Echo Blog

Echo Blog

What Should You Expect from Your Financial Advisor?

By Echo Huang, CPA, CFP®, CFA

You may be working with a financial advisor and wonder what you should expect from your financial advisor. You may be someone who is thinking of hiring a financial advisor as your financial picture becomes more complex and you really want to have an expert in your corner to help you better plan for your financial future. I’ve put together a list of expectations that I believe are important to consider when choosing or evaluating a financial advisor.

Savings Alone Won't Pay for College

By Echo Huang, CPA, CFP®, CFA

A college diploma opens the door to a lifetime of higher earnings. Based on Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2016 dollars, Bachelor's degree holders earn nearly $1 million more over a lifetime than those who have only a high school diploma. Those with professional degrees earn over $2 million more. In addition, college graduates enjoy much better job security and opportunity, especially during economic downturns. Based on "The State of Entry-Level Employment in the U.S. March 2017" by The Rockefeller Foundation, seven in ten U.S. employers look for college degrees when hiring entry-level workers.

For many parents, college is one of life's most important, and expensive, investment goals. How much does it cost? How much can you expect from financial aid? How can you invest and earn more while borrowing less? I would like to answer these questions here and provide some strategies for successful investing.

Why Invest in Bonds?

By Echo Huang, CFA, CFP®, CPA

In the year 2017, the US Bonds’ return was just 3.54%, much lower than stock market returns. Globally, stock market returns were great in 2017: US Stocks (measured by S&P 500 Index) 21.83%, International Stocks (measured by MSCI EAFE Index) 25.03% and Emerging Market Stocks (measured by MSCI Emerging Markets) 37.28%. Bonds, they say, are a pretty boring asset class. The stock market is far more exciting. That’s where the biggest returns are found and it’s also the segment that the financial media tends to focus on.

Bonds have been out of favor for several years, with low interest rates not seen for several decades resulting in tiny yields. Why should you invest in bonds at all?

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. 

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