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Problems of Abundance

July 29th, 2010 at 10:38 am

My father, a far wiser person than I, tells me that I have "problems of abundance." Don't know what to do on Saturday because you have too many invites? Problem of abundance. Not sure which leftovers to re-heat? Not sure what to wear? Right - Problems of abundance.

Today, I have some unexpected problems of abundance. My husband's company stock is up -way up. We sold some last week, and now we're wondering if we should sell the rest of it. Partner equalization at the firm meant I got $850 'extra' dollars this week, plus payment for travel expenses, and I'm told I'll be getting an 'extra' $75.00 each month. Earlier in the month I recieved a partner distribution -something we are supposed to get regularly, but haven't been able to count on in the tough economy.

I am taking 1/2 the $850 and putting it away for taxes (I am responsible to pay my own taxes quarterly -no withholding), the remaining money is to be split between savings accounts (emergency fund, vacation and christmas). The $75.00 each month is going to go (for the first time in a long time) into my retirement fund. About half of last week's stock sale is being held for taxes, the rest will pay for our new front stairs. The partner distribution is going to be held for taxes.

I am feeling more confident than usual that at the end of the year we'll have held enough money back for taxes. (Because my stake in the firm changes every year, as well as my compensation, we can only guesstimate what we'll owe each year.) If there is 'extra' left over after we pay the government, we'll then probably hold half that in reserve for next year, and put half into our existing debt.

I hope I'm making the right decisions here - I know it's probably better to put some of our newfound $ to our existing debt, but I'm also aware that I need to add to the emergency fund (which was depleted by a series of car disasters), should be funding some kind of retirement, and putting $ aside for Christmas and a planned vacation in 2012 is intended to prevent us from adding any $ to our existing debt.

Problems of abundance. Thoughts as to whether this plan is unreasonable...?

I met the financial planner

August 21st, 2009 at 09:29 am

I took an hour off today to meet with the prospective financial planner. I think it's going to be a good fit for us. He seems reasonable about his investment strategies and able to adjust to our risk levels. I definately liked that he will be able to put together and review the entire portfolio from all our sources and examine the income/growth ratios globally. He has no issue with the fact that we've got investments that I'm not willing to change right now.

I liked that he had different compensation methods (fee and comission based) and we can choose which way works best for us and change at any time. No charge for phone calls, consulations, portfolio reviews and the like.

One of the things I liked best was that he didn't talk over my head, wasn't condesending and didn't make me feel like we'd wasted the last 10 years of our lives. He's also perfectly comfortable with the fact that we'll be investing small sums for a while while we work on our other financial priorities -the credit card debt, for one.

I took all the information he had, and I'll research more over the weekend, but my gut feeling is that this is the right guy for us right now.

Fear of the Financial Planner

August 19th, 2009 at 06:50 am

Yesterday, I made an appointment to speak to a financial advisor. My husband has a fairly robust 401k through his employer. On the other hand, I have not invested in any retirement account in over 5 years. My "portfolio" is sadly lacking.

I have an IRA and mutual fund that have languished for at least 10 years. I have something that was started by my employer before I was a partner, which appears to be invested in a CD. The total value of my retirement portfolo is less than $20,000.

In addition, I need solid advice about managing our tax liability and our current life insurance policies and limits.

I am surprised that I let the whole retirement thing get so bad, but I know that studies show that I am not alone. Women, for a variety of reasons, tend to shun away from traditional finacial planning and to delay planning for their own retirements. Instead of kicking myself about how I got here (when I was the kid that opened an IRA when I was 19!), I'm going to try to focus on the postive - it's not too late to put aside the $ to have a great retirement!

Not surprisingly, when I told my husband I was going to speak with a potential financial advisor, he was indifferent. While he's happy poking at his company stock options now and then on E*trade, he's basically uninterested in managing any of the finances. I suppose I should just be grateful that he's supportive and on board with the plan going foward.

I can't explain why, but I am terrified of this meeting. My inner voice has been telling me it's ok if I want to cancel and I've come up with some great excuses. Whenever that little voice chimes in, I remind myself that I'm not committing to anything just yet, and I take a deep breath.

Anyone have any thoughts about long term financial planning or financial planners?