Top 10 Most Generous U.S. Donors: 2015

Tech world philanthropists star on The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s yearly list

Eleven of the top 50 donors are from the tech industry.

The biggest American philanthropists increased their donations by 27.5% in 2014, according to The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s 15th annual Philanthropy 50 list of America’s most generous donors.

Mega-gifts by technology entrepreneurs drove this increase, The Chronicle reported. Twelve donors on the list came from the technology world, and their giving was outsize compared with that of people in other industries, The Chronicle found.

It represented 47% of the $9.8 billion in donations made by the Philanthropy 50 in 2014.The report said giving by Philanthropy 50 donors who amassed their fortunes in technology had increased by more than 1,000% over the past five years, whereas 2014 donations from people who made money in finance had dropped to near 2012 levels.

via Top 10 Most Generous U.S. Donors: 2015.

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Investing All Comes Down To Luck, Kahneman Says

A Noble Prize winner had some sobering comments today for hundreds of financial professionals at the IMCA 2015 New York Consultants conference in Manhattan.

You and your clients know less about investing than you think. Keep brilliant investing ideas to a minimum. Don’t overtrade. Passive management is often best. Most investment forecasts miss the mark. Hindsight will often fool both investors and advisors. That’s caused by putting the past in an optimistic light, forgetting mistakes and playing up seemingly correct calls. And luck, not enlightened management, can be often a huge factor in strong investment returns as well as Super Bowl victories.

Those were some of the comments of Daniel Kahneman, the father of behavioral economics and the winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize in economics.

via Investing All Comes Down To Luck, Kahneman Says.

FORGET ABOUT THE ECONOMY; LIVE WEALTHY

Remember – life is for living!

Steve

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1. The News is for Entertainment and Sensationalism Don’t even think about the news, or the dour talking heads on your TV. You are the master of your own destiny. Life and success transcend money. Whatever your current circumstances, you have ultimate control over your greatest resources; your time and your mind.The same goes for getting wrapped up in social media. The worst thing you can do is spend too much time comparing yourself to others and how they are doing. Set a time limit for social media-and stick to it.

“It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop.” Confucius

2. Spend a few minutes with that gratitude journal and write down the gifts you already have in your life.Don’t sigh, I know this is quite “Oprahish”. This strategy is a sure fire mood booster. You are already living better right now than royalty of the 1800’s. The luxuries of microwave ovens, computers, cell phones, indoor plumbing, electricity, video on demand, and more make our lives spectacular.

read the complete article here: FORGET ABOUT THE ECONOMY; LIVE WEALTHY.

7 Reasons to Avoid 401(k) Loans

I generally believe that it is NOT a good idea to borrow money from your 401.  In the following article, Roger Wohlner explains why he agrees that it is not good to borrow money from your 401.

Steve

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One of the features of many 401(k) plans is the ability for participants to take a loan against their balance.

There are rules governing what the loans can be used for, the number of loans that can be outstanding at one time, and the percentage of your account balance that can be borrowed. Additionally there is a time limit by which these loans need to be repaid.

It is the decision of the organization sponsoring the plan whether or not to allow loans and also as to what they can be used for. Typical reasons allowed are for college expenses for your children, medical expenses, the purchase of a home, or to prevent eviction from your home.

The flexibility offered by allowing loans is often touted as one of the good features of the 401(k). However taking a loan from your 401(k) also carries some downsides.

Here are 7 reasons to avoid 401(k) loans.

1. Leaving your job triggers repayment If you leave your job with an outstanding loan against your 401(k) account the balance can become due and payable immediately. This applies whether you leave your job voluntarily or involuntarily via some sort of termination. While your regularly scheduled repayments are deducted from your paycheck, you will need to come up with the funds to repay the loan upon leaving your job or it will become a taxable distribution. Additionally if you are under 59 ½ a 10% penalty might also apply.

via 7 Reasons to Avoid 401(k) Loans | The Chicago Financial Planner.

Understanding Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)

This is a good overview of Health Savings Accounts by Jim Blankenship.

Steve

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When you have a Health Savings Account, you’re allowed to make contributions to the account that are deductible from your income. There are limits to the amount that is deductible each year, and these limits are set by the IRS.

In order to have a HSA, you must also have a High-Deductible Health Plan (HDHP), which is a health insurance policy that, as the name implies, has a high deductible. Qualified plans have a minimum deductible of $2,600 for families (for 2015) or $1,300 for singles. In addition, HDHPs have a maximum annual limit on the sum of the deductible and out-of-pocket expenses that you must pay. Out-of-pocket expenses include co-payments and other amounts, but do not include premiums paid. The maximum sum of deductibles and out-of-pocket payments for a qualified HDHP in 2015 is $12,900 for family coverage, or $6,450 for single filers.

Read the complete article here:   Health Savings Accounts for 2015 – Getting Your Financial Ducks In A Row.

Should You Refinance Your Mortgage?

Mortgage interest rates are low again and it may be a great time for you to think about re-financing (maybe again).  I think that Rick Kahler has done an excellent job of summarizing the process below.  If you need the names of some good mortgage brokers, give me a call at 970-682-4875 or send me an email at steve@purposefulfinancialplanning.com .

As always, let me know if you have any comments or questions.

Steve

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Five years ago the government was injecting trillions of dollars into the US economy. Conventional wisdom suggested that rising interest rates were soon to follow. Some even predicted the collapse of the dollar and hyper-inflation. Instead, inflation is down, the dollar is the strongest it’s been in a decade, and interest rates are falling to the lowest rates we’ve seen in decades.

Now would be a great time to dig out your mortgage loan paperwork and consider refinancing. Here’s how to find out whether it’s a good option:

First, check the current interest rate on your mortgage loan. Let’s assume you have a balance of $200,000, with principal and interest (P&I) payments of $1013 at an interest rate of 4.5%.

read the complete article here: Rick Kahler: Should You Refinance Mortgage? | Kahler Financial.

The Value of Your Social Security Benefits

This Article by Jim Blankenship does an excellent job of discussing the value of you r Social Security Benefits and some ideas about how to decide when to start.

Let me know what you think.

Steve

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As you consider your Social Security benefits and when you might begin to draw them, keep in mind that the benefits you’re receiving are actually akin to an annuity – a stream of income that you will receive from the time you start the benefits throughout your life. As with an annuity, if you live longer than average, you will receive much more than the original value (premium) of the annuity. If you have a way to increase the amount of the stream of income, by delaying start of the benefits, the overall amount that you eventually receive will increase as well (assuming you live longer than average).

Let’s say that your Social Security benefit would be $1,500 at Full Retirement Age. If you started your benefit early at age 62, your benefit would be reduced to 75% of that amount, or $1,125; if you delayed your benefit to age 70, the benefit amount would be increased by 32% to $1,980.

via The Value of Your Social Security Benefits – Getting Your Financial Ducks In A Row.