Podcast Episode # 48 – I Answer Your Financial Questions

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Question 1: For someone making over the Roth IRA salary limit, can they still rollover Roth 401(k)’s from previous employers into a Roth IRA? Are there any pros and cons to doing so (e.g., lower expense ratio)?

Question 2: Would it be smart to roll my Roth IRA into a REIT?

Question 3: What is the combined total assets of all retirement plans, and does it make Social Security irrelevant for most?

Question 4: Is there ever a reason to transfer an old 401K to a new 401K instead of a rollover IRA?

Question 5: How good is a 529 for college savings versus full-funding a Roth IRA or paying down my house?

Question 6: How effective are financial advisors for the average person?

Question 7: Is the retirement plan offered by your employer adequate to make you feel good about your future finances?

Question 8: How much do I need to retire at 40?

Question 9: How early do you have to buy a mutual fund to get the capital gains?

Question 10: What should I know about appreciation, inflation, capital gains, and taxation?

Question 11: Is it wise to have multiple retirement plans?

Question 12: Can an LLC advertise “100 percent of profits to charity” and have salaried employees? Can the LLC accept “gifts” (donations) as long as they report gifted funds as income and don’t give tax deductions?

Question 13: How do retired people spend their time?

Question 14: As reported by WSJ, are US government programs such as Medicare and Social Security going bust and insolvent as they recently are tapping into reserves?

Question 15: Do you think Social Security will be around in 10 years and if so how do you think it will change?

Song of the day: No For An Answer “You Laugh”

Podcast #47 – How To Analyze Your Mutual Fund Fees (This Is Revolutionary!)

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Oh man oh man, this is fantastic!

Listening to the Meb Faber Podcast while mowing my lawn this afternoon and he mentioned this website called FeeX.com.

FeeX is a site you can go and for FREE type in your fund holdings, even link your account if you’re so inclined. Their algorithm will then analyze your funds PLUS a list of comparable funds that are a whole lot cheaper. It’s crazy! And it’s awesome!

For instance, I typed in USMIX, which is USAA’s Extended Market Index. Out came a bunch of other funds, exactly like it, but cost significantly less.

Here is an Example

Then FeeX calculated what the other funds would save me over time in total fees. Folks, we are not talking about pennies here. We’re talking tens of thousands of dollars.

Fees matter, my friends. And if you own high fee funds you’ve got to understand the headwind you’re dealing with when it comes to performance. The more fees, the less your fund will be able to compete.  Just no other way around it.

Of course, this does not mean higher cost funds CAN’T outperform lower cost funds. It’s just going to be hard to do it.

Think about it like this.  Let’s say we each expect the market to return 10%.  My fund costs 2% your fund costs .50%.  Because my fund costs 4x your fund, I have to return 1.50% more than you, year after year, just to equal you.

How can I do that without taking on much more risk? I can’t.  So, the higher cost funds will underperform or take on more risk to outperform.  And just cause one takes on more risk doesn’t necessarily mean out performance either.

So, give FeeX a try here.

And, if you are interested in investment-related podcasts, you’ll have a tough time beating Meb Fabers podcast which can be found here.

Podcast Episode 46 – Interview With Bryan Strike, Financial Planning Guru(my words, not his)

Bryan Strike is one of those professionals younger planners should mimic in how they conduct themselves in business.

He holds almost all, if not all, of the most prestigious planning designations available; CPA, CFP, CFA, MsTX, PFS, MS and others.

But, even with this pedigree, Bryan is humble enough to realize that being a good financial planner is not about tooting your own horn, it’s actually understanding your clients. Nothing is more important

You want the client to take action? You need to understand their concerns. That simple.

The profession is littered with the smartest minds in around, who have failed as financial planners because these people couldn’t sell water to someone stranded in the desert.  They lacked the confidence to ask questions. And they forget the essential role of a financial planner, understand the client so you can get him/her to take action to better THEIR financial lives.

Bryan does this for his clients. And we all can learn from him.

If you want to learn more about Bryan here is his bio.

Connect with Bryan on LinkedIn too.

Podcast Episode 45 – Interview About Dyslexia with Karen Huppertz

Karen Huppertz, the President of the International Dyslexia Association Georgia Chapter, is who we talk with today.

Just an amazing lady, with an amazing story of her kids’ struggle with Dyslexia. Due to early identification AND intervention, dyslexia did not hold her kids back from having stellar educational achievement.

Thus, the lesson to be learned;  Early identification in order to get the proper intervention.

Let me repeat that in case it wasn’t clear;  EARLY IDENTIFICATION to get PROPER INTERVENTION.

My friends, I can not tell you the pain I feel for children who have dyslexia but are not receiving help for it. These children feel stupid, left out, inferior. And some will lash out accordingly. Others will slink back into the back of the room hoping to never been seen or heard from.

It’s tragic. The International Dyslexia Association estimates “perhaps as many as 15–20% of the population as a whole—have some of the symptoms of dyslexia”.

But there are treatments! In fact, with proper treatment, children can succeed in school. Thrive even!

Karen’s children are examples. My own son, who couldn’t even read a Bill and Jill book in 1st Grade, in 5th grade is reading The Hobbit, after having just finished up Jurassic Park!  He gobbles up books like we gobble up turkey on Thanksgiving Day.

It’s a beautiful site to behold.  However, the first couple years of his dyslexia being unidentified really set him back in his confidence.

His kindergarten teacher noticed something.  But, he was in kindergarten, so it’s tough to make any assessment at such a young age.

Unfortunately, for him, we moved to Georgia the following year.  A new school, new kids, and lo and behold, he can’t read a lick.  He literally would kick and scream to avoid going into the school as we pulled up in the drop-off line.  It was horrible.

But from his perspective can you blame him? He was SO far behind. He had NO friends.  He was the new kid.  And I can imagine the feeling of pure inadequacy and helplessness. And you know how kids are, they can be brutal.

The school, bless their hearts, essentially said he was “improving” and to give it time.  However, he was falling further and further behind.  To the point they were even considering holding him back to be in class with his little brother.

Thank the Good Lord someone told us about a specialist who identifies learning disabilities and makes the appropriate recommendations for intervention.   And I thank the Good Lord we had the resources to pay for this.

We were/are very fortunate.  When my son was tested we found his IQ was through the roof.  His brain just needed a different way to learn how to read and comprehend things.  Training taught him how to do this.  Yet, he will ALWAYS be slower at some parts of school because it’s the way his mind processes information.

Doesn’t mean he’s dumb. In fact, we have the IQ tests to prove it. Ironically, he’s brilliant at other things. Putting a lego together? He SEES it, in 3D essentially. How it’s supposed to work. His brain understands with minimal direction.  Me? No siree Bob.  I am lucky to get to 2D.  My brain doesn’t work that way.

Am I stupid though? NO!  We each have our own strengths and our own ways to see the world.

This is why our current educational system, in my opinion, has some serious issues.  We’re still teaching in the same capacity we did under the Prussian model of the mid 19th century.  Yet our knowledge of the brain has changed dramatically.

A child with dyslexia, who the school hasn’t identified, could easily be held back, or worse, sent to the Special Needs class.  This is pure insanity.  Can you blame the school? No. Can you blame the parent? No.

The problem is the school is relying on the parent and the parent is relying on the school.  Yet, all the while, nothing is being done for the child and he or she is falling further and further behind.

Boys will lash out. Girls will hide.  All the while, all that talent that dyslexic kids have inherently is not being used!  AHHHH so frustrating.

Let’s say the IDA is over-estimating the amount of people with dyslexia by 100%.  That still means nearly 1 in 10 people have SOME form of it!  How many of those 1 in 10 are being helped with intervention though??? Let’s say 1 in 10 there too.

Thus for every 100 random people, 10 have some form of dyslexia and only 1 is actually being ‘treated’.  That is 9% of the population who is NOT receiving help.  Think of the problems that could be solved in our world today if those 9 people out of 100 were operating on full capacity because they received proper assistance.

How many inner-city kids are there RIGHT NOW who have unidentified dyslexia and will never be helped and thus we lose their skill set?  How many suburban kids right now have parents who are relying on the school for direction to help their kids with their obvious learning issues?  And so on.

Let’s get these kids help!  It will better society, for one. But most importantly, these are children who are suffering.  And we know there are ways to help them.  Starting with wonderful groups like the International Dyslexia Association.

And of course, the fabulous volunteers like Karen Huppertz need any and all support we can provide.

 

Podcast Episode 44 – Why You Need To Be Careful When Reading Investing Blogs

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I read a lot of investing articles. Some are quite good. Meb Faber’s research over at Cambria Funds comes to mind. His podcast is fantastic as well.

But a lot of investment blogs are not very good. Some are just horrific and you wonder how their compliance managers let such tripe be published.

Others, though, at first glance, seem to be well thought out until you start to read deeper and realize the author is regurgitating many of the arguments from yesteryear, which have since be debunked.

However, some articles do have a few golden nuggets thrown in with a couple cringe-worthy statements. These are the articles the reader can take away good information IF and only if, he or she can differentiate the bad from the good.

I walk you through a couple articles just like this today that were sitting, for over a year, in my “stack of stuff.”

I have a large plastic crate of articles, books, magazines etc. Every time I walk by the tote, I get frustrated, knowing that there is a lot of great stuff in there I must find the time to read. When I finally get to digging through this library of sorts, I’m amazed at the treasure trove of information I find. And so I sit down and read. And read some more.

Now that I have a Youtube Channel, a Podcast and THIS blog, I can’t wait to share what I’ve learned.

This is one of those times. I hope you find it informative.

Thanks!

Podcast Episode 43 – More Confirmation of REAL Retirement Spending

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In this episode, we discuss an article on Fox Business News titled “Why are retirees living longer, healthier and wealthier lives?” (Link to the white paper here.)

This article confirms that retirees spend LESS than they’ve been lead to believe in retirement.

Also, it goes on to state that the cognitive and physical limitations for current retirees are much lower than they were for retirees 50 years ago.

So, longer lives, less physical and cognitive impairment combined with a savings deficiency should indicate a “crisis”, no? Well, no.

“Fellowes: The average retiree cuts their spending by about 2 percent every year throughout their retirement. The biggest drop over time is spending on lifestyle expenses, like travel, apparel and entertainment; but, essential spending on transportation and housing falls too, as retirees pay off their mortgages…Healthcare is one of the only expenses that tends to increase through retirement, although it tends to increase increase incrementally for nearly all retirees. “

Yet, what do most retirement projections show???  That we’re all going to RUN OUT OF MONEY if we don’t start saving more!

AHHHH, that drives me crazy.  Read my article on this here and here.

Moral of the story? Relax and enjoy your days you are given.  Stop worrying so much!  Could it possibly be there is an incentive for the money managers to encourage your worry so that you’ll send more money their way for them to manage???

Podcast Episode 42 – 10 year Treasury Breaks 3% for First Time in 7 Years

HUGE jump in US Treasury Bond interest rates over the pas 20 months or so.

In fact, as of today, 5/14/2018, the 10 Year is at its highest since 2011!

Now, lots of people will conclude things about the investing market, how this increase affects them. And there is a lot to be said about how this affects your portfolio.

BUT, what gets overlooked during this times of increasing interest rates is the affect on the mortgage/real estate market as well.

Think about it like this:
Couple want to buy a home. They have a monthly budget of $850 for that home. When interest rates were what they were in July 2016 they could have afforded a $250k home (just using the 10 year rate as our proxy for the interest rate they paid on their mortgage.)

Now, though, with the 10 year at 3.05%, that same $850 could only buy a $200k house!

So, what happens to the couple who bought a house in July 2016 for $250k fully leveraged, i.e., no equity, and need to sell it today?

Their potential buyer can’t afford that price anymore. Thus the seller is stuck. What if they need to move for a new job?

Well, hopefully, there will be other buyers out there. But what if there is not?

They will then have to reduce their price. But they can’t because they have no equity!

You see where this goes right? The seller who is trying to sell so he/she can take a new job, is stuck. They can’t get out of the home!

Moral of the story, watch the 10 Year Treasury Bond, everything is contingent on this.

Second point, watch leverage and avoid it like the plague.

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Podcast Episode 41 – Proof The SWAMP Lives!

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In this episode I talk about an article from TheHill.com which mentions, almost in passing, that the previous head of the Beverage Association is now going to head the Life Insurance lobbying group.

The next head of the group is certainly going to be the current CEO of Philip Morris.

So you might ask “How does one become head of a lobbying group and make $2.3mill a year? Do you need to be an expert in life insurance?”

Good question. Quick answer to the second question. NO! Just look who her predecessor was. One, Dick Kempthorne, a Senator, Governor and Secretary of the Interior under Bush. Life insurance expertise he had not.

But LOBBYING expertise he carried with great abundance.

Now, how did the new head of the insurance lobby get the gig? You got it! Politics. She was in the Bush administration as well before she went on to hawk the sugary drinks that are killing people.

Only in The Swamp does this make sense.

Song of the day – “Hersham Boys” by Sham 69

Podcast Episode 40 – Interview with Liz Hand, and the Need to Listen

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It was my privilege to interview Liz Hand, CFP on today’s episode.

Liz has a wonderful story to share about her background and how it lead her to be such a wonderful financial advisor(my words not hers).

Yeah, she’s young. Yeah, she’s a nice person. And I imagine she cracks jokes and even laughs quite a bit as well.

But don’t let that exterior fool you. She brings a ton of financial planning skills to the table for the benefit of her clients.

But financial planning knowledge alone isn’t enough, it’s her ability to LISTEN and ask questions that connects with her clients.

Financial planning is SO much more than a spreadsheet, an investment statement or Heaven forbid, the returns you received last quarter.

True financial planning is going with your recently widowed client to the Social Security office so both you and your client have a full grasp of the options, and thus can be make a most informed choice. One that will last for the rest of your client’s life. Liz did that.

That’s what real financial planners can do. Help you with the stuff that is most important. And be there when you need them the most.

This is why I wanted Liz on the podcast because I think she represents what financial planning can be. And I hope she may encourage others to follow her lead.

You can find Liz on her Youtube channel here.

And her firm’s website here.

If you are in Ohio, you’d be wise to reach out to Liz to discuss your situation. .

Hope you enjoy the episode!