I remember the first time I received a financial plan. Actually, it was for my mother. It was a while ago, before I decided to become a financial planner myself, and is probably one of the reasons why I did so. My mother had inherited some money from my grandmother, and after a couple of years of waiting for the broker to do anything, we decided that we were going to move it. I’d researched some financial planners in the area, and decided to work with an hourly financial planner we’d found. For $800, she presented us with a beautifully …Read More
For a lot of military households, tax preparation is simple, straightforward, and free. Every year, just collect the paperwork and head down to the VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) office, and the staff can help you do your taxes. Or, if you’d rather do it on your own, you can either use a software provider such as TurboTax, or go to the IRS FreeFile website. The IRS also has a link to find free state filing options, based upon certain eligibility criteria.
However, you often get what you pay for. Over the course of your military career, you …Read More
The financial planning landscape can be pretty confusing. Not only is it difficult to figure out who has your best interests in mind (as the debate over the fiduciary standard is pretty confusing), but it’s also difficult to figure out who is in the business of EARNING their fee, vice collecting it. This article should serve as a quick snapshot (and starting point for discussions) on what a consumer should consider to be the minimum standard for hiring a financial planner. Meeting these criteria doesn’t necessarily mean success, but failing to do so should prompt you to keep looking for …Read More
As my financial planning practice grows, I’ve noticed that people are asking me how to become a financial planner. The other day, I answered an email from someone asking how to become a financial planner. It was at that point that two things occurred to me:
- At the time of this writing, I’ll have written about 150 articles on this website. None of them talks about why I became a financial planner.
- Military in Transition contains an “About Me” page, but it doesn’t really explain my journey from the military to becoming a financial planner.
This article is a first …Read More
This story is about my personal experience in dealing with a homeowner insurance claim for a roof replacement. Although virtually every other home in my neighborhood experienced the same damage (from a freak hailstorm), my insurance claim became a long, drawn out affair. While the settlement terms are beside the point, I hope this story will help steel someone for the challenges they might face if they’re dealing with a particularly tough insurance company.
Disclaimer: Sorry, but I have to put this up front. I’m a fee-only financial planner. My firm, Westchase Financial Planning, is a registered investment …Read More