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A Real Estate Dilemma

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You own a condo and it's paid off, but the condo association fees are really starting to annoy you. Should you ditch the condo and buy a house? That's the dilemma facing Kristen from Portland, Oregon.

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Real Estate Proceeds and Blitzscaling with Reid Hoffman and Chris Yeh

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We’re starting things off this week with a great call from Cathy in New York City. Cathy recently sold a piece of property that netted her more than a million dollars. Now Cathy is wondering what she should do to hold onto the money and not lose it all to taxes.

This year we’ve had some pretty impressive CEOs and entrepreneurs on the show. It continues today with Reid Hoffman. If you don’t know the name, you definitely know some of the products he was behind. How about PayPal or LinkedIn?

Today we’re joined by Hoffman and Chris Yeh, co-authors of the new book, Blitzscaling: The Lightning-Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies.

What entrepreneur or founder doesn’t aspire to build the next Amazon, Facebook, or Airbnb?  Yet those who actually manage to do so are exceedingly rare. So what separates the startups that get disrupted and disappear from the ones that grow to become global giants?

The secret is blitzscaling: a set of techniques for scaling up at a dizzying pace that blows competitors out of the water. The objective of blitzscaling is not to go from zero to one, but from one to one billion, as quickly as possible.

When growing at a breakneck pace, getting to the next level can require very different strategies from those that got you to where you are today.

In a book inspired by their popular class at Stanford Business School, Hoffman and Yeh reveal how to navigate the necessary shifts and weather the unique challenges that arise at each stage of a company’s life cycle, such as:

  • How to design business models for igniting and sustaining relentless growth

  • Strategies for hiring and managing

  • How the role of the founder and company culture must evolve as the business matures

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"Jill on Money" theme music is by Joel Goodman, www.joelgoodman.com.

Year-End Financial Planning Tips

December is upon us, which means I basically have your attention for about two more weeks max.

After that, let’s face it, we’re all checking out for the rest of 2018.

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So while I have you, and as the year comes to an end, it's a perfect time to review some year-end financial planning tips.

For such an occasion there's no better duo than Michael Goodman and Brenna McLoughlin from Wealthstream Advisors. And in the interest of full disclosure, not only is Michael a dear friend of mine, he's also my advisor.

We discussed a variety of financial planning topics to ponder before you shut down for the holidays, including:

  • Selling assets in your portfolio now versus waiting until next year: Losses offset gains that you have taken previously in the year; if you have more losses than gains, you can deduct up to $3,000 of losses against ordinary income.

  • Take Required Minimum Distributions: Generally, once you turn 70 1/2, you must begin withdrawing a specific amount of money from your retirement assets (there are some exceptions). The penalty for not taking your RMD is steep at 50 percent on the shortfall!

  • Consider a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD): One way to sidestep the taxation on your RMD is to make a Qualified Charitable Distribution, which allows you to gift directly from your IRA to a charity without having to include the distribution in your taxable income.

  • Making last minute 529 plan contributions: Money saved in these programs grows tax-free and withdrawals used to pay for college sidestep taxes, too. You can invest up to $15,000 in 2018 without incurring a federal gift tax and many states offer state tax deductions for the contributions.

  • Considering how tax changes could affect you: With all the changes to the tax code, there’s plenty of items to keep in mind before filing your 2018 returns. 

So before you completely shut it down and wrap up your 2018 finances, you’ll want to listen to this episode to make sure there’s nothing you’re forgetting.

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My Old Retirement Plan

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You started a new job but still have a 401(k) with the old employer. What should you do with it? Roll it into the new plan? Leave it where it is? Roll it into a rollover IRA? That's what we're discussing on the latest bonus call with Molly.

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A New Beginning, Annuities and Estate Planning 101

I don’t know what it is, but for the last six weeks or so, it sure feels like we’re getting nonstop annuity questions.

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And it continues this week as we start the show with Jane from Arkansas who decided to give us a call after her “advisor” suggested she put $35,000, minimum, into a fixed annuity.

Next was Stephanie from Nevada, who after the passing of her husband, is beginning a new chapter in life. With considerable assets in hand, for once it was nice to hear that Stephanie actually got what sounds like solid advice from some reps at her local bank.

Michael Jackson, Prince, Aretha Franklin…these three amazing and wildly successful musicians did not have a will. How could that be, you ask? Don’t they have agents, lawyers and accountants? Didn’t they know at some point they were going to die? “That’s irresponsible,” you say, but welcome to the real world, where even famous people can’t seem to get their acts together to address this difficult topic head on.

According to a Caring.com survey, only 42 percent of U.S. adults currently have estate planning documents, including a will. Shockingly, for those with children under the age of 18, the figure is even lower, with just 36 percent having an end-of-life plan in place. Of those who have not done any estate planning, 47 percent said, “I just haven’t gotten around to it.”

I get it…contemplating one’s death is not exactly high on anybody’s to-do list, but it is important that you overcome the anxieties associated with this emotional topic and take control.

So that’s why today we’re doing an estate planning bootcamp with Russell Fishkind, an attorney with Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr.

If you are ready to finally begin or revisit the planning process and seek the guidance of a qualified estate attorney (yes, you should pay up for a lawyer and not do it yourself), here are the basic documents to consider:

  • Will: A document that ensures that assets are passed to designated beneficiaries, in accordance with your wishes. In the drafting process, you name an executor, the person or institution that oversees the distribution of your assets. If you have minor children, you need to name a guardian for them.

  • Letter of Instruction: This may contain appointment of someone who will ensure for the proper disposition of your remains, creepy, but important if you are choosing a method that is contrary to your family’s tradition.

  • Power of Attorney: Appointment of someone to act as your agent in a variety of circumstances, like withdrawing money from a bank, responding to a tax inquiry or making a trade.

  • Health Care Proxy: Appointment of someone to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you lose the ability to do so.

  • Trusts: Revocable (changeable) or irrevocable (not-changeable) trusts may be useful, depending on family and tax situations. For 2018, the first $11.2 million of an estate is exempt from federal estate taxes. If an estate is above the threshold (or twice that for married couples), you may want to consider a trust.

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"Jill on Money" theme music is by Joel Goodman, www.joelgoodman.com.

Making Your Money Work with Swoup

Thanksgiving has come and gone, which means the holiday shopping season is upon us.

To start your splurge off on the right foot, here’s your boring piece of financial advice from “Buzz Kill Jill”: DON’T SPEND TOO MUCH MONEY! Yes, the economy is doing well and yes, many of you are enjoying higher take home pay, but get your head on straight and don’t go crazy.

With that out of the way, get organized and download apps that can help you save money. ShopSavvy allows you to scan the barcode of any product and compare all the best prices on the Internet and at nearby, local stores. Shopular provides news of deals, coupons and location-based notifications; and members of the community can communicate with one another and swap savings tips. Flipp creates digital versions of circulars from retailers and combines coupons with these local flyers for savings.

You should also check out Honey, a free browser extension that automatically finds and applies coupon codes at checkout for over 30,000 shopping sites, including Amazon.

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While we’re at it, let’s add another to the list: Swoup.

What is it and how does it work? Well, that’s best left to today’s guest, CEO and founder Phil Parrotta.

The nutshell version is that Swoup helps you save money with an easy swipe. Swipe left to discard, swipe up to send to a friend or swipe right to keep and use an offer. Once in your Swoup Wallet, the app will organize your saved offers by retailer, product category and expiration.

Offers you find on Swoup can be used when you go shopping at participating retailers either in-store or online, whichever you prefer. Simply give your retailer loyalty card or phone number at checkout and your discounts are automatically applied.

Swoup helps put your savings to work with minimal effort and no impact on your budget. It’s your savings...well spent!

Happy shopping!

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How to Find an Advisor

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Finding a financial advisor is never easy. It's hard to find somebody you feel totally comfortable with, especially when it comes to your finances. That's what we're discussing on the latest bonus call with Frances from New England.

Have a money question? Email us here or call 855-411-JILL.

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Retirement Planning Bucket List and The China Hustle

With Thanksgiving behind us, the holiday shopping season is officially upon us. Are you ready??

But before you start spending that money, we have a radio show to do.

First up this week was Jeff from Seattle. Jeff has three of four IRAs out there and is wondering how to make things a bit easier and simplify his life as he prepares to retire.

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Next was John from Virginia with the following question: “What would the final item or two be on your retirement planning bucket list if you were in my situation?”

LOVE IT!

Movies go hand in hand with Thanksgiving, so that’s what we’re doing in hour two.

The documentary film The China Hustle begins amid the depths of the 2008 financial crisis, when we meet protagonist Dan David and a band of Wall Street outsiders. These detective-like investors operate on the fringes of the financial world, scouring global markets for money making opportunities. With the U.S. economy and markets in a tailspin, they turn to China, where there is what seems like a modern day gold rush. Chinese stock market indexes are doubling every year and the potential seems endless.

There’s one problem, though: U.S. investors can’t participate because they are barred from investing directly in Chinese markets. But this is America, and people always find a way. A few Wall Street operators create a novel solution by bringing hundreds of promising Chinese companies directly to U.S. stock markets. All of the sudden, US investors can get in on the Chinese miracle, without leaving the comforting confines of the NYSE and the NASDAQ.

It all seems to be going well, until detectives discover that most of the companies they’re investing in are frauds, producing phony balance sheets, claiming sham inventory levels and celebrating non-existent profits. The investors flip their strategy on its head and begin to master the art of short selling - essentially, betting that a company will fail.

With the help of a team of Chinese researchers who risk their freedom to uncover the truth behind these fake companies, the investors discover the frauds and bet against them in the market.

There are no good guys in this story. But there are a few people who are sick of a financial system built on lies. The China Hustle follows their story through Wall Street, China and your retirement savings to uncover the biggest heist you’ve never heard of, and to challenge all of us to wake up and demand accountability and transparency in our markets before it’s too late.

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"Jill on Money" theme music is by Joel Goodman, www.joelgoodman.com.

Celebrating Thanksgiving with NerdWallet

When I think of Thanksgiving there’s a few things that immediately come to mind. Stuffing my face with endless amounts of food. Maybe drinking copious amounts of wine. Putting on a good movie just as the food coma is about to set in. And of course, the official kickoff of the holiday shopping season.

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I’m admittedly not the biggest fan of holiday shopping. That said, I realize it’s a necessary evil. So if I’m going to do it, I want to be well informed.

That’s where today’s guest, Kimberly Palmer, comes into the picture. Kimberly writes about credit cards and personal finance for NerdWallet, the site that helps people make and manage financial decisions by comparing products available from various banks, insurance companies, etc.

If you’re going to splurge for the holidays, you need to have a plan and a budget in place. There are so many apps out there to help you save some serious money, as well as Honey, a browser extension that automatically finds and applies coupon codes at checkout with a single click.

We also touched on a variety of other topics, including:

  • Salary negotiation tips

  • Millennials saving for retirement

  • Side hustles

  • Kids and finances

If you like what you heard, you can check out more from Kimberly. She has written three books about money: "Smart Mom, Rich Mom," "The Economy of You" and “Generation Earn.”

Have a money question? Email us here or call 855-411-JILL.

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Retirement Plan

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Who doesn't want to retire earlier than expected? Unfortunately, the reality is that most of us can't. Is our latest bonus caller Mark one of the lucky ones? Press play to find out!

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