January 2, 2019

Your 12-Month Plan to Take Control of Your Wealth

If taking control of your money and wealth is one of your resolutions for 2019, we have a plan for you!
Dawn Doebler, MBA, CPA, CFP®, CDFA®, Senior Wealth Advisor

If taking control of your money and wealth is one of your resolutions for 2019, The Colony Group’s Her Wealth has a plan for supporting your efforts. As we wrote in one of our earliest articles, Breaking Down the Barriers Between Women and Financial Success, we understand there are many obstacles that get in the way of engaging in your finances. We also hear many clients say there simply isn’t enough time in the day. Others tell us they’re challenged by having to communicate and coordinate with their family members. Many times, it’s a matter of not knowing where to start.  

If any of these barriers stand between you and a resolution for more engagement in your finances, we have put together an approachable year-long plan. We’ll support your efforts by featuring one segment per month that focuses on a basic financial management task. We’ll review common questions and suggest actions to take to improve that area of your finances.   

Starting out – a new path

As you might expect, we’ll begin by talking about establishing specific financial goals. We recognize that setting financial priorities requires making decisions in the face of an uncertain future. We know it sometimes requires us to look beyond the disappointment or “sunk costs” of past financial decisions. Building and sustaining wealth requires having a clear direction and taking actions throughout the year. That’s why we’ll start by discussing how to establish a vision for your future and how to use your wealth as a bridge to that future.

Taking control of your tax and investing strategies

At tax time, we’ll talk about ways to take control of your taxes. This will be a transition year for many as we learn how the new tax law impacts our wealth. 

Following tax time, we’ll talk about creating a Personal Investment Policy Statement. That document is relevant no matter the status of the stock market and can be especially helpful when facing volatile markets.  

Making the most of your human capital

We’ll also emphasize ways to use your career and employee benefits to build your wealth.  From how to negotiate a better salary to how best to make retirement plans work for you, we’ll provide ideas for boosting the value of your personal “human capital”.   

Managing family and money matters

As we progress through the year, we’ll address the wide variety of family structures and the dynamics that come into play when managing money. Whether it’s negotiating priorities with your significant other or helping to teach the younger generation, we can help you become better at handling how your family communicates about money.

Minimizing threats to your wealth

We recognize the inevitable challenges of a life well-lived and will talk about ways to assess potential risks to your finances. There are many sophisticated financial planning tools to address financial risks. Sometimes the preferred approach is to simply spend less and accumulate more for a solid safety net in case of emergencies; other times, it may require rethinking how you minimize financial risks through insurance.

Simplifying your wealth management

In the fall, we’ll give you an update on technology that you can use to simplify money management tasks. We’ll talk about the latest online tools to consolidate and review your accounts and help you reduce the amount of paperwork with electronic vault storage solutions.  

Developing a vision of wealth beyond your life

As we approach the end of the year, we’ll review a variety of ways you can create a legacy that lasts beyond your lifetime. You may choose to implement a more detailed estate plan or find ways to provide for loved ones with special needs or create a charitable giving plan. Thoughtful legacy planning supports the greater good and provides an opportunity to express your interests and values to those around you.

Looking back at what you have accomplished in 2019!

Our goal is that, by the end of this new year, you’ll see a noticeable difference in your knowledge of your personal financial situation. Along the way, we’ll empower you to use that knowledge to implement strategies that benefit your financial life and move you closer to your goals. By following our plan and content month-by-month, we hope you’ll end the year better off that when you started with clear direction and more confidence when it comes to your finances.  

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Shawn: Now you hear all kinds of deals about leasing cars, how can you negotiate a better deal if you want to lease?

Nina: Okay, well many people don't realize that they can actually negotiate the sticker price on a leased car in the same way that you would do that if you're buying a car. And since when you lease -- when you're, you know, your lease payments basically cover the depreciation, the difference between the sales price and the residual value. So it's definitely in your best interest to try to reduce that sales price as much as possible because then you'll pay you know, smaller dollars over the life of the lease. Make sure you pay attention to the down payment at the lease signing. And so here's an example, you might see an ad that says you know, lease payment is only 1.99 a month and that sounds like a great deal for thirty six months. The catch is, is that it might require a $3,600 down payment. So, if you amortize the down payment, then actually that 1.99 special, becomes 2.99. So, you really have to kind of look at total costs. 

And then lastly, dealerships use the term, money or lease factor, when they're calculating your financing costs and a lease factor is not the same as an interest rate. So, you have to make sure the dealer converts that lease factor into a comparable interest rate so you know what your financing charges are. 

Shawn: At the end of the day, does one method wind up being more expensive more often than the other, or can we tell that?

Nina: You know what, it really depends on how long, if you're going to hold the car for a long time, you're better off buying. But if you know, and if you're not, if you just really enjoy driving and you want to have a new car, then go ahead and lease. I mean, there's pros and cons to both, to be honest with you, it's not one size fits all.

Shawn: Alright Nina, great. Happy Thanksgiving to you. Alright, Nina Mitchell is with The Colony Group, for more go to wtop.com and search Her Wealth.

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Dawn Doebler, MBA, CPA, CFP®, CDFA®, Senior Wealth Advisor

Dawn’s experience spans more that 25 years providing wealth management, financial planning and corporate finance solutions for clients. As an MBA, CPA, Certified Financial Planner (CFP®), and a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA®), she is uniquely qualified to understand the challenges and financial needs of clients from executives to entrepreneurs, as well as single breadwinner parents. Dawn is a weekly contributor to WTOP radio.