Pacific United Planning, Inc. | David Yu, CFP®
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Author: David Yu, CFP®

01 Feb Not all debt is created equal

Death and taxes. Inevitable facts of life, right? What if I were to add debt to that famous duo? Death, taxes, and debt. It may not have the same ring to it, but for most of us, debt is just as sure a thing. But is all debt bad? Sure, we’ve all made some bad financial decisions. Maybe you’ve recovered from yours, or maybe you’re still paying off that tropical getaway charged to your Visa. Or regretting that brand-new car smell you had to have instead of hitting up the used car section. The thing about that new car is...

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17 Oct Valid reasons to cash out on your 401(k)

Maybe you’ve changed jobs and forgotten about that 401(k) along with the names of your old coworkers’ kids. Or maybe you haven’t quite forgotten about it, but you thought it was best not to touch it. But life happens, right? As much as we’d all like to save money for the golden years and retire like royalty, as the one and only Mick Jagger put it, “You can’t always get what you want.” I’m going to go into reasons why you may not want to touch the money in your 401(k). And then I’ll talk about reasons that may justify it....

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13 Sep Aretha Franklin didn’t have a will. What can we learn?

Aretha Franklin had a net worth of $80 million at the time of her death. Yet despite her fame, wealth, and lawyer’s attempts, she left no will or trust. She was divorced with four grown children, one who has special needs. What are the consequences of leaving no will or trust for your loved ones? If we look at Franklin’s case, it could mean that her four children won’t receive the inheritances as she wished, family squabbles over who feels entitled to what may delay payments, her estate could receive a large tax bill, it will have to address royalties and copyrights,...

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31 Aug Build your credit from scratch

Build your Credit from Scratch   Think of your credit like your financial resume. And whether you’re applying for a new house, car or just a new cell phone plan, experience is the most important thing. While that simple fact puts a lot of pressure on your financial past, the good news is that if you’re starting from scratch, building credit doesn’t have to be complicated. And improving your credit doesn’t have to be a headache either. Take some simple steps now so that a globe-trotting vacation or low insurance rate becomes more than just a pipe dream. 1. Get a credit card I know...

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faces with checkmarks

17 Aug Improve your credit score

Improve Your Credit Score   True or false: Your income influences your credit score. I know what some of you are thinking. A lender looks at your income to see how much you can borrow, but that’s another story. What about that three-digit score? False. Your income doesn’t influence your credit score. If you answered differently, you’re not alone. In fact, many Americans don’t quite understand what factors determine their credit score and how to improve it. What most of us do know is that a high credit score helps us get lower interest rates, avoid deposits on utilities and cell phones, and obtain faster approval...

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01 Aug Will I receive spousal or survivor Social Security if I have a government pension?

Will I receive spousal or survivor Social Security if I have a government pension?   Spousal and survivor Social Security benefits. Retirement plans and government pensions. Exceptions and more exceptions. You’re a government employee and you have a government pension coming, but what about your partner’s retirement plan? You may be entitled to some of their Social Security benefits, but does your government pension influence what you receive? It turns out it does, and the government has the details down to a T. First things first. What are you entitled to? You can collect up to 50% of your spouse’s Social Security benefits instead of...

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22 Jun Will I receive Social Security if I have CalSTRS or CalPERS?

Will I receive Social Security if I have CalSTRS or CalPERS?   If you’re a California public school teacher or public employee, you may have asked yourself this very question. In fact, I get asked it a lot from my clients. Understanding your CalSTRS retirement benefits if you’re a teacher or trying to figure out your CalPERS retirement as a public employee is not that simple. So when we start factoring in Social Security, of course there are going to be questions. That’s when the Windfall Elimination Provision comes breezing in. It turns out your tax withholdings and previous jobs make a big...

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14 Jun How to calculate your CalPERS retirement benefits

How to Calculate your CalPERS retirement benefits   More than 1.6 million California public employees, retirees, and their families. Managing one of the largest public pension funds in the US for that many people seems daunting, doesn’t it? And if you’re a recipient trying to calculate your retirement benefits, you may feel a bit lost. But terms like “benefit factor” and “final compensation” don’t have to be intimidating. Let’s break down the benefits, the variables, and get you informed and ready for retirement. First off . . . when can you retire? In most cases, you can retire at age 50 with 5 years of service...

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27 May How to calculate your CalSTRS retirement benefits

How to Calculate Your CalSTRS retirement benefits   If you ask a California public school teacher what CalSTRS is, they’ll likely respond that it has something to do with their retirement. But for many, that’s as much as they know. In fact, a lot of teachers that I work with have never calculated how much they’re expected to receive from their CalSTRS pension when they retire. Nor do they know when is a good age to retire to maximize their benefits. Why worry about CalSTRS now? As appealing as it may sound now to postpone the retirement discussion, it’s not necessarily in your best...

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Jar with note that says we've got kids to teach & lots & lots of student debt

10 May Student loan forgiveness for teachers

Student Loan Forgiveness for Teachers   If I were to ask you what your favorite class in high school or college was, you’ll likely recall the teacher more than the class. Teachers have an undeniable influence on education, but higher education isn’t always so kind to our future teachers. With student loans averaging in the tens of thousands of dollars, and average teacher salaries in California starting at around $40,000, it isn’t hard to see that student loans are a major obstacle to overcome. Thankfully, there are student loan forgiveness programs for educators. Keep in mind that these are for federal student loans, not...

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26 Apr How do I apply for a small business loan?

How Do I Apply for a Small Business Loan? You have the idea, you have the passion, you have the work ethic, but you’re missing the capital. What are your options? Small business loans can be intimidating, make no mistake about it. But with the right information and planning, the seemingly impossible and risky can become manageable and worthwhile. First things first. What types of small business loans are available? Not all small business loans are created equal. And that’s great news! Whether you are starting a new business or looking for more capital for your existing one, you have options. • Small Business...

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22 Mar Is it time to #DeleteFacebook?

IS IT TIME TO #DELETEFACEBOOK?   Birthday reminders, family pictures, memes for that mid-afternoon comic relief, or maybe recommendations for local businesses. However you use Facebook, it’s undeniable that this social network has seeped its way into our lives, into multiple generations, and influences how we see the world. So when the news comes out that over 50 million users’ private information has been accessed and used to influence the elections, many of us are left thinking … so what now? Who’s viewing my information and how is it being used and protected? And the million-dollar question: Should I get off Facebook? First, let’s...

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14 Mar Retirement plans for small business owners

Retirement Plans for Small Business Owners   Retirement. Just one word can elicit everything from excitement for those bucket-list vacations to the stress of planning for those golden years now while you’re working and able. Perhaps you’re more worried now about your child’s education, or paying for that dream condo in Los Angeles, but the truth is that nowadays more people are living longer, and fewer people are saving for retirement. Did you know . . .? The average retirement age is 63. The average length of retirement is 18 years. The average savings of a 50-year-old is $42,797. Out of 100 people...

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28 Feb Want to buy a house? Here’s how to save for a down payment

Want to buy a house? Here’s how to save for a down payment Thinking about buying a house within the next 3 years? Or a bit farther down the road? Timing is everything and it turns out that simple question makes a difference. According to Zillow, the median home value in Diamond Bar is $697,000. So how much of that should you put down? Down payments vary depending on the loan type, but in general they are: 0% for VA loans 3.5% for FHA loans 20% for conventional loans Or use this handy down payment calculator to help you 20% is the recommended down payment on a...

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