Helpful Financial Resources

Helpful Financial Resources

March 26, 2024

 

                Our client’s look to us for guidance in helping them plan for their financial future. We field all types of questions from the very basic (like, “what is a 401k?”) to the more complicated (like, “how should I invest now in order to pay for future long term care expenses?”). As much as I would love to say that we always have the answers, we don’t. Shocking I know! While we do consider ourselves to be subject matter experts on financial planning broadly, there will always be things that we need to learn or refresh our memories on. Thankfully for us there are a wide variety or resources and tools available online and today I would like to share with you some of my favorites!

 

Financial Topics and Terminology

                Sometimes we come across a situation that we are either unfamiliar with or have not dealt with in a long time. This is when a resource like Investopedia[i] comes in handy! On Investopedia.com you will find information on everything from the basics of retirement accounts to specific tax rules and legislation. The site is a veritable gold mine of free financial information and education! While I would advise you not to trust any one online resource for your most important financial questions, this site is great if you are looking for a quick, but thorough, answer.

 

Calculating your Mortgage

                In our current interest rate environment, it can be difficult to determine whether or not you will be able to afford a home simply based on the asking price. Determining your monthly mortgage payment is obviously the first step to deciding whether or not that house is the one for you. When considering this question both for myself and my clients, I like to use this mortgage calculator from SmartAsset[ii]. There are many online mortgage calculators but what I like about this one is that you have the ability to include your estimated taxes and home owners’ insurance based on the location of your potential new home. You are also able to compare different scenarios like comparing a 30yr mortgage to a 15yr mortgage for example. Ultimately, you should work with a qualified mortgage lender to determine your mortgage payment however this calculator might be able to help you determine if the monthly payment fit in your budget.

 

Financial Planning and Budgeting

                As financial advisors, we have access to numerous options when it comes to financial planning software. These programs allow us to input all of a client’s financial information and goals in order to create a plan for them moving forward. Over the last couple of years, we have transitioned into using RightCapital[iii] for creating our client’s financial plans. The great thing about the platform is that, in addition to being a tool for us, our clients can use the tool as well! Once their profile is created, clients are able to log in and view their plan, adding and change goals, and link their investment accounts so that the plan always displays their current account values. This program is not limited to our clients, in fact, anyone can create a profile and get started on their financial plan by click here.

                In addition to creating financial goals, RightCapital can also be used as a budgeting tool. As long as you have your primary bank account or credit card linked to your account you can track and categorizes expenses and create monthly spending and savings goals. This tool is particularly helpful now the Mint.com is shutting down!

 

                All three of the resources that I mentioned are tools that I use and trust on a weekly basis. That said, that I would advise you not to trust any one tool 100% for your biggest financial decisions. Rather, I would recommend that you seek qualified financial professionals before moving forward with a large decision. I hope that this list was helpful and please let me know which tool you appreciated the most!

 


[i] https://www.investopedia.com/

[ii] https://smartasset.com/mortgage/mortgage-calculator

[iii] https://app.rightcapital.com/account/sign-up?referral=Bg-kTxezom4qMm-6IZxpBw&type=client