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Larry Jones

Lake Norman Financial Planner, blue water ocean sailor, dangerous golfer, and PADI scuba instructor (in another life)
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Communication and Financial Services

Posted by Larry Jones on Jan 17, 2019 9:30:00 AM

Lessons from a "Minnow"

One of my favorite TV shows growing up was a silly tale of seven castaways shipwrecked on a lush tropical island in the Pacific. It was called "Gilligans' Island," and for those of you not old enough to remember great quality entertainment, the show was addictive. One of the more memorable episodes was when the castaways came across a Japanese soldier who had been left behind on the island by the Imperial forces in 1943, and being unaware that the war had been over for more than twenty years, was still fighting as he took all the castaways captive. This poor patriotic fellow was a victim of bad communication. 

When I think of how people impart information to one another, it's really quite amazing at how far we've come. Think about it, when the British forces surrendered to the American revolutionary forces, the folks back home in England didn't even know about it for weeks. How long did it take for Columbus to let his benefactors know that he had, in fact, discovered a New World? How many men died in battle after Grant surrendered to Lee in Appomattox because they didn't know the war was over?

In 1858 the first transatlantic cable was laid between North America and Europe, and for the first time messages could be sent across an ocean in minutes. In 1876 the telephone was invented, making instant communication available to the common man (it was necessary to learn Morse code before the telephone, and messages had to be slowly tapped out by hand. Today, in one of the greatest leaps in technology ever, we have collectively decided that "text messaging" is the way to go! Alexander Graham Bell must be turning over in his grave.), and after that technology began to take off. Today, information is shared instantaneously worldwide, and even communication across galaxies is now possible!

So why hasn't your stockbroker communicated with you?

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Topics: Communication

Investment Risk-> (Part 2) Are You Prepared for a Correction?

Posted by Larry Jones on Jan 15, 2019 9:30:00 AM

Market Moods and Why They Swing

In the last post I discussed the fact that the stock market is a paranoid schizophrenic! Most of the time changes in the market have absolutely nothing to do with the underlying value of the firm represented by that stock. Just because the value of Microsoft is $100 a share on Monday and $80 a week later does not necessarily mean that the product that Microsoft puts out has just become junk. No, more likely it's because investor sentiment has changed due to some report, causing the stock price to fall. (Caveat: sometimes prices DO fall because the company is struggling...the saavy investor needs to do his research). The true value of Microsoft is probably about what it was a week ago.

There is however, a school of thought, known by the way as Modern Portfolio theory, that states that the listed price of a stock on any given day accurately reflects a true valuation of that firm. The reason for this is that, due to technology and full disclosure rules, there is nothing that is unknown to the investor, if he does his research. Therefore, Mr. Market has correctly evaluated the price of the stock for you. In other words, there's no use in trying to beat the market because you cannot do it. And in fact, the vast majority of professional money managers do not beat the market! Think about are quite likely paying your stockbroker 1-1.5% in fees to do something you could do yourself for next to nothing!

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Investment Risk-> Are You Prepared for a Market Correction?

Posted by Larry Jones on Jan 10, 2019 9:30:00 AM

Riding the Gravy Train

As last year came to a close it seemed that the message from the financial markets was that "happy days are here again." After one of the longest bull markets in the history of Wall Street, many were feeling that the sky is the limit when it comes to investing. 

I must admit that it's very hard to face the possibility of a downturn when portfolio statements are reflecting significant gains. I believe that most investors are, at heart, optimists, otherwise they wouldn't be investing, but sometimes our optimism may lead us astray. Ben Bernanke once famously commented that the market was showing an "irrational exuberance," a comment that I'm sure he soon regretted as the market reacted in a negative fashion to his remarks. 

Are we experiencing "irrational exuberance" once again?

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How to Enjoy Virtual Financial Services

Posted by Larry Jones on Jan 8, 2019 9:30:00 AM

The (Rat) Race is On

If you are like most working age Americans, you sometimes seem overwhelmed by the amount of chores and obligations that you attend to on any given day. We are Wonder Woman parents, Ben Franklin on the job, and Jack Nicklaus in our pursuit of enetertainment. Throw in Church, time spent volunteering, and being with friends, and one wonders how we can manage it all. 

The 20th century was a time of great innovation. The invention of the light bulb freed us from lighting candles, gas and electric heat freed us from procuring and working with firewood. The washing machine liberated women from endless laundry, while electric stoves and refrigerators gave us even more free time. In the 21st century technology has brought even more freedom from toil. With all of these things we should be the happiest and most carefree generation that ever lived.

What happened?

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The Death Tax -> Will it Survive?

Posted by Larry Jones on Jan 3, 2019 9:30:00 AM

Death Can Be a Significant Event in One's Life

As I watch the unending parade of advertisements, I'm struck by how many of these promos point to things related to health. I see commercials for exercise machines, all being dominated by strong, good looking men and women in their late twenties. They drink vitamin drinks, eat vegan, love puppies, and vote for Utopia. I wonder if they realize that they will die one day.

No matter how you slice it, death is coming to us all. As far as I'm concerned it will be a significant event. Think about it, once you've taken that last breath, your participation in the events of this world have ceased. No more hopes and dreams, no more vacations, no more anything. The world goes on just as if you never existed, but your part in it is over.

Except for one thing.

Even though your concerns with this life are over, this life's concerns with you are not. Your grieving Uncle Sam will be wanting some of your sweat equity.

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Tips on Inherited Stock

Posted by Larry Jones on Jan 1, 2019 9:30:00 AM

Are you feeling confused by a recent inheritance of stock?

If you're like the majority of folks, you have no trouble in deciding how to handle the inheritance of things like cash and physical property. When it comes to inherited stock, however, it may be a different story. There can be questions about taxation, ownership, and brokerage ownership. Quite possibly, the new owner has no experience with these types of financial vehicles. Almost certainly the new owner will have a different tolerance for risk, and perhaps much different expectations for results.

How will you handle all these issues?  

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Medicare Prices Are Going Up? How Will You Be Affected?

Posted by Larry Jones on Dec 27, 2018 9:30:00 AM

2019 Medicare Changes Have Been Announced

If you're a senior retiree then no doubt you anxiously await the latest news each year from CMS, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, as they announce the changes for the upcoming year. The changes to take effect in 2019 have just been announced, and there is good news and bad news.

The good news is that Social Security recipients can expect to get....are you ready?

Da da da da da (drum roll)

This year your cost of living increase rolls in at 2.9%!

Not the greatest, but is, however more than retirees got last year.

What's the bad news?

In 2019, if you are affluent, you'll pay more than you might like.

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Merry Christmas to You

Posted by Larry Jones on Dec 25, 2018 9:30:00 AM

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Case Study: Can You Reduce Taxes With a Charitable Remainder Trust?

Posted by Larry Jones on Dec 20, 2018 9:30:00 AM

The Scenario

Carl and Joanna are amateur investors who have done very well. They have some growth stocks that have gone from $100,000 just a few years ago to $200,000 today. These are not their only assets, and their estate is fairly large. They have two grown children, and also feel very strongly about leaving a positive legacy behind through some charitable giving. Being alumni of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, they are also rabid basketball fans and have great disdain for Duke University. They'd like to take some income from the growth of these stocks, but there is a tax issue. If Carl were to sell his stock portfolio he'd owe capital gains taxes of 20%, or $20,000. Being a Tarheel, that rubs him the wrong way.

Is there a good way out of this dilemma for Carl?

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Topics: Case Studies

Does Your Advisor Meet the "Fiduciary" Standard?

Posted by Larry Jones on Dec 18, 2018 9:30:00 AM


What, me worry?

I grew up in the sixties, and one of my favorite ways to waste time was by reading Mad magazine. You might remember it. Primarily aimed at the non-educated and low-income reader, certainly that description fit me at the time, it was mainly a parody of other forms of entertainment. Mad magazine was usually graced on the cover by a rather goofy looking fellow who went by the name of Alfred E. Neuman. Neuman's favorite words to live by were, "what, me worry?" 

Now there's a lot to be said for keeping your life stress-free and minimizing what you worry about. But when it comes to turning over hundreds of thousands of dollars of your hard-earned retirement assets to a financial advisor, shouldn't you care to know a little about him? I think so.

Recently the Department of Labor began implementing a new rule that requires any financial advisor who works with retirement funds to act in the best interests of the client. The new rule is now on hold, and has yet to be implemented, but even the threat of it, is turning the financial industry on it's ear.

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Topics: Financial Planning

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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