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Creating a Sustainable Financial Lifestyle

This is a piece I had in my newsletter back in 2011 which details how we help clients manage their cash flow.  Here is an updated version.  

Often the most neglected, yet most important aspects of our financial lives concerns managing cash flow.  We help our clients build a plan that enables then to discover what is a financially sustainable lifestyle for them.  Any business advisor will tell you understanding your current cash coming into and out of the business is crucial to success and it’s no different for one’s personal finances. As part of any financial plan we put together for our clients, analyzing cash flow enables us to produce many specific recommendations.  Here are some of the issues we help clients address.

  1. How much cash should you have in savings in case unexpected expenses or a drop in income occurs?  How much is adequate depends upon several factors including the sources and nature of your income and expenses, insurance coverage, assets and debt.
  2. Debt.  This is a big problem for some and an opportunity for others.  The first step is to make sure you have an adequate emergency fund so you never have to use credit card or other debt to fund living expenses.  We help our clients work out a plan to pay down and/or restructure their debt and use the tax laws to their advantage.  With home loan rates near record lows now is a great time to consider refinancing.  Rates are around 4.0% (now 3.4%) for 30 year loans and 3.25% (now 2.5%) for 15 year loans.
  3. Saving for short-term goals.  Identify, quantify and set up accounts to save for future cars, vacations, college for the kids or other goals you may have.
  4. Create a Budget.  For many this is an unwelcome chore but there are many ways to accomplish this.  The first step is to determine your current level of expenses.  You could use one of the budget tools available such as Mint or Quicken.     

Understanding and managing your cash flow is probably the most important aspects of your finances.  Higher or lower investment returns pale in comparison of importance. 


RESOURCES

Don’t trust your search for information to a Google™ robot! The following references and informative links have been previewed and selected personally by Comprehensive Financial Planning, Inc.

Consumer/General Finance

NAPFA Personal Finance Blog Information from other fee-only advisors

Kiplinger.com Great personal finance magazine

ConsumerFed.org Consumer Federation of America

Consumer.gov  Lots of info on ID theft, do not call registry, etc.

Experian.com Obtain your credit report

ConsumerReports.org Consumer Reports magazine

HSAColorado  Health Savings Account providers in Colorado

BankRate.com Rates for CDs, loans, etc.

ICFE.info  Lots of info for parents and children, credit repair
 

Education

SavingForCollege.com 529 college savings plans

 

EFC Plus Our partner for college planning services

CollegeBoard.com SAT sponsors information

FinAid.com Financial aid for college with calculator to determine aid qualifications

FastWeb.Monster.com Free scholarship database

StudentAid.Ed.gov  Apply here for federal aid (don't have to be poor)
 

Investing

Morningstar.com Info on funds and stocks

Finance.Yahoo.com Lots of data on historical prices

NAREIT.com National Association of Real Estate Trusts

PublicDebt.Treas.gov Buy U. S. savings bonds

 

Government & Regulatory

CFP.net Certified Financial Planner Board

NAFPA.org National Association of Personal Financial Planners

Dora.State.CO.us Colorado State Division of Securities- Check my registration

SEC.gov Securities and Exchange Commission

IRS.gov Internal Revenue Service

SSA.gov Social Security Administration

TaxColorado.com Colorado tax authority
 

Seniors

https://www.caring.com/ Best overall senior and caregiver information

Livingto100.com Best life expectancy calculator-try it out

AARP.org American Association of Retired Persons – Anyone over 50 can join

Medicare.gov Find out about benefits and your eligibility

Money Saving tips for Seniors All kids of information on saving money.

BenefitsCheckup.org Information on government programs to help seniors

COBar.org Colorado Bar Association: Info on estate planning, probate costs in Colorado

AgingLifecare.org Find a caregiver at the National Association of Geriatric Care Managers

Recommended Businesses

CaseyLynchCPA.com Casey Lynch, CPA for individuals, business owners and non-profits

ryan-insurance.net John Ryan offers Life, disability and Long-term Care Insurance.


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