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NavStar Currents

Asset Protection Basics: Do You Have an Umbrella Plan

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

A Night to Remember

Ed and June Griswald are fairly affluent. They are conscientious parents of two teenage children, Bianca, age 17 and Carl, 18. One evening, Ed and June come into possession of two tickets to watch Duke and Carolina play a basketball game. The game is two hours from home. They decide to attend, and on a Friday evening, they travel to the stadium to watch the game. It promises to be a great game, and they intend to get a hotel room for the night after the game, and return home the next morning. They have no concerns about their two angelic children. They know that they'll probably watch a movie on TV and go to bed by 10.

Twenty minutes after they leave for the game, the friends of Carl and Bianca begin arriving. There is a well-stocked liquor cabinet at the Griswald home, which the angelic kids soon locate. The next few hours are spent in great fellowship and revelry, and a good time is had by all. 

After the game (where Carolina handily trounced Duke using only their third string players, 105 to 40), Ed decides to cancel the hotel and travel on home. About an hour away, June calls her two little angels just to make sure they aren't worried about them, and tells them they'll be there soon.

Panic ensues at the home of Griswald as the ne're-do-wells leave the scene. Unfortunately, one of the teenage drivers, having had way too much to drink, loses control of his car on the way home, and crashes into a telephone pole. He ends up with a broken spine, and is paralyzed from the neck down. Local attorneys go into a frenzy.

By the time they have finished with the Griswald family, and after their homeowners and car insurance policies have paid off, they are still on the hook for over $1.5 million dollars!

It was a night to remember.

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Topics: asset protection

3 Tax Planning Concepts You Need to Know

Posted by Larry Jones on Nov 21, 2017 9:30:00 AM

We Live in a "Taxing" Environment

My Mom's favorite show to watch on television was "Wheel of Fortune." I'm sure you've seen it. Thousands of dollars in prizes are given away in every episode, and the ecstatic contestants squeal with delight as they are presented with such things as trips to Fiji and new automobiles. Who wouldn't love such a good deal?

But wait a minute....you have a "partner" in this transaction - Uncle Sam. Suddenly your great windfall becomes a burden, especially if you are awarded merchandise instead of cash. For example, let's say you just won a new car worth $29,000. The game show will issue you a Form 1099 that shows you have just earned $29,000 in income. Not only might that bump you into a higher tax bracket, but state taxes may also apply. You could find yourself having to come up with an extra $7-9000 just to pay the taxes on your winnings. You might even have to sell the vehicle to do that.

Your government wants it's money (you didn't think it was yours, did you?) and it will get it. Ask any retiree about Required Minimum Distributions and they'll give you a very good answer on how our tax code affects us all. 

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Is This a Good Time For Tactical Investing?

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

All Good Things Must Come to an End

The statement above does not, however. apply to our latest political season. Most Americans would agree that the last election was, in fact, been quite ugly, no matter which side of the fence you were slinging mud from. I learned one very important lesson through it all....if even half of what the campaign ads proclaimed is to be believed, THERE WAS NOBODY WORTHY OF BEING ELECTED TO ANYTHING!

But that's beside the point. This is a financial blog, and you're probably saying something to yourself like, "get to the point, Larry, or I'm going back to watch Cramer on MSNBC." So here goes...

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Topics: Investment Advice

4 of the Biggest Financial Planning Mistakes

Posted by Larry Jones on Nov 14, 2017 9:30:00 AM

Early to rise...

It's 6 AM and John is unlocking the door at McDonalds. None of the other employees have arrived but he's not surprised. Kids today just don't have the same work ethic that his generation did. John, you see is 73 years old. He sometimes wonders why he still has to do this at his age. There just seems to too much month left at the end of his money. Lately his left knee has been bothering him, and he worries about what he'll do when he can't work anymore.

John's story isn't unusual. We've all seen John, or someone just like him, plugging along when others his age are happily retired. What happened? How did John end up here?

The choices we all make when we're young many times will follow us for as long as we live. I have written a book entitled "The Road to Wealth" that is designed to guide the conscientious person to financial independence. I believe that the principles found in this book are designed to help take you to a successful retirement.

Conversely, there are many things that you can do that will all but guarantee financial hardship down the road. Here's my top 4.

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How to Survive Medicare Season

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

Open Season on Seniors

It's that time of year again. I call it "Medicare Season." I apologize to all the hunters out there, but the analogy is quite appropriate. Medicare open enrollment has come around again. The season begins October 15th and runs until December 7th, and the insurance agents will be loaded for bear....uh, actually, loaded for seniors, and out in force.

Every year during this season I begin to get phone calls from alarmed clients asking for advice on their health insurance. Some of them are more than alarmed...some are very near panic.

What's going on?

Here's a typical call: "Mr. Jones, I need to talk to you. I'm afraid that my health insurance is no good (or about to be taken away, or has cancelled, etc.) and I don't know what to do! Can you help me?"

I wish I could say that every insurance agent out there has your best interests in mind, but it's simply not true. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of fine, principled, insurance agents who have integrity out there. But there are also a lot of desperate, uneducated, bottom-feeders who must meet a company imposed quota or be fired, who will say anything to make the sale.

Here are some things to help you survive the annual open enrollment dog-and-pony show.

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Physicians: Will asset protection really increase the quality of your care?

Posted by Larry Jones on Nov 7, 2017 9:30:00 AM

Litigation vs Healthcare

America has become, perhaps, the most lawsut happy nation in the history of the world. Nobody is more aware of that fact than a physician. The cost of becoming a doctor is high from a financial point of view. After an undergraduate education, post-grad, medical school, internships and residencies, the typical medical graduate begins his or her career in a deep hole. But after that, it's easy street for them, right?

Well, maybe not. After all, with five attorneys chasing every ambulance, running class-action lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies and medical practices, even years after the procedure was done, it's not inconceivable that a physician could build a successful practice and then see it destroyed in a courtroom. I myself once sat on a jury where damages were being sought against an OB-GYN physician years after the baby was born. Every day for three weeks that doctor sat in the courtroom, and eventually was acquitted. Do you think the quality of care she delivered during that three-week period suffered? Of course it did.

The point I'm trying to make is that the threat of being sued is one of the largest concerns that a physician has. They are keenly aware that one mistake can erase everything they've ever worked for? How would you like that deal in your career?

 

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Topics: asset protection

A Case Study: Estate Tax Reduction

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

The Scenario:

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Topics: Case Studies

What is Peace of Mind Investing?

Posted by Larry Jones on Oct 31, 2017 9:30:00 AM

Hold On, Baby

Ever heard of Jack Bogle? I love Jack Bogle. I'd like to make him head of marketing for our low-risk low-volatilty investing platform. He probably wouldn't take the job, though. Jack's pretty well off. You might remember Jack as the founder and chairman of the giant Vanguard group. He's most famous for being a champion of the buy-and-hold index fund strategy. 

Not too long ago Jack made a startling statement on CNBC. He said individual investors need to prepare for "at least two declines of 25-30 percent, maybe even 50% in the coming decade." When the CNBC anchor said to him, "that's a little concerning, don't you think?," Jack's reply was. "oh, no. Not at all."

Thanks Jack! 

If you're Jack Bogle and your portfolio drops by half that may be just fine. But if you're Stanley Bogle two weeks out from retiring at Kroger, it may be a different deal entirely. Can you really stand a 50% hit, along with taking retirement income and battling inflation? Well, maybe not.

I'd like to clear something up here....we are always told not to worry after a stock market correction. After all, we hear, "it will come back."

I'd like to go on record right here and now, declaring to you that your money will NOT come back. It has gone to money heaven. Your portfolio may regrow, true. But that money you had is gone forever.

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Topics: Investment Advice

Financial Planning in our Volatile Environment

Posted by Larry Jones on Oct 26, 2017 9:30:00 AM

The Approaching Storm

In the last blog I spoke a bit about our amazing debt burden in 2017, and how the majority of Americans don't seem to consider it a very big deal. I think I can safely promise you that history books will one day consider it a very big deal. When the powers that be no longer are able to generate enough revenue through taxation, fees, fines, and sanctions to pay the interest on the debt, the issue of governmental debt will become the number one concern of Americans. I believe that it nearly happened in 2008.

Since then our economy has been in a very strange pattern. Slow growth in general has been mocked by Wall Street, with some fairly good returns being generated in the last five years. What many have not noticed is that these market returns have been closely linked with QE (quantitative easing), which is an abnormal infusion of printed money into the market. In other words, the market has responded well during the time that QE was going on, but now that the infusions have stopped, so has the market. Is this the sign of a healthy economy? I don't think so, but with great "irrational exuberance" (an expression made famous by Alan Greenspan), investors seem to rush in where others fear to tread. Greece is defaulting? Market drops. EU bails out Greece? Market rises. Indeed, neither of these events is good news, but investors are grasping for any sign of hope. The result is a stock market bubble, bid up to "irrational" highs far above the true value of the underlying businesses.

Like we used to say in the Navy, "stand by for heavy rolls!" 

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Debt: The Enemy of Freedom

Posted by Larry Jones on Oct 24, 2017 9:34:00 AM

I Owe, I Owe, It's Off to Work I Go

A number of years ago I met with a lady who was turning 65 years old, and going onto Medicare. She was all alone in the world, except for a couple of unemployed children who occasionally needed to borrow money from Mom. She shared with me that she collected $714 a month from social security, still had 25 years to go on paying off her mortgage, and was making two car payments, one for her and one for her son. Social security was her only income.

How does anyone survive on such an income?

Barely.

If you have read my book, "Compounding Wisdom" you'll recall that one of the Biblical financial principles is to avoid debt as much as possible. Although a little debt can be used as a healthy leverage in some cases, too much of it will begin to suck the life out of your finances. How long do you think that you can get away with paying off your Visa card with American Express? Common sense will tell you that eventually that train must come into the station.

It's nonsense to believe that you, as an individual, can use credit to pay off more credit for the rest of your life. Interest will begin to compound against you until you reach the point where you just can't pay anymore. At that point your financial freedom is lost and you will be dancing to someone else's tune for awhile.

Yet we as a nation are being asked to believe that these same Biblical principles don't apply when it comes to Macroeconomics.

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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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