What to Do With Your Old 401(k) Strategy Guide

You have how many old 401(k)s or retirement accounts?  It’s really easy to have multiple 401(k)s out there from previous employers and feel overwhelmed with keeping track of them.  Whether you have one or many…

Why Level Up Financial Planning?

If you found this post, you are probably wondering to yourself what is up with the fun name for a financial planning firm? That is not normal. You may also be thinking why would I…

5 Reasons NOT to Pay Off Your Mortgage Early

AI Generated Transcript Intro: Reason number four, not to pay off your mortgage early is your 30 year mortgage payment is actually an amazing inflation hedge. So if you think about inflation, inflation means that…

What the Tech is a Backdoor ROTH?!

What the Tech is a Backdoor ROTH? https://youtu.be/dqCvA1zlOs8 The Backdoor ROTH is an advanced planning strategy for high earners and big savers. Should you use a Backdoor ROTH? Two reasons why you’d use a Backdoor…

Engineering Life Coach with Gina

My guest today is Gina Covarrubias, Certified Life Coach, B.S. Aeronautical & Astronautical Engineering (Purdue University), M.S. Mechanical Engineering (University of Utah)   Her distinctive background blends life coaching expertise with 12+ years engineering/technology experience…

Special Guest: Real Estate Expert Patrick Soukup

Join me as I interview real estate expert, Patrick Soukup of Soukup Real Estate Services in Fort Collins, CO. We cover a wide range of topics from real estate as an investment and personal residence. …

Breaking Into Tech By Writing a Jingle

Orlando shares his journey from finance, Peace Corp, back to finance and then breaking into tech by writing a jingle. Despite having an MBA and finance background, it took him over 8 months to break…

Should I Take Out a 401(k) Loan

Thanks for joining me. I’m going to be talking today about 401k loans and talking through the pros cons good situations when you should think about using them and when you should avoid them. And…

Spending After the Pandemic

If you are anything like my family, your spending habits have changed significantly during the pandemic. If you managed to maintain employment throughout this whole period, then you may have found that your savings accounts…

The Impact of the Pandemic on Your Finances

If you are anything like my family, your spending habits have changed significantly during the pandemic. If you managed to maintain employment throughout this whole period, then you may have found that your savings accounts…

Stimulus Checks 3.0 Summary of Key Details

After congress passed the most recent stimulus (which included something called a vote-a-rama) there are a lot of new details to cover! Stimulus Checks The big news was the approval of Stimulus checks of $1,400.…

Making Smart Money Moves in 2021

Make SMART Financial Moves in 2021 We made it to 2021! A year like 2020 stretched us thin in many aspects of our lives and that may have included your finances. If you feel you…

Redefining Happiness with Michael Liendo

Michael Liendo recorded a live stream with me for this episode.  Michael is a self-taught developer who is currently a senior software engineer and AWS community builder.  In this episode, Michael shares his career journey…

9 Tips to Manage Your Inheritance

This strategy guide on how you manage your inheritance is much overdo. The truth is, discussing an inheritance is never a fun topic, but I know how important it is to my clients that they…

It’s a Wonderful Life (10 Money Lessons)

Sorry for any spoilers, but this movie came out in 1946 so…. A few reasons why this movie has been one of my favorites for most of my adulthood is because I worked at a…

How Much Should I Have Saved in Retirement?

Have you seen the rough estimates that you should have saved at various ages? These rough targets are useful, but may not be entirely accurate to you and your unique circumstances. I cover the importance…

The Power of Coaching

I have Jason Humphrey on the show and I met Jason online originally because he creates a ton of value-packed content on LinkedIn. And when you create awesome content, people tend to like it and…

Is Biden Going to Forgive Student Loans?

President-Elect, Joe Biden, is projected to win the US Presidential election. With his win could come significant changes. One of the changes that are on the top of many US citizens is student loan forgiveness…

6 Tips for the Holidays

Do you struggle with your finances during the holidays? I cover 6 tips to take control over the holiday season. This episode was originally created for a live video challenge I’m doing on my social…

#1 Mistake When Choosing 401k Investments

zoom_0 [00:00:00] hello today, I’m going to talk with you about your 401k and the number one mistake that I see people make regarding the investments within their 401k. So typically what happens is you…

Overcoming Rejection with Arnold Morales

Arnold Morales is the son of two immigrants from Honduras. He started his career with a GED and working at a warehouse where he is wasn’t happy. Looking for more he pursued a community college…

Knowing Your Worth with Justine Benoit

Justine is a UX/UI Designer and UI Developer on a mission to create a meaningful impact on people’s lives through her craft. She was born and raised in the Philippines. In 2008, she and her…

BEWARE of the Advice You Take

When it comes to your financial life, it’s very easy to rely on the guidance of others, especially since most of our generation were not taught these important topics in school. This episode is to…

Being Authentic & Transparent with Josh Buchea

Show Notes Josh shares his awesome story on his path into tech. Early on Josh showed an interest for tech and started taking college courses, but a conversation changed his career trajectory. Josh decided to…

Quitting to Start a Business

I share my personal story of quitting my job to start my business, Level Up Financial Planning. While working in a position many would consider a dream position, with a 6-month-old at home, I quit…

Navigating Race & Burnout in Tech With Leo Yockey

Leo Yockey is a Software Engineer, Writer, and Speaker from Los Angeles. He runs a digital agency called MangoBass Consulting and is an advocate for underrepresented people in the tech industry. Leo shares his unique…

Credit Cards Are Awesome

Show Transcript (Unedited) [00:00:00] Pay in full every single month. And don’t just stop there, make it automatic. So just go in, there’s gonna be a future where you set it up to pay in…

Should I Use a College Savings 529 Plan?

If college planning is important to you, then you want to listen to this episode to understand how a 529 plan may be a solution to help you maximize your college savings. 529 Tax benefits…

The Wealth of Being in Tech with Valerie

Valerie is the Executive Director at Tech By Choice and a Senior Software Engineer at Mastery Logistics. She holds a BS in Psychology & Art. Valerie is passionate about creating secure human-centered digital experiences. As…

Financial Independence Is In Your Control

I’m excited today to be talking about how financial independence is in your control.  One of the biggest factors in whether you will be successful in reaching financial independence is first believing that you can…

Building Your Tech Community with Danny Thompson

Danny Thompson is a passionate software engineer who is on a personal mission to help people find their path into tech. This episode is packed with great information and action items on how to stand…

How to Avoid the Gift Tax

Are you afraid of the big bad gift tax? Although you can pay the gift tax if you want to, the good news is that you do not need to. There are a couple of…

UX Research with Nannearl Brown

Nannearl Brown is a user experience researcher who journeyed into the field by way of systems engineering and the social impact space. Most recently, she led the UX, product management, and design efforts for over…

Should I Refinance My Mortgage?

Should you refinance your mortgage loan? This has been one of the most popular questions I’ve helped my clients tackle over the last few months. When weighing the pros and cons of refinancing your mortgage,…

Career Transitions & Career Karma with Chad Crabtree

Chad is a non-technical team member at the quickly growing startup, Career Karma. Chad made a career transition to land his role and in some ways, it’s fitting as Career Karma helps users identify and review…

Inspiring Curiosity with Chris Huie

Chris Huie shares his unique career path that found him with a passion for teaching, supporting, and inspiring the community through technology and computer science. From accounting to tech evangelist Leveraging tech in non-tech career…

10 Questions to Ask Your Financial Planner

Meeting with a financial planner for the first time can be a stressful experience. Many times it is the first time that you may be opening up about your finances. The great news is that…

Landing a UX Job with Sam Harper

Sam shares his journey of escaping from his soul-crushing cubicle job to find his way into UX. His story is great and he has a lot of great resources that will help you think of…

A Podcast for Every Programmer w/ Charles Max Wood

July 10, 2019 Lucas Casarez CFP®/ Charles Max Wood Today’s guest, Charles Max Wood, discusses his career path from initially thinking programming was dumb to realizing how programming can make life easier, to his aggressive goal…

Covid-19 and Student Loan Payments

Things are changing quickly, with the rapidly evolving Covid-19 virus, we’ve seen the government and various entities throw everything they can at the economic side of the equation. Your student loans have been one point…

Navigating Your Finances During an Employment Gap

You’re unemployed, but that’s temporary. I’m writing this strategy guide in the middle of the chaos, which is the coronavirus. Things are especially scary now, but just like in any situation you have to keep…

Should I Use Robinhood to Buy Individual Stocks

Picking individual stocks is a fun way to learn about investing. Investing apps like Robinhood have grown in popularity and encourage stock trading. But can individual stock picking actually help you achieve your goals and…

Pros and Cons of Job Hopping in Tech

Do you have a past of job-hopping or are you considering making your first hop? Normally, this may be frowned upon by future employers, but if you are in tech, it is so common that…

8 Ways to Significantly Increase Your Income

What is a significant increase in income? Really that is up to you to decide for yourself. All of the items outlined below range from a potential increase of 1% with very little effort to…

Level Up’s Investment Blueprint Calculator

Choosing your investments for your 401(k) is an intimidating part of your financial planning. When I ask clients what strategy they used to choose their investments is “I picked the investments that had the highest…

De-Coding RSUs (Restricted Stock Units)

De<Coding> RSUs Video Option RSUs are a popular form of tech employee benefits and can make up a huge portion of your income. In this episode, I cover the basics and advanced strategies: What are…

Reinventing Yourself with John Marty

John Marty has had a crazy career. After starting his career as a young entrepreneur he found a lot of success. However, things changed rapidly and he was soon unemployed with no real prospects.  Listen…

Building Confidence as a Bootcamp Graduate with Stephanie Ogburn

Before becoming a programmer, Stephanie Ogburn’s first career was as a public radio journalist covering science and the environment. Stephanie shares her experience making the career transition: Having a supporting spouse Diverse backgrounds In tech…

Career Change to Coding: Navigating Your Finances

Ready to take the leap into making a career change into coding, but unsure about how to navigate your finances? Like every other major financial decision in your life, making a career change intersects directly…

Felon to Successful Software Engineer

I have a really great guest for today’s episode. His name is Cory Pease and his story proves that second chances really do exist. Cory is a felon who also recently successfully started his software…

Timing the Market

Timing the Market Show Notes A common question I receive is “is now a good time to invest in the market”. This episode was actually inspired by a conversation I had with a friend/listener of…

Creating a Startup Engine w/Stephen Alred Jr.

Creating a Startup Engine Video August 08, 2019 Lucas Casarez CFP® / Stephen Alred Jr. Stephen actually has a background in financial services and entrepreneurship. He shares how his previous experiences inspired him to build a…

Should Crypto Be a Part of My Plan?

August 01, 2019 Lucas Casarez CFP® If you are in tech, you have probably heard of cryptocurrency, but should it be a part of your financial plan? To shed some light on this I will address…

Should I Use Fidelity’s BrokerageLink?

Do you have the option in your Fidelity 401(k) to activate BrokerageLink? If so, this is a great additional feature that most 401(k) plans don’t allow. How do you determine whether it makes sense to use…

Recession Proofing Your Career w/ Sami Gardner

July 25, 2019Lucas Casarez CFP® / Sami Gardner @ Career Kickstart Sami Gardner is not your typical career coach who helps her clients build a recession proof career. Her unique background and skills have allowed…

Why Money is Important: Podcast

An intro to personal finance: Money impacts every aspect of your life, if you want to acknowledge it or not. We will cover: why money exists trade-offs and alternatives self-awareness how to create good financial…

What the Tech is a 401(k)?: Podcast

I know how overwhelming it can be to have access to a 401(k) but be intimidated that you don’t have any idea and probably not even the time to understand why you need one or…

Non-Qualified Stock Options Vs. RSUs Strategy Guide

Stock options are very different from RSUs. Although they both are a popular form of tech companies’ compensation structure, the thought process and planning couldn’t be more different. Maybe your employer just announced that future…

How to Efficiently Manage Debt Strategy Guide

Debt may be unavoidable, but that doesn’t mean that it has to weigh you down. Efficiently managing debt may allow you to obtain a higher paying job, have a higher quality of life, and grow…

Employee Stock Purchase Plan (ESPP) Calculator

Use the calculator to estimate your potentially guaranteed return rate on your employer stock purchase plan (ESPP). The only way to lock in the return is to try and sell the shares as soon as…

How to Retire Early Strategy Guide

Can you really retire early? Yes, you can, but it takes a lot of hard work and discipline to first plan a strategy and then stick to it. There are a bunch of early retirement…

Should I Buy a House Strategy Guide

Are you wondering if buying a house right now is a good decision? Before we dive into some of the common things to consider, first ask yourself do you even want to? So many times…

Should I Use a Donor Advised Fund Strategy Guide

Donor advised funds have been growing in popularity recently and that was even before the new tax reform made them a critical part in your tax planning strategy. Donor advised funds are extremely versatile tools…

How to Choose Your Beneficiary Strategy Guide

Have you ever wondered who should I name as my beneficiary? This question can cause a lot of stress, but it is very important to address because it greatly simplifies the ability for your assets…

What I Would Do With Five Years to Live

I used to think I was invincible, at times I even thought I may have been a robot. Now that I am older I have a ridiculously greater perspective of the world around me and…

How to Build Wealth Strategy Guide

Building wealth does not happen overnight. It takes a lifetime of key decisions and often in the face of complexity and many unknowns. I’ve always viewed life as a game. As you age or progress…

How to Be a Baller on a Budget Strategy Guide

Most Americans are spending way more than they should just to keep up with their friends and family. This causes their finances to be out of line with what truly is important to them. If…

Estate Planning Strategy Guide

Game over, man. Talking about death is never something people are dying to do, but I still encourage my clients through this process because it is a major topic that needs to be covered in…

New Entrepreneur Financial Strategy Guide

Congratulations on your being an entrepreneur! One of the often overlooked aspects of going out on your own is being able to build your strategy from the ground up. Most new ventures have to start…

Life Insurance for Growing Families Strategy Guide

If you are reading this post, congrats, your life is definitely more complicated than when you just had to worry about you and yourself. It may be that things are getting serious with your significant…

Restricted Stock Unit (RSUs) Strategy Guide

RSU’s or Restricted Stock Units are a common part of tech employees compensation packages. I have helped many clients and their spouses understand how to utilize their RSU benefits to their advantage with planning. Retirement…

I Just Lost My Job: Part 2 Finding Your Next Gig

This is the second part of a two-part series (Navigating Your Finances, and Finding Your Next Gig)   Oftentimes, people are unhappy with their jobs, but it does not get to a point where they…

How To Get A Raise Strategy Guide

As the end of the year approaches, time seems to fly by a little faster than it does the rest of the year.  One often, non-exciting event, your annual performance review.  You may be saying…

10 Holiday Shopping Tips Strategy Guide

It’s Turbo Time!  Yes, that’s technically from a movie that occurs on Christmas Day, but the madness is the equivalent to Black Friday shopping.  This week many will descend on shopping malls as soon as…

Balancing Your Values During The Christmas Season

What do you value?  I guess it depends on what definition of value we’re talking about.  Here are the main definitions of value brought to you by Google:   the regard that something is held…

Stock Investments 101

This morning I spoke at a local high school on how investing in stocks work.  Just like most things, this can be a very complex topic, but I will focus on the high-level points that…