In a bear market, it can be easy to panic and forget that investor behavior drives results more than choosing the right investments. People tend to be their own worst enemy during these trying times. That’s why it is important to learn from those that have gone before you.
Your Playbook to Market Volatility: https://www.financialsymmetry.com/staying-the-course-even-during-volatile-markets/
Check out this episode to discover the 4 typical investors that we encounter during market declines. As you listen consider who you have been like in the past. Which one are you feeling like now? Which one do you want to be in the future?
Most of us believe we’ll always have more time with our spouse, but when that time is cut short, we’re often left with too many questions and not enough answers.
Video recap: https://youtu.be/2jFmLDB3Xks
On today’s show, we tackle the emotionally challenging subject of losing a spouse.
Between planning a funeral, notifying people, and taking calls, it’s hard to find time to grieve, much less think about the financial consequences and tax changes you have to deal with in the coming weeks. Part of our responsibility during this difficult time is to walk you through the steps of navigating the administrative part of handling a loved one’s resources.
Listen to this episode to learn about the tax changes to consider when dealing with the death of a spouse.
Read more in the show notes here: https://www.financialsymmetry.com/tax-changes-to-consider-after-the-death-of-a-spouse-ep-166/
Do you have an estate plan?
Is it up to date?
Was it prepared by an estate planning professional?
Video link: https://youtu.be/c7XO462BOcg
If you answered "no" to any of these questions, this episode is for you.
On the show this week, we welcome Adam Tarsitano, an estate planning attorney in Raleigh, NC, to discuss why it is so important to have a professionally prepared estate plan in place.
Listen in to hear the difference between a professional estate plan and a DIY estate plan and what could happen to your assets if the state decides what to do with them.
Stocks are now in a bear market. Rising interest rates mean bonds are having a horrible year. Inflation reached a 40-year high. Headlines like these makes it tough to have confidence in your investment strategy.
Youtube video: https://youtu.be/dNb2jmLW_OU
This is why today, we are reviewing how to create a retirement plan that provides peace of mind through an investment roller coaster. If you are worried about the future of your money, our goal this week is to provide you a game plan for volatile markets.
Press play to listen in or check out the video with the slideshow on our YouTube channel.
If you recently filed your tax return you may have noticed some unexpected surprises.
Video recap: https://youtu.be/G9q8k5fRNdQ
Since tax planning and preparation is an important part of what we do at Financial Symmetry, we wanted to make you all aware of the top 10 tax surprises that we see in our office. Listen in to hear if you are familiar with any of these tax prep surprises.
Deciding to retire is just the beginning of your retirement decision-making. From tax planning to Social Security decisions, finding the best strategies for you requires regular analysis.
Video recap: https://youtu.be/TleOZ8CwYXw
Today’s question comes from a client who recently read an article from Rethinking 65 titled Why Trying to Quantify Roth Conversions Is Futile. After reading the article the client wanted to know if they should take advantage of Roth conversions. As we explore this question today, you’ll learn how you can decide whether Roth conversions would be a good fit for your retirement situation.
Many people that listen to retirement podcasts and read financial articles are fantastic savers. If that sounds like you, congratulations!
Video recap: https://youtu.be/pUvfv1815fw
You have done the hard work to accumulate plenty of assets and be on track to reach your financial retirement goals.
However, after a lifetime of accumulation, you may discover that you have a hard time letting go of your assets. I recently came across an article in Barron’s magazine called Retirees Aren’t Spending Enough of Their Nest Eggs. Here's Why. On this episode of Financial Symmetry, Allison Berger and I will discuss the reasons that some retirees are reluctant to spend their savings and explore strategies that you can use to ensure that you have a successful transition into retirement.
Financial planning is a powerful tool that can help you not only anticipate risks and opportunities but also help you envision your future to ensure that you can retire the way you want to retire.
Video recap: https://youtu.be/hKJRvl-_RlM
As Howard Marks says, “You can’t predict but you can prepare.”
As you prepare for retirement it is helpful to stay up to date with the latest retirement trends. This is why we're excited to share our takeaways from the JP Morgan Guide to Retirement with you. You may be curious about how you are doing compared to others in your demographic and guides like this one can help you more deeply understand where you stand in your retirement planning journey.
Video recap: https://youtu.be/4FjSIJw8a6A
Listen in to discover how you can accelerate women’s equality by overcoming or breaking through these biases.
This first bias is simply untrue. Actually, women are more likely to take calculated risks than men. Women are also more likely to hold an appropriate amount of investments when compared with their cash savings.
Men and women are equally fearful at the beginning of their investing journeys. However, since women are more cautious about things that they are unfamiliar with they often become more educated about investing so that they feel more comfortable.
In the long term, women’s investments often outperform those of men. This could be due to women having more intentionality, self-control, and a higher savings rate than men. Since women are often playing catch up with their investing, they are usually excited to get started. Investment and retirement planning is especially important for women since there are so many preconceived notions that surround women and money.
On average, women make about $0.84 to a man’s dollar. This is often due to the way compensation is structured. Women often ask for less, negotiate less, or don’t negotiate at all. This means that women have less to contribute to their retirement savings.
Knowledge is the power to overcome this bias. To improve your salary it is important to understand the average salaries for your area of the country and, specifically, for your field. Use websites like Glassdoor or Salary.com to help you research. Don’t be ashamed to discuss this topic with friends, family, and colleagues to learn more.
Once you’ve done your research, consider your next salary negotiation. Set a range that works well for you and shoot for the top of that range. Remember that you are selling yourself, so consider the value that you have added to your role. Come up with a list of your accomplishments. Listen in to hear all the tips that this bright group of women brings to the table. With a bit of preparation, you may be pleasantly surprised by your next salary negotiation.
We’ve all heard this myth perpetuated; however, spending doesn’t have a gender. Either partner in a relationship can be the big spender, but since women are often the ones buying for the family, it can seem like they spend more than men.
Budgets are an important part of the financial health of any relationship so that both partners understand how much they can safely spend. Typically, one partner is more of a saver and the other is more of a spender, but the ideal is to strike a balance between the two.
Since women have been shut out of the financial conversation for so long, they often don’t know where to begin the conversation. Here at Financial Symmetry, we encourage both partners to come to the table, even if it takes an extra conversation to understand and address all of the issues or concerns.
As you approach International Women’s Day, consider whether any of these financial biases have come up in your life. You can research more biases surrounding women by using the hashtag #BreakTheBias.
From data breaches to text messages, emails, and phone calls, scammers are always looking for new ways to commit fraud.
Video recap: https://youtu.be/_PwxMMqnjNk
Fraud can devastate retirement plans, so it is important to stay one step ahead of scammers and keep your guard up to protect yourself and your retirement.
On this episode, we discuss types of scams to be on the lookout for and how you can protect yourself from the conmen that are constantly devising new ways to ruin people’s lives.
Do you have concentrated stocks in your portfolio?
Video recap: https://youtu.be/g5oDev7Ns84
You may have inherited stocks from a loved one or maybe you receive stock options as part of your pay structure or a compensation package. Whatever the reason you have concentrated stocks, if you own more than you think you should of one company, it is important to understand what you could do with it. You may be surprised to hear all of the options that you have available, so listen in to hear what your choices are.
You may be wondering if any of the stocks that you own would be considered concentrated stocks. Deciding whether you own any is easy. You don’t need to look at the percentage of the stock in your portfolio. It doesn’t matter if that stock is 5%, 10%, or even 50% of your portfolio. What matters is what would happen if that stock went to zero. If that would affect your financial life then you do own a concentrated stock.
You may argue that the richest people in the world gained their wealth through concentrated stocks, but you don’t hear about all those that have lost their wealth from putting all their eggs in one basket.
Individual stocks are volatile. Over a 40 year time period, 40% of individual stocks experienced negative absolute returns. The reason we choose to have a balanced portfolio is to balance the winners with the losers.
There are different reasons that people choose to hold on to stocks for longer than they should. If the stock is from their employer, they may have a bit of bias thinking that they know their company and it will outperform the rest. Some people got into a position early and rode the wave. Others feel an emotional attachment to the stock and are hesitant to let it go.
Whatever the reason you may be hanging on, it is important to analyze your holdings to see if they fit into your overall financial plan. If not, it is time to find a strategy to divest from your position.
Coming up with a strategy that fits into your overall financial plan requires some thought. The easiest thing to do when you aren’t sure of the right choice is to do nothing, but that, of course, is the worst thing you can do.
There are 4 options available to you when you own concentrated stocks: sell, hedge, diversify, or transfer the wealth.
This episode has some advanced strategies to consider, so if you are wondering what you should do with your concentrated stocks you may want to listen twice or take notes as you listen so that you can discover what to do with your concentrated positions and how it could fit into your overall financial plan.
If you still think you need help coming up with a strategy, reach out to us so that we can help you come up with a financial plan that is right for you.
Tis the season to prepare your taxes!
Video recap: https://youtu.be/mWYWaKeP6-o
Whether you do your own taxes or you are gathering information for your tax preparer, you’ll want to make sure that you don’t miss a thing. Listen to this episode to ensure that you think about everything you need to do to prepare this year’s tax documents.
As you start your tax preparation journey by gathering documents and ensuring that you have everything in order, you may end up forgetting the obvious. Did you move in 2021? You’ll need to report the sale of your prior home if that was the case.
Also, if you use tax preparation software, be careful with the autofill feature. If you have used it before, your tax software will automatically fill in the information that you used last year. It is important to type in the correct address so that you don’t miss any communication with the IRS.
If you changed jobs in 2021 you may have multiple W2s. Make sure that you have them all together before you start your tax preparations. You’ll also want to look out for the forms if you made any 401K or Roth rollovers.
For the 2021 tax season, you’ll need to look out for the usual documents like W2s, 1099s, 1098s, or K1s, but you’ll also need to be watching out for the letter from the IRS if you received an advanced child tax credit. If you did receive an advance on your child tax credit, you may or may not receive any more or you may have to pay some of it back depending on your income in 2021.
Once you have all of your documents ready, then it is time to start thinking outside the box. Do you have your receipts or transaction history for charitable donations? What about real estate and property tax forms? Do you have a record of how much you spent on child or dependent care? Make sure to have a record of any crypto transactions and business and rental expenses.
Having this information together will decrease the legwork when the time comes to file your taxes.
Not all financial advisors focus on tax preparation, but at Financial Symmetry, we see tax season as an opportunity to generate ideas to improve your financial situation. Whether it is through improving your tax situation or taking advantage of missed opportunities, tax preparation is something we focus on to enhance your today and enrich your tomorrow.
Our clients have the opportunity to use the document vault in our Client Center portal as a type of digital file cabinet. Keeping documents together like this takes away some of the anxiety surrounding tax season.
Once you get everything you need together, take a step back and reflect. If you haven’t been keeping the best records now is a good time to implement a system to help you stay organized.
Listen in to hear how we can help you prepare for the upcoming tax season and beyond as Financial Symmetry clients. You’ll also hear why it doesn’t always make sense to file early. Learn why sometimes filing for an extension could be a better option.
The biggest financial threat to your wealth is not the market; it is your brain.
Video clip with Money Egg example: https://youtu.be/PJ4Zryp2w8Y
Human behavior surrounding money varies greatly and can be fascinating to study. Allison Berger has been studying financial behavior in more detail over the past year in the Certified Financial Transitionist coursework.
On this episode of Financial Symmetry, we delve deeper into the common money scripts that drive financial behavior. Our conversation is inspired from the book Wired for Wealth by Brad Klontz, Ted Klontz, and Rick Kahler.
When you listen you’ll learn what a money script is and how it can impact your financial wellbeing. You will also learn 5 steps you can take to help you improve your money mindset.
Markets go up and down but one fact holds true: the money scripts you play in your head will determine your financial well-being. The things we do surrounding money are defined by the money scripts we learned in childhood.
Money scripts come from the explicit or implicit messages we received about money as children as we were trying to make sense of the world. Usually, these ideas are partial truths based on our parents' teachings and actions around money. We have internalized these money scripts and unconsciously follow them as adults as the logical response to what we saw as children.
Here are common examples of money scripts: money doesn’t grow on trees, money can’t buy happiness, rich people are shallow, money is the root of all evil.
Your money scripts can become roadblocks in your thinking about money, so it is important to think about how they may be affecting your life. At their worst, money scripts can contribute to financial disorders like financial infidelity, compulsive buying, pathological gambling, compulsive hoarding, financial dependence, and financial enabling.
These are examples of money scripts that will keep you poor: your self-worth equals your net worth, it's ok to keep financial secrets from your partner, if you are good your financial needs will be taken care of.
These negative money scripts can be linked with overspending, compulsive shopping, or workaholism. As people edge closer to retirement the more they tend to stick with the money scripts that have led them through life. However, retirees may need to embrace new ideas to be able to reach their financial goals. If you are struggling with your money mindset, try reaching out to an objective third party for help.
Money should be saved, not spent. You can never have enough financial security. Money that I did not earn is not really mine to spend. These are a few examples of money scripts that can cause people to underspend. Scripts like these can lead to hoarding wealth and workaholism.
A financial plan can help you break free from your money scripts. Without a financial plan in place, you don't know how much you can safely spend. A financial plan will ensure that you look at the details and the reality of your spending situation. You want to make the most of your money and your life especially as you transition into retirement.
You can change your mindset surrounding money and the book recommends 5 steps to overcome your limiting financial beliefs.
These are not quick, easy steps to take. They require a bit of soul searching to get to the heart of your issues with money. However, if you find yourself with a money mindset that is not serving your goals you’ll want to do what you can to solve your problems.
If you think that you may need help changing your money mindset, reach out to us to see if we can help you. Head over to FinancialSymmetry.com and click talk to an advisor.
At the start of every year, people are more motivated to get off on the right financial foot. This might mean contacting a financial advisor for the first time.
Video recap: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEB2z530-Zc
So we put together a list of 5 questions we hear from those looking to hire a financial advisor.
If you are considering working with a financial advisor this year, you may want to use these questions to help you understand how the financial advising process works so that you can feel comfortable choosing the right advisor for you. Listen in to hear the most frequently asked questions and our answers.
Thankfully, the word fiduciary has gotten more publicity lately, so more people understand what it means. A fiduciary is a financial advisor that puts their clients’ best interests first. It is important to ensure that your advisor is a fiduciary so that you know that they will put your well-being ahead of the myriad conflicts of interests that can arise in this industry.
The first question most clients have is how often we will review their finances. This usually depends on the client’s situation, but we usually review a specific financial area for every client each quarter. The specific areas that we focus on regularly are taxes, estate documents and financial plans, and of course, portfolios.
We also have an automated system that checks each client’s portfolio every day. Our clients feel comfortable with these automated daily inspections. Our Client Center is another way that Financial Symmetry clients can assess their portfolios at their convenience.
At Financial Symmetry, we are fee-only financial advisors and completely open about what we charge. All of our fee information is available on our website. Our wealth management clients are charged quarterly whereas other clients choose to work on an hourly basis. Make sure you understand the fee structure of any financial advisor that you choose to work with.
Typically, in-person client meetings are held once a year, but of course, Covid changed everything. Communication can be had through phone calls, emails, or video conferencing. The frequency of meetings depends on the complexity of the situation.
Every advising firm has a different setup and who you meet with initially may not end up being your primary source of information that you work with. At Financial Symmetry, you’ll have the opportunity to work with a team of 2 advisors plus one other staff member. Listen in to hear why we work this way.
If you are thinking of hiring a financial advisor, make sure to add these 5 questions to your list of questions.