Financial Model Blog

Car Insurance Day

Get help or do it alone

Pay me now or pay me later

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These days just about anything can be done online. Ordering products can be done with a few clicks and it's delivered to your doorstep in a couple of days and sometimes even a couple of hours. Seems easy enough for most purchases, but sometimes the ease and comfort comes at a cost. I can't tell you how many times we've ordered things on Amazon, Ebay or another shopping site, only to find it at our local BJ's or Home Depot a few days later and much cheaper. It was super easier to search for the product we were looking for, pay and have it sent. Nowadays no one wants to leave the house, head to the store, hunt for their item and I can't blame them. A lot of times you can get decent prices and sometimes even cheaper than the item in the store. There's no rhyme or reason to the way things are priced. We've learn to accept that sometimes things are cheaper and sometimes they're more.

 

So how do people shop for things that are less tangible; like insurance.? There are all types of insurance coverage from healthcare to home owners. Those get a little trickier to price and compare. For starters, any insurance program is going to have a number of caveat's that needs an attorney review to decipher and truly understand. When shopping online, you're at the mercy of doing your own research and hoping things work they way you've come to understand them.

 

 

Auto insurance is one of those things that were traditionally bought and sold with a local agent who reviews your needs, affordability and delivers a proposal. That's the old school way of going about it, but this younger generation and even the tech savvy pre-retirees are doing some homework and shopping online. Many have hesitation about doing that and I would agree that a bit of caution is necessary. Comparing price as your only way to determine which coverage is the "best" option, could cost you; a lot! While things are working as planned and no claims are needed, things are great. You're putting some cash in your back pocket and saving for other things. What happens when you do have an incident - does your policy actually cover that event and what is their claims process like? That can be a very big deal and I've had my fair share of dealings with insurance companies for clients, family and for myself and I can tell you it makes the world of difference when you're going through a tough time.

 

What other options are available for the consumer to get help when shopping for home, auto or any other insurance? Working with a captive agent is one way to go about it. That means working with a licensed agent who is bound by the product set available by their company. It's not always going to be the best coverage or the cheapest, but they bank on the overall client experience as a value add. There's nothing like getting help with a quit phone call or even dropping by a local office to someone face to face. Just think about anytime you've had an issue with Spectrum, Time Warner or any other big outfit that could care less about wait times or actually helping their customers with a problem. It can be brutal.

 

There's another option that many may not have considered in the past; an insurance broker. How is that any different than an agent? They're not confined to a singular product set or insurer. Some companies provide better coverage, special riders or more competitive rates depending on a persons specific situation. Everyone's needs and wants are different. Things like credit score and other risk factors play a role in the products available as well as the premium they're going to pay.

 

In my experience the best option is working with a broker you can trust. Not any old broker who's claim to fame is that they're not captive. That only means they have access to a variety of products, but it doesn't necessarily mean you'll get the best response or best policy available. People are motivated by money and they have the ability to steer or direct you to coverage as they deem fit. You hope they are seeing the bigger picture by keeping you as a loyal client who's going to share your experience with friends and family. The longer you remain a client, the more money they make.

 

 

How often should you shop for coverage? Typically every two to three years is a good amount of time to go shopping again. That could be a simple call to your broker to make sure you have a competitive premium and the best policies based on your current needs. It's an ongoing process that needs to be reevaluated every so often because you could find gaps in coverage or life changes that need to be addressed. At the end of the day, weighing your options and comfort level will play a role in how and where you shop for coverage. We're all required to carry auto insurance and it's viewed as a necessary evil. The truth is, if you have a major accident, you'll be thanking your lucky stars you have the right coverage and the right team handling your claim. Saving a couple hundred bucks on a bare bones policy you found online might come back to bite you badly when it costs you thousands or more.

 

And that's only the beginning...Reach out and schedule a consultation to discuss your situation. We'll walk you through your options and help you make the right choice for your goals.

Want to learn more? Follow our latest market commentary, firm updates, or anything financial via our blog or Podcast.

 

 

 

 

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Do anything, but don't do this!

Published January 25th, 2022 by Monarch Wealth Management

A sure way to guarantee pain

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Meatloaf said it best when he said "do anything for love, but I won't do that..." RIP 2022! The first few weeks in 2022 have reminded us all that stocks can actually lose money. That's right, news flash, stocks can be volatile, lose money and make you feel like you're on a rollercoaster that'll make you sicker than a long weekend of binge drinking with your college roommates. It's a reminder of us all to do a few things like take inventory of our assets, revisit our goals, take a look at our comfort and ensure things haven't change at all with our time horizon. In most cases, nothing has changed other than the landscape of the market and the realization that it's a market of stocks and not necessarily a stock market. There are sectors, stocks, funds, etf's, alternatives and all sorts of investment options available to us all. Some look great this year and they'll be thrown out in the trash like those brown bananas sitting on your counter that no-one wants to eat or deal with.

If you've been paying attention to the market, listening to the Podcast, reading the blogs or even turn on the tv, you already know what's going on. So, what should you be doing or what should your advisor be doing right now? We're so glad you asked. You need to take action if you haven't already. Not every sector, not every stock is down. Yes, there are investments that are actually making money in this environment. It's a different year, with new challenges than last and change that comes about much quicker than you can imagine. For most do it yourself investors, they react to a market that has already began it's rotation.

What's getting hit the worst? Seems like just about everything across the board is down these days. If we look at the three major indices, all are down as of me writing this blog. Looking at these numbers in such a short period of time has most of us glazing it over and the feeling of fear and panic starts to set it. Don't do it. Don't think for a minute that you can be a hero, go to 100% cash then get back in at "just the right time". It won't happen. We've been doing this too long to see many failed attempts despite conventional wisdom and understanding that markets are cyclical. Take a look at the year to date performance of three etf's in to give some perspective on what's doing what so far.

For those of you keeping score at home, it's pretty easy to see that the tech sector as a whole is suffering. What to do if you haven't already? Look at what you own, understand what they're doing right and what they're not. Research the companies financials, listen to their earnings calls and come to a conclusion on your comfort level in still owning that company. Most of all, you don't have to go at it alone. You should have a trusted person to go to with questions and concerns you're feeling about the market or specific positions. That person should be us, but even if it's not, it should be someone who is there to talk you through the holdings and taking action when necessary. It doesn't have to be a game of hide and seek with your financial advisor or money manager - they should be accessible during good times and bad!

At the end of the day, market volatility should be a time to look for opportunity and reshuffle things. It's NOT a complete reset. What you absolutely should not do is sell your stocks, run for the hills and take cover. It simply means small, meaningful tweaks to adjust to the current market conditions. For our podcast listeners this isn't news at all. This theme and trend started in February of 2021. Looming interest rate hikes have had a hand in this as well.

Some of the newer challenges this year are just now beginning to develop. If those aspects begin to materialize, that could bring about further change. With this type of market, algorithms, automated trading systems and passive index funds may leaving you hungry for more. More money, better returns and an actual human to talk you through these tough decisions. There are some aspects of the market that look fairly priced and even somewhat cheap. Know what those are, discuss with your advisor and implement. The market doesn't wait and technical analysis tends to be a leading indicator where as fundamentals can sometimes need to play catchup. I learned a long time ago, a came of Ketchup ball can be quite messy!

 

And that's only the beginning...Reach out and schedule a consultation to discuss your situation. We'll walk you through your options and help you make the right choice for your goals.

Want to learn more? Follow our latest market commentary, firm updates, or anything financial via our blog or Podcast.

 

 

 

 

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Know who holds the crown - Mobile App or Website

Know who takes the crown - the app or website

A battle to the finish

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We all carry a smart phone by now - or at least most of us. There are a growing number of retired clients of ours who are new to the smart phone space. For years they fought it and went with a pre-paid, but now they're indulging in the luxuries of having access to a multitude of things at their fingertips.

 

So, what's the big difference between a website or a fancy new app? They typically offer the same stuff and it can be hard to see the advantages on the surface. Many times the mobile apps don't actually give you as much access or range of functionality. At first, the app sounds like a clunky, water downed version of a fully immersive website with all the bells and whistles you'd expect from that fancy Cadillac. There's more to the debate than meets the eye and those of us who have embraced apps as a way to stay connected and efficient, understand their purpose.

 

For starters, mobile apps offer much better personalization. This can be done based on interests, location, behavior and even more. The apps allow users to establish preferences when you set things up. A website is static and NOT typically customized for each individual client or consumer.

 

Then there's notifications and how they're being sent to its users. In the past email was a great way to communicate with users of a site, but some have overused or abused it and its lost some of its effectiveness. Notifications from a mobile app can be tweaked by users to allow for push, in-app or even emails. This gives the user control over how and what they want to get notices for.

 

Using a mobile web browsers to access a companies website can be a bit challenging even with the largest smart phones. It's a funny thing how trends change over time. In the past phones were on mission to build the smallest phones that could easily fit inside a pocket or jacket. They folded in half, were mainly used for calls then graduated to texting and web browsing. The apps of today provide its users one main thing - access with convenience.

 

 

Why blog about an app versus a website and who cares? Although most of our younger clientele have downloaded our app and use it often; many don't even know one exists. It's a fast and easy way to access your accounts with various ways to securely log into your account. Additional features are being added all the time, but the app exists today. We have it available and ready for download now!

 

Remote deposit, statements, tax forms, biometric log in, performance, announcements and letters are on their way. If you want to know more about our app and begin using it - reach out to your Monarch advisor or schedule a meeting with me to become a new client and explore all the benefits we have to offer.

 

In terms of a champ - it's not a winner take all but more of a preference. Each has its place in keeping tabs on your investments, performance, statements, communication or anything else financial. More robust options exist on a website, but you always have your phone on you with the ability to quickly take a look at things on the fly. We think both are essential to maintain efficiency and remain active in pursuing your financial goals.

Want to learn more? Follow our latest market commentary, firm updates, or anything financial via our blog or Podcast.

 

 

 

 

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Gender Distinction in Planning

Published November 15th, 2021 by Monarch Wealth Management

Travel Right Now

Published September 15th, 2021 by Constantine J Kitrinos, CPFA

Travel Right Now

Navigating the industry, sector, and stocks

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It's about time we all treated ourselves to a little getaway, but how do things look in this new world we live in? We'll take a look at different aspects of the travel industry, exam some changes, and explore areas of the market we may see an impact on revenue and perhaps share price over time.

 

There are a few different elements to pick apart in this sector so I'll divide these into a multi-blog where we cover each segment with detail. When it comes to the backend bookings of hotels, air, bus, car rentals, and vacation rentals, there are several stocks and ETFs that can be used to place wagers on how they'll fare. There's too much to cover on the stock market front in the travel section to be covered in this blog, but it'll be covered in more detail in our podcast and Roch Bottom technical analysis blog.

 

I think it's important to consider how you book and why you choose one way versus another. What I mean here is, some use an Expedia or TripAdvisor to book, others put together a Frankenstein itinerary and then there are the trusty Travel Agencies. These days it's all about convenience and instant gratification so most people want to be able to book their trip in minutes from their mobile phones. Because last year's pandemic put immense stress on airlines, cruise ships, and just about anything related to travel and tourism, it makes even more sense to use a travel agent to book all your travel. There's nothing wrong with booking things on your own until there is.

 

 

 

Here are a few reasons why I think it's crucial to your vacation and your wallet to book your trips with a partner you can trust:

 

  1. Knowledge - Travel agents do this for a living, book multiple trips a day, and know things about the area you're visiting. Chances are they've been there or had a colleague or client go there in the past so they get it. They're going to give you the details you want to know and be able to answers questions about specifics.

  2. Pricing - In most cases a travel agent can get the same or better pricing for your trip. A misconception is they charge hourly fees or planning fees on top of your travel costs - not true. It has never cost me a penny more (although I would gladly pay more) to book any travel. Their compensation is driven by the travel partners like hotels etc. who pay them directly.

  3. Bonus Miles - You might even have a booking promo or bonus miles codes that could be applied by your agent. You'll never miss out on those precious airline miles or hotel points!

  4. Ease - Call your agent, provide them the details of what you're trying to book, and voila, the research begins. They'll populate y, our frequent flyer numbers, hotel rewards, or any other program you're affiliated with. Any o,f your concerns for price, travel dates or layovers is handled.

  5. Hiccups - If you travel a lot you know great things don't always go according to plan. Weather, transportation, and other factors play a role in how your vacation, starts or ends. It's great to have boots on the ground fighting your fight to get the things you paid for. I can tell you from experience, it could cost hours or even days of your vacation, trying to argue and fix problems with tour operators, airline rescheduling, or hotel blunders. Not fun! A travel agent will do, all of this for you so you enjoy your vacation.

 

Our trusted travel guru has been and continues to be Natalie Fichera from NJF Travel. If you have your travel agent, fantastic, but if not, give Natalie a look and let her know I sent you.

Travel Planning at its Finest

 

 

And that's only the beginning...Reach out and schedule a consultation to discuss your situation. We'll walk you through your options and help you make the right choice for your goals.

Request a Meeting Here

 

Want to learn more? Follow our latest market commentary, firm updates, or anything financial via our blog or Podcast.

 

 

 

 

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Bliss or Blunder

What dreams are made of

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This has got to be the year for weddings. Because the world basically shut down in 2021 a lot of brides were left at the altar with very few options. Some eloped or did something small and others opted to push off until this year. We personally have three weddings to attend this year and one already on the calendar for next year. I'm hearing from more and more friends who also seem to have more weddings to attend than the norm.

 

As a partner of an investment firm, it's hard not to consider the finances behind any event we attend. We're noticing a number of changes in the weddings we've been to and ones planned in the near future. For starters, weddings are smaller. This can vary quite a bit depending on the state, county, or even venue. Brides to be are making tough decisions on cutting kids or distant relatives off the invite list to accommodate venues and other COVID-related restrictions. Some have requested mask-wearing regardless of vaccination and others are more liberal. Remember that open bar all night long? Well, some have agreed to convert the open flood gates of the all-inclusive drinks into a cash bar for some or all of the events. The length of weddings seems to be shorter as well. Almost, short, sweet, and to the point. The pandemic has forced restaurants and bars to close earlier so that plays into the way they offer an open bar and how late they can serve.

 

How does the cost vs offering compare year to year? According to Business Insider, the average cost of a wedding this year versus last is up about twenty percent. The number for that hefty bill rings the register at $22,500. Those figures take into account the smaller headcount, fewer hours for the event, and reduced hours of an open bar. Despite cutting guests, altering food and beverage offerings, and taking some of the glitz & glam off the table, the cost for just about everything is up! For the weddings that went on last year, they were one of the lowest cost for celebration we've seen in years. Venues, caterers, and photographers were begging for business. They were pleased to have anything on the books. If we glance back to 2016, it was the highest spend for a wedding coming in just north of $35,000.

 

Source: www.theknot.com

All in all, any one of these years is a huge amount of money for an event that lasts 5-7 hours. When you do the math and break that down per hour for a 7 hr event, you're looking at $3,750 an hour! It's no surprise that these events grab big price tags and parents and newlyweds who are more than willing to shell out the cash. These are moments that you'll cherish for years to come and who better to spend it with than your closest friends and family.

 

The night is over, the music dies down and the bright lights come on. Traditionally it was the bride's parents and family who squares up and pays the bill, but that's another thing that's been changing over time. We're hearing more and more that it's a three-way split. Both sets of parents and the bride and groom and paying portions of the event. With a big-ticket item like a wedding, that only seems appropriate. It also adds a layer of complexity when it comes to what portion of the event each party pays for. It might mean inviting cousin Eddie because Mom is chipping in a good portion of dough and remains adamant that he has to get an invite.

 

 

Are there things that could be more beneficial for the bride and groom than a $22,000 wedding event that lasts a few hours? Sure, there are other places to put that money to work that would better position the couple like paying down debt, investing, adding to their savings, or a down payment on a house. Speaking from experience, money is NOT everything! There are some things you just can't put a price tag on. One of them being wealth management, the other being a wedding! Lol.  Happy Wife, Happy Life does ring true.

 

On the topic of weddings, my wife and I celebrated our 9th anniversary earlier this summer. The cost of our wedding that long ago was about the same as the cost today. We chose to do a non-traditional destination wedding. For some that makes a ton of sense for others, it brings on a layer of complexity and frustration - especially because of masking, the pandemic, and the latest delta variant. Below are a couple of pictures from our wedding day and the festivities. I cannot believe how time flies, but that is a day we'll remember forever!

 

 

 

And that's only the beginning...Reach out and schedule a consultation to discuss your situation. We'll walk you through your options and help you make the right choice for your goals.

Request a Meeting Here

Want to learn more? Follow our latest market commentary, firm updates, or anything financial via our blog or Podcast.

 

 

 

 

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Bonus Money | Child Tax Credit | Confusion

Take now or forever hold your piece

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By now those of you who are reading this have received at least one advance payment of the child tax credit. That's great, or is it? There was some confusion on this among friends, family, and clients and we hope to get some clarity on this for you.

 

If you're eligible to claim the child tax credit you would have received a letter from the white house outlining both an enhancement to the amount and the way it's being paid this year. For the remainder of 2021, the IRS has auto-enrolled everyone eligible into an advanced payment of up to half of the eligible amount. There's really no right or wrong way to do this, but I think it's more important to dive into the details to truly understand what this money is and what it's not.

 

First off, this is NOT a monthly "Bonus" check as some were referring it to. It is not itself any more than you're actually entitled to so don't get too excited. One thing to note is that the credit has changed from the tax year 2020 to 2021 so the amount of the credit overall should be worth more depending on your household, tax filing, and situation. According to whitehouse.gov, the credit was increased by $1,000 for each child over the age of six and $1,600 for each child six and under. They also went on to expand the age limit from 16 to 17. These changes were a part of the American Rescue Plan and many families will appreciate the additional help.

 

We mentioned that everyone was auto-enrolled in the advanced payment, but what if you prefer getting them at the end of the year when filing your returns? Well, that will require a little bit of elbow grease. You'll want to visit the irs.gov website and click on the blue "Manage Payments" button. Here is where you can elect against receiving your advance payment of half of your eligible child tax credit.

 

Now, if you're married, there's one more step. You'll need to also do the same for your spouse. If you fail to take this step, you'll continue to receive a quarter of the credit unless you do the same for your spouse. Here's the tricky part, if your spouse doesn't already have an account with the IRS (the case with my family) you'll find yourself creating an account with id.me which is a bit detailed. It requires a scan of the front and back of their driver's license, a video and picture as well as email verification and a slew of typical profile questions like date of birth, social security #, etc. Below is a screenshot of the first step to getting you started in requested to opt-out of the monthly checks for the rest of the year.

 

So who cares if you get paid monthly or at the end of the year? Great questions - there's no difference in the amount. The concern I see is the families that depend on or expect that huge refund check at the end of the year. When the first checks were mailed out in July, some people thought this was an added benefit or "bonus" check. Like a "Christmas in July" type of deal. The people who I can invasion being disappointed or left with the short end of the stick are those who didn't quite understand what the checks were for. At the end of the year when their refund is much smaller or they potentially owe money, they'll be in for a rude awakening and the money will already be gone.

 

All things considered, this shouldn't be much of an event given a few things that are happening:

 

  1. Advanced payments are for half the credit

  2. Child Tax Credit has increased

  3. The eligible age has increased

  4. You have the option to opt-op

 

All in all the monthly checks are probably a good thing for most families. It's not a life-changing event by any means and it would be something realized at tax time anyway. More money in the pockets of American families throughout the rest of the year might be a good way to buffer additional impacts on jobs, the economy, and a number of other economic dilemma's were currently dealing with. With that being said, my only gripe is the way it was rolled out. Perhaps a request to enroll versus an auto-enrollment would have been better; considering the hoops to jump through to request the checks to stop.

 

Advanced payments are one topic we discuss on our latest #PennyWiseFinancial #Podcast. Take a listen below.

 

 

And that's only the beginning...Reach out and schedule a consultation to discuss your situation. We'll walk you through your options and help you make the right choice for your goals.

Request a Meeting Here

Want to learn more? Follow our latest market commentary, firm updates, or anything financial via our blog or Podcast.

 

 

 

 

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How to think about August & September

Depending on how you see things, Trouble or Opportunity could be lurking

A look around the corner

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As the adage of sell in May goes, there is some data that shows the months of August and September could see markets slide a bit. Although history tends to repeat itself, there's isn't compelling evidence that you should liquidate half or all of your investments just before these months.

 

So what happens in these months? Kids are back to school, summer is over, traveling slows and it's back to business for the adults. This also marks the tail end of the third quarter and the beginning of Q4. Corporate earnings give a clearer picture of how companies and stocks should perform throughout the remainder of the year. So, let's take a look at a chart from LPL research to get a feel for what might be to come.

 

 

There's no denying the charts do have good evidence that the upcoming months could take a slight dip; especially in the post-election years. So here's how we are addressing this setup and the potential for a 5 - 10% dip.

  • Review of the current holdings

  • Take inventory of the market as a whole and momentum

  • Factor in any potential tax law changes

  • Consider earnings and sector-specific concerns

  • Avoid major cash raises

  • Adjust and make minor tweaks to ensure positioning

In a similar fashion to the way we stood up to the summer sell-off headline, we believe there is still room for the market gains to continue. There are some areas of the market that remain overvalued and we have been enjoying those gains, but it will be a time to consider taking more profits. Not to get specific on a segment of the market that looks, but don't be surprised to see additional exposure into more value stock exposure. They pay dividends, have less volatility, and are much, much cheaper than some of the red hot growth stocks.

 

Again, this should come as no surprise to you that we're taking a careful approach to rebalancing or tweaking of our inventory. Attempting to shift and chase areas of the market that have performed well in the past doesn't guarantee that it will continue. We continue to research, listen to earnings calls, review the research reports and make sense of it all. With the data, we integrate into our systems and make decisions that we think will prove beneficial for our clients.

 

 

We view this as an opportunity; not pain. It's a time to adjust, make changes and look forward to seeing how those changes play into your portfolio performance. The other part of the chart does show quite a bit of promise as we near the end of the year. Again, one could look at the near-term pessimism and worry about looming fears of the delta variant and an expensive market that may be running out of steam. At this point in time, we don't believe the pessimistic view is the way to position yourself or your portfolio.

 

And that's only the beginning...Reach out and schedule a consultation to discuss your situation. We'll walk you through your options and help you make the right choice for your goals.

Request a Meeting Here

 

Want to learn more? Follow our latest market commentary, firm updates, or anything financial via our blog or Podcast.

 

 

 

 

Listen on your favorite platform:

        

 

Say When

Know when to get help

 

 

We get this question tons and tons of times. When should I get help from a planner, money manager, or financial advisor, and what's the difference between them? Should I wait until I have about a million or two to get help? We'll touch on these and hope to give you more clarity and understanding on what be right for you.

 

First and foremost, it's never too early or too late to get help. Of course, if it's the latter, we may have limited options. As far as too early, well, I'm not so sure that exists. At times we get prospects sent to us from existing clients, friends, colleagues, etc. who might be younger and think they're hopeless because they don't meet firm minimums, etc. The fact is, if there's not much we can do to manage the assets right now, there are still small behavioral shifts that can be tweaked to get them set up for success. Think about building a foundation, a roadmap, a blueprint for your future financial picture will look like.

 

Far too often we see just the opposite. A prospect schedules a meeting, has ample assets but has done no planning. Throwing money into your 401(k), keeping cash stashed in the ashtray or under the mattress is not exactly giving you the kind of insight you need to know if you're on track, off track, or don't even know where the track is. If you can't see a target, how do you know how close you are? You don't!

 

A good sign is a trend we've been seeing as of late. More and more often we're seeing younger clients scheduling a meeting to be sure they're doing all the right activities, putting their money in all the right places, and have the protection in place to keep their family safe. These meetings are more like a strategy session and involve more conceptual planning and looking at the entire picture. It's this newest generation of early planners that will fair the best when it comes to retirement. Just a little bit of work upfront can go a long way.

 

Some of the points we touch on in the early phases of planning are:

  1. Budgeting

  2. Where and how to save

  3. Estate Plan

  4. Health Insurance

  5. Life Insurance Protection

  6. Risk tolerance

  7. Objectives

  8. Goals

  9. Time Horizon

Like anything else in life, the sooner you identify what you want and plan for it, the better off you are. The trend seems to be sooner and more frequent than the generation prior. The "Baby Boomers" tended to work hard, stay loyal and rely on a company pension and social security to fund most, if not all of their retirement.

 

So what about the other end of the spectrum? When we have prospects schedule a meeting and they're entering or already in retirement. Well, those can go well, but chances are, they're scheduling a meeting for a reason - and it's not usually good. Let's face it, asking for help when it comes to finances is typically causational; meaning, you ask for help at the last minute - when you absolutely need it!

 

By all means, asking for help, even later in life can help. We've been able to help clients with late-stage planning. There may be tax savings, income security, or asset management that make a world of difference for these folks. It could also be along the lines of asset protection, survivor benefits, or estate planning. We all work hard throughout our lifetime and you certainly don't want to goof things up when you've actually accumulated the money and "stuff" you've always dreamed of.

 

 

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I get asked quite often from prospects or people not familiar with the firm; what do you have for sale? The answer is nothing. There are no product shelves filled with goods on the verge of going stale. No sales targets, gimmicks, or firm thresholds to meet. We are consultative and thrive only when clients remain clients; forever. In fact, we hope you're so thrilled with our services you never want to leave and hopefully brag about us to your friends and family. There are no commitments or penalties if you feel the need to sever your relationship with the firm. We are owners, care about our clients, and have no moves to make up the corporate ladder. The fact is, we're already at the top and fortunate to have loyal clients that continue to hire us throughout their lifetime.

 

So, schedule an initial consultation, fill out our new client application, and learn more about our process. I assure you there will be some takeaways regardless of where you are in life. We look forward to meeting you soon and wish you well until then.

 

Request a Meeting Here

 

Want more? Follow our latest market commentary, firm updates, or anything financial via our Financial Model Blog, Monarch Insider Newsletter, or PennyWise Financial Podcast.

 

 

 

Listen on your favorite platform:

        

 

Leave it alone or grab the money and run

What to do with that old retirement plan

You may have just changed jobs and not sure what to do with the old retirement plan your employer offered you. There are a ton of people who forget to take control of these funds and leave them as they are. Is that the best decision for you? There are a ton of things you should be thinking about when making that choice. Keep in mind, doing nothing is actually a decision. It's the conscious choice to keep your money invested in the same way you set them up when you started putting money away. That could be six weeks, six months, or even six years ago. I bet a ton has changed in any of those scenarios. I have yet to find a plan that is perfectly crafted, has the right fund lineup or flexibility to make the most of your money. Even if the plan score is decent, who knows what the investment menu will look like in the next several years. The last thing you want is multiple sites to log into, forget about the account, ignore it and not play an active role in your investment choices. Is it easier to just leave it alone and do nothing? Heck yeah, but easier doesn't always mean better.

 

One thing a lot of people don't know is all the options they actually have when you change jobs, retire or reach an age when your plan allows for what is called an in-service rollover. Let's take a deeper dive into those options and what you should be considering when you evaluate so you can make the best choice for you. Below are the options laid out:

  • Do nothing

  • Roll funds into your new employer's 401(k)

  • Roll funds into an IRA

  • Cash-out

 

Keep in mind, making the wrong choice could potentially force you to work years longer than necessary to afford the retirement you've dreamed of.

The downfalls to avoid

You'll want to know what to watch out for if you ever want to get to your retirement goals.

If you truly want to retire as soon as you possibly can, there are a few obvious things to avoid. Investments that don't perform up to expectations, owning the wrong things, and nose-bleed fees. Skipping past those mistakes can help you grow your retirement bank quicker, with more efficiency, and result in a bigger balance when you're ready to start income.

  1. Investments that just don't make the cut - 401(k) and IRA investments fall into two fundamental types – active funds and index funds. Active funds are just that - active. They attempt to outperform a benchmark (e.g., S&P, Dow, etc.) by making active trades in the account to avoid a downturn or to capitalize on an upswing. Index funds will simply try to match an index. Now - there's no clear winner with those basic types of investments, but one that doesn't meet similar funds trying to do the same thing is considered an underperforming investment. Numerous studies have been done to compare the type of management and their performance. The results show most, but NOT all active funds fit the bill.

  2. Wrong things to own – Allocating your money into a diversified portfolio is a strategy that attempts to help with the balancing act. It's the balance between risk and rewards and it can be difficult to do consistently over a long period of time. It may be tempting to jump into the hottest stock sector or style, but having the right amount of balance is important. If you don't maintain discipline and control, you could miss out on gains or fall victim to unrecoverable losses if you're too aggressive.

  3. Fees, fees, fees – Retirement plans like your 401(k), 403(b), 457 and IRA providers charge you fees to administer your account. It's typical for the charges to be deducted on a quarterly or annual basis. Most of the IRA fees are very transparent, easy to find, and something that can be reviewed with your advisor directly. Employer-sponsored plans may be a little less straightforward retirement.

 

What to look for in Features you actually want These are the things you should focus on to lessen any pitfalls in your retirement plan:

  1. Gains – Although most actively managed funds can fit the bill, some studies show that a passive portfolio may outperform active funds after the fees are deducted. Keep in mind, all funds are NOT created equally and this isn't an idea that passive always better than active or visa-versa. Some of the lowest cost providers are the big names like Vanguard and Schwab which tend you have many good choices. They don't always score at the top of ranks so don't fall in love with any single fund family or manager.

  2. The help you deserve - To make sure you follow a plan, stay focused, remain disciplined, and don't fall victim to making decisions based on fear or greed; get help from an expert. You will want professional investment advice to help you navigate the investment landscape and make decisions with your hard-earned money. The right advisor will help you maintain an appropriate allocation, look for opportunities in various sectors or asset classes and give you peace of mind in uncertain times. Various Vanguard studies have shown an advisor can add an average of 3%+ a year in value by helping to avoid poor investment decisions.

  3. Low, low, fees – It's the admin fees that will lower your investment returns dollar-for-dollar. If there is a plan or platform your advisor can use to keep those admin fees low, the better off you'll be. Despite finding ways to get the most value on those fees, they are inescapable because the providers have costs to provide custody, reporting, technology, etc for your account.

 

And that's only the beginning...Reach out and schedule a consultation to discuss your situation. We'll walk you through your options and help you make the right choice for your goals.

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Disclaimer: The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. Some of this material was developed and produced by Basch Solutions to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. Basch Solutions is not affiliated with the named representative, broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.

Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA & SIPC. Investment advice offered through Private Advisor Group, a Registered Investment Advisor.

Private Advisor Group and Monarch Wealth Management are separate entities from LPL Financial. Access to BrokerCheck. The LPL Financial Registered Representatives associated with this site may only discuss and/or transact securities business with residents of the following states: NY, FL, OH, TX, NC, SC, IL, AZ.