financial advisors, cpa firm, portland

How to Save Money on the Biggest Expenses in Your Budget

Article by Anna Bahney | Found on CNN

Want to find some real savings in your budget? Cutting out lattes and avocado toast probably isn’t the way to go.

Housing, transportation and food: that’s what Americans spend almost 70% of their money on, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Sure, you can always cut back on extras, but it’s the biggest expenses where we bake a lot of fluff into our budget and call it “essential spending.” Take big swings at these big categories, financial experts say, and you’ll shake lose big chunks of money. Read more

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4 Money Lessons Every Teenager Needs to Know

Article by Katherine Vasel | Found on CNN

It’s time to talk to your teenager about money.

The teen years may be the first time kids start to earn their own money. And establishing good habits now can pay dividends well into their future.

Plus, teaching kids to be smart about money will have benefits for parents too.

“Clients that have been more transparent with their kids tend to have children that are smarter with money,’ said Bill Van Sant, a certified financial planner and senior vice president at Univest Wealth Management. “Parents that may not be as transparent tend to have children that stay in the house a little longer.” Read more

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Is Your Credit Score Affecting Your Quality of Life?

Article by Anna Johansson | Found on NBC

The American dream is usually characterized as working hard from the bottom up, making a good salary, buying a house and having time to create and enjoy your family life. But the vision doesn’t always come together so neatly; despite strong buyer demand, the inventory of affordable, available starter homes is relatively low, and to secure a mortgage, you need a strong credit score — something that not all Americans have or understand. Read more

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5 Money Mistakes to Avoid in the New Year

Article by Anna Bahney | Found on CNN

We’ve got a much easier approach.

Just stop doing these five financial things and you’ll have more savings, smarter spending habits and a secure identity in the next year. Read more

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7 Financial Steps To Take Before The Year Is Over

Article by Scott Spann | Found on Forbes

It’s safe to say that you will start to hear a lot of talk about New Year’s resolutions over the course of the next few weeks. Since money and wealth are integrated into many aspects of the life journey, it isn’t too surprising that financial resolutions are generally near the top of those well-intentioned “to do” lists for the new year. But if you’re like me, you’ve broken most of them before Groundhog Day.

That’s why this year I’ve decided to make and keep some New Year’s resolutions before the new year even starts. That’s my financial holiday gift to myself. Here are some actions you can take before the year is over as an opportunity to make sure you are doing everything to improve your own financial wellness during 2018 (and beyond): Read more

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Three Ways To Create Lasting Change In Your Financial Situation

Article by Brian Thompson | Found on Forbes

Recently, a friend reached out to me because she was overwhelmed. She had just gotten a new job she loved and the fresh start at the new place caused her to reflect on where she was financially.

She thought she should have made “better” decisions with her money, should have more saved and overall should just be further along financially. She also felt like she was on a treadmill. She wasn’t really getting anywhere in her financial life. She wanted some tips that could get her out of her rut and help her stick with her goals. Read more

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5 Financial Rules to Live By

Article by Christy Bieber | Found on CNN

Are you among the 65% of Americans being kept up at night by money worries? Managing your money can definitely be overwhelming, especially with so much conflicting advice out there.

The good news is, you don’t actually have to do much to get your finances under control. You just have to follow a few simple rules to streamline your spending and tackle all of your biggest money issues.

Here are five basic financial rules to live by that will change your life and put you on the path toward a more prosperous future. Read more

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5 money moves you need to make by 30

Article by Maurie Backman | Found on CNN

Turning 30 is a pretty significant milestone.

If you’re coming up on 30, now’s a good time to take stock of your finances and get yourself on a responsible path. Here’s how. Read more


7 Things Every Business Continuity Plan Should Contain

From EBRP Solutions:

Regardless of the type or intent of a Business Continuity Plan (and there are many), the following seven components should be incorporated in every Plan:

1.       Initial Response

When something disrupts day-to-day operations, everyone should understand what – if anything – they should do immediately.  By planning for that – and exercising it – no one will be running in circles muttering “What’ll we do?  What’ll we do?

Whoever notices the ‘event’ should know what to do (like calling 911, alerting Security, pulling the fire alarm, etc.).  Protocols for alerting the proper decision-makers should be planned (along with contact information for those decisions-makers).

The Initial Response should also include a clear plan for who will be ‘in charge’.  Whether that’s locally, regionally, or corporately, making it clear to all participants will understand – and the chance of an Alexander Haig  incident will be alleviated.

2.       Stabilization

Every disruption – regardless of cause – needs the same treatment: Containment– to prevent the situation from getting worse.

This involves understanding what happened, the cause of the event – and its potential impact if left unchecked.  Like containing wildfires, containment needs to be a simple procedure; there’s no time to get caught up in analysis/paralysis, or to delay decisions while awaiting more detailed information.

Assess the impact, determine how to stop the bleeding and figure out what short-term and medium-term goals are appropriate to the situation.

3.       Activation

Once an Impact Assessment has been conducted, what services need to be restored will become evident.

Linking the plan to the services/assets it is designed to recover (or continue) enables the Incident Management Team (IMT) to determine which Plans to activate.

Who is responsible for the Plan?  Who will be contacted by the IMT?  What will they do, where will they do it, and with whom?

4.       Communication

In response to an incident, multiple stakeholders might initiate various actions to stabilize and or restore services. This could be a diverse group of responders coordinating across multiple geographically dispersed locations.  Timely communication between the various respondents is critical to effective incident response.

Communications during an incident response may be to

  • Alert potential stakeholders,
  • Notify management,
  • Invoke responders,
  • Update current state of restoration activities,
  • Report to senior management
  • Facilitate collaboration among responders.

Every Plan should ensure that communication is emphasized and protocols are defined as to when in the recovery process  is it appropriate, who is responsible for initiation and who is the target of the notification.

5.       Planned Response

After the Initial Response activities and completion of initial Assessment, Incident managers might ‘declare a disaster’ and invoke Business Continuity Plans – The Planned Response. The scope of The Planned Response should include:

  • What is the incident scenario or is it a combination of scenarios?
  • What are the true impacts and the causality / downstream impacts?
  • What are the available response strategies?
  • Are Resources (Work areas, people, technology, supplies …) available to deliver the planned response.
  • Protocols to monitor, measure & manage the recovery efforts

6.       Extended Response

While you may plan for a specific RTO, actual recovery may take longer; perhaps days, perhaps weeks, or even months longer.

Be prepared for an extended response – even though you don’t expect it (after all, isn’t a Business Continuity Plan supposed to be about preparing for the unexpected?).

What resources (facilities, people, supplies, suppliers, technology, equipment … ) will you need to sustain a lengthy recovery?  Also plan for rotating staff, roles & responsibilities and task hand-offs for extended response.

Be prepared to work with – or under the direction of – others outside your organization.  In an event that impacts more than your organization, local, regional or federal authorities may assume command of the response.  A simple acknowledgement of that possibility – and how you’ll deal with it – should be included in your plan.

7.       Return to Normal

When a disruptive event ends, it’s not like a football game.  There’s no final whistle and there are questions that will need to be answered:

  •  Is the return to ‘normal’ or a ‘new normal’?
  • How will back-logs of work be reduced?
  • How will work be divided between ‘normal’ operations and post-event catch-up tasks?
  • How will information – for insurance and regulatory purposes – be collected?

No two Business Continuity Plans are alike, but all can benefit from considering these seven components.  In many cases, smaller plans –containing only some of these components – may be rolled up into a larger Plan that, with their inclusion, contains them all.

Isler Northwest LLC is a firm of certified public accountants and business advisors based in Portland, Oregon. Our local, regional, and global resources, our expertise, and our emphasis on innovative solutions and continuity create value for our clients. Our service goals at Isler NW is to earn our clientsí trust as their primary business and financial advisors.

Isler Northwest

(503) 224-5321

1300 SW 5th Avenue
Suite 2900
Portland, Oregon 97201

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8 money mistakes new parents should avoid

Article by Kathryn Vassel | Found on CNN

It’s a thought many new and soon-to-be parents have: How can something so tiny require so much stuff?

While you might not need all the gear you’ve stocked up on, there’s no getting around the fact that having a baby will bring changes to your budget. Read more