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  • Financial Confessions from an Old Geezer

    Wednesday, August 8, 2012

    It’s back-to-school time.  Early August, really?  Back in my day (aka “old geezer comment coming next”), we didn’t start school until after Labor Day!  What is it with the here and now – it’s changing faster than ever, and it is simply hard to keep up!   (Especially for us geezers, right?)

    I’ve shared with you that we have a teenager in the house.  She will be actively driving come next spring.  She is polishing up her defensive driving skills in the meantime.  I am asking my teen to put some money away to purchase a car at some point.  I will help, but I certainly won’t be buying that Porsche she has a photo of on her smart phone. 

    Chances are good, that if we become a three-car family, there are some options we will look at – saving money for an old clunker (after all, I drove a 1963 VW bug back in 1979), seeking out a car loan for a little newer vehicle (also possibly translated as a “safer” vehicle), and my lender recently even enlightened me that I could roll a vehicle loan into my mortgage loan – for convenience, of course.  I have a little time to consider the options, and see how well my teenager is saving money for her future transportation. 

    College expenses are going to be hefty, also, though we have a few more years.  Finding money to set aside to help our daughter – go get those scholarships, young lady! – is tough.  The 529 College Savings Plan is there to help us, help her.   She will also need to have some “skin in the game” for school – it’s no longer “like it was, back in the old days.” But we will do what we can, by taking advantage of setting aside some money, and planning – for her future.

    Also creeping up on me is my own retirement.  While it is off on the horizon just a bit, I need to be accountable to have set aside enough money so I can live a retirement lifestyle I’ve dreamed of – you know, traveling with spouse, family, and friends!  I want to live that dream, and so I have to prepare.  I do my best to set aside money and contribute to my employer’s 401(k) plan.   By putting some money there, my company matches me, in essence, giving me “free” money on top of my own contributions.  But is it enough?  That’s hard to say, so I, on occasion, I also talk to a financial adviser.

    I encourage my spouse, who works in a small family business, to set aside some money in an IRA.  We cannot rely on Social Security, if it will even be there, and so, it is important we spend time planning for our financial future.   The future.  It will be here before we know it.  My goal is to be a financially prepared, old geezer.

  • Is It Time to Call in the Professionals?

    Tuesday, March 6, 2012

    I don’t know about you, but for me, cars have become way too complicated. When I headed off to Indiana State University for my freshman year it was in a five-year old, used Ford Maverick. I really liked that car. It was bright green with a vinyl, black and white checkered bench seat in the front (which made it easier for snuggling with my girlfriend and eventual wife).

    It had a 3-speed on-the-steering-column manual-shift transmission. Every once in a while the shifter would get stuck making it impossible to move out of second gear. The solution was simple: hold down the clutch, coast to the side of the road, turn off the engine, get out, open the hood, reach in and jerk on one of the bars connecting the shifter to the transmission. This got the stick unstuck and allowed me drive on shifting through all three gears.

    That was something I figured out on my own with just an 8th grade shop class knowledge of cars. There was plenty of room under that hood. I could set a tool box in there and actually change spark plugs myself.

    Now I don’t know if the Ford I’m driving today even has spark plugs. If it does, I’d never be able to locate them in the tightly packed jumble of components under the hood let alone get my hands in far enough to put a tool on them. The transmission in my current car is both manual and automatic! How in the world does that work? If something got stuck, I’d have to call the auto club. 

    I suppose I could learn how to work on my car but I think my life is better spending that time with my family, working in the community, and doing my job.

    There are times in our lives when it’s better for us to turn to professionals. Just like me hiring a mechanic when I have car trouble, if you need legal work done, you see a lawyer; if you’re really sick, you call a doctor; and if your tax return is complicated, you hire an accountant. If you’re at a point in your life where it takes too much time, energy and special knowledge to manage your investments yourself, you should call MutualWealth Management Group.

    For most of us that time comes when we have to take full control of a retirement plan from an employer and that time may come well before you retire. When you change jobs you may have a retirement account at your old employer that probably should be rolled over to an Individual Retirement Account. Some people have retirement accounts scattered among several former employers.

    There are plenty of other situations when you should call us for professional investment help such as when you sell a business or property, inherit money, change marital status, receive a large legal or insurance settlement, or (don’t laugh because it happens) win big in the lottery or at the casino.

    MutualWealth manages investments for people in personal accounts, retirement accounts, and trust accounts. Our fee is based on the value of your account; we are never paid commissions for “selling” investments. The only thing we sell is ongoing service based on your individual needs. So if you’re at the side of the road in your financial life and you don’t know which bar under the hood to jerk, call MutualWealth Management Group.


    David Riggs is Vice President and Trust Investment Officer with MutualWealth Management Group.

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