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Welcome to Lake Norman's Financial Blog!

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

 

My name is Larry Jones and I'd like to welcome you to our local forum for discussion of financial topics (of course if you're not local to the lake feel free to join in as well). As a Chartered Financial Consultant and founder of NavStar Financial Services, my hope is that we can furnish you with relevant information that you'd like to have when making your everyday financial decisions.

As a fiduciary and financial planner in North Carolina, and a longtime resident of the lake, I'll try to cover topics ranging from asset protection to investment advisory topics, and everything in between. We hope to have guest bloggers who are experts in their particular area of law or tax strategies (but keep in mind that we do not provide specific legal or tax advice....any information presented here should be verified by an Attorney or CPA).

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Topics: Welcome to the Lake Norman Financial blog

Communication and Financial Services

Posted by Larry Jones on Dec 28, 2021 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

Merry Christmas

Posted by Larry Jones on Dec 23, 2021 9:30:00 AM


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Financial Planning in a Volatile Environment

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

The Approaching Storm

In the last blog I spoke a bit about our amazing debt burden in 2021, 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 is the Enemy of Freedom

Posted by Larry Jones on Dec 16, 2021 9:30:00 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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3 Tax Planning Concepts You Need to Know

Posted by Larry Jones on Dec 14, 2021 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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Financial Planning: The Special Needs Family

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

No Greater Love

Jesus said, "There is no greater love than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

If you are the parent of a special needs child that statement has YOU all over it.

Every parent agonizes over the health and well-being of their children. The smallest scratch, or illness, is a matter of prayer and attention for us. We know, however, that one day our precious child will grow to be self-sufficient, and our role will change.

The parent of a special needs child may have no such expectations. It may be that care will need to be provided for a lifetime, and maybe even beyond the lifetime of the parent.

Is that legally and financially possible? Yes!

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Topics: special needs

How should your business be organized? Business forms 101

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

Does it make a difference how your business is organized?

It might make a great deal of difference. For some folks being a Sole Proprietor will work just fine, while for others it could lead to financial disaster. How does one decide? First of all you need to know the answer to some basic questions. Here we go:

  • How much do you personally want to be responsible for business debts and liabilities?
  • Which form of ownership will minimize the tax bill?
  • What form will best help me achieve my short and long term goals?
  • How much money have you borrowed on your business and where did it come from?
  • What skills will the business need that you cannot provide?
  • How much personal control do you want over day-to-day decisions?
  • What will happen to the business if you are unable to manage it?

How you choose to answer these questions is the basis for deciding how to organize your firm.

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Topics: Business Organization

Common Retirement Income Issues for Women

Posted by Larry Jones on Dec 2, 2021 9:30:00 AM

Why Women are Special:

James Brown sang "This is a man's world. But it wouldn't be nothing without a woman or a girl." It's debatable whether it's still a man's world in 2021, however, when it comes to financial planning for the fairer sex, there can be some unique challenges. In my parent's day planners were accustomed to formulating financial plans primarily for families. Divorce and cohabitation was much less common. But today, nearly every situation is unique, and any planner that doesn't take the 21st century into account may be missing things.

There are a number of financial issues that are unique to the X chromosome dominant person.

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Topics: Financial Planning for Women

Thinking about a 401-k rollover? Here's some things to consider

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

Should you consider rolling over your 401-k to a personal IRA?

If you have recently left your job (or if it has left you), it's likely that you have an orphan retirement account at your old firm. Should you leave it there? If not, what should you do with it? What are the tax implications of your decision? What questions should you be asking that you don't know you should be asking?

Here are some guidelines to help:

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Topics: Retirement Plan Rollovers

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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