It’s everywhere you turn… “The Fed’s outlook on interest rates…” “In this interest rate environment, you should be looking to…” “When interest rates normalize, you should expect…” You’ll notice that each of these sentences tails off. That’s because everyone has a different opinion of what will happen when interest rates change. But what’s the big deal with interest rates being at the current levels and what happens when they change?  Let’s cover the basics… TheRead More
Having just returned from a weekend getaway, the concept of “hitting the reset button” is fresh on my mind. Not because I took a vacation, but because I was able to temporarily focus on something that doesn’t consume the bulk of my physical, mental, and emotional energy each day (i.e. Work). Periodic breaks like this are so important that, I believe, everyone should do it. But before I get into the reasons why, it’s importantRead More
A special thanks to Gary Foreman for today’s guest post. Gary has been passing along financial advice for over 30 years, first as a financial planner and then as editor of The Dollar Stretcher website. In this post, he tackles a difficult problem, yet wonderful opportunity…discussing debt with your spouse! Wonder if you’re heading for a debt problem? Use this simple debt checklist and see for yourself! You know you need to change your spendingRead More
If you are a member of STRS Ohio, you may currently retire at any age and receive unreduced pension benefits once you reach 31 years of service or at age 65 with 5 years of service.  Pension reform in 2012 changed these eligibility requirements, and you may find you need (or want) to work after retirement. But what if teaching is all you’ve known? How do you find the “next thing” and may you stillRead More
It seems many professionals, including some financial advisors, assume a teacher’s pension will be sufficient to meet retirement spending goals. After all, some retired teachers may receive a pension that’s comparable to the salary they received while working. So why should a teacher be concerned with his or her investment options? Well, what if it’s not fair to assume pension income is enough? What if a teacher needs more retirement income than his or herRead More
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” But have you ever considered what that actually means? It takes time to complete an important task…a lot of time! In the case of Rome, think about all the planning that went into acquiring the land, designing the city, getting proper building permits, interviewing contractors…OK, perhaps we’ve ventured into modern day issues! But the point is it took a lot of time andRead More
It seems like just yesterday I shared my list of Summer Break Tips for Teachers. Now, a new school year is right around the corner and it’s time to prepare for it! Here are three financial tips to consider as you prepare for the upcoming school year. 1. Take Advantage of the Sales Tax Holiday In Ohio, August 5-7 has been designated a sales tax holiday. Not in Ohio? Use this chart to determine whetherRead More
As I’ve worked with more and more members of STRS Ohio, it’s become clear the recent changes to the system are not only on the mind of the participant, but also the participant’s spouse. In fact, on several occasions I have been sought out by a spouse of an STRS Ohio member to provide clarity regarding the changes. Few STRS Ohio members seem to have a complete grasp on how their benefits have changed andRead More
There’s no denying the fact that this post contains some bias. After all, I am a financial advisor. However, when I talk to people about their financial and life goals, the one response I frequently hear is “I wish I had one of you earlier”. To clarify one thing, there is a difference between a “financial advisor” and someone merely trying to sell you a product (e.g. 403(b) vendor or insurance agent). Anyone that’s had aRead More
In my experience, I’ve found most teachers understand the need to save beyond their STRS Ohio pension in order to meet retirement goals. The 403(b) is perhaps the most common type of retirement savings account utilized for this purpose. However, many teachers don’t seem to be fully aware of other options, nor do they understand the future tax consequences of their decision. As previously discussed, a 403(b) is a tax-deferred retirement savings account available toRead More