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Does Your Advisor Meet the "Fiduciary" Standard?

Posted by Larry Jones on Oct 28, 2021 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

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

Posted by Larry Jones on Oct 28, 2021 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. 


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

A Case Study in Estate Tax Reduction

Posted by Larry Jones on Oct 26, 2021 9:30:00 AM

The Scenario:

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Topics: Case Studies

Case Study: The Zero Estate Tax Strategy

Posted by Larry Jones on Oct 21, 2021 9:30:00 AM

Death and Taxes

Everyone knows that death and taxes are unavoidable. For many, the two go together! If you have been able to accumulate considerable assets in the course of your life, you are probably more aware of this than most. Depending on how much your estate is worth, it's possible that your obligation to the government after you are gone could be quite substantial. 

Stories of celebrity estate taxation are legendary. Some of America's most famous have seen their net-worth reduced by 40-70% because of the federal estate tax. Walt Disney died with a $23 million estate, but paid almost $7 million in taxes. John D. Rockefeller was worth $27 million but ended up paying more than $17 million - a 64% reduction! 

Yet, it doesn't have to end up this way.

A well crafted and properly implemented estate plan can enable you to cut the IRS completely out of your estate.

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Topics: Case Studies

Financial Services and the Busy Professional

Posted by Larry Jones on Oct 19, 2021 9:30:00 AM

We may be the most stressed out generation in history!

The statement above may be a little over the top. After all, probably nobody reading this has ever been kidnapped and sold into slavery, or watched half of the population of his city die of the plague.

But having said that, we are a generation on information steroids. Our grandparents embraced new "time-saving" appliances, such as washing machines and toasters, microwave ovens, etc. With all of the things we have to help us in our work we should be awash in leisure time. But is that the case with you? Certainly not with me.

Today, I'm not so sure we're not a slave to our devices. E-mails, tweets, and text-messages scream for our immediate attention. Our social life consists of wierd virtual friends whom we'll never meet in person, and really know nothing about. Responsibilities are endless, and especially if you're a working professional, the hours in the day don't seem to be enough.

Trying to keep all these ducks in a row can be too much. Many times the management of your finances is a chore that is always pushed out to the future.

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Topics: Subscription Services

Investment Advice: Five Things That Your Stockbroker Won't Say

Posted by Larry Jones on Oct 14, 2021 9:30:00 AM

Did you know...

that before 1980 less than 5% of Americans were invested in the stock market? That's kind of hard to believe when you've just seen the latest report on the Dow in the evening news, followed by several commercials from investment firms, and even a cable channel devoted to Wall Street!

But our parents were probably not part of all this. They accumulated wealth in more traditional ways, and took much less risk. Why do we take such risk with our money today? Because we have been educated by the Wall Street machine to believe that we have to.

As an investment advisor, and a financial planner, I would agree that over the long-term there isn't a better way to grow assets than in the market, which has traditionally returned north of 7% year after year OVER THE LONG HAUL. But what if you are a retiree, or getting close to retirement? Can you really be happy about losing half of your portfolio in a few months, and then waiting six years for it to come back? That's what happened in 2008-09. What if you suddenly had to pay for long-term care just as your portfolio hit bottom? Would you still be excited about Wall Street? By the way, in the 30's, after the stock market crash, an entire generation never trusted Wall Street again, or banks!

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Topics: Investment Advice

Why Physicians Need Asset Protection?

Posted by Larry Jones on Oct 12, 2021 9:30:00 AM

Is your doctor taking good care of you?

When we visit our doctor, we may literally be placing our very lives in his hand. Is he doing his best to take care of you? Or is he constrained by outside factors over which he has no control? Today's Physician faces challenges to his practice that a doctor 40 years ago could never have imagined. Not only must he be constantly up on all the latest medical advances and treatments, but his administrative burden has increased exponentially, and he is surrounded by a sea of litigators looking to capitalize on his every mistake. It's no wonder that private practices are closing at record rates, and many future Physicians are choosing another career path.

Recently a relative of mine was informed by his doctor that he could no longer prescribe a certain heart medication. His entire practice was moving away from this (very common) medicine because the medical-malpractice insurance company was requiring it. Now, it just so happens that this medicine had been controlling his heart condition for 20 years, and he had been told by another doctor that he should "never, ever let another doctor take you off of this medicine. Nothing else will work as well for you."

Because of a fear of litigation, a doctor is taking my relative off of an effective medicine that has kept him alive for over 20 years.

My first thought was that this doctor needs a good asset protection plan for his practice. Then he'd be free to practice good medicine, and put his patient's best interests first.

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The Sweet Spot in Retirement Income Planning

Posted by Larry Jones on Oct 7, 2021 9:30:00 AM

Golf, the Sport of Kings

Almost every time I play a round of golf I vow that it will never happen again. I don't believe I have ever hated anything as much as I hate this aggravating and extremely difficult sport. If only I could quit. But something about it keeps bringing me back to try again. That something, is the sweet spot!

Now, I've learned when speaking to other golfers that I am the only one who has these difficulties. It seems that every single person I ask, "how was your round?" will reply that it was an awful day. "I got stuck in a bunker on number three and barely broke 75." It's that kind of crazy talk that really gets to me, and I'm sure it would make even Jordan Spieth nervous to hear it. A typical round for me includes many different activities. Bird watching in the woods is always pleasant. I'm reminded of boyhood trips to the beach as I play in the sand, and I know my putting brings back memories of windmills and dinosaurs. I'm usually just about to throw my clubs when it happens. I take a correct stance, an enviable swing, and, ping! I hit that sweet spot and observe a 250 yard drive straight as an arrow. All thoughts of golf enmity disappear instantly and from now on no greens fee is too high. I'm ready for Pebble Beach! That sweet spot is a beautiful thing, and is responsible for the millions of dollars spent each year by amateur duffers. You can't argue with the sweet spot.

If you're a golfer you know exactly what I'm talking about. But did you know that when it comes to retirement income, there's a sweet spot there as well.


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Topics: Retirement Income

Should Your Estate Plan Include a Living Trust Arrangement?

Posted by Larry Jones on Oct 5, 2021 9:30:00 AM

Fins to the left, fins to the right

Everything in our world today seems to be expensive, doesn't it? When I was a child, which was, admittedly, a long, long, long time ago, my Mom used to drop me off at the local movie theatre to watch the latest Elvis film (...a long, long, long, time.....). She'd give me a dollar to spend. The price of admission was 50 cents and then I could get a large coke and popcorn for the rest of it. Have you tried taking your family to a movie lately? There's a good reason to come and see a financial planner, right there!

Well, we know how expensive everything in life can be, but have you considered dying? Kicking the bucket can be one of the most costly endeavors ever, especially if no estate planning has been done. Does the thought of giving away 30-60% of your children's inheritance give you a warm and fuzzy feeling? That's not the case for most.

There are lots of expenses that come into play when you die. Court costs, executors fees, attorney fees, taxes, filing costs, and the funeral costs are among the top. You might be interested to see how the estates of some of our most famous Americans have been plundered:

Individual Value at Death Value After Probate
John D. Rockefeller $26,905,182



Elvis Pressley $10,165,434



Walt Disney $23,004,851



J.P. Morgan $17,121,480



Frederick Vanderbilt $76,838,530



You can see from the chart above that not only does having a good estate plan makes sense, but not having one can be a very expensive mistake. One interesting'll notice that one of the folks in the table above, J.P. Morgan, was a financial professional. Hmmm... 

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Topics: Estate Planning

Financial Plans and Divorce

Posted by Larry Jones on Sep 30, 2021 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

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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