Author: Harrison Fant, CFP®, AIF®

Why Fear Shouldn’t Drive Your Investing

As the world has dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic over the last several months, we’ve seen an unprecedented impact to global stock markets.  The decline in US and foreign equities was surprising in both its severity and speed, with the S&P 500 falling more than 30% in just over a month.  This sharp drop from recent highs caused some investors to panic and race for the exits, preferring the safety of cash or treasuries to the volatile stock market.  While getting out of the market during a “freefall” might seem like the best move, over the long run it can actually do more harm than good.

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Four Steps to (Effectively) Work from Home

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant changes to everyday life as we know it.  One of the most prominent change is the push for employees to work from home (WFH) rather than continue to operate out of shared spaces.  For many young professionals, working from home – at least part time – is nothing new.  I’ve talked with several friends who have transitioned from working at home two to three days per week to full-time, and even more who were already 100% WFH.  But for the rest of us who are venturing into a work from home routine for the first time, it’s important to take steps to maintain both our health and sanity.  Here are four steps I’ve found helpful in combating some of the common pitfalls of WFH…

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The Better Way to Budget – In Reverse

Around the beginning of the year I tend to get a lot of questions – both from clients and friends – about how to do a better job budgeting and saving on a regular basis.  Studies have shown that saving money is one of the top five New Year’s resolutions, and is also one of the top five resolutions most people fail.  The reason for that is simple:  Our traditional version of budgeting is difficult to establish, time-consuming to manage and allows minimal margin for error.

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5 Biggest Factors Affecting Your Credit

              Throughout my career as a wealth manager and financial planner, I’ve found that one of the most misunderstood components of our financial lives is credit.  Most people understand the basics – you borrow money from a bank/credit card company/mortgage lender and pay interest on the balance.  But what many people don’t understand is how their credit scores are determined, and how those scores can impact their overall financial lives.

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Understanding (and Avoiding) Lifestyle Creep

Over the years we’ve seen plenty of research and studies claim that increases in income don’t correspond to increases in happiness. One such survey, using data from the Gallup World Poll, found that the optimal household income for emotional well being was between $60,000 and $75,000 per year. The research shows that beyond that threshold, the correlation between income and happiness flattens pretty dramatically. For many Americans – especially young professionals just getting started in their careers – this may seem like a bogus finding, but by going beyond the headlines we learn that a common reason for that drop-off in financial satisfaction is lifestyle creep.

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Mergers & Acquisitions: Marriage Edition

Of all the things we look forward to when planning to get married – from picking a venue to a honeymoon locale – one area we tend to glaze over is our finances.  Conversations about money with our significant others can oftentimes be difficult or uncomfortable, but making sure you are both on the same page about your finances is a crucial part of any relationship.  In fact, studies by SunTrust Bank and Kansas State University found that finances are the leading cause of stress in relationships and the number one reason for divorce in America.  When preparing to join finances in holy matrimony there are several things to keep in mind.

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