How well do you connect with other people in informal social occasions?  If you tend to be shy or awkward at cocktail parties or networking events, it can be bad for your career and rob you of connection with others who might become friends or mentors.   Fortunately, there’s a solution.  Researchers have shown that there’s a fairly reliable way to make small talk and connect with others.  Best of all, anyone can master it.Read More
I continue to field many questions from members of STRS Ohio related to their public pension and Social Security benefits. As previously discussed, many members of STRS Ohio assume they are not eligible for both STRS and Social Security benefits, however, that assumption isn’t always accurate. Below are answers to two more questions I frequently receive related to STRS and Social Security. I’m eligible for spousal Social Security benefits. Will the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP)Read More
No matter how long ago a spouse passed or how long you were married, there is a void that is left. No one should claim they understand what it feels like, even if they have lost a spouse of their own, as each relationship is unique. However, in light of this event, there are some financial considerations every widow(er) should address. In particular, members of STRS Ohio should pay special attention to some survivor considerationsRead More
Many of President-Elect Donald Trump’s policy proposals are too vague to analyze, but one area where he has been clear is on reforming our tax system.  Here’s a quick primer on the changes that you can expect to be introduced to Congress in the coming year (For a more detailed summary of changes, I’d encourage you to read NerdWallet’s summary of proposed changes). A shift from seven income tax brackets to three: Current (Married FilingRead More
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