5 estate planning

5 Important Estate Planning Documents

One of the most valuable gifts you can leave your loved ones is a properly prepared estate plan. During your lifetime, you will have worked hard to acquire various assets (hopefully). When you leave this earth, the choice is yours about who/what gets those assets. However, this won’t happen without proper planning. Please don’t leave it to the state to decide what happens to your assets upon your death. The first thing you should do is touch base with an estate planning attorney. They are well versed in the legal requirements for the state in which you reside.

Here are 5 estate planning documents that you should familiarize yourself with:

1.      Last Will and Testament – a will is a legal document which allows you to:

  • Designate who will receive your assets after your death; this avoids having your assets divided according to the state’s formula
  • Nominate an executor; they will manage your estate, pay your expenses, debts, taxes, and distribute your estate according to the instructions in your will
  • Nominate a guardian for your minor children

2.      Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care

  • With this document, you name a person of your choice and agreed to make a medical decision for you. This person will act on your behalf in health care matters if you cannot make those decisions. This authority expires upon your death.

3.      Revocable Living Trust

  • In a revocable living trust, your assets are transferred into a trust, generally administered by you for your benefit during your lifetime and transferred to your beneficiaries upon your death, without the need for court involvement. Your Last Will and Testament, which is supplemental to your trust, cover any assets that have not been transferred into the living trust. A revocable trust allows you to retain control of your assets during your lifetime, quickly transfer them to your beneficiary upon your death and avoid the expense and delay of Probate Court. This trust also helps to reduce or eliminate any federal estate taxes.

4.      Durable Power of Attorney for Property Management

  • This document designates and authorizes a person of your choosing to make financial decisions and manage your assets on your behalf to the same extent and effect as if you were present in person. Durable means that they may also act for you in the event you become incompetent or incapacitated.

5.      Living Will

  • A living will allows you to state your desires regarding the use of life-support devices to prolong your life if you are stricken with a terminal illness or when there is no reasonable hope for recovery from an injury or illness.

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

 

you need a planner

You Need A Financial Planner

Financial planners were put on this earth for one reason, to help people get and keep their financial houses in order. But so many people avoid financial planners. Why, exactly is that? Are you one of those people who think you’re better off on your own? Perhaps. Are you the person who says you don’t make enough money; therefore, there’s no need for you to meet with one? Or maybe you’re the person who says, “I don’t want someone all up in my business.” Whatever your reason, you should seriously consider having a conversation with a financial planner because the data doesn’t lie! As a society, we are seriously failing at financial planning.

If you have some time, research this piece that the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors published in 2012. The findings are quite disturbing. In that piece, they reference an organization, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, which conducts an annual consumer financial literacy survey. Take a look at their survey in 2013 and 2014. It should come as no surprise, but the numbers continue to be extremely disappointing year after year. And, if you’re wondering how things are going today, not much has changed. On the flip side, this should encourage any financial planner to continue to reach out to and follow up with their clients, ask those tough questions, and challenge their clients to be better financial stewards.

Financial planning shouldn’t be something that we fear, but something we should embrace. If you are someone who doesn’t have a plan, you need one. If you’re someone who already has a plan, maybe you’re overdue for a review. No matter your situation, having a financial game plan will most certainly guarantee you financial independence (however you define it) at some point in your life. And just like that adage says, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.


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

understand bene's

Understanding Your Benefits is Important

When you get a job, your employer may have informed you that you will be receiving some additional benefits aside from a paycheck. Some of the most important benefits a company may offer come by way of insurance. For this article, I want to focus on life and disability insurance. Determining what insurance benefits you select will depend on your unique situation. Keep in mind; employers may give you numerous insurance options to choose from, while others may offer the bare minimum. Nevertheless, read through the entire benefits packet that they give you!

Most people are well aware of the importance of health insurance, but not so much when it comes to life and disability insurance. Here’s a recommendation; take some time to determine how much life and disability insurance you need. The life insurance offered through your employer is the cheapest that you will find, typically because your employer is fronting most, if not all, of the premium payments for you. You will generally find that they may offer flat rates of coverage at varying cost to you, or they may have it where you’re entitled to an amount equal to one or two times your salary. If what they are offering isn’t enough, consult an insurance agent to determine how much additional coverage you need to fill your gap. Having adequate life insurance is of the utmost importance. Suppose your household has two wage earners and one passes away, or the breadwinner of your family was no longer here. In that case, the remaining family members would most certainly appreciate having money for the final expenses and maintaining their current lifestyle. The grieving phase will be challenging enough, but adding financial troubles into the mix makes things that much tougher on your family.

When it comes to disability insurance, the same rules apply. Your employer is fronting most, if not all, of the premium payments for you. Many of us don’t see the value of having disability coverage, but here’s some food for thought. If you were seriously sick or injured and unable to work, how would you pay your bills? If you answered that question by saying you have an adequate amount of emergency funds (3-6 months worth of expenses) saved, then you may be okay. If you don’t have such an amount, then disability coverage becomes your savior. Essentially, it enables you to maintain your current lifestyle. What happens for most people is that they fail to have the all-important emergency fund, which results in them having to tap other resources like their investment or retirement accounts or credit cards. None of those sources should be utilized if at all possible. Your employer may only offer short-term disability or a combination of short and long-term disability coverage. 

Remember, read your benefits packet because this is something you need to know. Again, just like with life insurance, if what your company offers isn’t enough, consult an insurance agent to determine how much additional coverage you need to fill your gap. [Just so you know, you will never be able to get 100% disability coverage, primarily because if you could get 100% of your earnings without working, you would never go back to work.]

Having a firm grasp of your insurance offerings through work is critical. There may be gaps within your overall insurance plan, and you need to make sure they are filled. Insurance is THE foundation of a financial plan. If you are not adequately protected, you are putting your investment and retirement accounts in serious jeopardy. Think of it this way, if you were going to build a house, would you start on the second floor? Of course not!! You set the foundation, which allows you to build the remainder of the house. There have been numerous studies conducted about the staggering number of under-insured people in this country. Please don’t let this be you. If you don’t care about insurance studies, ask a family member or close friend if they or someone they know has been negatively impacted by having an inadequate amount of insurance, then you will understand.


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

taking inventory

Taking Inventory

Getting your financial house in order is a goal that most people set for themselves. Of course, not everyone will get things in order at the same stage in life. Like anything else, most people will do things when they are ready, not when some financial professional tells them to do so. Or they will decide to take action as a response to a life event. Here are a few examples.

Let’s say you have a friend (who has young children and a spouse) that passes away unexpectedly. After witnessing that, you decide to get serious about having adequate life insurance to protect your family. Or you have a co-worker who is getting well into their golden years but still HAS to work because they didn’t save/invest appropriately for retirement. Only then do you decide to start taking retirement planning seriously.

No matter your excuse or fear around financial planning, you must take it step by step. You have to crawl before you can walk, and you must walk before you can run.

Completing a personal balance sheet is the “crawl” step that everyone should take. This document, which you can find pretty much anywhere on the Internet, is easy to complete. It’s going to require you to list everything you own (assets) and everything you owe (liabilities). With some basic math (assets – liabilities), you will be able to determine your net worth.

Taking this “inventory” enables you to focus on where you need to start related to your financial plan. Plus, as you continue to move forward with your financial plan, this can serve as your barometer of financial fitness. The goal is to continue to grow your assets while decreasing your liabilities.

Some experts will recommend that you update your balance sheet once a year. However, if you are the type that needs more frequent feedback, perhaps you should consider updating your balance sheet quarterly or twice a year.


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

dyk LI

Did You Know This About Life Insurance

Life insurance is a dynamic financial vehicle, but most people only refer to it as death insurance. Yes, if you have a policy and you’ve been paying your premiums and pass away, a sum of money will be paid out. Who or what gets that sum of money is totally up to you.

Many of you reading this might not have known this, but people use life insurance while they’re alive. Did you know that life insurance can be used to fund a child’s education? Did you know that people utilize life insurance to supplement their retirement income? Did you know that if you borrowed against (taking a loan) your life insurance policy, that in some cases, you don’t have to pay the loan back? Life insurance is a phenomenal tool but it gets such a bad reputation; however, there are so many ways that people can use life insurance while they’re alive. It’s one of the most flexible products that exist, but most people don’t take the time to educate themselves properly.

If you didn’t know about those awesome things that life insurance can do (and that was only an appetizer), perhaps you should schedule an appointment with an insurance agent and let them explain it to you.


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

LI faq

Life Insurance FAQ

Life insurance is an extremely important product that should be a part of EVERYONE’S #buildwealth plan. Here are some common frequently asked questions as it relates to life insurance.

How much life insurance should I own?

There is no single right answer! Some experts will recommend that you have an amount that is equal to 6 – 10 times your annual gross salary. Others say you should opt to have 2 times your annual gross salary. Coverage amounts are individual and certainly not “one size fits all.” The really nail down how much, it’s best that you meet with a financial professional and complete a personal needs analysis.

When should I review my current coverage?

Your situation has probably changed since you first purchased your life insurance policy. If something were to happen to you today, would your family have enough coverage? Generally, it’s recommended that you meet with your financial professional once a year, however, if you have done any of the following since you purchased your policy, you should review your coverage as soon as possible:

·        Purchased a home

·        Had a child

·        Married, divorced or become widowed

·        Changed jobs

·        Taken out a large loan

·        Started a retirement or college fund

·        Started your own business

·        Began caring for an elderly relative

I already own life insurance, should I purchase life insurance on my spouse?

If your spouse contributes to the family’s annual income, then he or she should have adequate life insurance coverage to help replace his or her income in the event of their death. If you spouse does not earn an income, life insurance can still play an important role in helping to pay for valuable services he or she provides; for example, providing child care, elder care, maintaining the home and running the household. Make sure to meet with a financial professional, who can help you determine the proper amount via a personal needs analysis.

Should I purchase life insurance on my child?

Some people scoff at the idea of purchasing a policy on their child but there are a few reasons you may want to consider it:

1.      You can generally purchase life insurance at the lowest possible premium. If your child were to purchase the same amount of coverage when he or she becomes an adult, the annual cost would generally be much higher

2.      You can help ensure that he or she has life insurance protection for life. If the child develops health problems as an adult, he or she could become uninsurable and may not be able to obtain life insurance coverage. In some families, a grandparent purchases a life insurance policy for the child. Also, keep in mind that some states limit the amount of life insurance that can be purchased on minors.

3.      While it’s not a popular option that is widely discussed, some people decide to purchase life insurance on a child to save money for their college education or some other use. Permanent life insurance policies build cash value, and over time, this could grow into a substantial amount of money.

Do I need individual life insurance if I have group life insurance through my job?

YES! Participating in our group life insurance is a good idea because you may be able to receive life insurance at a lower, group rate. If your group coverage is convertible – meaning, when you leave the company you can convert it to an individual policy without evidence of insurability – the individual policy you convert will generally have high premium cost compared to other policies. If your group coverage ends, you can apply for a new policy, especially if your healthy. Otherwise, you may not qualify or may have to pay higher premiums depending on your age and health status. Group life insurance my not provide an adequate amount of death benefit to meet all of your needs.

Consider supplementing your group policy with an individual policy. An individual policy is one that you own, thus it isn’t tied to your employer and you won’t have to worry about your premiums rising every year. With a n individual policy, you won’t need to wonder whether you still qualify every year or if you will lose your life insurance if you change jobs or get laid off. It’s insurance coverage that stays with you.


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

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.

pexels-pixabay-42230

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.

pexels-andrea-piacquadio-3768905

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.

pexels-emma-bauso-2253879

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.