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Helping Kids Build Strong Financial Habits for Life

By Kate Pettique | June 11, 2024

As summer begins, many families have kids in transition: moving to middle school, starting high school, or graduating and heading to college. At Sente, our purpose of creating financial possibility extends beyond home loans. We are passionate about financial literacy for kids and have developed a Sente Kids Smarter Money Moves Resource Center with helpful materials and recommended reading. Here is a brief summary of some age-specific key concepts: 5–7 years old: Differentiate between coins and bills, receive a small allowance, and understand that basic items like food, gas, and clothing cost money. 8–9 years old: Learn the concept of having enough money to make a purchase, making change, and taking responsibility for keeping money safe. 10–13 years old: Receive a larger allowance along with increased purchasing responsibility, understand and open a savings account. 14–16 years old: Open a checking account and maintain a balance, earn money, and connect work with pay. 17–19 years old: Create and use a budget, learn about credit, and understand compound interest. Being proactive with teaching kids about money can help establish good financial habits for life.

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Optimize Your Portfolio for 2024

By Kate Pettique | May 13, 2024

The Dow Jones finished near a record high in 2023, the S&P 500 is up 24% year-over-year, and Bitcoin is up 116% from a year ago in April. Now is a great time to reflect on market performance and what impact they may have had on your investments. Many of us have investments in the market, either directly or indirectly through 401(k)s, IRAs, or other retirement portfolios. Our assets are divided among various categories, including classes of stocks (large or small), bonds, and REITs to name a few. How your money is allocated among these asset classes defines your potential risk and return. Because these assets increase and decrease in value differently over time, you may have an asset allocation out of sync with your investment objectives. For example, someone with Bitcoin holdings has a much larger exposure to cryptocurrency than a year ago. It is great idea to rebalance your allocations annually. Of course, be sure to touch base with your financial advisor to make sure your investments reflect your long-term goals.

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Are You Filling Up Your Savings Buckets

By Kate Pettique | May 6, 2024

According to a recent article, nearly one in three people (30 percent) in 2023 had some emergency savings, but not enough to cover three months of expenses. And nearly one in four U.S. adults (22 percent) said they have no emergency savings at all. Building and sustaining savings is really our best strategy for avoiding debt because, without savings, we are likely to rely on credit when the going gets tough. Here’s a reminder of the “savings bucket” system we recommend at Sente, and some good rules of thumb for each bucket. Emergency Savings—3-6 months of expenses This bucket is for the unexpected, like an unforeseen car repair or extended job search. How much to save depends on your income type. Salaried employees should generally save three months. Those with variable income—like a commissioned salesperson—should consider savings for six months of expenses. Savings to Spend—50% of the targeted expense, like a new car or college education This percentage is based on how much you want to save in advance of the purchase. The more time you have, the higher the percentage you can save. Savings for Retirement—The rule of 25 Ultimately, your retirement savings target should be 25 times the annual expenses you expect in retirement By embracing the power of savings buckets you can enhance your financial security. Your future self will thank you…

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