Michele Clark
Clark Hourly Financial Planning - Chesterfield, MO Advisor
1415 Elbridge Payne Road, Suite 255
Chesterfield, MO 63017 USA
Work 636.264.0732
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Michele Clark in the News: CNBC about Downsizing Housing in Retirement

June 15th, 2018

I was happy to be a resource for Sara O’Brien of CNBC for the article “Older Americans planning to downsize should brace for sticker shock” that highlights the surprises that retirees can face when downsizing.  We had a great discussion about the types of expenses people often forget, the types of housing I see clients gravitate toward, and if the cost of the square footage downsized home is dollar downsized as much as people originally had envisioned.

Why retirees might not get as much equity out downsizing as they thought

When thinking of “downsizing” people often assume that if they reduce the size of their home, the purchase price will also be lower.  That isn’t always the case.  Often times people are looking for newer homes that will require less maintenance, and may even be attracted to villa homes that include (for a fee) exterior upkeep such as snow shoveling, yard work etc.  Those types of homes cost more.  You may end up downsizing the square footage but upsize the amenities.

People often forget that they will pay a 6% sales commission to the realtor to sell their home that translates into a smaller check at the closing table than they originally thought.  For a $450,000 house, it is $27,000 less for their retirement than they were thinking. Especially considering they are also using the proceeds to buy another house.

Due to years of watching HGTV reveals people swing open a front door and expect to be wowed. Knowing this a Realtor’s marketing plan will include a list of staging ideas and home repairs designed to maximize the sales price and reduce the number of days on the market. These expenses are often overlooked because they cover more items than they used to, Pre-HGTV.

Moving expenses and the cost of setting up the new home add up as well.

Why it pays to plan in advance when thinking of downsizing

One benefit to downsizing, even if the reduction is not significant, is if you currently have a mortgage, and you move to a less expensive home, you can improve your monthly cash flow by doing away with the monthly principal and interest mortgage payments (you will still pay taxes and insurance each year.)  Or of course, if your current home is paid off, you will walk away from the closing table with equity out of the house, which is what people traditionally think of when they think of downsizing.

Another benefit is in the form of improved monthly cash flows, due to a reduction in housing costs, such as utilities, home owner’s insurance, and potentially real estate taxes.

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Coffee with Michele Clark, CFP® and Jan June 2018

June 11th, 2018

Come to the Community Room at Kaldi’s in Chesterfield, MO with your financial planning and tax questions and enjoy a cup of coffee with Michele Clark CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM professional in St. Louis and Jan Roberg, enrolled agent.

Financial Planning and Tax Planning Questions Answered

There is no prepared presentation, just a casual conversation in a small group environment; your opportunity to pick our brains. Feel free to invite family or friends who could benefit from an hour with us. Open to registered attendees only, due to the size of the room.

Coffee with Michele Clark and Jan
Kaldi’s Coffee Chesterfield, MO
Wednesday, June 20, 2018
10:30 am to 11:30 am

RSVP Information
RSVP online Clark Hourly Financial Planning and Investment Management RSVP or call 636-264-0732. Space is limited. Coffee and pastries are complimentary.

Kaldi’s Coffee Chesterfield address and map
The Community Room is an enclosed room in the back of the coffee shop.

We hope you can join us!

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Michele Clark in the News: US News and World Report about College Planning and Grandparents

September 27th, 2017

I was honored to help US News and World Report recently in their article “How Grandparents Can Help Save for College”  the author of the article and I discussed how difficult it can be for families to discuss money and saving for college and different ways to broach the subject.  We also discussed how the money that a Grandparent has saved for a grandchild can sometimes hurt their financial aid prospects depending on how it is managed.  We also discussed different investment vehicles and the pros and cons of each.

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Michele Clark in the News: US News and World Report about Mistakes Grandparents Make When Helping Pay for College

September 27th, 2017

I was honored to help US News and World Report recently in their article “6 Mistakes Grandparents Make When Helping Pay for College”   we had a nice long conversation which was used for a couple of articles.   Discussed in this article are making sure that you do not miss tax breaks, that if you choose to use savings bonds that you title them correctly, and that you are careful about the timing of your gift to the grandchild so that you do not harm their financial aid chances.

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Six Steps: What To Do About The Equifax Hack / Breach

September 8th, 2017

This is important.

Equifax disclosed yesterday that it had a data breach that in all likelihood involved you.

Info was stolen for about 143 million consumers including names, Social Security numbers, addresses, birth dates, and driver’s license numbers. Serious stuff and hard to imagine we are not all impacted.

If you have a credit card or loan or have had in the last seven(+) years, then the credit bureaus have been keeping a credit report on you.  Be safe and assume your information has been hacked.

There is an Equifax website that you can use to verify if you were affected, however, some are concerned that you may be giving up some legal rights by using it.

Take some steps to help protect yourself and restrict how your personal information is used.

What to do?

  1. Freeze your credit

Be aware that some agencies may charge a small fee to freeze and unfreeze your credit.   You can freeze your credit by using the following phone numbers and links:

 

2. Call your brokerage firm to put verbal passwords on the account, check with your bank/credit union to see if they also offer this.

 

3. Set up two-factor authentication on your financial accounts if it is available and not automatically required. Yes, it is a bit of a pain, but it is designed to help protect you.  When you log into a website, they send a code which you must use to get into the website.  This prevents someone from impersonating you even if they do figure out your password.

 

4. Open your mail/emails from your financial institutions! When your contact information is changed; emails, address, phone numbers, you are notified.  Changing contact info is often step one of fraud (often, but not always.)

 

5. Be especially watchful of phishing, links to duplicate sites, and other types of email scams. These are attempts to collect additional sensitive data/information to perpetrate fraud.

 

6. If you logged into Equifax in the past, change that password and if you used the same password on any other website, change the password for that website as well.

 

If you think that this would be helpful to family or friends please share the info!

While this is serious, and you need to take steps to protect yourself, please do not panic or worry.  Take control of the situation and take action.  Then go spend time with your loved ones, do some gardening, sip some wine, go hiking, have some chocolates (see my Clark HFP &IM Facebook post from last Friday!) do whatever it is that you enjoy!

I will leave you with this quote from the marvelous George Burns…

“If you ask what is the single most important key to longevity; I would have to say it is avoiding worry, stress, and tension.  And if you didn’t ask me, I’d still have to say it.”

Have a wonderful weekend!  I will.

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All written content on this site is for information purposes only. Opinions expressed herein are solely those of Clark Hourly Financial Planning, LLC, unless otherwise specifically cited. Material presented is believed to be from reliable sources and no representations are made by our firm as to another parties' informational accuracy or completeness. All information or ideas provided should be discussed in detail with an adviser, accountant or legal counsel prior to implementation.

This website may provide links to others for the convenience of our users. Our firm has no control over the accuracy or content of these other websites.

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