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RFM Financial Solutions, LLC

Archive for March, 2013

Mike HarterOur very own Mike Harter will be hosting Ask the Financial Planner on the CMU Public Broadcasting channel on March 28th at 7:30 p.m.  If you would like to participate by asking questions, you can do so by one of the following ways:

Viewers can call in from 7:30-8:00 p.m. during the live program at 800-727-9268

Send a question on Facebook @Ask The Specialist

Tweet the production crew at @WCMU_AskThe

Visit the CMU Public Broadcasting website for more information!!

Written by: Lisa Castle, CFP®

Even though you may think everything is going well for you financially, it is always a good idea to check out your credit report at least annually to make sure there are no errors.  This is coming from a personal incident where I needed to file a dispute with the credit bureau.  There was someone that had the same name as myself connected to my credit report that, well let’s just say, had a rough financial past.  I will not say it was a fun process, but after about a month, the credit bureau had things flagged and I had to prepare myself to explain the issues if I were to need a loan.  If I were to apply for a major loan, I was prepared to submit a letter explaining the dispute. is where you can get a free report from each credit bureau once a year.  I suggest staggering your requests so you can view a report for free every three or four months.

savings-piggybankWrtten by: Lisa Castle, CFP®

While we would all love to win the lotto or have a hefty salary or even pick the right combination of stocks to beat Wall Street, there are ways that we can keep ourselves focused and spend less and save more.  Small steps can add up and here are a few small steps to help you along the way!

  1. Start now and start small!  Putting it off until your salary is bigger is not the answer.  This is mostly because the more money you make, the more money you tend to spend.  Even if you could save $50 per paycheck, that will add up faster than you know!
  2. Make a simple budget and write down specific goals.  Sometimes seeing things on paper gives you more motivation.  Need a vacation, write down a pledge and you will be more likely to save the money needed for it.
  3. Separate accounts for each goal.  Now that you have written your goals out, you need to set up separate accounts for these items that way you can track your progress.
  4. Participate in employer retirement plans.  Why not take advantage of your employers retirement account.  If they do a match, then be sure to be putting enough away to take advantage of it.  Not taking the employer up on their retirement match is like throwing away free money!
  5. Save your change.  I know this sounds silly, but grab a large jar or bank and put your spare change in it.  You will be surprised how fast you will have saved enough for your holiday spending or other small goal you may have.
  6. Eat in more.  Try to take your lunch to work more often.  Reward yourself by putting the money you would have spent on lunch in an account.
  7. Pay off an item, keep writing that check!  After you pay off a loan or bill, put that same payment in an account to build up.
  8. Emergency Fund – this is a very important part of savings.  The general rule of thumb is to have at least 6 months of your expenses saved in an account that is easily accessible in case of an emergency.  Life can be unexpected and having this will eliminate a lot of stress when an emergency happens!

RIA_logo_4color_largeA lot of people do not fully understand how different an independent Regisered Investment Adviser is compared to other investment advisers out there.  There is a terrific site out there that explains just that.  RIA Stands for You will explain to you the differences, has real people talking about their experiences and has some wonderful tools.  We encourage everyone to visit the site to learn more about it.

RFM Financial Solutions is proud to be an independent Registered Investment Adviser!  Let us help you!

Written by: Lisa Castle, CFP®

Did you know that only one in 10 people examine every transaction on statements received!  I will admit, I am guilty of this.  Here are a few items to watch out for:

  1. Free trials that turn into paid subscriptions.  Keep tabs on those and be sure to cancel in time, or your free or bargain deal, just lost it’s appeal.
  2. Hidden checkout subscriptions.  Sometimes when you are shopping on-line, the retailer will strategically place a box already checked asking you to subscribe to a related magazine.  Be cautious at your checkout!
  3. Automatic renewals that you have forgotten you signed up for, say for instance your gym membership that you aren’t using or a magazine subscription.  Keep track of those and try to avoid signing up for them if you in fact do not want them automatically renewed.
  4. Even if you have canceled a subscription, be sure to continually check your statement as sometimes months alter a “zombie” subscription will appear and if you do not catch it right away, you will be pulled right back into their cycle.
  5. Watch your monthly service charges.  Small increases add up so be sure to continue to monitor your accounts to be sure you are getting the best deal.