Personal Finance Experts Talk Budgeting, Goals, Paying Off Debt, and Saving in a Free Webinar

NJ.com hosted a webinar about personal finance this week where experts shared tips and insights on implementing a financial strategy for 2022 and beyond.

As part of NJ.com’s new EmpowerU free virtual event series, the “New Year’s Money Moves” webinar focused on four financial categories – goal setting, budgeting, debt repayment and savings.

Certified financial planners explained the need to set realistic short-term and long-term goals and discussed the difference between fixed, variable, discretionary, and non-discretionary spending.

NJ.comKarin Price Mueller of , moderated the webinar, which included a panel discussion and live Q&A.

The panelists were Deva Panambur, CFA, CFP and owner of Sarsi, LLCas well as Stephanie Spies, CFP and Financial Advisor at Modera Wealth Management.

Here are some important points:

On setting goals:

“Start by understanding yourself first,” Panambur said. “You know, mountaineers say this all the time, ‘It’s not the mountains we conquer, but ourselves.’ So much of financial planning is about managing your own emotions, your own weaknesses, and leveraging your strengths.

“I always say, start by understanding yourself. Start by understanding your values, what’s important to you, and then create a plan that aligns with your values, because that’s when you’re most likely to succeed over time.

On budgeting tools:

“Budgeting is something unique and very personal for everyone,” Spies said. “There are different apps and different things you can do. There are apps you pay for, like mint, bar money, You need a budget, and there are free resources. Some people still like to do it the old-fashioned way with a spreadsheet.

“Also, don’t be afraid to look up any information you might get from your credit card company. I know a lot of them send out a yearly breakdown of what you’ve spent, and sometimes that too can give you a really nice boost.

On strategies for repaying debt while saving:

“For those of us who work in finance, we often talk about how compounding is the seventh wonder of the world, and it can really help or hurt you,” Spies said. “When it comes to debt, capitalization is your biggest enemy. We often work to encourage our clients to pay off that higher interest rate debt first to mitigate and control some of that capitalization over time. , which will allow you to pay off debt sooner and work towards your other goals.

Panambur said paying off high-interest debt is one strategy you can use to settle debt and achieve your goals, but there are others that also work.

“Make sure you pay all the minimums on your debt,” he said. “Second, start building an emergency fund. Third, take advantage of any of the 401k matches you have and then you can start attacking your debt more consciously.

“You have two strategies, you can either pay off the high cost debt first or start paying off the smaller balances. There are pros and cons to both, and you have to choose which one you think you can stick with. But the idea is to pay off all your debts, especially your bad debts, as soon as possible.

On savings plan options:

While discussing saving for retirement and college, Spies explained how 529 plans work.

“529 plans are a tax-efficient way to be able to save for college, but they work like retirement accounts in that the funds grow in a tax-efficient way,” she said. “For 529 you pay dues and (depending on where you live and your income) they may be tax deductible.

The intention is that these funds will grow over time for the university, and as long as they are used for what are called qualified education expenses, things like tuition and books, these funds can be withdrawn to pay for these expenses without any tax implications.

How to watch a free recording

Panambur and Spies answered participants’ questions about mutual funds versus index funds, emergency funds, prioritizing retirement, benefits of retirement plans such as 401K accounts, traditional IRAs, Roth IRA and more.

To watch the full program on demand, view the recording here or at the top of this article. To receive updates on upcoming events and webinars, register here.

About NJ.com’s EmpowerU Virtual Event Series

EmpowerU is a series of virtual events helping New Jersey learn, plan, save and grow. Powered by NJ.comEmpowerU events bring our trusted journalism to life to educate, empower and empower attendees on the topics that matter most to them.

NJ.com and The Star-Ledger reporters host interactive panel discussions featuring industry experts, public figures, mentors and trailblazers. Featured event categories for 2022 are Finance, Health, Parenting, Careers and Education.

register here for news and updates on future EmpowerU free virtual events.

Tana T. Thorsen