Lauren Gaggioli Discusses Preparing for the SAT and Selecting the Right College [Podcast]


In this Plan Well Invest Wisely podcast, I interview Lauren Gaggioli, founder of Higher  Scores Test Prep. We discuss the importance of the SAT and how to help your child select the right school for them.

Here are some of the topics Lauren and I covered:

  • The importance of taking college preparatory tests such as ACT, SAT, PSAT.
  • Determining which test(s) to take when choosing a college.
  • The advantages of taking both ACT and SAT tests.
  • Motivating students to take responsibility in preparing for college.
  • Why some students should consider taking an intentional ”gap” year between high school and college.
  • With their parents’ help, students should examine themselves (passions, strengths, personality) to discover which college may be a best fit for them.
  • Various kinds of financial aid, including need-based and merit-based.
  • Why students should diversify their college options.

To learn much more about ACT, PSAT and SAT test prep, listen to Lauren’s free podcast called The College Checklist.

Lauren explained the importance ACT, PSAT and SAT test prep and what you can expect in her six-week online course:

  • Personalized syllabus
  • Video tutorials
  • Workbook
  • Two practice tests
  • Free webinars

Lauren is offering a FREE video on her website at Higher Scores Test Prep.


10 Things to Consider BEFORE You Purchase an RV [Podcast]


I bought a recreational vehicle (RV) seven years ago.  Here it is, in all of its glory. . . untouched for two years.


It’s spring and the desire to spend time outside with the family is blooming.

An RV, boat and other recreational vehicle can be great tool to help create great family experiences. In the dozen or so times we used our RV, our family had a blast.  In fact, I was going to post a campfire picture, but it’s been so long, I can’t find any.

If you Google RV or boat you’ll find plenty of reasons you should buy one. Owing an RV or boat taps into our desire to be in the great outdoors and spend time with our family. Indeed, these recreational vehicles can be a great way to create family memories. One thing you won’t find in Google however are very many (if any) resources telling you the DOWNSIDE of owning an RV or boat.

In this podcast, I share my story of RV ownership and 10 things you should consider before you follow my path. My family had “RV fever” and did everything wrong. In my practice, I’ve seen the devastating effects an ill-advised purchase of an RV (boat, vacation home, etc.)  can have on a families financial situation. Long after the dream of the great outdoors has faded, you’re left with payments and bills without many options to rid yourself of the glorious albatross.

In addition to telling my RV story, I share 10 things you should consider before you purchase an RV.

  1. An RV is expensive.
  2. The opportunity cost of investing those monthly payments could cost you 10′s of 1000′s of dollars
  3. You’ll have to pay to store your RV or boat EVERY year, whether you use it or not.
  4. You’ll have to  pay for insurance on your RV or boat EVERY year, whether use us it or not.
  5. You’ll need a vehicle big enough to tow your RV or boat.
  6. You’ll need to buy lots of “stuff” to keep in your RV. LOTS of stuff.
  7. The RV or boat will break, whether you use it or not.
  8. You won’t use it as much as you think you will. Trust me, you won’t.
  9. You can rent an RV or Boat anytime you want.
  10. You’ll get hardly anything when you try to unload that useless RV or boat.
  11. BONUS: If you own an RV,  you’ll have to dump out the poop every time you use it.

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Finding a Financial Advisor: 15 Questions to Ask a Financial Advisor Candidate [Podcast]


How do you find the right financial advisor for you and your family?

Advice Needed?



In this special mid-week edition, host Roger Whitney gives you a framework for how to interview  financial advisor candidates and 15 questions you should ask to help choose the right financial advisor.

In this episode he covers:

  1. Why it is important to interview multiple financial advisors.
  2. What to look for in a financial advisor.
  3. Prework you can do before you meet a financial advisor ( &
  4. 15 questions to ask to help you find the right financial advisor for you and your family.

For a  Finding a Trusted Financial Advisor worksheet to use in your interview process click here

Subscribe to the PLAN WELL INVEST WISELY Podcast in iTunes

Do I Have Enough Money to Maintain My Lifestyle in Retirement? [Podcast]


This Week, Roger Whitney introduces a new service YOU ASK I ANSWER, where you can ask your retirement planning questions and receive a response.

Then he begins to answer the question, will I have enough money to maintain my lifestyle during retirement?

The first step to answering this question is to determine what your retirement lifestyle will be. You do this by breaking your retirement lifestyle into three buckets:

  • Retirement Essentials. Those retirement expenses needed to maintain your household (housing, utilities, food, insurance, etc.)
  • Retirement Lifestyle. Those retirement expenses for things that enrich your life (travel, entertainment, home improvements, hobbies, etc.)
  • Retirement Dreams/Legacy. Those special things that you would like to accomplish (major travel, gifting, purchasing a second home, etc.)

Breaking your retirement lifestyle into these three buckets gives you the flexibility to adjust your retirement lifestyle each year based on how your retirement unfolds.

Once you do this, you need to consider how you will spend during retirement. For example inflation. Consider what your personal inflation rate is based on your spending habits.

Also consider closely whether you want to spend more earlier in retirement with the understanding that you will lower spending in later years. In essence, buy yourself more lifestyle now, while you are younger and healthier.

Once you’ve completed this step you are well on your way to determining how much money you will need to maintain your lifestyle in retirement.

In future podcasts, he’ll address the next steps in this process.

Planning for Retirement? Don’t Forget to Invest in Your Health

At 47, I am taking my health seriously. Some would say too seriously. I use a stand up desk at work. I use small weights when I’m on conference calls. When I sit, I sit on a stability ball. I eat (mostly) healthy. I exercise my mind.

Gee, when I right it down, it does seem a little weird. But, after 24 years of working with clients on retirement planning I’ve learned two important things:

  1. To reach work towards a retirement goal it is important to PLAN WELL and INVEST WISELY.
  2. Retirement investing must include investing in your health, and it must be a priority.

Recently I interviewed Lane Sisson Gallagher, Patient Consultant,  PreDiabetes Centers. With her education in clinical nutrition and wellness, Lane is committed to improving the health and well being of people in her community.

In this video, Lane reminds us that retirement planning must include investing in your health now so you can enjoy a better quality of life later. She outlines three things we can do now from a nutritional standpoint:

  1. Rather than think “diet,” break our eating down by the 85% to 15% rule. Eat healthy 85% of the time, and don’t worry so much about the last 15%.
  2. With a goal to increase the days, for one day a week, commit to eating no pre-packaged foods.
  3. Eat foods that are high in fiber, which are quality carbohydrates.
  4. Yes, retirement planning is important. But if you don’t invest in your health now, when you’re ready to retire,  you might not be in the best shape to enjoy it.

To help you think of ways to INVEST in your health for retirement, I created a free report: INVEST in Your Health: 72 tips to Living Healthier in Retirement. Click here to request a copy.

INVEST in Your Health: The Financial Benefits of Living Healthy in Retirement [Podcast]


CoverYou can download the report for free by clicking here.

Investing in your health may be the best investment you can make to live well in retirement. The quality of your health can have major financial implications on your financial wellbeing in retirement in these three ways:

  1. Healthcare Costs – If you’re unhealthy, high healthcare costs can blow a huge hole in your financial plan.
  2. Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease - Good health can skew the odds of you getting Alzheimer’s and having to pay the high cost of memory care facilities.
  3. Work After Retirement - Good health makes it possible for you to work after you retire.  The additional income allows you to invest in your lifestyle, delay collecting your social security, or continue to pad your nest egg.

In this podcast, he also outline the six areas of your Wellness Wheel, highlighting two points in each area, and discuss the financial benefits of investing in them.  When you download the INVEST in Your Health: 72 Tips to Living a Healthier Retirement report, you’ll get twelve tips for each of the six areas. 

  1. Physical – Nutrition and exercise are highlighted.
  2. IntellectualBook clubs and the online brain game site Luminosity.
  3. Emotional – Practice gratitude and be intentional about your relationships.
  4. Social – Volunteer or join a club with others of like interest.
  5. Spiritual – Examine your purpose in life and practice forgiveness.
  6. Occupational – Decide what you’re going to do in retirement and plan to stay engaged.

Investing in your health NOW can have multiple benefits in your financial life after retirement.

Download the free INVEST in Your Health: 72 Tips to Living a Healthier Retirement report here.

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Episode #3 Rethinking Amazon Prime & The Importance of the Emergency Fund [Podcast]


PWIW_4In this week’s PLAN WELL INVEST WISELY podcast, we talk about Amazon Prime’s recent price increase and how having a funded emergency fund helps you make smarter financial decisions.

Rethinking Amazon Prime

For those who don’t know, Amazon Prime is a membership program which gives members unlimited free two-day shipping on millions of items on and instant access to over 40,000 hit movies and TV episodes streamed directly you TV, computer, or tablet.

The benefits of my Amazon Prime membership are clear. Recently, when Amazon Prime increased its annual fee by $20, it made me stop and examine how I use it. I found some negatives.

  1.  It’s too easy.
  2. Amazon Prime is too good at tempting me.
  3. I’m weak.
  4. It’s a family affair.

Let’s talk About Emergency Funds.

Your emergency fund acts as a shock absorber in your financial life. In this podcast, I discuss:

  1. What an Emergency Fund is.
  2. Why some people might not have one.
  3. Why you need one.
  4. What your options are when you don’t have one.
  5. How much you should have in your emergency fund and why.

Click here to subscribe to the PLAN WELL INVEST WISELY podcast in iTunes

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4 Reasons I’m Rethinking Amazon Prime

AmazonOkay, I have a confession to make. I love Amazon Prime. Everything about it. The selection, prices, reviews, two-day shipping, one-click purchasing, upgrades to overnight for such a small fee. It’s awesome.

Today’s announcement that Amazon Prime will now cost $99.00 annually has me considering not renewing the service. Oh, it’s not the cost of the service. Amazon Prime is a great bargain, even at $99.00 a year. My issues with Amazon Prime are more about me. Amazon Prime helps me overspend in these ways.

  1. It’s too easy. There’s a reason the important buttons in plane cockpits have a cover over them. It’s to avoid inadvertently hitting them. Amazon Prime’s one click purchase takes much of the thought out of the purchase decision. It is easy to think of times when I was watching television, talking to my wife, eating a cracker, and spending money on Amazon Prime. I’m not proud of it, but it’s true.
  2. Amazon Prime is too good at tempting me. Amazon has the cross sell down to a science. I recall buying a camera (at a great price, delivered next day) and being upsold all the items I might need to go with my camera. A bag. A memory card. Lens cleaner (of course I need that!). By the time I completed my purchase, I had spent $100.00 more than I intended.
  3. I’m weak. This is the crux of why I am thinking of canceling Amazon Prime. I love gadgets. I’m a sucker for them. Amazon Prime is my dealer, and I am virtually powerless to resist. [Hi, my name is Roger. I'm an Amazon Primer.] The only solution may be to remove myself from the temptation.
  4. It’s a family affair. Since all the devices in our home are connected to Amazon Prime, my wife, son, and daughter face the same issues I do. The temptation of SEE, WANT, CLICK is always there. It teaches us to consume more without thinking. And that’s bad.

My stated mission for this blog is to: Help People Make Smarter Financial Decisions. In truth, it is to help me do so as well. Just like you, I want to live well today, without sacrificing tomorrow. Canceling Amazon Prime may be a big step in making smarter financial decisions.

QUESTION:  Does Amazon Prime make you spend more money?


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