Latest News from The Musuneggi Financial Group

College Grads: Mortgage Payment and No House

Woman with Student Loan Debt WorriesIf you Have a Mortgage Payment and no House, you may Have Just Graduated from College

With students recently returning to school and college, it reminded me of the financial choices and commitments that parents and their children have had to make to get the college education they wanted. It could be a choice of private school, public college, Mom’s Alma Mater, the Ivy League College you have always hoped for, the Big 10 University that would give you a sports scholarship or the university with the department that only a few universities have. It might be the one near the beach or the one in the big city. The one near your girlfriend, or the one that has the best social life. Could be it’s the one that follows your family values, political leanings, or is it faith-based? 

Parents and their children do road trips to check out numerous colleges for numerous reasons. But in the end no matter what the criteria is for which college or university is chosen, it undoubtedly comes with a financial cost.

The Cost of Higher Education

For parents who have planned and made the commitment to the cost, this is a blessing to their children. Students who graduate with no or limited college debt, can obtain financial security much faster than those who have a huge college loan debt. These children are able to buy homes, cars, and begin to save and plan for their future. But those with excessive debt who would like to buy a home, find that the “mortgage” payment goes to their student loans. Then if they do decide to take on an actual mortgage or additional debt, they are behind for many years in trying to reach anything that looks like financial independence.

The most distressing thing seems to be those students who end up with tens of thousands of dollars of debt and yet they secure a job that pays $25,000 a year.

Education Options

Ideally, it would have been good to make different choices in advance of going to college. Instead of going to Dad’s Alma Mater at $70,000 a year for a career choice of being an elementary school teacher; maybe going to a state school, with a teaching program that would erase student debt if you teach in the state after graduation would have been a better choice. Instead of going to an Ivy League college, maybe a trade school would have gotten you to the career you really wanted.

Starting Out Starting Over Take the first stepBut Now What?

But if the decision has already been made and it is behind you, then it’s time to evaluate how to get on good financial footing. Debt consolidation. Budgeting. Career Counseling.

Let us help. Check out our “Staring Out. Starting Over” program which is geared to assisting those who find that they are struggling to get on a strong financial path.

If you feel like you are paying as much as a mortgage payment each month for your debt, and you don’t own a home, this might be for you. Or if you own a home and your college debt could buy you another home, reach out to us at 412-341-2888 or online for a free consultation.

Life Insurance Awareness Month

September is Life Insurance Awareness Month… Take the time to review your coverage

Life hint You don't buy life insurance because you're going to die, but because those you love are going to live. Life HappensWhen you made the decision to purchase life insurance, the circumstances, needs, and goals that were present at the time the original policy was purchased played a significant role in the type of policy and coverage selected. Similarly, the circumstances, needs, and goals of the insurance carrier you bought your coverage from played a prominent role in the product they created for you.

Changing Situations

Due to new industry regulations and a low interest rate environment, insurance carriers have revaluated their product portfolios. These changes may have affected your current policy, making it important for you to do an appraisal of your coverage.

Life Changes

Your life’s circumstances have likely evolved over the years. Has your life insurance evolved too?
The situation, needs and goals that were present at the time the original policy was purchased played a significant role in the type of policy and coverage you selected. Over time, these same situations, needs and goals can deepen, resolve themselves or go in a completely different or unanticipated direction. Read more about re-appraising your insurance in our downloadable guide

We Can Help

If you would like an appraisal of your insurance contracts, gather your most recent insurance statements and contact us for a review.  After we have appraised your policies, we will call you to discuss them in more detail.

Please note:  This article is not intended as an invitation to replace your existing policy coverage. This approach is often not suitable due to factors such as surrender charges on your existing contract, the surrender charge period on the new contract, transaction costs associated with the exchange, the values of the new contract versus the old contract and the various fees and expenses associated with the new product.  Replacing an existing policy should only be considered after a careful evaluation and appraisal of your existing coverage.


Back to School Productivity Tips for Parents

  • Get up before your kids do.
  • Take those quiet minutes in the morning to drink your coffee, eat a healthy breakfast and mentally prepare for your day. 
  • Drink more water. When you’re dehydrated you have less energy – and just don’t feel like getting much done.
  • Prepare your kids’ lunches for the next day while you’re preparing dinner, so you aren’t rushing around later when everyone is home.
  • Create a to-do list each day and check off items as they’re completed. Try to get through your most daunting task before noon. If you wait, you’ll be less likely to tackle it. 

Source: “11 Ways to be productive while your kids are at school” WPXI News

Senior Lifestyle Planning Tips

Financial concerns are a big part of the retirement decision, but what if it weren’t?

Would you retire earlier if you could place focus on family, lifestyle, and health? Check out our featured article from Fidelity, “The Real Reasons People Retire” 

Contact us to discuss your situation and the reasons you’ll retire. 

Musuneggi Resource Mixer

The Musuneggi Financial Group values the resources and professionals available in our local communities. We’re happy to share them with you via our Resources page and as personal referrals.

On July 23, 2019, we hosted an event at BRGR to celebrate our resource partnerships and share with each other new ideas and updates on our businesses. 

Click to see photos from the event. 

Real ID is Coming to Pennsylvania

According to the Pennsylvania website:

Beginning October 1, 2020, Pennsylvanians will need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license, photo ID card, or another form of federally-acceptable identification (such as a valid passport or military ID) to board a domestic commercial flight or enter a federal building or military installation that requires ID.

REAL IDs are now available to Pennsylvanians who want them. This guide will help you decide if you need a REAL ID, and provide information on what documents you will need and steps you can take to get an optional REAL ID.

Visit the Pennsylvania website, download the REAL ID checklist, or watch the video:


A Child is Not a Plan

Over the last few months you may have noticed that our articles have addressed:

  • adult children caring for elderly parents and the issues related to that; then,
  • parents having to support adult children and the issues that parents face because of that.

Having written a book called “A Man Is Not A Plan,” it is an easy transition to say, “A parent is not a plan, a child is not a plan; and neither is your boss, your government, your girlfriend, your spouse, your bartender.  No one should be your plan.  The plan is YOU.

As we celebrate the month of Independence Day, we need to reaffirm our independence.  Life can often intervene with problems. Things happen.  Some by choice and some by chance; and we need to be independent enough to handle whatever comes along.  Now this does not mean we can’t ask for help.  But being independent means preparing in advance; and asking for help before the need arises.

The greatest sense of Independence comes from knowing what you know and knowing what you don’t know…

Ask for help to learn how you can be financially independent. Ask for help to do your budgeting and plan your finances.  Ask for help to develop your Estate Plan.  Ask for help to address family issues.  Find Resources to affirm your life plans.  

The greatest sense of Independence comes from knowing what you know and knowing what you don’t know; while knowing who the people are that know what you don’t.

In the lazy days of summer it is a good time to assert your independence by mapping out the plans for your life.  That way you don’t need to have a man, a woman, a cousin, as sibling, a parent, a child, a government, or yes…even your bartender be your plan.
The best person to be your plan is YOU. 

Happy Independence to YOU!

Mary Grace Musuneggi

Christine Pukutis-Musuneggi Named Five Star Advisor for Fifth Straight Year

Congratulations to The Musuneggi Financial Group’s Christine Pikutis-Musuneggi!

The announcement:

We are pleased to announce that Christine Pikutis-Musuneggi, CRPC®, CLTC, LACP has won the 2019 Five Star Wealth Manager award! By earning this honor, Christine has demonstrated a commitment to clients. Please offer Christine your congratulations.

Five Star Professional has recognized in the pages of Pittsburgh Magazine an outstanding group of Pittsburgh-area wealth managers. Five Star Wealth Managers are named using an in-depth research methodology that includes ten objective criteria.

Congratulations once again to Christine Pikutis-Musuneggi, a 2019 Five Star Wealth Manager!





See her award recognition by clicking on this bio graphic: 

Be sure to congratulate Christine on Linkedin, Twitter or Facebook!

Congratulations, Christine!


What is Your College Savings IQ?

Pop Quiz!5 Facts to Boost Your College Savings IQ Fidelity Investments

Fill the form below and we’ll send you a free eBook from Fidelity which will help you learn five key concepts to increase your College Savings IQ! Contact us for more information or to consider your options for college savings. 

Raising Parents?

by Mary Grace Musuneggi

Have you ever noticed that in a family of 5 brothers and 1 sister, that when the time comes to be the Caretaker for Mom and Dad, the most likely choice will be the sister? It really doesn’t matter if she is a single parent with 3 children of her own, has a full-time job, and that she baby-sits her youngest brother’s children on the weekends, when he has to work. And if the sister is by chance single, with no children, then she is the ultimate choice, after all she doesn’t really have anything going on in her life anyway.

How Caretakers are Determined

Now in all fairness to our male counterparts, and because sometimes tradition dictates, the Caregiver can be the eldest sibling, just by nature of the birth order; or the youngest as he or she was the last to leave home and so has a closer relationship with the parents.
Living out of state, or already taking care of your elderly in-laws, usually takes you out of the running. But being the only child means you are it. No matter how, no matter what, no matter where.

Willingness to Care

And yet I am grateful that personally I know of no children who wouldn’t willingly want to care for their parents if the time and need arose. A way of saying “thank you” for all the parents had done for the children. A way of giving back. The hope that when their time comes, that someone will be there to take care of them.
But willing is not always able. And when the time comes, it is one awesome task. There are financial, ethical and sometimes even legal and moral dilemmas that arise. Decisions to be made. Tack on to this, if you are part of the sandwich generation, that you are trying to care for the parents, put the kids through college, plan for your retirement, and somehow pursue what dreams you may have for your own life.
During the months of May and June, we are reminded of our multiple roles as women. With Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and Graduation Day, we see ourselves as Mothers, and Daughters, and Granddaughters, and Aunts, and Sisters, and Wives, and Significant Others. How amazing we are to be so much to so many!