Techie Personal Finance Bootcamp

Lucas Casarez CFP®

I help tech employees use their finances to create the life of their dreams by helping you take your financial confidence to the next level!Are you a tech employee who wants to learn how to better manage your finances?Working in tech you may experience extreme pay increases, which may allow you the ability to accomplish goals you've only dreamed of. However, if mismanaged, you can also find yourself stressed out and under pressure to increase your income in order to fit your lifestyle.The good news, is through education and a little bit of determination, you have the power to control your future and create your best life.Not only will we cover basic personal finance concepts, but we'll dive deep into tech specific benefits and issues that I regularly help my clients build strategies to maximize. (Examples: working for start ups, restricted stock units, stock options, and layoffs) Also, on a regular basis, I will have special guests that will highlight their stories with unique stories about their tech experiences.

All Episodes

Do you know all of the amazing benefits and flexibility of an HSA (Health Savings Account)?The best features are that they are triple tax-free:Tax-Reduction on contributionsTax-Free growthTax-Free withdrawalsThat's not all. There could be real savings just by comparing a high deductible health plan to a pricier option.In this episode, I tackle a framework I use to help clients make an informed decision on whether they should use an HSA.

Oct 20

20 min 55 sec

Purchasing a home is one of the biggest financial decisions you'll ever make, but the significant debt you accrue in the form of a mortgage can sometimes carry a lot of emotional baggage.In this episode, I acknowledge some of the reasons people want to pay off their mortgages, but my recommendation a majority of the time is to NOT pay off their mortgage faster than they need to.I'll cover 5 major reasons NOT to pay off your mortgage early. The 4th one is maybe one of the biggest reasons, but no one ever talks about it. 🤔You can explore this topic more by Podcast or Video by clicking the link below.https://youtu.be/baEWikJ3Bu4https://www.levelupfinancialplanning.com/5-reasons-not-to-pay-off-your-mortgage-early/

Aug 20

10 min 24 sec

Jonathan Jennings is a software engineer who works in the AR, VR, and videogame spaces and currently helming his indie VR game at Weird Kid Studios named Galactic Bar fight. He’s been a guest lecturer at University and National Conferences. His first published essay Black Unicorn is available to read in the book Game Devs & Others: Tales From The Margins. He’s been involved in multiple development roles including rapid prototyping, core mechanic programming, user Interface engineering, multiplayer programming, and publishing processes for release among others. He has over 9 years of development across both games and VR / MR / AR applications experience and titles he has worked on have had over 2 million cumulative downloads across several platforms. When not working he is most likely playing and studying the latest giant mainstream release or an obscure indie game.Galactic Bar Fight : https://www.oculus.com/experiences/quest/4219555588059267/?locale=en_USWeird Kid Studios: https://www.weirdkidstudios.com/LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/notifications/Quora: https://www.quora.com/profile/Jonathan-Jennings-5Portfolio: https://www.behance.net/JonathanjTwitter: https://twitter.com/JonnyJ17

Aug 13

50 min 47 sec

The Backdoor ROTH is an advanced planning strategy for high earners and big savers. Should you use a Backdoor ROTH?Two reasons why you'd use a Backdoor ROTH strategy is:1. You are phased out of making ROTH Contributions due to your high income.2. You are a big saver and have already maxed out your 401(k) contributionsThe process to implement a Backdoor ROTH will depend on if you are doing the smaller Backoor ROTH or the MEGA Backoor ROTH.I also cover the biggest mistake I see when people attempt a Backoor ROTH without assistance. The pain in the butt "pro-rata rule".This is not a ROTH vs. Traditional debate. You can max out all traditional contributions if that is your tax strategy and then take advantage of the Backdoor ROTH strategies!

Aug 6

35 min 46 sec

My guest today is Gina Covarrubias, Certified Life Coach, B.S. Aeronautical & Astronautical Engineering (Purdue University), M.S. Mechanical Engineering (University of Utah)Her distinctive background blends life coaching expertise with 12+ years engineering/technology experience in government, academia and corporate aerospace.Gina founded Deliberate Doing LLC, an exclusive STEM coaching service dedicated to helping technical professionals defeat career despair. She solves the common STEM problem: “What is next for my life?” As a former engineer, she can identify with technical experts who question their personal or professional existence.Her function as an Engineering Life Coach is to teach mental strength and conditioning. Just as electronic gadgets require upgrades and reboots, so does your brain. Gina invites you to connect with her for free coaching to start your own mental upgrade today!deliberatedoing.com/events (for free upcoming webinars),deliberatedoing.com/resources (for free self-help videos and career blog)https://www.linkedin.com/in/ginacovarrubias/

Jul 30

41 min 44 sec

Join me as I interview a real estate expert, Patrick Soukup of Soukup Real Estate Services in Fort Collins, CO.We cover a wide range of topics from real estate as an investment and personal residence. Patrick also shares his insights on whether we are in a real estate bubble, how to search for a home when you're out of state, and his real estate investment philosophy. https://www.soukuprealestate.com/our-teamhttps://www.linkedin.com/in/patrick-soukup-cpm-36497225/https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqjpWM9lXcMIEMktSjR_DCg

Jul 23

1 hr 5 min

Orlando shares his journey from finance, Peace Corp, back to finance and then breaking into tech by writing a jingle.Despite having an MBA and finance background, it took him over 8 months to break into tech.To stand out from the crowd, Orlando wrote Jingles and leveraged Twitter to directly connect with companies.Orlando Gomez is a First-gen Mexican-American from Chicago's South Side. Parents are from Guanajuato and his Dad settled here as a steelworker after working the fields in California. He brought my mom over and I was born here. Orlando received his Bachelor's in Business Management from Robert Morris University-Illinois in Chicago, then went to work at a Walmart store in Columbus, Ohio.  He realized retail wasn't for me and soon after switched to finance.  He received his investment licenses at Charles Schwab in Indianapolis, then moved back to Chicago to work in Private Wealth (Credit Suisse).After private wealth, he joined the Peace Corps and lived in the sierra of Peru for two years advising small businesses, teaching youth entrepreneurship, leading financial literacy workshops, and starting a baseball little league. He came back to the US and started business school at Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and that eventually took him to Investment Banking in NYC (CS - Industrials). The shift to WFH enabled him to return to Chicago where he set out to explore opportunities in Tech and eventually landed at Drift helping build out their Drift for Startups program.https://www.drift.com/startups/https://twitter.com/OrlandoGomezzzhttps://www.linkedin.com/in/orlandogomez13/

Jul 16

44 min 34 sec

I'm a big fan of 401(k) loans, but they shouldn't be taken out lightly.In this episode, I cover the basic rules of a 401(k) loan, the pros, and the cons. 

Jul 9

14 min 17 sec

Josiah Haswell, in addition to being a good friend, is the CoFounder of Sunshower. IO. The first comprehensive, provider-agnostic cloud management platform. In this episode, you will hear how Josiah shifted from corporate tech to being an employee at Startups and ultimately starting up his own companies. Like any business, startup life ebbs and flows, and Josiah shares some of the challenges, he’s faced with his startups over the years.Without further ado, here is Josiah’s interview.Discovering the power of softwareUnique contrast between old tech and new techVetting a cofounderHiring and firing as a startup founderImportance of sales for a businesshttps://www.linkedin.com/in/josiah-haswell-4b116823/https://sunshower.io/

Jul 2

48 min 19 sec

If you are anything like my family, your spending habits have changed significantly during the pandemic. If you managed to maintain employment throughout this whole period, then you may have found that your savings accounts actually increased. Or maybe you are a stress shopper and managed to find more ways to spend money now that you have more time on your hands. Either way, your spending habits are likely to change again as we approach what will be a new normal. How have your spending habits changed during the pandemic?

Jun 25

23 min 41 sec

Make SMART Financial Moves in 2021We made it to 2021! A year like 2020 stretched us thin in many aspects of our lives and that may have included your finances. If you feel you can improve on your finances in 2021 and want to make it a priority, I want to provide you a framework to get started in 2021. Improving your finances is more than dollars and cents, which is why it is so important to start with a vision... a purpose….. a why…... Call it what you want, but you need to focus on what you actually care about. The best way to hone in on this is by reflecting on your life and what gives you the most joy and what you value the most. What will your life look like if you improve your finances?How will you feel with finances that are in better shape?What else is possible if you can take control of your financial situation?Next, you need to plan. Sustainable improvements do not happen by accident. You need to create a plan that allows you to be successful. You’ve probably heard of making SMART goals. The reason for having SMART goals is so you have a roadmap on how to achieve your goals, which will make it easier for you to get started and easily track your progress.Let’s break down SMART goals.Specific: It needs to be as specific as possible. The vaguer you are, the less you’ll care about actually achieving it. Non-Specific Example: I would like to be better with my financesSpecific Example: I will pay off all of my credit card debt.Measurable: The nice thing about finances, is it can be easily measured. With debts, we want to see the number go down. With assets, we want that number to go up. Additionally, when you can measure progress, you can create byte-sized goals to achieve along the way. Non-Measuable Example: I want to feel better about my finances. Measurable Example: I would like to contribute 10% of my income towards my 401(k)Attainable: You want to believe that you are capable of achieving your goal. Did you know that confidence in being successful is a big factor in actually being successful? If it’s a pipe dream, then you likely won’t even try.Non-Attainable: I want to make a million dollars this year without having to work.Attainable Example: I want to increase my earning power by 10%.Relevant: You have to care about your goal. If it’s not relevant to what you care about, then you won’t put in the work to make it happen, or worse, you’ll invest your time, energy, and money into something you didn’t even want.Non-Relevant Example: I want to get a master’s degree because it’s what you’re supposed to do for your current career trajectory, but you really want to make a career change.Relevant Example: I want to attend a Tech Bootcamp so I can make a career change into a field that I’m excited about.Time-Based: Deadlines help us be more productive. Without a time constraint and because of human nature, we’re more likely to put off starting in the first place.Non-Time-Based Example: I would like to get married soon.Relevant Example: I would like to get married next year. All of these examples are from conversations I’ve had with clients. It’s amazing how making SMART goals help you start to build the life you actually want to create and stop saying one day I’ll …… or it would be nice to …….

Jan 1

17 min 17 sec

Michael Liendo recorded a live stream with me for this episode. Michael is a self-taught developer who is currently a senior software engineer and AWS community builder. In this episode, Michael shares his career journey and how his family has been a massive motivation in not only breaking into tech but also not settling for positions that are not a good fit, even if it comes with a lot of perks. As well as, the tips and tricks he's used to constantly find the next level of growth opportunities.Here are a few of the fun topics Michael covers:Being a self-taught developerRapid prototyping and learningFinding a good fit and ways to prepare to walkway if it's notThe AWS CommunityTDD (Talk Driven Development) Why he creates contentKnowing when to ask for helpImportance of communicationNavigating parenthoodhttps://twitter.com/mtliendohttps://www.linkedin.com/in/mtliendo/https://www.youtube.com/c/MichaelLiendo

Dec 2020

49 min 24 sec

Sorry for any spoilers, but this movie came out in 1946 so….A few reasons why this movie has been one of my favorites for most of my adulthood is because I worked at a community bank, similar to the Bailey Bros Building and Loan & when I was 20 one of my close childhood friends passed away. Not a money lesson, but just something interesting that happens early in the movie. The Spanish flu kills Mr. Gowers’s son and although there is nothing financial to talk about that, I just thought it was interesting to see a similar type of scenario of COVID documented in one of my favorite movies.Inflations impact on a million dollars How do you balance profits and supporting the common good?The cost of college has always been expensive & we are all on different timelines.Your goals can change. Homeownership affordability. Why we have insurance on our bank accounts. Why the rich get richer. Memories over dollars. Life is more valuable than assets & the importance of life insurance.  Community is a powerful force. https://www.levelupfinancialplanning.com/its-a-wonderful-life-10-money-lessons/

Dec 2020

25 min 54 sec

Joe Previte is a developer, a teacher, and creator of Vim for VSCode. In his spare time, he enjoys creating videos for egghead, writing articles relating to coding, and participating in an online meditation study group.Joe shares the details of his journey from his decision to drop out of grad school and pursuing a career as a developer. Be sure to listen to the end where he opens up about the early obstacle he faced that not many people would have been able to overcome. Dropping out of grad schoolChoosing Free Code Camp over a Coding BootcampParticipating in #100 days of codePair programming to stay focused           Immersing yourself into the tech world Tips to reach out to strangers to build your community2 Week Product Challenge & Indie HackingVIM for VS Code BookFreedom of timeHow to come back from failure Joe's Linkshttps://vimforvscode.com/https://twitter.com/jsjoeiohttps://www.levelupfinancialplanning.com/replacing-foreign-languages-with-coding-languages-with-joe-previte/

Dec 2020

44 min 16 sec

Have you seen the rough estimates that you should have saved at various ages?These rough targets are useful, but may not be entirely accurate to you and your unique circumstances.I cover the importance of at least being aware of targets for the amount of money you should have saved in retirement accounts.Good excuses why you may not be on track early on in your careerWhy the older you get, the more relevant the targets become.And how to catch up if you feel you are not on track to hit your retirement goals.

Nov 2020

16 min 24 sec

I have Jason Humphrey on the show and I met Jason online originally because he creates a ton of value-packed content on LinkedIn. And when you create awesome content, people tend to like it and share it. And that's how it came across my feed. Jason helps coding Bootcamp, students to land their first high paying job as a professional software developer. And in this episode, Jason talks about his own personal journey where he wasn't as career-focused early on in his career. And how advice from one of his mentors transformed his career! He also shares tips on prepping for your interview and how crucial emotional intelligence is in your career.  Driving value in communicationPower of one good questionCoaching's impact on Jason's careerUnderstand what the market is telling you (market analysis)Mine LinkedIn for DataWhat words to use on LinkedInHow to be confidentControlling the 24-hour window before an interviewThe importance of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) in your careerjason@codingcareerfastlane.comhttps://www.facebook.com/jasonhumphreyofficial/(5 places spending time will drive results)https://www.linkedin.com/in/meet-jason-humphrey/

Nov 2020

52 min 32 sec

Do you struggle with your finances during the holidays? I cover 6 tips to take control over the holiday season.This episode was originally created for a live video challenge I'm doing on my social networks, but I wanted to share it with you!Set a limit (budget) ResearchFree ShippingMake somethingBe presentExperiences over things

Nov 2020

16 min 13 sec

Arnold Morales is the son of two immigrants from Honduras. He started his career with a GED and working at a warehouse where he is wasn't happy. Looking for more he pursued a community college and took an aptitude test that steered him towards mechanical engineering. He co-founded his community college's first Engineering Society. Since then he's earned a Masters Degree and is currently working for his dream employer, Boeing.It wasn't a straight shot to Boeing though, he was rejected 5 times before finally breaking in.Importance of taking feedbackNavigating tech as a HispanicThe power of reputationWhy representation mattersThe value of mentorshipThe benefits of volunteeringConnecting with followersWhy he started his podcast, Nontraditional College SuccessHave fun while getting better every dayNot allowing anything to get in your way.https://nontraditionalcollegesuccess.buzzsprout.com/https://www.linkedin.com/in/arnoldmorales/

Oct 2020

38 min 47 sec

Justine is a UX/UI Designer and UI Developer on a mission to create a meaningful impact on people’s lives through her craft.She was born and raised in the Philippines. In 2008, she and her family moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, where she attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and received her B.S. in Entertainment Engineering and Design.In the summer of 2012, she was accepted in the internship program at Cirque du Soleil, where she honed her skills as an Automation Technician at the show “The Beatles’ LOVE”. Shortly after her internship, she became a full-fledged Automation Technician for another Cirque show, “Mystere”.She moved to Texas with her husband the following year so he could pursue his career as an officer of the US Army. During their stay there, she worked as an AutoCAD designer for a civil engineering firm in Temple, Texas.They returned to Las Vegas in 2015, where she was once again able to pursue her career as an Automation Technician at Cirque. This time around, she worked at the show “KA”. She had a magical 3 years at the show, but the late nights and working on weekends and holidays made for a lifestyle that was not sustainable for her. So in 2018, she decided to pivot careers and pursue one that would allow her to chase both passions in art and technology, and that is UX Design.Beyond her skills and experience in human-centered design and UI development, she possesses a drive for learning, creative problem solving, and making a difference in peoples' lives. Outside of her UX/UI work, she is a wife, a mother, and a writer. She also enjoys good food, good whiskey, good music, and puppies.Summary of the interview topics:UX Design is humanizing technologyMaking a career change for balance.Navigating unemployment during COVIDHaving a job offer rescindedGetting clear on what you want in your careerImportance of community supportA designers advice for developersNormalizing balanceCoping with TraumaThe power to choose how we move forwardRemember you are not alone https://twitter.com/justinechlorine

Sep 2020

51 min 54 sec

When it comes to your financial life, it's very easy to rely on the guidance of others, especially since most of our generation were not taught these important topics in school.This episode is to warn you of the financial advice you should BEWARE of as you start to build your financial strategy guide and financial confidence.People and sources who offer advice solicited or not.FamilyFriendsCoworkersSalespeopleSocial MediaNewsBooksPodcastsExpertsFortune cookiesWhy not all advice is created equalLimited experienceDunning Krueger EffectMost people are starting from a different pointDifference goalsMaking the most money/quality of lifeTimelines of goalsBiggest areas where bad advice can really be damagingWhat your goals should beCareerTimelines and MilestonesGet rich quick - scamsTax planningProper tax planning should look at more years than just this year.Tax law is constantly changingInvestment adviceMost people don’t have a grasp of riskTalk about investments the same way gamblers talk about winsDebt managementNo debt everHome purchaseGood debt and leverageCredit card rewardsUse advice as a starting pointLevel Up education, confidenceLook for additional education and resources

Sep 2020

27 min 43 sec

Josh shares his awesome story on his path into tech. Early on Josh showed an interest for tech and started taking college courses, but a conversation changed his career trajectory.Josh decided to not pursue a tech career and bounced around with different jobs and ended up getting into trouble. He talks about the challenges of finding a job in tech with a felony.Even with the hurdle of having a felony, Josh shared his story on Twitter and it became a really great experience for him.He also shares a fun and awesome project that he and his wife are working on to bring smiles to everyone in hopes of improving mental health.https://twitter.com/smiledailyushttps://twitter.com/joshbuchea

Sep 2020

47 min 45 sec

I share my personal story of quitting my job to start my business, Level Up Financial Planning.While working in a position many would consider a dream position, with a 6-month-old at home, I quit my job. It was the scariest decision I ever made.In addition to my story, I share a few of the financial steps I took before quitting and a couple of things I wish I had done differently.Job huntingLeaving your teamReducing expensesBuilding a planImportance of spouses supportHealth insuranceBeing smart about side hustlesCreating contentChoosing a niche

Aug 2020

26 min 33 sec

Leo Yockey is a Software Engineer, Writer, and Speaker from Los Angeles. He runs a digital agency called MangoBass Consulting and is an advocate for underrepresented people in the tech industry.Leo shares his unique story and perspective as a transgender black man in tech.Making a career changeSelf-taught and coding bootcamp resourcesImportance of a mentorReal-world example of systemic racismCreating multiple streams of incomeMonetizing your expertiseUnlearning money mythsBreaking the cycleBurning out and tips to navigate ithttps://www.leoyockey.comhttps://twitter.com/leovolvinghttps://www.linkedin.com/in/leoyockey/https://www.mangobassconsulting.com/https://www.techbychoice.org/

Aug 2020

50 min 1 sec

Credit Cards Are Awesome!Regardless of what you may have heard, credit cards are pretty awesome financial tools. It’s one of the best forms of credit that you can access and use to help you reach your financial goals.Unfortunately, credit cards can also be one of the biggest culprits of financial chaos. Credit cards are a tool. They are not evil, though you’re open to criticize credit card companies and other financial institutions.Maybe not an expert level, but being able to maximize the benefits of credit cards and limit the potential downside takes a strong understanding of your finances.Downside: spending more than you shouldPaying interest (as high as 25%!)Can weaken your credit scoreRelationship tensionThe amazing benefits when you do know where your money is going and have financial control are very generous:Sign Up AwardsCashback & Travel MilesNo payment for a monthBuild a strong credit scoreNever pay a cent!Tips:Annual fee may make sense if you spend a certain amount. Do the math to see if your expected spending would benefit from the additional boostCalculate the best sign up award based on your NORMAL spendingNever spend more than you need for REWARDS still a percentage.Automatically pay in full every month. Don’t try to do this manually.In case you have a few different cards or accounts, use something like Mint or my clients have a Wealth Management portal to see everything in one spot.Can optimize for spending categories (dining out, entertainment bonus points)Can optimize for rewards (travel, cashback)If you’re not ready, don’t try. Like I mentioned you have to have good habits of understanding where your money is actually going in order to maximize your credit card benefits and not have things backfire on you.Supposed to be helpful, but if it’s going to be stressful don’t bother.Review credit cards with annual fees regularly. If you have multiple credit cards with fees that may take away from the benefits.We run everything through one.Don’t pay the minimum!Carrying a large balance owed relative to the credit line can hurt your credit score

Aug 2020

22 min 33 sec

Will Johnson is a self-taught developer who broke into tech using Twitter. As you can imagine, his path to break into tech wasn't easy. He used a lot of different ways to learn and work towards his goals of becoming a developer so that he could create a comfortable life for his family.Here are the topics we cover in Will's interviewWill's path as a self-taught developerRepeating courses to solidify knowledgeThe struggle of having no experience (being destroyed by lost opportunities)Knowing where to focus your energyUnderstanding what language is in demand in your areaHow he built his network both online and offlineUsing social media to break into tech Break Into Tech With Twitter E-BOOKhttps://anchor.fm/infinite-loophttps://www.linkedin.com/in/williamjohnson85/https://tinyletter.com/willjohnsoniohttps://twitter.com/willjohnsonio

Jul 2020

32 min 35 sec

If college planning is important to you, then you want to listen to this episode to understand how a 529 plan may be a solution to help you maximize your college savings.529 Tax benefits529 Rules  Impact on financial aidAlternative Savings StrategiesWhat if my child doesn’t go to college?What if my child receives a full ride?Fee-Only Financial PlannerSubscribeVideo

Jul 2020

19 min 27 sec

Valerie is the Executive Director at Tech By Choice and a Senior Software Engineer at Mastery Logistics. She holds a BS in Psychology & Art. Valerie is passionate about creating secure human-centered digital experiences. As a successful self-taught developer, Valerie started Tech By Choice to give back to the community that helped her succeed.Valerie shares her journey into tech from being a Psychology major to becoming a senior software engineer and the founder of Tech By Choice.We cover the following topics in her interview:Choosing tech over her psychology & art degreeTech is more than just codingWhat is the "black tax"How she discovered the importance of managing her moneyHelping others enter and Level Up in techBeing kinder to ourselveshttps://www.techbychoice.org/https://twitter.com/DigitalBlkHippyhttps://twitter.com/TechByChoiceOrghttps://www.facebook.com/TechByChoiceOrg/https://www.linkedin.com/company/tech-by-choice-org/about/https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIGG1X---Ky9UVSKyciad9Qhttps://www.instagram.com/techbychoiceorg/Fee-Only Financial Planner

Jul 2020

31 min 59 sec

I'm excited today to be talking about how financial independence is in your control. One of the biggest factors in whether you will be successful in reaching financial independence is first believing that you can achieve this goal.How to increase your financial confidenceHow your incomes impact your ability to reach financial independenceUnderstand that everyone has their unique financial challengesCreating your own opportunities for successRemember everyone starts with a different financial backgroundImportance of investingWants vs. needsFee Only Financial Planner

Jul 2020

17 min 47 sec

Danny Thompson is a passionate software engineer who is on a personal mission to help people find their path into tech.This episode is packed with great information and action items on how to stand out as you seek to land that first or next developer position.Here are just a few of the pieces of wisdom Danny provides in this episode.PHD Not RequiredFree CodeCampBenefits of Meetups & Finding and Building CommunityThe Worst Possible Thing to Say to Aspiring DevelopersShowing Passion to Land a Tech JobMotivation Vs. DriveCreating Time for Your DreamsWriting Your Goals Where You Can See Them Every DayBeing Clear with Your Vision https://www.linkedin.com/in/dannythompson901/https://anchor.fm/commityourcodehttps://twitter.com/DThompsonDevhttps://www.youtube.com/DThompsonDevFee-Only Financial Planner

Jun 2020

37 min 46 sec

Most people work with their financial planners for the rest of their lives due to the unique relationship that is formed by trusting each other to tackle important life goals. With that in mind, it is important to make sure you have a planner that is going to be a good fit for you. The variation in choices and fits are as unique as the options of bread that you can choose at most supermarkets. To help you determine the right fit with a potential planner, here are the top ten questions to ask your financial planner.Fee-Only Financial PlannerVideoHow to Choose the Right Advisor

Jun 2020

22 min 34 sec

Should you refinance your mortgage loan?This has been one of the most popular questions I've helped my clients tackle over the last few months. When weighing the pros and cons of refinancing your mortgage, you should consider the following:How Long Do You Plan To StayHow Much Will It CostWhen Do You BreakevenShould You Do A Cash-Out RefinanceAlternatives To A 30-Year MortgageFee-Only Financial Planner

Jun 2020

15 min 2 sec

Nannearl Brown is a user experience researcher who journeyed into the field by way of systems engineering and the social impact space. Most recently, she led the UX, product management, and design efforts for over a year as the Director of UX for the LA-based beauty tech startup, Emma Beauty. She cares greatly about creating a shared understanding of the tech industry with all, most especially with Black people and other marginalized groups. Nannearl shares her knowledge by leading design workshops, serving as a mentor and design technical expert for the Thinkful and Bloc online design bootcamps, and through her YouTube channel, Unpacked Angles. She holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of Virginia in engineering science and systems engineering (respectively) in addition to a master’s degree from the University of Southern California in nonprofit leadership and management, with a focus in social entrepreneurship. She is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and in her spare time, she enjoys creative projects, archery, and volunteering as a technical instructor for Black Girls Code.UI vs UXFinding 1st Job After CollegeValue of Creating ContentLeveraging Online ResourcesHaving a mentorBeing specific with your job searchNannearl BrownLinkedIn, Twitter, WebsiteUnpacked AnglesTwitter, Website, Podcast, YouTubeMentioned in EpisodeUdemy, Skills Share, Black Girls CodeFee-Only Financial Planner

Jun 2020

44 min 18 sec

Chad is a non-technical team member at the quickly growing startup Career Karma.Chad made a career transition to land his role and in some ways, it's fitting as Career Karma helps users identify and review Bootcamp options to make career transitions into tech. The Fallacy of Sunk CostRemote WorkTime ManagementImportance of Following UpValue of Clear GoalsCareer Karma’s StoryIncome Share Agreements (ISA)You can connect with Chad using the following social media platforms.TwitterLinkedIn

May 2020

44 min 33 sec

In this episode, I cover What To Do With Old 401(k).In addition to your normal options, you'll also find some new rules and strategies as a result of COVID-19. Most are for 2020 only though so be sure to listen to the end.First, you need to find your old 401(k). Then evaluate it: expense ratio, site usability, Keep it where it’s at?Roll it into an IRA (more control)?Roll into new 401(k)?Cash Out? Taxes, PenaltiesSpecial COVID Rules for 2020

May 2020

20 min 14 sec

With the coronavirus causing the stock market to meltdown almost overnight, I have been receiving the same question.Should I buy stock now?The stock market is essentially on sale now relative to a few months ago, but that doesn't necessarily mean you should be buying now.Listen to hear about the process I use with my clients to think through this decision to make sure you are making the smartest move.

Mar 2020

16 min 34 sec

If you have earned income, then you are eligible to create a retirement account (or if your spouse has earned income). Your employer may even provide one in the form of a 401(k). If your employer doesn’t offer you a retirement plan, then you still have access to an IRA account. That might seem simple enough, but where it starts to get complicated is determining whether you should choose Traditional contributions or ROTH contributions. (This article was inspired by a conversation I had on Twitter, thanks Michele!)Traditional Contributions: 401(k)s & IRAsMost commonPre-tax contributions: Tax-deductible, which essentially reduces your taxesGrowth: Tax-freeWithdrawals:You pay taxes when you withdraw at your future tax rates10% Penalty to withdrawals made prior to age 59.5 (few qualified exemptions)Roth Contributions: 401(k)s & IRAsAfter-tax contributions: which means you do not receive a tax reduction for contributionsGrowth: Tax-freeWithdrawals:Tax-free withdrawals!Contributions can be withdrawn without penalty10% Penalty for withdrawals that exceed the contributed amount prior to age 59.5 (few qualified exemptions)So which one is the best? That depends on where you expect your tax rates to be in the future when you begin to withdraw funds compared to your tax rates today,If you expect your future tax bracket to be higher, then the Roth account would be more favorable to reduce your taxes overall. This tends to be the case for many people who are early in their career today with plenty of room to grow both in income and professionally.Alternatively, if you expect your future tax bracket to be lower, then the Traditional accounts will allow you to reduce your taxes by the greatest amount. If you are a high-earner in the top tax brackets, but a low spender, you may benefit from reducing your tax rates now and creating a distribution strategy that allows you to control your future taxes.What made sense previously may not make sense in 2020 and what you choose for 2020 might not be the best thing forever. Each year you should evaluate the Traditional Vs. Roth debate and make an intentional decision. I actually, love it when my clients have a mixture of Roth and Traditional investments because it allows for more advanced tax strategies when they retire. https://northfortynews.com/retirement-accounts-traditional-vs-roth/

Feb 2020

6 min 59 sec

It's the 2020 tax season and I'm bringing short episodes regarding important topics you should understand when it comes to filing your taxes.In this episode we cover:DeductionsIncrease of standard deductionsRemoval of exemptionsCreditsPhaseoutspoweruptaxplanning.comlevelupfinancialplanning.com

Jan 2020

6 min 10 sec

The 2020 tax season is upon us and so I'm busy answering tax questions for clients.When it comes to your tax rates, it may be confusing because the U.S. tax system is progressive.This means you have two tax percentages to be aware of: your marginal tax rate and your effective tax rate.https://youtu.be/zjiCjgVCQoAhttp://poweruptaxplanning.com/https://www.levelupfinancialplanning.com/

Jan 2020

7 min 1 sec

Understand the basic components of a budget, as well as advanced strategies.I cover the following:Why most people avoid budgetingThe core parts of a budgetThe part you should focus onCommon budgeting toolsBudgeting tricks and tipsThe importance of emergency savingsHow to plan for irregular expensesA reflection on your lifestyle creephttps://www.levelupfinancialplanning.com/how-to-be-a-baller-on-a-budget-strategy-guide/https://youtu.be/HgpkWBzF4J0

Jan 2020

30 min 41 sec

Not all debt is created equal.In this episode we cover the different types of debt and why some debts may actually be considered good debt.Most importantly we dive into debt repayment strategies to help you take your financial confidence to the next level.

Jan 2020

29 min 8 sec

In order to improve your financial situation, it is helpful to understand where you are today. That is what your net worth can help you identify.In this episode I cover:Defining net worthCalculating net worthTypes of assetsBad Debt vs. Good DebtKeeping perspective when analyzing your net worthYouTube Video

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Jan 2020

17 min 15 sec

Kyle is 30, and a brand new software engineer using angular. He went to a sponsored full-stack web development bootcamp that was mostly about java, Prior to that he was working 12-15 hour days as a construction materials tester and studying IT support at night after his wife and 1.5-year-old boy went to sleep. Kyle's story is inspiring, we discuss the following topics in his interview:Life before a developerLiving off no incomeThe stress of Coding BootcampHelping others behind youBalancing remote work with a familyBeing a leader as a new developerhttps://www.linkedin.com/in/ksjphx/https://www.levelupfinancialplanning.com/techie-personal-finance-bootcamp-podcast/

Dec 2019

45 min 30 sec

Paul Foley is the Colorado Capital Mobilization Director for RVC, Managing Director for Denver Angels, and the CEO of SmartCapital, a software that helps manage and run angel groups. He is also a member of the Colorado Blockchain Council focused on passing regulation to help innovative FinTech companies grow in Colorado. Prior to his current initiative, he co-founded and sold a tech startup Augur to BounceX.We explore the following in this episode:Paul's roadmap to becoming an entrepreneurWhat is angel investingThe value of mentorshipBuilding teamsRequirements to be an accredited investor.Colorado Capital Mobilization ProjectThe role of education for accredited investors.Is angel investing a good fit for your startup?Networking with purpose Importance of just startinghttps://coloradostartups.org/https://www.rockiesventureclub.org/https://www.linkedin.com/in/paulfoleylinkedin/https://paulnfoley.com/meethttps://www.levelupfinancialplanning.com/techie-personal-finance-bootcamp-podcast/

Dec 2019

36 min 28 sec

I share with you the framework needed to take your financial confidence to the next level.Identify your why and where you want to go.Understand where you are today.Fill your gaps and blindspots.Micro GoalsImportance of believing you are capable of achieving your goals

Dec 2019

16 min 21 sec

Stephanie Judd is the cofounder of Wolf & Heron, a company that develops experiences designed to empower leaders at all levels to be more influential.Follow her story from her tech origins to helpings leaders and team members to be more influential.Dark Side and Light Side of InfluenceFrom CS graduate to the real worldHow she navigated the feeling of being underqualifiedThe 9 sources of influence powerInfluence pathwaysRelationships being the most valuable currencyWhy storytelling is so effectiveSkills from tech that help her todayImportance of finding communityhttp://www.wolfandheron.com/https://www.linkedin.com/in/juddstephanie/

Nov 2019

46 min 35 sec

Do you ever suffer from impostor syndrome? Maybe you are starting a new career, maybe there is a promotion you want to ask for or a raise you think you deserve.Here are a few ways I navigate my impostor syndrome whenever it flares up.Talk about itOver prepareRecognize that you are in a position of growth/opportunity for a reasonCreating a pick me up folderPlayback your greatest hitsRemember that it is okay to not know everything

Nov 2019

18 min 58 sec

Sam shares his journey of escaping from his soul-crushing cubicle job to find his way into UX.His story is great and he has a lot of great resources that will help you think of additional tips and tricks to land your job in UX. Here is what we cover:Navigating your career as a young professionalLeveraging interests and experiences to create opportunitiesChallenging yourself to build skills and a portfolioExperiencing a layoffUtilizing a resume expertCritical steps you need to take in order to find a job in UXCreating meaning within lifeBarking Up the Wrong Tree Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David EpsteinYour UX Boot Camp Will Not Get You a Job Unless You Do These Critically Important StepsSam's LinkedIn ProfileSam's PodcastFee-Only Financial Planner 

Nov 2019

59 min 10 sec

I love Employee Stock Purchase Plans. Depending on your employer's ESPP plan, you may be able to increase your annual income by 1% or greater.Here are a few topics I cover:ESPP BasicsESPP with Look Back ProvisionESPP Tax TreatmentESPP StrategiesRisks of ESPPYouTube VideoESPP Return CalculatorESPP Strategy Guide w/Cheat SheetFort Collins Fee-Only Financial Planner

Oct 2019

16 min 58 sec

Chris Huie shares his unique career path that found him with a passion for teaching, supporting, and inspiring the community through technology and computer science.From accounting to tech evangelistLeveraging tech in non-tech careerImportance of technology acceptanceProgression of knowledge to youthThe new way of learningInspiring community through technology and computer scienceBridging skills and background to your next positionAnalyzing the impact of a business decision beyond financesImportance of being curiousChris's LinkedIn ProfileData Dorks Video SeriesFee-Only Financial Planner Fort Collins, CO

Oct 2019

46 min 32 sec

RSUs are a popular form of tech employee benefits and can make up a huge portion of your income.In this episode, I cover the basics and advanced strategies:What are RSUsRSU GrantsHow are RSUs TaxedRisks of RSUsHow to Determine Your Risk LevelStrategies: New RSUsStrategies: Old RSUsAdvanced RSU StrategiesYouTube Link Related Resources:RSU Strategy GuideRSU Tax Calculator

Oct 2019

42 min 54 sec