Our Blog

Putting Off Fun is a Bad Idea

beach fun
If you’re like most people, you carefully put off doing something fun—like taking a trip or treating yourself—until you finished your work.  Of course, for most people the work never ends, and the fun gets put off, again (and again, and again…).The hidden assumption behind putting off f...
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How to Make Summer Really Count

lemonade stand
With summer vacation ramping up, you might be wondering how you will keep your kids or grandkids occupied all summer and not hear, "I'm bored!", constantly. Having children create their own fun activities has it benefits (and risks), but if you'd like to offer them some ideas, here are a few activit...
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Taxes & the Hidden Alpha

taxes
I am of the opinion that every wealth management firm should have someone with a strong tax background – very strong!  Like having a CPA or Masters of Science in Taxation (MST).Why is tax expertise so important?  Our client work is quite fluid and virtually every action we take has tax conse...
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What’s Your Money Script?

money over heart
Our childhood experiences and the way our parents related to us have imprinted certain thought patterns and behaviors that we carry into our interpersonal relationships. Many therapists call these imprints “love styles.” Similarly, both conscious and unconscious belief systems about money that w...
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Property Tax Bill Made Easy for Orange County Residents

house property
A few weeks ago, Evelyn and I attended an event with the Orange County Treasurer: Shari Freidenrich, CPA. Shari shared four great tools created to help Orange County residents keep track and pay their property tax bills online. We thought that you might find them useful.1. Sign up for a Property...
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Where Does Your Tax Money Go? Anyone? Anyone?

taxes file
It’s tax time again, and as you look over your tax payments for calendar 2016, you’re undoubtedly wondering where those dollars are being spent.The Wall Street Journal recently published a chart which breaks down spending for every $100 of tax receipts—and concludes that the U.S. governmen...
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Being Aware of the Handicapped

Beth on a Knee Scooter
As most of you know, I was out of the office for two months because I had a “drastic” bunionectomy.  I was lucky that I wasn’t in pain and I had a knee scooter so I could be quite independent in the house. However, when I was finally able to venture outside, I saw the world with different eye...
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Where to Find Happy People

kids jumping
Mark and I recently traveled to Bhutan to run in the Bhutan International Marathon (half marathon for me!).  “Where/what is Bhutan?” you ask? So glad you did! Bhutan is a small kingdom in the Himalayas (the size of Switzerland, bordered by Tibet to the north and India to the south, with roughly...
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The Fed’s Rate Hike – March 2017

coins
The U.S. Federal Reserve Board’s Open Market Committee just raised the Fed Funds rate from 0.75% to 1.00%—the second rate hike in three months. So what should you do with your investment portfolio in light of this change?Nothing.Why? First of all, the rate change was laughably minor cons...
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Phenomenal Women In History – Mother Teresa

mother teresa statue
In the spirit of Women’s history month, I wanted to highlight one of my favorite women in history: Mother Teresa. She dedicated her life to helping the poor and was one of the greatest humanitarians of the 20th Century.Mother Teresa’s birth name isn’t Teresa but Agnes. She was born in Mace...
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What’s Your Love Language?

love heart pendant
After enjoying a wonderful Valentine’s Day with my wife, I was reminded of one of the best relationship books we’ve read together. It’s called “The Five Love Languages” by Dr. Gary Chapman and its premise is that people feel loved in different ways. Dr. Chapman makes the case that each of ...
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Trump, the Markets, and the F-Word*

crystal ball in hand
*that would be “fiduciary”Over the last several weeks, professional financial planners like us have been fielding calls from clients who are asking the kinds of questions we dread hearing:The Dow has reached (and then fallen back below; and then back above) 20,000.  Should I take money ...
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Six Steps to Better Habits

Good Habits
Chances are, you made a number of firm resolutions at the start of the year—and, if you’re normal, you may already be falling behind on some (or all) of them.  Is there a better way to stick to your sincere resolutions to get more exercise, eat better, floss more often, lose weight, and—every...
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On Your Road to Financial Success, What Car are You Driving?

Car on long road, like a financial journey
Thoughts on the optimal process for achieving your financial goals (spoiler alert: this is our process!)In a word, it’s all about “efficiency.”  I will make the comparison of your financial life to an automobile.  Your financial assets (“money”) are the gasoline in the tank—the fue...
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Higher Interest Rates: The Tempest in the Teapot

Effective Federal Fund Rates
Anybody who was surprised that the Federal Reserve Board decided to raise its benchmark interest rate this week probably wasn’t paying attention.  The U.S. economy is humming along, the stock market is booming and the unemployment rate has fallen faster than anybody expected.  The incoming admin...
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Bucket List – Life Goals to Look Forward to

Bucket List
With the holidays being right around the corner and 2016 coming to an end, there’s no better time than now to think about your bucket list of goals and dreams you hope to accomplish in your lifetime. Believe it or not, you’re never too old to relive your childhood memories of writing to Santa or...
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The Gift of a Book

books
During the holiday season, I tend to reflect on life and always appreciate a great book to motivate my thinking. Consider giving one of these books as a gift or stocking stuffer or, if you’re not on the naughty list, add it to your own wish list for Santa. These books are not only good for your po...
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Thanksgiving Trivia 2016

Thanksgiving
Each year, on the fourth Thursday of November, Americans come together to celebrate Thanksgiving. It was originally a day to give thanks for the blessings of the harvest, and is now associated with feasting, family, friends, and football. During my nine years in the US, I have learned that Thanksgiv...
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President Trump’s Unlikely Victory and the Markets

american flag
With the election of Donald Trump as President, we expect a wild ride in the investment markets. Indeed, they are already turning sharply negative due to the uncertainties ahead (recalling that the markets hate uncertainty). Will the new President really build an expensive wall across our Southern b...
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Buy? Sell? Hold? Head for the Hills? — Presidential Elections and the Stock Market

Presidential Economic Performance
Next week, Americans will head to the polls to elect the next president of the United States. While the outcome is unknown, one thing is for certain: There has been and will continue to be a steady stream of opinions from pundits and prognosticators about how the election will impact the stock marke...
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Male Breast Cancer Awareness – October 2016

Male Breast Cancer Awarness
Pink! Pink! Pink! October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This is a campaign to raise funds for research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure. We see pink everywhere we look and shop. Women have their yearly mammograms, but what about Men? Men also are susceptible to ...
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Does When You Marry Affect Your Chances of Divorce?

Divorce Rate Graph
As many of you know, Inspired Financial has particular expertise in serving women in transition. One of the primary transitions we encounter is divorce and it got us to thinking about the factors that might contribute to divorce.  For example, according to conventional wisdom, the odds that you and...
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Preparing Personal Financial Statements Effectively

Financial Statements
What do you and Apple have in common? Or, how creating your personal financial statements contributes to your success.Ok, I’m a CPA.  I can read, interpret, and analyze financial statements.  But did you know that the two most common corporate financial statements—the Balance Sheet and the...
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10 Tips for Dealing with Stress

Stress
Since September is considered the least stressful month of the year (January is the most stressful), I thought it might be a good time to get a refresh on dealing with stress. By all accounts, stress—and its accompanying emotional mix of frustration, anxiety and fear—is bad for your health.  Wh...
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College-Bound (Grand)Child? Don’t forget to have them complete this form!

Student Working
Hint: It’s even more important than the FAFSA!A young woman goes to college. Two months later she is rushed to the hospital and into the operating room for an emergency appendectomy. Her mother calls the hospital in a panic and asks to know what is happening with her daughter. The hospital say...
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Life as an Intern at Inspired Financial

As I approach my senior year at the University of Illinois (Fighting Illini!), this summer was my internship opportunity to gain knowledge in real-life financial planning. Reflecting over the past two months interning at Inspired Financial, it has been worth every single commute (a whopping 37 miles...
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Tightening Things Up: Increased Protection for your Social Security Account

Computer Security
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has tightened security to reduce the threat from hackers and identity thieves. Now, when you log into your SSA account you will have an extra step to authenticate your identity. You start by doing what you’ve always done, give your username and password. If...
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Location, Location, Location! How Asset Placement Can Save You Taxes

Taxes
Asset Placement is a popular discussion among financial planners (we’re a nerdy bunch). Asset Placement is determining what type of account (IRA, Roth IRA, trust, etc.) should hold what type of investment (bonds, US stocks, foreign stocks, real estate, etc.). If you ignore asset placement and you ...
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Making Her Mark In Politics and in Finance – Female Trailblazers

Abigail Adams Photo
It’s been a remarkable month for women in political leadership. With the UK’s recent vote on Brexit, Theresa May is poised to become the first British Prime Minister since Margaret Thatcher (and only the second ever). It also appears that Hillary Clinton will be the confirmed presidential candid...
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Independence for the We/Me Generations

America is a great place to live. I have lived in Holland but the United States is my home and I am proud of what we represent, mainly freedom.  Now, in the age of social media, we may see and hear things we never knew!  We enjoy so many freedoms, including how we live our lives.  Just a few week...
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Getting Married? 5 Tips Before Tying the Knot

With June being the most popular month for weddings and as my wife and I reflect on our recent 10th anniversary, I thought it would be a good time to write about some important items to do before getting married and to also provide some communication concepts to use during marriage.According to ...
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Zero Percent Capital Gains Tax Rate

0% taxes is a beautiful thing.  It doesn’t apply to everyone.  Let’s discuss.The Capital Gain rates are 15% (for most) and 20% (for very high income people).  Then there’s this pesky 3.8% tax on Net Investment Income if you make over $200,000.  Who knew that Capital Gains taxation was ...
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Women to be Honored on US Paper Currency

Harriet Tubman will be the first woman to be honored on paper currency since Martha Washington graced the $1 silver certificate in the late 19th century.At our recent Shred Event, we were seated enjoying our lunch, when one of our most devoted theater loving clients, asked me if I’ve heard of the...
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A Financial Love Note to my Daughters

Mothers across America are anticipating an onslaught of cards, flowers, breakfasts in bed (remember, it’s the thought that matters), and brunches out this Sunday in celebration of Mother’s Day.  My two “bonus” daughters are on the other side of the country and a soon-to-be daughter-in-law b...
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Department of Labor Fiduciary Rule

For months, we watched the development of (and debate about) the pending Department of Labor fiduciary rule with great interest.  With the government finally taking action to provide greater consumer protection for assets in retirement accounts, we are celebrating.  Why celebrate now?At Inspir...
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Fundamentals of Financial Awareness

Do you ever feel like you don’t really know exactly where you stand financially?Are you spending too much? Are you saving enough? Are you even moving in the right direction?Every adult should have a basic awareness of their financial position. Two of the best tools to start with are a net ...
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Hitting the Books during Spring Break

As kids, most of us anticipated Spring Break as a time to escape from reading, books, or anything that remotely resembled "heavy" thinking. However, as I've gotten older, I find that I anticipate Spring Break or any vacation as a great opportunity for leisure reading. With that in mind, I have ...
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Understanding Your Social Security Benefits; Changes April 2016

Recently, enjoying a dinner out with good friends, I learned my girlfriend’s husband was about to turn 66.  I tried to focus on the fabulous dinner, but honestly, I was thinking, “What are your plans for claiming Social Security benefits?”  A financial planner plans in so many environment...
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A Little Irish Inspiration – Living Simply and Happily

“May the road rise to meet you…” and other pearls of wisdom inspired by St. Patrick’s Day.Green beer, corned beef, and the traditional Irish blessing that starts “May the road rise to meet you…” receive varying degrees of attention and contemplation—depending on your proclivities...
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Look Before You Move

Each year, thousands of people retire and immediately move to a state that assesses lower income taxes on the theory that they will save money and make their dollars stretch further. Then they discover that they would have been better off at home, either because of a tax trap or because they didn't ...
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Medicare Cost Increases

The same time it was announced that Social Security recipients won’t receive any increases in their benefits, the government announced that certain Medicare participants would be paying dramatically higher premiums for Medicare Part B, the highest price jump in the program’s history. In general...
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Rent or Buy?

If you read articles that offer budgeting advice, you might see an item that says you shouldn’t spend more than 25% of your income on housing costs. These days, it’s more of a challenge for renters to stay under that spending level.Why? According to the latest report from Zillow Group, which...
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Eating to Maintain Brain Function

We are keeping an eye out for the latest research on a topic that concerns us all and touches so many lives. In March 2015, Rush University in Chicago published the MIND diet, which lists ten things to eat and five things to avoid to keep your brain healthy. Results show that strictly following thes...
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Medicare Fix-It (for now)

Congressional leaders and the Obama Administration have fixed the potentially alarming increase in Medicare Part B premiums under the recently-passed government budget deal.Medicare Part B covers most health care services outside of hospitals, and thus represents one of the biggest expense items...
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Inspired Financial Team Success with CHOC Walk

Thanks so much for your support of Team Inspired Financial at the 2015 CHOC Walk in the Park! Thanks to your generosity, we were able to surpass our $2,500 goal to support Children’s Hospital of Orange County. A few donations are still coming in, but our collective efforts now total over $4,200 an...
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Ariana Huffington in Orange County teaches women how to “Thrive”

Inspired Financial was proud to host Ariana Huffington   ...
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And now, for something completely different…

I recently read a blog on the Harvard Business Review that described "Nine Things Successful People Do Differently" and was struck by the number of these things that we do at Inspired Financial (which confirms what I've always said about us being different).For example, we are in the home stretc...
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How to know when you have enough

gold
Kurt Vonnegut related this story about fellow author Joseph Heller. The two were at a billionaire’s party on Shelter Island. Vonnegut asked Heller how it made him feel that the host may have made more money in one day than Catch-22 (Heller’s most famous work) did in its entire run. Heller replie...
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UK Spending Cuts An Example To US?

british-pounds
How refreshing it’s been to follow the recent elections in the UK! (And, how much less painful than watching the process in California!)  The new coalition government in the UK made a promise that, if elected, they would balance their budget that would result in several years of economic pain. ...
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True Happiness: Married, Middle Class, No Kids

There is a great posting of a speech given by Christopher Munsey of the Monitor on the American Psychological Association blog that’s worth a read.  Here are three tidbits from the posting I found interesting:It’s not marriage that makes you happy, it’s happy marriage that makes you h...
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