Sun Post http://post.mnsun.com Local News for Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center, Crystal, Golden Valley, New Hope and Robbinsdale Minnesota Tue, 01 Sep 2015 20:47:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Hennepin County board amends criteria for youth sports program http://post.mnsun.com/2015/09/hennepin-county-board-amends-criteria-for-youth-sports-program/ http://post.mnsun.com/2015/09/hennepin-county-board-amends-criteria-for-youth-sports-program/#comments Tue, 01 Sep 2015 20:47:16 +0000 http://post.mnsun.com/?p=137528 The Hennepin County Board of Commissioners voted to add new grant categories to the county’s youth sports program, which allows municipal governments the ability to renovate sports facilities and buy new equipment for local youth.

The board voted during its Tuesday, Aug. 25 meeting to amend the criteria for the Hennepin Youth Sports Program, with the 2016 grant cycle totaling $2.25 million. Nearly $2 million of that grant will go to grants for facilities, and $250,000 will be cordoned off for the purchase of equipment and small capital assets. More than $100,000 will be set aside for playground projects, and $35,000 will be used for swimming lessons.

The Hennepin Youth Sports Program began in 2009, and since then, 94 facilities grants totaling more than $14.4 million have been awarded, and more than $1 million worth of equipment and small asset grants have been awarded. Applications for grants are available via the Minnesota Amateur Sports Commission at mnsports.org/grant_program.stm, and are due by Nov. 2.

Other news
The board also voted on allowing a two-year, $3.8 million grant for the Department of Community Corrections and Rehabilitation from the Minnesota Department of Corrections in the hope of funding the Intensive Supervised Release Program from July of this year to June 2017.

The program includes face-to-face contacts at an offender’s place of residence and place of work, with supervision provided by specially trained agents. Other elements include house arrest, curfews, electronic monitoring and random drug testing.

The board also agreed to clarify that e-cigarettes are covered under the Tobacco Free Property Policy, which states that it is prohibited to use electronic tobacco delivery devices on county-owned and leased property.

Contact Christiaan Tarbox at christiaan.tarbox@ecm-inc.com or follow the Sun Post on Twitter @ecmsunpost. ]]> http://post.mnsun.com/2015/09/hennepin-county-board-amends-criteria-for-youth-sports-program/feed/ 0 The shift is on for Osseo school students http://post.mnsun.com/2015/09/the-shift-is-on-for-osseo-school-students/ http://post.mnsun.com/2015/09/the-shift-is-on-for-osseo-school-students/#comments Tue, 01 Sep 2015 20:00:29 +0000 http://post.mnsun.com/?p=137486 It’s been two years since Osseo Area Schools officials and their communities began studying changes to their schools that would move sixth- and ninth-grade students to the middle and high schools to create more space for preschool and kindergarten students and to better align with state standards for K-12 education.
That two years of study, deliberation, planning, review and shifting of staffing and curriculum and months of construction work at the three district high schools will culminate on Tuesday, Sept. 8, when students walk through the school doors for their first day of classes. The district assistant superintendent serving as the project manager for the grade span shift is as anxious for the big day as the students.
“I can’t wait until our kids walk through the doors on Sept. 8,” says Kim Riesgraf. “There is lots of energy and anticipation. We’ve worked so hard for so long on this.”

Park Center National Honor Society student Lily Rivers volunteers service hours by unpacking and sorting textbooks in preparation for the first day of school on Tuesday, Sept. 8. (Submitted photo from Osseo Area Schools)
Park Center National Honor Society student Lily Rivers volunteers service hours by unpacking and sorting textbooks in preparation for the first day of school on Tuesday, Sept. 8. (Submitted photo from Osseo Area Schools)

This change means that preschool and elementary students will get more space and space for specialized programs, student assistance and gifted programs. The middle schools will use a “house” concept creating smaller groups of students, interdisciplinary teacher teams for core subjects and access to higher-level coursework for sixth-grade students. At the high school level, all of the required courses will be under the same roof, not spread between junior and senior, and ninth-grade students have better access to sports and activities and to more rigorous courses.
The anticipation isn’t just felt by school officials, Riesgraf says, it extends to the community, as residents watch the changes that will offer their children and grandchildren a more contemporary education with the middle school and high school models.
Students have also gotten involved in the preparation for the new year and new system. Upperclassmen at Park Center and Maple Grove senior high schools attended Link Crew leadership training this summer, with the crew expanded to welcome the more than 1,000 freshman and sophomores to their respective school buildings.
District officials report that about 80 Park Center and 120 Maple Grove upperclassmen will each work with a small group of underclassmen on orientation activities and during advisory periods through the school year, helping the younger Pirates and Crimson through the transition to high school and help them learn their respective school’s culture, identified as the Crimson Way at Maple Grove and as Pirate Pride at Park Center.
As of Friday, Aug. 28, construction work at the high school was wrapping up and the final cleaning and moving of furniture into classrooms remained, Riesgraf said. Crews were working three shifts at Park Center Senior High to get that work completed. Families and students can expect finished schools, except for the gymnasium area of Maple Grove Senior High, which is expected to be complete in October. Some of the finer points, like landscaping, will be completed after the school year begins.
Contractors and designers have worked to blend the new classrooms and renovated areas of the schools with the existing portions of the three buildings, Riesgraf says. The goal is to make the transitions to the new spaces as comfortable as possible.
The three high schools are from three generations of building. The original Osseo High School building dated to 1924, but the current building was built in 1952, and this addition is the 12th in the history of the 1952 building.
Park Center opened in 1971 and has since had five additions. Maple Grove was opened in 1996 and has one addition to add space for music education prior to this latest project.
The grade span shift began after the 2013 Minnesota Legislature approved full funding for all-day, everyday kindergarten. Needing more classrooms at the elementary level, school officials considered additions to the elementary schools and shifting school attendance boundaries, affecting students at as many as 10 of the 17 elementary schools. Feedback from community members led to shifting the grade spans to pre-K and kindergarten to fifth grade, grades 6-8 in middle school and grades 9-12 in high school.
The work isn’t stopping with this project. District officials will evaluate the middle schools and whether the buildings need changes to accommodate the new instruction model, and they will work on expanding the preschool options now that there is more space at the elementary level, Riesgraf says.

Contact Gretchen Schlosser at gretchen.schlosser@ecm-inc.com

  ]]> http://post.mnsun.com/2015/09/the-shift-is-on-for-osseo-school-students/feed/ 0 How to Grow a Business http://post.mnsun.com/2015/09/how-to-grow-a-business/ http://post.mnsun.com/2015/09/how-to-grow-a-business/#comments Tue, 01 Sep 2015 19:32:02 +0000 http://post.mnsun.com/?guid=a02e060ff7351c3bd92c7f259493f787 Some small businesses start with a strong initial intention and moneymaking idea; others seem to begin accidentally with no deliberate strategy. As your business evolves, the need to develop a conscious strategy becomes more important. Here’s what to know.

Conventional wisdom recommends creating a long-term business plan for the next five years and then a tactical plan for the near term, typically one year. The problem with this approach: Your business assumptions often change faster than your ability to execute ideas. Businesses require continuous planning to keep pace with changing market forces and new demands from customers and employees.

John Hagel III, co-chairman of Deloitte's Center for the Edge consultancy, challenges the conventional approach to strategic planning, arguing that the best-performing companies – especially in technology – deploy an effective approach he calls “Zoom In-Zoom Out.”

First, successful companies zoom out to develop long-range assumptions about the forces that may affect the business over the next 10 to 20 years and create a vision around these findings. Then they zoom in to focus on a short time, say six to 12 months, and work on two or three initiatives that Hagel terms “needle movers.”

He also warns against the common pitfall of spreading skimpy resources over too many choices, benefiting no one initiative. Growing is a great business objective if growth translates into results.

Leaders must also stay engaged with the status of long-term assumptions. Hagel explains how companies often latch onto rigid assumptions in their long-range plan, failing to alter strategy when the market shifts. Eastman Kodak (KODK) and Microsoft (MSFT) offer two examples: Both once dominated markets, but failed to adapt to change.

Hagel explains how Kodak’s executives believed that photography’s future always hinged on film (oddly, the company was among the first to seriously explore digital photography, in the 1970s, yet missed the opportunity to invest in this new direction). Microsoft accomplished its initial goal of becoming the leader in desktop computing, then became mired in its own plan as the likes of Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG) outmaneuvered Bill Gates and company in the personal technology space.

Kodak and Microsoft zoomed in to create initial success, but neglected to zoom out to challenge assumptions.

Hagel emphasizes achieving critical mass in a market before any potential competitors. Think about how you might create a winning strategy that other businesses in your area or field can’t replicate easily: a clear market niche, a unique solution to your optimal consumer’s biggest challenge or a recruiting program that makes your business the employer of choice.

Over-diversification of operations, especially into incompatible or competing activities (think of a manufacturer that makes bird feeders, lawn mowers and silicone implants), tends to strain resources and retard growth in each separate line of the business. If you need too long to explain your whole enterprise, it’s likely to be poorly structured.

The best-performing companies define the optimal customer and that customer’s needs and expectations, and methodically build products and services to respond to that need. Leaders must challenge assumptions about the business, considering regulation, demographics, new methods of competition, the investment environment and emerging client needs. Hagel advises business leaders to discuss long-view issues in every management meeting and dive into specific objectives every six months.

Hagel cautions against two common failures: ignoring the big picture and focusing solely on the incremental and adopting a rigid long-term strategy. While businesses do tend to look at financial metrics, these lagging indicators may not help you understand trends that might affect you long term. Hagel favors metrics to serve as leading indicators, such as customer satisfaction, levels of repeat business, demonstrations of loyalty through referrals and major sources of business opportunities.

Discuss trends revealed through the leading indicators, and then decide the direction of your business and what you must do to get on the right path of growth.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Scott Thompson is the co-founder of Bridge Business Consultants (BBC). BBC is a consulting firm that specializes in helping business owners and certified public accounting firms recognize tax incentives and realize expense recovery. BBC also specializes in business exit planning and has been recognized by The Wall Street Journal for their Business Exit Solutions. Scott is a certified specialist in Retirement Planning. Laura Thompson (co-founder) is a CPA and certified specialist in Estate Planning.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

]]> Some small businesses start with a strong initial intention and moneymaking idea; others seem to begin accidentally with no deliberate strategy. As your business evolves, the need to develop a conscious strategy becomes more important. Here’s what to know.

Conventional wisdom recommends creating a long-term business plan for the next five years and then a tactical plan for the near term, typically one year. The problem with this approach: Your business assumptions often change faster than your ability to execute ideas. Businesses require continuous planning to keep pace with changing market forces and new demands from customers and employees.

John Hagel III, co-chairman of Deloitte's Center for the Edge consultancy, challenges the conventional approach to strategic planning, arguing that the best-performing companies – especially in technology – deploy an effective approach he calls “Zoom In-Zoom Out.”

First, successful companies zoom out to develop long-range assumptions about the forces that may affect the business over the next 10 to 20 years and create a vision around these findings. Then they zoom in to focus on a short time, say six to 12 months, and work on two or three initiatives that Hagel terms “needle movers.”

He also warns against the common pitfall of spreading skimpy resources over too many choices, benefiting no one initiative. Growing is a great business objective if growth translates into results.

Leaders must also stay engaged with the status of long-term assumptions. Hagel explains how companies often latch onto rigid assumptions in their long-range plan, failing to alter strategy when the market shifts. Eastman Kodak (KODK) and Microsoft (MSFT) offer two examples: Both once dominated markets, but failed to adapt to change.

Hagel explains how Kodak’s executives believed that photography’s future always hinged on film (oddly, the company was among the first to seriously explore digital photography, in the 1970s, yet missed the opportunity to invest in this new direction). Microsoft accomplished its initial goal of becoming the leader in desktop computing, then became mired in its own plan as the likes of Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG) outmaneuvered Bill Gates and company in the personal technology space.

Kodak and Microsoft zoomed in to create initial success, but neglected to zoom out to challenge assumptions.

Hagel emphasizes achieving critical mass in a market before any potential competitors. Think about how you might create a winning strategy that other businesses in your area or field can’t replicate easily: a clear market niche, a unique solution to your optimal consumer’s biggest challenge or a recruiting program that makes your business the employer of choice.

Over-diversification of operations, especially into incompatible or competing activities (think of a manufacturer that makes bird feeders, lawn mowers and silicone implants), tends to strain resources and retard growth in each separate line of the business. If you need too long to explain your whole enterprise, it’s likely to be poorly structured.

The best-performing companies define the optimal customer and that customer’s needs and expectations, and methodically build products and services to respond to that need. Leaders must challenge assumptions about the business, considering regulation, demographics, new methods of competition, the investment environment and emerging client needs. Hagel advises business leaders to discuss long-view issues in every management meeting and dive into specific objectives every six months.

Hagel cautions against two common failures: ignoring the big picture and focusing solely on the incremental and adopting a rigid long-term strategy. While businesses do tend to look at financial metrics, these lagging indicators may not help you understand trends that might affect you long term. Hagel favors metrics to serve as leading indicators, such as customer satisfaction, levels of repeat business, demonstrations of loyalty through referrals and major sources of business opportunities.

Discuss trends revealed through the leading indicators, and then decide the direction of your business and what you must do to get on the right path of growth.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Scott Thompson is the co-founder of Bridge Business Consultants (BBC). BBC is a consulting firm that specializes in helping business owners and certified public accounting firms recognize tax incentives and realize expense recovery. BBC also specializes in business exit planning and has been recognized by The Wall Street Journal for their Business Exit Solutions. Scott is a certified specialist in Retirement Planning. Laura Thompson (co-founder) is a CPA and certified specialist in Estate Planning.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

]]>
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Opinion: National poll supports public school choice and reduced reliance on testing http://post.mnsun.com/2015/09/opinion-national-poll-supports-public-school-choice-and-reduced-reliance-on-testing/ http://post.mnsun.com/2015/09/opinion-national-poll-supports-public-school-choice-and-reduced-reliance-on-testing/#comments Tue, 01 Sep 2015 17:22:35 +0000 http://post.mnsun.com/?p=137517 By Joe Nathan
Guest Columnist

The 47th annual national Gallup-Phi Delta Kappa poll demonstrates how public and public school parents have fascinating, often complicated, views about public education.

Among other things, the poll reports widespread concerns about an overemphasis on tests, mixed views on “opting out” of testing and strong support for public school choice. The survey, done by Phi Delta Kappa International, a national education group and the respected Gallup organization, was released Aug. 23. It has become part of the nation’s “back to school tradition.”

PDK presented results with the headline, “Testing doesn’t measure up for Americans.” But the actual responses show a more complicated picture.

For example:

-Regarding testing, 64 percent of the public and 67 percent of public school parents think there is “too much emphasis on standardized testing in the public schools in your community, compared to 19 percent of the public nationally, and 20 percent of public school parents, who think there is “about the right amount.”

-However, on whether “all parents with children in the public schools should be allowed to excuse their children from taking one or more tests,” there is a significant split: an estimated 44 percent of the public say no and 41 percent say yes.

Among public school parents, 47 percent say yes, 40 percent say no. Furthermore, 59 percent of public school parents said they would not excuse their own child from one or more tests, while 75 percent of African-Americans, 65 percent of Hispanics, and 54 percent of whites said they would not excuse their own child.

So about two-thirds of Americans think there is an overemphasis on standardized tests. But both the public and public school parents are split on whether families should “opt-out.” Most would not do it themselves.

The majority, and vast majority of African-American and Hispanic parents, would not excuse their children from testing. They want to know how their youngsters are doing. They also recognize, I think wisely, that there are other important ways to assess how well students are doing in school.

Part of the poll discusses charter public schools and public school choice:

-64 percent “favor” the idea of charter schools. That’s up one percent from 2014. Another 25 percent oppose the charter idea, down from 31 percent in 2014.

-66 percent of public school parents are in favor of the charter idea. That’s up from 55 percent in 2014. Opposition to the charter idea among public school parents has declined from 33 percent in 2014 to 27 percent in 2015.

-64 percent of Americans, and 67 percent of public school parents, favor the idea of allowing students and their parents “to choose which public schools in their community the students attend, regardless of where they live.”

-Of 11 options presented, public school parents say the three most important factors they use in selecting a school are “quality of the teachers, curriculum (i.e., the courses offered) and the maintenance of student discipline.”

-On a controversial question regarding taxes, only 31 percent of the public and 33 percent of public school parents favor the idea of using tax funds to support enrollment of students at a private school. This approach has been called “only 31.” Voucher advocates say the way the question is asked encourages a negative answer.

This poll suggests there is twice as much support for public school choice, including charter public schools, as there is for using tax funds to support enrollment in private schools.

The poll includes more than two-dozen questions. In addition to what’s discussed above, questions ask, for example, about vaccinations (which more than 80 percent believe should be required before students enter public schools), use of standardized tests to help assess teachers (which the majority oppose), Common Core standards, public ratings of local schools and the biggest problems in public education.

PDK’s presentation of poll results also includes comments from five mothers, most of whom have concerns about testing.

Gallup and PDK report that the findings came from a “nationally representative web survey of 3,499 Americans, ages 18 and older with Internet access and an additional telephone survey of 1,001 Americans, ages 18 and older.” Poll results are available here: http://bit.ly/1PMtDxs.

Joe Nathan, formerly a Minnesota public school teacher, administrator and PTA president, directs the Center for School Change. Reactions welcome, joe@centerforschoolchange.org ]]> http://post.mnsun.com/2015/09/opinion-national-poll-supports-public-school-choice-and-reduced-reliance-on-testing/feed/ 0 Saved Enough to Retire? http://post.mnsun.com/2015/09/saved-enough-to-retire/ http://post.mnsun.com/2015/09/saved-enough-to-retire/#comments Tue, 01 Sep 2015 16:31:03 +0000 http://post.mnsun.com/?guid=c1b006c4a7d92dae80dbb5b8bfe29886 One reason retirement funding may mystify you: How do you know when you saved enough so you won’t run out of money during your golden years? The answer begins with an understanding of your day-to-day expenses, and how those expenses may change in 30 or more years of retirement.

According to a recent survey from the Employee Benefits Research Institute, 84% of future retirees believe that savings will cover their post-career years – yet fewer than one in three respondents actually calculated how much they will need. Only around 20% had more than $100,000 set aside. More than 10% had nothing at all saved for retirement.

A conventional savings rule says you withdraw no more than 3% to 5% each year from your retirement savings to make your money last, aka a sustainable rate of withdrawal. Opinions vary about appropriate sustainable rates; the 4% rule comes under considerable scrutiny lately. Working with the above range will get you close.

This equates to $1 million in retirement funds for you to withdraw $30,000 to $50,000 each year.

Don’t despair: There are ways to increase your sustainable rate of withdrawal while still maintaining a relatively high degree of certainty that your money will last.

The first and possibly most critical factor is to plan and then to monitor your plan closely, either on your own or with a financial pro. Your plan needs to include projections or modeling to show what your future income might be based on your sources of income, such as retirement savings, pensions, Social Security benefits and the like.

Developing a plan can give you more confidence in your ability to make savings last. Similarly, planning can also reveal if you saved too little and allow you time to adjust your efforts. Review and update your plan once a year or so.

Second, adjusting your portfolio holdings can also boost your level of sustainable withdrawal. More risk in your holdings is actually good for your long-term holdings; a significant position in the stock market helps you achieve a higher level of returns – and, in your retirement, withdrawals – over time. Without some exposure to risk, your funds will fall behind the inflation of day-to-day expenses, not to mention such hyper-inflation items as health care.

The third important factor regarding your savings’ sustainability: the pattern of income that you’ll need in retirement. Over three or more decades, your income needs will likely change. During your first several years, for instance, you’ll likely spend more than average as you travel or take on new hobbies. On the other hand, you may continue to save during this time of your life, perhaps with income from a part-time job.

Later in retirement, many folks lower expenses as they become more sedentary, not traveling as much and having fewer extraneous expenses. Declining health and energy in still-later years often increase health-care costs.

Best to maintain a realistic view of your own life span, erring on the long-term side. It’s not unreasonable to project a retirement plan to your late 90s. With planning, that can be completely good news.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Jim Blankenship, CFP, EA, is an independent, fee-only financial planner at Blankenship Financial Planning in New Berlin, Ill. He is the author of An IRA Owner’s Manual and A Social Security Owner’s Manual. His blog is Getting Your Financial Ducks In A Row, where he writes regularly about taxes, retirement savings and Social Security.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

]]> One reason retirement funding may mystify you: How do you know when you saved enough so you won’t run out of money during your golden years? The answer begins with an understanding of your day-to-day expenses, and how those expenses may change in 30 or more years of retirement.

According to a recent survey from the Employee Benefits Research Institute, 84% of future retirees believe that savings will cover their post-career years – yet fewer than one in three respondents actually calculated how much they will need. Only around 20% had more than $100,000 set aside. More than 10% had nothing at all saved for retirement.

A conventional savings rule says you withdraw no more than 3% to 5% each year from your retirement savings to make your money last, aka a sustainable rate of withdrawal. Opinions vary about appropriate sustainable rates; the 4% rule comes under considerable scrutiny lately. Working with the above range will get you close.

This equates to $1 million in retirement funds for you to withdraw $30,000 to $50,000 each year.

Don’t despair: There are ways to increase your sustainable rate of withdrawal while still maintaining a relatively high degree of certainty that your money will last.

The first and possibly most critical factor is to plan and then to monitor your plan closely, either on your own or with a financial pro. Your plan needs to include projections or modeling to show what your future income might be based on your sources of income, such as retirement savings, pensions, Social Security benefits and the like.

Developing a plan can give you more confidence in your ability to make savings last. Similarly, planning can also reveal if you saved too little and allow you time to adjust your efforts. Review and update your plan once a year or so.

Second, adjusting your portfolio holdings can also boost your level of sustainable withdrawal. More risk in your holdings is actually good for your long-term holdings; a significant position in the stock market helps you achieve a higher level of returns – and, in your retirement, withdrawals – over time. Without some exposure to risk, your funds will fall behind the inflation of day-to-day expenses, not to mention such hyper-inflation items as health care.

The third important factor regarding your savings’ sustainability: the pattern of income that you’ll need in retirement. Over three or more decades, your income needs will likely change. During your first several years, for instance, you’ll likely spend more than average as you travel or take on new hobbies. On the other hand, you may continue to save during this time of your life, perhaps with income from a part-time job.

Later in retirement, many folks lower expenses as they become more sedentary, not traveling as much and having fewer extraneous expenses. Declining health and energy in still-later years often increase health-care costs.

Best to maintain a realistic view of your own life span, erring on the long-term side. It’s not unreasonable to project a retirement plan to your late 90s. With planning, that can be completely good news.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Jim Blankenship, CFP, EA, is an independent, fee-only financial planner at Blankenship Financial Planning in New Berlin, Ill. He is the author of An IRA Owner’s Manual and A Social Security Owner’s Manual. His blog is Getting Your Financial Ducks In A Row, where he writes regularly about taxes, retirement savings and Social Security.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

]]>
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Brooklyn Park City Council supports franchise fees to fix streets http://post.mnsun.com/2015/09/brooklyn-park-city-council-supports-franchise-fees-to-fix-streets/ http://post.mnsun.com/2015/09/brooklyn-park-city-council-supports-franchise-fees-to-fix-streets/#comments Tue, 01 Sep 2015 15:15:00 +0000 http://post.mnsun.com/?p=137478 Faced with prematurely deteriorating city streets and an estimated $35 million repair bill, members of the Brooklyn Park City Council have voiced support for using utility franchise fees to fund a 14-year street repair plan.
The franchise fees, imposed upon utility companies that use city right-of-way areas for their services and passed along to utility users, was a discussion topic at the Aug. 24 city council meeting. No action was taken, but it could come in a matter of weeks, according to Dan Ruiz, city operations and maintenance director.
City officials and professors from the University of Minnesota Humphrey School, who are studying the city’s community engagement efforts, conducted two public meetings in July and August on the street repairs and franchise fees, Ruiz said in his presentation to the council. Most of those residents who attended support using the franchise fees under the condition that residents currently paying a street assessment would be rebated the fee.
The city has been working on finding a street funding solution since last fall. The problem is that the asphalt on approximately 75 percent of the city’s streets is prematurely deteriorating, likely because MnDOT changed the recommended specifications in the late 1980s and early 1990s to lower the oil content of the asphalt mix. Because of rapid expansion of the city during that time period, the city has more miles of deteriorating streets than other communities.
Ruiz said the 14-year plan would have 10 to 15 miles of street milled and overlaid with a top new wear course each year. The city’s seven street districts would be gone through twice during the plan. The repair of 205 miles of streets, at a cost of $170,000 per mile, equals about $35 million.
In addition, the city has 7 miles of streets in the southwest part of the city that need to be fully reconstructed, at a cost of $2.5 million a mile. The full reconstruction includes new street, curb and gutter, storm sewer and lighting, along with some replacement of the water mains.
The franchise fees discussion includes three options, including a $7 monthly fee per household and a $7 to $100 monthly fee for businesses and organizations, tiered so smaller businesses pay less and larger businesses pay more. This fee would generate enough revenue to fund the overlay portion of the street repairs.
The second option is a $14 per month fee for households and a $14 to $200 tiered fee structure for businesses and organizations. This option would generate enough revenue to fund both the overlay and reconstruction work.
Finally, adding another $1 to the either fee could fund improvements to sidewalks and trails.
One of the benefits of instituting the franchise fee is that residents wouldn’t be assessed for street repairs, Ruiz said. Another benefit is that the city wouldn’t have to bond for the repairs.
Several council members voiced support for a sunset clause that would end the fees when the streets are fixed.
“The long and short of it is that we have to do something,” Councilmember Peter Crema said, voicing support for the $14 option for overlays and reconstruction, and for a planned end to the fees. “I want this to go away as soon as the problem does.”
Mayor Jeff Lunde noted that he would prefer collecting the fees until the streets are improved, not for a set number of years. That way, there is no chance that some streets wouldn’t get fixed before time ran out on the fee collection.
“The only way we can do this is to guarantee that everybody’s (streets) get done,” he said.
The city needs to recognize that the system will not be fair, Councilmember Mike Trepanier said, because some residents have paid assessments and others will just pay the monthly franchise fee.
“No matter what we do, it is not going to be 100 percent fair,” Trepanier said.
Council members also concern that the fee would put hardship on low- or fixed-income residents.
“This could make the difference between bread, milk or medicine for them,” Terry Parks noted.
Trepanier advocated for finding a way to help those on fixed incomes. Councilmember Bob Mata suggested that those receiving energy assistance wouldn’t have to pay the fee.
“If they are getting help to pay their electric and gas bills, they don’t have money to pay this,” he said.
Councilmember John Jordan also expressed concern about fixed-income residents and for the financial impact on churches and nonprofits.
“Churches are made up of people – they are paying the bills through their donations,” he said, asking Ruiz for a sampling of the fees that five to seven houses of worship would pay under the plan. “That cost is an additional burden on our residents.”
Jordan also voiced angst about the fact that MnDOT’s specifications created the problem and that the state hasn’t borne the weight of fixing the problem by bonding for the repairs.
“I don’t want to do this,” Jordan said. “This is crisis situation. It wasn’t our fault. It was foisted upon us.”
Trepanier advocated for action by the council on an as-soon-as-possible basis, to get the city going on the repair plan.
“I personally don’t want the city to go into another construction season without this,” he said.
If city officials decide to pursue the franchise fees, an ordinance change would be required, along with notification to utilities and filing with the State Public Utilities Commission. Ruiz noted that, at the earliest, the franchise fee plans could be implemented in January, with the first potential revenue received in April.

Contact Gretchen Schlosser at gretchen.schlosser@ecm-inc.com

  ]]> http://post.mnsun.com/2015/09/brooklyn-park-city-council-supports-franchise-fees-to-fix-streets/feed/ 0 Brooklyn Park man charged in Maple Grove shooting http://post.mnsun.com/2015/09/brooklyn-park-man-charged-in-maple-grove-shooting/ http://post.mnsun.com/2015/09/brooklyn-park-man-charged-in-maple-grove-shooting/#comments Tue, 01 Sep 2015 14:57:46 +0000 http://post.mnsun.com/?p=137484 by Alicia Miller and Gretchen Schlosser
Sun Press/POST Newspapers

A 23-year-old Brooklyn Park man faces two counts of second-degree attempted murder for allegedly shooting two men Aug. 22 in a vehicle parked outside of the AMC Movie Theater in Maple Grove’s Arbor Lakes shopping area.

Cortez Quincy Foster
Cortez Quincy Foster

Cortez Quiency Foster made his first appearance Aug. 26 in Hennepin County District Court. His bail was set at $300,000, and his next appearance is Wednesday, Sept. 23.
The incident was reported around 9:50 p.m. Aug. 22, according to Maple Grove Police.
“There were two victims that had left the AMC parking lot together after the shooting took place, and called 911 from a Brooklyn Park Wendy’s,” Maple Grove Police Capt. Adam Lindquist said. “The two adult male victims were taken to a nearby hospital to be treated for non-life threatening single gunshot wounds.”
Foster was identified as a suspect and on Aug. 24, led law enforcement officials on a high-speed chase that ended in Minneapolis with a motor vehicle crash and a short standoff with officers.
According to the complaint, one of the men told police that they met Foster, whom they claimed to not know, at a Brooklyn Center gas station. At Foster’s request, they followed him to the movie theater, where they parked and waited for another individual in another vehicle to arrive. They all entered the other vehicle and there was talk about money before Foster pulled a handgun, began shooting and the men fled from the scene.
One of the men was struck in the abdomen and the other in the neck. They called 911 as they fled in their vehicle, intending to go to the emergency room, and they were advised to wait for police at the restaurant parking lot.
The men identified Foster by name and also picked him out of a photo lineup as the man who shot them.

Contact Alicia Miller at alicia.miller@ecm-inc.com and Gretchen Schlosser at gretchen.schlosser@ecm-inc.com

  ]]> http://post.mnsun.com/2015/09/brooklyn-park-man-charged-in-maple-grove-shooting/feed/ 0 Commodities: Winners, Losers http://post.mnsun.com/2015/09/commodities-winners-losers/ http://post.mnsun.com/2015/09/commodities-winners-losers/#comments Tue, 01 Sep 2015 13:01:43 +0000 http://post.mnsun.com/?guid=473aff24aaf49b3b5c8ec0f6f594a932 Commodities have been in a bear market for the past seven years.  In the past several months, the downturn has accelerated significantly. This produces losers, but also winners, namely the developed world.

Three of the largest economic areas of the globe, Europe, Japan and the U.S., receive a net benefit from lower commodity prices.  Low oil and other raw materials prices, which affect consumers and manufacturers alike, are the equivalent of a massive tax reduction on consumers and corporations. 

This holiday won’t last forever, though: Low commodity prices will eventually curtail commodity supply and pricing will turn back up. 
 
But in the meantime, for commodity producing countries, especially those with high debt levels, a vicious cycle is in play.  They have to produce even more supply at reduced prices to service their debt, fund government operations and protect market share. 

Saudi Arabia is used to running government budget surpluses.  This year, the Saudi government has already burned through almost $62 billion of foreign currency reserves, and borrowed $4 billion from local banks in July – its first bond issue since 2007. The kingdom’s budget deficit is expected to reach 20% of GDP in 2015.  Conditions are similar or worse in Russia, Canada, Australia, Venezuela, Brazil and many other commodity-centric countries.

Commodity prices and stocks (even before the selloff that started last month) are getting crushed.  The iShares S&P GSCI Commodity-Indexed Trust (GSG), an exchange-traded fund that tracks a Standard & Poor’s commodity index, is down 14% year-to-date.  It is 24% below where it traded at the start of March 2009, the market’s financial crisis low point.  The United States Oil (USO) ETF, which follows the petroleum industry, is almost 50% below its Great Recession low.  Steel, as measured by producer ArcelorMittal (MT) is down 80%. Freeport-McMoran (FCX), a large copper and commodities company, if off by about half.  

Over the past five-plus years since March 2009, the U.S. economy has expanded from a gross domestic product to $18.12 trillion as of the second quarter 2015, from $14.09 trillion in 2009’s second quarter

A basic measure of economic activity is bulk transport.  Since March 2009, the iShares Transportation Average ETF (IYT) is up over 200%.  The CSX, Canadian National and Union Pacific railroad stocks have at least tripled during this time.  For comparison purposes, the Standard & Poor’s 500 is up about 190%. 

Normally, economic growth means rising demand and prices for commodities. But despite slow and steady growth, raw materials, including oil, agricultural chemicals, aluminum, copper and steel, are all down. 

One explanation is the strength of the U.S. dollar.  Many commodities, like oil and gold, are priced in greenbacks. Dollar strength means commodities are cheaper and vice versa. Because other nations’ currencies are weaker, they can buy less oil, so demand for it flags, leading to falling prices.

The chart above shows that, although the dollar has appreciated since mid-2014, it has stabilized in the past several months.  Yet commodities have legged down sharply over the summer.  The most recent negative price action in commodities is likely tied to worries about economic growth rates in China.  In recent years, China’s economy has been expanding at 7% plus.  In 2016, some economists are forecasting less than 4% growth.
 
Just recently, the People’s Bank of China provided 110 billion yuan ($17.2 billion) to 14 financial institutions to help boost the economy, a day after injecting nearly $100 billion into two government policy banks.  China also began to devalue their currency in an effort to stimulate exports, because their goods become cheaper to foreign buyers.  Many investors view the interventions as desperate measures and an indication that China’s economy and financial system is deteriorating rapidly.  The Chinese stock market continues to trade lower.
 
Slowing growth in China is a demand problem for commodities.  Possibly a bigger problem for commodities is an oversupply problem.  During the past ten years, new commodity hedge funds, China and many emerging economies created steadily rising demand for commodities that stimulated a strong supply response. 

Commodity companies were building new mines, processing centers, and other facilities to expand supply to meet demand.  At $100 per barrel, oil producers could not produce oil fast enough from new resources accessed by U.S. fracking technology.  This new supply has come on line and cannot be easily shut down in the short run.  U.S. oil production is currently running near all-time highs even with oil (West Texas Intermediate crude) below $50 per barrel, and in recent days briefly south of $40, and the rig count down by more than half over the past 12 months.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Nicholas Atkeson and Andrew Houghton are the founding partners of Delta Investment Management, a registered investment advisory firm in San Francisco, and authors of the new book, Win by Not Losing: A Disciplined Approach To Building And Protecting Your Wealth In The Stock Market By Managing Your Risk. Additional market commentary and investment advice is available via their websites at www.deltaim.com and www.deltawealthaccelerator.com

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

 

 

 

]]> Commodities have been in a bear market for the past seven years.  In the past several months, the downturn has accelerated significantly. This produces losers, but also winners, namely the developed world.

Three of the largest economic areas of the globe, Europe, Japan and the U.S., receive a net benefit from lower commodity prices.  Low oil and other raw materials prices, which affect consumers and manufacturers alike, are the equivalent of a massive tax reduction on consumers and corporations. 

This holiday won’t last forever, though: Low commodity prices will eventually curtail commodity supply and pricing will turn back up. 
 
But in the meantime, for commodity producing countries, especially those with high debt levels, a vicious cycle is in play.  They have to produce even more supply at reduced prices to service their debt, fund government operations and protect market share. 

Saudi Arabia is used to running government budget surpluses.  This year, the Saudi government has already burned through almost $62 billion of foreign currency reserves, and borrowed $4 billion from local banks in July – its first bond issue since 2007. The kingdom’s budget deficit is expected to reach 20% of GDP in 2015.  Conditions are similar or worse in Russia, Canada, Australia, Venezuela, Brazil and many other commodity-centric countries.

Commodity prices and stocks (even before the selloff that started last month) are getting crushed.  The iShares S&P GSCI Commodity-Indexed Trust (GSG), an exchange-traded fund that tracks a Standard & Poor’s commodity index, is down 14% year-to-date.  It is 24% below where it traded at the start of March 2009, the market’s financial crisis low point.  The United States Oil (USO) ETF, which follows the petroleum industry, is almost 50% below its Great Recession low.  Steel, as measured by producer ArcelorMittal (MT) is down 80%. Freeport-McMoran (FCX), a large copper and commodities company, if off by about half.  

Over the past five-plus years since March 2009, the U.S. economy has expanded from a gross domestic product to $18.12 trillion as of the second quarter 2015, from $14.09 trillion in 2009’s second quarter

A basic measure of economic activity is bulk transport.  Since March 2009, the iShares Transportation Average ETF (IYT) is up over 200%.  The CSX, Canadian National and Union Pacific railroad stocks have at least tripled during this time.  For comparison purposes, the Standard & Poor’s 500 is up about 190%. 

Normally, economic growth means rising demand and prices for commodities. But despite slow and steady growth, raw materials, including oil, agricultural chemicals, aluminum, copper and steel, are all down. 

One explanation is the strength of the U.S. dollar.  Many commodities, like oil and gold, are priced in greenbacks. Dollar strength means commodities are cheaper and vice versa. Because other nations’ currencies are weaker, they can buy less oil, so demand for it flags, leading to falling prices.

The chart above shows that, although the dollar has appreciated since mid-2014, it has stabilized in the past several months.  Yet commodities have legged down sharply over the summer.  The most recent negative price action in commodities is likely tied to worries about economic growth rates in China.  In recent years, China’s economy has been expanding at 7% plus.  In 2016, some economists are forecasting less than 4% growth.
 
Just recently, the People’s Bank of China provided 110 billion yuan ($17.2 billion) to 14 financial institutions to help boost the economy, a day after injecting nearly $100 billion into two government policy banks.  China also began to devalue their currency in an effort to stimulate exports, because their goods become cheaper to foreign buyers.  Many investors view the interventions as desperate measures and an indication that China’s economy and financial system is deteriorating rapidly.  The Chinese stock market continues to trade lower.
 
Slowing growth in China is a demand problem for commodities.  Possibly a bigger problem for commodities is an oversupply problem.  During the past ten years, new commodity hedge funds, China and many emerging economies created steadily rising demand for commodities that stimulated a strong supply response. 

Commodity companies were building new mines, processing centers, and other facilities to expand supply to meet demand.  At $100 per barrel, oil producers could not produce oil fast enough from new resources accessed by U.S. fracking technology.  This new supply has come on line and cannot be easily shut down in the short run.  U.S. oil production is currently running near all-time highs even with oil (West Texas Intermediate crude) below $50 per barrel, and in recent days briefly south of $40, and the rig count down by more than half over the past 12 months.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Nicholas Atkeson and Andrew Houghton are the founding partners of Delta Investment Management, a registered investment advisory firm in San Francisco, and authors of the new book, Win by Not Losing: A Disciplined Approach To Building And Protecting Your Wealth In The Stock Market By Managing Your Risk. Additional market commentary and investment advice is available via their websites at www.deltaim.com and www.deltawealthaccelerator.com

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

 

 

 

]]>
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Buy or Rent a Home? http://post.mnsun.com/2015/08/buy-or-rent-a-home/ http://post.mnsun.com/2015/08/buy-or-rent-a-home/#comments Mon, 31 Aug 2015 19:31:31 +0000 http://post.mnsun.com/?guid=e914878cf3ed36b42ef7d3170174c97a Do you fork cash over to a landlord in exchange for freedom of responsibility for residential maintenance, or take out a mortgage and shell out monthly for the pride – and eventually financial payoff – of homeownership?  

A recent study from Zillow, the online real estate service, shows that homebuyers nationwide face more challenges this year, with inventory down 6.5% from 2014 and home values up 3.3% over roughly the same period.

While the market appears to be in the seller’s favor, many still opt to buy for stability, tax benefits or some other plus. As a financial planner, I often discuss real estate’s potential effect on a financial future.

There are plenty of reasons to buy and likewise plenty to support renting a home. Below are a few considerations.

Buying. A home provides a place to live – stability for you and your family. When you own a home, you are no longer at the mercy of a landlord who changes terms or, even worse, sells the property. With each mortgage payment you also know you’re closer to outright owning that asset.

Among other good points:

No surprises. While a leaky roof or broken water heater might catch you off guard, your monthly payment typically doesn’t vary. This helps with budgeting, cash flow and other aspects of a comprehensive financial plan.

Tax benefits. As a homeowner, you can deduct many related expenses. And unless you owe more than $1 million, all the interest in your mortgage payment is deductible.

Diversification. While real estate doesn’t always prove the best investment over a long time – often barely keeping up with inflation – it can serve as a great portfolio tool.

Just as you commonly invest in stocks, bonds, cash, certificates of deposit and the like through brokerage and retirement accounts, you can use real estate as another asset class that can help diversify your investing. Plus, as a tangible asset, real estate appeals to many other potential buyers and investors.

Equity building and retirement planning. As a homeowner, you build your equity through paying down your mortgage over the years. If successful, you will likely enjoy a lower cost of living in retirement.

Renting. If you’re part of the population that’s unable to buy at this time, you have a few good reasons to rent.

Flexibility. Maybe you prefer to move around, seeing new neighborhoods and cities; it’s hard to put a dollar value on that experience and enjoyment.

If you anticipate a career or job change renting might suit you better, as buying a home can hinder your flexibility to pick up and move.

Avoiding homeownership costs. Homeowners are painfully familiar with such extra, unforeseen and often hefty costs as Realtor fees, mortgage origination fees to start your loan, property taxes, moving costs, furnishing, decorating, leaky pipes, gardener wages – you name it. As a tenant, you enjoy the perks of your home without the worrisome financial burden.

Liquidity. Generally, you can’t turn a house into cash overnight. Many people invest a lifetime’s savings into a home, putting the bulk of their net worth into an illiquid asset. Risk comes with tying up a large portion of your wealth in such an asset. Renting allows you flexibility and other investment options.

Building credit. As consumers, we need a healthy credit for pretty much all we do, from getting a new cell phone plan to buying a car. While renting doesn’t boost your credit rating the same as owning a home, creating a history of on-time rental payments can, in some cases, help build your credit to qualify for a mortgage down the road.

This history begins when (and if) your landlord reports your payment data to credit agencies. Third-party services can help you report this information on your behalf.

Once your credit is solid, you can reevaluate if owning a home seems right for you.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Taylor Schulte, CFP, is founder and chief executive officer of Define Financial in San Diego, responsible for company’s vision, strategy and execution. He specializes in helping individuals, families and small business achieve their financial goals, from investment management, financial and retirement planning to charitable giving, college planning and insurance services. While he works with a wide range of clients, Schulte has a keen understanding of the millennial generation’s financial needs and a progressive, forward-thinking approach. Schulte was recently honored with the 2015 Five Star Wealth Manager Award, a recognition limited to fewer than one in 20 wealth managers in San Diego. He also regularly contributes to the San Diego Downtown News.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

]]>
Do you fork cash over to a landlord in exchange for freedom of responsibility for residential maintenance, or take out a mortgage and shell out monthly for the pride – and eventually financial payoff – of homeownership?  

A recent study from Zillow, the online real estate service, shows that homebuyers nationwide face more challenges this year, with inventory down 6.5% from 2014 and home values up 3.3% over roughly the same period.

While the market appears to be in the seller’s favor, many still opt to buy for stability, tax benefits or some other plus. As a financial planner, I often discuss real estate’s potential effect on a financial future.

There are plenty of reasons to buy and likewise plenty to support renting a home. Below are a few considerations.

Buying. A home provides a place to live – stability for you and your family. When you own a home, you are no longer at the mercy of a landlord who changes terms or, even worse, sells the property. With each mortgage payment you also know you’re closer to outright owning that asset.

Among other good points:

No surprises. While a leaky roof or broken water heater might catch you off guard, your monthly payment typically doesn’t vary. This helps with budgeting, cash flow and other aspects of a comprehensive financial plan.

Tax benefits. As a homeowner, you can deduct many related expenses. And unless you owe more than $1 million, all the interest in your mortgage payment is deductible.

Diversification. While real estate doesn’t always prove the best investment over a long time – often barely keeping up with inflation – it can serve as a great portfolio tool.

Just as you commonly invest in stocks, bonds, cash, certificates of deposit and the like through brokerage and retirement accounts, you can use real estate as another asset class that can help diversify your investing. Plus, as a tangible asset, real estate appeals to many other potential buyers and investors.

Equity building and retirement planning. As a homeowner, you build your equity through paying down your mortgage over the years. If successful, you will likely enjoy a lower cost of living in retirement.

Renting. If you’re part of the population that’s unable to buy at this time, you have a few good reasons to rent.

Flexibility. Maybe you prefer to move around, seeing new neighborhoods and cities; it’s hard to put a dollar value on that experience and enjoyment.

If you anticipate a career or job change renting might suit you better, as buying a home can hinder your flexibility to pick up and move.

Avoiding homeownership costs. Homeowners are painfully familiar with such extra, unforeseen and often hefty costs as Realtor fees, mortgage origination fees to start your loan, property taxes, moving costs, furnishing, decorating, leaky pipes, gardener wages – you name it. As a tenant, you enjoy the perks of your home without the worrisome financial burden.

Liquidity. Generally, you can’t turn a house into cash overnight. Many people invest a lifetime’s savings into a home, putting the bulk of their net worth into an illiquid asset. Risk comes with tying up a large portion of your wealth in such an asset. Renting allows you flexibility and other investment options.

Building credit. As consumers, we need a healthy credit for pretty much all we do, from getting a new cell phone plan to buying a car. While renting doesn’t boost your credit rating the same as owning a home, creating a history of on-time rental payments can, in some cases, help build your credit to qualify for a mortgage down the road.

This history begins when (and if) your landlord reports your payment data to credit agencies. Third-party services can help you report this information on your behalf.

Once your credit is solid, you can reevaluate if owning a home seems right for you.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Taylor Schulte, CFP, is founder and chief executive officer of Define Financial in San Diego, responsible for company’s vision, strategy and execution. He specializes in helping individuals, families and small business achieve their financial goals, from investment management, financial and retirement planning to charitable giving, college planning and insurance services. While he works with a wide range of clients, Schulte has a keen understanding of the millennial generation’s financial needs and a progressive, forward-thinking approach. Schulte was recently honored with the 2015 Five Star Wealth Manager Award, a recognition limited to fewer than one in 20 wealth managers in San Diego. He also regularly contributes to the San Diego Downtown News.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

]]>
http://post.mnsun.com/2015/08/buy-or-rent-a-home/feed/ 0
How to Stop Money Fights http://post.mnsun.com/2015/08/how-to-stop-money-fights/ http://post.mnsun.com/2015/08/how-to-stop-money-fights/#comments Mon, 31 Aug 2015 16:31:02 +0000 http://post.mnsun.com/?guid=e3123de98edc270c6cde37f087cec8e4 Trouble talking money with your honey? Do you just defer to your partner? Money remains a major reason couples split, and here’s how you can douse the arguments before they ignite.

As a financial planner, I know that staying in love and managing money over a lifetime can be tricky. As a wife, I’m also aware that financial intimacy didn’t come to my husband and me without a few bumps.

Couples who “disagree about finances once a week” are over 30% more likely to get divorced than couples that report “disagreeing about finances a few times a month,” according to a Utah State University study examining finances and divorce. 

Part of your job as a couple committed to staying together: Learn yours and your partner’s money psychology. Here are three steps to help you stop fighting about money.

Share your money past. Be honest and humble. Look into your financial habits to determine if they work the way you want. If not, do you really want to keep repeating behaviors that get such results?

What is your story about money? Sentenced yourself to a life of hardship and scarcity? What’s the money pain you don’t want to let go of, the financial thing you can’t leave in the past? What are you afraid of when it comes to you and money?

Now you can see the futility of your money attitudes producing bad results yet you still argue with your partner that you want to conduct financial affairs your way.

Work together to improve your financial wisdom. My husband likes to play the game of credit card points and rewards. I have a strong aversion to credit cards because of overspending in my past.

Don’t get me wrong, point programs can be valuable (as I learned). I still want only a couple of cards at any one time.

My husband, though, keeps 12 to 15 cards active simultaneously. He also maintains an excellent Fair Isaac Corp. (FICO) credit score of near 800 and pays the cards off every month.

Early in our marriage, when I figured out how many credit cards he carried, I was freaked out, floored and, honestly, frightened. I wanted him to cut some up.

I decided to look at it rationally. Because of my money history relative to his and because he manages all of those cards effectively, I just decided to trust him.

We paid for most of our wedding on those cards, and then we paid off the cards. You know what? We went to Hawaii for two weeks for free because of his credit card points.

Forgive your partner and yourself, and move on with a plan. Feel compassion for yourself and for your partner in this stage. This doesn’t mean excuse anyone of responsibility with money but simply acknowledge the power of previous behavior and programming.

(I teach people about their Money Operating Systems in my online course, Your Rich Retirement Academy and in my TEDx talk, “The Surprising Power of Language to Make You Rich.”)

In my case, my husband managed his finances on his own for 46 years before I met him. He isn’t naturally inclined to ask me before applying for another credit card.

We know now to take each other’s money languages in stride. I no longer accuse him of trying to keep me in the dark, and he tries to be more forthcoming.

It takes work for me to be that analytical about my own money, but it does bring us to the table together in financial partnership.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Hilary Hendershott, MBA, CFP, is founder and Chief Executive of Silicon Valley-based Hilary Hendershott Financial. The firm offers a suite of products and services including fee-only planning. She regularly writes about personal finance at HilaryHendershott.com. You can find her on Twitter @HilarytheCFP.

She also offers financial advice and coaching for women on an online personal finance training program, Your Rich Retirement Academy. 

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

]]>
Trouble talking money with your honey? Do you just defer to your partner? Money remains a major reason couples split, and here’s how you can douse the arguments before they ignite.

As a financial planner, I know that staying in love and managing money over a lifetime can be tricky. As a wife, I’m also aware that financial intimacy didn’t come to my husband and me without a few bumps.

Couples who “disagree about finances once a week” are over 30% more likely to get divorced than couples that report “disagreeing about finances a few times a month,” according to a Utah State University study examining finances and divorce. 

Part of your job as a couple committed to staying together: Learn yours and your partner’s money psychology. Here are three steps to help you stop fighting about money.

Share your money past. Be honest and humble. Look into your financial habits to determine if they work the way you want. If not, do you really want to keep repeating behaviors that get such results?

What is your story about money? Sentenced yourself to a life of hardship and scarcity? What’s the money pain you don’t want to let go of, the financial thing you can’t leave in the past? What are you afraid of when it comes to you and money?

Now you can see the futility of your money attitudes producing bad results yet you still argue with your partner that you want to conduct financial affairs your way.

Work together to improve your financial wisdom. My husband likes to play the game of credit card points and rewards. I have a strong aversion to credit cards because of overspending in my past.

Don’t get me wrong, point programs can be valuable (as I learned). I still want only a couple of cards at any one time.

My husband, though, keeps 12 to 15 cards active simultaneously. He also maintains an excellent Fair Isaac Corp. (FICO) credit score of near 800 and pays the cards off every month.

Early in our marriage, when I figured out how many credit cards he carried, I was freaked out, floored and, honestly, frightened. I wanted him to cut some up.

I decided to look at it rationally. Because of my money history relative to his and because he manages all of those cards effectively, I just decided to trust him.

We paid for most of our wedding on those cards, and then we paid off the cards. You know what? We went to Hawaii for two weeks for free because of his credit card points.

Forgive your partner and yourself, and move on with a plan. Feel compassion for yourself and for your partner in this stage. This doesn’t mean excuse anyone of responsibility with money but simply acknowledge the power of previous behavior and programming.

(I teach people about their Money Operating Systems in my online course, Your Rich Retirement Academy and in my TEDx talk, “The Surprising Power of Language to Make You Rich.”)

In my case, my husband managed his finances on his own for 46 years before I met him. He isn’t naturally inclined to ask me before applying for another credit card.

We know now to take each other’s money languages in stride. I no longer accuse him of trying to keep me in the dark, and he tries to be more forthcoming.

It takes work for me to be that analytical about my own money, but it does bring us to the table together in financial partnership.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Hilary Hendershott, MBA, CFP, is founder and Chief Executive of Silicon Valley-based Hilary Hendershott Financial. The firm offers a suite of products and services including fee-only planning. She regularly writes about personal finance at HilaryHendershott.com. You can find her on Twitter @HilarytheCFP.

She also offers financial advice and coaching for women on an online personal finance training program, Your Rich Retirement Academy. 

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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