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Financial Symmetry: Balancing Today with Retirement

When considering retirement, do you wonder what financial opportunities you may be missing? Busy lives take over and years pass without taking advantage. In this retirement podcast, Chad Smith and Mike Eklund unveil financial opportunities, to help you balance enjoying today so you are ready to retire later. By day, they are fiduciary fee-only financial advisors who answer questions about tax savings, investment decisions, and how to save more. If you’ve been putting off your financial to-do list or are just not sure what you’ve been missing, subscribe to the show and learn more at www.financialsymmetry.com. Financial Symmetry is a Raleigh Financial Advisor. Proudly serving clients in the Triangle of North Carolina for over 20 years.
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Now displaying: Category: Personal Finance
Apr 20, 2020

Today we explore some of the most common questions that people ask during a market decline. We discuss what a financial advisor does and doesn't do for their clients in bear markets, whether you should refinance, and the benefits of tax-loss harvesting. Listen in to hear what you could be doing to stay proactive during this market decline. 

Youtube recap here: https://youtu.be/QUCpQcf2vu8

What are the benefits of working with a Financial Advisor during a Stock Market Decline?

Financial advisors can be a great resource during a stock market decline. The fear you feel in these situations can be paralyzing. If you don’t have a financial advisor to help you act in your best interests, you may end up not taking any action at all. So what are some things a financial advisor can do for their clients during these challenging times? 

  • Creating a financial plan and an investment plan. You need to know what your strategy is and why you are investing. Not having a plan is putting yourself at too much risk. Listen to the wise words of Warren Buffett, “risk is not knowing what you are doing.”
  • Rebalancing. When the market takes a dive, it could be an excellent time to rebalance your portfolio.
  • Tax-loss harvesting. Nobody likes to pay taxes and tax loss harvesting is a great way to minimize your current and future taxes. 
  • Help avoid making irrational decisions. It’s hard not to sell when the market drops 10% in a day or 30% in a month. A financial advisor can help talk you down off of that cliff and show you the light

Should I Refinance my Home?

One way to give yourself a bit of control during times when life is feeling out of control is to consider refinancing your home. Since mortgage rates have declined in recent months now may be the right time for you to refinance. You’ll want to analyze what your break-even point is to see if it is worth it. There are many different ways you can go about refinancing. You could use a mortgage broker, you could go through your own bank, or you could use an online mortgage lender. Listen in to hear the differences between those 3 options. 

What is Tax-Loss Harvesting and why is it important during a market decline?

We all feel the urge to do something right now. But instead of doing something that could be detrimental to your wealth, tax-loss harvesting can give you the opportunity to do increase your wealth over time. The biggest question we hear surrounding tax-loss harvesting is why would I want to lock in losses? The answer is don’t think of it as a loss, but an exchange. You are taking that loss to reinvest in something similar. Look at tax-loss harvesting as a one way to help you rebalance. Find out if tax-loss harvesting is right for you by listening to Allison Berger’s excellent analysis. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:27] Should I use a financial advisor during a market decline
  • [4:50] Should I refinance my home?
  • [8:36] What is tax-loss harvesting?

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect With Chad and Mike

Subscribe To This Podcast

 

Aug 26, 2019

How do you make financial decisions? Are you intentional with your money?

Short Youtube recap here: https://youtu.be/9g3s36KPm9E

Most people have trouble articulating their framework for making financial decisions. It begins with finding a healthy balance between spending and saving. After these short-term decisions, examining your longer-term goals will have more meaning. So in this episode, we asked Cameron Hendricks to join us to help you understand how to create an intentional framework to make the right financial decisions for you and your family. 

There are only 5 ways to use your money in the short-term

When planning to use your money, you need to consider what your options are and whether you are facing short-term or long-term decisions. Many people will be surprised to discover that there are only 5 ways to use your money in the short-term. 

  1. Lifestyle
  2. Give it away
  3. Pay taxes 
  4. Pay debt
  5. Save

Each one of these short-term ways to use money impacts the other. Think about your spending as a pie chart. If your lifestyle expenses increase then one of the other options has to decrease. If you increase your savings then another option has to give. 

You can start your planning by considering your long-term goals

Making intentional decisions means your short-term decisions should be driven by your long-term goals. It’s a good idea to start with long-term planning and work your way back to your short-term goals. There are 6 items to think of working towards from a long-term perspective. 

  1. Financial independence - are you looking to retire or leave your job with its security?
  2. Charitable giving - this is more than just short-term charitable giving. You will need to have a process to achieve a higher goal.
  3. Freedom from debt - how much do you pay toward your debt? Pay down your miscellaneous debt first before tackling the mortgage.
  4. Lifestyle desires - this could include a second home or a boat
  5. Family needs - Many people want to save for their children’s college but also feel the need to help their elder parents.
  6. Starting a business - This takes planning and capital.

Find ways to simplify your financial decisions

Many people think that financial planning has to be complicated. But actually the more simple you can make your planning the better. Complexity gives a comforting impression of control while simplicity is hard to distinguish from cluelessness. You may seem like you are missing out on things when you plan simply, but it’s really about understanding the flow of money. Understand how your cash flow looks now and how it will impact the long-term financial decisions. You know there will be trouble ahead if you haven’t planned for the long-term. 

Create a financial framework to plan your financial decisions

Financial decisions can seem daunting but if you have an intentional decision framework to help you walk through your financial choices then your choices will be more clear. We all have the temptation to spend, especially if we get a lump-sum payment or a bonus from work. But we need to find a way to balance our short-term satisfaction with delayed gratification. When you layout your long-term financial plans you can then start planning how to spend your money in the short-term. 

Outline of This Episode

  • [2:27] What are your options?
  • [5:44] Find ways to automate
  • [10:40] There are 6 items to think of from a long-term perspective
  • [14:35] What should you do with a large one-time increase in income?

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Cameron Hendricks

Connect With Chad and Mike

Subscribe To This Podcast

Apple Podcasts <> Stitcher <> Google Play

 

Jul 1, 2019

Often in social conversations, it’s not uncommon to hear us say, “That reminds me of a scene in the movie…” to emphasize a point. Movies have a powerful way of presenting memorable situations where real life decisions and money intersect. Given the financial lens we view the world through, these financial themes jump off the screen to us.

So in today’s episode, we put on our movie critic hats and have some fun discussing lessons we’ve spotted in films that we all can learn from. Some are obvious but in others, you have to dig a bit deeper. Allison Berger joins us in this fun-filled episode to discover financial influences in the best and worst that Hollywood has to offer.

Financial references from the best and worst Hollywood films

Many times, the large financial outcomes in life are a result of a lot of little decisions along the way in emotionally-charged environments. The circumstances range from pressure-filled decisions amidst a tragedy to pre-conceived notions of long-held family belief systems around money. Some can seem more cliche, like always have a plan B or pay attention to the small print, but paying attention to the emotions that lead to these moments can provide the most intriguing insights. Other messages reinforce strong values that help position you for long-term success, like the benefit of hard work and having an open mind.

Here’s a summary of the movies we discussed:

Gone Girl – This is an intense 2014 thriller with loads of money themes. The movie begins during the 2008 financial crisis and the featured couple loses their jobs. A twisted and circuitous journey ensues from there.

Money themes: This couple could benefit from better financial communication. Strangely, a financial advisor wasn’t around to help (wink, wink). Separately, she keeps all her money in a money belt after she goes on the run. This is a terrible idea! It’s no wonder her money gets stolen as you should never keep all of your money in one place, even when on the run. Finally, do your best to set yourself up so you are not forced to rely on someone else financially.

Edge of Tomorrow – Tom Cruise stars in this 2014 Sci-Fi film. He plays a public relations guy thrown into the battle who gets stuck in a time loop.

Financial lessons: You may not see a financial theme here but we can’t help but think about what we might do financially if we could do yesterday over again with the knowledge that we have today. There are so many uncertainties when dealing with investing which is why balance is so important. When you have a process to help you deal with all the options that are out there. We all have 20/20 hindsight but this movie can be a great thought exercise. What would you learn from today? Would you invest more? Spend differently? Or maybe create an automatic savings plan to make sure you’re saving?

Crazy Rich Asians– This 2018 film is rich with money themes. It is basically set in a rich fantasyland in Singapore.

Financial themes: Money alone will not make you happy, it’s the experiences money buys that can provide lasting happiness. Related, it’s dangerous to have your identity attached to money. Communicating openly with your partner about finances can prevent larger emotional disagreements along the line. Even further, the pressure of misplaced expectations around money can be problematic between spouses. This is why it’s important to choose your spouse wisely as research shows in The Next Millionaire Next Door.

Miracle – This is a family-friendly 2004 Disney movie. Miracle is the story of an Olympic hockey team before Olympians were allowed to be professionals in their fields.

Money lessons: The movie shows the value of hard work without money attached. At the end of the film, it showed what each character’s career was after their hockey career. This movie holds powerful lessons to show kids not to rely on one thing, especially a sport, to provide income for the rest of their lives.

Be sure and listen to the rest for the our takeaways from 3 other movies, including one in Allison’s favorite classic series of movies.

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Allison Berger

Connect With Chad and Mike

Subscribe To This Podcast

Apple Podcasts <> Stitcher <> Google Play

Mar 11, 2019

It wasn't that long ago that the most popular television show in America was named "Who wants to be a Millionaire?" Before that, in the 1980s, we were enamored with "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous." There's something about the idea of becoming a Millionaire that fascinates us. But what is it about the wealthy that sets them apart from the rest of the population? How are their choices different from the average investor? If you've ever read Thomas J. Stanley’s The Millionaire Next Door, you might have a bit of an idea. We recently read The Next Millionaire Next Door by Dr. Stanley's daughter, Dr. Sarah Stanley Fallow, to learn about new insights into the minds of the next generation of millionaires. If you're curious about the strategies, discipline, and characteristics of millionaires and how they may have changed over the past 20 years, you'll want to listen to this episode.

See the full show notes here: https://wp.me/p6NrVS-39r

What does today’s millionaire look like?

It may be surprising to find out that wealthy people are just like you and me. Most millionaires that were surveyed drive practical cars like Toyotas, Hondas, and Fords that are about 3 years old. Remember millionaire is a term that describes wealth, not income. Your income is what you have today, and wealth is what you have tomorrow. In the U.S. in 2018 there were 11 million households with a net wealth greater than a million dollars. The book separated the wealthy into 3 groups, under accumulators of wealth (UAW’s), average accumulators of wealth (AAW’s), and prodigious accumulators of wealth (PAW’s).

What Are the Most Common Characteristics of the Wealthy?

There are 5 important characteristics of the wealthy.

  1. Wealthy people are well-disciplined.
  2. Millionaires are resilient and can persevere.
  3. Rich people are honest with others.
  4. Millionaires understand how to get along with others and work well with others.
  5. 90% surveyed were married and had a supportive spouse. (Divorce decreases wealth by 70%!)

Do you have these characteristics of rich people?

What are some success factors that lead to wealth?

There were many interesting findings of the characteristics of millionaires in the book. Not surprisingly, education was critical to the success of most millionaires. 93% of those surveyed had a college degree and 60% had a graduate degree. What may be surprising to some, is that attending a private school or even a top-rated school was not important. The ability to focus is a key factor in the success of the wealthy. Another important characteristic mentioned, is the ability to track spending. The vast majority understand where their money goes.

These are the least important success factors of the wealthy.

  1. Attending private school
  2. Attending a top-rated college
  3. Graduating at the top of the class
  4. Undertaking an internship in college

How do millionaires spend their time?

It sounds like wealthy people spend their time just as carefully as they spend their money. Wealthy people work more than the average American. They work about 38 hours a week on average, whereas the rest of Americans average 32 hours a week. Millionaires read more too. Books build a framework of knowledge for you to look back upon and analyze. Wealthy spend much less time on social media than the average Joe. They average only 2 hours a week and other Americans average 14 hours a week. Rich people also exercise more and spend more time caring for their family. How do you compare to the millionaires around you?

Outline of This Episode

  • [6:07] What are the different groups of millionaires?
  • [6:29]What are some characteristics of the wealthy?
  • [14:08] What are some success factors that lead to wealth?
  • [18:52] How do millionaires spend their time?
  • [22:06] Where is rich people's money invested?
  • [26:08] What is Chad’s takeaway from the book?

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect With Chad and Mike

Subscribe To This Podcast

Apple Podcasts <> Stitcher <> Google Play

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