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So far Perspective Financial Services has created 145 blog entries.

Financial Education Missing Piece in Social Work

Social workers assist people with a myriad of complex topics like housing, public benefits and health care. Would adding financial education be too much to ask of an already strained profession? Or might it be an essential piece that has been underestimated all along?

The Spring 2018 edition of NEFE Digest explores the concept of including financial education training for social workers. It draws from a research report produced at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis: Faculty Perspectives on Financial Capability and Asset Building in Social Work Education.

On any given day, a social worker could be helping someone find treatment for opioid addiction, placing a child in foster care, or leading crisis management after a natural disaster. While these might not seem to have much in common at first glance, there is a financial component underlying just about every situation a social worker might face.

At its core, financial education is about more than spending guidelines and credit scores. It’s about making informed decisions that will benefit one’s life now and in the future. Regardless of whether the challenge is getting affordable housing, finding employment or caring for the elderly — basic financial skills and understanding are critical to making the best choices. Training social workers to educate their communities about debt management, spending guidelines, opportunity cost and other personal finance concepts could improve decision making and outcomes in just about every area.

By |July 16th, 2018|Current Affairs|

Money Habits for Living the Life You Want

Rachel Cruze has been speaking to people about the dangers of debt and the importance of budgeting since the age of fifteen. Growing up as Dave Ramsey’s daughter, she uses that experience and knowledge to educate others. Her book Love Your Life, Not Theirs: 7 Money Habits for Living the Life You Want is a worthy read. It starts out strong with its main point and first habit to establish – quit the comparisons – and specifically addresses the envy of others that social media creates.

The other six money habits are laid out clearly: steer clear of debt, make a plan for your money, talk about money (even when it’s hard), save like you mean it, think before you spend, and give a little… until you can give a lot. Cruze’s views on budgets are adaptable for people of all incomes. She breaks down the basics of budgeting simply, making it easy to follow. If you’re new to money management, or if your money management isn’t working, it is a great introduction to help you figure out where you need to adjust.

The first section has a somewhat philosophical tone, covering an emotional habit rather than a financial one. The pace quickens in the following sections, and Cruze does a great job covering sensitive subjects like debt and loans in a direct but inoffensive way. This line, in particular, resonated with me: “There is no such thing as good debt and bad debt. It’s just debt. At the end of the day, you still owe someone something.”

There were a few critical omissions in the budget section that are worth noting. Medical expenses had only a vague reference under “miscellaneous,” and insurance (not including car) was considered a luxury along with cable and eating out. Despite these oversights, I recommend this book to everyone.

I felt I was in a good place with my money management, yet I still found the book highly motivating and helpful. It’s a quick read, and Cruze makes recommendations to websites and other books for those who want to delve deeper into subjects she briefly covers.

Written by Tobi McCann
By |June 4th, 2018|Books|

Merits of Wedding Insurance

merits of wedding insuranceHave you ever thought about the merits of wedding insurance? According to a survey by TheKnot.com the average cost for a U.S. wedding is now more than $35,000. That’s also about the average price paid for a new car, according to 2018 figures from Kelley Blue Book. And few would argue the merits of car insurance.

What if storms shut down a major airport, causing you to postpone the wedding? Or, what if that adorable ring-bearer drops the diamond-studded bands off the pier at your beach ceremony? Wedding insurance is a type of special event insurance (also called one-day insurance) that covers injuries and venue damages. It can also cover loss or damage of things like photos, attire, gifts and rings, as well as deposits in case of cancellation.

Before you buy insurance, check with your vendors to see what sort of coverage they have for their services and facilities. You wouldn’t want to pay for overlapping coverage if, for example, the reception hall has liability coverage for accidents. Ask for copies of any vendor policies, and then sit down with your insurance professional to determine where you may benefit from additional coverage.

By |May 7th, 2018|Current Affairs, Insurance|

New Tax Law Tempers Marriage Penalties

New tax law tempers marriage penalties.One unintended feature of U.S. income tax law is that the combined tax liability of a married couple may be higher than their combined tax burden if they had remained single. This is often referred to as the marriage penalty within the law. Congress’ new tax law tempers marriage penalties a bit.

“Marriage penalties and bonuses have a significant impact on the combined tax burden of couples,” wrote Amir El-Sibaie, an analyst with the Center for Federal Tax Policy at Tax Foundation. “Penalties affect couples at very high and very low incomes, and bonuses affect many middle-income couples with disparate incomes.”

Changes that would eliminate marriage penalties and bonuses would drastically impact the current distribution of taxes paid. This is politically difficult to accomplish. As a compromise, in the recently-passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Congress opted to incrementally reduce the effects.

While our nation’s tax laws remain extremely complicated, a few simple changes should bring some relief to married couples and families in 2018.

As an example, most federal income tax brackets for joint filers will now be double those for singles, thereby eliminating or reducing the marriage penalty for many people. (Married couples in certain high-income brackets will continue to experience higher rates than singles in the same brackets, however.) The new law also doubled the child tax credit to $2,000, and all dependents ineligible for the child tax credit are eligible for a new $500 per-person family tax credit (source: The Wall Street Journal).

By |March 26th, 2018|Taxes|