Blog

Away from The Numbers: Keeping Digits in Perspective

By Jon Magoch | December 14, 2017

Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly changing the way businesses build products and even provide customer service. We now have automated virtual assistants and “chatbots” answering customer service calls. We even have self-driving cars being tested for pizza delivery.

Numbers guide much of our daily lives. From the price of a gallon of gas at the tank to the cost of our morning coffee as we scurry off to another day of work, numbers are solidly submerged in our collective consciousness. Numbers are absolute. Even though the cost of a gallon or milk may go up or go down, what the numbers involved mean stay static and absolute. Prices may fluctuate, but a dollar is still four quarters, ten dimes, twenty quarters or one hundred pennies (as unwieldy and impractical counting all of them out at the coffee shop cash register might be). Numbers are logical and predictable.  Three times seven will always add up to twenty-one (a number that has much significance at the blackjack table and equal importance for college students looking to embrace their new-found adulthood with a pint or two at the local watering hole). Numbers are practical and unemotional.  Numbers know no sympathy – just ask anyone who has ever gotten a costly ticket for exceeding a posted speed limit. Numbers are a lot of things but one thing they are certainly not:  numbers are not people. 

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Artificial Intelligence: Innovation for Today’s World

By Jon Magoch | November 20, 2017

Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly changing the way businesses build products and even provide customer service. We now have automated virtual assistants and “chatbots” answering customer service calls. We even have self-driving cars being tested for pizza delivery.

These quantum leaps in technological advances present both opportunities and challenges. For example, the way we have adopted online financial transactions over the past 10 to 15 years has made everything from banking and paying bills to applying for a mortgage so much more convenient. However, as the recent Equifax security breach impacting more than 145 million people demonstrates, housing that much data in one central location creates a single-entry point for would-be hackers.3

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Preparing Your Family & Finances for Natural and Man-made Disasters

By Jon Magoch | October 25, 2017

Disasters can strike with little notice. Some are the product of mother nature, such as Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose, and Maria. Others, like the recent Equifax breach, are man-made. While these two disasters may seem to have little in common, what they do share is the personal and financial devastation that they left in their wake. The hurricanes devastated many peoples home and lives. In Hurricane Harvey alone – early estimates found that 230,000 homes were damaged and almost 13,000 of them were destroyed. The physical damage inflicted by Harvey was enormous, but the emotional fallout for all those directly impacted is harder to quantify. Losing your home, possessions, and peace-of-mind is an unfathomable experience. While homes can be repaired and rebuilt, items such as old family photos and heirlooms are priceless and irreplaceable. The Equifax breach impacted the personal data of over 4.6 million consumers, leaving those affected fearing fraud and identity theft. Dire concerns about the health of your financial future can produce much anxiety, which only adds to the stress of a recent disaster. Both disasters left millions feeling afraid and vulnerable. Although it is always difficult to minimize burden and increase feelings of confidence and security after a disaster, being proactive and putting an emergency readiness plan into place before one strikes is invaluable when you are putting the pieces back together after a disaster hits home.

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Income Strategies for an 8,000-Day Retirement

By Jon Magoch | October 12, 2017

By 2030, it’s estimated that 20 percent of the U.S. population will be over age 65.1 That means a fifth of all Americans will be on the fringe of retirement or already retired, a milestone that’s generally perceived to come late in life. But consider this, there are approximately 8,000 days in today’s average retirement. That’s approximately the same number of days from:

  • Birth to college graduation
  • College graduation to mid-life crisis
  • Mid-life crisis to retirement

Eight thousand days translates to about 22 years. That may seem long for retirement, but it’s actually quite common these days: Retire at 65 and live to 87; retire at 70 and live to 92; retire at 80 and live to 102. More people are doing this all the time.

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Freedom and Independence: Similarities of Retirement & Start-ups

By Jon Magoch | August 29, 2017

Working for a startup can be a very stressful enterprise. While it may seem glamorous to those toiling away at a traditional 9 to 5 grind, the reality is a bit starker. Disregard whatever preconceived notions you may have about quitting your job and building something from scratch – this won’t be like working for Facebook or Google. They are well-defined, carefully manicured corporate cultures that defied the odds and did the near impossible: spread their wings and somehow managed to survive and thrive. The reality is that most start-ups don’t make it.

Pull back the rose-colored curtain and look past the casual dress code, impromptu afternoon ping pong tournaments and well-earned after work liquid libations bought on the company credit card. What lies beyond are 16-hour work days and a dizzying array of multitasking hats (which might not necessarily be your style, size or color, but boy-oh-boy you better find a way to make them fit if you want to survive). Along with the demanding work, frantic pace, ever-shifting job duties and overall trial by fire that are hallmarks of life inside a startup, there lie the possibilities of freedom and independence (should the enterprise succeed). These same goals of financial freedom and independence are at the heart of retirement planning goals and expectations.

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3 Common Questions About Social Security

By Jon Magoch | July 17, 2017

While Social Security shouldn’t be relied upon to be the sole source of income during retirement, it can play an important role in your overall financial strategy for retirement. But making sense of the basic ins and outs of Social Security can be overwhelming. Here are three questions people commonly ask as they approach retirement…

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Selling Your Home? Do These Things Before You List.

By Jon Magoch | July 10, 2017

Ahhh, summer. The time of year when our thoughts turn to swimming, frozen treats, and … moving? Reports indicate that summer is the most popular time to relocate, with 48 percent of moves happening between May and August.1 In May, the National Association of Realtors announced existing-home sales are forecasted to jump 3.5 percent in…

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Tax Cuts Coming? Planning Suggestions

By Jon Magoch | June 30, 2017

The White House recently introduced what it billed the “biggest tax cut” in U.S. history. While a presidential tax proposal is not likely to get passed without significant changes, the fact that Republicans dominate both chambers of Congress suggests 2017 may well be a year in which significant tax reform is engineered.1 One thing should…

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Keeping Connected With the Ever-Changing Internet

By Jon Magoch | June 21, 2017

If you’ve watched national news in the past year or two, you’ve likely heard debates about net neutrality, which is the principle that internet providers should allow access to content regardless of the source and without blocking certain sites. In the waning days of the Obama administration, the Federal Communications Commission passed a rule preventing…

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How to Help Make Retirement Income Last

By Jon Magoch | June 8, 2017

Building up a retirement nest egg is one thing, but making it last throughout your lifetime is quite another. With a larger share of the financial responsibility for retirement shifting from employers to employees, it’s more important than ever to explore all income strategies to help determine what is most appropriate for your situation. One…

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