How Does The New Tax Code Impact Your Charitable Giving?

There are many principles that guide American’s charitable giving habits. From the flows of the economy, to rising political issues, to increase in social status, to a genuine desire to give back, these reasons are found to fluctuate with time and the changes that time presents. Since 2009 (after the great recession of 2008) our economy has seen a steady increase of giving per year.   

For many families, charitable giving is a built-in part of their yearly financial goals. But the new tax code presents unique challenges to donors’ tax benefits from their gifts. I’d like to lay out some creative strategies for you to consider when you make your charitable donations this year.  

Read More→

Why Compound Interest Is Your Best Savings Tool

The origin of compound interest spans thousands of years; often attributed to the Old Babylonian period (2000-1600 BCE) due to their use of the translated phrase “interest on interest.”  But some argue this fiscal marvel dates back to a place called Sumer, the southernmost region of ancient Mesopotamia in the Pre-Sargonic era (2600-2350 BCE). That is over 4,000 years ago! 

What makes this interest so special? How has it survived to be the bedrock of loan and investment practices today? Let’s find out.  

Read More→

Financial Fixer-Upper and The Reasons You Shouldn’t Buy A House Next Year

The American Dream is a tempting one. It tells the epic story of a young person growing up, working hard, and developing financial and personal success for both them and their family. It is a narrative told over and over again, expressed to us in books, music, television, and art. A quiet life. A white picket fence lining the edge of your property. A loving family. Peace.   

A crucial component of the story being building/buying and owning a house on the perfect piece of land. As you continue to progress in your life and career, you may feel that owning a home is the natural next step but that is not always the case.  

Read More→

Budgeting Through the Holidays

It may only be October, but the holidays are right around the corner. I wanted to take a minute before we entered the November-December craziness to touch base and talk to you about surviving the holidays without breaking the bank.

Setting a holiday budget is never easy. It feels like, for most people, the ideal number they’d like to spend inevitably gets blown out of the water by oddball expenses. Maybe they go overboard with gifts during Black Friday, or they forgot that Aunt Mary and Uncle Dan were coming into town and had to rush out to buy an extra set of clean sheets and bath towels to accommodate a full house of guests for Thanksgiving.

Sometimes it’s even as small as you and your spouse keep grabbing coffee and breakfast from Starbucks on your way to work because you feel too busy and too tired to make a pot of coffee and oatmeal at home. Whatever your “guilty” holiday expenses are – they add up, big and small. That’s why thinking about them in advance and coming up with a game plan can help.

Read More→

Having Honest Money Conversations With Family

Talking To Family About MoneyMoney is an uncomfortable topic. In fact, more often than not, just thinking about money leaves us feeling overwhelmed, guilty, or a little bit ticked off. We develop feelings about money (and how to use it) from a really young age. These feelings and ideas are based in what we learned from our parents, or what we saw they doing, and how the people around us dealt with their money. Not all of the habits we pick up are identical to what people around us do. Sometimes the way we treat money is the polar opposite of what our parents, grandparents, or siblings have done because we’re determined not to get ourselves in a similar financial mess. Other times, we gain our values directly from them – for better or worse.

Read More→

Should You Snowball or Avalanche Your Debt?

If you’ve been a long-time reader of the NewLeaf Financial Guidance blog, you know that we’re not huge fans of debt. In fact, this time last year we put together a lengthy Debt Demolition series tackling everything you’d ever need to know about knocking out your debt and continuing to live debt free. Unfortunately, for many people, debt is a fact of life. It’s not fun, and nobody wants to deal with it, but it’s there – always looming in the background. For a lot of NewLeaf clients, this debt is student loans. For other clients, it’s a few outstanding credit card bills, auto loans, or a mortgage that they hadn’t thought all the way through before jumping into home ownership.

Read More→

Tied in Ribbon: How to Maximize Your Workplace Benefits Package

Employee retention is on the mind of every employer. How do I recruit top talent and keep it? One of the top reasons employees stay with a company are the benefits that the company offers.   

We work for more than a paycheck. We work to save for retirement, to get an education, to improve the livelihood of ourselves and the world around us.

Unique benefits packages are an employer’s golden ticket to keeping employees happy and healthy. Are you taking advantage of the benefits your workplace offers? 

Read More→

How Do You Budget for the Unexpected?

So, you’ve built a budget. You’ve taken a colossal first step toward a successful financial life. And then the unthinkable happens – you’re hit with a huge unexpected expense.

If you’re going through this right now, your head might be spinning. It’s incredibly frustrating to feel like you’ve just started to get your financial life on track, only to have it derailed by something you couldn’t have possibly predicted. In the moment, unexpected expenses feel like a personal attack on your financial wellbeing.

Read More→

What’s Your Worth?

You may have heard about net worth statements in the past. For a lot of people, it conjures up an image of the rich and famous. The truth is, everyone has a net worth statement – even you. Tracking your net worth over time can help you to see your complete financial picture and ensure that you’re trending in the right direction.

Read More→

Setting Concrete Money Goals

The past few months, we’ve been doing something new here at Newleaf Financial Guidance: We’ve been building out a comprehensive case study to showcase how Newleaf works with new clients. Our case study participants, Josh and Sarah Ackerman, aren’t real people. However, the problems they face, and the solutions we create together, are all-too-relatable.

Read More→