionals who are competent and knowledgeable financial analysts. Those who want to earn their CFA certification must first past a rigorous, three-part exam encompassing economics, ethics, money management and a number of other financial topics. Many financial advisors hold the CFA designation. Read More...

Aug 30, 2019 Universal basic income (UBI) is a program often proposed by futurists and progressive politicians. It would provide a basic allowance for everyone in the city, state or country and could make a big impact on your budget. But how would it work exactly? Here's a guide to universal basic income including places that have already tried it, plus pros and cons of the plan and more. Read More...

Aug 28, 2019 An operations professional takes on a lot of responsibility within the financial services industry. They bring clients aboard, receive and deliver funds and assets, collect payments, maintain accounts, and reinvest and disburse funds. To do all of that, they must first take the Security Industry Essentials (SIE) exam. Then, they have to take the Series 99 exam. Here's why the latter exam is important and what it takes to qualify. Read More...

Sep 11, 2019 There are more ways to invest $1 million than you might think. It's smart to have a plan in place and to assess your goals for growth and risk tolerance. Of course, you'll also want to factor in how much time you have until your anticipated retirement date. To help you prepare, we spoke to four money experts. If you actually have the cash on hand - and it’s burning a hole in your brain - you may want to consult a financial advisor directly. SmartAsset’s matching tool can help. Read More...

Aug 23, 2019 A business cycle is the fluctuation of goods and services output in an economy. They’re usually measured by real gross domestic product (GDP) or GDP adjusted for inflation. The purpose of a business cycle is to track economic activity. In practical terms, the business cycle tracks the state of an economy from expansion to contraction and recession. It can affect how you spend, how you invest, and how you access credit. Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 Common law marriage status can still apply to couples in states across the U.S. Understanding what constitutes a common law marriage is important from a legal and financial perspective if you're pooling assets or sharing the responsibility for debts. Here's a breakdown of what a common law marriage is and how it could affect your finances. Read More...

Aug 19, 2019 A high-net-worth individual (HNWI) is generally someone with at least $1 million in cash or assets that can easily be converted into cash. Most financial institutions provide HNWIs with exclusive services such as access to specialized investment accounts. Some financial advisors work solely with HNWIs, although many have no account minimums for their services. Whether or not you qualify as a high-net-worth individual, a financial advisor can help you manage your investments. Read More...

Aug 01, 2019 Fixed expenses cost the same amount each month and are usually paid on a regular basis. One example of a fixed expense is rent. Variable expenses can change based on the day, week or month. Although discretionary spending is often a variable expense, variable expenses can be necessities, too. For instance, medical costs can be categorized as a variable expense. Read More...

Aug 01, 2019 Financial advisors can earn money a few different ways. They may be fee-only, and get paid exclusively by a client for their services. Other advisors are fee-based, meaning they're compensated by clients as well as  commissions earned by selling certain products or investments. But whether you choose a fee-only or fee-based advisor, the fees will likely be calculated based on the services your advisor provides and the assets they will manage on your behalf.  Learn how asset-based fees work and what you can expect to pay your financial advisor below. Read More...

Jul 31, 2019 Investors pay performance fees to investment advisors based on how the investments the advisor chooses perform. If the investments earn you money, you may have to pay a fee based on how much money you earned. Asset management fees are different. Advisors charge those fees based on a percentage of the total assets you have under management with the advisor. Not all advisors charge performance fees. If you are interested in working with one who does, it is helpful to know exactly what performance fees are and how they work before you move forward. SmartAsset’s free financial advisor… Read More...

Nov 01, 2019 Formerly called Matador, Public is a stock-trading app for rookie investors that has been available to the general public since March 2019. It’s like many other beginner investing apps (think Robinhood), but with a social interactivity twist. Users can see what their friends and other popular users are buying and selling. You may pick up stock ideas on Public, but for help diversifying your portfolio and managing your risk, you should consider turning to a financial advisor. Read More...

Jul 26, 2019 While your financial planner may act in your best interest, who acts in the best interest of your financial planner? The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) is a nonprofit trade association for investment bankers, broker dealers and asset managers. If you’re an investment professional or a client, there are a few things should know about SIFMA and how they impacts the financial services industry. Read More...

Feb 20, 2020 As of 2020, millions of Americans owe a combined $1.6 trillion in student loan debt. As a result, it's currently the second-highest consumer debt category, behind only mortgages. There are, however, a variety of government programs offering relief for people with student loan debt, ranging from income-based repayment plans to debt forgiveness programs. And more help may be on the way: Democratic presidential candidates including Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have proposed programs that would do away with the country's mountain of student loan debt. If you have questions about your debt, consider meeting with a Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 Successful real estate agents can make good money. Real estate agent salary earnings come from commissions on property sales. And total income can vary widely depending on experience and other factors. It's important to consider salary opportunities when choosing a career (or switching to a new one) because your income can impact whether you are able to reach your financial goals, like buying a home or retiring. Read More...

Oct 04, 2019 The American Psychological Association’s 2018 survey on stress reports that the average American reported a stress level of 4.9 (on a scale of 1 to 10). Reported stress levels vary by generation, as noted in the report, but also by geographic location. Local lifestyle and environmental factors can impact the amount of stress we feel on a day-to-day basis. Places with higher employment and lower bankruptcy rates, for example, may allow people to plan a more secure future with a  financial advisor. In order to better understand which places may be associated with lower levels of stress, SmartAsset ranked the least-stressed cities in America. Read More...

Aug 12, 2019 Dealing with your finances can be very stressful. Financial therapists work to lessen that stress, or at least help their clients develop a more sustainable and healthy relationship to money. Financial therapy is a brand new field, but more people are turning to financial therapists to get help - not only to straighten out their savings and finances, but also to develop a more sophisticated awareness of how money impacts their mental state of being. Read More...

Jul 09, 2019 Setting goals for your money is the first step in designing a sound financial plan. Whether you hope to save and invest enough to  retire early or simply need to  build up an emergency fund, the right financial strategy can strengthen your efforts in reaching those goals. If you need some direction on which tactics work best, here are 10 ways to improve your odds of achieving financial success. Read More...

Jul 18, 2019 An amortization table shows the schedule for paying off a loan, such as a mortgage. Learn how to make and use one to determine your own loan payoff schedule. You could use the amortization table for other types of loans such as student loans or personal loans, but it helps to know how to make one first. If you need more hands-on help understanding your loans and your overall financial picture, considering enlisting the help of a trusted financial advisor. Read More...

Jan 15, 2020 Valuation comes in handy if you want to determine your company’s worth or acquire another business. A company's valuation determines the value of a business, and it's worth knowing if you're about to make a transaction. There are a few different methods for valuation, depending on your industry and who is evaluating your business. Read More...

Jun 27, 2019 The law of demand is a basic economics. As the price of at item rises or falls, with all other things staying the same, the demand for it rises or falls. However, despite determining everything from the price of bananas to the average cost of a home in your neighborhood, the law of demand isn't always as rigid many would like it to be. Read More...

Jan 31, 2020 Commodity futures are contracts to buy or sell a specific amount of a commodity at a certain price on a designated date. If the price of a commodity goes up before that date, a commodity futures buyer wins by getting a lower price on goods they can sell at higher value. Trading commodity futures lets you bet on the price of commodities including gold and corn. They can also be used to diversify your portfolio by investing in more than just stocks. Unlike stocks, however, commodities futures can cost their buyers even more money if the price of a commodity falls below the contracted price. Here's what you need to know about investing in commodity futures. Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 Airbnb has not only changed the way a lot of people travel, but also the way that many investors take advantage of their real estate properties. Rather than picking from hotel chains and relatively pricey boutique inns, travelers might instead rent out someone’s home or a room in that home. Investors are noticing this and adjusting accordingly, finding ways to make a stay in their home or property more appealing than traditional lodging. Some are even seeking out specialized guidance from  financial advisors in order to take advantage of their location and charge competitive rental rates. SmartAsset has analyzed these and other… Read More...

Jun 25, 2019 Assets under management (AUM) refers to the market value of the assets a financial institution has discretion over. Increasing AUM is a primary goal of most brokeragesmutual funds and financial advisor firms, and many will use a high AUM as a selling point when marketing themselves to potential investors. How certain institutions define or calculate their AUM can differ slightly. So, it's important to understand these differences before you use a firm's AUM to make any decisions. Read More...

Feb 18, 2020 Having a plan for your finances is crucial, and a comprehensive financial plan may include budgeting, saving, investing, paying off debt and creating a roadmap to retirement.  Working with a financial advisor can be helpful in creating your personal money plan, but DIY types might prefer to use a financial planning software instead. There are a multitude of options to choose from and each one has a different range of features. If you're a financial advisor yourself, there are also plenty of software options that you can use to help you build plans for your clients. Read More...

Feb 18, 2020 The median salary for a  financial advisor is $88,890, which is well above the national average, according to 2018 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, pay can vary widely by state, city and level of experience. The profile of an advisor's clientele can have an effect on salary as well. If you're on the lookout for a  financial advisor to help you manage your money, check out SmartAsset's Read More...

May 07, 2019 The cost of baby formula across popular brands can average between $1,200 and $1,500 during a baby’s first year, according to the U.S. Surgeon General. But it’s possible to save on baby formula without having to switch to generic and sacrifice the health of your child. You can also find a family-focused financial advisor who can guide you through these and other costs associated with the journey of raising a child. Read More...

May 02, 2019 An M&A advisory firm guides businesses through the complicated world of mergers and acquisitions. While financial advisors mostly work with individuals, M&A firms primarily offer advice to businesses and corporations. If you are considering making a transaction that involves the buying, selling or merger of companies, you'll probably want to work with an M&A advisory firm. Here's what you need to know going in. Read More...

Apr 25, 2019 Growing wealth for the long term is likely one of your most important financial goals. To do that effectively, you may want to work with a financial advisor who has similar values to yours. Christian financial advisors incorporate biblical principles and teachings into their investment strategy. There's also a specific certification, the certified kingdom advisor (CKA) designation, that Christian financial advisors can earn. Read More...

Apr 25, 2019 According to Census Bureau data from 2017, there are more than 71 million people in the U.S. aged 60 and older. Each year more people reach retirement age and decide to make some changes as they enter a new phase of their lives. One big shift could be relocating to other cities or states with the help of a financial advisor. For some, the goal is to avoid paying taxes on all of their retirement savings. For others, it’s the chance to spend their golden years in a new and different climate. Regardless of what’s brought them to a locale, retirees are an important part of city and state economies, so we investigated the data to see where the most retirees are moving. Read More...

Sep 19, 2019 By definition, a fiduciary is an individual organization who manages assets on behalf of another person or entity. Fiduciary financial advisors hold a relationship of trust with their clients and abide by fiduciary duty. Fiduciary duty is the ethical obligation to act solely in someone else’s best interest. In theory, this should minimize conflicts of interest and make a financial advisor more trustworthy. We go over what fiduciary duty entails, why it's important to work with a fiduciary advisor and how you can find a financial planner in your area. Read More...

Apr 16, 2019 A cafeteria plan - also known as a Section 125 plan, after the portion of the IRS code that regulates the plans - lets employees redirect part of their salaries and wages to pay for certain benefits. Section 125 plans let employees use pre-tax dollars for these benefits, which include health and life insurance. Read More...

Apr 12, 2019 A paraplanner is a financial services professional who handles administrative, accounting and other support tasks for a financial advisor. A paraplanner is a  financial advisory office's equivalent of a paralegal. Read More...

Apr 10, 2019 While it's possible to manage your assets and grow your wealth yourself, many people seek the advice of a professional. As you seek out a financial advisor, you might encounter many certifications and acronyms describing both advisors and their firms. A registered investment advisor (RIA) firm is one option you may consider. Understanding what an RIA firm is and how they help their clients can help you decide whether it's the right path for you. Read More...

Sep 10, 2019 A chartered financial analyst (CFA) is someone who holds a professional designation from the CFA Institute, an international association of financial professionals. CFAs primarily review individual investments, market trends and other factors to help individuals shape their portfolios and achieve a target asset allocation. Many financial advisors and wealth managers are CFAs. Earning a CFA certification means passing the CFA exam. If you're interested in becoming a CFA, or you're planning on working with one… Read More...

Jul 24, 2019 Financial advisor is not a specific term that applies to a single job or role. Indeed, you'll hear financial professionals filling a number of different roles and performing a number of different tasks described as financial advisors. Generally speaking, a financial advisor provides financial advice and guidance to clients tailored to their situation and goals. This can range from building an investment portfolio to retirement planning. If working with a financial advisor is something that appeals to you, make sure you know what financial advisors do and how they can help you. Read More...

Jan 22, 2020 Fee-only financial planners earn compensation for their services only. They don't earn commissions or kick-backs for recommending certain products. This fee structure reduces potential conflicts of interest, which is why fee-only financial planners are viewed as the most reliable financial advisors. They have a fiduciary duty to act in your best interests at all times. Read More...

Apr 08, 2019 Financial security means different things to different people. To some, it may mean having enough money to cover all your bills, save for retirement and then have some left over. To others, it may mean earning a six- or seven-figure income, maintaining a robust investment portfolio and owning several real estate properties. Regardless of your interpretation of what it means to be financially secure, it’s likely on your long-term list of financial goals to achieve financial security.  Read More...

Jul 24, 2019 A marital trust is a type of irrevocable trust that allows you to transfer assets to a surviving spouse tax free. It can also shield the estate of the surviving spouse before the remaining assets pass on to your children. This article will explain how a marital trust works and how you can establish one. We can also help you find a financial advisor who will guide you through the often-complex rules of a marital trust, so your family can make the most of it. Read More...

Jan 15, 2020 Think you want to help people manage their money and meet their ultimate financial goals? If so, you may be wondering how to become a financial planner. The process for becoming a financial planner varies depending on what kind of advising or planning you want to do. As with most jobs, a successful financial planning career begins and ends with quality education. Many financial planners will even earn a certified financial planner (CFP) designation. Let us walk you through what it'll take to get into the financial planning business. Read More...

Apr 05, 2019 When choosing a financial advisor, pay attention to what certifications they've obtained. Common certifications you'll see include certified financial planner (CFP), chartered financial analyst (CFA) and certified public account (CPA). Advisors earn these designations to assure clients that they have the training, experience and ethical standards needed to provide sound financial advice. One that is less common but still important is the certified trust and financial advisor (CTFA) certification. Make sure you know exactly what this means if you come across a Read More...

Sep 19, 2019 Financial advisors are among the most important workers in the financial services industry. They help both individuals and institutions manage their money and set themselves up for a secure financial future. Not just anyone can become a financial advisor, though. It takes a lot of work, including training, exams and certifications, to prove that you know your stuff when it comes to matters of personal finance. If you want to be a financial advisor, make sure you know what you are in for and that you’re prepared for the path towards this career. If you are looking for a financial advisor who has adequately followed the path already, considering finding one with SmartAsset’s Read More...

Jan 23, 2020 The most important component of a severance package is, of course, the severance pay. It, in turn, is typically one or two weeks of pay per year of service, though it's much more than that for executives. Most of us probably think of severance packages as a right. But in most situations, they are a privilege. No federal law mandates them, though there are laws governing severance pay when layoffs come without warning and that require access to  group health insurance plans. Whether the parting of ways is voluntary or not, a company that offers a severance package is doing so as a courtesy - and to buy some goodwill. Read on for more about what you should expect in a severance package and how to negotiate one for yourself. Read More...

Jan 22, 2020 A broker-dealer is the regulatory term for what most of us just call a brokerage. Technically, the person who takes our calls (to buy or sell) is a registered representative of a broker-dealer, though you probably just refer to the person as your broker. Wirehouses like Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo, discount brokerages like Charles Schwab and TD Ameritrade and independent firms like LPL Financial and Raymond James are all broker-dealers. Robo-advisors like Read More...

Mar 28, 2019 Selling a house is a major decision that demands careful consideration. After all, securing more money from selling your home gives you more capital to invest with your financial advisor. Your location, for one, plays a major factor. Houses in some places will sell immediately, while others stay on the market for months. Home values in your area may also mean that it's easier or more difficult to sell your home for a profit. We considered those factors and more to create this list of the best cities to sell a house. Read More...

Aug 01, 2019 Those seeking a financial advisor will encounter two types of fee structures: fee-only and fee-based. The difference between the two might not be immediately apparent. Still, as you research advisors to help you plan your financial future, you should understand exactly how you’ll be paying them and what their compensation model means for you. If you want help finding an advisor, consider using SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching service. Read More...

Mar 19, 2019 Prenuptial agreements, commonly known as prenups, are agreements that couples sign before marriage. They specify how assets will be divided in the event of a divorce. Prenups have become more common and less taboo in current times. However, misconceptions about the purpose of a prenup still persist. Read More...

Feb 10, 2020 The old saying, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail," is a philosophy with many applications. And personal finance is one arena that certainly requires a proactive strategy to ensure success. Financial planning takes into account myriad factors including taxes, saving and investing. A financial planner is a professional who helps people to create a plan for their financial future. To find one to help you, use SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching service. Read More...

Feb 04, 2020 Chapter 13 bankruptcy, also known as a wage earner's plan, is a court-approved process that lets you create a repayment plan to cover most or all of your debt over the course of three to five years. Through this process, you can protect your home from foreclosure. To gain eligibility for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, your secured and unsecured debt needs to be less than certain amounts, among other requirements. To figure out if filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy is the right move for you, consult with a  financial advisor. Read More...

Jul 31, 2019 When you work with a financial advisor, you’ll generally pay them via an advisory fee. This is often based on a percentage of your assets under management (AUM). Other common fee types are flat fees and hourly fees. Fee-only advisors make money solely from these advisory fees. Fee-based advisors, however, earn money in a variety of other ways in addition to the standard advisory fee. Make sure you know what fees you'll pay and of any potential conflicts of interest your advisor may have. If you need help finding a financial advisor, consider using SmartAsset’s free financial advisor… Read More...

Jan 15, 2020 The Series 7 license allows professionals to sell securities in the U.S. To obtain it, they must pass a rigorous exam covering various financial topics. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) administers the test, and most employers in the financial services industry require their employees to pass this exam. We’ll explain what the Series 7 exam covers and what it means to have a Series 7 license. If you want a find a financial advisor who has a Series 7 certification, check out our free financial advisor matching tool to get linked to up to three experts in your area who best meet your particular needs. Read More...

Jan 15, 2020 Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are  Social Security programs offered by the federal government that are designed to provide monthly payments for the disabled. The approval processes for each are fairly complex, though, and you must meet certain standards to qualify. Therefore, it's extremely important to plan ahead if you think you'll need to take advantage of these offerings. If you want someone to walk you through these programs, consider working with a financial advisor who specializes in Social Security benefits.… Read More...

Feb 26, 2019 Betterment and Personal Capital stand as two of the biggest robo-advisors available today. Betterment oversees more than $13.5 billion in assets under management (AUM), and Personal Capital juggles $8.5 billion in AUM. Both combine technology and human acumen to manage clients' finances. The two firms offer services like automated investment portfolios, tax-minimization strategies and financial planning tools. But the breadth of these services as well as fees vary. This article will tell you all you need to know about these two robo-advisors. It’ll also help you determine a winner in the Personal Capital vs. Betterment match-up. Read More...

Feb 13, 2019 Many people under intense public scrutiny, such as politicians, judges and high-powered business people, use blind trusts to avoid the perception of conflicts of interest when it comes to their personal financial dealings. A type of living trust, it allows individuals to store assets in a way in which the beneficiary has no control over them. This lessens the possibility that the individual's actions will impact their own net worth. Read More...

Mar 28, 2019 Do you know enough about financial management to take care of all of your investing on your own? Or do you need help from a seasoned expert? That question comes up for millions of Americans each year. If any of these describe you, you could benefit from professional financial advice: Read More...

Sep 19, 2019 Managing your finances can be difficult. Particularly when it comes to complex matters like investing and building a retirement plan, it’s nice to have a second opinion from an expert. That’s exactly what a financial advisor is: A financial planning expert who can help you meet your personal finance goals. While any advisor will have a good general working knowledge of financial planning, many advisors also specialize in certain topics, from investing to retirement income to estate planning. So when you’re looking for an advisor, it’s important to find one who can help with your particular needs. Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 Affordable housing markets are something of a rarity among big cities these days. This is especially true when you look at the cities with the strongest economies, like New York or San Francisco. Even many once-affordable markets are trending toward scenarios where residents are housing cost-burdened. This is a significant shift that spurs people to take a holistic look at their financial situation and evaluate whether they can remain in a increasingly pricey place. Those who are finding it difficult to afford homeownership amid rising costs may need to be extra creative with their financial advisor. Are you in an area susceptible to this… Read More...

Oct 28, 2019 A chartered life underwriter, or CLU, is a financial services certification for  financial advisors who specialize in life insurance within the context of estate planning. Although many advisors have experience with estate planning, CLUs go through rigorous training to earn this designation. Below we go in-depth about what a CLU does, who should consider working with one and how much relationships with these professionals typically cost. Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 You may think you have a good sense of where in the country residents are making the most money. But the counties whose well-heeled, deep-pocketed denizens are pulling in the most coin may not include the fanciest zip codes you're imagining. That's because there's more to income than just wages. In fact, a Federal Reserve survey found that wage income makes up only 61% of pretax income for the average family. From interest income saved in a high-yield saving account to investment income earned through a financial advisor and retirement income through an IRA built up over years… Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 Back in 1989, the average American could expect to live until 75. Roughly 27 years later, the average life expectancy in the U.S. has crept up to nearly 79 years. But while the increased life expectancy is certainly good news, it is also a double-edged sword for Americans when it comes to financial planning. Given that they are living longer, Americans need to be more prepared than ever for retirement, whether that's in building their own savings in tax-advantaged accounts or investing with a professional financial advisor. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the… Read More...

Nov 14, 2018 Applying for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) is a multi-step process. One of the most crucial steps is when the SSA and a partner agency called Disability Determination Services (DDS) attempt to verify your qualifications for disability benefits. To do this, these agencies need your consent to review your medical records. That’s where Form SSA-827 comes in. Read More...

Jul 17, 2019 12b-1 fees are annual distribution fees related to mutual funds. They are an operational expense, and they're usually a part of a fund’s expense ratio. In this guide, you'll find not only an in-depth explanation of 12b-1 fees, but also ways that you may be able to keep your fees low. If you have more questions about mutual funds or the charges associated with them, consider meeting with a financial advisor in your area. Read More...

Jan 14, 2020 Sometimes when it comes to your finances, going at it alone can be intimidating as you try to come up with a game plan. But you want to make sure you're consulting the right expert for your needs. How does a  financial advisor, for example, differ from a wealth manager? Wealth managers are just one kind of financial advisor who work with a specific clientele: those with a high net worth. However, you don't need to be super rich just to work with a wealth manager. Minimum account sizes vary. And you may want to consider their services even if you don't have that much to invest, because they offer comprehensive management of your finances. To help you understand… Read More...

Jul 23, 2019 When it comes to  estate planning and making plans for the medical unknown, an advance directive can be extremely important. If you live in Ohio and you’re considering drafting up an advance directive for yourself, this guide will walk you through the basics of what it is, how to create it and if it’s right for you. Making plans for the end of your life is extremely important even if it’s not the rosiest task. Luckily, talking with a financial advisor can streamline the process significantly. SmartAsset’s Read More...

Jan 14, 2020 There are many ways to become a successful investor, and asset management and hedge funds are two prominent options. There are undoubtedly some similarities between these investment styles. However, each service has its own nuances that can make it more or less suited for your personal financial situation. Before you make any final decisions on your finances, consider meeting with a fiduciary financial advisor to ensure you're making the right choices. Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 Home prices are on the rise in America’s largest cities, and incomes are just not keeping up. Outside of the wealthiest residents, homeownership is not in the cards for many in those cities. Adding extra pressure on prospective homeowners' budgets are high debt payments, including record levels of student debt. In fact, debt is an often overlooked factor in the analysis of how much house residents can afford. A family with high household income but a lot of debt can probably not afford as much house as the initial income figures suggest. But being savvy and finding areas with high median incomes and low median house costs allows households to get the most bang for their buck in the housing market. It's ultimately an undertaking for which you may want to consult a  Read More...

Oct 17, 2018 A sophisticated investment plan can mean an early retirement or just a retirement without financial stress. And whether they are relying on the expertise of a financial advisor to manage their finances or going it alone, Americans are, indeed, investing to grow their wealth. According to IRS data, Americans reported earning $613 billion in passive income in 2016. That makes their investment gains equal to about 8% of the salary and wage income earned in the U.S. during the same period. That $613 billion, however, is not spread evenly across the country.  Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 Are you asking yourself, do I need a financial advisor? The short answer is yes, you probably do. A financial advisor is a professional who can assist you with your finances in a number of ways. This expert can help with investing, financial planning, retirement planning and more. Obviously not every single person needs a financial advisor. However, if you have a certain level of investable assets and are thinking about your financial future, working with a financial advisor is key. This guide below walks you through what financial advisors do and why they’re important. Plus, it examines exactly who will be well-served by working with a financial advisor. Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 Trick-or-treating is a high-reward, low-risk undertaking. That's why people in the U.S. are particularly spirited about grabbing their pillow cases and hitting the streets. In fact, FiveThirtyEight data shows around a quarter of Americans count Halloween among their top-five favorite holidays. And what’s not to love? For kids, it’s a time of shameless candy-binging and dressing up, and for adults, well, it’s much of the same. But depending on where you live, you could have a great trick-or-treating experience, with candy to last a year, or a negative one that leaves you with just apples and sore calves. The benefits of a great trick-or-treating town are more than just theoretical. Places with a high density of single-family homes, a low chance of rain and minimal crime will optimize your experience. That mirrors the reasoning Read More...

Oct 04, 2018 Around 30% of workers nationwide do not have access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. For these workers, independent retirement accounts like Roth IRAs or SEP IRAs are crucial investment vehicles for building their nest eggs. These accounts also provide tax-advantaged opportunities for workers with employer-sponsored plans to sock away additional money for retirement, which can come in handy as Americans live longer and the cost of healthcare rises. Given the increasing importance of saving for retirement, SmartAsset decided to dig into IRS data to find the places where residents are using independent retirement accounts the most. Read More...

Oct 04, 2018 Famously, Apple started out of a garage with little up-front cash. But your typical startup requires more than just a some empty space and a brilliant idea. To create a successful company, you need some money to pay for office space, employees and everyday bills from utilities to legal fees. This can dampen entrepreneurs' ability to bring their business ideas to life especially if they don't have much capital in their savings account. Imagine trying to start a new company in San Francisco with its exorbitant cost of living. Below we look at a slew of factors to rank the cities with the lowest and highest startup costs in the country. Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 Who doesn’t want to retire early. Getting to retire in your 50s or early 60s can mean being able to do some of the things you’ve always dreamed of while you still have some youthful energy. But retiring early requires a ton of planning and preparation. One great strategy for retiring early, that many financial advisors would recommend, is to retire somewhere affordable. Retiring somewhere tax-friendly with a low cost of living can stretch your earnings enough that you can retire a few years early. Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 Just 24% of taxpayers reported a charitable gift on their tax returns in 2015, according to a study from "The Chronicle of Philanthropy." That’s down from a decade earlier when that figure routinely reached 30%. And though fewer people may be giving out of the good of their hearts and working with a  financial advisor to use these contributions to reduce their tax liabilities, Americans in certain places are punching above their weight in generosity. Read More...

Jul 17, 2019 Money management is important for anyone, especially those who make a decent salary but aren't financial experts. If you don’t manage your money correctly, you could find that all of your hard work during your career may not result in the blissful retirement you'd hoped for when you reach your golden years. Read More...

Sep 18, 2018 When people picture the home of their dreams, they imagine the white picket fence, the yard and the home with plenty of rooms for both pets and children. But homes like this tend to be either expensive or located in places far from employment opportunities. Plus, even if you do find a home that fits your criteria you want to make sure you're putting your savings into an asset that will appreciate. And without doing a ton of research, it's hard to know if you’re buying into an area with rising home values or not. Below, we look at these and other factors to rank the best places to buy a home big enough to raise a family. Read More...

Jul 25, 2019 If you’ve ever filed your tax returns on your own, you know that it can be a complicated process, especially if you're itemizing deductions. That's why many people turn to tax preparers or financial advisors to help them navigate the morass of forms and exemptions. But not all tax professionals are created equal. Depending on the specific certification, the tax preparer you work with may have restrictions on who he or she can represent. One type of tax professional who doesn’t have to worry about these restrictions is an enrolled agent (EA). Enrolled agent status is the highest credential you can… Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 Different regions have particular strengths. Silicon Valley is a tech hub of course, the Midwest is known for its agriculture and the Gulf Coast has long had a lucrative oil industry. But if you want to have employment in a thriving part of the local economy, it's a good idea to know what each area’s specialty will be tomorrow. By having an idea about what kind of businesses are growing the fastest, you’ll be more informed about how secure employment in a field that will help you generate wealth that you can build with your financial advisor. Below we look at Census Bureau data to find the fastest-growing business type in every state. Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 Investing in your education is one of the best decisions you can make. A better education can lead to a better job. In turn, that leads to higher earnings, which can eventually lead to growing your wealth with a  financial advisor. But depending on where you live you may not get as much of a chance to educate yourself. Some states and their residents invest more in local education from funding high-quality middle and high schools to paying teachers competitive wages. Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 The key to a financially secure retirement is the planning. Whether with the steadying hand of a financial advisor to guide you to your golden years, or strategizing on your own, planning your retirement does take time and can be difficult. Some seniors, knowing they have not saved enough to retire in their current locale, plan to move to lower cost of living areas. Some seniors on the other hand have prepared themselves to live in more expensive states and can afford the… Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 It can almost be impossible to avoid stressing out. You have a mortgage to pay, you’re concerned your investments with your financial advisor aren’t getting the returns you need for your retirement or you just can’t stick to your budget. But while all of these factors exist in every city to some degree, it is also true that living in a less stressful environment can help you deal with other anxiety-inducing parts of life. So in order to highlight those rare zen-fostering zones, we have ranked the least… Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 With rents on the rise in many of America’s trendiest cities it has become increasingly popular for residents looking to earn some side money to invest in the short-term rental market. Indeed, the returns these rental properties can offer are robust. But as more investors take their share of the rental market pie and offer it to incoming tourists, it leaves fewer options for local, long-term renters and causes rental prices to squeeze further upwards. In response, some cities like New York have started looking into regulating the short-term rental market, with their crosshairs focused primarily on Airbnb. Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 Like any good financial advisor will tell you, investing is about more than just average return. The best investors weigh risk with reward. For example, consider home values. The Census Bureau estimates that the median home in the U.S. increased in value by $10,500 from 2015 to 2016. But that's just the average increase. Some homeowners made more, some made less and some even lost money on their mortgages. Knowing exactly how your home’s value will change in the future is impossible, but with a little research you can get a better idea of the risks that come with investing in any city's housing… Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 How you start your career is an important determinant for future financial success. Young professionals who are able to find a high-paying career earlier are able to build more savings, get promoted earlier and have more long-term, financial flexibility. Where you start is also important. Some cities have affordable housing that allows young professionals to invest in the housing market or lets them rent while investing their savings with a financial advisor. Other cities offer a wide range of job opportunities, meaning young adults are not stuck in dead-end jobs they don’t enjoy. Read More...

Jul 23, 2019 Betterment is a robo-advisor that allows investors to create and manage their investment portfolios online. Whether you're building wealth for retirement or other financial reasons, Betterment functions as your digital investing solution. With more than $10 billion in assets under management, the company offers a range of online services, including two investing accounts, tax-loss harvesting features and competitive management fees. But should you use it? Is Betterment safe? Below, we take a closer look at Betterment's products and services to show you why it's a safe choice. Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the price of college tuition increased by 63% from 2006 to 2016. Over that same time period, the median household income in the United States increased by only 19%. This makes college more expensive than ever for the average family. However, there are efficient ways that you can save for your children's education. One example is through  529 plans. These are tax-advantaged savings plans designed to help people save money for schooling. Every state has its own plan or set of plans, but they are all a little different and vary in popularity. For example, some are actively managed, utilizing a Read More...

Feb 11, 2020 To minimize your tax liability and capitalize on tax deductions, a tax consultant may be the way to go. With more expertise than standard tax preparers, tax consultants can help with tax planning, inheritance issues, charitable giving and other complex tax situations. Often, these advisors have training in tax law or accounting. Fees vary, depending on the scope of work and the skill and experience of the tax consultant. If you need help with tax-loss harvesting or minimizing capital gains on your investments, you may just want a Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 In 2016 the IRS reported that it collected nearly $18.3 billion in estate taxes, from more than 5,200 estates. That is an average tax of $3.5 million per taxable estate. While the estate tax is a punishing one-off payment, the wealthy can also see their annual tax burden pile up due to income and property taxes. The size of the tax burden varies wildly by state however, making it advantageous for the wealthy to live in one state over another. For example, some states have higher income taxes or higher estate taxes. Wealthy Americans without access to expert financial advice, such as from a  financial advisor, can find themselves paying sizable… Read More...

Sep 19, 2019 If you're starting to think about getting ready for retirement or you're approaching a major life transition, it might be the right time to hire a financial advisor. A financial advisor can help you with everything from creating a financial plan to managing and building your wealth. Of course, finding a financial advisor is easier said than done. Not all financial advisors are alike, so you'll want to be sure to do your homework to ensure you end up working with someone who is trustworthy and suits your needs. As you’re weighing your options, these are the 10 questions to ask a financial advisor to decide if this is the person you want to manage your money. Read More...

Aug 01, 2019 As you strive to reach your financial goals and prepare for retirement, you may consider turning to a financial advisor. But you may be wondering: How much does a financial advisor cost? Generally, financial advisors charge a flat fee of $1,500 to $2,500 for the one-time creation of a full financial plan, or 1% to 2% of assets under management for ongoing portfolio management. However, fee rates and compensation structures differ from advisor to advisor. That can make it challenging to figure out how much you’re paying and if you’re getting a fair deal when you're trying to find a financial advisor. Here’s what you need to know to make sure you fully understand financial advisor fees before you… Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 The majority of Americans find meeting their retirement goals a challenge. After all, the financial world is complicated. Many Americans miss the opportunity to save, which means they miss the chance to invest - whether that's alone or with the expert guidance of a financial advisor. Without the gains from investing, it is almost impossible to save enough for retirement. Census Bureau data shows that retirement-aged Americans across the country struggle to find affordable housing. Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 It’s a pretty good time to be a worker in America. For the most part, jobs are available and unemployment is on the decline. But availability of jobs alone does not mean a city is a good place to start a career. The cities with the best career opportunities combine high pay, strong support networks and affordable homes. This leaves workers with the opportunity to not only have a fulfilling career but also a chance to hit financial milestones like owning a home or investing with a financial advisor. Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 With tuition increasing at a steady pace and student loan debt reaching record highs, many parents struggle finding ways to lower the price of higher education. But a 529 college savings plan can help. These tax-friendly savings vehicles offer a range of perks. Below, we explore 529 plan benefits in detail. But first, we’ll explain exactly what they are. Read More...

Jul 31, 2019 Whether you're investing in mutual funds or simply looking to transform your wealth with a financial plan, you may be considering working with a financial advisor. Investment advisors and financial planners are two of the most common types of financial advisors that clients work with. These advisors ultimately offer guidance on different financial topics, but one thing they have in common is your money. If you're thinking about working with one of these advisors, it's important that you understand what each can do. Read More...

Oct 18, 2018 After years of investing in your children’s college education, you’re ready to reach into your 529 college savings plan and send your kid off to the best years of his or her life. But while making 529 plan withdrawals is as simple as clicking a few buttons, the consequences are complex. Missteps could trigger tax penalties. So you should consider a few points before you tap into your savings. Below, we’ll walk you through the process of making 529 plan withdrawals the right way. You’ve worked hard for your savings. Now it’s time for your 529 plan to work for you and your children.  Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 The average full-time working woman earns 82% of what the average full-time working man earns, according to BLS data. The good news is that the gender pay gap is shrinking. The bad news is that the narrowing of the gap comes too late for women who started and ended their careers when the pay gap was worse. That wide difference in earnings has hurt women’s ability to meet their financial goals. Read More...

Oct 08, 2019 It's exciting to know you're going to be bringing a new member into the family. Decorating the baby's nursery, buying children's books and finding that perfect stroller are all important. But, what's more important is whether you're ready for the financial costs that come with having a baby. Both pregnancy and birth require a lot of medical attention. In other words, you won't be charged for the birth alone. The pregnancy itself is filled with costs that accompany the numerous doctor's visits, tests and procedures you may have. Therefore, you'll want to make sure you have enough financial cushion before you decide to have a child. Read More...

Jun 18, 2018 Whether you are working with a  financial advisor or managing a portfolio on your own, making the right investments can make all the difference in your future financial security. Make too many risky investments and you might lose out on your retirement income, don’t take on enough risk and you may not accumulate enough funds to retire comfortably. Read More...

Sep 12, 2018 If you're getting started in investing, an investment broker can be a great asset as your connection to the market. Investment brokers serve as go-betweens for buyers and sellers on the stock market. They enable their clients to purchase stocks, bonds and other securities from the exchanges.  Read More...

May 23, 2018 Investing is never easy, and trying to figure everything out on your own can be incredibly stressful. That's why many people hire a professional financial advisor who understands the market and can make smart investment choices for you. But the tough part is finding someone you actually trust, that understands your long term financial goals. SmartAsset has built a way to address this problem, making it easier than ever to find the right financial advisor who understands the market and can help you achieve your financial goals. Of course, it's easy to be skeptical about finding a financial advisor online, so here's everything personal investors need to know about our SmartAdvisor matching program. How does SmartAsset find the right advisor? When you visit the SmartAsset site, you're invited to answer a series of questions. The questionnaire only takes a few minutes, and helps… Read More...

Sep 19, 2019 Even if you don't know what ERISA means, you've likely seen it the word when doing research into how to plan for retirement. Fear not, though, because it’s pretty simple. ERISA is a law designed to help protect you and your money as you look towards your golden years. Read More...

Feb 06, 2020 Even if you understand every tax law and investment strategy out there, it’s always helpful to get support from an expert. Luckily, there are plenty of financial professionals eager to offer their counsel. In fact, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) defines 183 professional designations on its website. Some titles are more generic while others require specific experience and educational qualifications. Financial advisors and financial planners are two of the most popular titles. Read More...

Jul 09, 2019 If you need help getting your finances in order or learning the basics of budgeting, you might consider seeking the help of a financial coach. A financial coach is different from other financial professionals. They spend more time helping their clients understand the fundamentals of finances, rather than recommending investments and managing portfolios like financial advisors. Read on to learn more about financial coaches, what they do and how to become one. Read More...

Oct 18, 2018 Financial goals are like New Year’s resolutions: easier said than done. Building a financial plan can help bridge the gap between what you want to accomplish and what becomes a reality. A financial plan outlines the steps you should take to achieve your goals, reaffirming that your desired future is attainable. Unfortunately, most of us lack the time and know-how to develop a financial plan. That’s where financial professionals come in, offering advice and recommendations on everything from budgeting to retirement savings and investing. Read More...

Jan 08, 2020 In the world of business and finance, disclosures are the reporting of information that companies - public corporations, financial advisor firms, brokerages - might prefer to keep private. Governmental and regulatory agencies require disclosures in order to promote transparency and fairness. For example, investment advisors registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) must provide current and prospective clients with disclosures related to any conflicts of interest or disciplinary actions. For help finding a financial advisor who is ethically bound to put your interests first, use SmartAsset's financial advisor matching tool. Read More...

Jul 23, 2019 Money affects basically every aspect of our lives. However, learning to properly manage your money isn’t always easy to do. So how can you learn about personal finance while also getting advice that applies to your specific financial situation? One strategy is to work with a financial advisor. A financial advisor can help you create and execute a financial plan no matter where you are in your life.  This can get expensive though. Luckily, if you can’t afford a financial advisor, there are free tools, calculators and software that can act almost like having a free financial advisor. Read More...

Sep 10, 2019 "Chartered financial analyst" (CFA) and "certified financial planner" (CFP) are common certifications for individuals working in finance, namely financial advisors. These are designed to tell a client (or employer) that the holder has received education in certain types of financial work. The certification processes require applicants to have different amounts of experience and education. Let's go over what separates these two certifications so that you can choose the right one for you - regardless of whether you're trying to find a financial advisor or you want to get certified yourself. Read More...

May 15, 2018 Your money is important. As you strive to reach your financial goals, you may consider turning to a financial advisor. But expertise comes at a cost. Fees and compensation structures differ from advisor to advisor, which can make it challenging for investors to figure out what's best for them. Here's what you need to know to make sure you fully understand financial advisor fees before you hire an expert. Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 Ever heard of the financial services industry? Even if you haven’t, you’ve probably interacted with this industry almost every day. You might think it just means working with a financial advisor. But in reality, whether you’re an investor, a homeowner, a credit cardholder or even just a simple savings account holder, you’ve worked with the financial services industry. But what is the financial services industry exactly? It involves so many aspects of our finances, so let's take a look. Read More...

Jan 15, 2020 Do you have a budget? Do you follow it? If you answered no, you're not alone. According to NAPFA, 60% of U.S. adults don't have a budget and less than 50% of Americans have a purposeful savings plan. Luckily, financial advisors exist and can help you get out of your budget-less rut. You'll have to be careful about who you pick, though, since not all financial advisors act in your best interest. Some act in their self-interest instead to make more money. Read More...

May 15, 2018 So you’ve decided to start working with a financial advisor. Good for you! But even after narrowing down a list of possible advisors, deciding on one can still be difficult. Wondering how to choose a financial advisor? Here are some factors to remember so you can find the best one for you. Read More...

Jan 31, 2020 When it comes to choosing a financial advisor, you want to pick carefully. A financial advisor can be key to helping you determine and achieve your financial goals and get ready for retirement. But not all financial advisors are equal. It's worth devoting time and effort to finding a financial advisor you can trust and will want to work with for years to come. Here's a guide to how to find a financial advisor and what to consider when you choose a financial… Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 Investing can be an intimidating endeavor with all its terminology and the complexities of the market. But you shouldn't let that stop you. Investing provides a great way to grow your money. There are some risks associated with investing due to the volatility of the market to be sure. However, you can count on certain agencies, laws and financial advisors to help you succeed. That's where FINRA comes in. Read More...

Feb 05, 2020 A financial plan is a comprehensive overview of your financial goals and the steps you need to take to achieve them. Financial plans are usually physical documents to ensure that your plan is concrete and final. Many people will combine a financial plan with an investment plan, as investing is often part of what will help you save for the future. If you have more questions about your finances, consider working with a  financial advisor in your area. Read More...

May 15, 2018 For someone seeking to get a start on major money projects, hiring a financial planner is a good first step. A financial planner will first assess her client's financial situation. Then, she will develop a comprehensive plan for money management and working toward a savings goal. This is great to have - but how much does a financial planner cost? The answer depends on on a few factors, including how the planner charges for her work and whether her advisement will be one-time or ongoing. Read More...

Jan 08, 2020 When you are looking around for a financial adviser to hire, you're likely to encounter an assortment of initials after each financial professional's name. CFA, CPA, CLU. These letters signify different financial certifications. Curious to know more? Read on and allow us to explain. A matching tool like SmartAsset's can help you find a financial professional who meets your specific needs. Read More...

Sep 05, 2018 If you feel like you haven't gotten it all figured out financially, don't worry. You're not alone! It's hard enough to keep track of our professional and personal lives. Add in planning for the future and many of us just don't have the time or know-how. From budgeting to student loans,  retirement savings to taxes, insurance to investing and more, our finances are pretty complex. Luckily, there are certified financial planners who can help. Read More...

Apr 13, 2018 When you're trying to build wealth, having an expert in your corner to help guide your decisions could be a good idea. The problem is, what do you do when you and your advisor are no longer on the same page? If you've been with your advisor for a while and you're thinking about making a change, here are four signs it's finally time to show them to the door. Read More...

Feb 13, 2019 If you've been paying down your debt for years but can't seem to get ahead or you're not sure how to get started saving for retirement, it might be time to get professional help. A financial advisor can answer all your money-related questions and offer advice on the best way to manage your finances. But not all financial professionals are alike. It's important to look for one whose qualifications and experience are right for your situation. Read More...

Sep 19, 2019 When it comes to money, it often takes a team to help you manage it correctly, particularly once you start working full-time, saving for retirement and starting a family. Financial planning can be difficult to navigate and is often time consuming. One way to help navigate the terrain of financial planning and creating the financial freedom you want in your life, is to work with a financial advisor. While the role of financial advisors vary, their assistance can be very helpful when it comes to investing, retirement planning, tax information and more. There are numerous types of financial advisors and their… Read More...

Back