April 2013

29 Apr

Six Tips for Raising Financially Responsible Children

Raising kids is a major responsibility. As a parent, you want your children to grow into independent and responsible adults, and part of that involves teaching them financial lessons. Sometimes, however, that's easier said than done. The following six tips can help you teach your kids financial lessons that will pay dividends for years to come.

1. Teach Money Lessons Early

Get kids comfortable with basic financial concepts by explaining what money is and how it works. One way to do this with young kids might be to give them money to make small purchases (such as a candy bar) themselves. If your children are a bit older, an allowance can teach them how to make their own money decisions. While you may require that your kids save a certain portion of their money or give something to charity, let them decide how to spend the rest of it. When you allow kids to decide how to spend their money, they'll start to understand how much different items cost and learn how to prioritize their various wants (e.g., "I can buy a small toy today, or I can save my money to buy a bigger toy in the future.")

29 Apr

Reassessing Retirement Assumptions

What makes financial sense for some baby boomers may not make sense for you.

There is no "typical" retirement. Many baby boomers want one and believe that they will have one, and their futures may indeed unfold as planned. For others, the story will be different. Just as there is no routine retirement, there are no rote financial moves that should be made before or during this phase of life, and no universal truths about the retirement experience.

Here are some commonly held assumptions – suppositions that may or may not prove true for you, depending on your financial and lifestyle circumstances.

29 Apr

Setting Up Your Estate to Minimize Probate

What can you do to lessen its impact for your heirs?

Probate subtly reduces the value of many estates. It can take more than a year in some cases, and attorney’s fees, appraiser’s fees and court costs may eat up as much as 5% of a decedent’s accumulated assets. Think tens of thousands of dollars, perhaps more.1

What do those fees pay for? In many cases, routine clerical work. Few estates require more than that. Heirs of small, five-figure estates may be allowed to claim property through affidavit, but this convenience isn’t extended for larger estates.

So how you can exempt more of your assets from probate and its costs? Here are some ideas.