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Diamond Partner for KidSide

https://kidsidemiami.org/kidside-newsletter-july-2020/ SHECHTER & EVERETT, LLP recently became Diamond Partner for KidSide.

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What You Need To Know About Establishing A Realistic Budget

What You Need To Know About Establishing A Realistic Budget

Do you ever wonder where your money goes each month? Does it seem like you’re never able to get ahead? If so, you may want to establish a budget to help you keep track of how you spend your money and help you reach your financial goals.

Examine your financial goals

Before you establish a budget, you should examine your financial goals. Start by making a list of your short-term goals (e.g., new car, vacation) and your long-term goals (e.g., your child’s college education, retirement). Next, ask yourself: How important is it for me to achieve this goal? How much will I need to save? Armed with a clear picture of your goals, you can work toward establishing a budget that can help you reach them.

Identify your current monthly income and expenses

To develop a budget that is appropriate for your lifestyle, you’ll need to identify your current monthly income and expenses. You can jot the information down with a pen and paper, or you can use one of the many software programs available that are designed specifically for this purpose.

Start by adding up all of your income. In addition to your regular salary and wages, be sure to include other types of income, such as dividends, interest, and child support. Next, add up all of your expenses. To see where you have a choice in your spending, it helps to divide them into two categories: fixed expenses (e.g., housing, food, clothing, transportation) and discretionary expenses (e.g., entertainment, vacations, hobbies). You’ll also want to make sure that you have identified any out-of-pattern expenses, such as holiday gifts, car maintenance, home repair, and so on. To make sure that you’re not forgetting anything, it may help to look through canceled checks, credit card bills, and other receipts from the past year. Finally, as you list your expenses, it is important to remember your financial goals. Whenever possible, treat your goals as expenses and contribute toward them regularly.

Evaluate your budget

Once you’ve added up all of your income and expenses, compare the two totals. To get ahead, you should be spending less than you earn. If this is the case, you’re on the right track, and you need to look at how well you use your extra income. If you find yourself spending more than you earn, you’ll need to make some adjustments. Look at your expenses closely and cut down on your discretionary spending. And remember, if you do find yourself coming up short, don’t worry! All it will take is some determination and a little self-discipline, and you’ll eventually get it right.

Monitor your budget

You’ll need to monitor your budget periodically and make changes when necessary. But keep in mind that you don’t have to keep track of every penny that you spend. In fact, the less record keeping you have to do, the easier it will be to stick to your budget. Above all, be flexible. Any budget that is too rigid is likely to fail. So be prepared for the unexpected (e.g., leaky roof, failed car transmission).

Tips to help you stay on track

  • Involve the entire family: Agree on a budget up front and meet regularly to check your progress
  • Stay disciplined: Try to make budgeting a part of your daily routine
  • Start your new budget at a time when it will be easy to follow and stick with the plan (e.g., the beginning of the year, as opposed to right before the holidays)
  • Find a budgeting system that fits your needs (e.g., budgeting software)
  • Distinguish between expenses that are “wants” (e.g., designer shoes) and expenses that are “needs” (e.g., groceries)
  • Build rewards into your budget (e.g., eat out every other week)
  • Avoid using credit cards to pay for everyday expenses: It may seem like you’re spending less, but your credit card debt will continue to increase

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The Straight-Forward Guide To Preparing for a Divorce

The Straight-Forward Guide To Preparing for a Divorce

Divorce can be a lengthy process that may strain your finances and leave you feeling out of control. But with the right preparation, you can protect your interests, take charge of your future, and save yourself time and money. You certainly never expected divorce when you cut the wedding cake; you and your spouse planned on spending the rest of your lives together. Unfortunately, the fairy tale didn’t work out, and you’re headed for a divorce. So where do you begin?

First things first: should you hire an attorney?

There’s no legal requirement that you hire an attorney when divorcing. In fact, going it alone may be a sensible option if you’re young and have been married only a short time, are childless, and have few assets. However, most divorcing couples hire attorneys to better protect their interests, even though doing so can be expensive. Divorce attorneys typically charge hourly rates and require you to submit retainers (lump sums) up front. The charges will depend on the complexity of the case, the reputation and experience of the divorce attorney, and your geographic location.

You should know that if you’re a homemaker or earn less income than your spouse, it’s still possible to obtain legal representation. You can submit a motion to the court, asking a judge to order your spouse to pay for your attorney’s fees.

If you and your spouse can agree on most issues, you may save time and money by filing an uncontested divorce. If you can’t agree on significant issues, you may want to meet with a divorce mediator, who can help you resolve issues that the two of you can’t resolve alone. To find a mediator, contact your local domestic relations court, ask friends for a referral, or look online. Certain attorneys, members of the clergy, psychologists, social workers, marriage counselors, and financial professionals may offer their services as mediators.

Save time and money by doing your homework before meeting with a divorce professional

To save time and money, compile as much of the following information as you can before meeting with an attorney or other divorce professional:

  • Each spouse’s date of birth
  • Names and birthdates of children, if you have any
  • Date and place of marriage and length of time in present state
  • Existence of prenuptial agreement
  • Information about parties’ prior marriages, children, etc.
  • Date of separation and grounds for divorce
  • Current occupation and name and address of employer for each spouse
  • Social Security number for each spouse
  • Income of each spouse
  • Education, degrees, and training of each spouse
  • Extent of employee benefits for each spouse
  • Details of retirement plans for each spouse
  • Joint assets of the parties
  • Liabilities and debts of each spouse
  • Life (and other) insurance of each spouse
  • Separate or personal assets of each spouse, including trust funds and inheritances
  • Financial records
  • Family business records
  • Collections, artwork, and antiques

If you’re uncertain about some of these areas, you can obtain the necessary information through your spouse’s financial affidavit and/or the discovery process, both of which are mandated by the court.

Consider some big questions

Although your divorce professional will help you work through the big issues, you might want to think about the following questions before meeting with him or her:

  • If you have children, what are your wishes regarding custody, visitation, and child support?
  • Whose health insurance plan should cover the children?
  • Do you earn enough money to adequately support yourself, or should alimony be considered?
  • Which assets do you really want, and which are you willing to let your spouse keep?
  • How do you feel about the family home? Do you feel strongly about living there, or should it be sold or allotted to your spouse?
  • Will you have enough money to pay the outstanding debt on whatever assets you keep?

In addition to an attorney, you may want to see a therapist to help you clarify your wishes, express yourself more clearly, and deal with any child-related issues. Such counseling is typically covered by health insurance.

Some dos and don’ts when divorcing

Keep the following tips in mind:

  • Do prepare a budget and a financial plan to sustain you until your divorce is final. Get help if you don’t currently have the skills and energy to do this on your own.
  • Do review monthly bank and financial statements and make copies for your attorney.
  • Do review all tax returns that have been filed jointly or separately by your spouse.
  • Do make sure all taxes have been paid to date.
  • Do review the contents of any safe-deposit boxes.
  • Do get emotional support for yourself. Talk to friends, join a support group, or see a therapist.
  • Don’t make large purchases or create additional debt that might later cause financial hardship.
  • Don’t quit your job.
  • Don’t move out of the house before consulting your attorney.
  • Don’t transfer or give away assets that are owned jointly.
  • Don’t sign a blank financial statement or any other document without reviewing it with your attorney.

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New Firm Announcement

CLIENTS AND FRIENDS: Please be advised that effective January 1, 2020; Ospina, Everett and Shechter, LLP will be dividing into two firms: Shechter & Everett, LLP – Philip Shechter, CPA and Michael Everett, CPA and their staff will be practicing at 2100 Ponce De Leon Blvd, Penthouse 1, Coral Gables, Florida 33134   Phone Number 305-615-1911 Forensic Accountants and Consultants, PA (FAC PA) – Monica Ospina, CPA and staff will be practicing at 201 S. Biscayne Blvd 28th Floor Miami, FL 33131 and 201 E Kennedy Blvd Suite 1460 Tampa, FL…

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Elaine King Announcement

Elaine King, CFP® founder of Family and Money Matters Institute ™, one of the pioneers of family finances and independently owned firm in Miami, FL announces its alliance with leading forensic accounting firm Shechter & Everett and the creation of the Financial Planning Center effective January 16th, 2020. Elaine King will serve as Director of the Financial Planning Center for Shechter & Everett focusing on wealth planning, financial education, multigenerational succession and family governance.  She has experience working with over 1,200 families and leading as a partner, director and manager…

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