Echo Blog

Echo Blog

10 Money Management Tips for Teens

Echo Huang, CFA, CFP®, CPA

It feels just like yesterday when my daughter Nina turned one year old and was an adorable chubby little girl. She will turn 13 in three months! She loves reading, skiing, tennis, travel, choir and piano. Lately I find her watching Youtube videos on Minecraft for hours and she has created some intricate theme parks with rollercoasters and petting zoos. As a parent, I feel the urgency to teach her important skills before she goes off to college. Financial literacy and money management skills are critical for her success and happiness. So this blog post is written for her and other teens in your life.

  1. Write Down Your Needs vs. Your Wants. It's easy to spend money. What's not easy is spending money wisely. One way to help you spend money wisely is to separate your wants from your needs and spend money primarily on your needs. Try to think of the needs as immediate and what you will need in the next few months. Write down what you need with those costs in one column and write down what you want and those costs in another column. Ask yourself "Can I do without these wants?" and "Are there alternatives to my wants?". For example, you have decided that you need a cell phone. Is a used cell phone an alternative to a brand new cell phone freeing up money to spend on other items you need? Writing them down helps you prioritize your spending.

Echo Huang is Featured by Winona State University News Center Today

 

We are pleased to announce that Echo Huang, CFA, CFP®, CPA was interviewed by Maddie Swenson from Winona State University recently and is featured today in the “This is WSU” campaign:

https://news.winona.edu/11418/this-is-wsu-echo-huang/

Winona State University: A Community of Learners Improving Our World

Happy 3rd Birthday Echo Wealth Management!

By Echo Huang, CPA, CFP®, CFA

With thankfulness and appreciation for my friends, family, team and clients, I am excited to celebrate the 3rd birthday of Echo Wealth Management today! It has been a satisfying journey over the past three years of building a strong foundation for the business that focuses on taking the complexity out of wealth management. We have been blessed with amazing client experiences and the supportive efforts from our centers of influence, including attorneys, CPAs, insurance agents, business operations and technology partners.

It has been a very rewarding personal and professional experience along the way. We are now getting ready for more achievements in the next year, starting with hiring another new team member this spring as we now manage over $76 million for 57 households.

Should You Invest in Bitcoin?

By Echo Huang, CPA, CFP®, CFA

In the past year myriad stories of how some people have become super rich by buying Bitcoin have been circulating on the internet. Even my ballroom dance instructor asked me last December if I had been investing in Bitcoin and when it would be the right time to get in. With all the hype, do you feel you may be missing out if you don’t own bitcoins? Should you invest in Bitcoin?

Before you make a decision to invest in Bitcoin, it is critical to understand what it is and how to evaluate the price of Bitcoin along with its potential risks and returns.

Echo Huang, CFA, CFP®, CPA Awarded the Five Star Wealth Manager Award for 2018!

In conjunction with Mpls. St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business, Five Star Professional has recognized Echo Huang with the 2018 Five Star Wealth Management award. Echo Huang has been a seven-year recipient (2012 - 2018) of this award.  She is among the 7% Twin Cities wealth managers to receive this award in 2018.

Check out Echo’s online profile and feel free to share it with your colleagues and friends who may be looking for a trusted wealth manager:

https://fivestarprofessional.com/Spotlights/11116

The Five Things You Can Do Now to Get Your Finances in Order This New Year

By Echo Huang, CPA, CFP®, CFA

 

  1. Create a new budget for the new year by reviewing last year’s actual expenses vs. budget. In my opinion, living below your means is rule #1 in personal financial planning. Regardless how much you make, if you do not save enough for your future, it would be difficult to achieve financial independence down the road. If you use expense tracking tools such as Quicken, www.mint.com or your own Excel worksheet, now it is the time to generate your cash flow statement by category to see how well you did in year 2017 by comparing actual spending to the budget.

    You should pay attention to the categories that are discretionary such as shopping, dining out, vacationing, entertainment and home improvement as they are the ones you have most control over. If you are overspending right now, consider this tip “Cutting Out The Fat”. Direct your money to the things and experiences that give you the highest Emotional Return on Investment (EROI), because these purchases bring you happiness weeks and months after the purchase. Go through your expenses for the last 1 to 3 months, and rate them from 1 to 5 (one being low EROI and five being high EROI). Cut out the expenses with 1 and 2 ratings and keep the ones with 4 and 5 ratings. Do this exercise now and revise your monthly budget.

The Highlights of GOP Tax Bill

By Echo Huang, CPA, CFP®, CFA

There is a tax bill, but there is no tax reform as it does not simplify the tax codes and will keep tax professionals very busy over the next 12 months to figure out a series of cuts and tweaks. These changes will not affect year 2017 tax returns. These are the highlights of GOP Tax Bill, a final reconciled version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017 that appears to be heading shortly to President Trump for signature:

  • Seven individual tax rates: We will still have seven individual tax rates for year 2018, but the top rate is reduced from 39.6% to 37%. The top rate will kick in at taxable incomes of $500,000 for single and head-of household filers; $600,000 for married filing jointly taxpayers; and $300,000 for married filing separately. The new tax brackets will be 10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35% and 37%, and will remain in place until end of 2025, when they will sunset.

    The good news for most people is that, relative to today’s tax brackets, the new tax brackets will produce at least a small reduction in marginal tax brackets for almost all taxpayers. 

Thanksgiving is More Than Just a Day

By Echo Huang, CPA, CFP®, CFA

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday for several reasons:

  1. I get to share my best cooking with family and friends. Our Thanksgiving dinner menu was planned about a week in advance. Alton Brown’s Food Network turkey recipe is the best! My most reliable dish is a wild rice with mushrooms side that is a recipe from my mother-in-law Mary Lou's cookbook (she actually hand-made a cookbook for each of her children by typing recipes using her typewriter and carbon paper!) Every year I experiment with a Brussels sprouts or a green beans side dish with different recipes. Instead of mashed potatoes, I baked sweet potatoes. I added Pillsbury flaky biscuits this year, but for other years I’ve tried crescents rolls. Sharing my best creations with family and friends gives me joy and appreciation for abundance of food. After a turkey dinner with a nice wine, I enjoyed listening to the kids playing piano while others played ping pong, as everyone headed off the tryptophan.

Echo Wealth Management Now Hiring an Associate Wealth Manager

starting in spring or early summer 2018

Company Website: www.EchoWealthManagement.com

About the Company

Echo Wealth Management is an independent, focused wealth management firm located in Plymouth, Minnesota that takes the complexity out of wealth management.  We offer integrated, comprehensive strategies that address every facet of our clients’ financial lives.  We do this by building the highest levels of trust, integrity and respect while always collaborating using a team approach.  Our clients range from corporate executives planning a secure retirement, to families looking to preserve their assets for future generations, to businesses seeking expert investment advice.  Echo Wealth Management was formed in February 2015 as a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) and is looking for an Associate Wealth Manager to join a growing firm and support Echo Huang, CPA, CFP®, CFA, founder of this firm who has over 20 years of experience.

What is an Associate Wealth Manager, you ask? Our Associates are more like apprentices than support staff, and go through a rigorous three-year program where they learn to be a wealth manager, and not just any Wealth Manager... an Echo Wealth Manager.

My "Me Too" Story

By Echo Huang, CPA, CFP®, CFA

As the Harvey Weinstein story has been in the news for the past month, I am grateful to see more women having the courage to raise awareness of sexual harassment in workplaces and protect more women.  One of my “Me Too” stories happened many years ago when I was about 19 years old in China.  

After graduating with an accounting diploma from Shenzhen School of Business and Economics at age 17, I received a great job offer to become an accountant at the Bank of China, Shenzhen Branch.  In this, my first full-time job, I was paid more than my parents, who were high school teachers, had ever been paid. I felt excited to spread my wings to fly far away and I requested a placement to the office in Shekou, a small seaside town about 30 miles from my parents’ home.  I moved into the two-story building the bank provided, where each person had own room and shared the two bathrooms at the end of each floor.  I liked my room at the corner on the second floor as it had a door to an outside large balcony.

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