Financial Planning and Advice Blog for Syracuse

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Children and Wealth: Important Lessons Start Early in Life

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By June 7, 2019

Wealth can be a mixed blessing -- one that creates great opportunity as well as weighty responsibility -- especially for children. As a parent, grandparent, or concerned relative, you hope to pass on what you have learned about managing and preserving wealth to the younger generation. However, you want the family legacy to be about more than astute money management; you want it to reflect your personal values, which may include a social conscience and philanthropic ideals.How do you combine financial knowledge and charitable intent in your wealth management lessons? Following are some thoughts for your consideration. Child Learning

Shared Concerns

Multi-billionaires Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have vowed to leave the majority of their fortunes to charity, reasoning that a large inheritance would do their children more harm than good. Wealthy families across America face similar concerns.To counter these and other potentially negative effects of wealth, many parents are committed to educating children about finances from an early age. Studies show that marketers start targeting children as early as age two. So the sooner you start talking about money, the better. Explain the meaning and purpose of employment, the importance of managing credit and paying bills, and the best way to handle cash through banks and ATMs. Let children practice what they have learned about earning, saving, spending, and giving money through their own experiences with allowances and after-school jobs.As a child matures, his or her financial education should become more rigorous. Learning how to balance a checkbook, create a budget, respect the role of credit and debt, and develop strategies for funding important goals such as a college education helps teens make the important transition from child to adult.While parents generally are competent educators about financial matters and can serve as a child's most important role models, they could use some support. In that regard, schools need to be proactive in teaching, motivating, and creating a greater awareness of both the benefits of money management and the short- and long-term impact of poor financial decisions. Many high school graduates are unable to balance a checkbook and lack the basic financial survival skills involved with earning, saving, and investing money. Parents should urge schools to incorporate personal finance topics into their core curriculum or to offer personal finance as a stand-alone "required" life skills course.

Set a Charitable Example

If we want to ensure future generations of volunteers and donors, we must teach our children how to give of their time, skills, and money. Adult family members can set an example by pursuing their own philanthropic and volunteer activities, or by encouraging the whole family to get involved in charitable activities based around a shared interest, such as the outdoors, sports, or religion.

Ensure Your Legacy Through Incentive Planning

Wealth holders often worry that the important values they pass on to heirs during their lifetime will be lost once they are gone. For these individuals, creating testamentary trusts that allow you to reward your children's desired behaviors or discourage undesirable activities can be a meaningful addition to an estate plan. For instance, a trust may offer educational support for heirs who pursue a specific field of study or attend a particular institution.A trust may promote "family values" by providing income support to heirs who choose to stay at home to raise children or who foster or adopt children in need. Alternatively, a trust can withhold benefits from heirs convicted of a crime or who fail conditional drug testing.Financial advisors play an important role in the creation and success of a legacy by helping you articulate the values, beliefs, and priorities you want to perpetuate and the methods to achieve your goals. Working together, you can offer meaningful relationships that go beyond a financial inheritance.Because of the possibility of human or mechanical error by DST Systems, Inc. or its sources, neither DST Systems, Inc. nor its sources guarantees the accuracy, adequacy, completeness or availability of any information and is not responsible for any errors or omissions or for the results obtained from the use of such information. In no event shall DST Systems, Inc. be liable for any indirect, special or consequential damages in connection with subscriber's or others' use of the content. © 2018 DST Systems, Inc. Reproduction in whole or in part prohibited, except by permission. All rights reserved. Not responsible for any errors or omissions. ...

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Avoid These Financial Traps

By May 24, 2019

Money. It's hard to get and easy to lose. It doesn't take long for the wealth you've accumulated to disappear if you don't manage your money well or have a plan to protect your assets from sudden calamity. Snares like the ones mentioned below could easily threaten your financial security. Planning ahead can protect you and your loved ones from getting caught.

Undisciplined Spending

The more you have, the more you spend -- or so the saying goes. But not paying close attention to your cash flow may prevent you from saving enough money for your future. Manage your income by creating a spending plan that includes saving and investing a portion of your pay. Your financial professional can help identify planning strategies that can help maximize your savings and manage you tax consequences.

High Debt

With the easy availability of credit, it isn't hard to understand how many people rack up high credit card balances and other debt. Short-term debt will become long-term debt if you're paying only the minimum amount toward your balances. If you can't pay off your credit card debt all at once, consider transferring the balances to a card with a lower interest rate.

Unprotected Assets

Your life, your property, and your ability to work should all be protected. Life insurance has the potential to provide income for your family if you die. Homeowners and automobile insurance can help protect you if your home or car is damaged or destroyed and provide liability coverage if someone is injured. Disability insurance can protect your income if you're unable to work.

Unmanaged Inheritance

A financial windfall is great, but it also can be dangerous. Without solid advice on managing and investing the money, you could find that your inheritance is gone in a much shorter time than you would have thought possible. Your financial professional can help you come up with a plan for managing your wealth. Setting aside a portion of the money to spend on a trip or other luxury while investing the rest may be one way to reward yourself and still preserve the bulk of your assets.

Neglected Investments

Reviewing your investments to make sure they're performing as you expected -- and making changes in your portfolio if they're not -- is essential. But it's also essential to periodically review your investment strategy. You may find that your tolerance for risk has changed over time. You'll also want to assess the tax implications of any changes you plan to make to help manage their impact.

Retirement Shortfall

If you're not contributing the to your employer's retirement savings plan, you're giving up the benefits of pretax contributions and potential tax-deferred growth. Maximizing your plan contributions can start you on your pursuit of a comfortable retirement -- hopefully with no traps along the route.Because of the possibility of human or mechanical error by DST Systems, Inc. or its sources, neither DST Systems, Inc. nor its sources guarantees the accuracy, adequacy, completeness or availability of any information and is not responsible for any errors or omissions or for the results obtained from the use of such information. In no event shall DST Systems, Inc. be liable for any indirect, special or consequential damages in connection with subscriber's or others' use of the content.The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax advisor.Life insurance policies contain exclusions, limitations, reductions of benefits, and terms for keeping them in force. Your financial professional can provide you with costs and complete details. © 2018 DST Systems, Inc. Reproduction in whole or in part prohibited, except by permission. All rights reserved. Not responsible for any errors or omissions. ...

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