We Are All in This Together-Financially Too!

We Are All in This Together-Financially Too!

Finance, Life & Community
Ina Fernandez CPA, President & CEO, Fern Capital Inc. We’re hearing the phrase “we are all in this together” everywhere in the media during the Covid-19 crisis. It’s true from both a health and a financial perspective this time. So, here are some suggestions for people in different financial situations caused by the Covid-19 crisis. Out of work and running out of emergency funds If you fall into this category, you are likely the intended target of various congressional bills passed and in the process of passing these days. Control what you can, as your family comes first in this scenario. So, ask for forbearance from your landlord or mortgage company, utility and phone companies, credit card processor, or internet service provider, for example. Many of these companies understand that…
Read More
It’s Never Too Early to Save for Retirement… Truly!

It’s Never Too Early to Save for Retirement… Truly!

Finance, Lifestyle
Writer, Ina Fernandez, CPA A 2018 report by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies* made me sit up and take notice. It found that the median savings for people in their sixties, including equity in their homes, was $172,000. That seems like a lot of money until you divide it by the 20 years that most are likely to live beyond retirement. That calculates to $8600 per year, hardly enough to supplement the $17,000 per year from social security that the average retiree is likely to get, and way, way below what most will need to cover expenses in their retirement. So, with pensions now as rare as landlines, we need to start saving for retirement early, as soon as our first job. If we put away small sums that…
Read More
Same Old, Same Old Tax Returns?  NOT!

Same Old, Same Old Tax Returns? NOT!

Finance
By Ina Fernandez, CPA President & CEO, Fern Capital Inc. With April is here and, you may find yourself sympathizing with the Beatles in “Taxman”: “There’s one for you, nineteen for me.” In reality, the significant changes made to the tax laws affecting the 2018 tax year may hold a few pleasant surprises for most of us. Here is a sampling: Tax Brackets: Tax brackets have changed for 2018. There are still 7 brackets, but the intention of these changes was to reduce taxes paid at lower income brackets. So expect good news in general in this category. Standard Deductions: The standard deduction almost doubled from 2017 to 2018. For singles, it is now $12,000 (versus $6,350 in 2017). For married couples filing jointly, it is now $24,000 (versus $12,700).…
Read More
Getting Real:  Financial Tips for First-time Home Buyers

Getting Real: Financial Tips for First-time Home Buyers

Finance
by Ina Fernandez [caption id="attachment_2574" align="aligncenter" width="226"] photo by Mark Moz[/caption]   Contrary to popular belief, millennials are gradually succumbing to the siren’s call of home ownership.  And why not? Mortgage rates are still at historic lows, home prices are inching up, and job growth is steady. Meanwhile, rents are rising. As my daughter put it, “I want something to show for all those checks I am writing.” If you have already made the decision to buy, congratulations! From a financial standpoint, first-time homebuyers have a few things to work on. Credit Score:  The better your credit score, the easier it is to get a mortgage at better rates. So get your finances in shape so your credit score is the best it can be. Pay your bills on time,…
Read More

Is Your Financial Advisor a Fiduciary? And Why Should You Care?

Finance
Fewer workers these days are lucky enough to have a pension plan. The rest of us save for retirement through our employers’ contributory plans like the 401k, or a 403b or Individual Retirement Account (IRA). When we retire or change jobs, we are responsible for managing these accounts ourselves or hire financial advisors to do so. Advisors come in all stripes: brokers, bankers, insurance reps, planners, or independent money managers. But they all fall in two broad categories: advisors who adhere to the “Suitability standard” and ones that are held to the higher “Fiduciary standard.” Advisors who are Fiduciaries are required, quite simply, to put their clients’ interests above their own. It means avoiding potential conflicts of interest or disclosing conflicts where they exist. Trades should be placed with the…
Read More

“Tis the Season”

Finance
It was Christmas morning, and our kids, bright-eyed and way too bushy tailed, were all agog at the twinkling lights and the shiny presents under the tree. Soon, both were working into a present-opening frenzy, with wrapping paper and bows flying. Each barely registered the gift itself, so anxious were they to move to the next one. The whole process was repeated at the extended family gathering later that day. Surveying the wreckage after it was all over, I turned into Mom Scrooge. We went to a gift exchange format with the extended family, and were more judicious with our gift giving within our immediate family. ‘Tis the season, you say, to spread good cheer throughout the world, and spoil the children… yes and no. Americans spent an average of…
Read More