Financial Planning the Right Way: Mapping Your Future With a Professional Financial Advisor

Anyone can write a financial plan, or at least it looks that way. You can consult your banker, go to a brokerage firm, or hire someone who calls himself or herself a financial planner to prepare a plan for you. Financial planning simply is not that complicated, right?

Let's consider what's included in a comprehensive financial plan. There's a section on what happens if you died today. Will estate taxes be due? Does your estate have enough liquidity? Another section outlines what happens if you become disabled or need long-term care. Have you saved enough for retirement? And how will you pay for your kids 'or grandkids' college education? What about charitable giving, income tax savings, and investment allocation?

The first place to start is selecting the right person to develop a financial plan. Find someone with a fiduciary responsibility such as a Certified Financial Planner ™.

It is important to seek out someone who will listen to your objectives and design a plan to meet your goals. Be sure the person you choose to draft your initial financial plan is familiar with how the planning you do in one area affects exit in another. For example, what you do in the area of ​​investment planning can affect your tax planning. What you do to provide for asset protection can affect your estate planning, and so forth.

A sound financial plan should also address how you are expected to have when placed in a variety of scenarios. The only certainty in life is that the unexpected will always happen. When placed in an unexpected situation, most people will tend to make major decisions based on emotion, and then try to rationalize them, underlining their long-term planning. Therefore, a solid financial plan should be flexible enough to accommodate the unexpected. This is especially true in the investment-planning arena. It is important to have a written investment policy statement to help protect your portfolio from unplanned and impulsive revisions of sound long-term policy. Especially in times of market turmoil, investors without an investment policy statement are inclined to make investment decisions that are inconsistent with prudent investment management principles – and their best interest. Your investment policy provides an agreed-upon and well-thought-out framework from which sound investment decisions will be made.

Many people believe the process ends once the plan is written. But good financial planning means regularly monitoring and adapting strategies to ensure you're meeting your goals. Remember, you're not just trying to create an end product that will not ever need to change. You're developing a map that will help guide you toward financial stability. And regular comparisons of where you planned to be in the future with where you actually end up can generate important discussions about why you ended up where you are. Are you ahead of plan because your investment portfolio did better than expected, were taxes lower than expected, or maybe you spent less than expected? The reason you end up at a particular place is important to understand because that determinates what types of adjustments might be needed for your plan A financial plan that's developed with the help of a professional financial planner could be the right map to help you reach your financial destination.

Many people can help you prepare a financial plan, but the most successful plans are crafted by professional planners which allegiance is to you, the client. Professional planners have the credentials and understanding to know how the different areas of financial planning affect one another so they can help determine what is right for you. And professional financial planners will follow up with you after the plan is in place to assist in analyzing deviations from the plan in order to make competent adjustments to steer you away from failure.

Siding and the Environment

In today's increasingly environmentally-friendly climate, the construction industry has begun to get something of a bad reputation for utilizing materials that are known to be harmful to the planet. The siding industry is no exception. With vinyl being one of the more popular and affordable materials for siding installation, the siding industry is often accused of contributing to the demise of the planet by introducing the modifying chemicals of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) into the atmosphere. Of course, the benefit of PVC is that it is inexpensive and quite easy to work with. But in the eyes of the average environmentalist, the advantages inherent in PVC do not outweigh its destructive impact on the planet.

So which types of siding are the best options as far as the environment is concerned? According to Ruben Jeruco, solid wood is probably the most environmentally-friendly siding material available today. Although wood siding requires a fair degree of maintenance, the fact that it is renewable makes it attractive in the eyes of those who are environmentally-conscious. Fiber cement siding is also known to be a reliably earth-friendly product. Offering the same great look and feel of wood but without the significant maintenance, fiber cement is another good choice for people who do not want to run the risk of destroying the planet.

Although it is quickly becoming a less popular choice among homeowners, aluminum siding is actually regarded as fairly environmentally-friendly. Although its production requires a significant amount of resources, aluminum siding is often made of recycled materials, making it a winner in the eyes of those who think green. Finally, natural stone and classic cement stucco are both regarded as earth-friendly siding options; however, the cost involved in stone and stucco puts both choices out of reach for homeowners with limited budgets.

Of course, despite the fact that vinyl is often regarded as the planet's greatest enemy, vinyl siding might not actually be as ecologically destructive as some might think. Vinyl siding requires far less maintenance than most other types of siding once it's installed, few environmental resources are needed in order to preserve it. Vinyl siding is also said to use little energy as part of its manufacturing process. So while the material itself is definitely not the most earth-friendly, vinyl might not be quite as bad as some people think.

If preserving the environment is important to you, then make sure that your siding contractor is aware of your feelings as he helps you select your siding material. With so many earth-friendly siding choices available, you can improve the exterior of your home without having to choose between conservationism and aesthetics. And while you may pay a bit more for your eco-friendly siding, you'll be rewarded with the peace of mind that comes along with knowing that you're doing your part to preserve our planet for many generations to come.

Six Bridesmaid Gift Basket Ideas to Make Yourself

Creating individual bridesmaid gift baskets is a surefire way to make sure each bridesmaid receives a very personalized gift. Each basket can be different depending on their interests, but stay within the same budget for each one. The art of making a great gift basket is to include items that stay within a theme.

Here are six bridesmaid gift basket themes that you can easily put together
yourself:

  • Ahh the Spa Bridesmaid Gift Basket – For the pampered friend, include spotted soaps, lotions, candles, facial masks, foot scrub, massage oil and maybe even slippers or a bathrobe.
  • Food & Wine Bridesmaid Gift Basket – For the gourmand friend, choose red or white wines, imported cheeses, crackers, cheese knife, wine charms and a wine bottle opener.
  • Dinner & Movie Bridesmaid Gift Basket – For the home friend friend, include a DVD (comedy, drama, etc., you know what she'd like), microwave popcorn, a bottle of soda and an assortment of candy.
  • Sweet Snacks Bridesmaid Gift Basket – For the sweet tooth, include hard candy, a box of chocolates, gum, mints, homemade cookies and a silly mug with hot cocoa mix.
  • Party Girl Bridesmaid Gift Basket – For the wild child, include bottles of hard liquor, plumping lip gloss, thong underwear, aspirin (for the next day hangover) and some condoms.
  • The Hobbyist Bridesmaid Gift Basket – This one is perfect if your bridesmaid has a hobby, just work within the theme of her hobby. For the gardener, include seeds, garden tools and a decorative ceramic pot. For the artist, include a sketchbook, colored pencils or pastels and an art book for inspiration. For the chef, include a cookbook, a spatula and some assorted spices.

To assemble the baskets, you simply place the items in baskets with some colorful
tissue paper or shredded paper and add a gift tag or card. The entire basket can be
wrapped up in cellophane or left plain with a few ribbons tied to the handle.

You do not need to use the same exact basket container for each bridesmaid. If you
They are on a tight budget, look for baskets at thrift stores and mix and match. If you
time it just right, baskets can be purchased on clearance after Easter. Other
containers such as colorful gift bags, small bathroom garbage cans, decorative
boxes, tins and tote bags will all work nicely to hold your gift items.

Have fun coming up with bridesmaid gift basket themes!

Visit http://www.do-it-yourself-weddings.com/bridesmaid-gifts.html for more
unique, do it yourself bridesmaid gift ideas.

Gadgets For the Home

Gone are the days when men did not buy home gadgets – they married them! There is, of course, an added advantage today. Gadgets for the home come in all forms to suit various kinds of needs and pockets.

Just think. There is a small baby at home. That new bundle of joy needs to sleep soundly for 2 reasons. One is obviously to enable baby to grow properly.The second is not so well advertised, but none the less valid for that. The parents need to catch up on their work and rest. So if you are left (literally) holding the baby for the better part of the day, when do you do either? Particularly when baby loves to wake up just when s/he is being transferred to the cradle or baby cot?

There is a simple solution by way of a new home gadget. It is a hammock which keeps baby sleeping even when being transferred to it. There are many such home gadgets which have gone a long way to make life easier for those who prefer to live in a home rather than a hostel or mess or boarding house. Think of the ubiquitous mixer which is needed for your juices, shakes, pastes and purees. Gadgets for home have gained in sophistication with advances in technology. Be it an energy hub system to monitor your domestic energy consumption or a hygienic door handle or a voice control travel alarm clock, there is a plethora of home gadgets in the market today.

Using a vacuum cleaner is old hat. For many using a robot to push around a vacuum cleaner is also something that’s been around for quite a while. Neato Robotics has a state-of-the-art robotic vacuum cleaner. Using lasers and SLAM technology (simultaneous localization and mapping), this amazing gadget maps the layout of the room even before it starts cleaning. This ensures that it does not bump into objects in the room (though humans often do) while cleaning! It returns to base only when the job is done or when it needs recharging. It also has features like a top loading dust bin, edge detection to keep it from tumbling down stairs and also a programmable schedule to set how often you want the robot to clean. All in all, this must be one of the neatest gadgets for the home in recent years.