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The Secret Drag On Your Investments

wealth Feb 15, 2021

If you're a consistent investor, CONGRATULATIONS. That alone is a major accomplishment!

If you're not sure how to invest, click here for help getting started.

As hard as you are working to save and invest, I'm sure you would want to know if something was draining your investments behind the scenes. 

Well, something is.

It's your investing fees.

Fees come in several forms. The first is related to the investment itself. Each fund you choose has an expense ratio that represents the fund's internal operating expenses. It is represented as a percentage, and can be interpreted as the percentage of your returns that is taken from your account to pay for the fund's fees. 

Not sure what the expense ratio is for the funds you've invested in? Just google the fund's ticker (collection of capital letters representing the fund name). Click the Morningstar link. The expense ratio will pop right up. 

What's a good expense ratio? I prefer <0.10%. Most of my funds are...

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Backdoor Roth IRA

wealth Jan 18, 2021

Roth IRAs are one of the best tax-favored accounts to use for retirement investing. 

You invest "after tax" dollars (meaning your contributions are not tax deductible). The contribution limit for 2022 is $6000, unless you qualify for a catch up contribution. After age 59 and 1/2, all of the funds in the account can be accessed TAX FREE. Yes, you read that right. In addition, Roth IRAs have several other benefits:

  • You can withdraw your contributions (not the growth) at any time.
  • You can make a withdrawal without the 10% penalty before 59 and 1/2 if you use the funds for qualified educational expenses (you will still pay income tax on the earnings portion).
  • You can make a withdrawal of up to $10,000 without any taxes or the 10% penalty before age 59 and 1/2 if you use the funds for a first time home purchase as long as you made the contribution >5 years ago (if it has been less than 5 years, you'll pay income taxes on the distribution).
  • No required minimum distributions in...
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The PA StartUp Podcast with Chris Darst

debt Jan 10, 2021

This episode will definitely inspire you about what is possible for you on your student loan journey!

Listen on YouTube

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The Scrubbed Out Podcast with Kat Bernard

Uncategorized Dec 30, 2020

This fantastic episode is all about paying off student loan debt - tune in!

Listen on YouTube

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Paying for the Holidays

lifestyle Nov 15, 2020

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I will be compensated at no additional cost to you. For my full disclosure, click here

The holidays are a wonderful season full of joy and family, and a WHOLE lot of extra expenses. If you're stressed about paying for all the extras this season, check out these suggestions.

  • Make a list of people you plan to buy gifts for, and set a specific price point per person.

Having an organized game plan before you go shopping helps you stay on track while looking for gifts, and helps you determine a total price point for your budget. DO NOT plan to spend more on gifts than you can afford to spend - racking up credit card debt to buy gifts isn't worth it. 

  • If you realize you can't swing buying gifts this year, make something.

You may look at your budget and your list of people you would like to give a gift to, and realize there is no way to buy traditional gifts and stay on budget. Make something! The...

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3 Ways You're Crushing Your Finances

lifestyle Aug 24, 2020

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I will be compensated at no additional cost to you. For my full disclosure, click here. 

Let's chat about a few of the most common money mistakes out there, and how avoiding them can dramatically improve your financial future. 

1. Not taking advantage of free money
- Depending on which study you look at, somewhere between 1 in 4 and 1 in 5 Americans are not taking full advantage of employer matches at work. This is FREE MONEY. You should be contributing at least enough to your employer retirement plan to obtain the free match, no matter what. Don't forget HSA matches as well! HSAs offer triple tax savings as is, so the potential for free money being added to your account just sweetens the deal. Employer matches (if they match dollar for dollar), are literally an automatic 100% return on your investment REGARDLESS of the market. Compound that money over decades, and you have completely changed the...

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Mindset Matters

lifestyle Aug 10, 2020

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I will be compensated at no additional cost to you. For my full disclosure, click here.

Mindset is a buzz word these days, but for good reason. Your mindset matters. This is true in all aspects of life, and money is no exception. 

YOUR THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS ABOUT MONEY WILL FUNDAMENTALLY CHANGE YOUR FINANCIAL FUTURE.

What things can you do to "check in" on your money mindset?
1. EVALUATE HOW YOU VIEW "RICH PEOPLE"
- The narrow viewpoint that "rich people" are in some way "other" or fundamentally different than you is a lie. Most of us take it a step further though, and develop a social box that we put wealthy people in and then make unfounded assumptions based upon our social construct. If you find yourself assuming that wealthy people inherited their wealth, are greedy, or are lazy... you need to do some fact checking. Multiple studies have found that less than 20% of millionaires inherited their wealth (see ...

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So You Want To Be An Investor

wealth Aug 03, 2020

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I will be compensated at no cost to you. For my full disclosure, click here. 

Are you wanting to "get into the market" or "become an investor", but you're not sure where to start?

IF YOU HAVE A 401(K) OR OTHER WORKPLACE RETIREMENT ACCOUNT, YOU ARE ALREADY AN INVESTOR. 

Surprised? Most people don't realize that their retirement accounts are simply a big bucket labeled with the way taxes are applied, with INVESTMENTS inside. 

Let's review a few tips to make sure you are investing well. 


1. USE TAX FAVORED ACCOUNTS FIRST
- You cannot underestimate how much taxes will affect your investments over time. 401(k) plans offers pre-tax contributions that give you an immediate tax benefit. A Roth 401(k) or Roth IRA offers tax free withdrawals in the future, but requires contributions with money you have already paid taxes on. HSAs have tax benefits as well. All of these options...

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The Ideal Investment

wealth Jul 27, 2020

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) are amazing investment products for retirement. If you're not using one, you are missing out. I know this may seem odd, but let me explain why. 

An HSA, in its most basic form, is intended for medical expenses. It combines the pre-tax benefits of a 401(k) contribution with the tax free growth of a Roth IRA. 

Here is the full scoop:

1. MONEY ROLLS OVER EACH YEAR
-Unlike an FSA, the money rolls over if unused in that year. It's not a "use it or lose it" system. 
2. CONTRIBUTIONS ARE PRE TAX
- Contributions are pre tax if you contribute through an employer. If you purchased your own plan, they are tax deductible. 
3. GROWTH IS TAX FREE
- Probably the best feature!
4. MONEY CAN BE USED FOR MEDICAL EXPENSES AT ANY TIME, TAX FREE
- Just make sure you keep qualifying medical receipts. This essentially gives you a separate medical emergency fund in addition to your regular emergency fund. 
5. MONEY CAN BE USED AFTER 65 FOR ANY REASON PENALTY...

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How I Started My Business

lifestyle Jul 20, 2020

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may be compensated at no additional cost to you. For my full disclosure, click here. 

 

If you have a desire to start your own business, the first thing I would say is JUST DO IT. The process can be scary, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. Even if it doesn't become your full time job, it can help you diversify your income. 

Here is a brief overview of the basic steps of the process:
1. Choose a name for your business
- Make sure the name isn't already registered as another business in your state, or is trademarked. This can be done with a simple internet search. I would also check that the domain name is available at this time if you are dead set on one for your website. 

2. Legally form the company
- I formed an LLC in Indiana. Which type of company to form is beyond the scope of this post (lots of tax implications), but consider reading a book like LLC for Dummies. I...

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