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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: 2017
Dec 18, 2017

We read, write and talk a lot about better ways to build wealth, and after reading Dr. Daniel Crosby's latest book, The Laws of Wealth, we wanted to dive deeper on his 10 rules of wealth building. Daniel does a great job of weaving relevant stories in to topics that often can be overly complicated. 

In this episode, we walk through our favorite rules along with steps you can take to put these rules in to practice in your own life. Daniel's examples of why so many of us are overconfident will provide a laugh along with some head-nodding. This discussion will help you take a step back and evaluate potential flaws in your current wealth building journey. Understanding why we have trouble doing this on our own could be the best Christmas gift you receive this year.

Dec 4, 2017

One of the most asked questions we receive centers around the HSA. It's also one of the largest missed opportunities for tax savings we see people are missing, if they are eligible. Health Savings Accounts, known also as HSA, are gaining more and more popularity. But there is still a lot of confusion on how this account is different.

Join us this week, as we break down the ins and outs of all you need to know about how an HSA can benefit you and your family. We address why so many are still not using these accounts to their full capacity. Also, we break down how the HSA provides triple tax savings, or the hat trick as Mike likes to call it.

What You'll Learn in This Episode

  • What is an HSA and why do I need one?
  • How do you know if you are eligible for one?
  • Why people confuse the HSA and the FSA?
  • The incredible benefit within an HSA that only 4% of people are taking advantage of.
  • Why the beneficiary matters on your Health Savings Account.
  • 4 out of 5 HSA accounts have been opened since 2011.
  • 7.3 million people who are enrolled in HSA-eligible plans haven't opened an HSA.
  • Only 48% of those with an HSA contributed to it.

For more, check out show notes here.

Nov 20, 2017

Near tax time each year, do you find yourself wondering what other tax strategies you may be missing? Many people have a goal of paying less in taxes but are missing opportunities to be as tax efficient as possible with their entire financial picture. Fact is, there are things you can do between now and the end of the year that could be a nice benefit when filing your tax return this year.

Join us this week, as we are interviewing a seasoned CPA expert on tax strategies people miss. Will Holt has spent 25 years preparing, reviewing and revising tax returns for clients. It was fun picking his brain to tease out seven tips for people to better position their tax situation next year.

What You'll Learn In This Episode

  • How important decisions during open enrollment could be for next year.
  • The impact of missing out of employer contributions in your 401(k) or HSA.
  • Why contributing to an account for your non-working spouse can be a better move.
  • The ins and outs of gifting the right type of asset
  • Understand the difference between taxable income and AGI as it relates to tax brackets
  • Don't let the tax tail wag the investment dog.
  • Education credits are powerful if used correctly
Nov 6, 2017

What if you knew the secret to building wealth? For many, asking that question alone is part of the problem. That's because it's less of a secret, and more of a discipline of small habits and behaviors we are programmed to ignore. Whether it's how easy we get distracted or our propensity to keep up with the Joneses, understanding our thought patterns around these topics is informative and can lead to trans-formative long-term behavior change. Join us for this episode, as we discuss the specific researched backed factors it takes for each of us to build wealth. The mindsets, habits and predispositions we all experience that set us up to build (or not build) our wealth. You'll also hear Chad and Mike's surprise, as they reveal each others results to a Building Wealth assessment they took.

Find out more and discover links mentioned in the show here: http://bit.ly/2lWyxn5

Oct 23, 2017

Did you realize that we are hardwired to make irrational financial choices? The incentives to spend now vs. save are difficult to overcome on our own. 

On this episode, we break down six key behavioral biases we all share at some point around our finances. The good news is that human accountability and automated savings programs can go a long way to fight against these instinctual biases.

So join us as we celebrate the recognition of Dr. Richard Thaler winning the Nobel Prize in Economics for his Behavioral Economics research and what it means to your financial situation.

Find out more and discover links mentioned in the show here: http://bit.ly/2zvzyVe

Oct 9, 2017

Interest remains high of how to protect yourself after the Equifax Credit scandal. The good news is there are steps to take to mitigate your risks to guard your credit reputation. The bad news is that similar breaches have happened before and will happen again.

Listen this week as Chad and Mike discuss ways thieves will try and take advantage and the details on steps you can take to decrease your risk of having your credit compromised.

Sep 26, 2017

For many, the open enrollment period is just another email you quickly delete thinking nothing has really changed since last year. But this passive approach can be extremely costly if new benefits are being offered or life changes you forget about throughout the year may have happened. On this episode we share some of our unique perspectives given how many different employee benefit packages we see regularly. We also reveal some of the more unique benefits companies are now offering that could be a nice benefit for you this fall. Find out how to assure you are picking the best options for your employee benefits this year.

You can find show notes and more information here: http://bit.ly/2xqX7kR

Sep 11, 2017

Picking out a small business retirement plan can be daunting. This is why we see many small business owners, or those with side hustles, not taking advantage of a retirement plan for them or their employees. This is often because they are overwhelmed by the number of plan options, plan administration requirements, fiduciary responsibilities or they think they are too expensive. On this episode we share some insights to potential options that are not as complicated or as expensive as you might think. Making this decision could put you on the fast track to significant tax savings while also saving more for your retirement goals.

You can find show notes and more information here: http://bit.ly/2xqX7kR

Aug 27, 2017

Once you hit your 40s, it becomes more important than ever to evaluate your financial plan and fill in any gaps in your future. Many of the planning tasks can be tedious or seem unimportant now, but you will thank yourself later when you look back on your conscious and careful financial decisions. Life throws a lot of curveballs and it’s easy to get busy and forget to keep your plan up to date. But taking time to get your ducks in a row will save you a lot of stress later on.

You can find show notes and more information here: http://bit.ly/2vdPDBd 

Aug 13, 2017

It doesn’t get much more stressful than preparing your child for college. From the testing and forms to the outrageous tuition prices, the process can truly be a nightmare without the right strategy. Cozy Whittman from College Inside Track joins us on the show today to share some really valuable information that could save your family tens of thousands of dollars over the course of the college process.

You can find show notes and more information here: http://bit.ly/2wMLyAp 

Jul 30, 2017

You know those things you know you should do - eat healthy, work out every day, sleep eight hours - but struggle to get done? We all do it, and skipping over financially healthy habits is another common way to cut corners.

Overlooking seemingly small aspects of your financial life now is just like skipping floss or skimping on sleep - they don't have a huge impact immediately, but can really affect you down the road. Tuning up your financial habits is a good way to keep yourself in good shape for the long run.

On another note, we'd love to see and hear how you're listening to the podcast. Walking the dog? On your commute? Let us know!

You can find show notes and more information here: http://bit.ly/2vekwVO 

Jul 16, 2017

There’s always more to learn when it comes to the world of finance. A great way to squeeze in some extra know-how this summer is through reading. So on this episode, we have a list of 13 great titles that you may want to add to your reading list, no matter where you are financially or what interests you have.

You can find show notes and more information by clicking here: http://bit.ly/2ukGIgu 

Jul 2, 2017

When was the last time you asked yourself: what purchases have I made in the last month that really made me happy? It might sound like a silly question, but as we'll reveal in this episode, the answer is key to making sure you spend money in a way that supports short- and long-term happiness.

In this episode, we're switching it up a bit and giving you a rundown of one of our favorite books: Happy Money: The Science of Happier SpendingHappy Money gives you the tools to spend in ways that can help you build and sustain happiness over a lifetime. And to make it even more fun, we're talking about popular movies that align with each of the book's five principles. 

You can find show notes and more information by clicking here: http://bit.ly/2tOcm2r 

Jun 18, 2017

How you take your retirement pension can be a more consequential decision than many people realize. The debate over whether to take your pension as a lump sum or as monthly payments can be tricky. 

On this episode, Chad and Michael share 5 things you should keep in mind when making decisions about your retirement pension. They cover some of the key terms you should know, and point out the importance of finding what age is the breakeven point in your calculations. Inflation is also key to factor into your decision, as well as how your pension will affect your spouse.  

You can find show notes and more information by clicking here: http://bit.ly/2sBJw8f 

Jun 4, 2017

We are so excited to welcome back Cameron Hendricks to the Financial Symmetry Podcast! He is back to discuss the journey of writing a book about financial decisions and how they affect your family dynamics. We chart his growth in thinking about financial planning and helping people achieve their financial goals.

You can find show notes and more information by clicking here: http://bit.ly/2rfNp0z

 

May 21, 2017

As with any financial decision, investing in real estate requires a lot of thought and planning. We've pulled together five of the most important things you should consider before you buy any time of investment property, be it residential or commercial.

You should also consider whether you're passionate enough about maintaining property to dedicate significant time and money to the endeavor. Real estate is no small undertaking, but can be fulfilling if you enjoy the process.

You can find show notes and more information by clicking here: http://bit.ly/2q5NC5T 

May 4, 2017

Everyone has a unique road to financial literacy. One common trait we all share is that we hope to pass our wisdom on to the next generation, and that they will learn valuable lessons while they are young. In today’s episode, Chad and Mike share their best tips and tricks for educating your children about money.

You can find show notes and more information by clicking here: http://bit.ly/2oTSL1K

Apr 13, 2017

Saving for retirement often feels like the biggest and most-talked about goal of financial planning. And while there's a lot that goes into successful retirement planning - healthcare costs, keeping track of spending, and tax planning - there are some pitfalls that a comprehensive financial plan can help you avoid. 

Today we're doing one of our famous Top 10 episodes and counting down the top ten retirement mistakes to avoid. We cover everything from how you should budget your spending, to unanticipated costs, to the tens of thousands you could save with intelligent tax planning.

You can find show notes and more information by clicking here: http://bit.ly/2oypJDI 

Apr 3, 2017

Today we're talking about one of the larger purchases you might make: buying a car. 90% of consumers say that price is their most important consideration when buying a car, and that negotiating is the most painful part of the process. Big purchases can be stressful and confusing, but there's no reason your financial planner shouldn't be able to make them easier. 

We walk step-by-step through the process of buying a car, beginning with determining what you can afford. You'll also have to consider the functionality of your new purchase, and what owning a car really means to you. We also cover the question of buying vs. leasing, and where to go to get independent consumer reports about cars you're considering.

You can find show notes and more information by clicking here: http://bit.ly/2nxfDAj 

Mar 16, 2017

The word "fiduciary" is being tossed around a lot lately, largely because of the Department of Labor's oncoming regulations. We thought it would be a good idea to talk about what fiduciary advisors don't look like, so you can choose an advisor that always puts your interests first.

First we talk about what fiduciary means and why it only applies to retirement advice. Then we go through a list of five examples of non-fiduciary advice so you'll know it when you see it. We cover the importance of transparency, duty of care, and the difference between suitable and fiduciary advisors. 

You can find show notes and more information by clicking here: http://bit.ly/2na4Iif  

Feb 21, 2017

For many of us, our parents getting older is a tricky situation to navigate. How do you respectfully offer your help? Ensure they get the best care? Know what to do with their bills and other finances?

For our first-ever interview, we're speaking with Cheryl Theriault of LifeLinks Care, a group of nurses, social workers, care managers, and other professionals that specialize in helping families navigate elder care. We've worked with Cheryl and her team in the past, and thought she would be an excellent guest to talk about this sometimes-sensitive topic.

You can find show notes and more information by clicking here: http://bit.ly/2kBFFiW 

Jan 31, 2017

Mike's turning 40! As he hits this milestone, they guys explore the lessons he learned over more than 17 years in the financial services industry. Mike and Chad will reflect on the top 10 lessons learned from these experiences in this week's episode of the Financial Symmetry Podcast. 

Top 10 Investment Lessons Learned

  1. Following the crowd is not a recipe for investment success. It’s OK to be different.
  2. Sometimes saying no is the best decision.
  3. Making yourself more marketable and attractive to employers through personal development will only help you in the long term through increased earnings and job security.
  4. Limit your employer’s stock to no more than 5% to 10% of your portfolio.
  5. Take the emotion out of investing by setting up an automated investing schedule.
  6. Don’t get caught up in the short-term noise; focus on the things you can control.
  7. A diversified mix of stocks and bonds gives you a better chance of sticking with your investment plan than a 100% stock portfolio. Stocks may provide a greater long-term return, but if you sell at the bottom it doesn’t matter.
  8. Implement and follow an investment strategy and stick with it in good times and bad. If you don’t have a strategy, implement one or have a financial planner help you.
  9. If you can avoid pouring too much money into equities when the market is riding high (March 2009) or too little when it’s sinking low (October 2007), you’ll be better off. Studies by Vanguard, Morningstar and Dalbar show the average investor trails the market by 1.5% to 3% per year due to poor decisions caused by wanting to jump on the latest fad.
  10. Time is your best friend: Implement a disciplined investment strategy, be patient, focus on what you can control (savings, taxes, and so on) and avoid a big mistake. If you can’t do this, hire a fee-only financial planner to help you stay on track.
Jan 17, 2017

Did you meet your New Year's Resolutions last year? Have you set goals for the New Year? In this episode, Chad and Mike discuss the five small steps you can take to make your resolutions attainable.

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