Curtis began his career in financial services at a boutique wealth management firm in his hometown of Greenville, South Carolina. While he always had an interest and inclination towards finance and economics, he quickly discovered he also had a passion for teaching and working with people. During that time, he went back to school at night to complete his MBA from Southern Wesleyan University, and was subsequently promoted to Director of Financial Planning Operations. Later, he would go on to earn the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® certification through Boston University.
Soon thereafter, Curtis joined JPH Advisory Group (now Gratus Capital), as a Senior Financial Advisor, to serve clients in all areas of the wealth management process. Curtis works with clients to design financial plans, oversee investment strategies, consult on stock options, legacy preservation, and risk management. His strengths lie in taking complex financial problems, simplifying them into manageable choices, and then communicating options to clients in a straightforward and easy-to-understand manner. Curtis's goal is to guide his clients to their desired financial future.
In his free time, Curtis enjoys traveling, water sports, staying fit, and reading. He also enjoys blogging on personal finance issues for millennials and young adults at smartmoneynation.com.
MBA, Business Administration, Southern Wesleyan University
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Congrats on your retirement! Having traveled significantly myself, including some in Mexico, I think you can probably live very confortably on Social Security there. However, keep in mind a few practical suggestions in addition to the investment pointers that Mark mentioned:
- Currency -- your income and investments will be in dollars while you're spending in pesos. Therefore, I suggest your long-term plan incorporate enough flexibility to prevent a surge in the peso from hurting your lifestyle. Therefore, I recommend building in a buffer each year between spending and income that protects again that.
- Income from Investments -- be careful about any investment portfolio whose primary goal is income. Investments should be selected on the basis of their projected total return vs risk profile, and not simply to maximize income. Many poor investments pay high dividend and interest rates, but in a recession may still result in a permanent loss of capital. A good financial planner can help you determine a safe withdrawal rate that is independent of the investment selection.
- Taxes -- remember that you'll still need to file a US tax return each year, so start looking for an accountant that understands expat tax rules. Some even help you file the FBAR report if you end up needing to hold assets in a foreign bank.
- Banking -- you'll also want to setup a relationship with a international bank that caters to frequent travellers. The right international bank can offer competitive exchange rates, international phone numbers for customer service, and some even rebate all ATM fees anywhere in the world!
- Investments -- in addition to Mark's suggestions, I would just add that you'll probably want to work with an advisor that understands investing for expats. Blue sky rules can make owning some traditional mutual funds difficult, but a well-versed advisor can help you navigate those waters and build the right portfolio for the long-term.
Yes. If possible, you should payoff your credit card in full each month.
You will pay interest on the outstanding balance on your credit card each month beyond the first month in which the purchases are made. However, if you payoff the balance in full each month, then you pay no interest and are simply using the credit card for it's convenience, fraud protection, and rewards. I highly recommend that, if you do use a credit card at all, you use it in only that way.
Beyond that, having a working understanding of types of good debt vs bad is very important. In addition, I highly recommend investing some time into creating a workable monthly budget. Mint.com is one example of cloud-based personal finance software that can help you organize and track your spending. Here's a comprehensive review of Mint.com for 2018 that you can check out.
Congrats on your promotion! Since your company does not offer an employer-sponsored retirement plan (such as a 401k, 403b, or pension plan), your only two options are an IRA or a Roth IRA. As Alexander already stated, the maximum you can contribute to either of these plans is $5500 for 2017, or $6500 if you are age 50 or older. Is addition, the Roth IRA does have income limitations as well.
As to which plan you should choose, my viewpoint is that it depends on your current tax bracket, and what bracket you will most likely be in when you retire. For more information, I've written a detailed explanation on how to choose between an IRA and a Roth IRA on my blog, SmartMoneyNation.com.
Best of luck!
Financial advice encompasses a broad range of areas such as investing, tax planning, insurance, budgeting and cash-flow issues, and estate planning. However, if you are just looking for general personal finance books to get started, I'd recommend checking out these "must read" books on investing and personal finance.
Paying off the loan doesn´t change the fact that it sounds like you have a bad investment. Debt on investment property isn´t necessarily a bad thing, provided the investment itself is good. It just amplifies either your returns, or in bad scenarios, your losses. Plus, you are getting some tax benefit in that the interest is deductible against the rental income (but as you said, not against your regular income once you reach certain tax brackets).
Also, keep in mind that cashing out your 401k will trigger taxes and penalties if you are under age 59 1/2. Since it sounds like you are in a relatively high tax bracket, this is the last thing you want to do. Instead, your husbands plan sounds like a good one, just get rid of the property and focus on maxxing out your retirement accounts and contributing to your child`s 529.
Once all this is done, remember to do the basics when it comes to the stocks in your 401ks and elsewhere. I´ve written an article on my blog you might find helpful with this on the Three Essentials to Successful Stocks Investing.