Showing posts with label Debt Free Guys. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Debt Free Guys. Show all posts

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Debt Free Guys: Small Changes


This highlight clip from Queer Money Episode 3 shows how small changes are the best way to make big changes financially.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Debt Free Guys: Better Living Through Podcasts

Check out the Queer Money Podcast, the only show designed to help our LGBT community do better financially and become successes in all areas of our lives.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Debt Free Guys: 4 Keys to Winning the Mid-life Career Change


How do you prepare for a mid-life career change? Here's a few suggestions. Check out the full episode for much, much more!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Debt Free Guys: How to Talk with Your Partner about Money When It's Hard to Talk about Money


Do you struggle to talk to your husband or wife about money? If so, you're not alone. The Debt Free Guys had that question from a listener to our podcast and take the time to answer his question and give you two tools to help kick-start the conversation.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Debt Free Guys: How to Plan for Retirement When You’ve Delayed Planning for Retirement

By John R. Schneider, III & David Auten

In its 2012 LGBT Financial Experience Study, Prudential reported that LGBT respondents about their most pressing financial concern, the most common response was “retirement.” Respondents to Prudential’s 2016-2017 Study were “less likely to have started saving or investing for retirement . . . than those surveyed in 2012.”

Success is still ours. What can younger queer people do today to prepare for retirement with time on their side? What can older queer people do when they feel they’re in crunch mode?

Pay off debt
The number two financial concern of the queer community is paying down debt. Debt anchors our future to our past, so don’t sacrifice tomorrow for today.

Many retirees today are finding it harder to survive on retirement savings and Social Security because they have too much debt. For example, 30% of Americans 65 and older had mortgage debt in 2011. In 2001, only 22 percent of Americans 65 and older had mortgage debt. If you’re young with a low-interest rate mortgage loan, it may not make sense to pay off your debt instead of saving for retirement. But, have no mortgage debt by retirement.

Likewise, the Government Accountability Office reported in 2016 that Americans 50 years of age and older are having Social Security checks garnished to repay long-held, defaulted student loans. To avoid future garnishment of your Social Security checks, make paying off your student loans a priority.

Grow your cash flow
Robert Kiyosaki, of Rich Dad/Poor Dad, says wealth is when you have enough investment income to cover your expenses. There are three ways to create and grow investment income.

First, there are paper assets: stocks, bonds, mutual funds. Second, there are real estate investments, whether paper assets through REITs or physical properties. Then, there are personally owned businesses.

Todd Tresidder of The Financial Mentor believes that with this three-pronged approach, even those who have waited until their 40s or 50s to prepare for retirement can adequately prepare for retirement.

Get a financial planner
If you don’t have a financial planner, get one. Prudential’s 2026-2017 study showed that fewer queer people use a financial planner than the general population. However, an HSBC study showed that individuals with a financial planner have nearly 29% more in retirement income wealth than those without one.

To be sure, having a financial planner won’t make you rich, but not having a financial plan may cost you thousands over your lifetime. A 2012 CFP (Certified Financial Planners™) Board study showed that “the more extensively households plan, the better prepared they are financially in terms of their likelihood of saving, investing, and managing credit card debt.”

If you’ve procrastinated on retirement planning, don’t procrastinate any longer. By focusing on these three areas, you can make your biggest impact on your financial future. Whether you’re younger or older, though, starting your financial planning now is always the best strategy.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Debt Free Guys: Take Pride in Your Money

By John R. Schneider, III & David Auten

Cities across the country are showing their Pride this month, as queer people embrace our pride. But, taking pride in who we are is more than one parade a year. It’s a 365-day practice taking care of ourselves physically, emotionally, mentally and financially.

As for the latter, our community has two concerns: the need to pay off debt and the need to save for retirement.

Missing our Financial Pride
Prudential’s 2012 and 2016 LGBT Financial Experience Surveys show that over half of the queer community consistently maintains $10,000 or more of debt, slightly more than the general population. Likewise, LGBT respondents to the 2016 survey were “less likely to have started saving or investing for retirement, to have insurance products, and to have a will or estate plan than those [LGBT respondents] surveyed in 2012 or general population respondents.”

How We Can Have More Money Pride 

It’s important for all LGBT people to take at least as much pride in our money as we do in being ourselves.

Build an Emergency Savings Account
If you don’t have an emergency savings account, save at least $500 before you do anything else. Once you do this, you’ll be better prepared to withstand unexpected emergencies or expenses.

When you do this, you’ll have money in case you miss work, get in an accident or exceed your data limit. This will benefit your physical, emotional, and mental well-being.

Get on a Debt Payment Plan
The most important step to take to pay off your debt, whether student loans, credit cards or another type of loan, is to get on a debt payment plan. Whatever interest rate you’re paying on your debt is too much.

Ways to pay down your debt include the Snowball Method, which says to pay off your smallest balances first and incrementally focus on larger debts. There’s the Avalanche Method that says to pay off your highest interest rate debt first. There’s, also, the Debt Lasso Method that says to gets your interest rates as low as possible, including 0% with some credit cards, and pays off your debt as fast as possible.

Contribute to a Retirement Account
Open a 401(k), 403(b), SEP or SIMPLE IRA through your company. These usually include a corresponding match of your contribution by your employer up to a certain dollar amount. Contribute enough to get 100% of your employer’s match.

Open a Roth IRA. Roth IRAs let you contribute up to $5,500 a year ($6,500 if you’re over 50 years old) with no lifetime maximum. Be careful of minimum balance fees.

Because of the additional and unique challenges the LGBT community faces, we must take extra care of ourselves and our financial lives. Pride is a celebration of who we are and a reminder of how far we’ve come. It’s, also, a good time to gauge how we’re doing individually and how we can improve in the next 365 days to achieve a whole new level of pride.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Debt Free Guys: 5 Money Practices for Each Tax Season

By John R. Schneider, III & David Auten

Like diets and birthday cakes, there are some things we should do annually. Whether for fun, fitness or our finances, we’re better for them. It helps to have firm, recurring dates to exercise these habits. Now that we’re in another tax season, here are five practices to start this year and perform every year.

Investment Portfolio Allocations
For buy and hold investors, tax season is a perfect reminder to rebalance their portfolios. The various markets, like large cap and small cap, don’t move in tandem. Therefore, buy and hold investors should adjust their portfolio allocations to stay in line with pre-established risk tolerances, time horizons, and investment objectives and goals.

Confirm the beneficiaries on your investment accounts annually. Beneficiary designations supersede instructions in wills. This technicality catches many by surprise.

Power of Attorney
Confirm the agents of your financial and medical powers of attorneys. A financial power of attorney designates an agent to manage your financial matters. A medical power of attorney appoints someone to manage your medical needs. Because such agent powers carry heavy responsibilities, confirm the appropriateness of each agent each year when you file your taxes.

Check Your Credit Report
Review all your credit card, debit card, bank, and investment account statements regularly to confirm nothing untoward happens from month-to-month. If you see negative or inaccurate transactions, contact your financial services firm immediately.

An added layer of protection for your credit score and credit report is to review your credit report annually. Reviewing your credit report is an opportunity to contest or clean up incorrect items on your credit report.

Consumers are entitled to one free credit report a year from each of the three credit rating agencies, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Rather than contacting all three credit rating agencies yearly, only go to to request your free credit report from each institution all at once when you file your taxes. 

Emergency Contact Information
Update your list of important contacts with contact information every year when you file your taxes. Your contact list should include, but not be limited to:

             Financial Advisors
             Power of attorneys

Docubank and Carbonite for Home let you electronically store this and other legal documents, such as healthcare directives and emergency medical information, so they’re in a safe and accessible location.

It can sometimes be hard to maintain important aspects of our finances without having systems in place. By implementing a system to address some of the more important aspects of your finances every tax season, you’ll keep your fiscal house in order.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Debt Free Guys: How Can I Attract More Money?


Ever wonder how you can attract more money into your life? If you found out would you be willing to follow through? The Debt Free Guys can show you how!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Debt Free Guys: Why We Must Change from Spenders to Savers

By John R. Schneider, III

If you’re queer, there’s a good chance you’re a spender. Per Prudential’s 2016-2017 LGBT Financial Experience research report, more than 48 percent of the queer community identify as “spenders,” compared to 32 percent of the general population.

Consider these statistics:

· The purchasing power of the queer community is close to $1 trillion.
· Same-sex couples on average earn at least $7,200 more than our straight peers.
· Only 20 percent of same-sex couples have children.
· The cost to raise a child to 18, not including college, is $245,000.

Despite our higher incomes, stronger purchasing power, and fewer responsibilities, we only have $6,000 more in savings compared to our straight peers and our median household consumer debt is $28,000.

Equality Rights
Many in the queer community are concerned about how the Trump Administration. We don’t yet know the full effects of the new administration. This is why queer spenders need to become queer savers.

A pillar of a strong queer community is financially strong queer individuals. Financial strength gives us both the money and time to continue to fight for equality. We must fund the organizations and causes fighting for equality. We must donate our time and presence to these causes.

We can’t be distracted by student loans or mortgages for the sake of our financial independence and civil rights. The financially stronger we are as individuals, the stronger we are as a community and the better equipped we are to fight for equality.  

State-Level Risks
Many state-level still have outdated language and rely on old precedence. Many still discriminate against queer people, such as preventing trans people from officially using the gender with which they identify.   

28 states lack non-discrimination employment protections for gays and lesbians. Only 14 of those states include trans protections. While we can legally marry in all 50 states, we can be fired in 28 without recourse for putting pictures of our spouses on our desks.

Because of these risks, we must become savers and adequately fund emergency savings accounts. Traditionally we should save between three to six months’ worth of living expenses in this account. Queer people who live in states with fewer protections should save at least three months’ worth.

Long-Term Care Concerns
Long-term care (LTC) includes professional help at home with basic needs, retirement villages for more enhanced care, and assisted living for physical assistance.

Many facilities don’t offer training on caring for LGBT people. With the average annual cost for a basic nursing home being $80,000, we may lose our autonomy as we lose our health. Consequently, many queer people go back in the closet to avoid discrimination and abuse.

Therefore, we need adequate retirement savings. We need long-term care and life insurance. We need durable power of attorneys and living wills.

It’s imperative that the queer community not spend all our higher than average annual incomes. We must use our disposable incomes to fight for equality and to protect ourselves.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Debt Free Guys: Further Protecting Your Same-Sex Marriage

By John R. Schneider, III & David Auten

Many in our community are concerned about the future of same-sex marriage and our civil rights. If this is you, let’s do something about it. Take the following steps to legally and financially protect your relationship as much as possible.

Joint Tenants with Rights of Survivorship
Put your assets in a Joint Tenancy with Rights of Survivorship. Joint tenancy means that when one of you passes away, the other automatically and fully owns of all your assets. This protects against others’ claims to your assets.

Each of you should draw up a will that spells out the owner of your assets when you pass away. Unless you come to another agreement, inherit your assets to each other. In the unfortunate event that you both pass away at or about the same time, include a per stirpes clause to outline the sequence of inheritors.

Designate an executor, likely each other, to oversee the division of your estates. If you have children, designate non-biological parents as their guardian.

Update all the beneficiaries on all accounts to be in line with your will, unless you and your spouse agree otherwise. This technicality catches many by surprise, but beneficiary designations supersede wills. For this reason, update your beneficiaries annually when you file your taxes.

Second-Parent Adoptions
If you have or will have children, non-biological parents should legally adopt and be listed on their birth certificates as second-parents. This will be hard in some states, as some state constitutions have outdated language that prohibit two people of the same gender on the same birth certificate.

Powers of Attorney
Designate each other as both financial and medical powers of attorney. Financial powers of attorney designate an agent to handle financial needs. Medical powers of attorney designate someone to handle medical needs.   

Choose a durable power or springing power of attorney. Durable powers of attorney authorize an agent to immediately act on your behalf, including if you become temporarily or permanently incompetent or incapacitated. The authorization ceases when you pass away.  

Springing powers of attorney authorize an agent to act on your behalf and only goes into effect if you become permanently incapacitated, as authorized by a medical doctor. This, too, ceases when you pass away.

Living Wills
Living wills outline medical and end-of-life wishes, if you cannot speak for yourself. Specify DNR (do not resuscitate), the use of feeding tubes, respirators, dialysis and blood transfusions instructions.

Contact Information
Document important contacts, such as doctors, accountants and attorneys, and their contact information should you become incompetent or incapacitated.

Store important documents and information electronically. DocuBank electronically stores legal documents and information on an easily accessible card the size of a credit card. This is helpful when you must access information on the fly, such as when medical professionals question your rights to visit your spouse in the hospital.

Even if some of these steps are redundant, they provide added protection in case the legality of our marriages are questioned.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Debt Free Guys: The Most Important Question for Same-Sex Spouses to Ask Before Filing Taxes

By John R. Schneider, III

Since same-sex marriage was legalized, the number of same-sex couples who play Tax Loophole Twister like our straight peers has increased.

We’re heading into tax season and getting a hold of your accountant may be harder than the 2016 election. Here’s the most important question same-sex spouses should ask before filing taxes: Should we file “married and jointly” or “married and separately”?

For most same-sex spouses, this question is new, the difference is considerable and the decision consequential. Here’s what you should know.

Pros & Cons of Filing Jointly
Considering the tax incentives offered to married couples, the government wants people married. (Up until recently, it just wanted the right people to be married.)

First, there’s the marriage bonus. The marriage bonus happens when there’s income disparity between spouses. If it applies, the marriage bonus puts the average income of the couple in a lower tax bracket because of the lower income earner.

Being married and filing jointly offers tax credits that may not apply if you’re married and filing separately. These credits include, but aren’t limited to Credit for Child and Dependent Care, Earned Income Tax Credits and education credits, such as American Opportunity and Lifetime Learning Education Credits. Joint filers also have higher income thresholds for deductions, which means they can qualify for incentives while making more money.

Credits and deductions lower the net total in taxes couples pay. Qualifying for them keeps more of your hard-earned money as income.

Married life and taxes aren’t all roses, though. The con with married and filing jointly is the marriage penalty. Married couples without income disparity can be bumped into a higher tax bracket than when they filed as individuals or if they filed separately.

Filing jointly poses a risk if your spouse has tax problems. If your spouse has tax liens or owes the government money, you may become responsible for their burdens. If you file separately, you’re shielded from such risks.

Pros & Cons of Filing Separately  

Certain deductions that require a percentage of your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) are more easily achieved with the lower AGI from filing separately rather than jointly. For example:

Miscellaneous expenses that are more than 2% of your AGI may be deducted
Emergency expenses over 10% of AGI may be deducted
One of you may qualify to contribute the max for a Roth IRA, whereas jointly neither of you might qualify

However, you’re off the hook for tax liabilities your spouse may have if you file separately. Doing so might shield certain assets from the government.

Going solo isn’t a bed of roses, either. Filing separately lowers deductions for Traditional Individual Retirement Account (IRA) contributions. While it’s good to invest in an IRA regardless, this reduces immediate benefits.

Along with the other tax deductions and credits afforded to couples who file jointly, you can’t take the student loan interest or tuition deduction if you file separately.

If this all sound confusing, that might be the point. Therefore, consult your tax professional.