Betterment

Financial Planning for All

Financial Planning for All

Are you celebrating the upcoming World Financial Planning Day by creating a financial plan? I’m guessing that the answer is no, because according to the 2018 Charles Schwab Modern Wealth Index, about a quarter of Americans have a written financial plan. That’s too bad because having one “can lead to better daily money behaviors.”

I Love Capitalism with Ken Langone

Every once in a while I chat with somebody who makes me realize just how cool my job really is.

That’s the case this week with Ken Langone, the legendary financier, who helped take a bunch of companies public before co-founding Home Depot. Ken has also became a philanthropist extraordinaire, helping to rebuild the New York University hospital.

Ken dropped by for an in-studio to talk about his new book, I Love Capitalism!: An American Storybut really it was just a fascinating conversation with a guy who grew up in a working-class family on Long Island, put himself through school, and after some hard work and smart decisions and a few guardian angels, became one of the most successful businessmen in the country.

Ken Langone has seen it all on his way to a net worth beyond his wildest dreams, now in excess of $3 billion dollars.

In a series of captivating stories, Langone shows how he struggled in academics, broke into Wall Street, and scrambled for an MBA at night while competing with privileged competitors by day. He also shares how he learned to evaluate the value of a business and apply his street smarts to negotiate enormous deals.

And what happened when Langone was approached by Bernie Madoff for an investment, just weeks before the Ponzi scheme came to light? You’ll have to tune in for that chestnut...

Langone says that the book is his love song to capitalism..."Absolutely anybody is entitled to dream big, and absolutely everybody should dream big. I did. Show me where the silver spoon was in my mouth. I’ve got to argue profoundly and passionately: I’m the American Dream.”

“Better Off” is sponsored by Betterment.

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

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"Better Off" theme music is by Joel Goodman, www.joelgoodman.com.

Investing For the World You Want

How can you incorporate your values into your investments? While many of us have principles and views about what is “right” and “wrong”, putting those principles into action within a portfolio can be difficult.

Although hard to accomplish, there are different ways of making an impact. They vary in terms of feasibility, effectiveness, and potential cost.

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When trying to determine the best approach, ask yourself, what am I trying to achieve? What outcome do I want? Is it about making me feel good or are do you seek an impact in the world?

If you’re considering adopting a values-based approach to investing, there are four different options to consider:

  • Divestiture: When you avoid owning the stock or bonds of of a company or issuer.
  • Engagement: Owning company stock, and putting pressure on the board and management through voting.
  • Impact investing: Investments made into companies, organizations, and funds with the intention to generate social and environmental impact.
  • Charity: Giving to the causes you believe bring about the right change.

Of course, all investing involves risk, but the advent of funds that allow screening based on environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors has prompted the Department of Labor to issue some warnings.

“Better Off” is sponsored by Betterment.

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

We love feedback so please subscribe and leave us a rating or review in Apple Podcasts!

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"Better Off" theme music is by Joel Goodman, www.joelgoodman.com.

The Best Team Wins

If you’re working in an office environment, it’s hard to ignore the massive shift that’s taking place in the workplace. In today’s average company, up to 80% of employees’ days are now spent working in teams.

And yet the teams most people find themselves in are nowhere near as effective as they could be. They’re often divided by tensions, if not outright dissension, and dysfunctional teams drain employees’ energy, enthusiasm, and creativity.

How can we fix it? That’s where today’s episode comes into the picture, and our chat with Chester Elton, who along with Adrian Gostick, recently published The Best Team Wins: The New Science of High Performance.

Throughout the pages of their latest book, the duo share the proven ways managers can build cohesive, productive teams, despite the distractions and challenges every business is facing.

The pair studied more than 850,000 employee engagement surveys to develop their “Five Disciplines of Team Leaders,” explaining how to:

  • Recognize and motivate different generations to enhance individual engagement
  • Ways to promote healthy discord and spark innovation
  • Techniques to unify customer focus and build bridges across functions, cultures, and distance

They’ve shared these disciplines with their corporate clients and have now distilled their breakthrough findings into a succinct, engaging guide for business leaders everywhere.

Throughout the pages you’ll find practical ways to address the real challenges today’s managers are facing, such as the rise of millennials, the growing number of global and virtual teams, and the friction created by working cross-functionally.

“Better Off” is sponsored by Betterment.

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

We love feedback so please subscribe and leave us a rating or review in Apple Podcasts!

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"Better Off" theme music is by Joel Goodman, www.joelgoodman.com.

Thinking in Bets with Annie Duke

Daily life requires numerous decisions. Some easy, some difficult. And some that have to be made without knowing a lot of pertinent information. And what we think is the best decision in the moment, doesn’t necessarily yield the best outcome.

No one knows this better than our guest this week, Annie Duke. As a former professional poker player and world champion, Annie made a living based on high pressure decision making and shares the story in her new book, Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don't Have All the Facts.

There’s always an element of luck that you can’t control, and there is always information that is hidden from view. So perhaps the key to long-term success (and avoiding worrying yourself to death) is to think in bets:

  • How sure am I?
  • What are the possible ways things could turn out?
  • What decision has the highest odds of success?
  • Did I land in the unlucky 10% on the strategy that works 90% of the time?
  • Or is my success attributable to dumb luck rather than great decision making? 

For most people, it’s difficult to say “I’m not sure” in a world that values and, even, rewards the appearance of certainty.

By shifting your thinking from a need for certainty to a goal of accurately assessing what you know and what you don’t, you’ll be less vulnerable to reactive emotions, knee-jerk biases, and destructive habits in your decision making.

You’ll become more confident, calm, compassionate and successful in the long run.

“Better Off” is sponsored by Betterment.

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

We love feedback so please subscribe and leave us a rating or review in Apple Podcasts!

Connect with me at these places for all my content:

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https://apple.co/2pmVi50

"Better Off" theme music is by Joel Goodman, www.joelgoodman.com.

100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask

Home ownership has always been considered an essential part of the American Dream.

And while it may be getting harder to accomplish—especially for the millennials—it’s still pretty high on the list of goals. If you’re going to do it, make sure you do it right by doing your homework and asking the right kinds of questions:

  • What can you afford?
  • What do you want in a home, and what do you really need?
  • What does "location, location, location" really mean?
  • How do I decide what to offer on a house?
  • What exactly does the closing process look like?

While it’s hard to ignore all the financial implications of making such a large investment, there are, of course, the equally important issues related to life, family and relationships that arise in buying a home.

And quick postscript to all you millennials out there who want to buy, but feel like the cards are stacked against you...hit up the app store on your phone and put all the tools and technology at your fingertips to use to help you find the best deal possible.

And remember, the American Dream is still very much alive and achievable.  

“Better Off” is sponsored by Betterment.

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

We love feedback so please subscribe and leave us a rating or review in Apple Podcasts!

Connect with me at these places for all my content:

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"Better Off" theme music is by Joel Goodman, www.joelgoodman.com.

Inflation-Proof Your Life

Inflation-Proof Your Life

Worries about rising inflation have spooked stock and bond investors. As a reminder, inflation occurs when the prices of goods and services rise and as a result, every dollar you spend in the economy purchases less. The annual rate of inflation over from 1917 until 2017 has averaged just over 3 percent annually. That might not sound like much, but consider this: today you need $7,272.09 in cash to buy what $1,000 could buy in 50 years ago.

Better Off BONUS call: Investment Property

If there's a piece of property in the family that's on the market, would it make sense to buy it and keep in the family as an investment property? That's the question from Ryan on the latest BONUS call.

“Better Off” is sponsored by Betterment.

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

We love feedback so please subscribe and leave us a rating or review in Apple Podcasts!

Connect with me at these places for all my content:

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"Better Off" theme music is by Joel Goodman, www.joelgoodman.com.

Stock Market Correction: What to do Now

Stock Market Correction: What to do Now

We knew that a stock market correction was coming, but why then did everyone seem so shocked when it arrived on Februarys 8th? Corrections, defined as 10 percent drops from the recent highs (January 26th), usually occur every year or so. Until last week, it had been two full years since the major US indexes had corrected. In other words, we were overdue for a drop.