FIC Blog

We believe in – and live by – a philosophy of excellence.

Average is not good enough … Our goal at Family Investment Center is excellence. We find excellent investment products and supervise an excellent service package. We maintain a library of excellent research materials and financial planning resources. We also demand top safety and security for our clients.

We won’t settle for average. We continually seek top managers or securities and meld them into superior custom portfolios. Each palette of investments is carefully tailored to personal or family goals. We enlist excellent managers, research, resources, and effort for our clients. Don’t settle for average. You deserve excellence.

Please search our blog posts for answers to common investment questions, and we look forward to sharing our knowledge and experience with you first-hand.

Can Geographical Differences Impact Investment Strategies?

How Investment Strategies Vary According to Financial Concerns



b2ap3_thumbnail_Investment-Management-1_20151021-205239_1.jpgEveryone faces unique challenges when it comes to planning for future dreams, including retirement. However, experts have pointed out that we may also face similar challenges according to where we live. A recent survey of thousands of Americans shows that there are distinctive financial geographical issues throughout the U.S. Investment strategies may vary with these concerns, but considering getting advice from a professional investment advisor should always be high on the list of priorities.

GOBankingRates asked 10,000 people what their biggest financial concerns were, and the results show that planning for retirement, saving for a home, establishing an emergency fund, building an investment portfolio and paying for higher education were among the most frequent answers. Staying with a strategy that can produce results is actually a problem for one in five Americans, the survey found.

What are some intriguing regional differences?

- Californians said they struggle with paying for higher education.
- Residents in several northeastern states said they have a difficult time planning for retirement.
- In the Midwest, Missourians say their biggest financial concern involves planning for retirement. Missourians are also graduating college with an average student debt total of nearly $25,000.

It is not uncommon for retirement planning and higher education goals to work against each other. This is often a challenge with clients focused on having a robust retirement plan while also helping their children navigate through an increasingly expensive higher education process. Unfortunately, many parents are forgoing their own retirement plans in favor of focusing investments toward paying college tuition.

College can be a priority when it comes to planning for the future of your children, but placing too much emphasis on this part of your investment portfolio while neglecting your retirement investing can leave you unprepared financially in retirement. Students can take out low interest student loans to fund their education; this is not something that’s available for your retirement. In fact, if you put too much focus on funding higher education, you can put your children in a situation where they’re funding your retirement – such as paying your medical bills and your housing expenses – because you do not have enough financial resources for your retirement years.

Interestingly, the Employee Benefit Research Institute has found that the debt senior citizens are accruing has increased by 83 percent in just one decade. While the report doesn’t indicate that higher education is at fault, there are likely many variables that weigh into this debt load, which in 2010 was $50,000 on average for senior citizens.

To strike the right balance between education and retirement, talk to a trusted investment advisor. These are professionals who can assist you in aligning your priorities and creating a consistent strategy for success. Family Investment Center professionals work with a wide variety of individuals with different goals, investment challenges, and family situations (all in a refreshing commission-free setting). Contact us today and let’s start the conversation.

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Want to Get More From Your 401(k) Investing?


Easy Tips to Remember for 401(k) Investing

b2ap3_thumbnail_401K-2.jpgWhile pension plans have fallen by the wayside, 401(k) investing through employer-sponsored programs has grown in popularity as a part of planning for retirement. Many investment advisors would say that one important move you can make in retirement planning is to start investing in your 401(k) as early as possible. Why? The reason is compound interest and portfolio growth. The more time you let the growth build up and work for itself, the more money you are capable of accruing by the time you retire. Here are some easy tips to review and share:

Max out the employer match. If you’re enrolled in an employer-sponsored program where the employer matches a percentage of your investment, make sure you’re taking maximum advantage of that match. Investing less than what your employer will match is basically leaving money on the table.

Earned a little extra? Invest it. If you receive a bonus or windfall, consider adding it as part of your long-term investment strategy. Also consider raises an opportunity to increase your monthly investments to your 401(k). Having the money infused directly from payroll to the 401(k) account is a smart move as you don’t have to physically do anything to transfer from your checking account to an investment account. This ensures that the money is moved into your 401(k) consistently each month.

Consistency, consistency. With 401(k) investing, it is important to think long-term and to diversify. When recessions hit, there is a good chance you may see it negatively impact your balance. However, when investing for the long haul, history has shown that the ebb and flow of the economy usually allows you to recoup those losses. The best results are most often seen in accounts that are both consistent and diversified.

Don’t allow yourself easy access to the 401(k) funds. It is important that you don’t treat your 401(k) like a loan or checking account. Yes, you worked for that money and it is yours, but keep in mind your retirement goals and long-term outlook. Remember, with few exceptions, any funds you take out before age 59.5 will not only be taxed as income, but will also incur an early withdrawal tax penalty.

Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for assistance with your 401(k) investing. Getting to the point where you’re truly enjoying your retirement years, due in part to your 401(k) account, is not something that everyone is equipped to plan out on their own. It may take the professional advice of an experienced advisor who knows how your investments will be taxed and how they can be leveraged as an effective tool.

Family Investment Center has offered individuals and families unbiased, commission-free advice since opening 17 years ago. In fact, we were one of the first regional firms to operate on a fee-only, commission-free environment – long before the concept became popular. Call or email our team today and find out why national publications like Forbes and the Wall Street Journal include our thoughts in articles.

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Twenty-Somethings and Investing: 10 Simple Financial Rules


When’s the right time to think about investing?

Today. Right now.

Even if you’re in your 20s and investing seems like something you’ll do later, think again. Investing right now is all about planning out the life you want to live and mapping the steps to get there. It doesn’t have to be over-complicated; working with a professional investment advisor can help take the worry out of the equation for you.

View our new video below for some straightforward tips you can put into action, today -- and move a few steps forward to the freedom you know you want down the road.


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Do You Know These IRA Points for Your Investment Strategies?

b2ap3_thumbnail_Investment-Management-1.jpgYou already know you need to carefully consider your investment decisions. When it comes to investment strategies, miscalculated decisions can lead to paying more taxes than you bargained for, or possibly penalties (especially when it comes to IRAs). Here are some notes you may already know – and it doesn’t hurt to have a few reminders if you already know these investment points: 

IRAs can be a wise choice for an investment asset. However, if you’re not carefully reviewing your investment strategies where IRAs are concerned, you can pay for it in the end. Your goal should be to manage your IRAs in such a way that the after-tax value won’t haunt you later.

Once you turn 70.5 you are required to withdraw a certain amount of money from traditional IRAs every year and pay income tax on the amount withdrawn. These required minimum distributions are also called RMDs. Make sure you get the facts with your RMDs; this is not the age to try to recoup lost ground.

If you’re still working and know you need to put more toward your retirement, you have a chance to do so. It’s called catch-up contributions, and if you are 50 or older, you can start socking away an additional $1,000 in your IRA this year, which puts your max at $6,500 for 2015.

In many cases, your contributions to your tax-deferred accounts are made through your earned income at your job. However, if you’re married and your spouse doesn’t have an income, or a very small income, there are exceptions for your situation. You may be able to make contributions to separate IRAs for the maximum amount of $5,500 for each account ($6,500 if 50 or older).

Another aspect of your investments you might have missed is that different types of accounts will be placed under different tax rules and tax rates that change. It’s not advisable to predict the changes or try to plan a strategy around these changes. However, diversification where taxes are concerned can be a smart play. Talk to your investment advisor about how to play it smart and
diversify so you don’t run the risk of having all your investments tied into a high-taxed account.

You will also need to name a beneficiary, and this too, takes some thinking. With at least one-third of all marriages ending in dissolution, you need to make sure your beneficiaries are always updated.

Our team of commission-free investment advisors at Family Investment Center can be part of your next move for managing your IRA. We can help you navigate considerations like taxes, withdrawing in retirement, and diversification. Contact us today and move a little closer to your idea of retirement.

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Reading the Praises of Proper Investing

b2ap3_thumbnail_Book-1.pngA new book on investing by Tony Robbins is gaining the praise of critics, but not just any critics. Professionals from the investment industry are speaking out, including Dan Danford, founder and CEO of the Family Investment Center. Danford is impressed with the author’s insights for the average investor – a segment of society that the investment industry has always been slanted against. Robbins’ book explains asset allocation, fiduciary advice, fees for trading or mutual fund management and many other facets of the industry that investors need to know about. Robbins also approaches the subject like a good teacher – providing helpful lists to summarize his lessons on investing.

This book has the power to change investing forever. Robbins explains for readers what I've taught select clients for over three decades, and he has the reach and platform to transform the investing landscape. My guess is that an informed public will demand some revolutionary changes in investing.

You see, the investment industry has always been slanted against average investors. That slant is both structural and historical. For decades, investment products - stocks, bonds, mutual funds - have been manufactured mainly for the seller. They've been built around a great story, and laden with rich cash and benefits for the selling stockbroker or fund manager. Eventually, the product finds its way to an actual investor who may or may not gather some rewards for owning it. No matter the rewards, though, it would have/could have been better without the industry's layers of rich compensation.

Tony's book explains all that and so much more. It is a quality educational lesson for investors. It approaches all the topics that I relish for clients; it discusses asset allocation, fiduciary advice, fees for trading or mutual fund management. He offers up considerable detail and keeps the discussions relevant and lively. His interviews with investing titans alone are worth the price of the book (Warren Buffett, John Bogle, Charles Schwab, Carl Icahn, Boone Pickens, and others).

Like any good teacher, Tony builds some helpful lists to summarize the lessons. The book's sub-title "7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom" is a fine start. Then he shatters 9 financial myths and offers 5 steps to speed up financial success. The net result is a personal blueprint that is both easy to understand and follow. Readers can level the playing field and discover where to go for genuine help and advice.

And that is the power of this book. Tony Robbins offers a tour behind the secret curtain. I say thanks Tony for all the good work, and I welcome you and your readers into the better world of fiduciary investing.




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