Why Maintaining a Healthy Credit Score and Lines of Credit Matters

In the ever-evolving world of personal finance, few things carry as much weight as your credit score and the health of your lines of credit. These numbers that appear on your credit report, though may seem insignificant, have great influence over your financial well-being, impacting everything from the interest rates you pay on loans to your ability to secure housing or even employment. In this blog, we’ll delve into why maintaining a healthy credit score and lines of credit is crucial for your financial stability.

Your credit score is a numerical representation of your creditworthiness. It’s calculated based on various factors such as your payment history, amounts owed, length of credit history, new credit, and types of credit used. Generally, credit scores range from 300 to 850, with higher scores indicating better creditworthiness.

A healthy credit score opens doors to various credit opportunities, including credit cards, mortgages, auto loans, and personal loans. Lenders use your credit score to assess the risk of lending to you. Higher scores typically result in better terms and lower interest rates. Maintaining a good credit score can save you significant money in interest payments. Lenders offer lower interest rates to borrowers with higher credit scores because they pose less risk of default. Over time, even a small difference in interest rates can translate into substantial savings.

So now that we have discussed the pros that having a strong credit score can provide, let’s take a look at how to maintain healthy lines of credit.

First, diversification-Having a mix of credit accounts, such as credit cards, installment loans, and a mortgage, demonstrates your ability to manage different types of credit responsibly. This diversity can positively impact your credit score.

Second is payment history. This is one of the most significant factors in determining your credit score. Paying bills on time, every time, helps maintain or improve your credit score and demonstrates reliability to lenders.

Next is utilization ratio. This ratio compares your total credit card balances to your total available credit. Keeping this ratio low, ideally below 30%, shows that you’re not overly reliant on credit and can manage your debts responsibly.

Lastly, regularly monitoring your credit report allows you to spot errors, identity theft, or fraudulent activity early on. Promptly addressing any discrepancies can prevent long-term damage to your credit score.

Your credit score and lines of credit play integral roles in your financial life. They impact your ability to access credit, the cost of borrowing, and even non-financial aspects like insurance premiums and job opportunities. By understanding the importance of maintaining a healthy credit score and managing your lines of credit wisely, you can build a solid foundation for your financial future. So, make it a priority to monitor your credit, make timely payments, and use credit responsibly to keep your financial situation on the right track. If you have any further questions on credit or credit scores, email info@shermanwealth.com or schedule a complimentary intro call here.

How To Teach Your Children About Finances

Financial empowerment, literacy, and education are so important not just amongst adults, but children too. So, as we kick start 2024 and think about financial goals for the year, many clients and prospects have been asking us how to think about finances for their kids and the best ways to teach their children about money from an early age. So while you start your spring financial cleaning, think about some ways to incorporate finance into your childrens’ lives. While there are many different routes to save money for children and teach them about personal finance, we wanted share a few with you, especially some you can implement this summer. 

First and foremost, we want to stress the importance of teaching children personal finance topics and smart financial decisions from an early age. Knowing what money means to you is an important concept whether you’re a child or an adult. One savings vehicle we always recommend to parents when saving for their children is 529s plans. For further details on 529 plans, you can check out our blog, but this savings vehicle is a great way to get ahead of college and education savings for your kids. 

For those who want to educate their children about money and finances, setting up a donor-advised fund is a great way to get the kids involved in not only charitable giving, but the importance of budgeting and setting money aside for different buckets and priorities. Another question we’ve been getting from clients is where to save “birthday” or “gift” money for their kids? Parents can open a minor high yield savings account for their children to earn maximum interest while still being FDIC insured. As their money grows overtime, you can explain to them how interest works and how money can grow overtime. 

Some other ways to teach your young children about money is to talk about it. Make sure you are having conversations with your children about money, for example, how much things cost and how people earn money so that they can spend it. Teach them the difference between wants and needs. Exposing them to concepts such as these will help them learn about personal finance topics as they mature and enter adulthood. 

It is never too late to start learning personal finance concepts. If you have children that are approaching college and you want them to learn and prepare how to manage and budget their finances on their own, let us know and we are happy to help. We offer financial literacy meetings to children and young adults to educate them on personal finance and answer any questions that they have. If you are interested in educating your children, email us at info@shermanwealth.com and we are happy to set up some time to connect and share our resources. 

How Spending Habits Have Evolved in a High-Interest Rate Environment

Over the last few years individuals worldwide have found themselves needing to adapt to a rapidly ever changing economic landscape. In recent months, the consumer has needed to adjust to a higher interest rate environment due to inflation and a higher cost of living, prompting a significant shift in spending habits. One noteworthy transformation seen in more recent months is the decline in demand on home buying, as mortgage rates reach unprecedented highs. Let’s explore the impact inflation and rising interest rates is having on consumer spending.

As mentioned above, one of the large reconsiderations we have seen in consumer spending is homeownership. “With mortgage rates near 8% and average home prices hitting record highs, sales of existing homes were down 15.4% year-over-year in September”, according to the National Association of Realtors. Typical home buyers are now straying away from the real estate market and allocating those funds towards different goals, such as rent and education. For example, according to data firm ISS Market Intelligence, “There was a 15% increase in the number of new 529 college savings accounts opened in the third quarter from a year ago”. Homebuyers who either purchased or refinanced during the COVID-19 low interest rate era are now also realizing how expensive it would be to move or relocate rather than undergo a home improvement or renovation.

As the economic landscape continues to change, so do the goals of the consumer. While your goals may remain the same, many individuals are revisiting the importance and timeline of their goals, to better align with the current environment. So, one goal the consumer is starting to redirect their spending to in this environment is travel. Whether individuals missed out on travel during the pandemic or are now putting off their future home purchase, studied are showing that the consumer is redirecting their funds towards experiences rather than assets. The concept of “experiential spending” is gaining traction, with people allocating money towards travel, education, and enriching activities.

With interest rates at elevated levels, individuals are also becoming more strategic in managing their debt, becoming more conscious about variable interest rate debt, while maximizing interest earned on savings. Student loan payments came back online in October, adding another payment that was gone for quite some time back into the budget. These changes to the budget are having an impact on where the next incremental dollar is going.

In the face of higher interest rates, inflation, and an increased cost of living, individuals are reshaping their spending habits and financial strategies. The traditional notion of homeownership is being reevaluated, with a shift towards experiential spending, prudent debt management, and tighter budgets. As the economic landscape continues to evolve, adaptability will be crucial for individuals seeking to navigate these ever-changing environments successfully. If you have any questions on your spending habits or budget or would like to set up complimentary intro call, email info@shermanwealth.com or click here.

The Importance Of Goals Based Financial Planning

In the realm of personal finance, goals-based financial planning is a strategy that helps shape your financial future and roadmap by aligning your short, medium, and long-term goals. Given the time of year, you may be thinking about establishing a “top to bottom” full financial tune up. By aligning one’s financial strategy with specific objectives, such as retirement, education, or homeownership, goals-based planning provides a structured framework that not only shapes financial plans but also helps align other factors of your financial life such as asset allocation, risk tolerance, and overall wealth management.

The foundation of goals-based planning lies in identifying and prioritizing personal and financial achievements and aspirations. Whether short-term, medium or long-term, these goals serve as the compass, directing individuals towards better informed decision-making. A goals-based approach prompts reflection on your wants versus your needs, allowing you to create buckets and strategies to reach all your different goals.

One of the primary advantages of goals-based planning is to create a strategic asset allocation that aligns comfortably with your goals. Rather than adopting a one-size-fits-all investment strategy, individuals can tailor their portfolios to align with their own specific goals. Goals-based planning also encourages a strong understanding of risk tolerance. Different goals may call for different risk levels and comfortability during times of volatility and investor behavior during times such as recent, with all time highs in the stock market. By utilizing goals based planning and working with a financial advisor to sift thru your priorities and portfolio, you can strike a delicate balance that aligns with both your comfort level and financial goals.

Life is dynamic, and circumstances evolve. So, it’s important to remember that as your life evolves and your priorities shift, your financial plan can be revisited and tweaked to accommodate new goals, unexpected challenges, or changes in risk tolerance. This adaptability is crucial in ensuring that the financial roadmap remains relevant and effective throughout life’s different stages.

So in conclusion, when thinking about where to get started on your financial plan, goals based planning can help you define and prioritize your objectives, shape your financial plan, optimize asset allocation, and navigate your personal financial roadmap with greater precision. If you are seeking a spring cleaning financial tune-up or are interested in learning more about how we incorporate goals-based and and top to bottom planning in our process, email info@shermanwealth.com or schedule a complimentary 30-minute call here.

8 Common Investor Biases That Impact Investment Decisions

This article was originally published on investopedia.com

One of the biggest challenges to our own success can be our own instinctive behavioral biases. In previously discussing behavioral finance, we focused on four common personality types of investors.

Now let’s focus on the common behavioral biases that affect our investment decisions.

The concept of behavioral finance helps us recognize our natural biases that lead us to making illogical and often irrational decisions when it comes to investments and finances. A prime example of this is the concept of prospect theory, which is the idea that as humans, our emotional response to perceived losses is different than to that of perceived gains. According to prospect theory, losses for an investor feel twice as painful as gains feel good. Some investors worry more about the marginal percentage change in their wealth than they do about the amount of their wealth. This thought process is backwards and can cause investors to fixate on the wrong issues.

The chart below is a great example of this emotional rollercoaster and how it impacts our investment decisions.


The Psychology of Investing Biases

Behavioral biases hit us all as investors and can vary depending upon our investor personality type. These biases can be cognitive, illustrated by a tendency to think and act in a certain way or follow a rule of thumb. Biases can also be emotional: a tendency to take action based on feeling rather than fact.

Pulled from a study by H. Kent Baker and Victor Ricciardi that looks at how biases impact investor behavior, here are eight biases that can affect investment decisions:

  • Anchoring or Confirmation Bias: First impressions can be hard to shake because we tend to selectively filter, paying more attention to information that supports our opinions while ignoring the rest. Likewise, we often resort to preconceived opinions when encountering something — or someone — new. An investor whose thinking is subject to confirmation bias would be more likely to look for information that supports his or her original idea about an investment rather than seek out information that contradicts it.
  • Regret Aversion Bias: Also known as loss aversion, regret aversion describes wanting to avoid the feeling of regret experienced after making a choice with a negative outcome. Investors who are influenced by anticipated regret take less risk because it lessens the potential for poor outcomes. Regret aversion can explain an investor’s reluctance to sell losing investments to avoid confronting the fact that they have made poor decisions.
  • Disposition Effect Bias: This refers to a tendency to label investments as winners or losers. Disposition effect bias can lead an investor to hang onto an investment that no longer has any upside or sell a winning investment too early to make up for previous losses. This is harmful because it can increase capital gains taxes and can reduce returns even before taxes.
  • Hindsight Bias: Another common perception bias is hindsight bias, which leads an investor to believe after the fact that the onset of a past event was predictable and completely obvious whereas, in fact, the event could not have been reasonably predicted.
  • Familiarity Bias: This occurs when investors have a preference for familiar or well-known investments despite the seemingly obvious gains from diversification. The investor may feel anxiety when diversifying investments between well known domestic securities and lesser known international securities, as well as between both familiar and unfamiliar stocks and bonds that are outside of his or her comfort zone. This can lead to suboptimal portfolios with a greater a risk of losses.
  • Self-attribution Bias: Investors who suffer from self-attribution bias tend to attribute successful outcomes to their own actions and bad outcomes to external factors. They often exhibit this bias as a means of self-protection or self-enhancement. Investors affected by self-attribution bias may become overconfident.
  • Trend-chasing Bias: Investors often chase past performance in the mistaken belief that historical returns predict future investment performance. This tendency is complicated by the fact that some product issuers may increase advertising when past performance is high to attract new investors. Research demonstrates, however, that investors do not benefit because performance usually fails to persist in the future.
  • Worry: The act of worrying is a natural — and common — human emotion. Worry evokes memories and creates visions of possible future scenarios that alter an investor’s judgment about personal finances. Anxiety about an investment increases its perceived risk and lowers the level of risk tolerance. To avoid this bias, investors should match their level of risk tolerance with an appropriate asset allocation strategy.

Avoiding Behavioral Mistakes

By understanding the common behavioral mistakes investors make, a quality financial planner will aim to help clients take the emotion out of investing by creating a tactical, strategic investment plan customized to the individual. Some examples of strategies that help with this include:

  • Systematic Asset Allocation: We utilize investment strategies such as dollar cost averaging to create a systematic plan of attack that takes advantage of market fluctuations, even in a down market period.
  • Risk Mitigation: The starting point of any investment plan starts with understanding an individual’s risk tolerance.

The most important aspect of behavioral finance is peace of mind. By having a thorough understanding of your risk appetite, the purpose of each investment in your portfolio and the implementation plan of your strategy, it allows you to feel much more confident about your investment plan and be less likely to make common behavioral mistakes.

Working with a financial planner can help investors recognize and understand their own individual behavioral biases and predispositions, and thus be able to avoid making investment decisions based entirely on those biases.


The views expressed in this blog post are as of the date of the posting, and are subject to change based on market and other conditions. This blog contains certain statements that may be deemed forward-looking statements. Please note that any such statements are not guarantees of any future performance and actual results or developments may differ materially from those projected.
Please note that nothing in this blog post should be construed as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to purchase an interest in any security or separate account. Nothing is intended to be, and you should not consider anything to be, investment, accounting, tax or legal advice. If you would like investment, accounting, tax or legal advice, you should consult with your own financial advisors, accountants, or attorneys regarding your individual circumstances and needs. No advice may be rendered by Sherman Wealth unless a client service agreement is in place.
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Ep. 179 Launch Financial- February CPI Data Released, Rising 0.4%

Overview: Tune into this week’s episode of Launch Financial as we discuss February CPI report, which came in slightly higher than analyst expectations at 0.4% increase for the month, and 3.2% higher from a year ago. Are you still feeling the impacts of inflation on your wallet? We will continue to monitor the impact this CPI data has on both the market and Federal Reserve and future interest rate policy. 

Show Notes:

Check out this episode!

Here’s Why Women Need to Take Control of Their Finances

Finances can be overwhelming, especially when you feel lost or uneducated on the “right” decisions to make. Over the last few years, we have found that women are contributing more and more to their family’s finances and are making strides towards further financial independence. 

Despite women playing a larger role in their family finances, they still feel a lesser sense of confidence than they should as it relates to larger financial tasks. We saw a survey conducted by the Achieve Center for Consumer Insights, that asked both women and men about their current financial situations, key pain points and future goals. It found that 68% of women are either “not very” or “not at all” confident in their outlook for the economy in 2024, compared to 57% of men.” This data reinforces the importance for women to ask questions, seek advice and education surrounding their finances, and not take the back seat when making big financial decisions. 

Here at Sherman Wealth, we are large proponents of financial education and confidence, especially amongst women. We want to use this new data as an opportunity to encourage and motivate women to take control of their finances and better educate themselves to become financially independent. We know that a lack of financial education in schooling systems impacts the confidence level of financial literacy for both men and women and we are here to advocate for change. 

As a financial advisor who works to empower women to become confident to make their own financial decisions, we have found that many women are often met with anxiety when it comes to having to make financial decisions on their own. For that reason, it is extremely important to start educating yourself about financial concepts from a young age, along with passing that on to the next generation, such as your children or grandchildren. Take it upon yourself to set up a budget, understand your cash flows, your benefits at work, and your whole financial picture. Leaving the big decisions to another family member or spouse can impact your understanding and confidence level down the road. In the event your spouse or family member passes away, you want to ensure you are financially equipped to handle your finances on your own. 

At Sherman Wealth, we strive to educate all of our clients, no matter gender, age, or background, to become financially independent and feel confident to make their own decisions. If you have any questions or would like to talk to us about ways to educate others about financial concepts, please reach out to us at info@shermanwealth.com or schedule a 30-minute complimentary introductory call here. 


Are You A HENRY? Here’s How HENRYs Can Save and Grow Their Wealth

In today’s dynamic economic landscape, an emerging demographic has emerged: HENRYs, or High Earners Not Rich Yet. These individuals, typically professionals in their prime earning and accumulating years, are not yet High Net Worth individuals. HENRYs possess a unique opportunity to not only save but also grow their wealth substantially. Let’s explore how HENRYs can leverage their financial situation to secure a promising financial future.

HENRYs are characterized by their robust incomes, often exceeding national averages, yet their wealth accumulation is not where they might want it to be. These individuals, typically in their 20s to 40s often times despite the high income, face obstacles such as student debt, lifestyle inflation, and delayed financial planning, hindering their wealth-building efforts. So it’s extremely important that they implement smart financial habits early on, build a financial plan, and automate the process to accumulate their wealth and make smart financial decisions.

So, let’s take a look at some places where HENRYs can improve their financial habits. First, budgeting. HENRYs can harness their considerable incomes by implementing strategic budgeting and expense management techniques. By setting up an accountable and accurate budget, they can redirect resources towards savings and investment. For those with student loan debt or other debt, creating a strategic debt repayment strategy is prudent. Given the higher interest rate environment we have been living in, there are tactical moves debt goers can make to keep their financial plan in line.

Next, let’s discuss investing. HENRYs have the perfect opportunity to leverage their wealth by investing wisely and early. By allocating funds to diversified portfolios, including retirement accounts, taxable accounts, and other diversified assets, they can grow their wealth overtime to achieve their short, medium, and long-term goals.

If you’re a HENRY, but are not quite sure where to get started on your financial journey, consider seeking advice from a financial advisors or professional who can provide you with customized strategies to optimize your financial situation. Here at Sherman Wealth, we build out personalized solutions and financial plans to help all clients, including HENRYs make smarter financial decisions and strategically grow their wealth. Professional guidance helps navigate complex investment decisions, minimize tax liabilities, and plan for future milestones.

As discussed in this blog, HENRYs have a vast opportunity to maximize and optimize their financial future. Building a solid foundation early in their careers lays the groundwork for long-term growth and financial security. If you are a HENRY and are seeking financial guidance, email info@shermanwealth.com or schedule a complimentary intro call here.