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Money Management for the Next Generation

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The following article was originally published in Millennial Magazine on May 15, 2018 (you may find the original here).


Photo of Nicole PriceThe financial habits you establish in your 20s, 30s and even in your 40s are likely to shape your wealth outlook for the rest of your life. The following are some simple money management tips to help you get off on the right foot.

Be aggressive in paying off debt

With credit card interest rates averaging 15%, student loan interest rates at 5%, and interest on savings accounts around 1%, it’s easy to see how much of a wealth drain debt has become. Focus on eliminating major debt as quickly as you can for the most effective money management plan.

Pay your bills on time

Establishing good credit early on can have a positive financial impact throughout your life – from qualifying for a mortgage to getting preferred interest rates on loans and purchasing insurance.

Don’t put off saving for retirement

Thanks to the power of tax-deferred compounding, the difference between starting to save at age 25 versus waiting until you feel more financially secure can be astounding. If you’re not contributing to your employer’s plan, start today!

Build an emergency fund

Finding yourself suddenly out of work or with an unexpected financial obligation is stressful enough without the added pressure of worrying about how you’ll make ends meet. A good rule of thumb is to save enough money to cover at least six months of expenses.

Educate yourself financially

Knowledge is power; especially when it comes to managing your wealth. There is an abundance of financial information available online. If you prefer hands-on help, call or meet with a professional. Ask questions and take control of your financial future.

Use your tech savvy to save

From setting up auto-pay to ensure timely payment of your monthly bills to linking checking and savings accounts to automatically invest funds each month, let technology help make you a better saver and investor.

Increase your contribution rate

The consensus estimate of financial professionals is that we should be saving at least 15% of our pre-tax salary to our retirement plans, yet the average American is only contributing 6%. Try to close that gap a bit and you’ll be surprised at how minimally it impacts your take-home pay.

Stay invested

Don’t let all the financial headlines cause you to jump in and out of your investments. Because you have a long time horizon to retirement, market volatility should be far less of a concern to you than it might be for your parents’ money management plan.

Remember that you aren’t invincible

While nobody wants to imagine the worst, it’s important to protect your loved one’s future should the unexpected happen. Estate planning in your late 20s, 30s, and 40s might seem frivolous – until it’s suddenly needed.

Get advice on money management

Being financially independent doesn’t mean you can’t ask for help. Trusted advice and experienced counsel can play an important role in your long term planning.

 

Nicole Bennett Price, CFP® is Vice President of Pennsylvania Trust. Her primary responsibilities include trust and investment advisory account administration and financial planning.

 

Disclosure: Data is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as marketing for any Pennsylvania Trust mandate or service and should not be considered a solicitation or an offer to provide any Pennsylvania Trust service in any jurisdiction where it would be unlawful to do so. The views expressed represent the opinions of Pennsylvania Trust and are not intended as a forecast or guarantee of future results. The sectors, industries, countries and regions discussed herein should not be perceived as investment recommendations and may no longer be held in an account’s portfolio. Sector/industry weights and country and regional allocations of any particular client portfolio may vary based on investment restrictions applicable to the account. There may be additional risks associated with international investments. International securities may be subject to market/currency fluctuations, investment risks, and other risks involving foreign economic, political, monetary, taxation, auditing and other legal factors. These risks may be magnified in emerging markets. Pennsylvania Trust believes that transactions in any option, future, commodity, or other derivative product are not suitable for all persons, and that accordingly, clients should be aware of the risks involved in trading such instruments. There may be significant risks which should be considered prior to investing. All securities trading, whether in stocks, options or other investment vehicles, is speculative in nature and involves substantial risk of loss. Indices are unmanaged and not available for direct investment. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Preparing for the Unexpected

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Photo of Nan LansingerFor most of us the word “change” brings about some rather unsettling thoughts. Generally speaking, we are creatures of habit who tend to find comfort and a sense of safety in the relative predictability of our day-to-day routines. As a result, we often avoid thinking about, let alone planning for, the possibility of life changing events – especially something as devastating as the death of a spouse or close family member.

Yet no matter how unpleasant, it’s a universal concern that everyone needs to prepare for. And because women on average live longer, it’s advice that especially holds true for them. In fact, 90% of women will have sole responsibility for their financial affairs at some point in their lives (Source: Women & Money).

Unfortunately, I know this all too well from personal experience, as my husband of 37 years passed away suddenly almost three years ago at age 63. Having my advisory team in place was one of the things that helped me the most, in my hour of need.

Be proactive

The loss of one’s partner or close family member is a time of great stress and emotional upheaval. The last thing you want to be doing in the immediate aftermath is scrambling to find essential legal and financial documents or making important financial decisions.

With that in mind, make an effort now to develop a better understanding of your complete financial picture. Familiarize yourself with all your family’s assets and liabilities including bank and investment accounts, insurance policies, real estate holdings, as well as any outstanding loans. Review the beneficiary designations for insurance policies and retirement accounts. Make sure you have a well-organized and easily accessible emergency file that contains all your important documents such as wills, trusts, and insurance policies, along with all account numbers and passwords for online accounts. Include business cards with contacts and phone numbers for various institutions you do business with.

A more complete guide to getting organized appears in an article written by Chief Fiduciary Officer, Leslie Gillin Bohner, Esq. With a helpful template for creating a Contingency Plan List, the article can be found here.

Additionally, if you have not had credit in your own name, it’s important that you build your own credit history. You can begin by establishing a credit card or opening a line of credit, solely in your name.

Involve your family

Many parents, whether due to discomfort around broaching the topic or an unwillingness to disclose their financial affairs, fail to ever discuss their estate plan with their adult children. Not only does this render family members uninformed should something happen to the parent, it leaves the family unprepared to make smart decisions regarding pressing financial matters. Now is the time to introduce your children to your advisory team so that they can become personally connected to professionals who can help to educate and prepare them to navigate the financial challenges ahead. The experts at Pennsylvania Trust stand ready to meet with your children, grandchildren, and other family members.

Finally, if an unexpected event such as a loved one’s death or a health crisis does unfortunately occur, bring together as much expertise and insight as possible. Encourage your attorney, accountant, and insurance agent to work together with your Pennsylvania Trust advisor to ensure that all your legal, financial, and tax obligations are addressed in a timely and coordinated manner.

With our staff of attorneys, financial planners, trust officers, investment managers, and tax professionals, we have an abundance of talented individuals with deep expertise to help you as you prepare for the unexpected and deal with the challenges associated with these life-changing events.

Ms. Lansinger is Senior Vice President and Director of Marketing and Client Development at Pennsylvania Trust.


A Matter of Stewardship

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Photo of Rich Merriman at desk.The elementary school near our office in Radnor is hosting a Harvest Festival next week. Big orange pumpkins, cornstalks and hay bales, and friendly scarecrows frame the sign announcing the celebration. No doubt you have seen similar displays, as visible signs of fall arrive on the Main Line. Read more


Contingency Planning: Make Sure Your Family is Prepared

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Leslie BohnerHaving just experienced an earthquake, a hurricane, and record flooding, we are reminded of the necessity of disaster planning. You have most likely seen news stories suggesting exit routes, communication plans, and stocking up on necessities. But it is equally important to think about contingency planning – making sure your family is prepared and taken care of in the event of your death or disability. While this is not an easy topic to think about, it is important to have a plan in place. The following are some simple and immediate steps you can take to ensure the security of your family in the future. Read more