Financial Empowerment

Financial Empowerment is a service of CalCPA Institute. Our podcasts help consumers make sense of today’s complex financial issues. Most podcasts are under 15 minutes in length.

E-mail your questions to FinancialEmpowerment@calcpa.org.


April 2016

Tough Decisions for Widows & Widowers

The death of a spouse is a traumatic experience, both emotionally and financially. Regarding financial issues, the survivor must deal with such items as insurance, Social Security, investments—not to mention handling bills that are due. Joel Framson, a Los Angeles CPA and personal financial specialist, frequently advises widows and widowers about their financial situation. Over Skype, we asked him about the decisions surviving spouses must make.

Audio Podcast


March 2016

Saving for Singles

Whether you are a young adult or a senior citizen, being single can be more costly than being in a couple. As the saying goes, two can live as cheaply as one—and in some respects more cheaply, as the costs, for example, of home ownership can be divided between a couple. We talk with CPA JD Miller of Vallejo, California, over Skype regarding the costs of being single. He emphasizes that motivation is the key to good fiscal habits.

Audio Podcast


When to Withdraw from 401(k)/IRA

If you are retiring soon, you may have 401(k)s or IRAs from which you need to withdraw funds to support yourself in your retirement years. In fact, the government requires that you withdraw a minimum amount each year from traditional 401(k)s or IRAs once you reach 70 and a half years of age whether you need the money or not. If you don’t, you could be subject to severe penalties. Larry Pon, a Redwood City CPA and personal financial specialist, gives us some guidance regarding the rules for withdrawal. 

Audio Podcast

IRS Publication 590-B

401(k) and IRA Required Minimum Distribution Calculator


February 2016

Technologies That Save

Every day—perhaps every minute—someone is developing a new app, software program or a new technology that can help us save money, keep our vital records or generally improve our lifestyle. Leonard Wright, CPA/PFS, of San Diego discusses some of the apps and programs he uses or recommends to keep track of expenses and better manage finances. He also notes that landline telephones may not be necessary and explains how solar panels can reduce electric bills. 

Audio Podcast


January 2016

Insurance for the Long-Term

Long-term disability insurance and long-term care insurance may sound alike, but they are different types of policies. Depending on your circumstances you may need both types of insurance or just one or the other. To clarify, we discuss these policies with Karen Goodfriend, a CPA and personal financial specialist in Los Altos, California.

Audio Podcast


Plugging Money Leaks

Do you leak money? In other words, do you spend your hard-earned dollars on impulse purchases such as car deodorizers at the grocery checkout line? And do you really need that cute trinket from the curio shop? Such expenditures add up over time and can ultimately seriously dent one's budget. Larry Pon, a Redwood City CPA, talks with us over Skype about how to plug those leaks.

Audio Podcast