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Investing in Your Graduate’s Future: Planting Seeds for Long-Term Success

Investing in Your Graduate’s Future: Planting Seeds for Long-Term Success

Graduation is right around the corner! It’s an exciting time to celebrate your child’s accomplishments and look ahead to their future. As a parent, you play a crucial role in setting them up for success, and one of the best ways to do so is by investing in their future. There are countless ways to sow the seeds for long-term financial security and prosperity. In this blog, we are delving into ways you can invest in your graduate’s future journey today, so they can watch the returns flourish in years to come.

Roth IRA Contributions

Consider starting a Roth IRA for your child if they’ve earned income. A Roth IRA offers tax-free growth and withdrawals in retirement, providing a valuable tool for building financial security over the long term. By making contributions to a Roth IRA early on in your child’s life, you can leverage the power of compounding growth and set them on the path to a comfortable retirement. While Roth IRAs can also be used for educational expenses, in order to withdraw money without being charged taxes or penalties, you must be over 59 ½ years old and the account must be at least five years old.

529 College Savings Plan

Investing in a 529 college savings plan is an excellent option to support your child’s educational goals. These plans offer tax-free growth and withdrawals for qualified education expenses, making them a tax-efficient way to save for college. Parents are not the only people eligible to contribute, allowing family and friends to give a lasting gift to the beneficiary’s future. 

Whether your child plans to attend a traditional four-year college or university or pursue vocational training, a 529 plan can help ease the financial burden of higher education and provide valuable opportunities for their future. If your child receives a scholarship or decides against further eligible education, 529 savings plans offer the flexibility to change the beneficiary to avoid paying taxes and fees on unused savings.

Custodial Accounts (UTMA/UGMA)

Opening a custodial account, such as a Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA) or Uniform Gifts to Minors Act (UGMA), allows you to invest in stocks, bonds, or mutual funds on behalf of your child. These accounts are a great investment option because they offer flexibility and control, allowing you to manage the assets until your child reaches adulthood (at 18 or 21, depending on the state). Introducing your child to the world of investing early on can help them develop valuable financial literacy skills and set them up for financial success in the years to come. 

Additionally, the funds can be used for the minor’s benefit before they take control of the account, including to help pay for college! Earnings are taxed at the minor’s tax rate, subject to kiddie tax rules. Before pursuing custodial accounts, talk to a financial professional to confirm which tax rules apply and how to best manage the funds. 

Financial Literacy Education

Investing in your child’s financial education is perhaps one of the most valuable investments you can make. Providing access to resources and courses on financial literacy from a young age can equip your child with the knowledge and skills necessary to manage and grow their finances effectively. From budgeting and saving to investing and retirement planning, a strong foundation in financial literacy sets the stage for a lifetime of financial success. 

As graduation season approaches, now is the perfect time to start investing in your graduate’s future. Regardless of the investment options you choose, every investment you make lays the groundwork for their long-term success. By contributing to your child’s journey to financial literacy and prosperity today, you can help create a bright and prosperous future for your graduate tomorrow. If you need assistance getting started, contact Blakely Financial today. Our team is here to help you discover the best investment options and work towards a secure financial future for you and your family. 

The fees, expenses, and features of 529 plans can vary from state to state. 529 plans involve investment risk, including the possible loss of funds. There is no guarantee that an education-funding goal will be met. In order to be federally tax free, earnings must be used to pay for qualified education expenses. The earnings portion of a nonqualified withdrawal will be subject to ordinary income tax at the recipient’s marginal rate and subject to a 10 percent penalty. By investing in a plan outside your state of residence, you may lose any state tax benefits. 529 plans are subject to enrollment, maintenance, and administration/management fees and expenses.
Blakely Financial, Inc. is an independent financial planning and investment management firm that provides clarity, insight, and guidance to help our clients attain their financial goals. Engage with the entire Blakely Financial team at WWW.BLAKELYFINANCIAL.COM  to see what other financial tips we can provide towards your financial well-being.
Commonwealth Financial Network® or Blakely Financial does not provide legal or tax advice. You should consult a legal or tax professional regarding your individual situation.
Quiz: How Financially Literate Are You?

Quiz: How Financially Literate Are You?

As we recognize Financial Literacy Month, we must assess our knowledge and understanding of key financial concepts that impact our daily lives such as budgeting, investing, borrowing, and more. Whether you’re a seasoned investor or just beginning your financial journey, this quiz offers an opportunity to reflect on your financial knowledge and take steps toward improving your financial literacy. Are you ready to see where you stand? Dive into our Financial Literacy Month quiz and put your knowledge to the test!

What is the effect of compound interest on an investment over time?

  1. Decreases the total amount of interest earned
  2. Increases the total amount of interest earned by adding interest to the principal and accumulated interest
  3. Has no effect on the total amount of interest earned
  4. Only applies to savings accounts

Correct Answer: 2

Compound interest allows you to earn interest not only on the initial principal amount invested but also on the accumulated interest from previous periods. Over time, this compounding effect results in the exponential growth of your investment, significantly increasing the total amount of interest earned.

Why is diversification important in an investment portfolio?

  1. It guarantees a fixed return on investment
  2. It reduces risk by spreading investments across various asset classes
  3. It focuses investment in one sector to maximize returns
  4. It ensures all investments will profit

Correct Answer: 2

The process of diversification involves spreading your investments across different asset classes to minimize risk. These may include stocks, bonds, and real estate. By diversifying your investment portfolio, you can mitigate the impact of adverse events affecting any single asset or sector. This will help stabilize returns and potentially improve long-term performance. If you’re struggling to diversify your investments, meet with your financial advisor to discuss your options.

Which of the following accounts offers tax-deferred growth?

  1. Checking account
  2. Certificate of Deposit (CD)
  3. 401(k) or Traditional IRA
  4. Brokerage Account

Correct Answer: 3

Tax-deferred growth refers to the ability of investments to grow without being taxed until withdrawal. Both 401(k) plans and Traditional IRAs offer tax-deferred growth, allowing your investments to compound over time without being subject to immediate taxation on earnings. Everyone’s financial situation is unique, so be sure to talk to your financial advisor to be sure you are taking advantage of the best plans and accounts for you.

What is a “bull market”?

  1. A market characterized by declining stock prices
  2. A market in which stock prices are remaining stable
  3. A market characterized by rising stock prices
  4. A market that exclusively trades in agricultural stocks

Correct Answer: 3

A bull market is a period characterized by rising stock prices and investor optimism. During a bull market, investor confidence is high, leading to increased buying activity and upward momentum in stock prices across the market.

What does a fixed-rate mortgage offer that a variable-rate mortgage does not?

  1. A mortgage rate that changes with the market
  2. Lower interest rates over the life of the loan
  3. The same interest rate and monthly payment throughout the life of the loan
  4. Higher borrowing limits

Correct Answer: 3

A fixed-rate mortgage offers borrowers the security of a consistent, or fixed, interest rate and monthly payment throughout the life of the loan. In contrast, a variable-rate mortgage will have interest rates that fluctuate with market conditions, resulting in varying monthly payments and potentially higher levels of financial uncertainty for borrowers. Talk to your financial advisor to sort out which option is best for you and your financial health. 

Whether you aced every question and passed with flying colors or found new areas to explore, taking the time to assess your financial literacy is a valuable step toward financial empowerment. Remember, financial literacy is an ongoing journey, and there’s always room to learn and grow. 

If you found any questions throughout the quiz challenging or would like to delve deeper into any topics, contact the Blakely Financial team today. We are ready to help you navigate your financial journey with confidence! For additional resources and insights designed to boost your financial understanding, check out the Blakely Financial website

 

Blakely Financial, Inc. is an independent financial planning and investment management firm that provides clarity, insight, and guidance to help our clients attain their financial goals. Engage with the entire Blakely Financial team at WWW.BLAKELYFINANCIAL.COM  to see what other financial tips we can provide towards your financial well-being.
Commonwealth Financial Network® or Blakely Financial does not provide legal or tax advice. You should consult a legal or tax professional regarding your individual situation.

Monstrous Money Mistakes

It may be the season of spooky haunts and horrors, but don’t let these monstrous money mistakes lead you to the financial graveyard!

Investment Zombies

Don’t neglect your investment strategies. Just like zombies mindlessly wander, not actively managing investments can lead to missed opportunities or poor performance, even for high earners. Revisit and reevaluate your investment portfolio periodically to be sure you are diversifying your investments and maximizing your returns. Talking to your financial advisor can help you avoid an investment zombie apocalypse.

Estate Planning Ghouls

Failing to create a comprehensive estate plan can haunt families after a high-earning individual passes away. This mistake can lead to unnecessary taxes, legal battles, and confusion over asset distribution. Meet with your financial professional to discuss the best estate planning options for you and your loved ones. Review your plan annually and make adjustments to reflect any life changes that may occur.

Lifestyle Vampire

This monstrous money mistake involves succumbing to lifestyle inflation. High earners might start spending excessively as their income rises, without properly considering the long-term impact on savings and investments. Don’t bite off more than you can chew with your spending.  It is crucial to find a balance between your desired lifestyle and your long-term financial goals and well-being to really enjoy life to the fullest. 

Debt Demons

Credit card ghouls, student loan specters, and mortgage monstrosities. Oh my! These debt demons come in many forms and can feel like never-ending financial nightmares if not managed properly. Be sure to explore interest rates and different repayment options to pay down your debt, and even consider refinancing your loans or mortgage to make payments more manageable. Utilizing a budget can help you do this more easily. Exorcize these debt demons and keep control of your financial future!

Budget Banshee

You’ll hear the eerie wails of the budget banshees if you neglect proper budgeting. The shrieks serve as haunting reminders of overspending, impulse purchases, debt, disorganized finances, and unexpected expenses. Create a budget unique to your financial situation by tracking your income and expenses and establishing your financial goals. Explore where you may be able to save and remain disciplined when it comes to your spending. Don’t forget to factor an emergency fund into your budgeting to cushion the impact of any unexpected financial shock! Evaluate your financial health routinely and adjust your budget accordingly to banish the budget banshees. 

If you need help battling these monstrous money mistakes, contact Blakely Financial today. 

 

Blakely Financial, Inc. is an independent financial planning and investment management firm that provides clarity, insight, and guidance to help our clients attain their financial goals. Engage with the entire Blakely Financial team at WWW.BLAKELYFINANCIAL.COM  to see what other financial tips we can provide towards your financial well-being.
Commonwealth Financial Network® or Blakely Financial does not provide legal or tax advice. You should consult a legal or tax professional regarding your individual situation.
Optimizing Your 401(k) Contributions

Optimizing Your 401(k) Contributions

What is a 401(k) plan?

A 401(k) plan is a company-sponsored retirement plan that allows eligible employees to contribute a portion of their salary to a variety of investment options. 401(k) contributions are typically “before tax” money, meaning the amount you choose to contribute is deducted from your paycheck before taxes are taken out and you are paying taxes on a smaller portion of your salary. 

Many plans also offer options for employees to make post-tax ROTH 401(k) contributions from their paychecks. Post-tax ROTH contributions do not lower an employee’s taxable income, but they do grow tax-free and aren’t taxed upon withdrawal.

An additional benefit of a 401(k) plan is that when you finally pay the taxes on your 401(k) contributions, you may be at a lower rate. Typically, you begin withdrawing money from your 401(k) when you retire and you may very well be in a lower tax bracket at that time; thus you could end up paying less tax on your savings when you do eventually withdraw funds.

If your company offers a 401(k) plan and you are not participating, you may want to revisit your decision as they are a great opportunity and an easy way to save for the future. If you have just entered the workforce, retirement may be the last thing on your mind. Or if you are an older employee nearing retirement, you might be thinking it is too late. At any stage of life, 401(k)s can offer specific advantages that make them a great option for investing and saving.

Making the Most of Your 401(k) Contributions

Many employers offer matching contributions to 401(k)s. For example, your employer may offer a 4 percent match, where they will contribute the same amount you do, up to 4 percent. While this is their limit, you can personally contribute more. If you are not contributing to your company’s 401(k) plan and they have a match, you are leaving money on the table! Don’t be concerned if you cannot contribute the maximum amount to your retirement plan. Simply participating in an employer-sponsored plan puts you in a great position for a successful retirement, especially if you start early. If you are unsure about the specifics of your company’s plan, take the time to read over it thoroughly, perhaps with your financial advisor, so you can make the most of your money.

Combined Savings Strategy

A large number of people find success in a combined savings strategy using both a 401(k) and an IRA to truly maximize their retirement funds. A study conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (2020) found that, on average, individuals who owned both a 401(k) and an IRA at some point during the six years of the survey had combined balances about 2.5 times higher than those who owned only a 401(k) or an IRA. People who owned both types of accounts consistently over the period had even higher balances. Talk to a financial advisor to explore your options and decide which is best for you based on your own income and circumstances.

A Few Key Points to Remember about 401(k)s

  • It is a retirement savings plan, so once you put money in it is best to leave it in. 
  • There are penalties if you take the money out before retirement age.
  • If you change employers you can roll your vested balance into your new employer’s 401(k) plan or into another qualifying retirement account such as an IRA.

No matter what, take advantage of any type of savings plan your current employer offers as the earlier and more aggressive you are, the closer you will come to achieving your financial goals. If you have questions, it is always a great idea to call a financial advisor for guidance. Contact the Blakely Financial team today to get started saving for your future. 

Blakely Financial, Inc. is an independent financial planning and investment management firm that provides clarity, insight, and guidance to help our clients attain their financial goals. Engage with the entire Blakely Financial team at WWW.BLAKELYFINANCIAL.COM  to see what other financial tips we can provide towards your financial well-being.
Commonwealth Financial Network® or Blakely Financial does not provide legal or tax advice. You should consult a legal or tax professional regarding your individual situation.
Securing Your Future: Tips for a Successful College Planning Journey

Securing Your Future: Tips for a Successful College Planning Journey

Education expenses represent a significant financial commitment that accompanies us throughout our lives. Whether you’re considering having children in the future or you have teens nearing college age, we are here to equip you with essential knowledge and guidance for success in education planning.

Plan Based on Career Development

Work with your children to create a plan based on career development. When it comes to selecting a college, it is crucial to consider schools with programs and styles that align with future goals and aspirations. While small details are important, keep your eyes on the big picture: future success! Research the schools your children are considering and be sure to explore the degree programs each school offers to ensure they are properly equipped to help develop the skills and knowledge needed. The right college can make all the difference! 

Private vs Public Universities

When selecting a school, it is important to understand the details of the school and program. Each college or university offers a different price level dependent on many factors including program length, region/state, and type of educational institution. 

One of the most significant differences will be whether the school is public or private. Public colleges are mainly government-funded. They tend to have a wider selection of programs, more research opportunities, and a larger student body. Private colleges rely heavily on tuition, fees, donations, and endowments for funding and can be either for-profit or non-profit organizations. They often have more money available for grants and scholarships in addition to federal financial aid. 

The following are the estimated average costs of a full year of college at private and public colleges (via LendingTree):

  • Community college (public, in-state): $4,864
  • Community college (public, out-of-state): $8,622
  • Private community college: $15,460
  • Public two-year (in-district): $17,580
  • Public four-year (in-state): $25,290
  • Public four-year (out-of-state): $40,940
  • Private four-year: $50,900

College Savings Plan

A college savings plan is a crucial piece of the college planning puzzle and the foundation of any successful college financing plan. Think of your savings as a down payment on the total cost of college, similar to a down payment on a large purchase like a car or a home. 

Only 33% of families use a college savings plan to save for their child’s education. Whether you’re a new parent or already have children nearing their college years, it’s never too early or late to start saving to give them the best opportunities for success. Setting aside money over a long period of time takes discipline and even sacrifice, but can yield surprisingly positive results when done regularly. Work with a trusted financial advisor to help you navigate the process and create a plan tailored to your own goals and budget.

Financial Aid

Financial aid is a broad term for money used to help pay for college. It can include loans, grants, scholarships, and work-study funds. Ideally, you want to get the most from grants and scholarships to therefore have the least amount of loans possible. 

Colleges are the largest source of grant aid, with annual awards based on both need and merit. The federal government has two central grants, the Pell Grant, and the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, which are reserved for those with high financial need. The federal government’s main contribution to financial aid is student loans, both Direct Subsidized and Direct Unsubsidized, which are available to all students regardless of their financial needs. 

Many colleges will have a net price calculator available on their website which can be used to estimate how much grant aid a student will receive from the school based on their financial and academic information. Use this to compare your estimated out-of-pocket cost at several schools and factor affordability into your college planning decisions. 

College is a significant investment, and understanding the financial aspects from college funding to school selection is crucial. The Blakely Financial team is here to help. Contact us today to get your college planning journey started.

Blakely Financial, Inc. is an independent financial planning and investment management firm that provides clarity, insight, and guidance to help our clients attain their financial goals. Engage with the entire Blakely Financial team at WWW.BLAKELYFINANCIAL.COM  to see what other financial tips we can provide towards your financial well-being.
Commonwealth Financial Network® or Blakely Financial does not provide legal or tax advice. You should consult a legal or tax professional regarding your individual situation.
Wealth Management for Enjoying Life: Balancing Lifestyle and Financial Goals

Wealth Management for Enjoying Life: Balancing Lifestyle and Financial Goals

Wealth management goes beyond simply accumulating money; it’s also about achieving a fulfilling and enjoyable life. As a high earner, it is crucial to find a balance between your desired lifestyle and your long-term financial goals. In this article, we explore strategies for effectively managing your wealth and ensuring its longevity while also maximizing the enjoyment and experiences your wealth can provide. 

Define Your Lifestyle Goals

Envision the life you desire. Think about your passions, dreams, and generally what brings you joy. Do you love to travel? Are you an art lover looking to begin a collection? Identifying these unique lifestyle goals will allow you to begin long-term financial planning. These lifestyle preferences can guide your financial goals and decisions, ensuring your financial plan aligns with the goals that truly matter to you. 

Create a Comprehensive Financial Plan

To successfully manage wealth and achieve your goals, it is important to develop a comprehensive financial plan. It can be helpful to work with a financial advisor to evaluate your current financial situation. From there, you can together set clear objectives and customize a plan featuring saving strategies,  investment strategies, risk management, tax optimization, and estate planning to work towards these objectives. 

Prioritize Your Spending

In order to maintain a healthy balance between wealth and lifestyle, it is crucial to be thoughtful with your spending. Constant overspending could jeopardize the preservation of your wealth for the future. Establish priorities in your spending and differentiate between short-term indulgences and long-term financial health and security. To avoid frivolous spending, create a budget and stick to it. Don’t forget to factor enjoyment into this budget – it’s all about balance!

Diversify Your Investments

Diversification of your investment portfolio is essential to managing risk and maximizing returns. Consider traditional assets, such as stocks and bonds, as well as alternative investments like real estate or private equity.  This diversity will open up opportunities to experience new ventures aligned with your interests while also enhancing your long-term financial security.

Continuously Review and Adjust

Managing your wealth is not a one-time ordeal. It is extremely important to regularly review, evaluate, and adjust your plan as your circumstances change and your goals evolve. Make sure you are taking market conditions and emerging opportunities into consideration as well. Conducting periodic reviews with your financial advisor will help ensure that your financial strategy and objectives remain aligned. 

Give Back and Make a Difference

While enjoying the benefits of your wealth, consider philanthropy as a way to create a positive impact on your community. Philanthropic efforts could include engaging in charitable activities and supporting causes you care about, whether they are local, national, or global. These efforts can provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment. Talk to your financial advisor about developing a philanthropic strategy that aligns with your values and leverages your resources to spark meaningful change. 

Overall, wealth management is about building and maintaining your finances while also enjoying the benefits that come with your wealth. Defining your goals and creating a plan will allow you to embrace the opportunities that wealth brings while maintaining your financial well-being. While the balance between lifestyle and financial goals can be tough, the Blakely Financial team is here to help. Contact us today to speak with an advisor about securing your financial future. 

Blakely Financial, Inc. is an independent financial planning and investment management firm that provides clarity, insight, and guidance to help our clients attain their financial goals. Engage with the entire Blakely Financial team at WWW.BLAKELYFINANCIAL.COM  to see what other financial tips we can provide towards your financial well-being.
Commonwealth Financial Network® or Blakely Financial does not provide legal or tax advice. You should consult a legal or tax professional regarding your individual situation.
Securities and advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network®, Member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser.
The Benefits of Owning Property

The Benefits of Owning Property

June is National Homeownership Month, making it a great time to explore the benefits of owning property. Real estate holds great investment potential and can be a rewarding long-term strategy for building wealth. Owning property offers a range of advantages, which can be extremely beneficial to your financial security. Here we’ll delve into these benefits, highlighting why owning property can often be a smart financial move.

Builds Equity

Owning property allows the owner to build equity over time. Equity is the portion of your property that you own, calculated by subtracting your remaining mortgage balance from the property’s current market value. As you make mortgage payments and property values appreciate, your equity grows. Building equity means you are more likely to make a profit when selling the home, even with an outstanding balance. With higher equity, you have a better chance of selling the property for more than you still owe on the mortgage, even if the market changes. Homes are one of the few types of assets with the potential to appreciate in value, giving you the opportunity to build long-term wealth.

Increases Your Net Worth

Net worth is the value of your assets minus your liabilities. Any property you own is an addition to your portfolio of assets and over time, as property values rise, your net worth will also increase. Historically, real estate has shown long-term appreciation, making it a valuable component of a diversified investment portfolio and a significant contribution to increasing net worth. Appreciation will vary by market.

Opportunity for Tax Deductions

Mortgage interest payments are tax-deductible. Additionally, in most countries, property taxes paid on the property you own are eligible for deductions. If you use a portion of your property for business purposes or rental income, further expense and depreciation-related deductions may also be possible. With all of these deductions, owning property can reduce your overall tax burden. 

Passive Income Source

Investing in rental or other income-generating properties offers one of the biggest benefits of owning property – passive income. This means that the property can provide a steady and reliable cash flow with little maintenance involved. This recurring income can help cover mortgage payments, any other property expenses, and even additional income. This is a great option for those looking to diversify their income streams, make some money on the side, and/or increase financial security during retirement.

Before investing in income-generating property, work out the cash flows to ensure that it is profitable for you. You will want to assess whether your income from the property will be consistent before purchasing. Consider all your expenses and that this new rental income may be taxed differently than employment income. 

Greater Security

Owning property offers a sense of security and stability in case of emergencies. It provides the assurance of having a place to call home without the risk of sudden changes in terms or potential eviction. Additionally, owning can act as  hedge against inflation as property values tend to appreciate over time. Real estate owned becomes a tangible and valuable asset serving as a foundation for long-term financial security, 

Owning property reaps a range of benefits to enhance your long-term financial health and build your wealth. When developing your investment strategy, consider the advantages of property ownership as it can be a powerful asset in building a strong financial future. Consulting a financial advisor can be helpful when making decisions regarding the purchase of property. Remember to consistently evaluate your financial situation to ensure your plan aligns with your goals. Contact Blakely Financial today to get started on your property ownership journey. 

Blakely Financial, Inc. is an independent financial planning and investment management firm that provides clarity, insight, and guidance to help our clients attain their financial goals. Engage with the entire Blakely Financial team at WWW.BLAKELYFINANCIAL.COM  to see what other financial tips we can provide towards your financial well-being.
Commonwealth Financial Network® or Blakely Financial does not provide legal or tax advice. You should consult a legal or tax professional regarding your individual situation.
Securities and advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network®, Member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser.
Managing Your Wealth: Tips for High Earners to Build and Maintain Wealth Over Time

Managing Your Wealth: Tips for High Earners to Build and Maintain Wealth Over Time

High earners experience a unique set of financial challenges and responsibilities. Therefore, as a high earner, it is important to have effective wealth management strategies in place to both build and maintain wealth over time. High earners can build, maintain, and manage their wealth in the following ways:

Establish a Strong Financial Foundation

In order to maintain wealth, it is important to begin with a strong financial foundation. To build this foundation, start by tracking your income, expenses, and creating a budget. Doing so will allow you to understand where your money comes from, where it goes, and areas where you can cut spending to contribute to savings. Setting up an emergency fund will contribute to your strong financial foundation by helping you avoid accumulating debt in unexpected situations. Paying off any high-interest debt should also be a priority to avoid any unnecessary interest payments.

Implement Effective Tax Planning Strategies (Maximize Tax Advantages)

It is essential to optimize tax planning strategies as a high earner. Maximize your tax advantages through employer-sponsored retirement plans and tax-efficient investments. Working with a tax professional can also help you identify deductions and other strategies to optimize your tax planning and reduce your tax liabilities.

Diversification of Investments

By diversifying your portfolio of investments, you are able to mitigate risk and improve your chances of long-term growth. Explore various investment options like stocks, bonds, and real estate. Alternative investment options, such as private equity and venture capital, are also profitable options to consider. Seeking professional guidance will ensure you are making informed decisions to develop an investment portfolio aligned with your personal financial goals and risk tolerance.

Risk Management

As a high earner, it is essential to protect your wealth and minimize losses from any unexpected circumstances. One way to do this is through adequate insurance coverage including life, disability, and liability insurance. As mentioned earlier, risk management strategies should also be implemented with your investment portfolio to mitigate potential losses in the case of market downturns. Emergency funds also act as a buffer during any unforeseen circumstances. Working with a financial advisor can be helpful in developing a full risk management plan to protect your assets and income. 

Estate Planning

If high earners want to ensure a smooth transfer of wealth, it is crucial to create an estate plan. By creating a will, trust, power of attorney, and health care power of attorney, you can minimize estate taxes and distribute assets per your wishes. An estate plan can be updated regularly to reflect any changes in assets, personal circumstances, or estate planning laws. A comprehensive plan will help you establish a legacy for future generations and reduce future stress.

Building, maintaining, and managing wealth as a high earner requires careful planning. When building your wealth it is vital to prioritize saving and investing to ensure stability. It is also important to balance enjoying the present with preparing for the future. Remember to regularly review and adjust your financial strategies, keeping in mind personal changes as well as outside forces such as inflation. As a high earner, it is beneficial to seek professional guidance when creating wealth management strategies. Contact Blakely Financial today to begin your planning. 

Blakely Financial, Inc. is an independent financial planning and investment management firm that provides clarity, insight, and guidance to help our clients attain their financial goals. Engage with the entire Blakely Financial team at WWW.BLAKELYFINANCIAL.COM  to see what other financial tips we can provide towards your financial well-being.
Commonwealth Financial Network® or Blakely Financial does not provide legal or tax advice. You should consult a legal or tax professional regarding your individual situation.
Securities and advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network®, Member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser.
Benefits of a 529 Savings Plan for Education

Benefits of a 529 Savings Plan for Education

As the cost of education in the United States continues to rise, it’s becoming more and more important for parents to plan ahead. Fortunately, a 529 savings plan offers a solution to help alleviate the financial burden of education. The 529 savings plan is designed to help families save for education expenses by providing tax benefits and flexible investment options. 

What is a 529 plan?

A 529 plan, named after section 529 of the federal tax code, is a way to save for college in a tax-advantaged way. Plans are offered by states, and you can choose to participate in any state’s plan. It’s important to compare benefits to pick which plan best suits your needs.

There are two types of 529 plans—savings plans and prepaid tuition plans. 

  • With a 529 college savings plan, your investments grow in an individual investment account (tax-free).
  • With a 529 prepaid plan, you lock in a tuition payment at the current rates. The amount then goes into a general fund (rather than an individual investment account).

Between these two plan types, 592 savings plans are more common, as they have notable benefits. 

Tax-free Growth and Withdrawals

A 529 savings plan works similarly to a Roth 401(k) or Roth IRA. You select the investment option you want, deposit money, and your funds build over time in the account. Your investment grows on a tax-free basis. Money can also be withdrawn tax-free if used to pay for qualified higher education expenses.

Anyone Can Contribute

According to Education Data Initiative, Americans on average aim to save $55,342 for their child’s college expenses. With a 529 savings plan, a parent isn’t the only one who can contribute. Any friend or family member can make gift contributions to a beneficiary’s account. For birthdays and holidays, loved ones can make a lasting impact on the beneficiary’s future, cutting down on future student loans. The funds can be used to cover the beneficiary’s education costs, which are more than just tuition; these also cover textbooks, room and board, and other academic expenses. 

529 Savings Plans Can Be Used for More Than College Costs

Besides college expenses, the funds can also cover expenses for K-12 education. You can apply $10,000 per year toward private elementary or secondary school tuition expenses.

Flexibility to Change the Beneficiary

If your child chooses not to attend college or receives a scholarship, all is not lost. You can change the beneficiary to any other qualifying family member. This option helps families avoid paying taxes and fees on unused funds.  

A Little Goes a Long Way 

Small amounts truly add up over time and make a significant difference. Outstanding U.S. student loan debt reached $1.7 trillion at the end of 2020, according to the Federal Reserve. A 529 savings plan allows you to make a considerable dent in college costs, even if you start while the child is in high school. It is never too late—every penny counts.

The fees, expenses, and features of 529 plans can vary from state to state. 529 plans involve investment risk, including the possible loss of funds. There is no guarantee that an education-funding goal will be met. In order to be federally tax-free, earnings must be used to pay for qualified education expenses. The earnings portion of a nonqualified withdrawal will be subject to ordinary income tax at the recipient’s marginal rate and subject to a 10 percent penalty. By investing in a plan outside your state of residence, you may lose any state tax benefits. 529 plans are subject to enrollment, maintenance, and administration/management fees and expenses.

Blakely Financial, Inc. is an independent financial planning and investment management firm that provides clarity, insight, and guidance to help our clients attain their financial goals. Engage with the entire Blakely Financial team at WWW.BLAKELYFINANCIAL.COM  to see what other financial tips we can provide towards your financial well-being.
Commonwealth Financial Network® or Blakely Financial does not provide legal or tax advice. You should consult a legal or tax professional regarding your individual situation.
Securities and advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network®, Member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser.
Books to Help You Improve Your Financial Literacy

Books to Help You Improve Your Financial Literacy

Financial literacy is an essential skill that can always be improved, regardless of your previous knowledge. Understanding how money works, how to manage it, and how to make it work for you are key to being financially literate. Luckily, there are plenty of resources to help improve your proficiency with personal finance.  Below are a few of the Blakely Financial Team’s favorite books to improve your financial literacy.

Mind Gym: An Athlete’s Guide to Inner Excellence by Gary Mack and David Casstevens

Although Mind Gym is not specifically about finance, it offers valuable insights into the mindset and attitudes required for success in any field. This book explores the psychology of winning, and how an athlete’s mindset can impact their performance. The lessons in this book can be applied to all aspects of life, including financial success. Mind Gym emphasizes the importance of focus, confidence, and visualization in achieving success, all of which can help you achieve fiscal success.

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Think and Grow Rich is a classic book on personal finance and self-improvement. Published in 1937, it has sold millions of copies worldwide and is a source of inspiration for many successful individuals. This book discusses the importance of mindset, persistence, and goal setting in achieving financial success. The book emphasizes the importance of having a clear financial goal and a plan for achieving that goal. It also discusses the power of positive thinking, visualization, and affirmations in achieving financial success. By applying the principles outlined in this book, readers can improve their understanding of finances and make more confident choices with their portfolio. 

Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner

Freakonomics explores the intersection of economics and everyday life. It presents a unique and unconventional perspective on a range of topics, including incentives, risk, and decision-making. This book challenges readers to think critically about the economics that influence their lives, and encourages readers to question common assumptions about personal finance.

Improving your financial literacy and your attitude towards money is essential for achieving financial success. Reading is a great way to familiarize yourself with personal finance, and to feel more confident about the choices you make with your own investments. These three books, Mind Gym: An Athlete’s Guide to Inner Excellence, Think and Grow Rich, and Freakonomics, can provide valuable insights into the mindset required for financial success. By reading and applying the principles outlined in these books, you can develop the skills and knowledge necessary to achieve your financial goals. 

The views and opinions expressed in these books are for general informational purposes only and are not intended to provide or be a substitute for specific professional financial, tax or legal advice or recommendations for any individuals. They should not be construed directly or indirectly, as an offer to buy or sell any securities that may be mentioned in these publications.
Blakely Financial, Inc. is an independent financial planning and investment management firm that provides clarity, insight, and guidance to help our clients attain their financial goals. Engage with the entire Blakely Financial team at WWW.BLAKELYFINANCIAL.COM  to see what other financial tips we can provide towards your financial well-being.
Commonwealth Financial Network® or Blakely Financial does not provide legal or tax advice. You should consult a legal or tax professional regarding your individual situation.
Securities and advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network®, Member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser.