Yearly Archives:2022

Planning for Life’s Big Moments Webinars

Presented by The Musuneggi Financial Group and Fidelity Investments

It’s life’s big moments that move us into action, and we know those moments can have a significant impact on your finances, health, stress levels, and overall wellness. Together, we will discuss how thinking ahead can help provide peace of mind should you face a health concern, have a change in marital status, lose a loved one, navigate an unexpected job loss or retirement, or other big life moment.

Join The Musuneggi Financial Group and Fidelity Investments as we discuss how common life events can affect your financial plan. We will be hosting the webinar, “Planning for Life’s Big Moments”, via Zoom on April 27th and May 10th, 2022. 

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

The Financial Literacy Crisis

Presented by Christopher Musuneggi

Scared DriverImagine driving a car without a basic understanding of the rules of the road or even how to operate it. Scary thought.

Here’s another scary circumstance – one that is all too real. Many Americans are making financial decisions with minimal financial knowledge of investing, budgeting, and credit. The TIAA Institute conducted a survey on U.S. financial literacy, asking 28 basic questions about retirement saving, debt management, budgeting, and other financial matters. The average respondent answered only about half of the questions correctly.1

Another study, conducted by Pew Research, found that one in four Americans say that they won’t be able to pay their bills on time this month.2

It has been said that knowledge is power, and if that’s true, then too many Americans lack the power to control their financial futures. Financial success rarely happens by accident; it is typically the outcome of a journey that starts with education.

One of the obstacles to greater financial literacy is the so-called “Lake Wobegon effect.” In other words, we all consider ourselves above average, and based on that belief, it only follows that our financial understanding is above average. Unfortunately, this assumption has a flaw: it may discourage us from learning as much as we need in order to continue adapting to an ever-changing financial landscape.

The more informed we are, the more informed our financial decisions may become. Fortunately, we can consult a wide range of resources in pursuit of greater financial knowledge.

If you are committed to increasing your financial literacy, think about turning to financial professionals with your questions or visit a U.S. Treasury-sponsored website, mymoney.gov, which was created for that very purpose.3

1.TIAAInstitute.org, 2020
2. PewResearch,org, 2020
3. MyMoney.gov, 2021

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright FMG Suite.

April is National Financial Literacy Month

Presented by Mary Grace Musuneggi

April marks the start of Financial Literacy Month, a nationally recognized movement to promote and support financial understanding in children and teens. For many, it’s a fantastic opportunity to teach and connect with their children or grandchildren, and these kids are ready to learn! Recent data shows that nearly 74% of teens desire to be financially literate, and 86% want to learn how to invest.1

Teens tune in
Every parent has questioned if their child is actually paying attention. But rest assured, our children and grandchildren are listening: 75% of teens in America identify their family as their most trusted source of financial education. In other words, our youngest savers and investors are looking to us for their financial education.2

How to start
It all begins with a frank conversation regarding finances. By demonstrating your openness to discussing what many consider a “taboo” topic, you’re also modeling how to approach finances for your young learner. In time, they’ll learn to view financial issues and goals clearly with as little unnecessary stress as possible.

A bright future
Financial literacy month has been shown to have a lasting, positive impact on our future investors. Children who are taught personal finance from a young age are more likely to secure lower-cost loans and grants when paying for college and less likely to rely on private loans or high-interest credit cards.3

Click this link to access a list of books on finance and financial literacy for kids of all ages, presented by Christine Pikutis-Musuneggi. If you decide to put your “teacher” hat on this month, let us know! We’re always happy to help educate and support our future generations.

 

1. Greenlight.com, 2021
2. Greenlight.com, 2021
3. CNBC.com, 2021

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite, LLC, is not affiliated with the named representative, broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.

Securities offered through Grove Point Investments, LLC, member FINRA/SIPC. Investment Advisory Services offered through Grove Point Advisors, LLC. Grove Point Investments, LLC & Grove Point Advisors, LLC are subsidiaries of Grove Point Financial, LLC. The Musuneggi Financial Group, LLC is not affiliated with Grove Point Financial, LLC or its subsidiaries.

Toys for Tots Donation Party 2021: Recap

All throughout November and the beginning of December, we asked you, our clients, to mail and drop off new, unwrapped toys in the Toys for Tots in our lobby — and boy, did you ever! We were blown away by your generosity during a season where so many are struggling to make ends meet.

On December 6th, The Musuneggi Financial Group hosted our annual Toys for Tots Donation Party at our office in Scott Township to celebrate your contributions and send off the donations in a spirited fashion. We had food and drink, hot chocolate and wine, and most importantly, our valued clients and community members in attendance!

Through our combined contributions with the South Fayette community, we collected 3,158 toys — an incredible success in a difficult holiday season. Thank you so much for your continued support. We hope you had a wonderful and warm holiday season. 

If you missed the party at our office, check out our image gallery below! 

Who Gets the Dog?

By Mary Grace Musuneggi

On Thanksgiving this year, our beloved dog, Watson, passed away.  We were heartbroken.

Having always owned a dog, I know, like all pet parents know, that when we adopt a pet, we understand they will more than likely pass before we do; and we will feel the loss.  But we do it anyway.  Because we love them.  And because of the unconditional love that they give us, that somehow makes us better humans.

So of course, over the weeks since Watson’s passing, the conversation has turned to should we adopt another.  Again, all pet parents understand that adopting a pet is more than just a desire to have another companion in the house.  It is a financial commitment for training, food, toys, and healthcare.  Even major health care expenses. It is a commitment of time and money.  And as may of our clients who volunteer as pet foster parents, or who spend their time at animal shelters can attest, many shelters are filled with pets whose owners found they did not have the time or financial resources to care for them.

Recently I have learned that pets are often abandoned when their elderly pet parent goes into a nursing home, long term care facility, or if the owner dies. Having recognized that there is always the possibility that as a pet owner we may be in one of these circumstances, we had made plans in our will for who would get our dog if something would happen to us.  But how many people do this?  Maybe everyone who owns a pet should make plans for “Who Gets the Dog.”

And as we age, should we consider the role of what pets play in our lives?  Some studies show that dog-owning seniors have lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol than their pet-less peers. Having a dog also reduces the risk of heart attack — and boosts the chances of long-term survival if you have one.  These advantages may outweigh the chances of dealing with the feeling of loss if the dog passes before the owner.  In any case, owning a pet requires planning considerations.

Planning to get a pet for the new year?  Take the time to consider the pros and cons of owning a living thing.  Both the financial and emotional commitment. Understand that you will probably outlive them and the feeling that goes with that.  Maybe a turtle would be a good pet.  They can live for 125 years.

Putting Your Mask On First

By Mary Grace Musuneggi

Mary Grace Musuneggi

Today, when the word “mask” enters a discussion, we immediately think of mandates related to COVID-19.  If that isn’t the first thing to pop into our heads, it might be the whole Halloween mask thing.  But recently while on a flight out West, the flight attendant reminded me that if the cabin loses pressure and I am with someone who needs my help, I should put my mask on first.  The best way I can help another is to be sure I am okay first.

That thought reminded me of the discussions we have with clients who are trying to take care of others, while sometimes to the detriment of taking care of themselves.

You might be that person who has worked so hard and now is retiring. You got your pension, your 401k rollover. You’ve gathered up your investments. You’re feeling wealthy. And you should.

Or a person who lost a spouse. You got the insurance money, the money from their savings plan, the lump sum from their pension.  Seems like a lot of money now, and you are hoping it will be enough.

Or you are a child whose parents have passed away.  You are surprised at how much money they left you.  It is almost overwhelming. But you are very grateful.

In our practice we see situations like these all the time.  And for those who receive the rewards of their hard work, or the rewards from someone else’s hard work and planning, our plan is to help them get the most out of the money for their retirement years or maybe for a lifetime.

But sometimes we see retirees finding themselves spending their money on dependent adult children or siblings who have lost jobs and have no savings; who are going through a divorce and are not financially secure; or who have gotten into debt for overspending or just lack of self-control.  Sometimes when a client has inherited funds, there are other relatives that feel that the heir should share.  Or there are the kids who want help with a down payment on a house that they otherwise could not afford. 

It is wonderful if sharing and helping is an option for the giver. And it is a great opportunity if you can help others not as fortunate as you.  But on many occasions, we have seen givers, give with no concern as to how their giving will impact their own life.  Too often the recipient just assumes that those who have, have a lot more than what they do.  And too often there is no discussion of what is good to give and what is good to take.

If you find yourself in a situation being asked to help another, begin with a discussion of what you have that you can actually give.  Review your budget.  Contact us so we can update your financial analysis to see if you will retain your independence.  In other words, put your mask on first.  Then if all is good, be glad that you are truly blessed to share with another. 

The best thing you can do for your family is to stay financially independent which is the best thing you can do for you. Just like the mask on the plane, the best thing you can do for another is to be sure you are okay first.

Financial Literacy: Essential at Any Age

Presented by Christine Pikutis-Musuneggi

There has been a huge push towards STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) oriented curriculum in public schools. But classes focusing on an important and universally applicable topic are often ignored in favor of these scientifically-focused courses: financial literacy. It is common to hear recent graduates lament the fact that they were not taught the very basics of managing finances in school. While the idea of balancing a checkbook may be falling by the wayside in the digital age, concepts such as budgeting, opening and maintaining credit accounts, filing state and federal taxes, and saving for retirement remain the biggest obstacles in the path of financial independence for young adults, and these topics are rarely covered in high school or college courses. 

To help our clients and their loved ones bridge this educational gap, we have researched and provided the below list of books that address the fundamental principles of finance. These critically reviewed books are appropriate for a variety of ages, from pre-teens to young adults, and can act as an invaluable aids in the path to learning financial independence. 

1). The Little Book of Common Sense Investing by John Bogle

Age level: High schoolers or college students

“Investing is all about common sense. Owning a diversified portfolio of stocks and holding it for the long term is a winner’s game. Trying to beat the stock market is theoretically a zero-sum game (for every winner, there must be a loser), and after the substantial costs of investing are deducted, it becomes a loser’s game. Common sense tells us—and history confirms—that the simplest and most efficient investment strategy is to buy and hold all of the nation’s publicly held businesses at very low cost. The classic index fund that owns this market portfolio is the only investment that guarantees you with your fair share of stock market returns.

To learn how to make index investing work for you, there’s no better mentor than legendary mutual fund industry veteran John C. Bogle. Over the course of his long career, Bogle—founder of the Vanguard Group and creator of the world’s first index mutual fund—has relied primarily on index investing to help Vanguard’s clients build substantial wealth. Now, with The Little Book of Common Sense Investing, he wants to help you do the same.”

Buy on Amazon

 

2.) Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

Age level: High school or college age

“Rich Dad Poor Dad is Robert’s story of growing up with two dads — his real father and the father of his best friend, his rich dad — and the ways in which both men shaped his thoughts about money and investing. The book explodes the myth that you need to earn a high income to be rich and explains the difference between working for money and having your money work for you.”

Buy on Amazon

 

3.) The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel

Age level: High school or college age

“Doing well with money isn’t necessarily about what you know. It’s about how you behave. And behavior is hard to teach, even to really smart people.

Money―investing, personal finance, and business decisions―is typically taught as a math-based field, where data and formulas tell us exactly what to do. But in the real world people don’t make financial decisions on a spreadsheet. They make them at the dinner table, or in a meeting room, where personal history, your own unique view of the world, ego, pride, marketing, and odd incentives are scrambled together.

In The Psychology of Money, award-winning author Morgan Housel shares 19 short stories exploring the strange ways people think about money and teaches you how to make better sense of one of life’s most important topics.”

Buy on Amazon

 

4.) The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

Age level: College age

“The success stories speak for themselves in this book from money maestro Dave Ramsey. Instead of promising the normal dose of quick fixes, Ramsey offers a bold, no-nonsense approach to money matters, providing not only the how-to but also a grounded and uplifting hope for getting out of debt and achieving total financial health.

Ramsey debunks the many myths of money (exposing the dangers of cash advance, rent-to-own, debt consolidation) and attacks the illusions and downright deceptions of the American dream, which encourages nothing but overspending and massive amounts of debt. “Don’t even consider keeping up with the Joneses,” Ramsey declares in his typically candid style. “They’re broke!”

The Total Money Makeover isn’t theory. It works every single time. It works because it is simple. It works because it gets to the heart of the money problems: you.”

Buy on Amazon

 

5.) Why Didn’t They Teach Me This in School? by Cary Siegel

Age level: High school or college age

“Through Cary Siegel’s bestselling first book Why Didn’t They Teach Me This in School? 99 personal money management principles to live by he has educated and motivated over 200,000 people on improving their financial life. Now he is doing the same in regards to life management with his second book, Why Didn’t They Teach Me This in School, Too? 99 life management principles to live by.His latest book provides 8 important lessons with 99 principles of life management that are both simple and memorable. Written for his five children who are now in high school, college and the workforce, the author’s principles also apply to adults of all ages.In fact, by incorporating these easy life management principles, there is no doubt you will improve your current situation and make smarter decisions as you move forward in life. These are principles learned from real life experiences, not a textbook!”

Buy on Amazon

 

6.) The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach

Age level: College age

“The Automatic Millionaire starts with the powerful story of an average American couple–he’s a low-level manager, she’s a beautician–whose joint income never exceeds $55,000 a year, yet who somehow manage to own two homes debt-free, put two kids through college, and retire at 55 with more than $1 million in savings. Through their story you’ll learn the surprising fact that you cannot get rich with a budget! You have to have a plan to pay yourself first that is totally automatic, a plan that will automatically secure your future and pay for your present.”

Buy on Amazon

 

7.) Broke Millennial by Erin Lowrey

Age level: College age

“If you’re a cash-strapped 20- or 30-something, it’s easy to get freaked out by finances. But you’re not doomed to spend your life drowning in debt or mystified by money. It’s time to stop scraping by and take control of your money and your life with this savvy and smart guide.

Broke Millennial shows step-by-step how to go from flat-broke to financial badass. Unlike most personal finance books out there, it doesn’t just cover boring stuff like credit card debt, investing, and dealing with the dreaded “B” word (budgeting). Financial expert Erin Lowry goes beyond the basics to tackle tricky money matters and situations most of us face #IRL, including:

– Understanding your relationship with moolah: do you treat it like a Tinder date or marriage material?
– Managing student loans without having a full-on panic attack
– What to do when you’re out with your crew and can’t afford to split the bill evenly
– How to get “financially naked” with your partner and find out his or her “number” (debt number, of course) . . . and much more.

Packed with refreshingly simple advice and hilarious true stories, Broke Millennial is the essential roadmap every financially clueless millennial needs to become a money master. So what are you waiting for? Let’s #GYFLT!”

Buy on Amazon

 

8.) How to Turn $100 into $1,000,000: Earn! Save! Invest! by James McKenna

Age level: Middle school

“Hey, kids, want to become a millionaire? Or get a business off the ground? Or save up some money to buy a new bike? All it takes is understanding and putting into practice a few simple strategies and concepts about money:

Make it: Learn the ins and outs of scoring a first job, or even better, starting a business.
Save it: That’s right, millionaires are people who have a million dollars, not people who spend a million dollars.
Grow it: Invest and use the most powerful force in the financial universe––compound interest.

Next thing you know, you’re a bona fide financial whiz on the road to your first million. Now get going!

A thorough introduction to finance from the people behind BizKid$, How to Turn $100 into $1 Million includes chapters on setting financial goals, making a budget, getting a job, starting a business, and investing smartly – and how to think like a millionaire. Plus: a one-page business plan template, a two-page plan to become a millionaire, and a personal budget tracker.”

Buy on Amazon

 

9.) Growing Money by Gail Karlitz

Age level: Middle school

“Never before has there been a time when the economy has been so much a part of our daily lives. Today’s young investors want to know the basics of finance, especially how to make money grow. This complete guide explains in kid-friendly terms all about savings accounts, bonds, stocks, and even mutual funds!”

Buy on Amazon

 

10.) I Want More Pizza by Steve Burkholder

Age level: Middle school

“I Want More Pizza finally has teenagers excited about personal finance and is giving them the confidence that they can succeed. This resource is being used in classrooms around the nation as young adults enjoy the pizza model for learning about money management. Now available for the first time for you to bring into your home, give your young adult the gift of financial literacy and they will thank you for a lifetime. Primary topics discussed include saving, spending, prioritization, goal setting, compound growth, investing, debt, credit cards, student loans, mental blocks, and taking real world action.I am sure you have heard a few of these: “I don’t need it”, “I’m too young”, “I need to spend my money on _____ “, and the list goes on. The pizza model for learning personal finance breaks down those barriers because, well, everyone loves pizza!

Just because money management is extremely important doesn’t mean that it has to be extremely complex. I Want More Pizza leaves them in complete control to find the plan that works for your young adult – it’s their choice. If they don’t enjoy math or don’t like to plan, no problem, we’ve got them covered as well. And it’s only ~100 pages, which young adults love given their busy social calendars. Money doesn’t have to be stressful. Finally reach your young adult and help them become financially literate for a lifetime. After all, there is a lot of pizza in life to enjoy!”

Buy on Amazon