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.

Family Investment Center CEO Shares Insights About How to Avoid Road Blocks to Your Freedom Tour

A recent Kansas City Business Journal article titled “How Far Will $1M in Retirement Savings Get You in KC?” opens some ground for interesting conversation, particularly with those who are on a journey to find serious freedom and don’t want to encounter any roadblocks along the way. Family Investment Center CEO and Founder Dan Danford shares some thoughts on the topic.

The article, which covers a study by SmartAsset, explores the Missouri cities in which a million dollars will last longest. They found that $1 million would last 25.52 years in Kansas City. Joplin came in first at 27.73 years, and St. Louis was ranked third at 26.11 years.

Danford said the study is interesting because it makes comparisons based on a standard measure and takes the cost of various senior living expenses today, inflates them over time, and spends them against a hypothetical $1 million portfolio.

He also said the study inflates each senior living cost by a historical inflation factor for that industry. So, the cost of future health care is inflated by one factor and the cost of housing by another. Each of these reflects the history of inflation in that category, and it’s actually a common way to estimate.

“That doesn’t mean it is right,” Danford noted. “In fact, it is almost certainly wrong. The measure produced here for each city runs from twenty-something years to thirty-something years. No matter how thoughtful the methodology, those numbers will crumble by 2044 to 2054. No one knows or can guess the inflation factor for health care, housing, groceries, or recreation over the next 30 years!”


Furthermore, the fate of these cities into the future is unknown, cost-of-living-wise.

“How many times have you heard someone say, ‘it used to be reasonable to live here, but the costs keep going up and up,’” Danford said, adding that San Francisco is a good example: a study completed 30 years ago wouldn’t have taken into account the massive spike in the cost of living that the residents of that city have experienced.

Danford said the way the authors arrived at their investment return rate assumes the $1 million would grow at a real return (interest minus inflation) of 2%, reflecting the typical return on a conservative investment portfolio. However, he disagrees with the logic.

“Many, maybe most, Americans like bank certificates or Treasury securities for their portfolios and neither of those tend to keep pace with inflation over time. In other words, the inflation rate used for this study and the measure it produces is pretty contrary to the American experience,” says Danford.

Our team at Family Investment Center has been quoted for our unconventional and jargon-free approach in major media sources across the nation – but our favorite conversations remain centered around you and your success. Contact us and let’s talk about real numbers in your journey to serious freedom.

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Family Investment Center Advisor Laura Holthaus Receives Recognition

Quality Investment Advisor Services Honored


When Laura Holthaus joined Family Investment Center in 2008, she said she enjoyed being part of a team that “genuinely puts clients’ interests first.” People who are inspired in their careers tend to be more productive, and that’s certainly true of Holthaus, an investment advisor who has achieved advanced certifications and been recognized as a “Five Star Wealth Manager.”

Holthaus, who serves as an investment advisor at Family Investment Center and Chief Compliance officer, earned her undergraduate degrees in Business Administration and Economics from Missouri Western State University in 2007. She earned a graduate certificate in Personal Financial Planning in 2012 and an applied Master of Science in Personal Financial Planning in 2014, both from the University of Missouri in Columbia.

In 2017, Holthaus became a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) professional. Professionals with this designation create holistic, long-term plans to help clients reach financial goals.

She didn’t stop there. Holthaus became a Retirement Income Certified Professional (RICP®) this year. The designation “equips advisors with the knowledge to effectively manage the transition from asset accumulation during a client’s working years to asset decumulation in retirement,” according to the American College of Financial Services. Investment advisors with this designation have completed an accredited, in-depth program focused on best practices in Social Security claiming, risk management, distribution strategies and more.

“I sought the credential because a set of questions are commonly asked as clients prepare for retirement, including things like, ‘How much can I afford to spend, from which source should I draw income first, and how do I make my money last?’,” says Holthaus. “The curriculum and courses offered by the RICP® program aim at evaluating a client’s situation and strategizing to answer these key questions, which ultimately means adding value to the services we offer to clients. A huge part of our mission is to walk alongside individuals and families as they develop their own ideas and goals for retirement, and furthering our education on topics such as these makes us better equipped to do so.” 

Holthaus’s hard work has not gone unnoticed: she’s been named a “Five Star Wealth Manager” for the fourth consecutive year in 2019 by Five Star Professional, which is a Minnesota-based organization that conducts market research to define and promote professional excellence. Holthaus earned the distinction after satisfying 10 objective eligibility and evaluation criteria that are associated with wealth managers who provide quality services.

“This award requires a great deal of effort and dedication,” said Dan Danford, founder and CEO of Family Investment Center. “The award is limited to a select group of nominees and she’s earned the Five Star Wealth Manager award each year since 2016.”

Read more about the Family Investment Center team and find out how all are dedicated to your “serious freedom,” at every step of the financial planning or investment management journey.


About Five Star Professional
Founded in 2003, Five Star Professional conducts market research to define and promote professional excellence in the professions it serves. The Five Star designation assists consumers in selecting a service professional that other consumers say provides exceptional client satisfaction and service. Five Star Professional joins forces with city and regional magazines to publish its research to consumers and promote Five Star-designated professionals in more than 45 markets across the United States.

The Five Star Professional Award is based on 10 objective criteria such as credentials, experience and assets under management, among other factors. Read more here:


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How Will You Meet Your Financial Freedom Planning Goals in 2019?

What You Need to Know About Your Financial Future as a New Year Starts



If you’re looking to get 2019 started off in the direction of freedom, the Family Investment Center team has some financial planning tips to get you started.

One “big picture” idea is to simplify your financial life. Here are some ways Family Investment Center CEO/Founder Dan Danford advises his clients to put that concept into practice:

This is not rocket science, and the basics are pretty simple. You need to spend less than you make. Buy things that hold value, and use credit thoughtfully (mostly for things that hold or grow in value). Steer clear of anything you don’t understand.

Turn off the business channel on TV. Consider ignoring most of the financial or economic stories in the popular media. While it’s not exactly “fake news,” it’s often full of unneeded drama. Every talking head has an agenda and many of them represent some product or service that might harm you. Don’t be lured into an investment drama vortex.

And remember, adding too much emotion to investing is a dangerous game. In fact, professional advisors are often valued for their ability to see options in a discerning, straightforward way.


Seek professional help when you need it. Mistakes are made when people reach beyond their knowledge. Find out what you don’t already know by talking to an advisor about your questions and ideas. Seeking one that’s commission-free (fee-only) can help boost your confidence level even further.  

Inertia is the enemy. When faced with a new financial decision, many people will choose to avoid or ignore. That creates the 401(k) that is never invested, or the abandoned IRA at a bank, or even life or health insurance that will lapse. In many cases, an ignored decision is worse than a bad decision. Decide to decide.

Again, when you can’t make a decision or are afraid you’re going beyond your comfort zone, get the help of a professional. There is no need to feel intimidated – just present the facts and see how an expert can assist you with those hard to make decisions.


Don’t live life like a pinball in a pinball machine. Ignore the constant noise, make deliberate choices, keep it simple and use genuine advice. You’ll find that a long-term approach to financial planning will keep you from bouncing around aimlessly.

At Family Investment Center, we take your freedom very seriously. Our Total Financial Wellness Approach can help you start planning today for your own version of serious freedom. Contact us and let’s get the conversation started about your future.

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Family Investment Center Can Help You Find Serious Freedom in 2019

Partner With Family Investment Center to Begin Your Freedom Journey


If there is one thing our team at Family Investment Center is serious about, it’s helping people find financial freedom. At Family Investment Center, we help people make sense of their money so they can plan for “Serious Freedom.” This mission unites all our efforts under one common goal, and as it was when we opened our doors, it’s a mission that allows us to truly focus on each individual’s vision and goals.

This year, ask yourself “What does your vision of Serious Freedom look like?” Is it a shiny new motorcycle? Spending quality time with family and friends in retirement? Devoting all your energy to your hobbies? Everyone has different goals, and financial situations differ per person, which is why it’s important to partner with an investment advisor that can build a customized plan around your goals and your financial situation.

At Family Investment Center, we treat our clients like friends, not sales marks. As your friendly financial experts, we approach our clients with respect and are devoted to making sure you know exactly what we have planned for you.

Our “Total Financial Wellness Approach” services include financial planning, investment management and retirement planning. Our approach ensures that your money makes sense for you. We remain goal-driven, research-based and commission-free.

When you pick us as your fiduciary, you’ll quickly realize that our services are not about selling products or getting commissions; we are focused on getting you to your serious freedom goals. And that’s what a fiduciary should do – meaning, look out for the best interests of the client first.

Family Investment Center seeks to add real value to every interaction and we build strong relationships. We highlight and share our expertise like a true friend would. We share our own ideas of Serious Freedom while providing tips to better reach your individual goals. Whenever possible, we highlight investment red flags, including the “detours” or “roadblocks” that could sidetrack your path to freedom.

Learn more about what we have to offer by meeting our team. You’ll find we’re a group of professionals who have invested in our education and experience so we can bring more insights to the table. Unlike stockbrokers and commission-compensated advisors, we’re independent and commission free. This year, doesn’t serious freedom sound good in so many ways? Schedule a meeting with us and let’s talk together about what that looks like and how you’ll get there.

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What Makes Family Investment Center Different?

Finding the Freedom That Comes With Financial Security


When we opened our doors 20 years ago, we weren’t like other advisors – we established ourselves as fiduciaries, which means we put the well-being of our clients first. We still do. Family Investment Center advisors focus on offering a total financial wellness strategy that is goal-driven, research-based and commission-free, and that’s another aspect of our approach that makes us different.

The expertise of our professionals allows us to offer financial planning, investment management and retirement planning services that can help you meet your financial goals. Our clients are all unique in their own ways, but we know they all want the freedom that comes with financial security, and that’s what we help to provide.

At Family Investment Center, we listen to our clients. We want them to tell us what their vision of financial freedom looks like and then we make plans around that vision. If their current financial situation isn’t affording them the life they want, we come up with a strategy that aims to make that a possibility.

Life Stages: We’ve Got Your Back

Some of our clients are expanding their working world through new ventures or new entrepreneurial pursuits. Others are nearing retirement. All are looking for ways to make sense of their money as they progress through life, and that includes a range of milestones.

Many of our clients are focused on retiring, which means they really need to buckle down and follow a structured plan for investments and spending. Some are changing jobs or simply preparing for tax season and need some assistance – and that’s where Family Investment Center comes into the picture.

Financial Jargon? We’re Not Buying It. (Or Selling It.)

Investing can be a complex part of life. There’s a lot at stake. It’s easy to get bogged down with terms and industry jargon.


At Family Investment Center, we take a more casual approach. We prefer to talk conversationally like a friend would. Using stories to explain concepts is another tool we use because we believe in sharing our knowledge (not hiding it behind fancy language). Ultimately, we want you to have the confidence and freedom you’re looking for – whatever that looks like. You should feel good about every conversation you have with our team.

We keep it simple by clearly explaining what our services are, how we approach each client’s goals, what we charge and the fact that there will never be any hidden fees for our services.

As Ayn Rand said, “Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver.” Contact us today and let’s talk about where you want to go.


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