Tag Archives: Personal Finance

Understanding Interest Rates and Your Financial Situation

interest.jpg Untitled-logo trustWhen discussing bank accounts, investments, loans, and mortgages, it is important to understand the concept of interest rates. Interest is the price you pay for the temporary use of someone else’s funds; an interest rate is the percentage of a borrowed amount that is attributable to interest. Whether you are a lender, a borrower, or both, carefully consider how interest rates may affect your financial decisions.

The Purpose of Interest

Although borrowing money can help you accomplish a variety of financial goals, the cost of borrowing is interest. When you take out a loan, you receive a lump sum of money up front and are obligated to pay it back over time, generally with interest. Due to the interest charges, you end up owing more than you actually borrowed. The trade-off, however, is that you receive the funds you need to achieve your goal, such as buying a house, obtaining a college education, or starting a business. Given the extra cost of interest, which can add up significantly over time, be sure that any debt you assume is affordable and worth the expense over the long-term.

To a lender, interest represents compensation for the service and risk of lending money. In addition to giving up the opportunity to spend the money right away, a lender assumes certain risks. One obvious risk is that the borrower will not pay back the loan in a timely manner, if ever. Inflation creates another risk. Typically, prices tend to rise over time; therefore, goods and services will likely cost more by the time a lender is paid back. In effect, the future spending power of the money borrowed is reduced by inflation because more dollars are needed to purchase the same amount of goods and services. Interest paid on a loan helps to cushion the effects of inflation for the lender.

Supply and Demand

Interest rates often fluctuate, according to the supply and demand of credit, which is the money available to be loaned and borrowed. In general, one person’s financial habits, such as carrying a loan or saving money in fixed-interest accounts, will not affect the amount of credit available to borrowers enough to change interest rates. However, an overall trend in consumer banking, investing, and debt can have an effect on interest rates. Businesses, governments, and foreign entities also impact the supply and demand of credit according to their lending and borrowing patterns. An increase in the supply of credit, often associated with a decrease in demand for credit, tends to lower interest rates. Conversely, a decrease in supply of credit, often coupled with an increase in demand for it, tends to raise interest rates.

The Role of the Fed

As a part of the U.S. government’s monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Board (the Fed) manipulates interest rates in an effort to control money and credit conditions in the economy. Consequently, lenders and borrowers can look to the Fed for an indication of how interest rates may change in the future.

In order to influence the economy, the Fed buys or sells previously issued government securities, which affects the Federal funds rate. This is the interest rate that institutions charge each other for very short-term loans, as well as the interest rate banks use for commercial lending. For example, when the Fed sells securities, money from banks is used for these transactions; this lowers the amount available for lending, which raises interest rates. By contrast, when the Fed buys government securities, banks are left with more money than is needed for lending; this increase in the supply of credit, in turn, lowers interest rates.

Lower interest rates tend to make it easier for individuals to borrow. Since less money is spent on interest, more funds may be available to spend on other goods and services. Higher interest rates are often an incentive for individuals to save and invest, in order to take advantage of the greater amount of interest to be earned. As a lender or borrower, it is important to understand how changing interest rates may affect your saving or borrowing habits. This knowledge can help with your decision-making as you pursue your financial objectives.

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Investment Insights, Q4: 2018

invest 1We Always Bring Something to the Table

KathyBy Kathy Thompson, J.D.

A table has several different meanings. It can refer to a set of facts and figures displayed in rows and columns. It can also indicate postponing consideration of something, as in, “Let’s table this discussion for another time.” But frequently the first image that comes to mind when hearing the word “table” is a piece of furniture that can be used for such purposes as eating, writing, or working.  Gathering around a table is conducive to discussion, problem-solving, and teamwork. For us, the table symbolizes this team-oriented, synergistic approach to wealth management that makes our collaborative method so effective.  We call our experienced and knowledgeable professionals our Table of Experts and we’re pleased to announce that it’s growing!  We’ve added three new place settings, and they all bring something valuable to the table. ♦

laura georgeLaura George, CTFA, CFP®

Wealth Advisor

With more than 20 years of extensive experience in wealth management with several major regional banks and asset management firms, Laura concentrates her efforts on the planning and administration of personal and institutional trust accounts and estates.  After receiving her Bachelor of Science from the University of Kentucky, she earned a master’s degree at Bellarmine University and is a Certified Trust and Financial Advisor and certified financial planner® professional.

(502) 625-9132    Laura.George@syb.com

 

j steStephen Turner II

Investment Advisor

Stephen provides professional investment advice for the successful accumulation, distribution, and transfer of wealth across generations.  Prior to joining Stock Yards Bank & Trust, he worked for a large, regional brokerage and money management firm, and holds various professional licenses in the investment and brokerage industry.  Stephen received his Bachelor of Science in Finance from Murray State University, and his MBA from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

(502) 625-1010    Stephen.Turner@syb.com

maria.jpgMaria Tipton, JD

Wealth Advisor

Building relationships and working collaboratively with clients to achieve their goals and protect their financial future, Maria is responsible for the administration of personal trust accounts and client relationship management.  After receiving her Bachlor of Arts degree magna cum laude from the University of Louisville, Maria earned her Juris Doctor magna cum laude from the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville.

(502) 625-9904    Maria.Tipton@syb.com


 

Economic Update Q4: 2018
Oct. 5, 2018

markThe stock market as measured by the Standard & Poor 500 turned in a quiet but very positive return in the third quarter gaining 7.7% for the three months ending September 30th.  Year to date the domestic market has provided investors with a return of 10.6%.  Bond investors were not as fortunate.  The return from the Barclays U. S. Aggregate Bond Index was +0.02 and -1.6% for the quarter and first nine months respectively.

The United States domestic economy continues to build momentum.  The latest revision to second quarter Gross Domestic Product estimates came in at a 4.2% rate.  The increase in economic activity has surprised many economists and strategists.  This has been one of the longest periods of economic expansion in post-World War II history.  Generally, growth tends to slow as an economic expansion ages.  Accelerating growth in an economy that has been expanding this long is a rarity.    Because of the duration and slow pace of the recovery, market strategists and economists have been worried that the recovery could end abruptly.  This economy has gotten very little respect.  However, the pace of economic growth continues to accelerate.   What happened to cause this growth?  Two primary factors were responsible for the increase in growth.

  • Consumer and business confidence is soaring resulting in increased spending and consumption.  This is primarily the result of the recent tax law changes that lowered corporate and individual tax rates and reduced regulation which lowered some key barriers to investment in the United States.  Giving businesses and consumers more money to save, invest, and spend has always been a positive for economic growth.
  • The unemployment rate has dropped dramatically.  Most economists consider our current level of unemployment to be full employment because a small portion of the labor market is either between jobs or temporarily or permanently unemployed at any given point in time.  A high employment rate is very positive for economic activity.  People receiving paychecks are much more likely to spend money, and consumption accounts for over two thirds of our economy.

We expect economic growth to continue to improve in 2018 from the anemic 2% growth we have experienced for the last ten years to something north of 3% both this year and next.

Capital Markets

What does this mean for the capital markets the remainder of this year and next?  Addressing the stock market first, we believe that we are in a secular bull market for stocks.  What does that mean?  It means that the general trend of the stock market is up with higher highs and higher lows for an extended period of time.  It does not mean we will not have corrections or volatility.  What is driving our positive outlook for stocks?  The corporate profit picture is the main reason we are positive about the stock market.  Earnings are the fuel that drive stock prices higher.  The impact of faster economic growth and lower taxes will have a positive impact on corporate earnings in 2018 and beyond.  In fact the growth in corporate profits has exceeded the growth in the market for the last three years.  This has reduced valuation levels to much more reasonable ranges.  The combination of lower valuations and higher profit growth have historically given us very good long term returns from stocks.

The fixed income markets may not be so fortunate.  The bond market had a negative total rate of return in the first nine months of this year.  We expect fixed income returns to be meager for the next eighteen months or so for several reasons.   Generally, faster economic growth increases the demand for capital which results in higher interest rates.  In addition, the Federal Reserve has promised that it will continue to increase short term rates and unwind its quantitative easing program.  The Fed will shrink its balance sheet by not reinvesting the income or proceeds from maturing bonds and by beginning to sell bond holdings outright.  This reduction in demand and increase in supply is generally not good for bond prices.  Lastly, wage pressure appears to be increasing as the economy operates at full employment.  Wage pressure has been a precursor to inflationary pressure in the past.  Bond prices are negatively impacted by inflation as investors demand higher rates of interest to compensate for the loss of purchasing power that inflation creates.

What could blow this up and make us change our economic and capital markets outlook?  The first problem is the Federal Reserve and rising interest rates.  The Fed could normalize interest rates too quickly which would undo many of the positive economic initiatives.  The high debt level in the United States will leverage any increases in rates by immediately increasing the cost of servicing that debt.  This could disrupt economic growth.   If the Fed moves too slowly to unwind the quantitative easing they could create inflationary pressures especially in a full employment environment.  We are already seeing some wage pressure because of the increasing demand for workers.  This has been an early sign of increasing inflation in past economic cycles.  The second problem is tariffs.  Tariffs are essentially taxes placed by countries on imported goods.  These taxes are imposed to make the cost of locally produced goods more attractive and to punish low cost producing countries.  However, countries seldom sit idly by and allow their exports to be taxed.  They retaliate with tariffs of their own which can escalate to the extent that global trade is diminished and world economic growth is negatively impacted.  Some of you will remember from history that this was one of the reasons for the severity and length of the Great Depression in the 1930’s.  Finally, the shape of the yield curve is flashing a warning signal.  The yield curve graphically represents the yields available from fixed income investments at different maturities.  It is traditionally upward sloping meaning that shorter term fixed income investments yield less than longer term investments.  When the reverse is true, short term rates yield more than long term rates or the yield curve becomes inverted, it has been a very good indicator of a recession on the horizon.  Right now the yield curve is very flat.  If the Federal Reserve increases short term interest rates one more time this year and all other yields remain the same we will have an inverted yield curve.  The yield curve has inverted anywhere from ten months to two years before each of the last five recessions.

What could go right over the next year to six months that may not be factored into the markets?  What economic or political factors could provide a catalyst for higher stock prices for the remainder of this year and into 2019?  I want to mention a few possible scenarios because they are things you will probably not see or hear in the financial press or on the nightly news telecasts.

  • The Federal Reserve signals an end to rate hikes after the December increase in the Fed Funds Rate calling a time out on future rate hikes.  They could do this for several reasons.  The need to unwind the quantitative easing bond purchases on their balance sheet while interest rates remain relatively low would be the first reason.  Secondly, the Fed is also very much aware of the dilemma they have placed themselves in.  The last thing they would want to do is disrupt the economic growth that we are currently experiencing by increasing interest rates too quickly or to disrupt the supply and demand equation for bonds.
  • Trade negotiations could end positively with renegotiated agreements and no trade war.  This would be very positive for consumer and business confidence and global growth.   Right now the headlines could not be any worse.  Economists here and overseas are expecting a trade war that will slow global growth and lead to the next recession.  We have said all along that this might just be an art of the deal strategy to coerce our trading partners back to the table.  What if the unconventional methods used by the President result in continued successes like the recently announced USMCA that replaced NAFTA with positive results for Canada, Mexico, and the United States?  That is certainly not priced into the current stock markets here at home or abroad.
  • The economy and corporate profits could continue to expand.  This economy has been suspect because of the length of the economic expansion with few strategists expecting the recovery to last let alone accelerate.  What if the tax cuts continue to boost economic growth that translates into better earnings and cash flows for corporations for the next several years?  What if the economic expansion goes on through 2020?  A larger than expected earnings surprise resulting from faster and/or longer economic growth would be very positive for the stock market.
  • Investors might also come to realize that we may have already had our correction.  Market volatility has become more intense since January.  We have talked a lot about how normal a 10% correction is in a secular bull market.  Federated Investments recently noted that an astounding 83% of the stocks in the Standard & Poor 500 have had a correction of 10% or more year to date; just not all at the same time.  Does it matter that the market has not had the 10% correction when most stocks seem to have already experienced one?

ratioThe combination of lower valuation and faster corporate profit growth will eventually kick start the market.  The combination of faster profit growth and reasonable valuations has historically been a prescription for above average stock market returns.  If any one of the above unanticipated events happens, it could provide the catalyst for a much better second half and positive stock market returns in 2019.

Thank you again for the confidence you have placed in the Wealth Management and Trust team at Stock Yards Bank & Trust.  Please contact us at any time to discuss our outlook in more detail. ♦

Source: FactSet, FRB, Robert Shiller, Standard & Poor’s, Thomson Reuters, J.P. Morgan Asset Management. Price to earnings is price divided by consensus analyst estimates of earnings per share for the next 12 months as provided by IBES since December 1989, and FactSet for June 30, 2018. Average P/E and standard deviations are calculated using 25 years of FactSet history. Shiller’s P/E uses trailing 10-years of inflation-adjusted earnings as reported by companies. Dividend yield is calculated as the next 12-month consensus dividend divided by most recent price. Price to book ratio is the price divided by book value per share. Price to cash flow is price divided by NTM cash flow. EY minus Baa yield is the forward earnings yield (consensus analyst estimates of EPS over the next 12 months divided by price) minus the Moody’sBaa seasoned corporate bond yield. Std. dev. over-/under-valued is calculated using the average and standard deviation over 25 years for each measure. *P/CF is a 20-year average due to cash flow data availability.Guide to the Markets –U.S.Data are as of June 30, 2018.


Paving the Road to Retirement: “Prudent” Spending Matters

laura georgeOne of the milestones on the road to retirement is reaching an understanding that you will be able to achieve the lifestyle and legacy you want with the assets and income you will have.  Developing dependable and/or varied sources of income gives strength to part of the retirement equation. The other part of achieving one’s retirement dreams lies in understanding how much you will personally need and working toward that goal through “prudent” spending.

The financial media provides a plentitude of recommended savings rates based on age and income level. We have also been educated that our current national savings rate hovering just above 3% will not adequately prepare most families for this special time of their lives. Rules of thumb like saving 10-15% of your annual income are less relevant to those nearing retirement since they are based on starting young and having a longer time horizon to “fill the bucket” through contributions and compounding.  Those beginning to develop a savings plan later in life will likely find they need to accumulate even more to maintain their current lifestyle, especially higher income individuals for whom Social Security will replace less of their income.

Understanding how much of your current income needs to be replaced is best achieved by breaking down what you will actually need in retirement. Rather than throwing a dart and accepting an arbitrary 60-80% income replacement guideline which may not be accurate for you, it is far better to undergo a simple assessment and understand the inputs to your personal retirement budget.

One way to consider what will be needed is to break retirement life down into spending categories-an easy mental walk with your favorite drink in hand or relaxing in your favorite space. Do what you need to do in order to make this process a rewarding one, but let your imagination take you to a place where every day you can choose how you spend your time and how robust your activity level will be.

Remembering that most of us will be in retirement for around 20 years, lean back, relax, and consider these categories:

Food and Dining Out:  What is your preference on eating in or dining out? Do you enjoy cooking, and for reduced numbers of people? If you dine out, how often and at what average cost?

Digital Services: What subscriptions or information access do you currently have personally or through your employer? Will you have the same needs/desires for access at retirement? What change in costs, if any, will be related to your needs for news, online, courses, or any retirement activity to supplement your income?

Recharge: What personal or recreational services do you wish to have in retirement?  Are hard copy or audiobooks, trips to the spa, mani-and-pedicures part of your vision? Are you planning to join or continue your country club membership?

Travel: Do your retirement plans include travel to places yet unseen? How frequently do you plan to get away, and how far will you travel by air or another vehicle?  Will you purchase or continue to maintain a vacation home?

Entertainment: What sort of sports activities, fine arts events, or classes do you like to attend?  Will you continue these or add to/subtract from the list during your retirement years?  Do you enjoy these activities with friends and will they continue into your twilight years?

Shopping and Gifts: Do you like to shop and give gifts to friends and family?  Are you charitably inclined?  How much change to your current spending on clothing and household goods do you imagine?

Basic Needs: What essential spending needs to occur to bring you happiness?  Utilities, and replacement appliances are not exciting, but are a necessary part of life. Housing and transportation are likely the two biggest parts of your current budget.  Do you plan to create more or less space for you and your family in retirement? Will you splurge on the luxury car you have worked hard to enjoy? How much will your healthcare costs change with age and when any employer subsidies are gone?

As you can see, there are many inputs to formulating an accurate retirement budget, and often handing the answers to these questions over to a professional can be a very rewarding experience. Quality financial advisors are trained to be your partner in constructing an easy-to-understand plan which includes tax implications and investment return projections. There is also no replacement for an objective opinion which highlights issues that can throw you off track, like assessing excessively high risk in your portfolio needed to achieve unrealistic goals.

Once you have worked the puzzle of what expenses you will have in retirement, it is an easy bridge to understand how much your current asset mix will support and any shortfall of income which needs attention between now and the time you retire.  For the average family, greater headway toward building the proper sized nest egg will be achieved by placing the focus on controlling “prudent” spending rather than attempting to target an arbitrary savings rate.

Examination of consumer spending for U.S. households clearly shows that transportation and housing monopolize the largest shares of overall spending.  It is highly probable these categories also consume the largest portion of your personal household budget as well.  Focusing your efforts on prudent spending in categories with the highest potential to increase savings for retirement clearly makes sense. Will reducing home expenses over the long term get you closer to your retirement dreams than eliminating your occasional stop at the coffee shop? It sounds all too simple. But what does it really mean to “live within your means”?

Distinguishing between “saving what is left over” and “prudently controlling flexible spending” to achieve your long-term goals is important. How often do any of us have something left over with no added attention given to our spending habits? If we are being good stewards of our resources and paying attention to high impact items, there are opportunities to make headway toward long-term goals as fixed expenses change from time to time. Focusing on prudent spending decisions even during periods when fixed expenses are lower provides greater positive results than curbing expenses with less budget impact. Although we sometimes feel hit with one outlay after another, indeed there are many expense decisions we can control and holding ourselves accountable for making those with a long-term mindset is key to making your retirement dreams a reality.

Given your new understanding of exactly what will be needed in retirement from the exercise above, there is no need to accept that simply being within acceptable debt ratios will keep your spending at the proper levels. In fact, consumer debt ratios are set by lenders to satisfy a different set of criteria, not to help average families select a level of debt in line with their long-term family goals. Prudent spending is actually the key driver to controlling what you can and reducing the risk of missing your retirement target.  Let us help you create a baseline plan and talk through the obstacles you see to reaching your ideal retirement.  With a quality conversation about a prudent spending plan, you may be closer than you think! ♦


Wealth Management & Trust

KATHY THOMPSON, Senior Executive Vice President, (502) 625-2291
E. GORDON MAYNARD, Managing Director of Trust, (502) 625-0814
MARK HOLLOWAY, Chief Investment Officer, (502) 625-9124
SHANNON BUDNICK, Managing Director of Investment Advisors, (502) 625-2513
REBECCA HOWARD, Managing Director of Wealth Advisors, (502) 625-0855

NOT FDIC INSURED | MAY LOSE VALUE | NO BANK GUARANTEE


We provide the information in this newsletter for general guidance only. It does not constitute the provision of legal advice, tax advice, accounting services, investment advice, or professional consulting of any kind. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional tax, accounting, investment, legal, or other competent advisers. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a professional adviser who has been provided with all pertinent facts relevant to your particular situation. The information is provided “as is,” with no assurance or guarantee of completeness, accuracy, or timeliness of the information, and without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied, including but not limited to warranties of performance, merchantability, and fitness for a particular purpose.

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Six Tips for Wealth & Sanity

wealth sanityUntitled-logoAnd the most important tip of all? Hire a financial advisor.

Investing can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. If you have a portfolio that was built for you and use the help of a financial advisor, you shouldn’t be too worried about volatility and financial news.

Here are a few tips to help you invest wisely, and stay sane at the same time.

  1. Cut back on financial (entertainment) media. The financial news is entertaining, but the focus is on short-term trends and hype. Sure, you need to keep up with general economic and business news, but it isn’t wise to trade on every piece of information that you come across. Print media tends to be less sensational than TV programs.
  2. Stop checking your accounts online every day. If you have a properly diversified portfolio, built for you, focusing on daily changes in your account value is likely to tempt you to trade too much. Should you make frequent transactions, hoping to profit from price swings, your trading fees increase. Avoid making emotional decisions and wait for your monthly statement to arrive. As a disciplined investor, you need to tolerate volatility. This gives you more peace of mind, too.
  3. Focus on the bottom line, not individual investments. If one investment is doing well and the other is doing poorly, what should you do? The answer may surprise you. You should probably sell some of the investment that went up and buy more of the poor performer. It seems counterintuitive, but this is “buy low, sell high” in a nutshell. If you focus on the value of your portfolio as a whole, you won’t be tempted to make poor trading decisions, like selling lagging stocks out of fear.
  4. Clean old junk out of your portfolio. Do you have stocks you held for a while, just waiting for them to return to the price you bought them? A good way of knowing whether to hold certain stocks is to ask yourself whether you would buy them today as new positions. Investors often think they need to wait until the stock price comes back before selling. Cut your losses and rid your portfolio of those old underperformers. You will feel like a weight is lifted from your shoulders, and you can use that money on better prospects.
  5. Create a plan and follow the rules. One of the biggest mistakes that investors make is failing to make a disciplined plan. Choose your overall asset allocation, such as a mix of stocks and bonds, and stick to it. Check your portfolio every three months to see if your account has fluctuated away from your original plan (say, 60% stocks, 40% bonds).  If needed, make changes to bring your account back to the proper proportion.  This is called rebalancing, a fantastic risk management tool.
  6. Hire an investment advisor. Seeking the advice of a professional doesn’t mean you are not smart enough or capable enough to figure it out on your own. You’re capable of mowing the lawn, cleaning your house and doing your taxes, too. But you don’t mind paying someone else to do those tasks. There are some cases where you should never do things on your own. You don’t see people filling their own cavities, right? A professional financial advisor can help you devise your plan and offer unbiased advice about your portfolio. Who knows, you may even enjoy letting go of the reins.

Hopefully, taking a step back from your investing life gives you greater peace of mind and lets you focus more on other things like your career and family.

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Easing Into Retirement

easing into retirement- pic

Untitled-logoFor many people, crossing the bridge into retirement is a big step. If you’re approaching retirement, it’s time to develop a strategy to facilitate a smooth transition from the more structured world of work to one of leisure.

After spending years building your professional career, you’ve accumulated assets along the way.

While retirement planning usually focuses on preparing for your financial future, nonfinancial matters may also need to be addressed. When retirees feel dissatisfied, it’s often the lifestyle changes that accompany retirement living that tend to create difficulties with self-esteem and identity associated with ending one’s profession.

Staying Active

One possible solution for managing these challenges may be to ease into retirement. Some individuals may welcome the opportunity to continue some form of work, such as consulting, job-sharing, mentoring, or back-up management. Mentoring, in particular, enables you to transfer a lifetime of learning and experience to a friend, relative, or younger colleague. Phased-in retirement provides an “anchor,” allowing new retirees to explore other activities while also maintaining their role at work.

Since some people may have more of an emotional reaction to the separation and disengagement from working than they expected, taking between two to five years to “decompress” may be an appropriate option.

Maintaining a Healthy Perspective

While “retirement” suggests the end of your working life, a more positive perspective to take could be that it’s the beginning of a new phase of life—when you can do all the things you never seemed able to find the time for while you were working. For example, volunteer work can allow you to make a valuable contribution to a charitable cause and meet new people. Taking courses in subjects that interest you can sharpen your intellect and help maintain your cognitive abilities. If chosen thoughtfully, these activities can be enjoyable and fulfilling.

Obviously, it’s a lot easier for a retiree to consider other pursuits if financial considerations are secondary. People may think that it costs less to live in retirement. However, it’s actually common for retirees to increase, rather than decrease, their expenditures, especially in the first few years of transition. Without working full-time, retirees may have more energy and time to enjoy entertainment, dining out, travel, and recreation.

On Spending and Inflation

During the working years, it’s common to take a certain lifestyle for granted. In retirement, however, you may need to change your priorities or consider budgeting depending on your circumstances. On the other hand, you may find that you no longer need or want to do some of the things that seemed so important when you were working.

Additionally, be sure to keep an eye on the effects of inflation after retirement. For example, an item costing $100 when you are age 65 will cost $180 at age 80, assuming a 4% inflation rate compounded annually. Therefore, it’s important that your retirement plan be not only a plan “at” retirement, but also a plan continuing “through” retirement, which may require revision on a regular basis.

If you view retirement as your opportunity for growth and exploration, you can make this transition exciting and enjoyable. Your horizons are limited only by your imagination. After all of your hard work, you’ve earned this opportunity—enjoy the freedom!

Please visit https://syb.com/wealth-management-and-trust/how-we-serve-our-clients/ira-retirement-rollovers/.  for more information.

Resource information provided by Financial Media Exchange

 

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Remarriage: Altering Your Financial Plan to Meet Your Needs

Untitled-logo trustIn previous generations, husband’s traditionally handled the family finances. While this arrangement may have worked well during the husband’s lifetime, the consequences of the wife’s lack of involvement in the family’s finances often became clear after her spouse died. Today, more women are actively directing the outcome of their personal finances, and for good reason.

Women need to plan for a time when they may be on their own. Through divorce, widowhood, or personal choice, the odds are high that a woman will be independent at some point in her lifetime. Financial planning is essential for women throughout life, but it becomes especially important in the event of remarriage, as financial arrangements may need to be made for ex-spouses and children.

If you are in a second marriage or about to remarry, you may want to consider the following important points about managing your personal finances:

Bank Accounts. Should married couples combine their bank accounts or keep them separate? Or, perhaps combine certain accounts and keep others separate? There is no right or wrong choice—this is a personal decision. An open and honest discussion may reveal whether or not you and your spouse are financially compatible regarding spending habits, saving, investing, debt, etc. If there is a marked difference in the way you both handle money, then separating your finances may be a better plan.

Prior Debt. Will each spouse be responsible for the other’s prior debt, and if so, to what extent? Keeping the indebted spouse’s prior debt separate may help ensure that the other spouse’s property remains out of reach from creditors.

Property Acquired before Remarriage. Owning previously acquired property in your own name can prevent the risk of losing personal property to your spouse’s potential creditors. Also, doing so may have estate tax benefits. Keeping your property in your own name can help to minimize estate taxes while providing an inheritance for children from a previous marriage.

Home Ownership. Many married couples choose to title property jointly as tenants by entirety. When one spouse dies, the home passes to the surviving spouse tax-free. However, there may be estate tax consequences when the surviving spouse dies. Be sure to consult with a qualified tax professional beforehand.

Retirement. Saving for retirement is one of the major financial goals for married couples. Women, in particular, have unique concerns when planning for retirement. First, women typically live longer than men, so their retirement income needs to last longer. In addition, women often spend more time out of the workforce than men as a result of caregiving responsibilities, and therefore are less likely to have pensions and full Social Security benefits. According to the U.S. Department of Labor in 2013, when women work, they typically earn 82 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts. Consequently, the gap between gender incomes makes it especially important for women to prepare for retirement.

Insurance. Disability income insurance can help replace a portion of your income in the event you are unable to work due to sustaining an injury or illness. This type of insurance provides funds that can be used for bills and expenses. Similarly, life insurance provides a death benefit that can be used by your family. Proceeds can help ensure that children from a prior or current marriage can attend college, the mortgage can be paid, and the surviving spouse has some replacement income.

Estate Planning. It is important for blended families to plan for the final disposition of assets. Trusts can be a valuable tool to minimize estate taxes and to help ensure that your assets are distributed to heirs according to your wishes. For example, at your death, your assets can pass to a trust, from which your surviving spouse will receive income without direct access to the assets. At the death of the surviving spouse, the assets can then pass to children from your current or previous marriage. This provides ongoing income for your surviving spouse and an inheritance for your children, as well. In addition, if the surviving spouse later remarries, the trust can be designed to preclude your assets from their marital or community property.

Every woman who remarries needs to balance her financial past with her financial future. By addressing the management of your personal finances as soon as possible, you can avoid disputes and build financial independence for your extended and blended families.

If you have questions about the financial implications of divorce, email our Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, Marcia.Henderson@syb.com, for help!

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Next Gen Family Wealth and the Softer Side of Planning

Untitled-logo trustNeil ByrneWhat do you want to pass on to future generations?  As the old saying about money goes, “You can’t take it with you.”  Money is important though, undoubtedly.  Of course, so are family, friends, and our social, cultural and intellectual pursuits.  Recent research from Purdue University has even found that money can increase people’s emotional well-being, as well as their overall satisfaction with life – to a point.  According to the researchers, money alone can actually lower a person’s well-being if it is not handled properly.  The research goes on to conclude that “[m]oney is only a part of what really makes us happy. . . .”

So, what else makes us happy?  Well, that depends on what makes you and your family unique.  What’s your family’s story?  Do your children and grandchildren know it?

Traditional financial advisors are good at tackling the technical challenges, such as the legal and financial planning that families must address.  A modern estate plan, however, is not all there is to consider when creating a legacy.  After all, most family interactions are not technical discussions about taxes or investment returns – they are far more interesting than that!

When is the last time you discussed the importance of community involvement, professional development, or shared family goals and expectations?  What non-monetary goals are important for your loved ones to achieve in their lives?  What values should their lives reflect?  Philanthropy?  Entrepreneurship?  The arts?

We frequently have clients who express their concerns about how loved ones would manage an inheritance, and those concerns are well-founded.  Often, however, clients have not told the story of how she or he earned those resources.  The story behind the assets is interesting, and extremely important to the choices that are made by succeeding generations.  If assets become part of the “family legacy” instead of just money in an account, there is a higher likelihood that they will be used wisely.  The story also becomes part of who the family members are, not just what is in their bank accounts.

Telling the family story does not mean telling younger generations every last detail about your finances.  Instead, it means dedicating time and attention to preparing family members for a future inheritance in a meaningful way, and doing that more than once.  It also means sharing with younger generations the intellectual, social, human and spiritual responsibilities they will take on as future family leaders – and as beneficiaries.

Mark Twain has been quoted as saying, “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.”  A singular focus on technical details without discussion about the larger family legacy can be detrimental to a family and a family’s wealth.

We are inviting you to consider some of the less obvious, but incredibly important discussions and plans you may need to have with your family.  Please contact your advisor to talk more about your family’s legacy, or me at neil.byrne@syb.com or (502) 625-2459.


See:  https://www.futurity.org/money-can-buy-happiness-1685132/ “Money can buy happiness.  Here’s how much it takes,” February 21, 2018.

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7 Tips for Choosing a Financial Caregiver

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According to the National Council on Aging, almost 90 percent of the financial abuse committed against older Americans is done by someone they know. More than ever, it is imperative for seniors to select a trustworthy person to properly manage their finances and personal affairs.

Fraudsters often prey on seniors experiencing cognitive decline, limited mobility and other disabilities that require them to rely more heavily on others for help. Appointing someone you trust to handle your financial matters aids tremendously in the fight against these crimes.

In recognition of May as Older Americans Month, we want to share seven tips to help choose the right financial caregiver and prevent financial abuse:

  • When delegating financial decisions, make sure it’s someone you trust. If you are unable to facilitate financial transactions, carefully choose a trustworthy person to act as your agent in all financial matters.
  • Know who is in your home. Conduct a thorough background check on all individuals you hire for personal care or home care services. Check references and credentials before you let them into your personal space.
  • Never sign something you don’t understand. Consult with a financial advisor or attorney before signing any document that appears suspicious or unclear.
  • Understand the terms of assigning a Power of Attorney. Granting someone POA gives them the authority to act and make decisions on your behalf, including managing and having access to your bank and other financial accounts. Make sure you fully understand the terms and conditions of consenting a legal agent before you do so.
  • Always trust your instincts. Exploiters and abusers are very skilled. They can be very charming and forceful in their efforts to exploit you. Don’t be fooled – if something doesn’t feel right, it may not be.
  • Safeguard your personal information. Shred old bills, junk mail, bank statements and other personal documents you no longer need. Leaving unwanted personal documents around the house could lead to the misuse of your information. If you come across keepsake documents opt to store them in a locked cabinet or safe deposit box at your nearest bank.
  • Keep personal items out of plain sight. Lock up checkbooks, credit cards and other monetary instruments to prevent unauthorized use.Resource information provided by the American Bankers Association.

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