Four-In-One: On Budgeting, Millionaires, The Stock Market, And Money In Marriage
Dive into a jam-packed episode on financial planning as Debbie Bloyd discusses four different topics that will have you prepare for a brighter and worry-free future. First on the agenda is budgeting, where she dives into some of the best ways to plan and stick to your budget. Second, Debbie explains what makes a millionaire, going further to tell you how they make, keep, and save their money. Tapping on current events, she then talks about what is happening in the stock market as well as retirement planning and the ways annuities can help you out. Lastly, Debbie gets to the importance of talking about money, especially before settling down for marriage.
Listen to the podcast here:
Four-In-One: On Budgeting, Millionaires, The Stock Market, And Money In Marriage
Budget Is A Plan
One of the best things we can do for ourselves is not to let ourselves go crazy and stick to a budget. A budget will solve a lot of problems and teach us how to operate within some parameters because some of us need that. It’s like a bowling alley. We need to have those bumpers up and down the sides when we’re little kids, so we stay away from the goalies. You have to do that for yourself as a budget. At the end of the year, we’re starting to spend money like crazy but let’s budget for next year. Let’s start next year off right. It seems so restrictive and it doesn’t have to be. You can make a budget for fun. You can make a budget to make whatever your dreams happen but plan it. All budget is a plan. Learning how to budget or plan may seem like a daunting task but it doesn’t have to be. Create a plan that works and is relatively simple. You don’t have to be an Einstein to do this. You’re not alone.
A lot of people struggle with how to plan their money, so I help people do that all the time. We talk about what are your biggest fears. We operate out of a fear-based mentality usually. “If this happens, I don’t know what’s going to happen.” Fine. Let’s budget for that. Do you budget for life insurance? Do you have life insurance? What would happen if you were hit by a bus and not here? That’s what I always ask my clients. For my clients, mostly in the mortgage business, they still want their interest rate and close on time. When I’m talking to financial planning clients, they go, “If I’m not here, let’s see.” What does that mean? Who’s going to take over the bank accounts? How should we structure those? Who is going to take over the house? How should we structure that? Do I have a will that’s brought up to speed? What do I need to know? These are all things that can ease your financial pain.
A lot of people wake up in the middle of the night and that’s their problem. Everything’s going through their head. Everything seems like a mess. Let’s get it unmessy, straighten it out, put it in some lines, and then go forward and work your plan. We all will feel better if we work a plan. Will a monthly budget work? That was a question I got emailed one time. Are you in deep debt? Do you have credit card bills? Do you need to pay off something? We can work on that as well. Let’s put that into the budget. Do you fall somewhere in between this? We just need steps. You can make a budget or if you don’t like the word budget, use plan because it gives you a clear visual picture of where your finances sit every single month. First of all, we need to see where we’re at now. It’s like a diet. You go on a diet the first year, they’re going to take your measurements and weigh you and they’re going to see what you look like six months later if you’ve been working the plan.
We can do the same thing when it comes to your money. We’re going to start by finding the money you didn’t know you had because you’re spending stuff you didn’t know you were spending. How much do you spend on coffee every morning? How much do you spend on cigarettes or whatever your vice is? Just because you don’t drink or smoke, it doesn’t mean you don’t waste money somewhere else. A budget creates a plan that dictates how your money can work for you. You don’t have to think of it as a negative, you can think of it as a positive. These are great things that can happen with your money. Soon you’re going to be able to track and see your results, so we need a personal budget. A lot of people are scared off by budgeting because they think it’s restrictive. Let’s put in some fun money. You can do that. There are tools on every website that can help you set a budget. It could be as easy as a pencil and paper. You’ve got your house note, groceries, you may have daycare, internet, gas, cell phone, health insurance, electric gas, water, sewer, and life insurance. All these things need to go into your budget. Write it down.
They said if you don’t track it, it doesn’t matter. In a game, you keep score. We win or lose, so let’s keep score with our budget. It can’t be a guess. Guessing leaves too much room for error. It needs to be exact. Look at your bank statements. Go through all those ATM charges, see where you’re spending your money, and categorize it, whether it’s gas, money for lunch, coffee or whatever it is. Let’s write it down, then we determine, “This is my income.” You already know what your income is unless you’re commissioned. It’s even more important that you budget but you have an income. If you’re a W2 person, you know what your money coming in is going to be. The only thing we can control is 1 of 2 things. You either bring in more money or you spend less to get your budget into order. A lot of people can make more money. “I’m a commissioned person. I just work harder. I just do more. I do more loans. I see more financial planning clients. I can do more. I don’t want to be restrictive.”A budget will solve a lot of problems and teach you how to operate within some parameters. Click To Tweet
I don’t like that either. I want more. I want my money to go for more things. Do I need to have health insurance? Do I need to have life insurance? Do I need to save more? These are all things that we can address with a simple budget. We need to write down all of our bills, then we need to look at the expenses that you can do something about, which are your utilities, groceries, entertainment, restaurant, clothing, and then dreaded miscellaneous. When estimating variable expenses, make sure you leave a little buffer. We need to say, “Do you have a negative number?” We need to cut down some of those areas that you’re spending so you could give yourself, “I’m going to spend for Christmas, but I’m going to set aside a little bit every month.” You may have to go back to the envelope way with Dave Ramsey where you put a little bit of money aside.
I had one lady that came in and she had eight different little savings accounts for different things. One was Christmas, one was birthdays and she separated it out that way. That was easier for her. Write it down, automate your savings, go online, get a bank account, make sure you move money over the beginning of every month, pay your mortgage and then pay yourself as savings. That way, you’re always going to have money saved up. Reward yourself. When you reach certain goals, give yourself a little raise. Give yourself a little gift, maybe an extra coffee that week. Be honest and realistic. Be kind to yourself. You don’t have to make budgeting a terrible thing. Budgeting can get us where we want to be. If you need help with this or any of your other financial goals, please give me a call. I sit down with people every day. If you’re out of town, I do Zoom. My office is on William D. Fitch. I’ll be happy to meet you at the office. Whatever is best for you, talk at night or weekends. I do work a lot. My kids are in college. That’s a big budget we need to talk about, so give me a call. My direct number is (979) 220-3018.
Who’s In The Millionaire’s Club
We’ve been talking a lot about millionaires. If you want to get in, you want to find out who’s in the club? I want to find out who’s in the club. I don’t want to join a club that I don’t feel like I belong in or I’m not comfortable in. Let’s see who’s in the millionaire’s club, where are they willing to live and what do they do. We’re going to give a breakdown of high net worth individuals. The lowest amount of millionaires lives in Mississippi at 3.8%. The highest amount is in Maryland, at 7.6%. Alaska has 7.2% millionaires. I didn’t know that. New Jersey, 7.4%. Hawaii, 7.4% and Massachusetts 7%. It looks like we may need to move. Texas is not rated up there and neither is Florida. A growing number of households that are worth $1 million or more. In 2016, it was over $10 million. A breakdown of high net worth individuals $1 million to $5 million has 11.3 million individuals in it. The $5 million to $10 million has 1.3 million individuals. People with $10 million to $50 million has 875,400. This sounds like a more exclusive club. People with $50 million to $100 million have 47,200. People with $100 million to $500 million have 21,500. People with $500 million to $1 billion have 1,180. People that have $1 billion or more, 580 individuals.
Let that soak in. It would be fine to be in the $1 million to $5 million region. Can you believe that over 580 individuals have over $1 billion? It’s amazing. What do millionaires spend their money on? Let’s see in September 2012 Money Magazine. Ten percent of people with a net worth of $1 million to $5 million spent more than $25,000 on automobiles. Of the $5 million-plus people, 48% spent more than $5,000 in charities. How do millionaires distribute their assets? This is something to learn if you’re an investor. This is how millionaires make their money, keep their money, and protect their money. You’re going to be shocked at investable assets. Forty-four percent are on equities. That is going to be stocks and mutual funds. Fifteen percent in fixed income. Short-term investments are 15% and 4% in alternative investments, but out of their whole investable assets, only 55% is in that stuff. Sixteen percent is in their primary residence. Twelve percent are going to be defined contribution accounts like IRAs and 401(k)s. Eight percent is going to be annuities and insurance. Investment in real estate is 6% and 2% is going to be in privately held companies.
A portrait of a millionaire. Seventy-six percent of them are married, 67% are men and 33% are women. The top professions are going to be professional services, medical or healthcare, and education. Ninety-one percent of millionaires are white Caucasian. Eighty-three percent have an undergraduate degree or higher. Forty-three percent of millionaires are still employed. They’re not retired. The annual income of millionaires is $125,000. Can you do that? Yes, you can. Median retirement assets, $750,000, Median investment assets, $1.75 million. That means they’ve got retirement stuff invested at $750,000 on average but altogether, their investable assets of $1.75 million. Let’s see the arts and entertainment. People spend money on travel and jewelry. That’s what all we spend money on and millionaires are the same way. In this article, you might want to go back to Money Magazine, September 2012. They talked about how they did it in five different families. They said what they did and how they saved it.
This is not a rocket scientist. This is living underneath your means. Don’t spend everything you’ve got and take a risk. I hope this is helpful. If you have questions about how to make money work for you, it’s what I do. I will be happy to help. No minimum required and no maximum required. Start a 529 Plan for your kids and invest a little bit in the IRA. That’s what I’m here to do. I’m here to help. My website is Money Strategies with Debbie and I would appreciate a call if there’s something I can do to help. Find me on the web. I’m available all the time. My direct phone number is (979) 220-3018. I have gotten a few calls and emails that want to know the name change. I got divorced. It’s not my doing and I went back to the maiden name that nobody knows me by that name. It’s like I’ve come out of nowhere. It’s my maiden name. It’s my dad’s name. My website changed as well. It’s MoneyStrategiesWithDebbie.com. You’re going to notice it’s the same old website. We just redid the logo and moved it to a new URL.
I’m the same girl that’s been doing money and finances for many years, and I’d be happy to help you. If you have questions, this is not a pay to plaything. You can just call me. We can email back and forth. We can talk at night, at weekends or whatever you need. I do work a lot. I have two teenagers. I’m not retiring anytime soon. College is expensive. I’ve saved plenty of money but these little kids, they cost a lot of money. I’ve already had a toddler. If you’re starting your family, I can help you start those 529 Plans. If you’re getting ready for retirement, you’re worried about your parents, and someone needs to talk to them, allow me to help you and help them as well. I appreciate you being with me every episode on the show. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to send me an email Debbie@MoneyStrategiesWithDebbie.com.
What’s Happening In The Market
Let’s talk about financial planning. Let’s talk about what’s happening in the market. If you are watching the news, you’re going to be scared. I’ve been getting lots of calls from my former and current clients, saying, “I’ve lost $40,000. I’ve lost $30,000. I’ve lost $60,000. I’ve lost $70,000 in a day.” Can this be happening? Yes, it’s the stock market. It’s volatile. We talked about in our forecast what 2020 would be and I said, “It’s going to be volatile because of politics.” Who knew the flu would be so volatile and what would happen? Yes, the market can go up and down on a heartbeat. That’s why we have to look at our money. Not look at our desires sometimes, but look at what makes sense based on market trends and not what we have a fixed number in our mind. I talked to a client one time and he said, “I was going to think about fixing all my assets when I hit 70 but I’m not 70 yet.” I’m like, “You don’t get to pick your age by what’s going on. You’ve got to pick market trends and either beat the trends or react to the trends.”
Now that the market has gone down, I’m urging people to ride it back up until you get back to somewhat whole and it’s a number you can tolerate, and then call me. Let’s move you to something that has a floor on it. There are things called annuities. I’ve heard people say, “I don’t like annuities. I don’t want to talk about annuities.” Yet, they don’t even know how to describe them. I’m going to give you some definitions based on all the continuing ed and stuff that I do. You can Google these definitions yourself and they’re going to make sense to you. They’re available to everybody but they’re not correct for everyone. The focus of retirement planning has been devoted almost entirely to the accumulation of assets. The market has been going up for many years and it’s been on a great ascend. A lot of financial planners got into the business after it bottomed out. They didn’t know that it couldn’t go anywhere but up.
From listening to all of the financial companies that we tour and send us information, and we’d go to their seminars and webinars that things are going to change because it’s an election year. We talked about that but as the demographic grows older, as we hit 70, you no longer have 10 or 15 years for the market to turn around if it bottoms out. It’s dropped by 35%. It’s on the way back up and it’s like going to Macy’s. A lot of people were sitting on the sidelines but as soon as Macy’s had a 35% off sale, everybody ran to Macy’s to buy. The stock market is on sale and people are going to come back in. The thing is, how much stress can you take when it comes to your money? These are things that we need to talk about. In basic terms, an annuity is a financial interest instrument that provides a means to accumulate funds for the future and then systematically distributes those funds over a given period. Annuities are issued by insurance companies. They’re not mutual funds, yet you can invest in mutual funds, whether it’s a fixed annuity or a variable annuity.You don't have to make budgeting a terrible thing. Budgeting can get you where you want to be. Click To Tweet
The owner deposits money into the contract in the form of premiums, then the companies invest these funds, which are credited with interest earnings or grow in value in relation to the performance of the investments in which they were deposited. You get your money out at a period and you call it annuitize when you apply capital to the purchase income. By design, annuities can serve both as an asset accumulation vehicle and an asset distribution vehicle outside of your will. This is not something that needs to go to probate. It’s an insurance product like life insurance. If I was hit by a bus and I had a life insurance policy, that would pay my kids upon my death. If I had an annuity, that too would pay upon my death, whatever I had not annuitize out of it already.
One of the unique aspects of an annuity is that through this annuitization, the product can generate income payments that can last as long as the contract that you sign up for. There are all kinds of contracts. There’s a contract for a scheduled period of time. You may say, “I want it for five years. I want it for ten years. I want it for a lifetime.” You can also get an annuity to pay a lifetime and then your spouse gets the remaining of their lifetime. There are a lot of different ways to structure these. There is called an immediate annuity, which within a short time after you purchase the contract, typically a month, the funds the owner deposited are annuitized and you can convert them into a guaranteed stream of income. You say, “Debbie, why is this so important to have a stream of income?” In some part of your life, say you have $600,000 saved up in the bank and you say, “I’m going to take what most financial planners talk about, 3% to 4% of that every year out to live on.”
What happens when all that’s gone? That may only last for fifteen years. What if you’re not dead in fifteen years? Your mutual funds or your 401(k), whatever it came from, is depleted. That’s where an annuity comes in. It’s got set payments for life or for a set period of time to make sure you get all your money back. It’s an insurance policy. It’s an insurance product that works like a guarantee. It functions differently than the stock market. Traditional fixed-rate annuities have a fixed level of interest and the company tells you to sign up for it. It’s on the paperwork. “We’re going to give you a 3%, then we’re going to give you 4% the following years or we’re going to start out at 7% and then it’s going to 6% and 5%. It’s a seven-year annuity.” One of the problems with annuities is that you can’t take it out early or like a CD at the bank, there’ll be a penalty for withdrawal, and you’ll have a surrender charge. We need to plan this stuff around, what else do you have? What other money do you have to live on?
We always talk about how much income you need to live on every month and let’s plan for that. Let’s look at your social security and your pension. Let’s see what you’ve got, what your bills are going to be and then make a budget. We can find out where this annuity might fit in to bridge the gap of that money. Unlike fixed annuities, there’s something called a variable annuity and this is often called a VA. The funds have a variable annuity, you put them into a contract and these are based on the performance of the underlying investments. It determines the growth. If the underlying investments perform well, the contract values increase. If the underlying investments perform poorly, the contract may decrease. Unlike fixed annuities that have a floor, these variable ones don’t have a floor. It all depends on how much could the contract decline and how much decline can you take. A lot of people, as they get older, they don’t want to have to worry about losing 30% in a day. They don’t have time for that.
There are some things that we need to look at when we look at annuities. A lot of insurance companies have annuities. It depends on who your person is signed up with. I’m signed up with a couple of companies that have represented lots of annuities and they’re all A-rated, which means that they’re going to payout. They’re going to be steadfast, reliable companies. If you have any questions about the market, what’s going on, you want someone to take a second look at your money, and figure out a plan for you, give me a call. I’ll be happy to take a look at it and it doesn’t cost anything to talk. My number is (979) 220-3018 or you can go to my website and find me there. MoneyStrategiesWithDebbie.com and there’s a contact page. The easiest way is to just give me a call.
Money In Marriage
What do you need to know about money if you’re getting married? A lot. You need to know how the other person thinks about money. You need to talk about how you’re going to spend money and how you’re going to share money or not share money. These are all things that need to be lined out in advance. On MSN.com, there’s a great article talking about money. I’m going to summarize it and give you some commentary on real-life examples of money and couples on how they handle it. This is as different as raising your kids. Everyone is deeply rooted in their emotions when it comes to money, yet we may not think we are. I was raised, my parents had money and then they got divorced. I had to take care of my mom that didn’t know how to handle money. She had a checkbook. That’s about as far as she got and I had to help her with the rest. That’s a lot when I was a kid. I was 16 or 17 years old. I’m looking at my kids and I have taught them a lot about money because they need to be prepared at any time to understand what money can do and what it means.
My son told me one time, “Can’t you help me pay for my truck being repaired?” I’m like, “No, that’s your responsibility. I helped you buy the truck and now you’re fixing it. Putting tires on it, paying for your insurance, and all that stuff.” He goes, “It broke and I didn’t have anything to do with that. I didn’t treat it badly. It just needed some stuff replaced and it’s not my fault.” I said, “I know, but that is what the responsibility is. When you own a vehicle, you’ve got to keep it up and just because tires wear out, it’s no fault of your own. They wear out and you have to replace them.” These are lessons that we need to be teaching our kids. When they grow up and they understand the meaning of money when they’re making their own, you have to understand where you came from in money, what your ideas and values are about money before you get married and share somebody else’s values with money. You’re probably both not brought up the same way. You don’t have the same core values when it comes to money. Everybody’s different.
Let’s talk about some of the things that you could make into trouble if you don’t talk about money before you get married. It’s important to be open and honest about money. I know a lot of couples when they come in buying that first house with me, they’ve gotten married and lived together maybe a couple of years. He doesn’t know about all her credit cards and she doesn’t know about all his student loans, yet they’re married living under the same roof. On the credit report for the first time, he sees how much he owes or she sees how much he still has in student loans or that he’s still paying off the wedding ring or whatever. It’s not always a good situation. A lot of people have to come clean with themselves before they even talk to the other person when it comes to money. We’ve all made mistakes with charging things and paying them all off. We’ve all had things go bad in our past but when we first come together and we’re renting apartments and buying homes, it’s a joint application on that credit. If we’re using both incomes, that credit score, you don’t want to be the first place to find out about each other’s spending habits in an office with me.
Sometimes, it gets tense. I walk out and let you guys talk about it for a while and then I come back in and figure out. “Now that we’re here together, let’s move forward. We’re not going to place any more blame.” It takes two to tango and that has never been true than when it comes to heavy financial lifting. Both partners need to have a clear handle on the inflows and the outflows of money. The person that makes the most money, are you sharing your money? Is it separate accounts? However you handle it, it’s up to you. When we qualify for mortgages and we talk about investing and things like that, I’ve had couples come in and even their investments are totally different. He’s at high-risk stuff and she’s not. She invested in one thing and he doesn’t believe in that. These are huge fights fixing to happen and waiting to happen, and sometimes bubbling under the surface that we need to get out and get discussed or agree that we’re each going to handle our money differently and that’s okay.
Personalities have a lot to do with this. Being real about who you are and accepting the other person as he or she is can mean the difference between relationship success and couple catastrophe, especially where money is concerned. You have to come into the relationship as either a saver or a spender and that part is going to determine how you handle money. You will feel the way that is right for you and that other person probably feels a different way. Trust me, that creates some problems. Hiding it is not the best way to do it. Being mad isn’t the best way to handle it. You might have to start a discussion long before you get married about how you feel about these things. The same way about kids. These things are going to keep cropping up over and over in your marriage. The discussion about prenups is also important about how you’re going to handle money. That’s something to be done in advance. That doesn’t end all the conversations, but it makes it clear where everybody stands.It takes two to tango, and that has never been true than when it comes to financial heavy lifting. Click To Tweet
Some other things that we need to worry about according to Dave Ramsey. I’m a big Dave Ramsey fan, but I’m not a big fan of all of his beliefs. He believes that you shouldn’t buy a house until you have 20% to put down. That would derail a lot of people’s homeownership dreams. He also believes you shouldn’t have credit cards. You can’t get a mortgage without good credit and you can’t get good credit without having credit. That means you have to have a car loan. You can’t always pay cash for cars and if you paid cash in everything, I wouldn’t be able to get you a mortgage because you wouldn’t have a credit score. According to him, it’s never okay for the biggest breadwinner to hold a wage gap over the head of a lower wage earner, and that happens all the time. “I make more money. It’s my rules.” When you make more money, they become your rules. It’s not a good way to handle relationships and money for families or for kids. None of that is good at all.
Another problem that you can do is learn to hide your money. That’s never good for a marriage. I don’t think hiding things, having secrets in line, and going behind each other’s backs is good in any marriage. It’s a recipe for disaster. A lot of people have a separate account that the other person doesn’t know about just in case. I don’t think that’s the safe way to go either. There shouldn’t be a hidden credit card or bank account on the side. If it’s a hidden credit card and you come in to get a mortgage and it shows up on the credit report, I’m going to see it and they’re going to see it, and you’re going to be outed. I don’t think that’s a good idea. Some people only insist on having separate accounts, and that’s okay. How are you going to handle those bills that you have jointly? That’s another thing to cover in advance. Neglecting previous obligations. Maybe you’ve been married before or maybe you’ve had a girlfriend before that’s on a car note. You’ve got bills from a previous relationship that you’re still working on. These are all things that need to be out in the open. You can’t make the second spouse be responsible for the first spouse’s stuff or the girlfriend’s stuff.
I know a lot of young couples that come in and they bought a car with their girlfriend and that car note may still be on there. When you end a relationship, whether it’s marriage or dating, you need to separate those credits out. That means you take their social off of that credit report and you take it off that credit card. Don’t say, “Give me back the card.” You’ve got to separate their social security number off of that account. Another thing is this is where we get our beliefs and money. It comes from our childhood, whether our parents had money or didn’t have money, or money was something that was revered or you always had. Those are childhood memories. They say you are set in your mind at about seven-year-old. As a seven-year-old, your personality is what it is already. Your belief system is in place for a lot of things. You need to look at that when you have kids. What are you feeding these little minds and how is that going to turn out?
Other people might cling to the idea that money is scarce, so when you get it, you hoard it. All these things are going to be characteristics that come out when you’re a married couple and when you’re starting to buy things together. The sad but true fact about your all-important credit score is this, good credit is the status symbol and poor credit has a bad stigma attached to it. Also, it costs you more money. The insurance that you pay for your car and your home is FICO score driven as well as the mortgage interest rate that I charge you when I pull your credit for a loan. A lot of things are credit score driven so that credit score means a lot. I’ve had people that have great amounts of money and crappy credit because they don’t take the time to pay their bills on time. They let things go and then it follows them around forever, so that’s a problem. Forgetting that you’re on the same team. A lot of people come into a relationship, each has their own credit and own bills, and they forget that if they’re joining together, they’re also joining together their money.
As credit starts crossing the lines and you’re both on a note or you’re both on a mortgage, how you react to your credit makes a huge difference. You can hurt each other or help each other. LendingTree, the big mortgage group, found that people who loan money to relatives are repaid an average of 57% of the time. That’s the amount that they gave and that doesn’t look good. That means we shouldn’t be co-signing for people. We shouldn’t be co-signing on student loans, cars, and houses. We shouldn’t be doing money deals with our family members. Knock it off. That’s on credit, too. Spending too much on a wedding is a huge problem. Maybe we fail to make spending limits. We don’t ever have them while we’re single because we don’t have anyone to answer to but when we get married, we become a joint unit. We probably should have that discussed and then we need to talk about taxes. What does tax ramifications mean for what we’re doing and what we bring to the relationship? That’s also a big deal.
This and many more things contribute to credit when we’re married and when we’re divorced. If you have questions, please call me about either how to pull it apart or put it back together. I’ve talked to a lot of couples as they go through divorces and we try to fix the money problem and things that have not gone right. I don’t want to wait until that happens. Attorneys don’t always know how to separate out the money exactly right. Why don’t we try to do that ahead of time? If I can help you, I’ll be happy to. I’ve been doing this for many years in the mortgage business. I would love to talk to you about your money and finances. If I can help you with your investments, that’s great. We also talk about long-term care, disability insurance and everything that has to do with your financial picture. Give me a call. My number is (979) 220-3018.