Katy Song

Independence Day & Financial Freedom

June 21, 2011

Financial FreedomMarin Mommies is happy to present another great guest article by Marin mom and financial planner Katy Song, CFP®.

Independence Day brings all things red, white and blue, parades, barbeques and most importantly… a day off from work! While I love the work I do, it is always nice to have an extra day off and enjoy the energy of July 4th. As most of us learned in grade school, Independence Day commemorates the day we declared our independence from Great Britain with the goal of creating the “land of the free”. This got me thinking about the meaning of financial freedom and how to achieve it.

Whether you have a huge investment portfolio or are in debt, most people claim to want “financial freedom” in their lives. I certainly do!

My definition of financial freedom has two parts. First, it means knowing my overall financial position and the impact of all my financial decisions on reaching my goals. These goals range from having a sufficient emergency fund and saving for a month in France next summer to having money for my children’s education and affording a comfortable retirement. Second, it is the ability to work for myself (not being tied to a 9-5 job), and thus spending lots of quality time with my family.

Tax Time Financial Resolutions

April 5, 2011

Mill Valley mom and Certified Financial Planner™ Katy Song offers some tax time tips to help you achieve your financial goals in 2011.

Between 40–45% of adults make New Year’s resolutions each year, and less than 50% of those resolutions are kept after six months. Even though this statistic sounds pretty bad, studies show that people who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to reach their goals than people who do not explicitly make resolutions.

For 2010 (like most years), the most popular New Year’s resolutions were: losing weight, quitting smoking and improving finances (save money, reduce debt).  While over indulging in holiday festivities may help motivate people to focus on health in the New Year, there is nothing like “tax time” to motivate us to do something positive about our finances.

Taxes are backward looking. By the time you have all your paperwork together and a good idea of how 2010 turned out, it’s too late to do anything about it. However, it is not too late to make meaningful changes in your financial behaviors for 2011.

Family Finances Date Night

July 21, 2010

Piggy BankWant to learn the top 5 actions you can take now to improve your family's financial future? Want to learn about family finances and have some fun, too? Come down to the free Family Finances Date Night hosted by financial expert and Marin Mommies contributor Katy Song and estate planning attorney Nadine Aarsheim. This wine-and-cheese event takes place Thursday, July 29, from 6:30–7:30 pm at the Integrated Design Studio at 219 Shoreline Highway in Mill Valley.

Afterward, make it a date night—everyone who attends will receive 10% off their meal at Frantoio restaurant for dinner following the discussion, so make your reservation and mention you're attenting Family Finances Date Night.

This event is free, but space is limited. To reserve your spot, visit www.newparentfinances.com/datenight or call (415) 409-6402.

Marin Real Estate—What to do now?

April 12, 2010

House for SaleMill Valley mom and Certified Financial Planner™ Katy Song offers some tips for buyers and sellers in today’s uncertain real estate market.

Springtime means the housing market is about to pick up from the dreary days of winter. Since 2008, home values nationwide have plummeted, and our little bubble of Marin was not immune. The hardest hit areas were San Rafael and Novato due to short sales and foreclosures, with values down 30–40% from their peaks. As a comparison, Mill Valley is down approximately 15% from its peak.

While 2009 sales volume and median home prices improved year-over-year in Marin, the average selling price was lower and houses are staying on the market longer. Due to the micro-markets within southern Marin, it is hard to make generalizations about the housing market but here are some tips on how to make the best of this market if you are a seller or a buyer.

"Bikini Ready" for Summer—Exercises to Tone your Finances

March 24, 2010

Toning your financesJust like your body, your personal finances can be toned and shaped with some planning and steady work. In this guest article, Mill Valley mom and Certified Financial Planner™ Katy Song offers some workout tips to help you get your financial life in shape.

Okay, so I have never actually worn a bikini and probably won’t make it past wearing a tankini in this lifetime, which is fine with me. But I still continue to exercise and tone my body. Just because you feel like you may have no money these days does not mean that you can’t exercise to tone your family’s finances. Here are some simple toning exercises (for your money) that do not require a gym or personal trainer.

Focus on your larger muscle groups. By this I mean, take a look at your largest expenses and see how you can reduce them. For most people, this is your house, childcare, and food. Can you refinance to lower your monthly payment? Are there creative ways to lower your childcare expenses, like swapping with a fellow mom instead of paying a sitter? Is your pantry full of food you have never used or do you end up throwing away food that goes bad in your frig? Think creatively. By lowering your biggest expenses, you can make a significant impact on how much money goes out each month.

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