Moneysmartz Personal Finance Directory, Guide, and Blog

How am I doing financially?

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Archived Under: Financial Planning , The Moneysherpa Says


The Moneysherpa Knee Jerk says: "Horribly."
Second Thought says: "The answer depends on your wants."
The Moneysherpa says: "Want less."
Tiny Buddha on Wanting Less  Ok, if you have to know


Knowledge is Power

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Archived Under: Financial Planning , The Moneysherpa Says

"Know thy financial situation"
Suggested Links: Assessing Your Financial Situation, The Origins of "Know Thyself", Apprenticed Investor: Know Thyself


Financial Planning: Moneysmartz Best of the Web

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Archived Under: Best of the Personal Finance Web , Financial Planning


Best of the Personal Finance Web:  Financial PlanningUsing the Internet to research and make financial planning decisions can be complicated and confusing and often results in exasperation and even exhaustion. The seemingly infinite number of products, services, and sources of financial planning information make it hard to move forward in creating a financial plan. The following Moneysmartz Best of the Web sites will help you get started and perhaps help you breathe easier as you walk down the financial planning path toward success and peace of mind.

Financial Planning: Best of the Personal Finance Web 2010

The Financial Planning Process The Basics Help Finding a Local Financial Planner Financial Planning Products and Services
  • Ameriprise Financial: Self tagged America's leader in financial planning and offering online information, tools, and insight and a national network of financial advisors. View the Moneysmartz Ameriprise Financial profile.
  • Charles Schwab Planning and Retirement: Charles Schwab's goal is to provide the benefits of a full-service brokerage at a discount brokerage price. In addition to brokerage services, Schwab offers banking, lending, and personal advice online and through more than 300 offices in the United States and in select international markets. View the Moneysmartz Charles Schwab profile.
  • Edward Jones: Serving almost 7 million investors with more offices than any other investment firm in America, Edward Jones offers retirement, estate planning and trusts, investment, insurance, and educational savings products and services. View the Moneysmartz Edward Jones profile.
  • Fidelity Investments: As a leading financial services provider, Fidelity Investments offers more than 300 Fidelity mutual funds, discount brokerage services, retirement services, estate planning, insurance, and more. View the Moneysmartz Fidelity Investments profile.
  • ING USA: Amsterdam based ING operates in more than 40 countries. ING USA offers financial services to individuals including annuities, retirement plans, life insurance, mutual funds, managed accounts, alternative investments, direct banking, and financial planning. View the Moneysmartz ING USA profile.
  • Prudential: With operations around the world serving over 50 million individual and institutional clients, Prudential Financial Services, Inc. offers an array of products and services including life insurance, annuities, retirement-related services, mutual funds, investment management, and real estate services. View the Moneysmartz Prudential profile.
  • Raymond James Financial, Inc.: Serving over 1.9 million accounts in 2,300 locations in the United States and internationally and through a network of over 5,300 financial advisors, Raymond James offers investment and financial planning products and services, in addition to investment banking and asset management. View the Moneysmartz Raymond James profile.
  • T. Rowe Price: Through nearly 5,000 associates in 12 countries, T. Rowe Price provides a full range of investment strategies including retirement, brokerage, and educational savings solutions. View the Moneysmartz T. Rowe Price profile.
  • The Vanguard Group: Vanguard currently manages 150 domestic funds plus additional funds in international markets and approximately $1.3 trillion in assets. Vanguard serves individual and institutional investors and financial professionals with mutual funds and other financial products and services. Their products include ETFs, annuities, and services such as brokerage, retirement investing, and college savings. View the Moneysmartz Vanguard profile.

Financial Planning and Personal Finance Experts

  • Ric Edelman: A financial advisor, book publisher, and host of television and radio programs, Ric Edelman is a well-respected speaker and advocate for personal financial management. The Ric Edelman site is a resource for financial management education with articles and advice on education and retirement planning, debt reduction, household expenses and mortgages, and advice on how to get the best health care and insurance. View the Moneysmartz Ric Edelman profile.
  • Suze Orman: SuzeOrman.com includes information, advice, inspiration, and many special offers. The site's resource section includes free information on fundamental personal finance concepts such as debt management, home ownership, and insurance. View More on Suze Orman in Moneysmartz.

Quirky, But Full of Information

  • EF Moody, Financial Planner: The site has 4,000 pages of related articles on finance and 1,700 links to financial websites. One of the famous, and sometimes controversial, features of EFMoody.com is his daily "Gripes and Comments" discussing the finance industry and the economy as a whole. View More on EF Moody in Moneysmartz.

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Suze Orman

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Archived Under: Financial Planning , Moneysmartz Profiles and Reviews , Personal Finance


Suze Orman
Categories: Financial Planning, Personal Finance
Description: SuzeOrman.com is the official website of Suze Orman, an internationally-acclaimed personal finance expert. Suze Orman started her own financial planning firm in Emeryville, California in 1987. Since then, her career has been rising like a raging bull market, including six New York Times bestsellers and her own television show on CNBC.
Features: SuzeOrman.com includes information, advice, inspiration, and lots of special offers. The site's resource section includes free information on fundamental personal finance concepts such as debt management, home ownership, and insurance.
Notable Awards/Recognition: Time Magazine's 2008 Time 100 World's Most Influential People. 2009 Gracie Allen Award for The Suze Orman Show in the Outstanding Talk Show category from the American Women in Radio and Television.
Bottom Line: SuzeOrman.com is a monument to smart self-promotion with an array of Suze Orman and third-party product and service offers. While the site is light on free information and resources, it is an effective channel to Suze Orman and her multimedia empire, including television, radio, publishing, and public speaking. If you are willing to open your checkbook just a little, then a visit to SuzeOrman.com should yield the expert guidance and dose of inspiration many of us need.


America's Financial Planning Leader

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Archived Under: Financial Planning , Moneysmartz Profiles and Reviews


Ameriprise Financial
Category: Financial Planning
With over 110 years of service, Ameriprise Financial has been tagged America's leader in financial planning. Through a national network of financial advisors, online information, tools, and insight, Ameriprise helps their clients save, manage, invest, and protect their assets. In a recent J.D. Power & Associates client satisfaction survey, Ameriprise ranked sixth. Through December 2007, Ameriprise served 2.8 million clients with more than $400 billion of assets.
http://www.ameriprise.com/default-home.asp


Customized Financial Plans

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Archived Under: Financial Planning , Moneysmartz Profiles and Reviews


AXA Advisors
Category: Financial Planning
AXAonline is operated by AXA Advisors, LLC a division of the global AXA Group. They are a leading financial management and protection company, offering a wide range of financial services and products including insurance, annuities, and retirement planning. AXA Advisors currently serves more than 3 million clients with branch offices throughout the United States. This network of professionals works with clients to develop customized financial strategies using products from over 100 companies. AXAonline includes links to financial services and products and tools, articles on important financial planning topics like retirement and estate planning, and a branch and advisor directory to help you find an AXA advisor in your area.
http://www.axaonline.com/


Personal Investment Guidance For Less

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Archived Under: Financial Planning , Moneysmartz Profiles and Reviews


Charles Schwab
Category: Financial Planning
Founded in 1973 and public in 1987, Charles Schwab aims to provide the benefits of a full-service brokerage at a discount brokerage price. In addition to brokerage services, Schwab offers banking, lending, and personal advice online and through more than 300 offices in the United States and in select international markets. The Schwab site links to financial products and services like mutual funds and advisory services. If you are an active trader, then Schwab Active Trading provides customizable platforms and tools to help you trade smarter.
http://www.schwab.com


Top Ranked Financial Advisor

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Archived Under: Financial Planning , Moneysmartz Profiles and Reviews


Ric Edelman
Category: Financial Planning
Year after year, Ric Edelman has been ranked at or near the top of financial advisory rankings by well-known industry publications like Barron's and Research magazine. In addition to financial advisory services, offered through Edelman Financial and found at edelmanfinancial.com, more about and from Ric Edelman can be found at ricedelman.com. The site is full of useful financial planning articles and links to Edelman's multi-media offerings including television, radio, newspaper columns, and a personal finance newsletter.
http://www.ricedelman.com/
http://www.edelmanfinancial.com/


Help Finding Qualified Financial Advice

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Archived Under: Financial Planning , Moneysmartz Profiles and Reviews


Paladin Registry
Category: Financial Planning
The task of finding a financial advisor is daunting, particularly without a personal referral. Paladin Registry, founded in 2003, is designed to make it easier for you to find the financial planner that best meets your needs. The Paladin Registry pre-screens advisors based on their competence, credentials, and quality of service. The Paladin Registry website includes information to help you avoid scams and make a smart decision when selecting a financial partner. Kiplinger.com awarded a 4-star rating to Paladin Registry.
http://www.paladinregistry.com/index.php


About Financial Planning

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Archived Under: Financial Planning , Moneysmartz Profiles and Reviews


Moneysmartz Profiles and Reviews:  About Financial PlanningThe ongoing financial and economic storm has left many Americans feeling battered and helpless. Our actions have been guided by fear, advice from financial advisers, and our own personal finance knowledge. A sure way to gain your financial balance is to beef up your knowledge about the basics of financial planning and begin developing a financial plan. About.com Financial Planning offers easy steps for getting started and taking control of your finances. To learn more about the About Financial Planning website, including tips for navigating the site, or to post your review and comments, visit the About.com Financial Planning Moneysmartz Profile.


Investment Professional Selection Tips

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Archived Under: Financial Planning , Investing , The Moneysherpa Pages


The Moneysherpa Pages:  Investment Professional Selection TipsDo-it-yourself or get help? This question, a dilemma for many, will occur early and often during the course of your financial life. As your personal finances become more complex, you will inevitably need help from an investment professional. The following tips will help you make an informed selection:
  • Determine your personal finance objectives and think about the services that will meet these objectives. For example, are you saving for retirement, protecting against risk, preparing your estate, or putting money aside for the education of your children? These are just a few of the potential questions that will help determine the financial services you are seeking. Financial services fit into an array of disciplines, including financial planning, estate planning, retirement planning and preparation, tax planning, investment management, college financing and planning, and insurance. Investment professionals may specialize in one discipline or offer services in several areas. Don't worry if you can't think of a complete list of financial services to meet your needs, because, after all, this one important reason for getting help.
  • Ask trusted sources like friends and relatives for the names of investment professionals. Keep in mind that everyone's financial situation is unique, so what is good for your neighbor, may not be good for you.
  • Don't use titles or generic terms to make your selection. According to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ("FINRA"), the largest non-governmental regulator for all securities firms doing business in the United States, titles like Financial Adviser or Financial Planner can be used by investment professionals that may not "hold any specific designation."
  • Understand professional designations. The list of designations continues to grow, with each one representing something different. FINRA lists almost 100 designations. There are requirements for each designation, so when an adviser lists a credential, ask questions about the meaning of the designation and where to go to verify the designation. For example, to verify the credentials of a purported Certified Financial Planner, visit the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standard's search page and enter the name of the professional. To understand the meaning of a designation, do a Google keyword web search using the designation title. For example, Google keyword search "CFA" links to the CFA Institute, the organization offering the Chartered Financial Analyst designation.
  • Conduct face-to-face interviews with prospective investment professionals. FINRA suggests the following questions: "areas of specialization, professional designations, registrations or licenses, education, work history, investment experience, products and services, and disciplinary history." Be sure to ask about compensation, which may be hourly, a flat annual fee, commission based, percentage of assets managed, or a combination of commissions and fees. Ask if the professional or their firm receives additional compensation for selling particular investment products. Finally, in the case of a professional offering investment products, ask if their firm is a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation ("SIPC"). According to FINRA, "the SIPC provides limited customer protection if a firm becomes insolvent."
  • Verify state and federal regulatory registrations of the investment professional and their firm. Ask the prospective professional if they and their firm are registered at the state, federal, or at both the state and federal level and the actual name of these regulatory authorities. Once you have the name of the regulatory authorities, visit them online or call to verify registration. Many investment professionals and their firms are registered by FINRA, so a great place to start is FINRA's BrokerCheck, "a free online tool to help investors check the professional background of current and former FINRA-registered securities firms and brokers." In addition, FINRA provides links to state regulatory authorities.
  • Ask for references. Going the extra mile and checking references is worth the effort when considering that you may be entering into a lifelong relationship with the selected investment professional.
  • Make sure the services being offered fit your unique needs and situation. Every investment professional should tailor a solution unique to you and your situation. Beware of professionals offering "one-size-fits-all" services.
Ultimately, selecting an investment professional is your responsibility, so whether you choose to do-it-yourself, or partner with one or many investment professionals, you control your financial destiny.

Suggested Sites: FINRA, Securities and Exchange Commission, CFP.net, Financial Planning Association

Guide Categories: Financial Planning, Insurance, Investing, Estate Planning, Retirement Planning, Tax Preparation and Planning, College Financing and Planning


Surviving and Thriving in 2008

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Archived Under: Financial Planning , The Moneysherpa Pages


The Moneysherpa Pages:  Surviving and Thriving in 20082008 started with such promise. Sure, the danger signs were everywhere, but like every New Year, optimism prevailed. Well into 2008, many wish for another new year and an end to the stream of economic woe and confusion. Before throwing in the towel, Moneysmartz offers the following ideas to survive and thrive:
  • Take stock of your current financial situation. Begin by calculating your net worth and determining if you have enough saved in an emergency fund. You might find that you are in better shape than you thought or that you need to act right away to shore up your financial situation.
  • Prepare a budget. Sites like Mint.com make it easy and it won't take as much time as you think.
  • Assess your protection against risk by inventorying your insurance coverage. In the event of a worst-case, you'll be happy you took the time.
  • Avoid making investment decisions based on emotion. Understand your risk tolerance and investment time horizon to avoid selling low and buying high.
  • Learn more about the big economic issues of the day so you can make smarter and more informed decisions.
  • Try not to lose sleep over a loss in your home value if you don't intend to sell, refinance, or get a home equity loan. The market will eventually recover. This provides small comfort to those facing a reset on their mortgage interest rate or foreclosure, but for the majority of homeowners, a reset or foreclosure is not a concern.
  • Reduce your daily spending through frugality. Go to sites like Valpak.com for money saving coupons.
  • Focus on the areas where you have more control, including your job, your education, your health, and your family. If you are worried about losing your job, then prepare your resume, start calling your friends, and prepare for a change.
Like every economic cycle, this storm will pass and make way for a better day. Understanding this may be half the battle to begin enjoying the rest of 2008.

Suggested Sites: NetWorthIQ, Mint.com, A.M. Best, Insurance.com, CCH Financial Planning Toolkit, About.com Economics, FrontDoor, Federal Reserve Education: Foreclosures, About.com Frugal Living, Cool Savings, Vault.

Guide Categories: Assessing Your Financial Situation, Financial Calculators, Financial Goal Setting, Financial Planning, Insurance, Investing, Investment Time Horizon, Economics, The Federal Reserve Bank, Stagflation, Mortgages, Real Estate, Foreclosures, Frugality, Coupons, Compensation and Benefits.


Worst Case Insurance Planning

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Archived Under: Financial Planning , Insurance , The Moneysherpa Pages


The Moneysherpa Pages:  Worst Case Insurance PlanningChances are you don't have enough insurance coverage. In fact, according to the Insurance Information Institute, nearly 60% of American homes are inadequately covered. So if you think you fall into this group, here's a way to get motivated to get the insurance you really need. Visualize your worst-case scenarios. It's a difficult way to plan, but if a worst-case occurs, you will be thankful you took the time to think ahead. To learn the basics of insurance planning and start filling gaps, visit the MSN Money and Marketwatch guide "Making sure your insurance fits." The Moneysmartz Insurance Guide offers even more links to relevant and reliable sources of Insurance information and advice.


Bonds Update

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Archived Under: Financial Planning , Investing , Moneysmartz Guide Updates


Moneysmartz Directory Updates:  BondsBoring, vanilla, and without sex appeal, bonds are an important weapon in your personal investment arsenal. Bonds come in many forms with the most basic representing a loan from the investor to an issuer in exchange for a stream of payments and repayment of the loan. Bonds offer inflation protection and help diversity a portfolio, particularly if you are seeking income over a fixed period. As experienced bond investors know, the variety of bonds, including issuers and denominations, is vast.

The updated Moneysmartz Bonds category offers primers, market news, rates, and insight to help you understand bonds and incorporate them into your personal investment strategy. For a thorough introduction to bonds, visit the Investopedia Bond Basics Editor Best Bet. The SmartMoney and Motley Fool Editor Best Bets link to bond investing tools and strategies. Finally, TreasuryDirect, another Editor Best Bet, offers information and a way to buy bonds directly from the U.S. Treasury

While not flashy, bonds can play a substantial role in your investment portfolio.


Asset Allocation Update

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Archived Under: Financial Planning , Investing , Moneysmartz Guide Updates


Moneysmartz Directory Updates:  Asset AllocationThe experts say that asset allocation, defined as how you distribute your investments among asset classes like stocks and bonds, is the single most important factor in determining investing returns. According to Investopedia, the experts also say, "your selection of individual securities is secondary to the way you allocate your investment in stocks, bonds, and cash and equivalents, which will be the principal determinants of your investment results." Given this sage advice, asset allocation deserves at least a portion of your financial planning attention.

The newly created Moneysmartz Asset Allocation category offers calculators, tools, and strategies to help you understand and exploit the power of asset allocation. For a brief and easy to understand introduction to asset allocation, visit the Securities and Exchange Commission beginners' guide to asset allocation Editor Best Bet. Use the Financial Planning Toolkit asset allocator Editor Best Bet to determine your personal asset allocation strategy. Before implementing this strategy, consider talking with a professional for additional guidance and perspective.

Understanding and implementing asset allocation won't guarantee stellar investment performance, but you will improve your odds for better returns from your investments.


Assessing Your Financial Situation

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Archived Under: Financial Planning , Investing , Moneysmartz Guide Updates


Moneysmartz Directory Updates:  Financial SituationYou cannot determine where you will be tomorrow if you don't know where you are today. These are simple words, but powerful advice if you want to begin saving and preparing for your future. The newly created Moneysmartz Financial Situation category will help you determine where you are financially today. Assessing your financial situation comes in many colors and flavors, but essentially boils down to determining your cash flow, income coming in less expenses going out, and your net worth, your assets, including investments less you liabilities, like credit card bills. The great news is that the Web offers do-it-yourself calculators and tools to make your job a lot easier. Be sure to visit the category Best Bets, including Mint.com, to create a budget, and NetWorthIQ, to track your net worth. If you prefer pencil and paper, then visit the About.com Financial Planning picks for worksheets. Once you determine where you are today, it won't take long to start achieving your long-term goals.


Financial Goal Setting Update

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Archived Under: Financial Goal Setting , Financial Planning , Moneysmartz Guide Updates

RetirementThe foundation of a successful financial plan is an understanding of where you want to be financially in both the short and long run. The Moneysmartz Financial Goal Setting category provides links to tools and worksheets to help you set financial goals. If you have at least one half hour, visit the About Frugal Living listing that provides systematic directions for determining financial goals. For a quick introduction to financial goal setting and helpful financial calculators, visit the Financial Goal Setting listing from CCH Finance. If you plan to manage your finances on your own or work with a financial professional, a review of financial goal setting basics will help lay the groundwork for financial success.


Financial Engines

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Archived Under: Financial Calculators , Financial Goal Setting , Financial Planning , New and Notable


Financial EnginesThere is little middle ground between paying an advisor for financial planning expertise (visit Fool.com for a comprehensive comparison of financial advisory services and rates) and going it alone. Financial planners offer experience and an array of tools, while the do-it-yourself route affords flexibility and cost savings. If you are looking for the best of both worlds, lower fees and greater sophistication, then Financial Engines may be your solution.

A Forbes favorite for 401(k) advice, Financial Engines is an advanced financial analysis and modeling system created with the assistance of a Nobel Prize-winning economist. For fees ranging from $39.95 per month to $300 annually, the site helps individual investors create a personalized retirement forecast, get advice on taxable and tax-deferred accounts, forecast employee stock options, and forecast non-retirement financial goals.

If you are confident about your ability to interpret the Financial Engines output, then the $39.95 to test the system will be money well spent. At the minimum, after giving Financial Engines a test-drive, you'll be able to ask smart questions if you choose to work with a financial planner down the road.


Fix Your Finances in a Month

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Archived Under: Financial Planning , Moneysmartz Editor , The Moneysherpa Pages


Fix Your Finances in a MonthThe New Year is in full swing and many of us have already forgotten our resolutions. If personal finance is still on your list, then the Simple Dollar weblog has a series it posted in January called 31 days to fix your finances. The series breaks down the financial fixes into five stages, including figuring out your goals and values, evaluating your situation, building your own life budget, looking at your life, piece by piece, and setting the stage for lifelong success. It's February, so you'll need a little more than this month to fix your finances, but it will be worth the effort if you decide to get started.


CCH Financial Planning Toolkit

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Archived Under: Financial Planning , New and Notable , Taxes


CCH Financial Planning ToolkitCreating a financial plan can be expensive and difficult, particularly if you are starting from scratch. If you are inclined to save some money and invest some of your own time, then the Financial Planning Toolkit from CCH is an inexpensive and easy way to get started. The site includes an overview of the major steps in the financial planning process, including investing, insurance and risk management, retirement planning, estate planning, and tax planning. A variety of planning tools and calculators makes creating your own financial plan as easy as pointing and clicking your mouse. Recognized as a Forbes Best of the Web site, the CCH Financial Planning Toolkit is a must visit site for do-it-yourself financial planners.


Wikipedia

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Archived Under: Financial Planning , New and Notable


WikipediaSite Name: Wikipedia
Site Description: With over 2 million articles, Wikipedia is the world's biggest multilingual free-content encyclopedia on the Internet. Anyone can change the encyclopedia or create new articles. Not all of the articles have been verified. However, if you are looking for a wealth of information on almost any financial subject, then Wikipedia is a great place to get started and find useful information and links to other helpful sites.
Bottom Line: For anyone serious about managing their finances and making the most of their time, Wikipedia is worth a permanent bookmark. Since the content is growing everyday, the site is worth frequent visits. For a quick list of financial topics on Wikipedia, visit the Wikipedia profile in Moneysmartz.


Planning for a Better 2007

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Archived Under: Financial Planning , Moneysmartz Editor , The Moneysherpa Pages


Planning for a Better 2007For many of us, the holiday season is a time to get together with family and friends and take a brief time out from our hectic lives. For others, it's a time to plan and prepare for a successful new year. If you are in the latter group, then Money Magazine's Best ideas for 2007 will jumpstart your planning process with investment, home buying, home selling, retirement, and savings tips. My favorite is for homebuyers. Money recommends buying from a builder, since they can't afford to sit on the sidelines while the market recovers. You'll probably be able to negotiate a lower price with a lot more upgrades.


Net Worth IQ

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Archived Under: Financial Planning , Net Worth , New and Notable


Net Worth IQSite Name: Net Worth IQ
Description: The foundation of a solid financial plan usually begins with an understanding of where you are. Net Worth IQ offers tools to help you track, share, and compare your net worth. Net Worth IQ calls their site a social personal finance tool. Another way of saying you can post your public profile, link to your blog, and compare your performance by category.
Features: The foundation of Net Worth IQ is a simple to use net worth profile consisting of basic asset and liability information. Once this process is completed, you can generate code, through a Net Worth IQ Badge, allowing you to display your net worth on your blog. Since many personal finance blogs are anonymous, the badge option makes it easy to show the world your financial progress. If you are not into Web 2.0 social networking, then you can choose a private profile for your eyes only.
Bottom Line: If you already use tools like Quicken or Microsoft Money, then Net Worth IQ may be overkill. However, for the rest of us, Net Worth IQ is easy to use and a painless starting point in the financial planning process. For the hyper-competitive, the comparison tools offer a way to compare your financial position across a wide-array of categories, including age, income, and profession.


Free Retirement Advice, Really (But for only two days)

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Archived Under: Financial Planning , Moneysmartz Editor , Retirement Planning , The Moneysherpa Pages


Kiplinger's and the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) are sponsoring Kiplinger's Jump-Start Your Retirement Plan Days. On Thursday, September 21, and Friday, October 6, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. eastern time, NAPFA members will be waiting to help with your retirement and financial-planning questions. What's the catch? There's just one, you'll need to dial 888-919-2345. The call and consultation are free.


Debt and Bankruptcy

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Archived Under: Debt and Bankruptcy , Financial Planning , Moneysmartz Guide Updates


With $100 barrel oil possibly on the horizon, concerns about debt and bankruptcy will inevitably increase. If you need assistance reducing debt or managing bankruptcy, then the recently updated Moneysmartz Debt and Bankruptcy category provides links to sources of bankruptcy information including Nolo.com, credit and debt management services such as Money Management International, and other tools and advice for managing credit and debt like About Credit.


Money Saving Coupons and Forums

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Archived Under: Financial Planning , Moneysmartz Guide Updates


With an estimated $280 billion in available coupon savings every year, it's always a good time to sharpen your scissors and begin clipping. If you are looking for coupons, then the recently updated Moneysmartz coupon category offers plenty of savings opportunities, including local coupons from Valpak.com and online forums like the Coupon Forum.


My Next Phase

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Archived Under: Financial Planning , Life Events , New and Notable , Retirement Planning


Site Name: My Next Phase
Description: Making an easy transition to retirement depends on both financial and non-financial factors. My Next Phase focuses on non-financial factors, providing "resources for guided self-reflection, exploration and planning to help people gain clarity about their futures." Fee-based services include an online assessment, coaching, and classes. Initial registration includes a 20-question assessment.
Features: Personality test assessing one's ability to make the transition to retirement and a significant resource section with link's to non-financial retirement resources.
Profile of Site Founders: After selling his family business, Michael S. Burnham, Jr. wondered about the next phase of his life. Burnham worked with his colleagues, J. Randolph Burnham, PhD and Eric Sundstrom, PhD, "to create a unique, personalized, non-financial retirement guidance tool for the tens of millions of people who will retire in the coming years."
Bottom Line: If you are making the transition to retirement, then a second-opinion may be just what the doctor ordered. My Next Phase offers a friendly helping hand from individuals experiencing a similar transition. At the minimum, a test run of the site will only take ten minutes of your time.


Retirement Annuities

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Archived Under: Financial Planning , Moneysmartz Guide Updates , Retirement Planning


With the first wave of baby boomers preparing for retirement, viable sources of life income, including annuities, will be near the top of retirement planning considerations.

Market leaders include Fidelity and Vanguard.

For a primer on annuities visit the CCH Financial Planning Toolkit or Fool.com's What's to like about Annuities.

For a list of retirement annuity products, services, and information, visit the recently updated Moneysmartz retirement annuities directory.


Benefitsblog

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Archived Under: Benefits , Financial Blogs , Financial Planning , New and Notable

Site Name: Benefitsblog
Description: A tax, benefits, and ERISA law commentary and news filter by Pennsylvania-based attorney B. Janell Grenier.
Personal Finance Category: Compensation and Benefits, Taxes, and Retirement
Born on Date: April 2003
Content: Original and news review excerpts
Unique Features: 2005 and 2006 retirement plan limits, extensive resource with links to related blogs including benefits blogs, and links to IRS regulations.
Distinctions: Referenced by numerous university and governmental agency blogs and articles including one by Marketwatch's Robert Powell about Retirement Blogs.
Profile of Blog Author: B. Janell Grenier is principal of the Law Office of B. Janell Grenier located in the Philadelphia region. In addition to Benefitsblog, she is the author of ERISA law commentary and ERISAblog, an ERISA law commentary.
Bottom Line: Benefitsblog may be too esoteric for the average Moneysmartz reader, but if you are looking for up to date benefits information, like 2005 and 2006 retirement plan limits, then Benefitsblog will generate a healthy return on investment and is well worth a visit.

More about New and Notable Personal Finance Sites


Frugal for Life

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Archived Under: Financial Blogs , Financial Planning , Money Management , New and Notable

With a recent spate of articles about America's declining savings rate, now may be the time to find ways to save money. Frugal for Life, dedicated to simple, frugal living, provides observations and experiences on the frugal, simple life and a collection of links to related frugal living sites, including blogs, forums, and free classifieds. Frugal for Life reflects the blogging trend of "monetization�? with an assortment of Google ad links. Because of intuitive placement and relevance to frugality and simple living, advertisements generally enhance the site. If you are looking for complete frugality immersion, then check out the Frugal for Life newsletter archive. With soothing graphics, easy navigation, and fresh content, five minutes with Frugal for Life may jump start your savings and lead to a simpler life.


 
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Disclaimer: Nothing contained in Moneysmartz is intended to be, nor shall it be construed as, investment or financial advice.