Money Is Cheap Most Places … Except Your Wallet!

Credit card

Money Is Cheap Most Places … Except Your Wallet!

Since the financial crisis of 2008, borrowing costs have dropped dramatically. And although the Federal Reserve raised the federal funds rate by 0.25% near the end of 2018 to 2.5%, it may not be raising rates this year. In fact, some speculate the Fed may even lower the interest rate by 0.25%. 

The federal funds rate is the interest rate banks charge each other to lend reserve balances to one another overnight, and it can directly affect borrowing costs in the U.S. Today, the average 30-year fixed mortgage is 3.95%. Need an auto loan? New car loans are 4.7% or under for 48- and 60-month repayment options, on average. 

… so why is it that the plastic in your wallet is hovering at a rate around 17.76%, even for the most creditworthy borrowers?

Credit Card Trends — and Pro Tips

One reason behind the record-high credit card interest rate could be the Fed’s increase in rates. Another is offsetting the cost of rewards that credit card companies offer customers so they can compete with other credit card companies. But the bottom line is that credit card debt is unsecured and, because of that risk to banks, it’s expensive.

When it comes to credit and credit cards in particular, here’s the scoop: You don’t really ever want to use that plastic in your wallet unless you’re being rewarded for doing so, and you certainly don’t want to carry a balance from month to month. Living within one’s means is as crucial a part of an effective financial plan as anything else but, every now and then, life throws us a curveball. 

Let’s be realistic and recognize that, sometimes, for whatever reason, you might need to utilize credit and perhaps even carry a bit of credit card debt. The issue today, however, is that the cost of doing so has not declined at nearly the rate as things like mortgages and auto loans. 

So how can you make the best of a situation in which you need to carry a credit card balance?

Balance Best Practices

To keep credit card costs low, here are a few best practices to follow:

1. Look into other forms of credit. The plastic in your wallet is only one option. Remember those low mortgage and auto loan rates? Additional options from home equity lines of credit to personal loans and more may be less expensive ways to borrow.

2. Shop around. If you’ve had your credit card for a while or you jumped on the first offer you saw, you may want to consider additional options. Other creditors could offer lower rates — maybe even with better perks.

3. Consider repayment options. If you can’t pay off your credit card in full, know that you have options. When you know you’ll be carrying a balance, create a repayment plan — and stick to it. Also, if you can, avoid additional charges: Try not to use this card — or other credit cards — while you’re paying down the balance you already have.

4. Ask for a break. There is nothing wrong with asking your current bank for a lower rate or even a short interest-free period. However, I often find that people are reluctant to ask. We’re not talking about a debt settlement here — that’s different and can have ill effects — but, rather, simply asking your bank for a break on the markup they’re charging you, their valued customer. It can actually go further than you think and it just might save you the hassle of playing the balance transfer game.

Of course, it’s important to continue to monitor your credit card usage whether you carry a balance or not. A little plastic due diligence can go a long way to protect yourself against creditor errors, fraudulent charges, and more. Finally, do remember that the game itself, and your ability to “talk with your feet,” is your leverage at the negotiating table.

Ready to schedule your next meeting?

Simply head to the Meeting page where you can find and schedule a convenient time to discuss whatever is on your mind.

Jason Speciner
jason@fpfoco.com

Jason Speciner is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional, an Enrolled Agent, and the founder of Financial Planning Fort Collins, a 100% employee-owned and fee-only firm. He is also a member of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) and XY Planning Network (XYPN). Since 2004, he has served clients of all ages and backgrounds with unique experience working with members of generations X and Y. To learn more, check out Jason's blogs and see the media he's been featured in.



MINIMUM ACCOUNT SIZE
The minimum initial investment for the Invest:FOCO platform is only $5,000 per account. This minimum can be met via transfer of an existing account or with new funds.
ANNUAL FEE
1.00% of assets under management ($100 per $10,000 managed). Debited from your account(s).
FINANCIAL PLANNING
Strategy:FOCO financial planning services are ongoing, and include unlimited phone, email, web and in-person meeting and consultation time. Pricing is based on the unique circumstances of each client situation. Generally, there is a one-time plan development fee ranging from $500 - $2,000 and a monthly fee of $150 - $500; cancel anytime. Clients utilizing investment management services with portfolios of $500,000 or more will typically receive financial planning services for no additional fee.
INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT
Assets Under Management (AUM) Annual fee as a % of AUM or flat-dollar
$0 - $249,999 (See Invest:FOCO)
$250,000 - $499,999 0.90%
$500,000 - $999,999 0.80%
$1,000,000 - $1,999,999 0.65%
$2,000,000 - $2,999,999 0.50%
$3,000,000 - $3,999,999 $15,000
$4,000,000 - $4,999,999 $20,000
$5,000,000 or more $25,000 + $2,000 per additional $1mm
MINIMUM ACCOUNT SIZE
There is a minimum initial investment of $100,000 per Strategy:FOCO client household. This minimum can be met via transfer of existing accounts or with new funds. A client household may generally include accounts for a head of household, a significant other, dependents, and any controlled organizations or entities.

Minimums do not apply to inStream proactive financial planning as a stand-alone service.
ANNUAL FEE
Assets Under Management Fee as a % of AUM
$100,000 - $249,999 1.00%
$250,000 - $499,999 0.90%
$500,000 - $999,999 0.80%
$1,000,000 - $1,999,999 0.65%
$2,000,000 or more 0.50%

inStream proactive financial planning as a stand-alone service: $1,000/year or $100/month
MINIMUM ACCOUNT SIZE
There is a minimum initial investment of $100,000 per Strategy:FOCO client household. This minimum can be met via transfer of existing accounts or with new funds. A client household may generally include accounts for a head of household, a significant other, dependents, and any controlled organizations or entities.

Minimums do not apply to inStream proactive financial planning as a stand-alone service.
ANNUAL FEE
Assets Under Management Fee as a % of AUM
$100,000 - $249,999 1.00%
$250,000 - $499,999 0.90%
$500,000 - $999,999 0.80%
$1,000,000 - $1,999,999 0.65%
$2,000,000 or more 0.50%

inStream proactive financial planning as a stand-alone service: $1,000/year or $100/month
MINIMUM ACCOUNT SIZE
The minimum initial investment for the Invest:FOCO platform is only $5,000 per account. This minimum can be met via transfer of an existing account or with new funds. Invest:FOCO is currently available for Individual, Joint, Traditional IRA, and Roth IRA registrations.
ANNUAL FEE
0.65% of assets under management ($65 per $10,000 managed)
MINIMUM ACCOUNT SIZE
The minimum initial investment for the Invest:FOCO platform is only $5,000 per account. This minimum can be met via transfer of an existing account or with new funds.
ANNUAL FEE
0.65% of assets under management ($65 per $10,000 managed)
TAX PREPARATION
Invest:FOCO clients are eligible for a 10% discount on income tax preparation services offered through Fort Collins Tax Service, LLC. This discount applies to the base cost for return preparation as well as Schedules B & D. More details can be found here.
MINIMUM RELATIONSHIP SIZE
There are no minimums when utilizing inStream proactive financial planning as a stand-alone service.

When investment management services are desired, there is a minimum initial investment of $125,000 per Strategy:FOCO client household. This minimum can be met via transfer of existing accounts or with new funds. A client household may generally include accounts for a head of household, a significant other, dependents, and any controlled organizations or entities. inStream proactive financial planning is then included at no additional cost.
ANNUAL FEE
inStream proactive financial planning as a stand-alone service: $1,250/year or $125/month

Assets Under Management Fee as a % of AUM
$125,000 - $249,999 1.00%
$250,000 - $499,999 0.90%
$500,000 - $999,999 0.80%
$1,000,000 - $1,999,999 0.65%
$2,000,000 or more 0.50%
TAX PREPARATION
Strategy:FOCO clients are eligible for a 50% or 100% discount on income tax preparation services offered through Fort Collins Tax Service, LLC. This discount applies to the base cost for return preparation as well as Schedules B & D. More details can be found here.
Monthly Economic Update
Stay in the loop with our Monthly Economic Update. It's a great way to catch up on the things effecting your financial plan in an easy to read and relatable format.

We promise to only use your name and email address for sending our Monthly Economic Update. We will not sell, rent, lease, loan, or use your name or email address for any other purpose, internally or externally. You can easily unsubscribe at any time.
Monthly Economic Update
Stay in the loop with our Monthly Economic Update. It's a great way to catch up on the things effecting your financial plan in an easy to read and relatable format.

We promise to only use your name and email address for sending our Monthly Economic Update. We will not sell, rent, lease, loan, or use your name or email address for any other purpose, internally or externally. You can easily unsubscribe at any time.
MINIMUM ACCOUNT SIZE
Minimums do not apply to always-on, real-time financial planning as a stand-alone service.

For investment management services there is a minimum initial investment of $125,000 per Strategy:FOCO client household. This minimum can be met via transfer of existing accounts or with new funds. Investment management fees are generally debited from the accounts to which they apply. Financial planning services are included for Strategy:FOCO investment management clients at no additional charge.
ANNUAL FEE
Always-on, real-time financial planning as a stand-alone service:  $125/month or $1,250/year

Assets Under Management Fee as a % of AUM
$125,000 - $249,999 1.00%
$250,000 - $499,999 0.90%
$500,000 - $999,999 0.80%
$1,000,000 - $1,999,999 0.65%
$2,000,000 or more 0.50%
Five Savings Secrets
Are you 30 - 60? Let us give you a few tips with our free white-paper: Five Savings Secrets. Then stay in the loop with periodic emails featuring relevant information on financial planning, investment management, and income taxes.

We promise to never sell, rent, lease, loan, or use your email address for any other purpose, internally or externally. You can easily unsubscribe at any time.
Notice

This website or its third-party tools use cookies, which are necessary to its functioning and required to achieve the purposes illustrated in the privacy policy. If you want to know more or withdraw your consent to all or some of the cookies, please refer to the privacy policy.

By closing this banner, scrolling this page, clicking a link or continuing to browse otherwise, you agree to the use of cookies.

FINANCIAL PLANNING
Financial planning services are ongoing, and include unlimited phone, email, web and in-person meeting and consultation time. Pricing is based on the unique circumstances of each client situation. Generally, there is a one-time plan development fee ranging from $500 - $2,000 and a monthly fee of $150 - $500; cancel anytime. Clients utilizing investment management services with portfolios of $500,000 or more will typically receive financial planning services for no additional fee.
INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT
Assets Under Management (AUM) Annual fee as % of AUM or flat-dollar
$0 - $249,999 1.00%
$250,000 - $499,999 0.90%
$500,000 - $999,999 0.80%
$1,000,000 - $1,999,999 0.65%
$2,000,000 - $2,999,999 0.50%
$3,000,000 - $3,999,999 $15,000
$4,000,000 - $4,999,999 $20,000
$5,000,000 or more $25,000 + $2,000 per additional $1mm
ESTIMATE YOUR FEE
Your fee is determined by the complexity of your needs and situation. The primary proxy we use for complexity is your investable net worth, which is generally your total net worth, excluding your primary residence. Your investable net worth includes the value of cash, bonds, stocks, mutual funds, rental real estate, and other business or financial interests. This aligns with the holistic nature of our comprehensive services. You can use the chart below to estimate your fee based on your investable net worth. In some circumstances, your fee may be more than the minimums in the chart below.
Annual Fee Investable Net Worth (INW)
$4,000 (minimum for an individual) Up to $500,000
$6,000 (minimum for couples) Up to $1,000,000
$8,000 Up to $1,500,000
$10,000 Up to $2,000,000
$11,000 Up to $2,500,000
$12,000 Up to $3,000,000
+ $1,000 per additional $1,000,000 of INW
Critical Money Tips
Need some tips to help you tackle your next critical money moment? Stay in the loop with our weekly(ish) email!

We promise to never sell, rent, lease, loan, or otherwise use your email address for any reason inconsistent with our privacy policy. You can easily unsubscribe at any time.
Critical Money Tips
Need some tips to help you tackle your next critical money moment? Stay in the loop with our weekly(ish) email!

We promise to never sell, rent, lease, loan, or otherwise use your email address for any reason inconsistent with our privacy policy. You can easily unsubscribe at any time.
Critical Money Tips
Need some tips to help you tackle your next critical money moment? Stay in the loop with our weekly(ish) email!

We promise to never sell, rent, lease, loan, or otherwise use your email address for any reason inconsistent with our privacy policy. You can easily unsubscribe at any time.
Critical Money Tips
Need some tips to help you tackle your next critical money moment? Stay in the loop with our weekly(ish) email!

We promise to never sell, rent, lease, loan, or otherwise use your email address for any reason inconsistent with our privacy policy. You can easily unsubscribe at any time.
Critical Money Tips
Do you have a cash surplus? Learn more what to do with extra money in the free-preview of our Teachable course: Sudden Money and Windfalls.

We promise to never sell, rent, lease, loan, or otherwise use your email address for any reason inconsistent with our privacy policy. You can easily unsubscribe at any time.
Critical Money Tips
Are you here because of a big change in your finances? Subscribe for our PDF on 6 questions to learn the benefits of working with a full-time fiduciary.

We promise to never sell, rent, lease, loan, or otherwise use your email address for any reason inconsistent with our privacy policy. You can easily unsubscribe at any time.
Inheriting Money Can Be Overwhelming.
We have the expertise to be your guide as you navigate receiving a windfall.
Equity Compensation Can Be Confusing.
Let us make it less complicated for you. Whether it’s a one-time award or ongoing compensation, we know how to help.
Critical Money Tips
Need some tips to help you tackle your next critical money moment? Stay in the loop with our weekly(ish) email!

We promise to never sell, rent, lease, loan, or otherwise use your email address for any reason inconsistent with our privacy policy. You can easily unsubscribe at any time.
ESTIMATE YOUR FEE
Your fee is determined by the complexity of your needs and situation. The primary proxy we use for complexity is your net worth, which is the value of what you own — including cash, bonds, stocks, mutual funds, real estate, and other business or financial interests — minus what you owe. Our transparent, flat-dollar pricing aligns with the holistic nature and value of our comprehensive services. You can use the chart below to estimate your fee based on your net worth. In some circumstances, your fee may be more than the minimums in the chart below.
Annualized Flat Fee Net Worth (NW)
$6,000 (our minimum fee) Up to $1,000,000
$8,000 Up to $1,500,000
$10,000 Up to $2,000,000
$12,000 Up to $3,000,000
+ $1,000 per additional $1,000,000 of NW
FEE SCHEDULE
Unless there is truly unique or extraordinary complexity associated with a client’s situation and financial circumstances, our fee will be based on the market value of the assets under management (AUM) for investment management services, subject to a minimum fee. The fee is blended and calculated using the following schedule. We do not require a minimum investment of any amount.
Assets Under Management Annual Fee
$0 - $1,000,000 $6,000
$1,000,000 - $3,000,000 0.50%
$3,000,000 - $5,000,000 0.25%
$5,000,000 and above 0.10%