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Mooresville, NC 28117

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Financial Services That Can Come to You!

Posted by Larry Jones on May 23, 2017 9:30:00 AM

Is your time important to you?

Have you ever scheduled a service call only to have them tell you that someone will stop by your home sometime between 8AM and 5PM....as long as they can get to you that particular day? Aargh!!

If you're like me, your time is a very valuable resource to you. Few things get my goat like someone presuming that they know better how to spend my time than I do. Come on. In this day of instant communication can't we do better than this?

It might come as a surprise to your cable technician, but many TV viewers have jobs. We might even consider it more important to keep that job than to watch Dr. Phil's latest episode about gender-confused insecure college dropouts who hate their lives. 

When you need to see a doctor you must take time off from work. Your car needs repair and you have to be absent from work...again. Your aging parent needs care, and ...well, you get it.

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Topics: Financial Services

What does a good financial services firm offer it's customers?

Posted by Larry Jones on May 18, 2017 9:33:00 AM

Why are financial firms popping up everywhere?

I was driving recently and listening to a local radio station. In the space of half an hour there were at least four radio ads from financial firms. I got home and opened my mailbox to extract a couple of invitations to dinner seminars from other local financial firms, of which I get about 7 or 8 each and every month. I really believe that any retiree in this area could knock off several hundred dollars of food expense from their budget simply by attending these seminars regularly! 

What's up with all these financial firms? Are so many really necessary? Are some better than others? Do they all do the same thing?

We are the most prosperous nation in the history of the world. A constitutional framework of government, and an entrepeneurial spirit has produced the robust economy that benefits us all. With increased wealth, there is a greater need for intelligent decisions regarding that wealth, and I believe that the level of financial literacy is at an all time low. Hence, the rapid explosion of financial "advisors." It's simply supply and demand in action.

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Estate Planning is a Matter of Trust

Posted by Larry Jones on May 16, 2017 9:30:00 AM

Is what you own really yours?

Walt Disney was valued at more than $23 million when he died. Yet, after estate taxes and probate costs nearly $7 million of that was lost to his descendants- nearly 30% of his net worth! Elvis Presley lost 73%.

If you are a high net worth individual, and the above examples make your stomach queasy, you have 3 viable options available to you. You can (1) spend everything you have and die just as you go broke, (2) give everything to charity, or (3) engage in advanced estate planning. 

I'm convinced that the only folks who have substantial amounts of their estates taken away at death are those who have chosen to remain ignorant in legal tax strategies, which are available to everyone who will take the time and trouble to investigate them.

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Topics: Estate Planning

Estate Planning: Does it Matter How Assets Are Titled?

Posted by Larry Jones on May 11, 2017 9:30:00 AM

 

Will the death of your partner rock your financial world?

Did you know that the number one reason for widows to be in poverty is because their spouse died? In other words, before that person passed away everything was rosy. Your financial plan absolutely needs to take the death of your partner into account (as well as their long-term care needs). Failure to do this is simply negligence.

One of the things I'd like to talk about this time has to do with the subject of titling your assets. This is something that sometimes doesn't get as much attention as it should, but doing it wrong can have very undesirable consequences.

For example, suppose that you and your partner own a brokerage account worth $1 million dollars. Your partner's share in this account is $500,000. The account is titled as TOC, which means Tenacies in Common.

Life is beautiful. Then, one day your partner is bitten by a rabid dog, and after biting many of her old acquaintances, dies shortly thereafter. When the will is read, your partner has specified that she'd like to leave her portion of the brokerage account to her son, Otis, who is an alcoholic living in Mayberry, NC with his alcoholic wife Agnes. You haven't seen either of them in twenty years.

Can she do that?

Yes. 

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Topics: Estate Planning

4 Keys to a Good Long Term Retirement Plan

Posted by Larry Jones on May 9, 2017 9:30:00 AM

 

Are you an optimist or a pessimist?

I believe that the vast majority of people are pessimists when it comes to religion and politics, but when it comes to their finances they are mostly optimists. The banker loves to sell you a variable mortgage because he knows that rates will go up, but you, being the eternal optimist, are sure they won't. We buy things on credit because we believe we'll have more disposable income next year than we do today.

But when it comes to retirement planning, it might be a good idea to take a "what if?" frame of mind as you make your decisions. Here are 4 areas that you should consider.

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Topics: Retirement Planning

Tax Strategies: Are Municipal Bonds Really a Good Idea?

Posted by Larry Jones on May 4, 2017 9:30:00 AM

Everybody "knows" that folks in high tax brackets should hold municipal bonds in ther portfolio. Right?

I've seldom met a holder of municipal bonds who weren't extremely proud of their accomplishment. After all, they're getting growth at the expense of Uncle Sam. That just has to be good.

But the truth is that muni's may actually create more tax problems than they solve. Other tax strategies might work better.

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Topics: Tax Strategies

Tax Reduction: Should I Convert My Regular IRA to a Roth?

Posted by Larry Jones on May 2, 2017 9:30:00 AM

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Topics: Tax Strategies

Living Your Successful Retirement

Posted by Larry Jones on Apr 27, 2017 9:30:00 AM

Retirement should be prepared for!

We spend a significant amount of time preparing for our working years. Our parents taught us the value of hard work. We may have attended several years of post-high school education. We worked hard on our job skills, and maybe even mastered the art of office politics, and all of this with a single goal in mind. We wanted to retire one day. We wanted to achieve financial independence so that we would be able to do what we wanted. And then the magic day finally came. We took our gold watch and strolled into the unknown: retirement.

And yet, studies have shown that the majority of Americans spend more time planning for their next vacation than for their successful retirement. Today, thanks to advances in healthcare, it's quite possible that you'll spend almost as much time in your retirement years than you did working!

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Topics: Retirement Planning

College Planning: Where will the money come from?

Posted by Larry Jones on Apr 25, 2017 9:30:00 AM

You have just experienced a major paradigm shift:

As you stand in the maternity ward at 3:12 AM staring at little Bernie, you can't believe how your life has just changed. An hour ago life was all about you. Now, as Junior grasps your finger and holds on for dear life, you realize for the first time that your entire life from now on will revolve around this little fellow who's counting on you. You'd happily step in front of a bus for him if necessary.

The doctors come excitedly into the room to tell you that little Bernie holds the hospital record apgar score! He'll surely be a neurosurgeon or nuclear physicist.

But Harvard or Oxford won't be cheap....

How will you manage to pay for his education (even though you're sure the little genius will graduate in only 2 years)?

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Topics: College Planning

Do you know where your retirement income will be coming from?

Posted by Larry Jones on Apr 20, 2017 9:30:00 AM

Have you done your homework?

I have met with many folks who have some general idea of how much money they'll have in retirement. One of my roles as a planner is to try to determine exactly where your income will be coming from, and in what amounts. Wouldn't you like to know these things before you retire?

For some reason the Wall Street system has educated consumers on the idea that you should have everything in the stock market, leave it there forever, and assume you'll draw some magical percentage (such as 4%) for the rest of your life. Hopefully you'll be alright.

That plan scares me to death!

Why?

Let's take an example. Suppose you had accumulated $1 million dollars by the summer of 2007. Your plans were to retire at the end of August. Taking 4% would give you an annual income of $40,000 a year, which is fine with you, and you call it quits on schedule. 

By the fall of 2009 you would have been in a panic situation. The value of the S&P 500 declined by more than 50% over that time period. Now your million dollar portfolio is worh only $475,000. In order to keep taking a $40,000 a year distribution you'll now need to take nearly 8.5%! At this rate of drawdown your nest egg is not long for this world. Of course, the market came back, but on average it took 5 years to do it. Are you going to have to take a job at Wendys?

Instead, you should analyze all of your sources of potential retirement income, look at alternatives, tax scenarios, etc. and not put all of your eggs in one basket. 

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Topics: Retirement Income

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 help 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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