These starter topics represent many of the things that will matter to you and your career. John G. Ullman & Associates will help you think them through, with responsive advice and personalized implementation. Our goal is to help you determine the important considerations you’ll need to make in order to confidently focus on living the life you want, with better financial results. Learn more by exploring the following links:
- Goal setting
- Cash flow allocation
- College debt
- Professional compensation and planning
- Your employer’s stock
- Managing your investments
- Home ownership: buying versus renting
- Buying your first home
- Buying a vacation home
- Tax and mortgage interest considerations when buying a home
- Tax considerations when selling or downsizing a home
When you begin your career, it’s an incredibly important time to think about the direction in which you want your life to go. We encourage you to specifically define short- and long-term objectives that will serve as the framework for your financial plan. The goals we’re concerned with are more than just your financial goals; we want you to begin considering ALL of the dreams and visions you have for your future.
Too often individuals who are starting out are not putting enough thought into their retirement goals, preferred lifestyle, travel plans, opportunities for educational advancement, or career changes. This is the ideal time in your life to have a dialogue about the details you envision for your future, identify a timeline, and prioritize the things you want to accomplish. Our objective is to make sure we are helping you define goals that are realistic and attainable, which enables them to act as the framework for your financial plan.
Cash flow allocation
A good philosophy to keep in mind when starting out is “Save early, save often.” This tactic works because compound earnings are a powerful force. Saving early in your life and saving often means that you actually don’t have to save as much in the long run. The first thing you need to understand is where you’re spending your money compared to how much you’re saving. You might have student loans, credit card debt, or spend a lot on entertainment and shopping. Once you’re aware of where your money’s going, you can curb spending in some areas and improve your cash flow. These actions will help you make progress towards your goals, such as the ability to purchase a car or a house, pay down debt, start a 529 fund for your child’s college education, or put more into retirement.
Speaking of retirement, you can save even more by setting up a retirement savings account early in your career, and if your employer has a matching plan, you can rapidly build this asset. You should also limit debt to “good debt” and pay down your highest cost, no-benefit debt first. To make sure you don’t need to dip into any of the savings you’ve worked so hard to accrue, you should also develop an emergency savings account equivalent to 3-6 months of expenses. Another philosophy we like to share is “Live for today, plan for tomorrow.” This mindset will support both your day-to-day needs and long-term goals.
Paying back your college debt can seem overwhelming, but with good planning we can help you tackle those payments. There are a lot of things to take into consideration when it comes to paying back college debt; our team is extremely knowledgeable and experienced when it comes to evaluating the benefits and implications of various options. For example, if you have a government loan, it can be repaid based on your income, though you must resubmit every year. The payment could increase over the years as your income goes up, but should you get laid off, payments can be temporarily reduced. Not all private loans offer this repayment flexibility, and terms vary from lender to lender, which is why we often encourage families to obtain government loans if possible.
Professional compensation and planning
Helping executives and other professionals understand their benefits and compensation packages is an area in which we have specific experience and expertise. A compensation package might include cash compensation, employee incentive plans such as stock options, various savings and retirement plans, and other benefits.
Each package has considerations, such as tax implications, that can be overlooked without careful planning. We will work with you to review, analyze, and discuss the various components of your package and help determine the appropriate selections for your lifestyle. Throughout this process we will remain focused on maximizing your opportunities and flexibility, while still being mindful of risk. A coordinated approach to reviewing your employer compensation and benefit package will help ensure that each benefits decision you make fits into your overall financial plan and helps advance your goals and objectives.
Your employer’s stock
Stock options might be part of your compensation package. It’s important to keep in mind that employer stock options are typically issued with specific value and sale deadlines. We can help you monitor your options to determine the optimum time to exercise them as well as anticipate and plan for any taxes you may owe.
Managing your investments
We believe in a balanced investment approach. However, we understand that “balance” may hold a different meaning for each person we advise. Our balanced approach mainly consists of a mix of individual stocks and bonds, with some Exchange Traded funds to round things out.
Through careful monitoring of all of your investments and assets, as well as investment management through our in-house research, trading, and portfolio management teams, we are able to offer thorough and comprehensive Investment Management services for our clients in a way that is truly satisfying and something we take great pride in.
Home ownership: buying versus renting
When making the decision to purchase a home or rent your residence, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons. When you own a home, you receive property tax and mortgage interest deductions. You also have the obligation to pay for homeowner’s insurance, property taxes, and maintenance. When you rent, you are free from these obligations, although you aren’t benefiting from building equity in an asset. It all comes down to where you are in life and whether home ownership or renting serves you better. Your John G. Ullman & Associates Advisor can help you weigh all of the pros and cons of both scenarios while taking your overall financial situation into consideration and help you determine what’s best for your situation.
Buying your first home
Making the decision to enter the world of home ownership is a major step for anyone. There are several complex questions you will need to address when the time comes. You’ll likely need to choose a bank and decide what kind of mortgage is best for you. You will want to understand how to work with a real estate agent and the process of making an offer. When you purchase your home you’ll have to obtain homeowner’s insurance and pay property taxes. We can help answer your questions and get you on the path to purchasing your first home, without losing sight of how this decision affects the rest of your goals.
Buying a vacation home
Purchasing a vacation home can be an important goal for many people, and may be outlined as part of your overall financial plan. If you’re considering purchasing a vacation home, your John G. Ullman & Associates Advisor can help you determine if it’s a good time to do so. We’ll help you assess the impact you can expect regarding your property and other taxes and determine how this decision fits into your long-term plan.
Tax and mortgage interest considerations when buying a home
When considering a home purchase there are tax considerations you will need to keep in mind. In addition to taxes, it’s also important to understand what drives the interest rate on your mortgage loan, how mortgage interest affects your taxes, and how other issues related to home ownership could affect you. Your John G. Ullman & Associates Advisor can help you determine the best type of mortgage to secure for your situation and guide you in understanding the impact of your decisions on your taxes and mortgage interest rate.
Considerations when selling or downsizing a home
There are many reasons why you may feel it’s the right time to sell or downsize your home. Perhaps you’re considering downsizing because your kids have gone out on their own and now it feels like your home is just too big for you. If that’s the case, this may be a good time to sell and purchase a smaller home. Maybe you’ve outgrown your home and are ready for something larger. We can discuss your situation, look at your goals, and help you understand the tax implications of selling. Your John G. Ullman & Associates Advisor can also guide you in understanding the current market and even help connect you with the right professional to find your new home.