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Paying for Long-Term Care

Posted by Larry Jones on Aug 30, 2016 9:30:00 AM

In the blink of an eye

David and his wife Shirley were enjoying their lives together. They'd been married for 53 years, had 3 children and 6 grandchildren, and were active in their church and community. Life was very good, and they had both been blessed beyond measure.

One evening as they were watching TV David noticed that his wife got up to go to the restroom. This wasn't unusual, but something was different this time. She returned, having not found the bathroom, and she seemed quite disoriented. David asked her what was wrong, and what happened next frightened him terribly. When she answered him it came out as gibberish. She couldn't speak! He also noticed that she had wet herself, and the frightened look on her face told him that she too, knew that something was wrong. As quickly as he could he dialed 911.

The prognosis wasn't good. Shirley had had a stroke, which left her unable to walk, there was no mobility of any kind on her left side, there were some cognitive issues, and she couldn't communicate. After several days in the hospital, and two weeks in a rehab unit, he took his beloved wife home.

But his normal life was gone. At first David tried as best he could to take care of her, but his strength and stamina were not up to the task. His children flew in to help, but after a couple of weeks they all had to return home, which wasn't near their parents. He was exhausted, discouraged, and depressed.

What could David do?

He began to bring in home health caregivers. They cost $20 an hour and Shirley needed care around the clock. He was able to keep this up for almost a year, but eventually David knew he'd have to turn Shirley over to someone who could really take care of her. She would have to go to an institution.

In just a few short minutes that night, everything had changed for David and Shirley. Their financial picture had changed too, and not for the better. David was truly worried now about running out of money.

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Topics: Long Term Care

Long-term Care Funding Options

Posted by Larry Jones on Aug 25, 2016 9:30:00 AM

Are you ready?

Ready for what? Ready to live a long life.

"Well, yes, Larry. I am."

Everyone dreams of living a long and productive life. The good news is that, today you most likely will. Advances in healthcare have drastically extended the number of years the average human can expect to live.

A diagnosis of cancer was once a death sentence. Not anymore. With the use of extensive chemotherapy, radiation, and other treatments, many patients continue living for years after a cancer diagnosis. It's the same with strokes. 

These episodes may be quite expensive, however. The average bill for nursing home expenses may exceed $80,000 a year. How would your financial plan withstand such a drawdown? Could you endure a 3-5 year stretch of paying such expenses, which is a typical timeframe?

Does your plan take into account the possibility of an extended long-term care event?

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Children Need to be Involved in Their Parent's Estate Planning

Posted by Larry Jones on Aug 23, 2016 9:30:00 AM

The Civil War

The American Civil War was the bloodiest conflict in our history. Over 600,000 young men made the ultimate sacrifice, and thousands more were maimed for the rest of their lives. It was a gruesome, ugly picture of what happens when our American family can no longer get along. I hope we never see such a thing again.

There is another civil war that I have personally observed. It begins at the death of the parents in a family, and many times separates and maims siblings for the rest of their lives. It's an ugly legacy to leave behind, and almost always could have been completely prevented. 

How?

By taking care to adress financial issues beforehand. I know of folks who have spent years in probate, dealing with courts and attorneys, and it could all have been prevented so easily if only a detailed and well-thought out Will had been prepared.

Most families don't want to leave behind a legacy of hatred and strife amongst their children, but it's a rare family that can escape turmoil when the Patriarchs of the family leave this part of their financial plan undone.

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Topics: Estate Planning

Financial Planning During a Divorce

Posted by Larry Jones on Aug 18, 2016 9:30:00 AM

The End of the World

There are few experiences in life, when it comes to pain and suffering, that compare with divorce. Two people who once were partners in everything, who may be parents together, and who know every intimate detail of each other's lives, have now become adversaries. It has been compared to death, but many feel it's worse. At least with death, when someone close to you dies, the funeral begins the healing process. That's not so with divorce, especially when there are children involved. The emotional pain can go on for a long time.

Divorce can be hard on your financial plan. In fact, it may completely wreck it. According to statistics over half of the marriages in our country will end in divorce. Statistically, it's more likely that one of my clients will get divorced in the next five years than that they will die.

What do you need to know in these situations, from a financial planning point of view?

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Topics: Divorce

A Crucial Step In Your Successful Retirement is Knowing When to Retire

Posted by Larry Jones on Aug 16, 2016 9:30:00 AM

The Edge of Retirement

When I was a child, way back before electricity and representative government, there used to be a TV show called "The Edge of Night." It was a soapy....er, soap opera that came on sometime during the day, and of course it held no attraction for me. It was all about such wonderful things as divorces, and affairs, and mayhem in people's lives, all while they were wholehaertedly engaged in the pursuit of happiness ( I'm making assumptions here...I never really watched it). Somehow, the title seems to suggest, something bad was always lurking just around the corner. I'm so thankful for Gilligans Island!

Are you on the edge of retirement? Are you still working at a job that becomes increasingly more daunting each day? Are the co-workers whom you have spent years with hanging it up, and now you're seriously considering doing the same? Well, knowing how to choose your time to retire might prevent your non-working years from becoming "The edge of night."

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Investment Risk: the Elephant in the Room

Posted by Larry Jones on Aug 11, 2016 9:30:00 AM

Risk vs. Reward

Alan thought everything was great. It was August of 2008 and he was just about there! In three months he'd be putting in his retirement papers- he finally had a million dollars in his retirement account. Now, with a "properly balanced" portfolio, he'd be able to take a 4% drawdown against that portfolio for the rest of his life. His stockbroker had assured him of that. This money, along with social security, would put him in fine shape. In three months he'd "stick it to the man!"

Now let's move ahead 2 years. It's the middle of 2010 and Alan can scarcely believe how his retirement is going so far. He had done just as he planned...marched into HR and announced his retirement in November of 2008, even though the stock market was in a free-fall at the time. His broker had assured him not to worry: "it wil come back." Well, it hadn't. Alan was still taking that same $40,000 a year from his portfolio. The only problem was that his portfolio had lost 45% of it's value. His million dollars was now down to almost $500,000. That meant that his rate of drawdown, instead of being 4% was now over 7%. Even that, however, wasn't the worst news. Last month his wife was diagnosed with Alzheimers disease. She would almost certainly have to be institutionalized, and it wasn't cheap. His income right now was a little over $7000 a month. The facility for his wife was $6500.

In desperation Alan was now looking for a job. He desperately needed to go back to work, but as he was beginning to discover, even though he had been a highly qualified software engineer, nobody wanted to talk to him because of his age.

In only two years his wonderful plan for retirement had been dashed on the rocks. What was he going to do? A million dollars had seemed like so much.

The unknown variable for Alan was how much investment risk, he was exposed to. This is the "elephant in the room" that no stockbroker likes to talk about.

 

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Topics: Investment Advice

The Complete Financial Planning Team

Posted by Larry Jones on Aug 9, 2016 9:30:00 AM

 A Hole That Will Never Be Filled

In November of 2005 my Dad received the news that he had cancer of the liver. He ded the next February. It was a sad, cold day, and left a hole in my life that will never be filled. My Mom had preceded him four years earlier. Mom and Dad were gone. It was all me now, and I knew that life would never be the same. It was a crossroads in my life.

Perhaps you've faced that same crossroads. 

The next few months were filled with nostalgia as I sorted through the things that my parents had spent their lives accumulating. One of the more poignant memories was finding an old tri-cycle that my Dad had kept hidden in the back of the garage. I never knew it was there, but he'd kept it as a reminder of me as a little boy. I cried when I saw it.

When it comes to finances, my father had done well for a post-depression, greatest generation, ex-minor league baseball player (his call to the majors was interrupted by a call from Uncle Sam in 1942). I don't think my Dad ever made more than $300 a week his entire life, yet when he died his estate was worth almost a million dollars. He was a good manager.

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Investment Advice for the Risk Averse

Posted by Larry Jones on Aug 4, 2016 9:30:00 AM

 

To the moon, Alice!

I'm going to date myself here. One of my favorite old TV shows was "The Honeymooners" starring Jackie Gleason and Art Carney, which was filmed in the early 60's. Gleason was a NY city bus driver who was always struggling financially. Many times these struggles would lead to intense disagreements with his wife, Alice. Alice just happened to be the sensible one in the family. Gleason was a large fellow, and Alice was a small lady, and sometimes in the height of disagreement, Gleason would shake his fist at Alice (remember this was a comedy) and exclaim, "to the moon, Alice."

As I observe the current environment in the stock market today, I'm amazed at the attitude of investors. After the carnage of 2008-09, where losses in excess of 50% were not unusual, it seems that collective memory has erased the pain.  After all, the market over the past five years has been on a roll. Happy days are here again, right? Does anyone remember that the market moves both ways, up AND down? When I speak with folks about maybe moving some of their nest-egg to more conservative strategies, the attitude seems to be: "what?! And miss out on this market?! Are you crazy?" 

I call this what Ben Bernanke once famously called "irrational exuberance." Stocks today are trading at 23 times earnings! If you believe that stocks will continue "to the moon, Alice," then you need not read any further.

But if you think that now may be a very good time to take some of those earnings off the table, and protect them, then read on.

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Tax Strategies: Using Tax Advantaged Vehicles for Portfolio Growth

Posted by Larry Jones on Aug 2, 2016 10:30:00 AM

The Power of Tax-Deferral

When it comes to growing assets for retirement, especially in today's volatile economic environment, you want to take advantage of every break you can get. One of these breaks is through the use of a tax-deferred vehicle, such as a 401-k, IRA, or 403-b plans, etc. How do these plans work? Quite simply, any growth inside them is sheltered from taxation in the accumulation phase. You don't pay the taxes until you begin to take the money out and spend it. This becomes a huge advantage over time.

For example, let's look at a person, age 45 who has $100,00 in a 401-k. She's in a 25% tax bracket. Let's assume this person contributes nothing else for 20 years, and that she averages an 8% return over that same 20 year period. At age 65, in a normal non-tax-deferred account that money would have grown to over $306,000.

But since she was in a 401-k, all of her earnings continued to grow without being taxed. Now the value is well over $466,000, an increase of $145,000. As tax strategies go, this is a good one.

What's the downside to using these tax-deferred vehicles? There are limits as to how much you can contribute to them each year. So what's a person with a very healthy investment budget to do?

 

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Topics: Tax Deferral

Tactical Investing: Smoothing Market Volatility

Posted by Larry Jones on Jul 28, 2016 10:30:00 AM

Which would you rather have, low-risk and low-volatility along with some peace of mind, or high-risk and high-volatility along with screaming highs and screaming lows?

That question summarizes the difference between the world of tactical money management versus modern portfolio theory which says you must buy and hold, no matter what.

What do I mean by tactical money management? It's simply active management, as opposed to passive. Let me give an example: in 2008 were you wondering why your stockbroker left your entire portfolio exposed as the market declined by more than 50% in just a few months? He was practicing "passive" management (an oxymoron). He'd speak words such as, "don't worry, it'll come back." He was right. The market did rebound...IN 5 YEARS! If you were a retiree living on a fixed income, and perhaps facing some serious issue such as long-term care expenses, were you able to not worry when your $1 million portfolio became less than $500,000? That was a long five years.

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Topics: Investment Advice

What you don't know can hurt you!

As a fiduciary I am required to always act in your best interests, and as a professional planner, it's my job to be familiar with all types of possible solutions and financial vehicles. In short, I have no interest in selling any particular product or any affiliation with a particular company. I work for my clients.

Are you:

  • concerned that your tax bill is too high?
  • tired of watching your nest egg decline by significant amounts every 5-7 years?
  • wishing you could find more free time?
  • looking for ways to protect yourself against litigation that could destroy all you have worked for?
  • worried that Uncle Sam is going to enjoy your retirement more than you are?

If any of the above describes you and you'd like to get a question answered then just click the button below and we'll be in touch.

Let's Meet!

p.s. we have the ability to meet virtually regardless of your location! Give us a shout!

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