Financial

Wasteful spending....

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Posted by Valley Financial Group & Billy Wolfe Jr.

It's still fresh in our mind.  That feeling of holiday shopping and finding the gift we know for sure that our son or daughter, niece or nephew, brother or sister will adore.   But then several weeks or months go by, and the next time you see them your present that was so beloved at its unveiling has been pushed to the side in favor of the new.  It seems like every time we buy anything, no matter how up to date, a new and improved version is out within weeks.  According to Bloomberg’sBusinessweek, over 20%, or upwards of $2.3 trillion, of the American people's expenditures in 2015 were spent on items that are completely luxurious, meaning that everyone could live without them regardless of any specific special circumstances. 

 Most New Year Resolutions List consist of striving to avoid wasting our hard earned dollars on unnecessary items (be better savers).  However, from 2009, after the initial shock of the 2008 recession, to the present day, the purchase of unneeded luxuries has surpassed necessities like gas and groceries in terms of economic growth for the first time in American history. 

 What do you splurge on each year?

·         Is it eating out?

·         Golf?

·         Clothes?

·         Others?

 My splurging tends to be on Guinness & Starbucks.   When you put the numbers to paper, the truth hurts.

 Take a look at the USA TODAY article, “20 Ways Americans are Blowing the money” (https://www.google.com/amp/amp.usatoday.com/story/6826633/?client=safari ). 

We understand you need to live your life, but just remember wasteful spending may be keeping you from paying for the retirement you want, your child’s education, or your daughter’s future wedding. 

 Here’s a strategy to help you increase your savings and decrease your spending:

 Consider a “matching gift” to your savings/investment account.  

For example, if you spend $100 month on Starbucks, match that with $100 a month into a savings/investment account. 

 On the other hand, you may not be thrilled that the $50 toy you bought has been replaced within weeks, but just remember that your unnecessary expenditure is the driving force for the growth of our nation's economy, and for that the market thanks you and you’re spending habits.

 Here’s to a Happy and Healthy 2017 and to all of us being better savers!

 

 

No regrets in 2017.....

Posted by Valley Financial Group & Billy Wolfe Jr.

Every person has a story, a series of decisions and events stretched over a lifetime that has led to them to where they are today. Most of our past we wouldn't change or trade for anything, having been led to our schools, jobs, friends, and family because of it. But each and every one of us has that one thing, that one pair of shoes we wished we had worn, but that we might have been scared to wear, or even been talked out of. We're happy with where we are and how far we've come, but we'll always ask ourselves "what if?" It could be applying to that school that everyone thought was out of your reach, traveling to a land you always dreamed of going too, taking that leap to become your own boss or even asking the prettiest girl in the class for a dance all the way back in High School.

 

 When it comes to investing or financial planning, some of us regret not investing or planning sooner in our lives.  If you are one of the 31% of Americans that doesn't have a pension or any retirement saving put away for your retirement, don't think you’re defeated or give up!  https://www.federalreserve.gov/communitydev/shed.htm.  Most of us, as we get into our late forties, fifties and sixties are in our prime earning years.  The IRS has a catch-up provision for your retirement accounts once you are older than 50. For example, tax payers can contribute $18,000.00 to their retirement plan (401k, 403b & 457 Plans) for 2017 and if they are older than 50 years of age than contribute another $6,000 for a total of $24,000 for 2017.  IRS.GOV.  

 

Another step to put into action when beginning to save later in life for retirement is to create a plan on what you want your retirement to look and feel like. Remember Vince Lombardi's famous quote "Fail to plan, Plan to fail,” also reduce spending, pay yourself first and continue to review your plan.  For those younger investors, congratulations! You have a head start to put your retirement and financial plans into action, so you can avoid that regret overcoming you late one night in your bed on “why didn't I plan earlier?” 

 

For whatever reason, the word "regret" catches people's attention, whether it’s because of previous experience with the feeling or the uncertainty that most choices entail. The phrase "you're going to regret this" has changed people's minds and caused rampant indecisiveness since the inception of the English language. At the end of the day, most people's regrets are a result of the things they wish they have done and risks they wish they had taken, rather than regretting mistakes made. So take a risk or as we view it at Valley Financial, create an opportunity to live your dreams. Put yourself out there and tackle the odds. Take the risk that you've been pondering chancing. Make 2017 the year you chase your goals and accomplish them. Do it soon, because you don't want to relive watching Sally dancing with someone else at your High School Prom.  

The Modern 12 Days of Christmas

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Posted by Valley Financial Group & Billy Wolfe Jr.

The Christmas season is upon us, and whether you like it or not, you're bound to catch a snippet of a carol anytime you cycle through the radio stations. Among favorites such as Rudolph and Jingle Bells lies perhaps the most famous Christmas song, the 12 Days of Christmas. The song was written sometime in the 16th or 17th centuries. It originally only contained lyrics, with the musical accompaniment being added later by another composer. Its meaning is also disputed by many. Some argue that the song was written by closet Catholics in Protestant England, with the true love being a symbol for Christ and each gift representing a gift that God had given His people. Others defend that is based off a children’s memory game, and that it was originally written in France before being translated at a later date. Still others maintain that the 12 days symbolize the 12 days in between Christmas and the eve of the Epiphany, which is the feast of the magi's visit to see the newborn Christ. No matter the true meaning, there is no denying that this timeless song is a staple of Christmas tradition, even as the lyrics remain the same. Here we will alter the 12 Days of Christmas to fit the modern holiday season, and list the 12 days of Christmas gifts for your family.

12 strings of lights

11 packs of underwear

10 cups of eggnog

9 Starbucks Gift Cards

8 ugly sweaters

7 sheets of cookies

6 family pictures

5 Xbox games

4 screaming kids

3 laptops

2 Nike sneakers

And 1 decorated Christmas Tree

Have a Merry Christmas and a safe and happy holiday season this year from everyone at Valley Financial.

Winterizing Your Financial Plan!

Posted by Valley Financial Group & Billy Wolfe Jr.

The days are getting colder, darker and shorter, and as we slip into our winter boots in preparation for the next few months there is no better time to take a look at our financial plan as we approach the new year, a process we’ll refer to as “winterizing”. When looking at our fiscal situation, there are several key areas to look at before the year’s end to make sure everything is in order.

1.    Make sure you have withdrawn at least the minimum amount from the necessary retirement accounts so as to meet your required minimum distribution quota.

2.     Review your financial goals and objectives. (ie retirement, education, wedding, new beach home, car, etc..)  Check up on the status of your goals for this year, as well as setting new targets for the year to come.

3.     Review your insurance plans, including life, auto, home and healthcare, and look for any changes in coverage or premiums that might be included on your plan as we put this year to rest.

4.    Review your will and beneficiaries to make sure your loved ones are financially sound and secure should the need arise.

5.    Talk to your Certified Public Accountant about your tax loss selling situation in regards to your home and income.                                                                                                                                                                                                          

 Now that your financial plans have been winterized, enjoy the holiday season and the upcoming winter months, and make sure to continue your financial preparation for the year ahead.

Thanksgiving dinner.....

Posted by Valley Financial Group & Billy Wolfe Jr.

It’s hard to believe it’s almost Thanksgiving! It’s the time of year we get to see the whole family gathered together for America's favorite meal, whether that sounds good to you or not. Most of us just want to eat, spend some time with our loved ones that we might not have seen in a while and maybe watch a little football. But every year serves as a reminder of just how crazy family can be. Every single person at the table is a unique, irreplaceable and usually hilarious part of the family. There will be the one that everyone knows is going to bring up politics at an incredibly inappropriate time. The uncle that's convinced he would be NBA MVP if it wasn't for that knee. The cousin who only has the same 3 jokes he's hoping everyone forgot he told last year. There is the mother and father-in-law, too many great aunts and uncles to remember, and regardless of if you're nine, thirty-nine or sixty-nine, there will be one person who will reminisce about changing your diaper. The list goes on and on for every family, but no one will ever remember a normal dinner without the laughs and the stories, no matter how delicious the turkey.

Thanksgiving is a time not only to share a meal with our family and hopefully watch the Cowboys lose; it is a time to be thankful for the amazing family which we have been given. It’s a time to be thankful for our Mother and Father, and all the sacrifices they've made for us, to be thankful for our grandparents, who love and spoil us more than we'll ever deserve, and to be thankful for our aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins, who each bring their own individual gifts that help to make every family perfect. We love them not in spite of their quirks and craziness, but because of them. Family is the most important thing in life, no matter who you are or what you do. So be thankful for your family this Thanksgiving, but we won't blame you for not minding the next year of waiting.

 The dinner table at Thanksgiving is a lot like a good portfolio.  There are usually several different personalities that help to make the day more memorable.  In a similar way a successful portfolio usually has several unique asset classes (personalities, if you will), helping you to reach your goals, which we hope can lead you to creating more memories with your family and friends.

 Happy Thanksgiving from Valley Financial Group!