blog, John J. Bowman Jr Accountant, John J. Bowman Jr. Accountant, personal finance

The Differences Between CFAs and CPAs

CFAs and CPAs may sound like the same thing, but their responsibilities differ. For people who are not familiar with the financial and investment industries, the differences between the two may not be that clear. While CFAs and CPAs are both financial professionals, these individuals travel along different educational and professional paths.

What is a CFA?

A CFA, or chartered financial analyst, analyzes financial reports. Such reports include financial statements revolving around wealth planning and mutual and hedge funds.

Read the full article at JBowmanAccountant.org.

Standard
John J. Bowman Jr Accountant, John J. Bowman Jr. Accountant, personal finance

When to See a Financial Advisor

For many, talking about money can be a nerve-wracking experience. It’s not included in the preferred “small-talk” topic list, and some consider it a sensitive subject. However, conversations about personal finance are an important element in the process of helping individuals grow their net worth. That’s where financial advisors come in. Financial advisors serve as conduits for these conversations, offering advice and assistance in planning and executing financial strategy. When should you see a financial advisor?

When You’re Experiencing Life Changes

From starting a family to transitioning into retirement, drastic changes in your life often benefit from the perspective of a financial advisor. When it comes to marriage and bearing children, the introduction of joint finances, college savings, and estate planning for wills can be a tempest of confusion. As for retirement, financial advisors can offer insight into a retiree’s financial stability and the process of filing for Social Security. In both cases, financial advisors can help organize the clutter and reorganize an individual’s priorities. A thorough understanding of your future financial situation will only serve as a benefit.

When You Have Large Investment Sums

Having a good chunk of money involves much more strategy than one may expect. To manage strategies and accounts and balances, individuals need assistance from people who can navigate those murky waters and work with large sums of money and investments. If you’re dedicated to stock market investments and exchange trading, a financial advisor can help organize your finances. It’s easy to let small aspects of portfolios slip through the cracks, but a successful financial advisor can spot those bits and make sure that you’re really getting your money’s worth.

To finish the article, visit JBowmanAccountant.info.

Standard
John J. Bowman Jr Accountant, John J. Bowman Jr. Accountant, personal finance

4 Reasons People Accumulate Debt

22 trillion. That’s how many dollars the United States of America owes to world powers such as China. Debt can be a worrisome four-letter word, not just for the country as a whole, but for its independent cogs and gears as well. While the average American doesn’t owe $22 trillion of their own cash, debt is still a reality for many. Below are four ways debt can accumulate. Do you recognize any of these in your own life?

Credit cards

Plastic beats paper in the world of transactions; over the past several years, cash payments have increasingly given way to credit and debit card charges. And, while 90 percent of consumers still use cash for some purchases, the age of credit card swiping and chip reading draws closer. However, credit cards make it easier for consumers to purchase items, sans the lighter wallet. Credit card debt has steadily risen over the past five years, and it can be easy to fall down a rabbit hole of debt if paying by card is your preferred method of shopping.

Poor spending habits

We’ve all splurged on a snack at the grocery store or a newly-released book. While the occasional treat is fine, purchasing a treat every day is a red flag. Poor spending habits are easy to fall into and difficult to climb out of, particularly if you aren’t the only member of the household struggling to save. Taking time to learn how to manage money is vital for anyone who wants to avoid falling into debt. In fact, creating a personal spending rulebook can help you and your household members understand the impulses behind your spending and ways to avoid personal debt.

Gambling

Any casino from NYC to Vegas employs psychological and mathematical tactics to take your money. From the absence of windows and clocks to lengthy slot machine algorithms, casinos are practically vacuums for your wallet. Gambling disorder is officially recognized by the DSM-5 as a psychiatric concern, and the impact it has on one’s money is no joke. Avoiding the casino is a sure-fire way to not waste your money, and there are plenty of free ways to have fun.

Loans

From student loans to mortgages, this type of debt is often the least controllable. While one can practice appropriate spending and avoid gambling or credit card usage, loans are often necessary to move forward in life. In this case, the best strategy is to stay on top of the debt and follow a strict regime for saving up to pay them off.

This article was originally published at JBowmanAccountant.info.

Standard
John J. Bowman Jr Accountant, John J. Bowman Jr. Accountant, personal finance

3 Things to Consider Before Investing in Stocks

As an increasing number of books, websites, and apps introduce the stock market to the general public, more people find the stock market to be accessible. Even though software and guides have streamlined the process, adequate research is essential for anyone hoping to get into the stock game. It’s crucial to keep numbers in mind, but nuggets of advice are equally important. Whether you’re a first-time investor or seasoned stock aficionado, the following three tips are important to keep in mind.

You have to set goals

Throwing your cash in random directions and hoping something sticks is the exact opposite of what a good investor should do. Look into the industries that interest you and seek out key players and up-and-coming competitors. Then, develop a strategy by deciding how much money you’ll invest total, and how much each investment will be. It’s best to start simpleif you don’t have much investing experience, which means you should stick to regular investments and establish a well-researched foundation. Once you’ve started that foundation, give yourself a timeframe before you check on those stocks again—as you’ll see in the next section, obsessing over the numbers is going to hinder you.

You have to keep a level head

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett has maintained for years that the buy-and-hold strategy is the best option for any investor. Real-time updates cause dramatic fluctuations to the stock market. While sudden drops in stock rates are worrisome, a goal-focused investor should be safe, even if rates are down. This is especially key in the short-term, as split-second decisions can be dangerous for the success of an investor’s stock portfolio. A volatile market is one in which long-term negative changes come into play. A short-term downturn is not necessarily a cause for alarm.

You have to diversify your investments

Don’t just invest in a bunch of businesses from one industry. Check out a few industries and businesses of interest to you, and ask yourself whether they fit in with your overall goals and budget. A diverse portfolio reduces the overall effect of a downturn on your portfolio. This may not be doable early into your investing journey, but as your portfolio grows and your investing confidence improves, diversification is going to be important.

This article was originally published at JBowmanAccountant.org.

Standard
John J. Bowman Jr. Accountant, personal finance, tax, Uncategorized

Preparing for Tax Season

Tax season can be a stressful, but rewarding time, depending on your work and financial situation.  With tax time right around the corner, you’re probably anticipating receiving your W-2 from your employer in the mail, and any other necessary documents, within the next few weeks.  Today, your taxes can be managed in numerous ways from a personal accountant, a nationwide accounting service, or even, an app on your phone that doesn’t require a visit to an office; the way you choose to have your taxes done is really based on your personal preference.  One thing, however, that everyone has in common regardless of how your taxes are done, is how you should prepare for tax time to make it easy on yourself, or your tax professional. Here are a few key ways to better prepare for tax time:

Figure Out Your Preference

As previously mentioned, today, your taxes can be done in various ways.  The first step to preparing for tax time, is figuring out how, and who, you want to do your taxes.  Do you plan on doing them yourself? Or would you prefer to have them done by an accountant or a tax-preparation service?  Keep a few things in mind. If you plan to do them yourself, you want to make sure you have all of the right information and know about the deductions that you’re entitled to.  If you plan on hiring an accountant or tax-preparation service, make sure you do the necessary research so you know who you’re working with.

Get Your Forms in Order

Everyone has a different financial situation, and there are multiple tax forms one will need depending on their situation.  To get yourself best prepared, figure out which forms are necessary for you during tax time, and get them in order. If you’re unsure, you can always take a look at the IRS website or consult a professional you may know.  

.

.

This article was originally published on jbowmanaccountant.info 

Standard
blog, John J. Bowman Jr. Accountant, personal finance, Uncategorized

Great Ways to Boost Your Credit

One of the many ways we are “defined” by society, is by our credit score and history.  Your credit information has a very significant impact on not only your personal finances but also a majority of your life and different events you may experiences, such as buying your first home.  The first step in credit management is establishing your credit score. Once this is done, it’s important to remember that you’ll want to continue to build your credit up in various ways; you can do this by gradually making small credit charges or larger transactions such as financing or leasing your first vehicle.  Always remember that any credit charges you make need to be paid back within a specific period of time, and late payments can negatively impact your score, as well as result in late charges and higher interest payments. Here are some great tips for boosting your credit:

Make Payments On-Time

Whenever you make a credit charge, you should keep the payment due date noted somewhere where it will help you remember.  Credit cards are a great tool for boosting your credit when they are used properly; however, they can do more harm than good when they aren’t managed correctly.  Any credit card charges you make should always be paid on early or on time. This will give you a good rapport with the credit company, as well as boost your score.  You’ll also avoid any late charges, and you’ll have a better chance of getting future credit cards and other purchases with low-interest rates.

Avoid Making Minimum Payments

While minimum payments are an option that you’ll usually see when you’re making a payment, it’s best to pay your bills in full if you can…

.

.

To continue reading please visit jbowmanaccountant.org 

Standard
blog, John J. Bowman Jr. Accountant, personal finance, Uncategorized

How to Curb Overspending and Avoid Debt

One of the most common problems adults deal with every month is efficiently managing their finances.  Depending on your salary, and your regular monthly expenses, you may find yourself struggling to stay afloat or save some extra money.  If you’re wondering where your paycheck is going, you may want to take a deep look into your spending habits. While you may be covering all of your necessary bills, you may also be overspending on things you don’t necessarily need.  Not to worry; this is something many adults deal with, and there are plenty of solutions to help better manage your habits.  Here’s how:

Track All Spending

The first and most obvious step to curbing your overspending is tracking your spending in general.  Every week, you should track where your money is going. By the end of the month, you should have a compiled list of what you’re spending each week, and where you can cut back.  Seems like an easy task, and something you really wouldn’t need to track; however, the smallest purchases can really add up and make a significant impact if you have enough of them.  For example, if you’re someone who goes out to lunch on your break from work, you’re likely spending almost $10 a day, if not more! This ad’s up to a minimum of $50 that you could be using for necessary bills, or putting into your savings account!

Know Your Spending Triggers

It’s not uncommon to spend based on your emotional or psychological triggers.  Things like your mood, environment, friends, etc., can really dictate the way you’re spending.  Take notice of this. Recognize what you’re feeling, or doing when you’re out splurging on things you don’t need.  For example, if you’re an emotional spender, you may find the need to go on a spree if you’re feeling down or even happy.  However, when you’re trying to save money, this can be detrimental to your savings plan. Be aware of your triggers, and do what you can to supplement them in ways other than swiping your credit or debit card…

.

.

To continue reading please visit jbowmanaccountant.info 

Standard
blog, John J. Bowman Jr. Accountant, personal finance, Uncategorized

Steps to Setting Up a 529 College Savings Plan

As a parent, your number one concern is always your children and how you can best provide for them.  While they may be young still, the future of their education is likely only a few years away, and as time goes on, college tuition costs are increasing drastically.  This may concern you, especially if you’re still paying off your own loans from your college days! Luckily, there’s hope, and a great way to get your little one’s future college finances in order.  The solution: a 529 college savings plan. Wondering the best way to set one up? Here are some simple tips:

Pick a Plan that Works Best for You

When it comes to 529 plans, it’s not as simple as just one.  There are two main types of 529 saving plans that you can choose from.  You can decide if a prepaid plan works best for you, or if an investment plan is a better choice.  If you decide on a prepaid plan, you can think of it as a locked-in plan. You generally pay for a year or a portion of the tuition ahead of time, locking in the price.  Depending on your state, the requirement can vary. Investment plans give you the ability to choose how you want to invest your funds, and how you can use the money depending on the institution that’s chosen down the road.

Open the Account

To open your 529 account, you’ll need to submit an application; this can generally be completed online; however, in some cases, you may need to mail it in.  Additionally, you’ll need to choose the right account to work with, whether it’s an Individual (Custodial), Trust, or Business account. From there, you’ll choose the custodian (likely yourself), and the beneficiary, (your child)…

.

.

To continue reading please visit jbowmanaccountant.org

 

Standard
blog, John J. Bowman Jr Accountant, John J. Bowman Jr. Accountant, personal finance, Uncategorized

Essential Money Tips for Before and After Retirement

Throughout life, there are many different financial phases and stages that someone goes through.  From opening your first savings account to buying your first house, and so on.  It is important to build your financial structure over time, to ensure the best possible financial stability as you embark on a lifelong journey.  Here are a few simple money tips to follow before and after your retire.

Open a Savings Account

The first savings account you open independently is an important part of your quest to build financial stability, and a retirement plan that will keep you comfortable.  Start with your preferred banking institution, and sit down with a personal banker. Find out what type of savings accounts your bank offers, if there are any fees or perks, and do your best to contribute to it every paycheck.

Pay Down Your Debt

Outstanding debt is a major issue for many American adults.  Student loans, mortgages, credit cards, and car loans are all components of consumer or household debt.  In fact, by 2018, Americans accumulated a new record of $13 trillion in debt.  It is important, and wildly beneficial, to start tackling outstanding debt as soon as possible.  Establish payment plans for your student loans, and work on paying off credit card debt.

Consider Your Budget When Buying Your First House

Buying your first home can be very exciting; however, it can also be extremely expensive.  Always consider your budget when house hunting. Think about and understand what you can afford, while still being able to live comfortably, rather than what you want to afford.  Take time to do the required research on loans, mortgages, and lenders; a first home can often come with renovations, you will want to have some money set aside for this as well.

Invest In Retirement

Though it could be years away, it is essential to your future retirement to start planning as soon as possible.  Take a look into 401K plans that your company may offer, if they match or not, and if so, how much. If your company doesn’t offer a 401K, take a look into some independent options, like an individual 401K or an IRA (Individual Retirement Account).

Know Your Budget

While you will have resources like social security, and the retirement plans that you contributed to over the years, it’s important to understand your budget after you retire.  Not having a flowing steady income that you may be used to, can sometimes make understanding what your budget is a little more difficult. After you retire, take a look at the money you are still collecting, and your expenses; and don’t forget, part-time work is always available to stay busy and still collect an income.

Consider Downsizing

The idea of downsizing can be frightening, depending on what you’re used to.  First, try not to look at it in a negative light. Downsizing can be a great way to enjoy retirement and cut down some living expenses.  Not only can you potentially save on your living expenses, but also reduce upkeep, home maintenance, and taxes.

Standard