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Financial Planning

July 2018 Update
Independence Planning – July 2018 Video Blog (watch video above)
This is the first in our new video blog series. In this video we will overview what it means to be Financially Independent, review our 6 step financial planning process, and talk about what makes Wagner Financial different from the rest. We hope you enjoy, and we welcome any and all feedback!
Executive Education forum at Wharton School for Business

Steve and Chris attended an executive education forum at the Wharton School at Penn University in Philadelphia. The curriculum was designed and taught by world-class professors including Richard Marston, professor of Finance; Olivia S. Mitchell, PhD professor of Business Economics; and Michael Useem, PhD professor of management. This comprehensive forum focused on how to address the fluctuating demands of the financial services industry, including helping to identify and implement competent wealth management solutions for individuals, families and businesses.

Continuing Education for our support staff

Please join us in congratulating Jessica Hawley in completing the requirements to receive the Financial Paraplanner Qualified Professional™ (FPQP™) designation from the College for Financial Planning.

Now, more than ever, our goal is to continue to grow in knowledge so that we can offer you the best service possible.
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Barron’s Top Advisors Summit

The Barron’s Top Advisors Summit is an invitation-only gathering of elite-tier advisors to share best practices and elevate standards of service. Barron’s hosts a series of invitation-only events to provide an opportunity for top advisors from across the industry to meet and discuss the latest innovations in the wealth services field, developments in the global economy and strategies for financial planning and investment management.

Barron’s is America’s premier financial magazine. It provides in-depth analysis and commentary on the markets, updated every business day online.

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2018 Market Update – Conference Call

On February 7th, 2018, Steve held an impromptu conference call for all clients in light of market volatility during the previous week. We wanted to post it online in case you missed it.

Always remember any questions about your accounts or finances, please reach out the the office and our staff will be happy to help.


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3 Mistakes Millennial Investors Make

Becoming an investor while you are still young is an advisable step towards preparing for the future and retirement. But investing can be tricky and many young millennials are finding it difficult to begin putting money away. Elements such as loans and little economic growth within the workforce create financial strain for young adults which could hinder them in thinking about their future retirement. These elements coupled with the following three common investment mistakes are factors which could greatly hinder young peoples’ financial future.

1. Not Having a Good Understanding of the Market

college student readingBefore you consider investing in anything, it is important to know the basic facts. The saying “Knowledge is Power” could not be more true when it comes to investments. Doing your research now could help you avoid mistakes which may not show up until later. In order to know which investment is right for you and your future desires, it is vital to understand the different aspects of the market such as stocks and bonds. Each of these are designed differently and should be chosen carefully depending on the goals you have for your life.
Additionally, it is important young people do research into things such as the asset’s performances and the fees which go along with it. It is important to look at the fee percentage not only based upon what it will cost you now, but what it could potentially cost when your investment is larger. Neglecting to do research now could result in you paying higher fees once your investments grow.

girl playing it safe22. Playing it Too Safe

The Great Recession resulted in significant loss for many investors. But those who lost their investments were not the only ones impacted; millennials were and are still affected by the recession. Because young adults saw their parents lose their investments when the economy plummeted, many are now afraid to put much value on investments. In their minds, it seems like a great gamble at which you could easily lose. According to a 2014 report only 5% of millennials are in favor of an aggressive approach in the realm of investing. It was discovered that over a third of young adults prefer to take a conservative or somewhat conservative strategy. While this may seem like a safe road to take, it does result in their chances of high earnings being diminished greatly.

3. Deciding to Forgo Investing

The media has often labeled millennials as “super savers.” However, a recent survey from Wells Fargo has proved just the opposite. It was discovered that 45% of young adults have yet to begin investing for the future and have delayed making plans for their retirement. This is largely due to the fact that many are attempting to pay off student loans before beginning the investment process. Although it is a good idea to pay off loans quickly, the delay in investing could potentially hurt millennials in the future.

Take it One Step at a Time

what to do2Many believe that in order to invest successfully, one must have the means by which to sink thousands of dollars into stocks and bonds at one time. Nevertheless, small investing over a period of time can result in great success. By investing $25 per pay period into your researched investment, you are taking the perfect step towards long-term financial security. Additionally, you can also make it your goal to increase your investment contribution by a particular percentage on a monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis. Simple steps like this may not seem like much in the beginning; however, steady investment over time may result in benefits that will be yours in the future.

Investing involves risk including loss of principal. No strategy assures success or protects against loss. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results.

Article provided by smartasset.com. Original article may be located here.

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Six Retirement To-Dos for Your 50s

As you are reaching the age when retirement is not far away, you may begin to feel a little stressed worrying if you have enough of a nest egg to retire without many issues. If up until now you have been diligent in putting money aside for retirement, you probably feel as if you are in good shape. However, if retirement saving has not been a priority, now that you are in your 50s there is no time to waste. In order to help you become more prepared for your retirement, check out the following steps you should begin taking right now.


1. Play Catch-up

If you are in the age bracket of 50 or older, you actually receive a bonus when it comes to saving for retirement. If you have reached the maximum annual contribution level on your IRA or 401(k), catch-up contributions will assist you in saving even more on an annual basis. Although the rules of catch-up contributions are subject to change, as of 2015, you are allowed to save an additional $6,000 in your employer’s plan and another $1,000 in your IRA. Therefore, taking advantage of catch-up contribution allowances while you are in your 50s, will allow you to save approximately $30,500 towards your future retirement.

 This is a hypothetical example and is not representative of any specific situation. Your results will vary.

2. Rethink Your Portfolio

Although it is often advisable to invest some of your money in riskier investments, once you near retirement age, it might be a good idea to rethink your portfolio and also rebalance your investments. This is especially true if you have not saved much for retirement thus far. In order to begin expanding your retirement funds, it is advisable to shuffle your investments around and consider assets (such as bonds) which provide a little more security for your money.


3. Crunch the Numbers on Social Security

Closeup portrait of a mature person writing something as he uses calculatorSocial Security is often used as a supplement to a person’s savings. However, in order to have an idea of how Social Security will play into your financial wellbeing, it is important to calculate numbers in order to fully know how much you will actually receive. For example, if it is part of your plan to start drawing on Social Security at the age 62, the youngest age at which you can draw, it is important to know that the benefits you receive will be comparatively smaller. However, if you decide to wait until full retirement age before you begin withdrawing, you will receive 100% of your benefits. Additionally, if you are able to wait until sometime between the full retirement age and 70, you will also receive a bonus. Due to the differences in payouts depending on your age, it is important to carefully check the numbers before deciding a time at which to starting drawing Social Security.


4. Knock Out the Rest of Your Debt:

If you are still carrying around debts such as student loans or credit card debt, it might be a good idea to go ahead and eliminate those before you begin retirement. Getting rid of your debt will help you save additional money when you retire and eliminate many of the expenses you have been working into your budget for so many years. However, it is important to note that although getting rid of such debt is important, it should never hinder you from putting money aside for your retirement. While paying your debt off is good, your retirement fund is just as equally important.


5. Consider Long-Term Care Insurance

Long-term care is specifically designed to pay for some or all of your medical expenses should you need care such as nursing home care or home health aid. Medicaid can also help to pay for these expenses should they arise; however, you may end up spending most of your assets in order to qualify. If you have built up a solid retirement fund, then a long-term care policy will help you to get the most out of your money and ensure all the hard work you put into building a nest egg doesn’t go to waste. A good thing to keep in mind when considering long-term care is that the younger you are when you apply, the lower your payments will be.


6. Practice Living on a Post-Retirement Budget

Senior man holding and pointing towards a piggybank and looking at the camera isolated on white backgroundA huge mistake people in their 50s often make concerning their retirement is not setting realistic goals for what they will need. After all, it can be quite a shock once you move away from a steady salary and start relying fully on your savings and Social Security benefits.

In order to assure this difference in income does not cause great difficulty, it is advisable to take specific steps before entering retirement. First, it is important to calculate your intended retirement expenses then plan a budget which helps you to pay your monthly expenses. Second, it is a good idea to take your budget through a trial run. Getting an idea of how your budget will actually work when you retire is a good way to catch issues before it is too late. If you see the monthly budget you have allotted will not be sufficient, you may need to look at places where expenses can be cut down or even consider ways to expand your income-earning years such as through worktirement.


In Conclusion

Although you may be several years away from retiring, it is never too early to begin making preparations. Early planning and research will help to make the transition into retirement a little smoother. Additionally, in the realm of finances, having a specific plan for your money will help you to avoid many of the pitfalls which occur with who neglect to take the necessary precautions to assure their retirement goes as smoothly as possible.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. You should discuss your specific situation with the appropriate professional.

Article provided by smartasset.com. Original article may be located here.

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4 Signs Your Financial Advisor Is Taking You to the Cleaners

Hiring a financial advisor might be a good idea if you need help managing your portfolio, planning your estate or working toward your long-term goals. Knowing that you can trust your advisor to make sound decisions is the key to a good professional relationship. If you’re worried about falling victim to a Bernie Madoff-style scam, here are some ways to tell that you’re being ripped off.

1. They Promise Too-Good-to-Be-True Returns

As the expert, your financial advisor should display a certain amount of confidence in the investments they’re steering you towards. Overconfidence, on the other hand, can be a sign that your advisor has something to hide. If they’re guaranteeing a specific return on investment or showing you balance sheets with above-average yields from year to year, it’s a good idea to question whether those investments are legit.

The same goes for if they’re promising high returns on low-risk investments. There are vehicles that generate consistent returns without the same degree of volatility as the stock market. But it’s best to be skeptical if your advisor seems overly enthusiastic about selling you a particular product.

4 Signs Your Financial Advisor Is Taking You to the Cleaners2. They’re Cagey About Communication

In addition to trust, transparency is another important component when you’re paying a professional to manage your finances (particularly if they have a fiduciary duty to you). Good communication shows that your advisor is committed to laying all their cards on the table.

While that doesn’t mean they’re required to be on-call 24/7, they should be able to respond within a reasonable time frame if you have a question or concern that needs to be addressed. If you have a hard time pinning your advisor down or they’re less than forthcoming when you request specific information, such as a log of real-time trades, that should indicate that something’s not right.

3. They Convince You to Trade More Often

One of the ways financial advisors make money is by earning a commission every time you make a trade. If you notice that your account is experiencing an unusually high trading volume, you may be a victim of what’s known as churning. Simply put, this happens when an advisor encourages you to buy and sell purely for the purpose of racking up extra commission fees.

So how do you tell whether your account has been churned? You can look at the gains in your portfolio that follow your trades. If your advisor is telling you that you need to swap out a particular stock or portfolio to increase your wealth but the gains are falling short, that could be a sign that your advisor is churning.

4 Signs Your Financial Advisor Is Taking You to the Cleaners4. The Investments They’re Choosing Aren’t Your Style

Financial advisors are supposed to guide you toward investments that align with your overall investing strategy. If you’re being pressured to move too far outside your desired asset allocation, that may signal that your advisor’s motives are more about preserving their bottom line than yours.

For example, if you’re being pushed toward investments that carry high upfront sales charges, your advisor may just be out to line their own pockets with the commission. Another tactic advisors may use is convincing you that you need to invest in a wrap account. While wrap accounts can streamline your investment management, they might come with hidden fees, and are not suitable for all investors.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. Investing involves risk including loss of principal. No strategy assures success or protects against loss.

Article provided by smartasset.com. Original article may be located here

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