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Here are a couple simple tips we can all use to improve our financial outlook.

Chris Dionot

Chris Dionot

Take the time to understand your employer’s benefits…
It can be tough to focus on the fine print but make sure you understand your employer’s benefits such as employer matching on your 401(k) contributions, commuting/parking benefits, health savings accounts, group life insurance, etc. There may be dollars you are leaving on the table by not taking advantage of “free money” or pre-tax programs.

Use gift cards for common purchases…
Maintaining a budget is equally as important as creating one. It’s easy for all of us to know we are over our self-imposed limit but still swipe the card to make the purchase. How can you implement a budget and minimize the pain?

Whatever the hobby/vice may be – Starbucks coffee every morning, dinner & a movie once a week, shopping, etc… using a gift card can keep you on a monthly budget so you can enjoy what you love until your card runs out. This can make it easier to track the small daily expenses that we often don’t account for.

Start saving for college when you receive the Social Security Card…
College will be here before you know it. Start saving now. Even if you can only contribute $20 a month now, create the account to deposit monetary gifts from grandparents, other family and friends as well. Furthermore, make sure you understand the income tax deductions that your state offers in order to maximize your tax planning.

Be smart about insurance…
Everyone wants the new state of the art electronic device, whether it’s a phone, tablet or television. The manufacturers that sell you these products then offer to sell you extended warranties or insurance. Be smart and understand what you are spending your money on.

If you are going to spend money on insurance shouldn’t you focus on insuring the most important thing you have – the ability to earn a living. If you become sick or die your family should be protected as they won’t have your income to rely on to pay the bills. I would rather protect my family than my phone.

Keep your beneficiary designations up-to-date…
Get into the practice of reviewing and updating (if necessary) the beneficiary designations on your retirement (401k, IRA) accounts and insurance policies. In many cases, we are talking about large sums of money that are not governed by your Will.

For example, do you still want the beneficiary of your insurance policy to be your ex-spouse? Or do you want the beneficiary of your 401(k) to be your parents because you started your job before you started a family?

These are a few easy things you can do today, that can improve your financial future. For more ideas or guidance with your financial planning, please contact one of our advisors at 301-543-6000.
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As a Family Wealth Advisor, Chris assists business owners, executives, and affluent families in helping them achieve financial independence. Chris specializes in providing advanced estate planning strategies, business succession plans, and independent wealth management and retirement advice. Chris joined PSG after a legal career specializing in estate planning and corporate law. Chris is an Instructor with the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Academy and teaches the “Family Succession Planning” session focusing on the dynamics of a family business and the importance of implementing sound estate and business succession planning. Chris has been a guest speaker at the annual NADA Convention, as well as a featured speaker at a Minority Dealer Development 20 Group Member meeting.

Chris earned his Bachelor’s Degree from Boston College with a double major in Political Science and Philosophy. Chris received his Juris Doctorate* from the University of Baltimore School of Law and is a member of the Maryland Bar*. Chris holds his FINRA Series 7 and 66 registrations as well as his Life, Accident and Health Insurance license.  Chris has been recognized as a 2015 Five Star Wealth Manager, as featured in Baltimore Magazine.

Chris lives in Silver Spring, Maryland with his wife, Kristen, and their son, Aidan.

*Licensed, not practicing.