Author Archives: Sonja Gonzalez

Dream Planning

dream-800xIn working with financial planning clients, one of the questions we ask is “What are your dreams during retirement?”  About half the people will say they want to travel.  About one in 20 will say something beyond that:  “I want to by an RV and cruise the country”, or “I …

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2014 IRS Limits – Saving For Retirement

It’s 2014, and the new IRS limits have kicked in. Here’s what you need to know concerning your 401k, IRA and other limits. Continue reading

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Early Retirement – IRS 72t – Avoiding the 10% Penalty

What happens, though, if because of health or company early retirement mandates, you are forced to retire before age 59 ½? How can you access your retirement savings without paying penalties? The answer is 72(t). Continue reading

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Who Needs Long Term Care?

Having a long term care policy in place can help you preserve assets that would otherwise be diverted to custodial care, and give you peace of mind that your care needs will be addressed should the need arise. Continue reading

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2013 IRS Saving, Gifting and Other Limits

It’s 2013, and the new IRS limits have kicked in. Here’s what you need to know concerning your 401k, IRA and other limits. Continue reading

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Indexed Annuities, Better Read the Fine Print

So you purchase the annuity and tie it to the S&P 500 index. This year, the index grows 20%. You would expect to see a 20% return in your annuity, right? Wrong! Continue reading

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Why You Need an Estate Plan

Many people think estate plans are for the rich and not necessarily famous. After all, most of us don’t have millions of dollars sitting around, with heirs who fight with murderous intent. But you would be surprised at how useful – even essential – an estate plan can be for the average citizen. Continue reading

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The Burden of Debt

If interest rates are too high such as to make your minimum payments too onerous to allow much wiggle room, do not be shy about calling the debt provider to ask for a reduction in the rate. They don’t have to honor your request, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. Continue reading

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Individual Stocks and Diversification

No matter how aggressive an investor you are, investing in one company, or even a few companies, is not a wise move. Continue reading

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A Tale of Risk and Reward

There is no room for greed in investing. In the investing world you can’t have your cake and eat it, too. If you want the reward you have to take on the risk as well. Put another way, you have the potential to be rewarded for the amount of risk that you take. Notice I said “potential”. Reward is not a guarantee. The reason is risk. Continue reading

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The Lure of Debit Cards

But is a debit card really better than a credit card? Studies have shown that we spend more when using a credit card. You’d think that using a debit card would alleviate this problem, since you know that you’re using your own money to make the purchase. This isn’t true. Some smart college students I know have figured out they do indeed spend more using a debit card, and now use cash for most purchases. Continue reading

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When Markets Go Crazy

Worry much about your investments? In volatile markets, it’s easy to feel uneasy. Memories of 2008-2009, when the market lost more than half its value, are still fresh in everyone’s mind. So when the market swings widely nowadays, investors get concerned. Sometimes concerned enough to act.
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Save Early for Retirement

At what age is it better to save for retirement? In your early years of working, money is probably tight. It’s hard to find the extra money to save towards such a far end goal, when the rent needs to be paid, and you have a more immediate need to build emergency savings. You might think that waiting until later in life to save for retirement, when your income is likely higher and you can more likely afford to do so, would be the best option.
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How to pay for College

It’s a blessing and a curse. After much nagging about grades and extra-curricular activities, your beloved Junior or Juniorette has made it into college. Your first thought is how proud you are of your child’s achievement. Your very next thought is, “How in the world do I pay for this?” Continue reading

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IRA Charitable Rollovers

You have done well for yourself. You’ve watched your pennies, saved aggressively, invested wisely, and now, in your golden years, you have a retirement nest egg that is more than you need. You have a philanthropic bent – an alma mater you’re fond of, a charity that is near and dear to your heart. How can you donate to these worthy causes without sacrificing to the IRS more than you think it deserves?
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How important is diversification?

How much do you want to put your eggs in one basket? Even a few baskets? Continue reading

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What is risk tolerance, and how does it factor into my investment decisions?

Risk tolerance is how much risk you are willing to take with your investments. Let’s look at the market crash of 2008-2009. In early March, when the market finally bottomed out, how did you feel? Continue reading

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Which should I do first – invest for the future or pay down debts?

Would you borrow money on your house or on a credit card to buy into an investment or put in your savings account? Continue reading

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Which would be better – a traditional IRA or a Roth IRA?

If you do not need to save on taxes now, a Roth IRA is your best option.  The reason is the taxation of earnings.  With a traditional IRA, you save on taxes now on the amount you contribute.  But you pay taxes when you take the money out on both …

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