Resources

Just too good to keep to ourselves

Welcome to our library. We strive to provide resources so that our clients know as much as they wish when it comes to being financially savvy. And it doesn’t stop there! We are part of a larger community – including you, wherever you may be. This is where we share content and tools that are important, fun and even inspiring, with everyone. Our resource vault will help you get smart about money, find your own motivation to move forward, and laugh and breathe a bit easier along the way.

Prepping for Conversations About Finances

Published in: Blog, Get Inspired, Get Smart |

Financial discussions with our partners and other family members – about spending habits and budgets, long-term retirement plans or other money-related concerns – are necessary but often difficult conversations. We all have been faced at one time or another with thorny issues surrounding our financial well-being, and we often put off talking about such issues until we reach a crucial point or crisis. How can you diffuse the tensions surrounding your current finances so you can talk frankly, openly and honestly as you plan for your financial future? The Humphreys Group advisors recommend stepping back to look at the big picture before you get to specific money talk:

To prepare for a conversation about finances, first examine your financial backstory by asking yourself a few questions:

What do I specifically want to achieve with this conversation? Let’s face it: you won’t be able to address all of your financial issues and concerns in a single discussion. The more focused you can be about the financial topic you’d like to discuss, and the more concrete you can be about the possible ways to resolve your issue will help you establish a foundation that enables you to address other issues on a case-by-case basis over time.

What causes me to see financial conversations as a challenge? Perhaps you assume how a finance-related conversation with your partner or other family members is going to go before it even starts. Those assumptions may cause you to begin conversations already on the defense. Resolve to handle each conversation as its own event and work to stay in the “now.” By focusing on specific goals for a specific talk you’re less likely to be influenced by your pre-conceived notions about how it will play out.

What about my finances makes me emotional? What causes me the most worry and how do my concerns affect my conversation – my tone, my words, and even my body language? If you’re aware that your stress about finances is revealed in physical and vocal ways, practice having a calm and centered approach even before you engage with another person so that you wind up being less confrontational and more communicative about your concerns.

When you begin your conversation, keep in mind a few other things:

Be curious and inquisitive of your conversation-mate(s).  Start talking by expressing your point of view and let them know you want to hear theirs before you begin tackling your shared financial issues and concerns. “I’d like to talk about” or “I need your help with something” are good ways to begin.

Acknowledge points of view that are not your own. Listen to what the other parties in your conversation have to say and don’t minimize the other party’s stance. Give them space and time to articulate their perspectives and acknowledge when something matters to them by noting “This sounds important to you.” You’ve done the homework on your own conversation style, now pay attention to their tone, word choices and body language for clues about how they’re feeling as you tackle the tough issues together.

Find places in the conversation to empathize and agree. Perhaps your key money concerns are somewhat different. Perhaps you are both focused on the same issues but are affected by them differently. Acknowledge that recognizing your shared financial concerns doesn’t mean your priorities line up about which ones to tackle first. By outlining the issues that exist and learning how each person feels about them, you can work together to prioritize which ones to address.

Breaks are allowed. If the conversation becomes too heated, agree to step away momentarily so you can center yourselves and begin again with a greater sense of calm and focus.

As with any art, conversations improve with practice. And progress often comes step-by-step. Individuals who are engaged and committed to the challenge of having difficult conversations about their finances are taking a first step to be proud of. Keep taking the steps to understand your own “financial issues backstory” and listen to what your conversation mate is saying about their money concerns so that over time you can brainstorm solutions and problem-solve together through conversations that are a little less difficult – and that ensure a mutually healthy financial future.

 

A Perspective on Family History & Financial Health

Published in: Blog, Get Smart |

Our earliest relationships with money can spark questions about how we plan for our lives and our futures. They often influence our long-term financial behaviors across a wide spectrum. For instance, based on our first few real-life experiences with budgets and financial planning, we may view money as a private and taboo subject not open to discussion. Conversely, we may feel that money is meant to be spent freely without paying much attention to a long-term “bigger picture.”

Reflecting on the kinds of conversations you currently have with yourself, your partner and your family about money can help reveal clues about how your money and financial planning patterns developed. Do you remember the first time you learned how much your parents earned? How they spent their money? Their savings patterns? How did the adults in your life talk with you about money? How have your own earning, spending and saving patterns evolved through the years?

The answers to such questions will help you discover the financial behaviors you embrace – and realize there may be some patterns you don’t wish to follow. Regardless, whatever lessons you’ve learned so far about money can be expanded upon or adjusted. For instance, if you’ve felt the stress that overspending and under-planning can cause an individual or couple, we can advise you on the steps you can take to shore up your financial health. Maybe you grew up in a household where financial discussions did not include the children; if you have children and want them to learn a sound approach toward money but are uncertain how to do this, we’ll help you find ways to open avenues of age-appropriate conversation with them that increases their financial understanding, helps them limit unforeseen spending and guides them toward establishing healthy spending patterns.

Above all remember this: your past financial experience may impact your current state but it doesn’t have to dictate your future. At The Humphreys Group, our advisors work to help you assess your financial goals and better understand the hows and whys of your money decisions. Together we explore ways you can develop the best approach for you and your family – one that makes the most sense for your unique lives and one that puts you on a healthy path toward a longer-term plan and fiscal legacy.

 

Money Conversations

Published in: Blog, Get Inspired, Get Smart |

Think of a conversation about money that could have gone better.  How do you remember that experience?  Did you go into that conversation with a purpose or intention?  What would have been your ideal outcome?  Now, see the conversation from the other person’s perspective.  Did you consider their needs or fears?  Look to the other person to help reframe the conversation and shape solutions.

Stress-Free Money Conversation

Published in: Blog, Get Inspired |

Want to have stress-free, open conversations about money?  A good first step to take often starts with a reflection about how you feel about money and why.  Understanding your historical factors can help you be open in your present money conversations. It can also help in expressing why you feel a certain way about your personal finances.  Start with these three questions and then dig deeper.

  1. What was your first money memory and how do you think that memory has impacted your thinking about money?
  2. Did your parents talk to you openly about the family’s finances or were you on a need to know basis?
  3. How old were you when you learned how much your parents earned?  How did you react to this?

 

Cybersecurity Step-by-Step #10: Protect your Digital Legacy

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 the previous steps, we have listed them below with a link to the detail so that you can easily catch up.

Step Ten:  Protect your Digital Legacy – Name a Digital Fiduciary in your Estate Plan

Why? Most of us have accumulated a significant amount of digital property online, including personal and financial data, email, photos, and social profiles, that will need to be managed after we die. In an effort to protect your data and your privacy, most online service providers have very strict terms of service that restrict access to your digital assets. So, when it comes to passing on your digital legacy, handing over your password list is not enough to provide a trusted confidant with the legal authority to carry out your wishes after your death.

Fortunately, a new law known as the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (RUFADAA) has been adopted in most states (including California). This law allows you to give legal authority to a named digital fiduciary to manage your digital legacy. (Learn more about RUFADAA.)

Consult with your estate attorney to learn how you can incorporate this new development into your estate plan. You can also consider excluding specific information or online accounts that may not be appropriate.

Once you have named a digital fiduciary, some advance preparation will make the task more manageable.

Prepare a list of your online accounts and passwords. We strongly recommend using an online password manager (See Cybersecurity Step #4) because this can be time-consuming and difficult to keep current. Don’t forget to include the passcodes to your devices!

Prepare instructions. Be sure that your wishes are clear and in a safe place where they can be found. Keep in mind that your Will becomes a public document after your death, so be sure to keep your instructions and your passwords in a separate location.

 

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.

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

Step Five: Never (ever) email sensitive information and always insist on encryption.

Step Six: Avoid using public WiFi networks.

Step Seven: Monitor your financial activity.

Step Eight:  Avoid Spear-Phishing Scams.

Step Nine: Open your online “my Social Security” account now.

To review the previous steps, visit our blog.

 

Want to Have More Effective Money Conversations? Consider These Four Tips

Published in: Blog, Get Inspired, Get Smart, Uncategorized |

Want to Have More Effective Money Conversations? Consider These Four Tips

By: Diane Bourdo, President – The Humphreys Group

 

In today’s digitally driven world, many aspects of our daily lives are easier than ever. We get answers to questions in minutes — sometimes even seconds — with the click of a button. Friends and family can stay up to date on important news (or something as simple as your morning latte order) by quickly scrolling through Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

 

And yet, with all of these advancements and countless channels at our fingertips, many of us still struggle to communicate with each other. We’re talking about real, personal communication — not text messages or emails sent through your smartphone.

 

Communication can be made even more difficult when the topic at hand is anxiety-inducing or uncomfortable. Take money, for example. In its 2017 Money Matters report, which surveyed 3,000 Americans ages 18–44, investing app Acorns revealed that 72% of respondents would rather talk about their weight than how much they had in savings.[1]

 

But the truth is, talking about money doesn’t have to be scary. In fact, when broached appropriately, money conversations can actually bring positive, life-changing results — an enjoyable retirement and a secure future for your children, to name a few. Whether it’s with your spouse, parents or children, here are four tips to help ensure your money conversations are healthy and productive:

  1. Think ahead. Proactivity is great, but it’s important to take some time to plan your approach to starting the conversation, especially if the topic is sensitive to your audience (for instance, discussing long-term care with an aging parent). Pause for a moment, be calm and think about the effects of what you’ll be presenting to the other party, including potential assumptions or perceptions. Being thoughtful about the preparation process will allow you to have more meaningful, productive dialogue.

      2. Don’t blindside the other party. Once you’ve thought through your approach and prepared appropriately, set a date and location for your conversation. Choose a time when you both will be more relaxed and comfortable. For instance, choosing to discuss finances with your spouse after a long day of work may fuel existing stress or exhaustion, which will likely derail your discussion. It also may be helpful to agree on the length of your conversation — some people are exhausted by long conversations, while others prefer to walk while talking about tough topics.

      3. Be honest about your intentions. When starting your money conversation, you should avoid catching the other person off-guard — but you also don’t want them to become defensive. State your intentions and explain why the conversation is important to you. Consider structuring your introduction like this:

 

“I feel like the way we’re handling our credit cards is creating tension between us. I would like for us to work together to find some agreement so we can deal with this issue as a team. I have an idea for a new approach that could help, and I’d like for us to really listen to each other.”

 

     4. Prepare and practice. If there are multiple money issues you need to discuss with your audience, don’t panic. Start small by broaching easier topics first, and then work up to bigger issues over time. It may help you to write down what you want to say and practice the conversation aloud to yourself or with a friend.

 

Put simply, communication, on any topic and in any form, can be hard — even when it’s with the people you trust and care about most. But if you prepare and approach the conversation in a respectful way, you can surmount money challenges and come out the other side with renewed perspective and confidence.

 

You can also enlist the help of experienced, trusted professionals, so you don’t have to start the process on your own. At The Humphreys Group, we’ve helped countless clients navigate tough money conversations and reach positive resolutions. Contact our team to learn more.

[1] 2017 Money Matters™ Report, Acorns, https://sqy7rm.media.zestyio.com/Acorns2017_MoneyMattersReport.pdf, accessed September 2018.

Oraibi Village, Arizona Hopi Nation

Published in: Blog, Get Inspired |

You have been telling people that this is the eleventh hour, 

Now you must go back and tell people that this is the hour! 

And there are things to be considered… 

 

Where are you living? 

What are you doing? 

What are your relationships?  

Are you in right relation?  

Where is your water?  

 

Know your Garden.  

It is time to speak your truth.  

Create your community.  

Be good to yourself.  

And not look outside of yourself for a leader.  

 

This could be a good time!  

 

There is a river flowing very fast.  

It is so great and fast that there are those who will be afraid.  

They will hold on to the shore.  

They will feel that they are being torn apart, and they will suffer greatly.  

 

Know that the river has its destination.  

The elders say that we must let go of the shore,  

push off into the middle of the river,  

keep our eyes open, and our heads above the water.  

 

And I say, see who is in there with you and celebrate.  

At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally, least of all, ourselves.  

For the moment that we do,  

our spiritual growth comes to a halt.  

 

The time of the lone wolf is over.  

Gather yourselves!  

Banish the word struggle from your attitude and your vocabulary.  

All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.  

 

We are the ones that we have been waiting for.  

 

Attributed to an unnamed Hopi Elder 

Oraibi Village, Arizona Hopi Nation 

Clouded Judgement

Published in: Blog, Get Inspired |

 Most financial advisors will tell you that emotions cloud your judgment and provoke irrational behavior.  They have no place among the pie charts and annualized returns on your financial plan and it’s best to compartmentalize your feelings and save them for your therapy appointments.  At @Humphreys-Group, we believe that the idea that emotion (and even more broadly, values) should remain separate from money and investing is a myth.

 

Cybersecurity Step-by-step #9: Open Your “my SOCIAL SECURITY” Account

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 the previous steps, we have listed them below with a link to the detail so that you can easily catch up.

Step Nine:  Open your online “my Social Security” account now (Yes, we mean ASAP!)

Why Now?  A cybercriminal with your social security number and address may be able to create a “my Social Security account” in your name and potentially claim your benefits before you do.

What is a “my Social Security account”?  The Social Security Administration has shifted to an online platform. An online mySSA allows you to view your social security information, as well as apply for and manage your benefits. Now that the online platform is in place, the Social Security Administration has stopped mailing estimated benefits statements to anyone currently under age 61. So, if you are under age 61 and working, you should visit this site annually to make sure that your earnings are reported correctly.

What are the steps to set up my account?

  1. Unfreeze your credit history at Equifax: In order to verify your identity, the Social Security Administration will ask you for personal information and compare it to information retained by Equifax. You will need to temporarily lift your credit freeze at Equifax to allow the Social Security Administration to make this comparison. Simply call (800) 685-1111 and follow the prompts. (Note: you will need your PIN)
  2. Open a my Social Security Account: Visit https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/ and follow the prompts.

Visit this link to learn more about why you should set up an online Social Security Account.

 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.

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

Step Five: Never (ever) email sensitive information and always insist on encryption.

Step Six: Avoid using public WiFi networks.

Step Seven: Monitor your financial activity.

Step Eight:  Avoid Spear-Phishing Scams