how can a planner help

How Can A Financial Planner Help Me?

Having a conversation about financial matters is a struggle for most people. We all understand that it’s imperative to have your financial house in order; however, most people typically don’t. The fear that you face around this issue will never subside until you decide to take action. You either need to do-it-yourself (which most won’t commit to doing) or enlist the aid of a financial planner.

Financial planners don’t get a ton of fanfare, but they should. The issue stems from the fact that people don’t understand the value that a financial planner can provide. People don’t know that a financial planner may be the solution to all of their money woes. People don’t understand that a financial planner needs to be cherished just like your barber or hairstylist. Wait, like your barber or hairstylist? Yes!! When you need your hair done for an event or before you go on a trip, you will move mountains to get that appointment. Or if your person doesn’t do appointments, you will wait as long as it takes. Why?? Because looking good is non-negotiable!! However, when it comes to financial matters, you’re okay with NOT taking immediate action and continuing a life of financial misery. There isn’t a sense of urgency in interacting with a financial planner, nor is there typically a quick (there are exceptions) outcome received. Thus, people tend to shy away from meeting with a financial planner or constantly reschedule their appointment.

Now that we’ve addressed the psychology behind why people avoid financial planners, let’s move on and look at what you need to consider when you are ready to find your go to person. For starters, whoever you decide on, you need to like them. It doesn’t make much sense to do business with someone that you don’t like. Next, it’s recommended that you should interview 2-3 candidates before making your decision. Before finishing that first meeting (which is typically the free consultation that most will offer), you should know precisely how they get paid and what they can do for you.

Here’s a menu (of sorts) that you should consider when walking into that first meeting. A financial planner usually works in one of 3 ways:

Transactional-based business (Needs Analysis):

Think of this level as the basic package. You need a solution, and this planner can sell it to you. The planner will capture the necessary information as it applies to your need, conduct an analysis, and conclude by recommending a solution(s). It doesn’t require much follow up after the transaction is complete. The planner will be in touch at a minimum annually to review or be in touch periodically for service-related matters. The planner earns a commission on the solution that is sold.

Managed Money (Wealth Management):

This can be considered the “I’m in it with my client” level. You are entrusting the planner to manage a certain amount of money for you. The services at this level may involve the following as it relates to your money: 1) how your portfolio is allocated amongst the different asset classes 2) managing risk within the portfolio 3) enhancing (growing) your portfolio and 4) tax planning. You will probably meet with your planner quarterly to review your account. The planner will charge a quarterly fee based on the solution chosen and the account size. A fee-based relationship requires the planner to act in the client’s best interest because their compensation is tied directly to performance. Good performance, better pay, poor performance, less pay.

Comprehensive Financial Planning:

This level is like the deluxe service at the car wash. The planner will assist you with an in-depth analysis of some or all of the following areas: Net Worth and Cash Flow, Investment Planning & Allocation, Risk Management, Retirement Planning, Income Tax Planning, and Estate Planning. At this level, you will meet as necessary to help ensure that you understand your financial plan. At a minimum, you will conduct an annual review of your plan. Compensation at this level is two-fold. First, there will be an agreed-upon fee for the financial planning service. Second, the planner’s commission or fees will be earned if you decide to purchase any solution(s) to implement your financial plan. Some people choose to have the planner produce their financial plan, pay the fee, and opt to implement a solution(s) with another planner.

The #BuildWealth Movementworks tirelessly to Disrupt Generational Poverty™ for everyone so their kids, kids, kids can live a life of privilege.

invest made easy

Investing Made Easy

Some people have learned to make investing a bit easier by utilizing a popular investing technique called dollar-cost averaging. How exactly does it work? You buy a fixed dollar amount of a particular investment regularly, regardless of the share price. In essence, you’re buying more shares of that investment when prices are low, and fewer shares are purchased when prices are high.

Dollar-cost averaging doesn’t guarantee you against losses, and it helps to make sure you’re investing regularly. Investing regularly is a great strategy to implement because it takes the guessing out of investing. Many people try to “time” the market, and while you may have success in the short run, most who try to time the market end up losing more in the end. However, successful day-traders or active investors may argue the contrary. Most of us don’t have the discipline or time to watch the market and place trades continually.

Many of us have been doing dollar-cost averaging for years and didn’t even realize it. Are you participating in your company’s 401k/403b/457b plan? If so, then you’re dollar-cost averaging. The money applied to your retirement account is being placed into your designated investment allocation each pay period. Aside from retirement, dollar-cost averaging is an excellent tool for non-retirement investment accounts. Someone who is just starting their investment program may not be willing to drop $5,000 into an investment. But, if they have saved $5,000 and want to start investing, maybe they begin by making a monthly contribution of $200-$300/month. Happy investing!!

The #BuildWealth Movementworks tirelessly to Disrupt Generational Poverty™ for everyone so their kids, kids, kids can live a life of privilege.

money personality

Understanding Your Money Personality

People have different ways of dealing with money-related issues. The characteristics that drive these differences are linked to your unique personality style. Understanding your money personality might be the first step into better managing your financial affairs.

Let’s take a quick dive into the 5 personalities:

1.     Deniers: a denier might say something along the lines of “retirement is just too far away,” and they would be considered your procrastinators. A denier feels strongly that getting their financial house in order will take too much time and effort; thus they tend to be pessimistic in their thinking. A denier usually ends up worse off financially at retirement and, as a group, tend to have less education and fewer financial resources than the general population. As a denier, you will require simple programs/initiatives (like having payroll deduction, so you save money) to motivate you to act in your best interest. Keeping the process simple is what you desire.

2.     Strugglers: a struggler is someone who lives paycheck to paycheck and is prone to a setback if a crisis were to arise. They will deem themselves financially successful if they can save a little bit consistently. An investment program, like dollar-cost averaging, would be suitable for a struggler. With the proper education, planning, and a bit of motivation (from an accountability partner), a struggler can avoid a future crisis.

3.     Impulsives: an impulsive will make a financial decision on a whim. They are well aware that they should have a financial plan and should be saving regularly, but they always have something else to spend their money on first. Since an impulsive can be hot and cold when it comes to their financial decision-making, working with a financial professional and impulsive will need to build a solid upfront relationship, enabling their interactions to flow smoothly.

4.     Cautious Savers: although they are skilled at saving, cautious savers tend to be very careful when investing. They find it easy to save a set amount of money each month but will typically consider conservative investments. Cautious savers are incredibly analytical and meticulous when it comes to all things financial planning related.

5.     Planners: planners are willing to take risks and have the ability to make financial decisions on a gut feeling. However, they have supreme confidence in their financial outlook because they have a well-defined saving/investing plan. Planners are extremely goal-oriented, which drives them to monitor how much they are saving/investing regularly.

No matter which category you fall into, everyone needs to have a financial plan. Many people look to friends, family, and co-workers and want to mimic what they are doing, but that’s not always a great course of action. Understanding your money personality will enable you to customize your plan to fit your needs.

The #BuildWealth Movementworks tirelessly to Disrupt Generational Poverty™ for everyone so their kids, kids, kids can live a life of privilege.


The Key To College Planning

During a recent workshop with a group of women (all who had children), various financial topics were covered during the session. However, the biggest concern, next to retirement, was college planning. Some in the room felt overwhelmed because they didn’t know how they would be able to afford to send their child/children to the school of their choosing. The sad reality, most people will continue to rely on student loans, which continue to plague many people late into their working years and some even into retirement.

Post-secondary education can be precious, but many people amass vast amounts of debt to obtain a college degree. Is it really worth it? Some are fortunate enough to have parents who got the “memo” about starting early. Please note that time is the crucial component when it comes to saving/investing for any financial goal.

How exactly do you make college planning easy? There’s an old saying that it takes a village to raise a child, and we have completely forgotten about that. If parents could remember that old saying, they wouldn’t fret so much about college planning. The ladies in that room mentioned that they just didn’t have the extra money to start a college plan. I shared a simple story (a true story) to put the women at ease. The story was about a young mother (my really good friend) who took it upon herself to put everyone on notice that the “village” was going to help fund her daughter’s college fund. She did it by way of a Christmas card. She laid it out plain as day in the letter that if people wanted to give Christmas gifts for her daughter, please send gifts of money or mail a check to fund her 529 college savings account. The account number and address were listed right there in the letter. My friend took it upon herself to coach/train the “village” to give gifts of money and not silly gifts she will outgrow or break. Side note, my friend’s daughter was one year old, and clearly, she understood that money (the compounding effect) grows the best over a long period.

As a parent, starting some type of account for college is all that you need to do. Many vehicles can be utilized to save for college, the most popular being the 529 savings plan and Coverdell educational savings accounts (ESA). Some even use their Roth IRA’s or life insurance. No matter which option you choose, make sure to consult with your financial planner/adviser to determine which vehicle(s) suit you best. Opening that account is usually the biggest hurdle, which you must overcome. Once an account has been established, keep reminding people that your child/children need money for school. This method sounds simple, but it will be challenging if you allow your pride to get in the way. Swallow that pride and put the “village” on notice!

The #BuildWealth Movementworks tirelessly to Disrupt Generational Poverty™ for everyone so their kids, kids, kids can live a life of privilege.


Disability Insurance 101

How would you pay your bills if you were seriously sick or injured and couldn’t go to work? If you don’t have adequate savings in place, hopefully, you have disability income insurance. Disability insurance is designed to replace a portion of lost income due to ill-health. The need for this protection will depend on what benefits are already available from other sources. This type of insurance (if not offered by your employer) is available through private insurance companies and Social Security.

Social security disability income insurance provides benefits that help replace the lost income of eligible disabled workers. This insurance offers eligible workers and their dependents with income during a period of disability expected to last at least 12 months or result in death. There is a 5-month waiting period after which benefits begin. The disability must be considered “total” as defined by the Social Security Administration. Simply put, recipients must not be able to engage in any substantial, gainful activity. If they can do any work for pay, they will likely be ineligible for benefits.

Insurance carriers typically use two definitions of disability:

Own occupation (“own occ”) – means a disability prevents a worker from engaging in typical duties in his/her particular field of employment. Here’s an example – assume a surgeon loses a hand in an accident and can no longer perform surgery. Under the “own occupation” definition, they would be considered disabled. Now assume the surgeon decides to become a medical professor. Even though they are working and being paid as a professor, they would still be considered “disabled” as surgeons and would continue to collect disability benefits.

Any occupation (“any occ”) – means the insured can only receive disability benefits if they cannot perform work-related duties for any occupation. If we use the same surgeon example, they would not be entitled to disability benefits if they began working as a professor under an “any occ” definition policy.

From a worker’s point of view, an own occupation policy would be more advantageous should a disability occur. However, own occupation policies are more expensive than any occupation policies. Also, medically qualifying for own occupation policies is more challenging for any occupation policies.

When trying to determine the amount of disability income needed, you can utilize a simple formula:

Current monthly after-tax income

Less: social security benefits (estimate); employer-provided disability; existing private disability insurance; retirement plan disability benefits; waived life insurance premiums

Equals: Total monthly need

The #BuildWealth Movementworks tirelessly to Disrupt Generational Poverty™ for everyone so their kids, kids, kids can live a life of privilege.


Wealth Building Strategies Your Advisor Didn’t Share With You

Many people don’t know (and probably don’t care) that September is Life Insurance Awareness Month. It’s the one month out of the year that life insurance gets its time in the sun. I want to share some alternate uses for life insurance that many advisors never share with their clients to pump up this incredible product.

1. The Roth Alternative 

The “Roth” IRA was created back in 1997, and it was set up to provide an individual with tax-free money during their retirement years. Other employer-sponsored retirement plans (401k, 403b, 457b, etc.) also adopted the Roth feature. Currently, if you have an IRA or employer-sponsored retirement plan that has “Roth” in front of it, you’re telling the IRS to tax the money that’s currently being contributed into that account. And, if you follow a few simple rules, you can receive your distributions tax-free during retirement.

There were only two problems with the Roth IRA specifically: 1) if you earn too much money, you are not allowed to open one, and 2) the contribution amounts are limited (2020 limits – $6,000 if you’re under age 50, $7,000 if you’re 50 and over). Income limits don’t apply to employer-sponsored plans, and the contribution limits are higher than an IRA, but they still have a cap.

With these problems known, people began to search for another way to invest their money for retirement. They hope to receive tax-free money during their retirement years, and the solution – a properly structured permanent life insurance policy.

2. Create Your Own “Bank”

You will not have to concern yourself with setting up a physical (or online) financial institution for starters. Also, for the sake of keeping things simple, this strategy involves you utilizing a properly structured permanent life insurance policy. Here are the primary reasons people consider creating their own “bank” or what some call the “family bank”:

  1. The cash value usually earns a much better growth rate than any solution you would find at your financial institution (High-yield savings/checking or CD’s).
  2. The growth, as well as distributions you take, are not taxed as long as a small amount of death benefit stays in force until you pass away
  3. When you borrow money, your full cash value continues to grow inside the policy despite any loans you have against the policy

For each of the alternate uses of life insurance I’ve shared with you, I highly recommend that you speak with a financial advisor or insurance agent. These strategies are not typically shared with the general public. Once you connect with a financial advisor or agent, you will now be equipped with some good material to discuss at your next appointment.

The #BuildWealth Movementworks tirelessly to Disrupt Generational Poverty™ for everyone so their kids, kids, kids can live a life of privilege.


Life Insurance – Term versus Permanent

For most people, the question shouldn’t be about which one to choose because both types of life insurance are designed to help meet different types of needs. A combination of the two is appropriate for many people. Let’s take a closer look at both.

Term insurance usually provides the largest amount of insurance protection at the lowest initial cost. For this reason, term is what most people start with. Because term policies end at a specific point – the end of the term – they work best for protecting large needs with specific endpoints. For example, a parent of a young child might purchase a 20-year term policy to provide protection until their child is over 18 or out of college. Then, the child might be responsible for getting his or her coverage. Other periods that you might consider term insurance include the time:

    • you plan to continue to work and have others relying on your income
    • remaining on your mortgage
    • remaining on an outstanding business or other loans

Permanent insurance is designed to last as long as you live and typically makes a great supplement to term insurance. You may want insurance after your term coverage ends, either for life-long or unplanned needs or needs with an unpredictable or extended end date.

Good reasons to have permanent insurance include helping to take care of:

    • someone who becomes or may still be dependent on you (either financially or for care, or both) such as children who are not yet independent or who have special needs
    • the costs associated with your death (final expenses) such as a funeral or memorial costs, outstanding medical bills, and estate taxes
    • a once-temporary need that you have extended – for example, a refinanced (and possibly extended) mortgage, a home equity loan, a delayed retirement date (meaning extended income-earning years), or a new business
    • your grandchildren
    • your “second” family from remarriage
    • someone, such as a parent, who has developed a condition and who now requires your care

The #BuildWealth Movementworks tirelessly to Disrupt Generational Poverty™ for everyone so their kids, kids, kids can live a life of privilege.