Managing Your Money

The Stock Market is Dropping. Should I Sell My Investments?

The Stock Market is Dropping.  Should I Sell My Investments?

It is important to remember your investment objective when the stock market starts to take a downturn and revisit your long term financial plan rather than reacting to the daily trends in the stock market. Learn more about what to do when the stock market drops and how to recover from a Wall Street downturn.

First Year Baby Costs Calculator

First Year Baby Costs Calculator

How much do babies actually cost?  Use this calculator to determine the average cost of having a baby in their first year.  Planning for first year child costs is an important part of welcoming a baby into your home and having a plan to pay for your baby will help lessen the stress of being a new parent.  With offices in Zeeland, Jenison, Grand Rapids, and Ludington, Custer Financial Advisors is happy to help offer financial advice and financially plan for your newborn.  

Credit Card Debt Payoff Calculator

Credit Card Debt Payoff Calculator

How long will it take to payoff your credit card debt? Find out using this Credit Card Payoff Calculator and learn about the Dave Ramsey Debt Snowball method. Custer Financial Advisors is proud to serve the West Michigan area as a team of Dave Ramsey SmartVestor Pro’s. With offices in Zeeland, Ludington, Grand Rapids, and Jenison, one of our financial advisors will be happy to help you pursue financial freedom.

Recently Graduated? Important Steps to Take Today on Your Way to Financial Freedom

Recently Graduated?  Important Steps to Take Today on Your Way to Financial Freedom

Did you just graduate from college and need help knowing what you should do with money?  You're not alone, follow these steps to get started on a financial plan after graduation.  Make the most of your twenties and create a budget and plan that will help you manage money.  With offices in Grand Rapids, Jenison, Ludington, and Zeeland, Custer Financial Advisors is happy to help millennials manage their money.  

 

8 Money Resolutions You Can Actually Keep

8 Money Resolutions You Can Actually Keep

This year, pick a money resolution you can stick to and pursue small changes over time.  Make and stick to a budget, figure out your credit score, get rid of unnecessary expenses, or any of our 8 money resolutions you can actually keep.  With offices in Zeeland, Jenison, Grand Rapids, and Ludington, Custer Financial is proud to offer financial advice to West Michigan.  

What Is a Credit Score and How Do I Improve Mine?

What Is a Credit Score and How Do I Improve Mine?

Understanding what a credit score is, how you can improve yours, and what the factors are that make up a credit score are important when managing your credit and knowing what lenders see when they look at your credit score.  Today's blog post looks at the factors that make up your credit score, how to improve you credit score, and help understanding what your credit score is.  With offices in Zeeland, Jenison, Grand Rapids, and Ludington, Custer Financial Advisors is proud to offer financial advice to West Michigan.  

Budgeting Step 7 - Assess How Things Went, Make Changes, and Do It Again

Part Eight in Our Series on Budgeting to Reflect Your Values

Start this series from the beginning. 

Have I mentioned that you’re not going to be perfect at this the first time you try it?  That’s okay; the important thing is that you keep trying.  You might spend more on groceries than you thought you would or find yourself magically drawn to your favorite lunch spot, even though you finally managed to pack your lunch.  Give yourself a break.  Be honest about how things went.  Change things that simply aren’t realistic, and give it another go. The goal isnt to be perfect in your first month.  The goal is to get good at this for the long haul.  Dont give up.  Youll get there.                                                                                                       

Once the month is done, take a look at your budget - how did you do?  What goals did you accomplish?  What categories were under-funded?  What do you need to change?  Make the necessary modifications, and then give it another go.  You’re learning and getting better at this!  Remember, your budget isn’t a stagnant document; it’s meant to be modified and changed.

As you go through this process, I encourage you to consider the way you think about money.  Budgets don’t have to be horrible and constricting - they’re a tool that allows us to use our money to reflect our values.  It’s your money.  Use it to accomplish your goals. 

I’m going to guess that if you stick with this process and commit to budgeting for three months, an interesting thing will happen.  It might not happen all at once, but one day it will creep up on you - you’ll actually enjoy this! There is something about being in control of your money, knowing what happens to it, and having the discipline to use it in the ways you intend to that’s empowering.


We covered a lot in this series, and yet there’s so much we didn’t even touch on.  These posts are meant to be broad guidelines, but your situation is unique and will likely involve some adjustments.  That’s what we do.  If you have questions please give us a call or email us.  We think this is so important.  We know you can do it, and we’re here to help. 

Stephanie Vail

About the Author

Stephanie Vail is a member of the Custer Financial Advisors team.  She specializes in helping millennials with financial literacy and planning.  To learn more about Stephanie and Custer Financial Advisors, visit www.CusterFinancialAdvisors.Com or email Stephanie at SVail@lpl.com.

Budgeting Step 6 - Implement the Plan

Part Seven in Our Series on Budgeting to Reflect Your Values

Start this series from the beginning. 

We’ve got this!  We assessed and planned, and now it’s time to take action!  Remember, you are creating a habit.  Habits don’t happen overnight.  You need to retrain your brain to think differently.  It might feel hard at first, but it will get easier.  Keep it up, and soon being in control of your money will feel easy and natural.  Take the time now to create a habit that will help you the rest of your life.  You won’t regret it; I promise. 

While changing your habits and implementing a budget will take some extra brain power at first, I don’t want you to obsess over it.  Money is a tool, not a focal point of our lives.  A perfectly executed budget is no good if it’s all you think about. 

I am a fan of taking a "money minute" every day, preferably in the morning.  Maybe you do it when you get into the office before checking emails, or while you’re eating breakfast, or when you’re doing everything you can to delay getting out of bed.  Log in to your bank account - does everything look alright?  Is there money in the checking account for the withdrawals that are going out today?  Do you have enough fun money to get dinner and a drink with friends tonight and still catch the movie on Friday?  Now that you know where you are and how you’re doing, don’t stress!  You got this! Enjoy your day!

As you’re in the first few months of your new budget, there will be changes, and some might feel hard.  When deciding what to buy and what not to, I encourage you to ask yourself "is this really making me happier?"  For instance, maybe the first drink with friends is a definite "yes" - they’re great, and it was fun to hang out with them!  However, is the second drink making the experience any better, or could you nurse that first beer and have about the same experience?

Being on a budget doesn’t mean you have to say "no" all the time, or that you don’t have any fun.  It’s the small changes over time that will make the difference.   When you make a mistake or go over budget, don’t beat yourself up.  What’s important is that you don’t give up.  Tomorrow is a new day.  The important thing is that you are moving in the right direction so that your spending habits are learning to reflect who you are and what you value. 

 

About the Author

Stephanie Vail is a member of the Custer Financial Advisors team.  She specializes in helping millennials with financial literacy and planning.  To learn more about Stephanie and Custer Financial Advisors, visit www.CusterFinancialAdvisors.Com or email Stephanie at SVail@lpl.com.