young couple with debt problem

How Would You Handle This Debt Problem?

Do you know anyone with a debt problem?  A colleague presented the following case regarding a young couple with a debt problem to me and asked for my input.  Since debt problems come up frequently, especially with younger clients, I thought sharing their story might help someone else in a similar situation.

The Debt Problem

“I have a couple, married a year ago with a baby. She has a school loan of $80,000 and he brought in $40,000 in credit card debt. All savings of $20,000 has been depleted by baby in hospital. They both have jobs, paying a total of $75,000 and trying to get second jobs. Suggestions? I’ve never run into this sort of debt problem before in clients. Thanks!”

The family dynamics in this case are pretty intense.  Having a baby has its own level of stress, both emotionally and financially.  When you compound it with a budget already strained by debt, I can only imagine what else is going on.  I am going to walk you through my process and as I do, please think about how you would advise this couple.  If this was your son or daughter (and your grandchild) how would you want them guided?  Unfortunately, having a debt problem is common.  Before I can dive into “advice mode”, I need to do a little digging.

student loans

5 Steps To Improve Your Credit Score

 

Applying for student loans?  Worried about your credit score?  Here are 5 steps you can take today to improve your credit score.

At this time of year, many parents start scratching their heads and turn to their keyboards to search for answers to their pressing financial questions.  Parents, reeling from the sticker shock caused by their son or daughter’s college acceptance and award letter are trying to figure out how to pay for college.  Students are asking questions about credit, many for the first time.  Want to guess the financial question Google gets asked the most?  It is “how do student loans work?”  No wonder.  According to a recent Marketwatch article, Americans are trying to figure out how to deal with $1.4 trillion in student loan debt.  A study conducted by Liberty Bank for Savings found Google gets an average of 2.4 million searches per month from folks looking for the answer to this question.

Financial Literacy

want to be a millionaire

Want To Be A Millionaire? 3 Things You Need To Know If You Inherit A Windfall

3 Things You Need To Know If You Inherit A Windfall

Want To Be A Millionaire?  Of course, who doesn’t, right?

Recently a young 30 something brought an interesting situation to my attention.  She learned she will be inheriting a significant amount of money, in the several million dollar range.  Her first reaction was “Whee!! I can travel the world!”  Fortunately, someone much wiser recommended having a conversation with me before she goes off the rails and takes all the money with her.

I was happy to see her asking questions before she received the inheritance.  Here are the top 3 tips I gave her about what to do once she becomes a millionaire.  I thought I would share them here in case you or someone you know is as fortunate.

1)  Establish a Trust to hold your assets.  Give serious thought to how you spend money.  Try to maintain the discipline of retaining your current lifestyle.  Consider your current budget.  If possible, work with a trustworthy investment professional that will construct a portfolio where you earn dividends that cover your lifestyle expenses.  This way, you won’t be depleting principal.  The person that created the estate you inherited probably followed a similar conservative philosophy. 

Data

After the Equifax Data Breach – What You Need To Know To Protect Yourself

Are you concerned about the Equifax security breach?  Based on the questions I’ve received, many folks are worried their personal information was compromised.  Here are some action steps you can take to protect yourself.  I hope you find them useful.
Here’s how to find out if you might be part of the breach
1)      Equifax is offering a website equifaxsecurity2017.com where you can check to see if your data was compromised. Currently, the site does not give you a definite “yes”, but seems to let you know if your data was not breached.