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Some Critical Estate Planning Mistakes

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


Your Legacy: Does it matter to you?

I'd like to take a minute to discuss how your estate plan and your legacy are tied together. How will you be remembered by your children and your community? 

If you're a high-income earner, the way that you arrange your affairs for the day when you are no longer in the picture may make a great deal of difference to those that you leave behind. 

You have worked hard all of your life. It was you that studied for exams, rose at the crack of dawn, and sacrificed your time and energy to accumulate the assets that you have today. You are where you are today because you've worked very hard to be. 

Don't let a government that doesn't even know you or care about your family take 40-60% of your assets from your family when you die.

Proper estate planning will ensure that your positive image survives intact. Here are 5 absolutely essential steps you should take to protect your legacy.

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Topics: Estate Planning

When it Comes to Investment Advice Are You Getting Your Moneys Worth?

Posted by Larry Jones on Feb 25, 2021 9:30:00 AM

Do you remember how you felt in 2008 watching your investment portfolio decline?

Most folks do. It wasn't a happy time, especially for retirees. Many saw their portfolio's go south as much as half it's value! 

Why do we do this to ourselves?

Is this the only way to grow assets and have security during retirement? Absolutely not!

I'm always amazed when I meet folks in their 70's and 80's who still have 80% of their portfolio in high risk stocks. Inevitably, they tell me, "well, where else am I going to get growth?" I'd like to go on record here and now by saying that, in my opinion, a 70 year old retiree needs to be more concerned with income than growth. That's why my first goal, if possible, is to reproduce the income you had when you were working in a guaranteed income stream that isn't dependent on the market, or subject to loss. That's happiness! Then, once that base is covered we'll try to grow the remainder, and perhaps take a little more risk. But the Wall Street system doesn't want you thinking that way.

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Topics: Investment Advice in a volatile world

Common Retirement Income Issues for Women

Posted by Larry Jones on Feb 23, 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

Investment Advice: 6 questions to ask before choosing an advisor

Posted by Larry Jones on Feb 18, 2021 9:30:00 AM

Are you any better off than you were a year ago? 10 years ago?

Everyone remembers 2008. There was a nasty period from September of 2008 through February of 2009 where the value of the S&P 500 drew down over 50%! Many who were on the verge of retirement had to rethink their plans, while others who were already retired discovered that they needed to take a much larger percentage of their nest-egg to keep the same level of income.

Let's fast-forward a bit. The first six weeks of 2016 was the worst start to a new year in the history of Wall Street. 4th Quarter 2018 was very ugly. My opinion is that most investors have no idea as to how much risk their broker is exposing them to. When it comes to investment advice, are you happy with the guidance you've been getting? In the interests of prudence and common sense, I'd like to suggest some questions you should consider.

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Topics: Investment Advice in a volatile world

Would a good asset protection plan make you a better Doctor?

Posted by Larry Jones on Feb 16, 2021 9:30:00 AM


Want to take a guess at what the number one worry of Physicians is?

When a CPA makes a mistake it may result in the client being audited. When an engineer makes an error, it's usually something that can be corrected. But when a doctor makes a mistake, it can result in death for his patient. This is the greatest fear of every Physician. To make matters even worse, lawsuits against the medical profession are running rampant. Why is this so?

The general public believes that doctors live on easy street. While it's true that physicians usually make an above average living, it's also true that they have some significant worries that most of us don't have. Salaries for doctor's have declined significantly in the last ten years, and surveys have indicated that the number one concern facing this group of professionals today is what to do about frivolous and runaway lawsuits, along with high jury awards that can potentially wipe out their personal wealth. Now that's a concern that most of us don't have.

But does this worry affect patient care?

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Topics: Asset Protection: Freeing Doctors to Help Patients

Retirement Income: why do stockbrokers hate annuities?

Posted by Larry Jones on Feb 11, 2021 9:30:00 AM

Those evil annuities!

If you have spent any amount of time in internet-ville you've probably seen those "free reports" describing the pitfalls of using annuities to grow your nest-egg. The implication is that shady insurance agents are out there pushing these highly questionable financial vehicles, without telling clients the whole truth about them.

Well, as a fiduciary, how would I rate these things? Would I recommend an annuity for one of my clients? For myself? My Mom?

I'd like to take a few minutes to discuss some of the chief objections to annuities, and then my thoughts on those objections, followed by a summary. So here goes...


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Topics: Retirement Income: Why do brokers hate annuities?

Financial Planning: The 5 questions to ask before picking your advisor

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

Aren't all financial professionals qualified to help me?

If you are going to take advice from someone regarding your personal or professional financial situation, wouldn't you agree that you'd like for that person to be highly competent? "Well, of course," you'd say. But is that what happens for most people? What constitutes a "good" financial advisor?

Actually there are basic standards that must be met for anyone to hold themselves out as a financial advisor. But those standards are usually minimum level licenses, such as a license to sell insurance, or a series license to sell securities. Did you notice the key word that I used in both of those examples: sell?

Licensing is designed to enable measurement of a minimum standard to begin selling a product. And there's the rub. A new-hire with Met Life, or Edward Jones, who has passed the minimum licensing requirements is allowed to hold him or herself out as a financial advisor. And they are expected to sell by the companies that they work for.

Now that's not to suggest that the Met Life agent or the Edward Jones rep is a bad advisor. They may have years of experience and be very knowlegable. But how do you know? Financial planning and "advising" are two different things.



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Topics: 5 important questions to ask your advisor

Welcome to Lake Norman's Financial Blog!

Posted by Larry Jones on Feb 4, 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

How to Make Your Small Business Successful

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

Romans 8:28

Do you remember the crash of 2008? I certainly do. It was the year that I began a journey, and that journey was not of my own choosing. Like many thousands of other Americans, the great recession led me from a position of responsibility and secure employment to a place of standing in line at job fairs, and having to re-learn job interviewing skills. No longer was I part of a vital software team making an impact on our world, but now found that sometimes I was just looking for a reason to get out of bed in the morning. It was a very discouraging time, and many folks my age gave up entirely.

Looking back on those years now brings a bitter-sweetness to my mind because it was that hardship that caused me to shift my focus toward pursuing what had been a passion of mine, investing and finance. Before, these things had just been a hobby. Now they would become my bread and butter. After spending a year with a financial services firm, I made the decision to hang my own shingle and NavStar Financial Services was born (originally it was Navigator Financial). I've not looked back since. Many college classes, trainings, and certifications, as well as rejections have brought me to today. It hasn't always been easy, but it has been the ride of my life, and I've seldom been so challenged, and rewarded by a job.

Going to work for myself was a major turning point in my life. It requires wearing many hats, being able to think on the fly, and sometimes sacrificing the absolute best for the "absolute best you can do in the time available." 

Looking back to 2008, I'm grateful to God that I lost my engineering job. It was perhaps, professionally, the best thing that ever happened to me.

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Will a Personal 401-K Get You to Your Retirement Goal?

Posted by Larry Jones on Jan 28, 2021 9:30:00 AM

Self-Employed Lives Matter!

In 1978 our tax code was amended to allow the creation of a tax-deferred savings vehicle for employees. It was defined under section 401(k) of the Internal Revenue Code, and quickly became one of the best known employee benefits. Known as the 401(k) plan, it was great for individual investors because tax-deferred growth was a huge benefit over the long haul, was great for employers because it allowed more flexibility than pension plans, and (I'd say) it was also great for the economy as well. Massive employer matched investments fueled a great stock market bull. It was a win-win all around!

There were, however, some drawbacks. The plans were subject to ERISA rules, which defined specifically how the plans could and could not be implemented along with contribution limits and other administrative details. Discrimination between one employee and another was absolutely not allowed, which is a good thing. One of the rules that many didn't like was that self-employed people had no access to this powerful retirement savings vehicle.

In 2001 that changed with the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act (EGTRRA), and the personal, or Solo 401(k) was born. Now the self-employed worker can take advantage of this powerful savings vehicle too.

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Topics: Tax Deferral

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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