Financial Empowerment

November 2018

Tips for Cutting College Expenses

College expenses, like everything else, continue to rise. A 2018 survey by the College Board found that the average cost of tuition, fees, room and board for a year at a public university is about $21,370 while it’s $48,510 at a private nonprofit school. Students also incur additional costs, such as transportation, clothing and books. Yet, students and parents can find ways to either reduce costs or acquire more funds to cover expenditures, as CPA and personal financial specialist Larry Pon advises.

Mistakes to Avoid on the Road to Retirement

According to the AARP, about 10,000 baby boomers are turning 65 every day. A Vanguard report indicates that the median 401(k) balance for those in the 55-64 age group is a little less than $188,000. That means that if they use the 4 percent rule for withdrawals from their investments during retirement, they will only realize an income of just over $7,000 annually. And baby boomers by no means are the only generation ill-prepared for retirement. Millennials should be socking away money for their retirement years. But research done by the National Institute on Retirement Security indicates that most millennials aren’t even participating in their employer-sponsored retirement plan. We spoke with tax expert and CPA Mary Kay Foss about the mistakes people make regarding preparing for—or rather not preparing for—retirement.

October 2018

Documents You Need in Case of a Disaster

If your house is destroyed in an earthquake, would you be able to recover your insurance documents? In the event of a flood, could you salvage such things as your passport and children’s birth certificates? Would you be able to safeguard cherished letters and other sentimental treasurers should a wildfire ravage your property? Whether it’s a federally declared disaster or the destruction of your property by an arson fire, you will need to recover important documents that will help reconstruct your life. We talked with CPA and personal financial specialist Mitch Freedman about what documents should be safeguarded.

September 2018

How to Capitalize on Side Hustles

According to a recent Bankrate dot com survey, about 37 percent of Americans have a side hustle—a job they do outside their full-time work so as to get extra income. Some have more than just one side hustle. And millennials—Americans born between 1981 and 1996—are more likely to have at least one side hustle than older generations. We talked with Larry Pon, a Redwood City CPA, about some of the financial issues—including taxes and saving for retirement—that those workers with side hustles should consider.

August 2018

Timing Retirement Withdrawals

If you have retirement accounts such as 401(k)s and IRAs, you will one day have to start withdrawing the money from your investments. But when do you absolutely have to and how much must you withdraw? These decisions will affect how much money you have to live off of during retirement. To provide some guidance, we consulted with Lynette Atchley, a CPA and personal financial specialist in Redlands, California.

How to Become a Millionaire

Many Americans dream of becoming a millionaire. And it isn’t that difficult to turn that dream into a reality—providing you save and invest wisely. We asked Los Angeles CPA Gregg Wind for some tips on how to become a member of the millionaire’s club.

May 2018

Why Hire a CPA?

When do you need a CPA? If you need a CPA, how do you find one? What services does a CPA offer? How can you be sure that a CPA is qualified to advise you? If you have those questions, you've come to the right podcast. And who best to answer such questions than an experienced and well-qualified CPA like Michael Velazquez of Glendale, California.

April 2018

Financial Questions for Unmarried Couples

The most available statistics indicate that almost 122 million Americans are married while about 18 million Americans are cohabitating—that is living together without benefit of marriage. Just like married couples, unmarried, cohabitating couples have to figure out how they are going to handle their expenses. Who pays the grocery bills, especially if one partner wants caviar but the other one can’t stand the eggs? Should they buy a house together? Because an unmarried couple doesn’t have a marriage contract, things can get a bit dicey when it comes to making monetary decisions. So we asked Janet Krochman, a Costa Mesa CPA to provide some financial guidance for cohabitors.

March 2018

What Is Bitcoin All About?

Do you know how many currencies there are around the globe? According to a Google search, the United Nations currently recognizes 180 currencies, including the U.S. dollar, the United Kingdom pound, the euro and the Japanese yen. These currencies are represented by metal coins and paper bills. But in recent years, a new type of currency has been developed—one that is not affiliated with a particular nation and has no physical representation. These are so-called crypto or cyber currencies, the most famous of which is bitcoin. To find out how these currencies came about and whether or not they can be used by the average person, we talked with Dan Morris, a San Jose CPA who has advised clients about the use of crypto currencies in their transactions.

February 2018

Getting Rid of First-Time Homebuyer's Jitters

Purchasing a first home can be a bit traumatic. After all, most people who are looking to buy their first home are likely young and usually have had no prior experience with making a purchase that will take up a huge chunk of their income for years to come. We asked Rob Seltzer, a Los Angeles CPA and personal financial specialist, for some pointers that will reduce a first-home buyer’s anxieties

January 2018

Calculating when to Retire

At some time, most of us will want to retire from the workforce. But when should that happen? You need to consider many factors before making that decision. Among them are health, mental well-being and family connections. Here, however, we want to focus on how your financial situation affects that decision. So we spoke over Skype with Larry Pon, CPA/PFS, of Redwood City, California. Pon frequently advises clients about retirement.