Flourish Financially Blog

Do You Have a Child in College? Make Sure You Have These Important Documents in Place

By Kathy Longo, CFP®, CAP®, CDFA®

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Do You Have a Child in College? Make Sure You Have These Important Documents in Place

When it comes to getting your kids ready for college it can seem like there are a million things to do, think of, and prepare. I remember I was a wreck when my daughter Maddy went off to college (She successfully graduated May 2019). I had my concerns about her safety, her well-being, her ability to create her own structure with all that freedom, and all the other concerns that come with being the parent of a young adult. Maddy, on the other hand, was excited to begin this new chapter of her life. The furthest thing from her mind was worst-case scenarios and creating a plan for the what-ifs of adulthood.

Having It All: Being a Great Mom and Having a Successful Career

If you are a mother and you have a job, chances are you feel like finding that perfect balance between managing your family and your career is just out of reach.
By Kathy Longo, CFP®, CAP®, CDFA®
Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Having It All: Being a Great Mom and Having a Successful Career

That’s because there are only 24 hours in a day and some of those are supposed to be earmarked for sleep (though with little ones or teenagers in the house that often proves a challenge). The reality is that you can have it all, you just need to reconfigure what all actually means. We are bombarded on all sides by endless streams of advice on how to be better parents as expectations for parent involvement have been growing alongside many other more elaborate expectations for working mothers. How are we supposed to be more with less on both sides? You can’t! Step one is to realize a lot of the goals for being the perfect mother and employee are unrealistic. Do you want to win? Change the rules of the game. Succeeding at mothering may not be endless Pinterest crafts and a full schedule of extra-curricular activities. At the same time, earning employee of the year honors may not require tons of overtime and being available 24 hours a day.

Tips for Choosing Benefits in Your First Job

When you get your first job, you are so excited because you are finally independent!
By Nicole Swanson, CFP®, ChFC
Monday, 06 May 2019

Tips for Choosing Benefits in Your First Job

But on your first day, you’re given a massive employee benefits package and have no idea where to begin. College didn’t teach us how to select benefits! Here is a guide as you begin your first job and enroll in employee benefits.

401k Enrollment:

Many employers automatically enroll you when you become eligible. You can choose a certain percentage of salary to contribute each pay period. You can change this percentage any time because you shouldn’t have to wait for benefit enrollment periods with your 401k Plan. You likely get a matching contribution from your employer too, which is free money! Make sure to contribute enough to meet the matching requirements. For example, if your employer matches 50% of your contribution up to 6% then you should contribute at least 6% because that means your employer will contribute an additional 3%, which means you just earned a 50% return on your first investment! You will have two options to select for your 401k. You can elect pretax or Roth (after-tax) or a mix of both. The difference is for pretax you get the tax break now and pay taxes when you take distributions in retirement. For Roth, you pay the taxes now and get the distributions tax free in retirement. For most people starting their first job, Roth makes the most sense as you are likely in a lower tax bracket now than you will be in retirement.

Women in the Workplace

By Kathy Longo, CFP®, CAP®, CDFA®

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Women in the Workplace

A lot has changed in the past few decades in the workplace. One major shift has been moving women out of the typing pools and into boardrooms and offices. This has shown to be a positive move as women hold more bachelor’s degrees (57%) and companies with women in leadership roles have shown increased profitability. Women are shrewd investors and often better equipped to play the long-game in investing. But knowing all this and having the data to prove it, why aren’t there more women in leadership roles? When only 4.8% of Fortune 500 companies have women CEO’s and female-dominated boardrooms, the question must be asked, why aren’t there more women in leadership roles?

Managing Money When You Are Busy

By Kathy Longo, CFP®, CAP®, CDFA®

Friday, 29 March 2019

Managing Money When You Are Busy

We all want to devote more time to our money. In the same way, we want to Marie Kondo our homes, get on the Keto train and practice more mindfulness and meditation. But reality and daily obligations have a way of getting in the way of all those aspirations! Instead, we are often bouncing from one urgent situation to the next, be it work, picking up kids, appointments, etc. By the time our feet are up and the TVs are blaring, the idea of managing your investments is pretty far down the list. The good news is that there are some easy, low-effort ways to get on top of your finances and be able to check something off that long to-do list.

Your Personal, Complicated Relationship with Money

By Kathy Longo, CFP®, CAP®, CDFA®

Friday, 14 December 2018

Your Personal, Complicated Relationship with Money

When I was in seventh grade, I went shopping with a friend and her brother. They were from an affluent family and encouraged me to buy a pair of Guess jeans even though the Guess jeans were much more money than anything my family normally bought.

I had been earning my own money as the most-sought-after neighborhood babysitter, so I had enough money to buy the jeans. Upon returning home, I proudly shared my purchase, to which my mom took one look at the price tag and made it clear that she thought I had paid way too much for them. I immediately felt ashamed. I took the jeans back, but the memory of them remains.

The Costly Relationship Between Your Emotions and Your Money

By Kathy Longo, CFP®, CAP®, CDFA®

Thursday, 08 November 2018

The Costly Relationship Between Your Emotions and Your Money

How we perceive success, happiness, finance, and the experiences that shape us influences how we spend and save money. As I wrote about previously, understanding your money story and your emotions about money can remove some of the barriers that get in the way of allowing you to make level-headed financial decisions.

 There will often be emotions surrounding money.  The key is to separate the emotional from the rational, in order to more clearly identify your true goals and make better financial decisions.  There are four common emotions that typically drive financial decisions: fear, responsibility, excitement and sadness.

Gaining Perspective on Your Partner’s Money Story

By Kathy Longo, CFP®, CAP®, CDFA®

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Gaining Perspective on Your Partner’s Money Story

In a previous post, I spoke to the importance of identifying your “money story” – a memory or set of memories that helped shape how you feel about and approach money. Your first experiences with money set the tone for the emotions and motivations you attach to money, which affects the financial decisions you make.

Each and every money story is unique, which makes each individual’s approach to finance vastly different. It’s no wonder money matters are the leading stress in marriages…you’ve got two people with two completely different approaches to one of the most important aspects of life.

Getting Excited about Your Finances

By Kathy Longo, CFP®, CAP®, CDFA®

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Getting Excited about Your Finances

You might be thinking, “who gets excited about finances??”  Instead, many people dread them and hope to avoid dealing with them altogether.  Therein lies the problem – when you don’t look at and deal with them, that’s when things don’t improve.  However, when you decide to not avoid them, approach them head on and actually – yes – get excited about what you can accomplish, you will be amazed at the power you’ll have over your current and future financial outcome.

 

Avoiding Lifestyle Creep: Do’s and Don’ts

By Kathy Longo, CFP®, CAP®, CDFA®

Thursday, 04 October 2018

Avoiding Lifestyle Creep: Do’s and Don’ts

Finally! You got the promotion! Time to celebrate with going out to dinner…and maybe the next night or more just because it’s no big deal now. And look, you hadn’t noticed before, but you can add your favorite entertainment package to your streaming tv account for only $40 more per month. It’s been a busy couple of months, you’d prefer not to spend your extra time on the lawn, maybe you can add a lawn service so that you don’t have to worry about it – for only $100 a month that seems worth it! And man, your car has seen a lot of miles…perhaps you should look into trading in/up for a newer car, you’ve got the room to afford more, right?

Why We Lie About Money

By Kathy Longo, CFP®, CAP®, CDFA®

Monday, 24 September 2018

Why We Lie About Money

We tend to lie about things we’re uncomfortable with, embarrassed about, or ashamed of.  It’s no different with one of the most significant forces in our lives: money.  My passion and focus is helping individuals truly flourish financially.  To do this though, people need to be willing to have real, sometimes uncomfortable, conversations about money and life. 

After working in financial planning for more than twenty-five years, I’ve noticed that there’s a deep-rooted resistance in our culture to talk about money. Talking about money requires a willingness to be vulnerable and most people are not confident in their money choices. They’re embarrassed about making poor choices or not having the know-how to make good ones. This is unfortunate for many reasons. Chief among them is the fact that money is a source of stress for most people. 


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