Blog Posts

Forget the Credit Card Rewards and Consider Spending with a Debit Card

Many of our clients use credit cards prudently and accumulate rewards while staying within their budget. They pay off their credit cards in full each month and go on vacations with their reward points. The evidence is pretty strong, though, that people are inclined to spend more when using credit cards rather than debit cards. The 1%-2% you get back in reward points may not be worth it if you spend 10% more than you would without the credit card.

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Tim Quillin
You Can Slay Student Debt, But There's No One-Size-Fits-All Approach

At Aptus, we often work with clients who carry high-six-figure or even low-seven-figure student loan balances. The good news is that folks with postgraduate degrees and high levels of student debt can usually manage it down relatively quickly. It can seem overwhelming, but there are many effective approaches to slaying student debt, typically involving the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, refinancing or both.

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Tim Quillin
The Self-Healing Global Economy

If the stock market seems especially risky, that probably bodes well for future returns. We believe the global economic system is self-healing over the long run. When there’s a fissure in the system, the components of the system identify, respond and fix the system. We encourage our clients to “set it and forget it.” Focus on what you can control and stay the course with your investment strategy.

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Tim Quillin
The Best Time To Nudge Your Employees To Save

Aptus founder Sarah-Catherine Phillips Gutierrez's commentary in Arkansas Business makes a simple ask. This holiday, talk to your loved ones, your co-workers, your friends, your community about money. Urge them to resolve this New Year to call up their HR department and request that 10 percent of their pay go to savings. They might just do it.

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Sarah Catherine Gutierrez
Financial Tips For Parents

Parenting is hard. We get it. We live it. Our primary mission is to love our children, and for most of us it’s mission accomplished on that front. What’s more challenging is nurturing, protecting, educating and encouraging our children so that they eventually become independent, productive, happy adults. We sure don’t have all the answers, but we offer a few [mostly] financial tips for parents.

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Tim Quillin
Avoid The AUM Fees, You Are Better Off Doing It Yourself

Many people who give financial advice have business models that make it hard for them to work solely for you and in your best interests. We believe you’re better off—and will have a greater sense of financial control—if you do it yourself with the guidance of a flat-fee or hourly rate financial planner. Avoid those asset under management (AUM) fees, which many investors overlook because they are automatically deducted from their account. If a 1% AUM fee seems like a tiny slice of your nest egg, think of it instead as a 20% chunk of your annual investment returns—now that’s meaningful.

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Tim Quillin
Great Small-Business 401(K) Plans Are Possible If You Take A DIY Approach

We believe small business 401(k)s can be less expensive than feared, relatively simple to manage and provide significant long-term benefits to both owners and employees. For high-earning small business owners, the ability to defer taxes on a significant chunk of income each year—more than is possible with a SIMPLE IRA—and avoid the pro rata rule on “backdoor” Roth IRA contributions make 401(k) plans attractive, especially over the long run.

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Tim Quillin
One Key To Financial Wellness: Find A Job You Love

At Aptus, we believe simple beats complex almost every darn time. Find a job you love [or at least don’t hate], spend less than you make, save for rainy days and retirement, and invest simply and wisely. Easy, peasy, lemon squeezy. When we present this concept to clients, we often caveat it by saying we can’t really help them find a job. There are limits to the scope of our work, right? Well, we’re not a staffing firm but we do have some thoughts on finding a job you love.

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Tim Quillin
Buyer Beware

Aptus partner Tim Quillin’s op-ed highlights the ongoing regulatory efforts to force brokers to act in their clients’ best interests. “…this is probably not an issue that will be solved by government intervention. Folks, we need to assume that many of the people who give financial advice are not always looking out for us. In the financial world, we need a healthy level of cynicism. If you have the right personality and disposition, you're better off managing your own money.”

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Tim Quillin
Invest Simply And Wisely Using A Waterfall Of Tax-Efficient Accounts

As we highlight in our Hierarchy of Financial Needs, your retirement outcome is more likely to be determined by your savings rate than it is to be driven by clever stock picking or crafty asset allocation decisions. The first step in investing, then, is to determine how much you can save. The next step is following a tax efficient waterfall. The last, and probably the easiest, step in investing is buying an appropriate mix of stocks, bonds and others assets.

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Tim Quillin
Cash Management's The Key To A Successful Financial Life

At Aptus, we believe that financial success, happiness and freedom hinges on spending less money than you make (see Our Cash Flow System Makes Budgeting [Relatively] Cool). A good cash flow plan should help you determine the best balance of spending on important things like education and travel while saving enough for an emergency fund, paying off debt and building up retirement savings. Our recommended cash flow system is a relatively foolproof method of regulating and optimizing spending, but the devil's in the implementation.

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Tim Quillin
10 Financial Tips For New Doctors

New doctors getting their first contract out of residency are typically going to have a big, one-time jump in income while also being saddled with a mountain of student loan debt. Their negative net worth makes it hard to hire financial advisors that charge a percent of assets. Their high income makes them targets for less reputable advisors, often selling complex, opaque and expensive permanent life insurance policies. We offer 10 financial recommendations to these new doctors.

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Tim Quillin