Category: Blog

How to Find and Vet Your Financial Advisor

Published in: Blog, Financial Myth Busting Series, Get Smart |

Thinking about working with a financial advisor?  Finding the right advisor, who’s services and approach match your needs, can take some time, patience and persistence.   Here’s a place to start, NAPFA, the professional organization for fee-only financial advisors where you can “find and advisor” and get a list of important questions to ask.  As you begin, think about what type of financial advice you need, that is, what you want to delegate and what you wish to keep in-house. Most importantly, find and work with advisors who support and respect you.

 

 

Conversation Circle Harvest – March 29, 2018 Circle

Being Brave: Navigating Money Talk With Loved Ones

Why did we title this conversation “Being Brave?” Financial services giant TIAA conducted a study in March 2017, to get parents’ and adult children’s thoughts on money conversations. Although 75-85% of both parents and children consider financial conversations to be very important, only 11% of parents and 37% of adult children say they’re likely to initiate a conversation about any financial topic. And what usually happens when families do talk about money? According to the study they are overly generalized and happen spontaneously, at the spur of the moment. This is where the bravery comes in. Tackling a money conversation with loved ones is uncommon and we usually don’t see it modelled in our culture.  But there is a reason to persist. When families do have financial conversations, the outcome is usually positive: about half of the parents who talked with their children frequently about their future financial plans felt proud about how those conversations went – as they should. These parents also reported feeling happy and uplifted.  It’s not easy, it’s not our cultural norm, and it takes courage.  But the benefit is that the bond between loved ones can be strengthened and the level of support among family members reinforced.
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Cybersecurity: Step-by-Step #4

Published in: Blog, Cybersecurity Step-by-Step, Get Smart |

Your financial well-being is our highest priority, and one of our goals for 2018 is to walk you through the necessary steps to protect your online data. We can imagine that although you would rather do almost anything else, you are as concerned as we are about keeping your data safe. To make it more manageable, we are sending you one new action item every month. If you missed the previous steps, we have listed them below with a link to the detail so that you can easily catch up.

Step Four:  Use unique passwords on every site (and try a password manager)

Why?  The technology to hack and crack passwords has advanced and if you are using the same password for multiple sites, it could become the keys to your kingdom.

We hate them too, but until the need for passwords is replaced for good, we all have to dedicate precious time and memory to this security hassle. And to make matters worse, websites are requiring even longer and more complicated passwords, making them nearly impossible to remember.

Well, we have a solution! Consider using a password manager. They are relatively easy to use and a significant timesaver. We are familiar with Dashlane, LastPass and Keychain Access (for Macs), but there are several others that are highly rated.  Follow this link to a Consumer Reports article that provides everything you need to know about password managers.

Visit this link for more information about why strong, unique passwords matter.

List of Previous Steps:

Step One: Place a freeze on your credit history at the top three credit agencies.

Step Two: Update the operating software on your computers, tablets and smartphones, and continue to update as new patches become available.

Step Three: File your tax returns as early as possible.

Recent Market Volatility

Published in: Blog, Get Smart |

The first quarter of 2018 has been a stark reminder that volatility is a reality that investors can’t avoid, particularly when it comes to the equity markets.  You’ve heard us say it before, but it bears repeating when times are tough:  volatility is a normal part of investing and remaining calm during big (or even small) market declines is an important ingredient for long term investment success.  We hope the attached article provides some helpful perspective for the next rocky patch.

Dimensional – Recent Market Volatility

Simple ≠ Simplistic 

Published in: Blog, Financial Myth Busting Series, Get Smart, Uncategorized |

 

We hear a lot of talk about men vs. women as investors, and we don’t have a shortage of perspectives, based on our years of working with women, helping them get smarter about money.  In our experience, women view investing as a way to accomplish a goal, rather than as a game. In doing so women sidestep the seduction of accruing bragging rights.  Moreover, even from the start, women are money smart. They often serve as the de facto family CFO, have budding or demanding careers, or gain valuable experience via volunteer work.

What tends to bog down the process – for men and women alike – is that the world of investing is filled with jargon and unnecessary complication. This is by design: for decades, the financial services industry has used complexity as a sales tool by framing investments as challenging instruments, then offering themselves as gatekeepers to those instruments.

Our message to you?  Don’t let yourself become enticed by complexity. By keeping it simple and manageable we can stop procrastinating, make real progress, and achieve great investment results.  One caveat:  though a solution may be simple, it may not be easy.  But attacking complex challenges with unnecessarily complex solutions will distract us, dilute our focus and even foster magical thinking.  Simple may be difficult or it may be easy – but it is always going to lead to better financial outcomes.

 

New to Investing? Start at the Beginning and Keep It Simple

Published in: Blog, Financial Myth Busting Series, Get Smart |

When you do a simple Google image search of the word “investor,” you are instantly overwhelmed by photos of men in suits and ties, peering seriously at stock charts, pointing at computer screens together, and even holding handfuls of money. To the extent that women are included, they are usually standing behind their male partner gently offering emotional support. The message is loud and clear:  the world generally considers men to be the more skilled and knowledgeable gender when it comes to investing.

We dispelled the myth that men are better investors than women.  In fact, the opposite is true.  The data shows that women earn better investment results.  Why?  As women, we usually conduct more research before investing, maintain a long-term perspective more often, and tend to view investing less as a game to be won, and more as a means to accomplish our goals. But what if you are new to investing?

In our experience, in spite of what they may say, women are already money smart. We often serve as the de facto family CFO, have budding or demanding careers, or gain valuable experience via volunteer work. This is a great starting point for learning more and in doing so, building confidence.  We also know that the world of investing is filled with jargon and unnecessary complication.

Over the years, we’ve stood arm-in-arm with many women as they’ve faced the steep end of their individual learning curve. We know that women’s behavioral tendencies, combined with a willingness to learn, make for great results. Many women surprise themselves by just how good they are at “money stuff.”

Our advice for how to get started? By focusing on a short-list of investment principles, you can achieve excellent investment results. Curate your investment resources and don’t get distracted by dazzle and jargon.  Vanguard, a mutual fund company that has long advocated for individual investors, is a great place to start.

 

Myth #1: Men Are Better Investors Than Women

Published in: Blog, Financial Myth Busting Series, Get Inspired, Get Smart |

At The Humphreys Group, it’s no secret that we revere the many ways women today are breaking through gender stereotypes. Lately, we’ve been especially fascinated by stereotypes that permeate discussions about women and money. These phrases probably sound familiar: “Women aren’t interested in investing. They lack confidence about their financial decisions. When women do invest, they’re too risk averse.” By and large, these – as well as many other commonly accepted notions in finance, by the way – are all myths.

That’s why we’re going to spend the coming weeks busting myths about women and money and shining a light on the data that disproves them. We’ll also share what we’ve learned from our work with clients, and offer some thoughts on what we can all do to re-direct the conversation from myth to truth
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Cybersecurity: Step-by-step

Published in: Blog, Cybersecurity Step-by-Step, Get Smart |

Your financial well-being is our highest priority, and one of our goals for 2018 is to walk you through the necessary steps to protect your online data. To make it more manageable, we are sending you one new action item every month. If you missed Step One and Step Two, we have listed them below with a link to the detail so that you can easily catch up.

Step Three:  File your tax returns as early as possible

Why?  A criminal can use your stolen social security number to file a tax return and claim a fraudulent refund.  In 2018, the IRS, and State tax agencies are taking steps to combat tax-related identity theft, and the number of incidents declined in 2017. However, cybercriminals continue to find new strategies to leverage the data they have stolen. A very effective strategy to deter their efforts is to file your tax return as soon as possible. Even though you file early, you won’t have to pay the tax bill until April 16, 2018.

Visit this link for more information about tax-related identity theft, and what to do if you suspect you are a victim.

List of Previous Steps:

Step One: Place a freeze on your credit history at the top three credit agencies.

Step Two: Update the operating software on your computers, tablets and smartphones, and continue to update as new patches become available.

 

Cybersecurity: Step-by-step

Published in: Blog, Cybersecurity Step-by-Step, Get Smart |
January 23, 2018

 

Your financial well-being is our highest priority, and one of our goals for 2018 is to walk you through the necessary steps to protect your online data.  We think this will be almost as fun as paying taxes, and just as important!  To make it more manageable, we’ll be sending you one new action item every month. In this email we’ll also include Step One (sent last Fall), as a gentle reminder if you haven’t yet completed the task.What was Step One? Here’s a recap:

Step One:

Place a freeze on your credit history at the top three credit agencies.

Why?  Your personal information is online, even if you are not. Your banks, the DMV, Social Security, Credit Agencies, and many other institutions store your data online. We know that cybercriminals have the ability to steal this information. Freezing your credit history will make it more difficult for cybercriminals to use this information to open bank accounts or lines of credit. Think of it as putting a club on your steering wheel. Even if the criminal can break into your car, it will be much more difficult to drive off with it.

For more information on this step, you can read our blog post on freezing your credit.


Now for Step Two:

Update the operating software on your computers, tablets and smartphones, and continue to update as new patches become available. 

Why?  Software manufacturers are constantly fixing bugs and making improvements that are available to download in “patches”. These patches not only help your device run more effectively, it will also improve your security.

This is an important step especially because of security flaws called Meltdown and Spectre that were recently detected in most devices. If you are interested, you can read more by clicking on this link: https://meltdownattack.com/. The good news is that programmers are already creating patches to protect your devices against these vulnerabilities and will continue to create new patches as new threats emerge.


If you have any questions about these steps, now or as we go forward, please don’t hesitate to call.

Warm regards,

Diane & Lexi

Financial Planning Day

Interested in getting free, high-quality financial advice?  Diane and other Bay Area Certified Financial Planners will be providing free financial planning to the public on Saturday, October 28th.  You can sign up for free one-on-one consultations and/or attend a series of education workshops.  Our firm has participated in this event for years and it’s one of our favorite ways to give back to our community.

 

Spread the word – this is open to all at no cost!

 

http://financialplanningdays.org/event/san-francisco-financial-planning-day