Money Talks, LLC          
Susan Hammitt
AFC, CDFA, Mediator, Financial Life Planner
October 1, 2012


In This Issue:


Personal Financial Sustainability: Personal Financial Sustainability Plans



 Autumn - Action Plan



Money Talks - We listen


Money Talks, LLC


Susan Hammitt

AFC, CDFA, Mediator,

Life Planning Specialist


511 SW 10th Ave.

Suite 805

Portland, OR  97205


Phone: 503-233-8142


Email: Money Talks



Financial Life Planning 



Divorce Mediation



Someone asked me to write an article about family money and legacy, which I will do for my next issue. 
Before reading my article it will be interesting if you have begun the conversation by talking about family money and legacy with your friends and loved ones. 


As you prepare year end plans consider the health of financial relationships. Are those relationships strengthening the bond of love and respect?  Are financial relationships managed responsibly, or undermining the financial durability of loved ones?  


As gifting parents have you unconsciously established dependence on windfalls? 


I have several clients in their 50s and 60s who depended so heavily throughout adulthood on parental gifts, they never developed financial skills and ultimately lost everything.


For young families: Is it time to modify holiday traditions rather than maintain unrealistic expectations that cause wreckage in budgets and financial plans? 


We all need to learn to talk about money.  Why not begin today?

Susan Hammitt
Money Talks, LLC

Personal Financial Sustainability 


When my hippie friend, Helen, told me I was rich it shocked me.  "I'm not rich," I responded. 


She shot back, "Well you sure look rich to me."


Helen wasn't talking about spiritual enlightenment, she was talking about money.  She was a very practical hippie. Helen died several years ago leaving me the legacy of memorable and important conversations.  One of which is the question: "What does it mean to be rich?"


Since the recession Americans are increasingly aware that 2% of the population monopolize approximately 40% of wealth in the United States.  The amount of their wealth is incomprehensible and statistically unattainable for the majority of American Households. The top 2% can comfortably claim the designation: Rich. 


Helen, the practical hippie, explained to me that I was rich because I had more money than she. It was that simple. 


Some people use the term rich to exploit the capacity of others, "They're rich so they can afford to..."


And salespeople rely on the emotional trigger by offering the 'road to getting rich."


The word rich is often not related to net worth. Instead, as Helen so brilliantly declared it's about the appearance of having relatively more. Maybe what Helen didn't understand is that I may not have had more, however, I seemed to have enough and that made me appear rich.



"Ultimately, the richest amongst us are the people who believe they have enough money to live a quality life and achieve: Personal Financial Sustainability."  Susan Hammitt



Make a Plan That Works For You!

AutumnAutumn the Last Quarter of the Year 2012: Action Plan


Autumn, the last full season of the calendar year, is also the last financial quarter for personal and small business finances. 


We ease into changing seasons based on years of predictable cycles and responsive behaviors, wearing sweaters, adjusting schedules, and focusing on indoor activities. 


We also ease into predictable seasonal financial behaviors. For some households and small businesses autumn is a cataclysmic financial season.  After managing finances for nine months - stored consumer energy and emotional links to holidays past automatically kick financial behaviors to self-destruct mode.


For savvy Personal Financial households and small businesses autumn is a pivotal season of the year.  It's the season to evaluate, adjust, and plan.  These households and small businesses evaluate the status of their year to date finances, adjust last quarter financial activity, and plan for the upcoming year.  


Whatever your seasonal financial behavior this checklist of year-end financial activities may be helpful:


*Evaluate financial plans made for 2012.  Is the plan working? Note inconsistencies and unforeseen exceptions.  Have financial objectives or intentions been met? Three indicators are savings, investment performance, and debt levels. 


*Evaluate and adjust taxes for 2012.  If in doubt contact a tax professional for year end planning. Focus on:

  1. Adjustments to estimated tax payments and withholding. Underpaid/unfunded taxes are a black hole for personal and small business sustainability.
  2. Year-end contributions to health saving accounts and retirement plans.
  3. 2012 gifting and charitable contributions.
  4. Expiration or changes in tax law effecting your specific tax situation.
  5. Planned purchases qualified for 179 deduction.
  6. Income projections for cash flow planning 2013.

*Make a holiday spending plan.  Determine the dollar amount available for holiday expenses and allocate accordingly.  Consider all additional expenses including increased grocery expenses, holiday events, gifts and travel. Don't allow unsatisfying and stressful traditions to override healthy financial planning and decisions. 


*Make a financial plan for 2013.  Depending on financial skills, reliability of income, and predictability of life events a plan will focus on one of three priorities: (1) Subsistence, (2) Preservation, or  (3) Security often referred to as Wealth Building.  The focus and priority often change from year to year, particularly in current economic times.


Every household and small business has a unique financial profile requiring thoughtful evaluation, adjustment, and planning.


Evaluation provides an opportunity to determine if financial conduct on auto-pilot is working well or requires adjustment.


Adjustments increase viability and protect against financial black holes.


Planning increases the likelihood for success, identifying  behavioral activities and commitments to meet objectives.


Autumn is the season for evaluating, adjusting and planning.