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Brower Financial Group Articles

What Do You Have in Reserve for 2018?

Posted by Casey Clementz on Jan 10, 2018 11:25:34 AM

Build your emergency fund this year.

How much does the average American household have in the bank?

Estimates vary, but the short answer to this question is “not enough.”

Last year, a GoBankingRates poll discovered that 57% of U.S. households had less than $1,000 in deposit accounts (although, 25% reported having at least $10,000). A 2017 analysis from Moebs Services, a research firm consulting banks and credit unions, noted that the average U.S. checking account contained around $3,600.1,2 

Eyeing these numbers, you get the sense that – in an emergency – most households have less than a month before their liquid savings run out. Is this true for your household? Hopefully, your cash reserve is much larger; if that is not the case, now is as good a time as any to bolster your emergency fund.

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Topics: Retirement Planning

Financial Planning | Weekly Economic Update  - January 1, 2018

Posted by Brower Financial Group on Jan 2, 2018 9:29:11 AM

 

WEEKLY TIP

Do you think you will have a 2018 tax refund? Consider using it to pay off a high-interest debt. If you have a debt at 18% interest, doing away with it is effectively like getting an 18% return.

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Topics: Weekly Economic Update

Comprehensive Financial Planning: What It Is, Why It Matters

Posted by Brower Financial Group on Dec 21, 2017 10:54:45 AM

Your approach to building wealth should be built around your goals & values.

Just what is comprehensive financial planning?

As you invest and save for retirement, you may hear or read about it – but what does that phrase really mean? Just what does comprehensive financial planning entail, and why do knowledgeable investors request this kind of approach?

While the phrase may seem ambiguous to some, it can be simply defined.

Comprehensive financial planning is about building wealth through a process, not a product.

Financial products are everywhere, and simply putting money into an investment is not a gateway to getting rich, nor a solution to your financial issues.

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Topics: Retirement Planning

Financial Planning | Weekly Economic Update  - Dec 4, 2018

Posted by Brower Financial Group on Dec 6, 2017 8:02:18 AM

WEEKLY TIP

Did you just get a great business idea? If you have a product or service offering that you sense your customers will find irresistible, perhaps they could help you finance it. Consider presenting it through a subscription model or have customers pay for the goods or services in advance.

CONSUMERS ACT ON THEIR CONFIDENCE

A new factoid points out just how well the economy is doing: the federal government just upgraded its estimate of third-quarter growth to 3.3%. New data on consumer spending and confidence hints at fourth-quarter strength. Personal spending improved 0.3% in October following the 0.9% leap in September, and household wages were up 0.4% in October for a second straight month. At a mark of 129.5, the Conference Board’s consumer confidence index reached a YTD peak in November, having soared 9.1 points in two months.1,2

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Topics: Weekly Economic Update

Financial Planning | Weekly Economic Update  - Nov 27, 2017

Posted by Brower Financial Group on Nov 28, 2017 3:59:33 PM

WEEKLY TIP

Some investors play a guessing game: they watch Wall Street and try to pick future winners. Other investors recognize that diversification may improve their chances of holding shares in such companies without a lot of guessing.

 

CONSUMER SENTIMENT DECLINES FOR NOVEMBER

The University of Michigan’s monthly gauge of how households perceive current and future economic conditions ended the month at a mark of 98.5. Compared to the 100.7 final October reading, this was a disappointment. Still, the index was up 5.0 points year-over-year. Richard Curtin, the economist in charge of the consumer survey, noted that the index has hovered near “the highest levels since 2004” since January.1

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Topics: Weekly Economic Update

Retirement Plan Contribution Limits Rise for 2018

Posted by Brower Financial Group on Nov 7, 2017 12:35:18 PM

Slight increases have been made due to mild inflation.

You will able to put a little more into your workplace retirement account in 2018.

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Topics: Client Newsletter

RETIREMENT IN SIGHT

Posted by Brower Financial Group on Oct 25, 2017 4:17:47 PM

A Retirement Plan… or a College Plan?

Some parents feel they should pay for all or part of their children’s college education. They make it a financial priority and put saving for retirement further down on their to-do list. If their kids can graduate without any student loan debt, the thinking goes, they will be better positioned to provide financial support to mom and dad one day.

This assumption may be hazardous to retiree financial health. One, the kids may not be inclined to provide such support in the future. Cultural or familial expectations may not be realized. Two, students can receive financial aid; retirees cannot. Three, consider these numbers: a couple retiring today may have to pay $275,000 or more in future medical costs, the current average annual Social Security benefit is less than $16,000, and according to a recent PWC survey, half of baby boomers have less than $100,000 saved for retirement. The takeaway here? Unless you are impressively wealthy, you should be regularly funding retirement accounts first, without interruptions, reductions to contributions, or drawdowns to pay for college. Your young adult children should recognize that their college years mark the start of their financial lives, with attendant financial responsibilities.1,2

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Topics: Client Newsletter

It’s Time to Review Your Life Insurance

Posted by Brower Financial Group on Oct 12, 2017 8:46:34 AM

Are you underinsured, or not insured at all?

When was the last time you looked at your life insurance coverage?

Why not do it now? Life insurance can be a remarkable utility as an estate planning and tax-saving tool. Whether you have no life insurance, or you haven’t reviewed your policy in a while, it is always a good idea to be aware of your options and be prepared.

About 40% of Americans have no life insurance.

LIMRA, an insurance industry group analyzing insurance trends in the U.S., recently found that among men and women, ownership of life insurance policies has hit its lowest level since 2004. LIMRA’s study shows 39% of men without even term life coverage, and 43% of women in the same boat.1

Alarmingly, the population of married men aged 35-54 who had life insurance dropped more than 10% from 2004-10. Men who fall into this age bracket are usually in or near their peak earning years, and about half of them are fathers.1

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Topics: Life Insurance

Ponte Vedra Financial Planner | Weekly Economic Update  - October 9, 2017

Posted by Brower Financial Group on Oct 10, 2017 10:02:37 AM

WEEKLY TIP

Your household may want to budget by the 50/20/30 rule: 50% of take-home pay assigned to fixed monthly costs, 20% to saving/investing, and 30% to flexible consumer expenses.

HURRICANES HURT SEPTEMBER JOB NUMBERS

For the first time in seven years, the economy went a month without payroll growth. The Department of Labor’s September employment report revealed the impact of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma: it showed 33,000 fewer people working. Average hourly wages rose 0.5% to take the annualized gain to 2.9%, but this may have been an effect of the net loss of 105,000 lower-paying bar and restaurant jobs. In a statistical fluke, the headline jobless rate fell to 4.2%, and the U-6 rate, counting the underemployed, declined to 8.3%, even as slightly more Americans looked for work.1  

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Topics: Weekly Economic Update

Ponte Vedra Financial Planner | Weekly Economic Update  - October 3, 2017

Posted by Brower Financial Group on Oct 3, 2017 8:22:54 AM

WEEKLY TIP

When a grandparent, relative or friend of the family pays for a child’s medical expenses that are not covered by insurance, direct payments to doctors for such costs are not considered gifts to the child and do not count against the annual gift tax exclusion amount (currently $14,000).

PERSONAL SPENDING BARELY IMPROVES

Consumer spending increased by only a seasonally adjusted 0.1% in August, while consumer incomes rose 0.2%. Those gains precisely matched the projections of economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal. Factoring in inflation, household spending actually retreated 0.1% during August. Hurricane Harvey may be partly to blame for these numbers.1

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Topics: Weekly Economic Update