Money Wisdom & Musings

Here's your source for thoughts and observations on all things financial (and otherwise). Topics can range from tips on your personal well being to the well being of your investments. As always, we welcome your comments and feedback.

Be romantic, but practical

Posted by Jill Boynton on February 7, 2014

Valentine’s Day will be here shortly and with it many happy new brides-to-be.  If you are planning on proposing to your beloved and have gone shopping for a ring, you will want to protect your investment even before you pop the question. As soon as you’ve purchased a ring get a written appraisal.  This can come from the store at which you purchased the ring or from another jeweler.  Use…

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How to Best Meet a Goal

Posted by Susan Veligor on January 23, 2014

Recently I was speaking with Mandy Schumaker, a Portland-based small business coach. One of the primary benefits of working with a coach is the accountability factor; that is, when you set a goal for yourself it is more likely to come to fruition if you have a partner of sorts to whom you must report. Related to this, Mandy shared some probability statistics with me from the American Society of…

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Year-end charitable gifting ideas

Posted by Jill Boynton on December 4, 2013

Thinking of making some year-end charitable gifts? Instead of giving cash consider donating stocks that you own with a low cost basis. Maybe you have stock you inherited years ago, or bought at the market lows in 2008 and you’re sitting on some hefty gains. You are probably not relishing the idea of a big capital gain when you sell it. You can bypass that headache by donating the stock directly…

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Cost of Thanksgiving Dinner Goes Down

Posted by Jill Boynton on November 17, 2013

When you are sitting around the Thanksgiving table this year, give thanks that the cost of the dinner you are about to eat actually went down from last year. The American Farm Bureau Federation, which publishes an informal price survey of items found in a classic Thanksgiving dinner, estimate the average cost of dinner for 10 people to be $49.04. This is down $0.44 from last year. The AFBF prices…

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New rules for Flexible Spending Accounts

Posted by Susan Veligor on November 5, 2013

This is the time of year employees generally elect how much of their 2014 wages will be deferred to their employer-provided Flexible Spending Account (FSA.) It is always a challenge to estimate just how much of this tax-deferred money one will actually use throughout the year and under the old “use it or lose it” policy therewas a risk of forfeiture. The new rule that rolled out with the…

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Sharpening my knowledge as a divorce financial planner

Posted by Jill Boynton on September 25, 2013

Last week I attended the Association of Divorce Financial Planners (ADFP) 11th annual conference in Chicago. The ADFP is an interdisciplinary association whose members work on behalf of their clients to research and analyze personal, business and tax issues related to divorce. We explain financial options, help set priorities and lead our clients through the hard choices they face in a…

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Senior year of high school can be costly

Posted by Jill Boynton on September 11, 2013

We all know college can be expensive, but did you ever consider the cost of your child’s senior year in high school? One of our colleagues did, and she was astonished at the total bill! Between SATs, college admissions, proms and parties your senior can cost you a bundle. See her article here.

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Sound advice for young adults

Posted by Jill Boynton on August 27, 2013

I recently came across a good financial planning book for young adults. “Coin”, by Judy McNary, goes over the basics of money management from learning to live within your means to paying off debt. It is geared towards the recent college graduate who is now out on their own for the first time, but could be useful for college students too. The book starts with a discussion on goal-setting and…

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Is Gold a Good Investment?

Posted by Jill Boynton on July 29, 2013

Interesting article in last Sunday’s NY Times about investing in gold. The author notes that over the long-term gold has barely kept pace with inflation, earning an inflation-adjusted return of about 1.1% from 1836 to 2011. In comparison you can expect to earn 1.0% from Treasury Bills, 2.9% from long-term bonds and 7.4% from stocks over “the long term” (although it appears these returns are…

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Simple Thoughts

Posted by Susan Veligor on July 10, 2013

With the (seemingly always) bad news that daily comes across the wire – exploding oil-filled derailed train cars, plane crashes, Mid-East strife – it is refreshing and smile-producing  to see a recent Portland Press Herald headline: “Readfield sues man again over cows in roads”. The Town of Readfield is 15 minutes west of Augusta (host to our turmoil-ridden legislature ever at arms with…

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