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FPA Perspectives

Financial Planning Perspectives consists of timely articles on a variety of financial planning topics brought to Wi$eUp by the Financial Planning Association.

Click on a link below to view the PDF in a new browser window. If you have problems viewing the PDF files, you may need to download and install a PDF reader.

January 2012 [ click for PDF ]

  • Applying for Financial Aid: A Quick FAFSA Primer

    With the price of a college education rapidly rising over the last decade, and in the current difficult economic times, students and families are relying on financial aid more heavily now than ever before. In 2010-11, for example, undergraduate students received an average of $12,455 per full-time equivalent student in financial aid, according to the College Board.

    But how to get a share of those funds? Time to get to know FAFSA — Free Application for Federal Student Aid — the gateway through which students and their families can access the millions of dollars in grants, federal loans and tax breaks for which they may be eligible.

  • Add These 10 Tasks to Your 2012 To Do List

    What does 2012 have in store for you? Alongside the anniversaries, birthdays, vacations and other big dates looming in the year ahead, here are 10 key dates that financial planning experts suggest you circle on your calendar (or in your smartphone calendar app).

  • Even Everyday Folks Need a Financial Plan

    A person’s goals and aspirations, the choices they make everyday about how to spend, save, invest and share their money to get them where they want to go, these constitute a financial plan, said Beck. The real question is whether the choices a person is making about their financial life are steering them toward achieving their goals and fulfilling their dreams, or leading them down a dead-end road.

December 2011 [ click for PDF ]

  • Show Your Appreciation With a Gift That Appreciates

    One of the most thoughtful and rewarding gifts you can give this season comes not from the mall, an e-tailer, or any store for that matter, but rather directly from your bank account or investment portfolio.

    A financial gift, shares of stock, for example, or a contribution to a college savings plan is one that is likely to keep on giving, its value continuing to appreciate long after other gifts have been forgotten, discarded, digested or neglected.

  • Responsible Revelry: Holiday Entertaining on a Sensible Budget

    When the holiday spirit moves you to entertain, don't fight it, but don’t go overboard, either! Party costs can add up fast, leaving the host on the hook for a heaping helping of holiday debt. But don’t let that dampen your drive to party. With resourcefulness and some savvy social planning, it’s easy to host a truly memorable holiday event that won’t result in a pile of bills you’d just as soon forget.

  • 10 Ideas for a New Year’s Resolution Worth Keeping

    Instead of a grand gesture, total abstinence from sweets, for example, or quitting a bad habit cold turkey at the stroke of midnight Jan. 1 try making a resolution that’s ambitious yet eminently attainable: a financial resolution.

November 2011 [ click for PDF ]

  • How a Holiday Spending Plan Can Turn Humbug to Ho, Ho, Ho!

    The challenge many consumers face when holiday gift-giving season rolls around is making sure that in opening their hearts to show appreciation for the people they care about, they do not open their wallets beyond what is financially practical. The post-holiday bills that result from generous-to-a-fault holiday gift-buying habits can be harder to stomach than a stale holiday fruitcake.

    All it takes to experience the joy of giving without the post-holiday debt hangover is a little advanced planning, creativity and control over your consumer impulses.

  • Eight Ways to Gain an Extra Tax Edge

    The golden rule for minimizing your tax burden and avoiding unpleasant surprises from the IRS can be summed up with two words: PLAN AHEAD!

    Setting aside some time now for end-of-year tax planning (in consultation with a tax specialist if necessary) can pay off in a big way on your 2011 tax returns, according to tax experts from the Financial Planning Association in Denver, Colo.

  • Debt, the Double-Edged Sword

    The debt amount a person or entity owes to a creditor for funds borrowed is a four letter word capable of conjuring cold sweats in many Americans. Taking on certain kinds of debt may actually be a shrewd, financially sound move, according to experts at the Financial Planning Association® (FPA®), the largest membership organization for personal financial planners in the U.S.

October 2011 [ click for PDF ]

  • Secrets to Maintaining a Healthy Credit Score
  • A Financially Engaged Woman is an Empowered Woman
  • Be Wise at Work: Use Open Enrollment to Your Benefit

September 2011 [ click for PDF ]

  • The Bottom Line on Bankruptcy: Real Consequences, Real Relief
  • Leaving a Legacy: An Everyman’s Guide to Estate Planning
  • Why Smart College Grads Are Saving for Tomorrow, Today

August 2011 [ click for PDF ]

  • Financial Planning for Divorce: Making the Most of a Bad Situation
  • Get Out of the Red: Six Steps to Cut Debt
  • Money Savings Tips for College Students On a Shoestring Budget

July 2011 [ click for PDF ]

  • Red, White, Blue…and Green: Finance 101 for Military Spouses
  • College for Working Adults: Financing the Dream
  • Save Dough When You Go: A Guide to Vacation Cash Conservation

June 2011 [ click for PDF ]

  • You’re Not in This Alone: A Guide to Resources for Special Needs Families
  • Do You Need Life Insurance? If So, How Much?
  • Why Make Time for a Mid-Year Financial Checkup

May 2011 [ click for PDF ]

  • The Dollars and Cents of Adoption: A Financial Primer for Parents
  • Mind Your Own Business: Planning Tips for a Smooth Start-Up
  • Personal Finance 101 for Recent College Grads

April 2011 [ click for PDF ]

  • Retirement Preparation: Ways to Save More Now to Live Comfortably Later
  • Weddings on a Budget: A Plan to Pay for the Big Day
  • Wise Ways to Use Your Tax Refund

March 2011 [ click for PDF ]

  • Straight Talk about Foreclosure
  • For a Summer Vacation to Savor, Start Saving Now
  • Just in Time, Tried-and-True Tips to Lower Your Tax Tab

February 2011 [ click for PDF ]

  • Baby Steps: Tips to Help Expectant Parents Put Their Financial House in Order Before Baby Arrives
  • Time to Invest in Your Future? How to Determine if You’re Ready to Start Investing
  • Just in Time for Valentine’s Day: Six Secrets to Help Sweethearts Overcome Cash Management Conflicts

January 2011 [ click for PDF ]

  • Happy New Year - Get These Dates on Your 2011 Financial Calendar
  • Creating Your First Budget
  • New Federal Consumer Protection Rules Went Into Effect Jan. 1 – What You Should Know

December 2010 [ click for PDF ]

  • How to Evaluate a High-Deductible Healthcare Policy
  • Set your Money Resolutions for 2011
  • Favorable Tax Treatment on Roth IRAs Set to Expire Dec. 31

November 2010 [ click for PDF ]

  • Strategies to Keep Your Healthcare Spending Under Control
  • Making Your Dollars Go Further at Holiday Time
  • Don’t Wait Until Dec. 31 to Do Your End-of-the-Year Tax Planning

October 2010 [ click for PDF ]

  • 529 Plans are Losing Enthusiasm Again: Time to Shop Around, Get Advice and Compare Because They’re Still a Good Deal
  • When Should You Take Social Security?
  • The Reality of Bankruptcy and What You Can Do About It

September 2010 [ click for PDF ]

  • With Open Enrollment on the Way, Check Your Health and Benefits Needs Now
  • Understanding COBRA and Other Health Insurance Options if you Quit or Lose Your Job
  • One-stop Retirement Planning: Taking a Look at Target Fund Changes

August 2010 [ click for PDF ]

  • How to Appeal Your Property Taxes and Why You Should Consider it Every Time
  • Working Abroad Requires Some Detailed Planning
  • Making Sure Your Departing College Student is Properly Insured

July 2010 [ click for PDF ]

  • 10 Ways to Cut Your Debt Now
  • Understanding the New Overdraft Law
  • The Economics of Renting vs. Buying

June 2010 [ click for PDF ]

  • Wedding Season is Here: Planning for a Financially Secure Marriage
  • Things You Should Do Before Working for a Startup Company
  • Financial Planning for Special-Needs Children Needs to Start Early

May 2010 [ click for PDF ]

  • Helping Your Kid Manage Money and Opportunity on their First Summer Job
  • Federal FAFSA Forms Are Due June 30 – Tips for Last-Minute or Future Filers
  • Protecting Your Summer Vacation

April 2010 [ click for PDF ]

  • Plan Your Family’s Summer Vacation at Bargain Rates
  • Does It Make Sense to Sell a Sizable Life Insurance Death Benefit For Cash?
  • 10 Things New College Grads Should Do to Plan Their Financial Lives

March 2010 [ click for PDF ]

  • Think a Tax Refund Loan Sounds Good? Think Again
  • Last-Minute Tax Savings You Shouldn’t Forget
  • Going Green Can Save Big Green, Thanks to the Blue Economy

February 2010 [ click for PDF ]

  • Affording Graduate School While You’re Still Working
  • Planning Tax-Smart Home Improvements for the Summer
  • 10 Things New Couples Should Do About Money

January 2010 [ click for PDF ]

  • Invest in Yourself to Make Your Business, Personal or Job Prospects Brighter
  • Remembering Bernie Madoff: In the New Year, Investors Should Remind Themselves of Important Lessons from the World’s Biggest Ponzi Scheme
  • January - A Good Time to Check Your Vulnerability for Identity Theft

December 2009 [ click for PDF ]

  • As the Job Market Improves, Put a Permanent Career Safety Net in Place
  • Who Starts Thinking About a Summer Job in December? Smart Kids and Their Parents, That’s Who
  • Welcome 2010 with Some Money Resolutions for the New Year

November 2009 [ click for PDF ]

  • Looking for the Perfect Holiday Gift? Start With a Spending Plan That Keeps You Out of Trouble
  • Medical Tourism: Do’s and Don’ts of Seeking Cheaper Treatments and Procedures Offshore
  • Last-Minute Tax Tips for 2009

October 2009 [ click for PDF ]

  • As the Employment Market Recovers, it’s Smart to Plan Now for the Next Job Opportunity
  • Ways to Negotiate Medical Debt - What You Can Do Alone and With Help
  • Prepare for College Funding Emergencies Before One Happens

September 2009 [ click for PDF ]

  • Should You Dump Your Car? Considering Transportation Alternatives as a Way to Save Money
  • Open Enrollment Is Around the Corner - Examine Your Investment and Health Picture Now

August 2009 [ click for PDF ]

  • Understanding Actively Managed Exchange Traded Funds
  • How to Screen a Prospective Financial Planner

July 2009 [ click for PDF ]

  • What Happens to Your Benefits if Your Employer Goes Bankrupt?
  • New Credit Card Rules
  • Setting New Spending, Savings and Borrowing Habits for the Post-Recession Age

June 2009 [ click for PDF ]

  • Bringing Healthcare Issues into Financial Planning
  • Ways to Save on Vacation when Times are Tough
  • Some of the Worst Financial Mistakes are Made in Divorce – Here’s How You Can Avoid Them

May 2009 [ click for PDF ]

  • Resetting Your Recession-Era Budget? There May Be Money in Places You Haven’t Checked
  • Eldercare Is Expensive, So Planning and Negotiation Is Key
  • In Troubled Times, It’s Never Too Early to Teach Kids about Money

April 2009 [ click for PDF ]

  • Why Maintaining Your Credit Score Becomes Even More Important During the Continuing Credit Crunch
  • Ways To Save Money On Health Care And Health Insurance In Troubled Times
  • Planning a Cost-Effective Job Search
  • How Does the Stimulus Plan Affect You? It’s Good to Get Some Advice Now

March 2009 [ click for PDF ]

  • Want To Save Money In a Tough Economy? Go On a Fee Hunt
  • Planning For Your Child’s K-12 Private Education
  • It’s Tax Time Again - Take Advantage of These Changes for Your 2008 Return

February 2009 [ click for PDF ]

  • Coming Clean: A Valentine’s Day Money Checklist for New Live-In Couples
  • The Windfall You’ve Fantasized About Just Happened. Now What?
  • Credit Score Computing Will Change in 2009 - Do You Know How it Will Affect You?

January 2009 [ click for PDF ]

  • Happy New Year- Get These Dates on Your 2009 Financial Calendar
  • Don’t Wait Until Graduation to Launch Your Career Strategy
  • Everything in Moderation: The 2009 Money Diet

December 2008 [ click for PDF ]

  • Helping Family Members During Tough Times - How Far Should You Go?
  • Facing Tough Times? Know that Raiding Your Retirement Is Extremely Risky
  • Ring Out the Old Year with Some Tax-Saving Tips

November 2008 [ click for PDF ]

  • In Troubled Times, Make Sure All Your Bank Accounts Are Within Insurance Limits
  • Make a List, Check It Twice - Ways to Keep Holiday Spending Under Control
  • Ten Steps to Getting a Raise in the New Year

October 2008 [ click for PDF ]

  • Don’t Take a Corporate Buyout Before You Check It Out
  • Starting a Business with Your Spouse or Partner? Be Ready for the Problems That Can Surface
  • Why Talk to a Financial Planner When You’re in Your 20s?

September 2008 [ click for PDF ]

  • Thinking about Gobbling Up Your Company’s Stock? Make Sure it’s a Balanced Diet
  • As the Downturn Deepens, it’s a Good Time to Review Your Financial Habits
  • Having Trouble Paying Your Kids’ Tuition? Keep Your Hands off Your Retirement Nest Egg

August 2008 [ click for PDF ]

  • Too Diversified? Not Diversified Enough? When is Diversification Just Right?
  • Planning a Move? Make It a Smart One From a Money Perspective
  • Thinking About Working Abroad? You’re Going to Need Detailed Planning

July 2008 [ click for PDF ]

  • Think Credit Counseling Is the Answer to Your Debt Problems? Be Very Careful About the Agency You Select
  • Peer-To-Peer Online Lending Sites - Good Deal or Risky Last Resort
  • More Single and Unmarried Households Require a Unique Planning Structure of Their Own

June 2008 [ click for PDF ]

  • Planning a Mid-Career Return to College? Don’t Forget to Ask What Uncle Sam Can Do for You
  • Buying Your Family’s Health Care Coverage? Begin with Some Smart Steps
  • Affording Your Pet’s Cat-Astrophic Illness

May 2008 [ click for PDF ]

  • Want to Fight I.D. Theft? Be Careful How You Treat Your Information in the Real and Virtual Worlds
  • Want to Avoid Medical Debt? Take These Preventative Measures
  • If You Can’t Sell a Home, Is Renting a Good Idea?

April 2008 [ click for PDF ]

  • What if Your 401(K) Plan at Work is Less Than Great?
  • Before the Summer Hurricane and Tornado Season Begins, Develop Your Own Disaster Plan for Home and Business
  • Need to Teach Young Kids about Money? Try These Ideas

March 2008 [ click for PDF ]

  • Thinking About a Tax Refund Loan? Rethink Your Refund and Spending Strategy Instead
  • When You Add Up the Numbers on Retirement, It Pays to Save Now
  • Be Smart about Renovations in a Down Home Market

February 2008 [ click for PDF ]

  • When is a Prenup a Great Valentine’s Day Gift? When it’s Time to Remarry
  • When Considering Long-term Care Insurance, Don’t Forget the Tax Issues
  • Headed for College? Whether It’s You or Your Kid, It’s Time to Check the Rules on Financial Aid

January 2008 [ click for PDF ]

  • Happy New Year - Put These Dates on Your Financial Calendar
  • If a Friend or Relative Needs Financial Help, Do it the Right Way
  • You’ve got an Investment Plan. Do You Have a Self-Investment Plan?
  • When Recession Fears Surface, Check Your Plan - Or Make One

December 2007 [ click for PDF ]

  • Making the Right Money Resolutions Can Lead to a Much Healthier, Happier 2008
  • Is Your Home Insurance Coverage Adequate?
  • One-Size-Fits-All Target Funds Can Miss Their Mark

November 2007 [ click for PDF ]

  • As You Gobble, Give Some Thought to the Rising Costs of Healthcare
  • Give Yourself a Special Gift at the Holidays: A Season without Debt
  • Your Personality is a Big Part of Your Investment Approach

October 2007 [ click for PDF ]

  • Getting Today’s Best Returns from a Home Renovation
  • Getting Today’s Best Returns from a Home Renovation
  • Thinking About a New Mortgage in 2008? It’s a New World Out There

September 2007 [ click for PDF ]

  • Does Your Family Have a Long-term Care Strategy?
  • As the New Models Roll In, Keep Your Money from Rolling Out
  • Don’t Go in Blind to Open Enrollment - Review Your Options First

August 2007 [ click for PDF ]

  • Top 10 Money Decision for Today’s Incoming College Freshman
  • Is Pet Insurance Worth It?
  • Is it Your Year to Buy a Timeshare? Do Your Homework First

July 2007 [ click for PDF ]

  • Don’t Wait for a Layoff to Plan for One
  • Going to the Hospital? Prepare Financially as well as Medically
  • Whether You Choose Credit Counseling or are Ordered to Attend, Check out the Agency First

June 2007 [ click for PDF ]

  • Prevent Financial Fireworks This 4th - Do a Midyear Financial Checkup
  • Thinking of Buying Your First Home or Refinancing? Here's How to Improve Your Credit Before You Apply
  • Your First Job Can Be the First Great Move in Your Financial Life

May 2007 [ click for PDF ]

  • Just Mailed Your Check to Uncle Sam? Get a Jump on Your '07 Taxes Now
  • Singles and Unmarried Couples Require Their Own Financial Planning Structure
  • Make Sure Your Travel Insurance is a Real Safety Net

April 2007 [ click for PDF ]

  • Taking the Plunge: Affording Your Big Summer Dreams
  • Getting Your Kids Ready for Their First Summer Job
  • Paying for Wedding Bells: Is the Big Party Worth a Solid Financial Start?

March 2007 [ click for PDF ]

  • Retirement 101: As Tax Deadline Approaches, Make Sure You Know All Your Retirement Contribution Options
  • When Doing Your Own Taxes Makes Sense... And When It Doesn’t
  • April Fool’s! Can You Spot The Financial Myths On This List?

February 2007 [ click for PDF ]

  • A Money Quiz for You and Your Sweetheart
  • Smart Retirement Moves to Make - or Start - by April 17
  • How to Keep Your Teen's Car Insurance Rates As Low As Possible

January 2007 [ click for PDF ]

  • Put Your Credit Resolutions in Motion for the New Year
  • As the New Year Begins, Make Sure You're Not Making Mistakes With Your 401(k)
  • Happy New Year - Put These Dates on Your Financial Calendar

December 2006 [ click for PDF ]

  • What Are Exchange-traded Funds and How Do They Work?
  • Yours, Mine and Ours: Stepfamily Finances Require Plenty of Planning
  • Tax Tips to Consider as 2006 Winds Down

November 2006 [ click for PDF ]

  • Thinking About an Indexed Annuity? Take the Time to Understand them First
  • Planning the Maximum: Retirement Contribution Limits in 2006 and 2007
  • Returning Military Need to Plan a Financial Re-entry to Everyday Life

October 2006 [ click for PDF ]

  • 529 Primer: A Tax-Advantaged College Savings Option Just Got Better
  • Get Ready for 401(k) Retirement Advice at Work, But Be Prepared to Ask Questions
  • Felt the Pinch From Your Adjustable Rate Mortgage Yet? Be Ready for the Moment You Will

September 2006 [ click for PDF ]

  • As Open Enrollment Approaches, Do a Benefit Checkup
  • Rewind: If You Had the Time to Plan for a Sudden Serious Illness or Death in the Family, What Would You Do?
  • How to Un-retire: Planning a Post-retirement Move Back to the Workplace

August 2006 [ click for PDF ]

  • Giving While Living-The Buffett Way
  • Financial Planning for a May-December Relationship
  • Packing Your Kid Up for College? Teach Them Money 101 Before They Go

July 2006 [ click for PDF ]

  • Conversion of an IRA to a Roth IRA Needs Careful Study
  • Getting the Kids Involved in Saving for College
  • Start a New Summer Tradition: the Mid-year Financial Checkup

June 2006 [ click for PDF ]

  • ARMs: Adjustable Rate Mortgages
  • Fighting High Energy Costs
  • Sending Freshman off to College the Right Way

May 2006 [ click for PDF ]

  • Dream Big: Financial Planning For Unexpected Wealth
  • Losing Your Inheritance to Uncle Sam- or Others
  • The Pros and Cons of Reverse Mortgages

April 2006 [ click for PDF ]

  • Can You Afford to Live With a Pet? Plan Before You Purchase or Adopt.
  • Is a Geriatric Care Manager Right for You or a Loved One?
  • As Rates Rise, Tapping Home Equity Gets Riskier- How to Recover.

March 2006 [ click for PDF ]

  • The Basics of Health Savings Accounts
  • When 'Fun' Gambling Becomes Problem Gambling
  • Smart Ways to Refinance

February 2006 [ click for PDF ]

  • How to Plan Your Dream Vacation Without Ignoring Your Financial Goals
  • Top Ways You Can Prevent Identity Theft
  • Financial Planning for Newlyweds- and Those Marrying Again

January 2006 [ click for PDF ]

  • Making the Right Money Resolutions Can Lead to a Much Healthier, Happier 2006
  • 8 Things You Should Know About Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Coverage
  • More Audits This Year? Here's How to Protect Yourself.

December 2005 [ click for PDF ]

  • Give Your Credit a Post-Holiday Checkup- and Save Money in 2006
  • The Biggest Financial Mistakes People Make in a Divorce- and How to Avoid Making Them
  • Taking Responsibility for Retirement: How Today's Scary Headlines Can Help Your Retirement Plan

November 2005 [ click for PDF ]

  • Don't Wait Until Catastrophe Strikes to Discuss Money Issues with Older Relatives
  • Gear Up for Last Minute Tax Savings- Katrina and Otherwise
  • Your First Year of Retirement- Do You Know How Much You Will Be Able to Spend?
  • Katrina's Tax Effect- The Latest Changes

September 2005 [ click for PDF ]

  • Disaster Preparedness Makes Sense for Finances, Too.
  • Becoming Your Own Health Care Cost Advocate
  • New Roth 401(k)s Call for a Full Review of Individuals' Retirement and Tax Picture

June 2005 [ click for PDF ]

  • Follow This Financial Planning Starter Kit
  • Financial Planning For Grandparents Raising Grandchildren
  • Phasing Into Retirement

May 2005 [ click for PDF ]

  • How to Make Your Own Healthcare Decisions When You Can't
  • Ways to Avoid Filing For Bankruptcy
  • Company Stock: How Much is Too Much?

March 2005 [ click for PDF ]

  • New Automatic Rollover Rules Help Out Lax Retirement Savers
  • The Benefits of a Comprehensive Long-Term Financial Planning Relationship
  • Saved By The Bell: Consolidating College Loans

February 2005 [ click for PDF ]

  • How, and Why To Save More Money
  • What You Can Do if Your Pension Plan is Shaky
  • To Choose or Not to Choose: New Sales-Tax Reduction Takes Planning

January 2005 [ click for PDF ]

  • How The Young Can Whittle Down Debt
  • 8 Financial Keys To A Happier New Year
  • How to Make Your 401(k) Account Work Like a Pension Plan

 

 

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