Are You Being Smart with Your Debt?

Do you know the difference between good and bad debt? Are you able to maintain and afford the debt you take on? Many individuals are not. In fact, we’ve been reading tons of articles and studies that are finding that Americans, in particular millennials, are piling on debt during this time. Given the inflationary and high interest rate environment we are living in, talking about debt is more prudent than ever.

Are higher interest rates and prices changing your spending habits? If you are feeling the heat of inflation, re-evaluate your budget and cash flows, ensuring you are only purchasing what you can truly afford. Spending more than you make can slowly pile up your bills overtime, making it hard to pay your debt each month.

While taking on “good debt”, such as opening lines of credit to prove to creditors you are responsible with your money, is a great way to build your personal credit, taking on too much debt can eventually harm your credit score. So, obviously there is a happy medium when it comes to taking on debt and building your credit.

As we’ve discussed before, your credit score is oftentimes considered the lifeline of your financial life. Having a strong credit score allows you to not only take on more debt, but lets you do it a better price. For example, with a high credit score, lenders are more willing to approve your application and provide you with a lower interest rate. Given the high interest rate environment we are in with the Federal Reserve hiking interest rates to combat inflation, receiving a competitive and lower interest rate is huge to your financial situation.

Furthermore, with interest rates still going up, you want to make sure you are aware of the type of debt you have and are taking on, whether it’s tied to a variable interest rate or its fixed. Many individuals aren’t aware they have variable interest rate debt and understand their finaical obligation to it as rates rise. We know the difference between good and bad debt can be overwhelming to understand, which is why we recommend working with a financial professional to ensure you know everything you have, what your financial obligations actually are, and how to make the best decisions surrounding them. If you have any questions on your personal financial situation or debt, email us at

Are You Having Trouble Saving Money In This Environment?

As the economy continues to adjust to this high interest rate environment with the Federal Reserve hiking interest rates to combat high inflation, many individuals are too feeling an adjustment. We have been finding that many clients and prospects are needing to adjust and revisit their budgets in this environment, and pay closer attention to the amount of cash they have on hand. Do you feel this way too? Are you keeping a closer eye on your spending?  Have your spending habits changed or are you feeling the impact of higher prices? Let’s take a look at how Americans are feeling about their costs and spending. 

According to a survey from the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, “63 percent of Americans are concerned with purchasing necessities such as food, their job security (56 percent), paying their rent or mortgage (55 percent), saving money (82 percent), and the national economy (82 percent).” It’s clear that this higher cost of living is having an impact on the consumer. In fact, credit card balances are at an all time high while American’s emergency savings accounts are dwindling. According to a survey by MagnifyMoney, “Nearly 1 in 5 Americans admit they saved no money at all in 2021. While these stats are not meant to cause anxiety or stress, noting where the economy is a great reason to discuss intentional spending. 

Intentional spending and frequent check-ins on your financial plan and budget is crucial, especially in this environment. Whether you had a financial plan created for you years ago or just a few months ago, it’s extremely important to check in with your plan and budget often to ensure it still works for you. 

When you are intentional about your spending, you separate your wants versus your needs as well as your short and long term goals, creating buckets to achieve your different wishes. We find that many individuals don’t sit down to create a realistic budget and end up spending more than they bring in, resulting in negative cash flows and added financial stress. Along with intentional spending, finding an amount that you are comfortable with to sock away each month is a great way to stay responsible and build up your emergency fund.

The survey also found that “younger Americans were also more likely to make decisions that could impact them negatively long term, as investors under 45 were more likely to delay credit card payments (29 percent versus 17 percent) and delay loan payments (25 percent versus 16 percent).” We know that financial planning might not always be top of mind for you, especially if you are a young professional just starting out, but setting up a financial plan from a young age and making these financial tasks a priority can be extremely beneficial to your financial future. Delaying loan and credit card payments can be a very slippery slope and get far away from you quickly if not handled appropriately, so make sure you create a plan and budget that works for you to avoid getting yourself into a sticky situation. 

We know that financial planning can seem scary or overwhelming which is why here at Sherman Wealth make financial planning simplified. We take overwhelming topics easily understandable for our clients and help them every step of the way on their financial journey. If you have any questions and want to revisit your financial plan or spending habits, email us at or schedule a complimentary 30-minute call here

Understanding The True Value and Need For A Financial Plan

We’ve been talking a lot about the importance of having a financial plan in place, especially given the current market climate with hot inflation and rising interest rates. Establishing financial goals and creating a roadmap to achieve them is extremely important to your financial life.  It’s often hard to see the whole scope of your financial picture on your own, which is why we want to discuss the value of establishing a financial plan. So, for those of you who have never utilized a financial place, let’s discuss some services you can expect.

Whether you work with a financial professional or build a financial plan on your own, having all your finances in one place with a strategic plan and goals in mind is crucial. Financial literacy in this country is lacking, so it’s extremely important to educate individuals on the true value of financial planning. Financial planning isn’t as daunting and scary as you might think – it’s actually quite a seamless process that allows you to organize yourself and set you and your family up for financial success in the future. 

At Sherman Wealth, we take a holistic, micro and macro approach when attacking your financial plan, beginning with a qualitative risk tolerance questionnaire to gauge your comfortability with your current asset allocation risk and risk for future investments. We then take a look at everything you have, aggregating your whole financial into our financial software in order to analyze it and see the bigger picture.

As you can see in the document above, we offer many services and can help you in all assets of your financial life, whether its getting organized and automating, establishing a budget and goals, discussing your cash flows and tax efficient strategies, reviewing your insurance and estate planning needs, or preparing for college. While these are only a few of the services we offer, having a financial concierge to talk these topics through with can simplify your life.

For example, given where interest rates are, many people have questions on what the best vehicles are to park cash. It’s okay not to know what to do with your money, but it’s important to seek advice or ask for help. A solid financial plan can help you separate your needs from your wants and create a budget that allows you to put your money into “buckets” – one for saving, one for investing and one for spending. 

Many people think they are in a good financial situation if they can simply pay their monthly bills and have some money in a savings account; however, oftentimes, this mindset won’t allow you to reach your financial dreams. While this isn’t necessarily a bad position to be in, creating a financial plan can help you learn some different ways to grow your money and how to save for retirement. 

At Sherman Wealth, we say that life is complicated, but your finances don’t have to be. We have designed a customized and comprehensive financial plan system that helps you see your whole financial picture and makes sure you don’t forget about things such as investing, employee benefits, and more. Encourage your friends and family to start thinking about their personal finance and empower them to seek help to better their financial future. If you have any questions or would like to demo our financial planning software, email us at or schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation here


Are You Setting Aside More Cash in This Environment?

If you’ve been following major headlines in the media recently, you sure have read about interest rates, inflation, the Federal Reserve, and a potential recession. As the Federal Reserve recently implemented its 10th interest rate hike in its effort to combat inflation, many individuals continue to discuss the possibility of a looming recession on the economy. So, in response to the state of the economy with rising interest rates and inflation data, many individuals are revisiting ideas on their budgets and cash, stashing away more cash and cutting out unnecessary items from their budgets.

Although this week we saw retail sales increase 0.4% in April, indicating shoppers are picking up spending, over the last few months many Americans have cut back on shopping. According to recent reports from Bank of America Institute and Deloitte, American consumers are cutting back on their spending and saving more. In fact, now “71% of Americans are likely to keep cash on hand,” and “to save more, about half of all adults are dining out less frequently and 42% have changed the way they shop for food”. Given higher prices to purchase goods yet also higher interest rates available on cash, many individuals are starting to take advantage of getting paid more to save. 

Taking advantage of higher interest rates in this environment with your cash is extremely important and a great way to earn some extra cash. We’ve been talking about the best vehicles to park your cash in, including high yield savings accounts and CDs that are as high as the 5% range, earning well over the traditional bank account that’s still yielding around 0%. So, if you have adjusted your budget due to inflation and are finding yourself saving more cash, make sure you are maximizing the interest rate you can earn, making the smartest decision with your finances. If you have any questions about ways to best maximize your cash and your financial plan, email us at or schedule a complimentary intro call here. In an ever changing economic world, we believe that periodically revisiting your financial plan and strategies to align with the opportunities available to you is so important.  


How To Improve Employee Education As a Small Business Owner

Being a business owner ourselves, we feel that financial education and empowerment of everyone, including your staff, is extremely important. As a small business owner, do you ever feel that there’s more you can be doing to better and further the financial education of your employees? Creating a work environment where your employees are given the proper resources to understand the full scope of their benefits and become financially literate is key to creating a team that can make sensible and educated decisions regarding their financial futures.

It’s easy to let your finances get away from you, especially when you are busy with day-to-day life and feel that you have the basics taken care of. However, as a business owner, we encourage you to help your staff see beyond that financial comfortability and challenge them to set themselves up for financial success by contributing to their 401(k) for retirement, seeking financial advice, and asking questions about all the benefits you may offer. We know that you are most likely too busy and pre-occupied to answer financial wellness and financial benefit questions from your staff, which is why we created a service to alleviate this weight from your shoulders. 

We’ve found that companies who offer financial wellness programs have less anxiety-ridden and financially stressed employees. According to a nationwide survey from Bank of America, “91% of employers see higher employee satisfaction when they offer resources to manage overall wellbeing.” This finding reinforces the need for stronger financial education, especially when it comes to retirement and setting financial goals in our country as well as within our firms. Reducing the financial anxiety of your employees should not only increase their workplace satisfaction but efficiency and work product.

As a business owner and entrepreneur, it is easy to get sidetracked with miscellaneous tasks and other aspects of keeping your company running, but it’s important to not only make sure your employees are happy, but are on the road to financial success. If you find yourself too overwhelmed or don’t feel you have the necessary expertise to educate your employees regarding their finances, consider hiring a financial planner or 401(K) consultant as a guide. At Sherman Wealth, we specialize in 401(k) education and can also serve as a financial fitness coach for your company. If you feel that your staff needs more financial empowerment, coaching and guidance, contact us at or schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation to discuss your company’s financial needs here.


Why A Roth IRA and 401(K) Are Smart Retirement Vehicles For You

While saving for retirement is a great way to build your financial wealth and pile away money for the future, many individuals are unclear on the best vehicles to use when saving for retirement. Furthermore, we have been reading articles and hearing remarks from individuals, especially those of younger generations, that they do not want to tuck away money now for retirement, funds that they can’t touch for many, many years. So, for those of you who resonate with this feeling, but still want to optimize your retirement savings, let’s explore why a Roth IRA might be the right savings vehicle for you.

So, for starters, let’s explore what a Roth IRA (individual retirement account) is. For those who don’t know, a Roth IRA is a retirement vehicle that allows individuals who fall under a certain AGI limit to contribute after-tax dollars to a retirement account, meaning you pay taxes on the money upon contribution so your future withdrawals are tax free. Some benefits of a Roth IRA are that your earnings can grow tax free, there are no mandatory withdrawals, unlike a Traditional IRA, and that withdrawals can be taken out tax-free and penalty free, given you’re age 59½ or older and you have met the minimum account holding period, which is 5 years.
Another benefit of a Roth IRA that many young savers find attractive and comforting is the fact that they you can always access the money you contributed without penalty, no matter your age, unlike a traditional IRA. Of course, any gains in the account may be subject to taxes and penalties is withdrawn before age 59½, unless you qualify for an exception. So, while we don’t recommend withdrawing from your account, for those worried about totally locking up their money until retirement, a Roth IRA provides piece of mind that you do have access to those funds in case of an emergency. In fact, studies show that many young individuals don’t end up withdrawing from their accounts, but feel comfort knowing that they can. So if you get weary about your retirement savings, a Roth IRA and its flexibility might be right for you.
While there are many benefits of contributing to a Roth IRA, if you or your combined household has too high of a AGI, you may not be able to contribute. However, if you still want to take advantage of the Roth option within part of your retirement picture, see if your 401(K) has a Roth component. Unlike a Roth IRA, the Roth 401(K) has no income limit and follows the same contribution limit as the traditional 401(K). If you are a small business owner or self-employed, but make too much to contribute to a Roth IRA, consider setting up a 401(K) for your business and adding a Roth component. This is a great way to take advantage of the benefits a Roth account offers, and also save for retirement. If you are looking to implement a 401(K) for your small business or the Roth component to your existing retirement plan, email us at and we are happy to help!
Given all the market volatility and economic uncertainty we’ve seen over the last few years, having a good grasp on your financial picture is important. While saving for retirement is a key piece of your financial plan, its only one piece of many, which is why we encourage working with an advisor on a holistic financial plan to analyze the larger scope. If you have any questions about your particular financial situation or a Roth IRA, email us at or schedule a complimentary intro-call here.

Don’t Make These Errors With Your Estate Plan

Estate planning is a financial topic that many individuals oftentimes overlook; however, it is one of the most important components of a solid financial plan. We know that estate planning is not the most joyful conversation topic and it is typically avoided due to its morbidity, but if you are reading this, we want you to take this opportunity to revisit your estate plan and avoid these common mistakes. 

The most common mistake you can make around estate planning and your will, is NOT having one. Everyone knows they should have a will, but many either think they are too young for it to make sense or think they do not have enough assets to need one. However, this misconception has been proved wrong time and time again. In fact, we recorded a podcast episode with Head of Trusts and Estates Practice, Adam Moskowitz on why it’s never too early to establish a will, medical directive, and power of attorney. Many also believe that they only need a will, and forget about their power of attorney and medical directive, that plays a crucial role in your wishes should anything happen to you. 

Another common mistake we see is not updating your will as your life becomes more complicated. Whether it’s a new house, more children, marriage, or complexities within your familial situation, updating your will as your life becomes more complex is extremely important. Making regular updates to not only your will, but also the beneficiaries on your retirement and other investment accounts is a great way to make sure you remain protected as your life goes on. Make sure that when you make changes to your will or living trust, that you are reflecting and updating those changes on your beneficiary designations as well. 

Depending on your financial and life situation, creating a will, medical directive, and power of attorney can include many moving parts, which is why we encourage you to at least speak with a professional who can help guide you through it or in the right direction. Another common error many individuals make when it comes to their will is losing their original copy, so make sure you are holding onto your original copy somewhere safe. 

As you can tell from above, drafting a will, medical directive and power of attorney is a crucial player in your financial plan. Not only do you want to protect yourself should anything happen to you, but you also want to think about your heirs and make sure that they are taken care of as you wish. If you have any questions for us regarding your need for a new or updated estate plan, let us know and we are happy to set up a conversation to head you in the right direction. If you have any questions, email us at

How To Get Your Financial House In Order Before Buying a Home

Despite the current housing market and higher interest rates, many of you are still in the market to purchase a new home. Whether you’re a first time home buyer or you are upgrading from your “starter” home, there are many tips you can implement and mistakes to avoid to improve your financial situation and ensure the process is more seamless. So let’s dive in. 

As you know, buying a home is a major purchase, maybe even the largest purchase you will make in your lifetime. So, it’s key that your financial house is in order prior to applying for a mortgage and taking on a large loan. So, first and foremost, ensure that your credit score and report are in good shape. Why? Because your credit is the lifeline of your financial life, and when it comes to purchasing a home, lenders will check out your credit to determine what interest rates you will be able to capture. If your credit is not so great, it may be possible you have a higher and more costly interest rate, making your home purchase more expensive than it needs to be. So, make sure you are paying your bills on time, always pay at least the minimum, pay down existing debt, and open multiple lines of credit, taking on “good debt”, that you can pay back responsibility. Check out our other blogs for more information on your credit score

Another tip to keep in mind when preparing to purchase a home is to ensure your emergency fund is sufficient and you have saved enough for the downpayment and fees. So what does this mean? Well, buying a home comes with tons of unexpected expenses. Especially if it’s your first time, having only enough cash for the down payment and fees most likely won’t be enough to cover all the expenses coming your way. So, have an emergency fund, remember about items such as furniture, wifi, utilities, and more. You don’t want to tie up all your cash in non liquid investment vehicles when you might need it for something else in the near future. So, consider opening a high yield savings account that you can park your cash reserve in, while also earning additional interest. 

Along with saving enough cash for your big purchase, having a realistic and achievable budget is extremely important as well. We oftentimes see individuals stretch themselves too thin with their home purchase, making it more financially stressful to reach their other financial goals. Especially given where the economy is with inflation, we’ve been recommending individuals to re-visit and tweak their budgets. So, separating your wants versus your needs and really breaking down your financial goals is a great way to determine what your budget should be. We also recommend working with a financial advisor to dive deeper into this budget and build a strategy to hit all your goals in life. Purchasing a home is such an exciting and fulfilling achievement, so we want to make sure you go about it in the best way possible. We will continue to track the housing industry and mortgage rates as the Federal Reserve continues to raise interest rates and report back how this will impact you. If you have any questions, email

What To Know On The Secure Act 2.0 Provision

At the beginning of the year, we posted a blog discussing the ways that the Secure Act 2.0 promised to provide changes to help many Americans’ retirement plans, including over 90 updated retirement plan provisions. More recently, a provision was passed expanding fee-for service planning opportunities for small business clients and their employees. So, let’s take a look at what this means for you.

When Congress passed the Secure Act 2.0, they increased the incentives for small businesses to create new retirement plans, particularly for businesses with 50 or fewer employees. “Beginning in 2023, an eligible employer with 50 or fewer employees may claim up to 100% of its qualified startup costs for adopting and maintaining a new SEP, SIMPLE IRA, or qualified plan (like a 401(k) plan), and the credit may be claimed for three years. Employers with 51 to 100 employees are subject to the limits specified in the original Secure Act.”

Under the Secure Act, qualified startup costs for retirement plans are defined as the ordinary and necessary expenses paid or taken on by a small business to establish a qualifying retirement plan, and educate employees regarding the plan. How these retirement plan admin fees are paid is either by the participant or the sponsor, depending on the set-up and structure of the plan. Many retirement plan fees are paid by plan participants and are not eligible expenses that can be claimed under the qualified start-up cost tax credit, which is why you want to be careful when analyzing what method is best to pay for the plan admin and education expenses. One method that is very attractive is a fee-for-service engagement with a financial planner.

A fee-for-service engagement allows businesses to qualify for the qualified start up cost tax credit. “Under a fee-for-service engagement, costs paid by the employer to establish, administer, and provide employee education for a new retirement plan all qualify as eligible expenses that the business can claim on its tax return.” Companies with 50 or less employees are able to claim 100% of eligible expenses, up to a maximum of $5,000, for each of the first three years from the start of the new retirement plan, deeming as a very attractive incentive for not only the employer but also the plan participants.

If you own a small business and are thinking about implementing a new retirement plan for your company, let us know as we are here and happy to help establish the plan and educate your employees on the plan details and financial literacy. This tax credit is a great benefit for employers to take advantage of, and we are happy to help you understand it further. If you have any questions, email or schedule a complimentary 30-minute call here.

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. A 2022 Bank of America survey revealed that a “majority of women feel comfortable managing their day-to-day finances, but struggle with longer-term actions like paying down debt, saving for emergencies or retirement, and building wealth.” 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. 

As we just hosted our Women, Wine and Financial Fitness event and are wrapping up financial literacy month, 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 or schedule a 30-minute complimentary introductory call here.