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.

America’s Favorite Pastime and Your Investment Portfolio

How Baseball Can Help You Know How to Approach Your Investment Portfolio

 

Warren Buffet, the “Oracle of Omaha,” has a reputation for being a great admirer of America’s pastime – baseball. So when he gives out investment advice, he likes to use a few baseball analogies. As baseball season is in full “swing,” take a look at some of these baseball parallels as they serve as a reminder of how to approach your investment portfolio.

“What’s nice about investing is that you don’t have to swing at pitches,” says Buffet. This is a good rule to follow, as many pitches offered by those who are selling products might often come with too much risk attached, and little to no insight into those risks. Buffet advises that investors only swing at the pitches that are right for them.

Buffet also says that in baseball, when one wants to score runs, they have to watch the playing field, not the scoreboard. He is a consummate student of what’s going on around him and only jumps at investments that have a long history of stable earnings. Investors who are planning their strategy would be wise to do the same – think long term and for the future, not of long shots meant to achieve short-term gains.

The Financial Post also jumped on the baseball analogy bandwagon, offering up the idea that a really strong baseball team will be proficient in pitching and batting, and they’ll have speed, excellent defense and a winning culture in the clubhouse. However, rarely are all of these components firing at the same time.

The same is true of a strong investment portfolio – you’ll have your money spread across many different products, from stocks to bonds and other investments. They all have different levels of risk, but while one is performing poorly, others may be bolstering the bottom line.

The New York Yankees have been notorious for paying big money for players who are no longer worth the large contract? The same could be said of investments people make on products that were once starlets, but have their good days behind them. The best scenario is to acquire them while they are on the rise but still at a low price.

Smart baseball managers won’t hold on to an under-performing player just because they overpaid for him. Similarly, smart investors won’t hold on to an investment just because they overpaid for it. Eat the mistake, learn from it and move on so your investment portfolio has a chance to grow.

Playing baseball at a high altitude is different from playing ball at sea level. The air is thin, which means batters can really let it fly. That’s why Denver’s team looks for batters who can consistently get the ball in the air. They also look for pitchers who can keep the ball low so as not to allow their competition to hit fly balls. They plan for their environment, which is what investors should do.

Every environment is different, which is why every investment portfolio has to account for these differences. When you talk to your investment advisor, they will look at your individual goals, your financial situation, and help you make the right choices to help you reach your goals.

We’re baseball fans at Family Investment Center, but we’re also huge advocates for smart investing. Let us assist you in building a strong investment portfolio for you. Contact us today and let’s talk about how we can improve your situation.

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Retirement Planning Means Having a “Financial Purpose”

How Establishing Goals Can Improve Your Retirement Planning Strategies

 

Retirement planning should really be about planning with a purpose in mind. Many people avoid this crucial planning stage because the numbers confuse them and the whole process may seem daunting. However, money is more than a number; when you attach a goal to it, the planning process become less confusing.

Rather than thinking about dollars, try thinking about what you want your wealth to do for you in retirement. And remember – your goals will probably change, even in your golden years, which means you have to be flexible in your planning.

In fact, a recent Kiplinger article titled “To Make a Financial Plan, You Need a Financial Purpose” reminds readers of key questions to ask now, and to revisit often. As you embark on retirement planning goals, keep the following questions in mind:

·         Which relationships are important enough that you will be willing to provide (financially) for them?

·         Do you have health concerns?

·         What lifestyle do you envision in retirement?

·         What is your idea of a happy and healthy retirement?

·         What hobbies would you like to pursue in retirement?


Answering these questions will help you round out more concrete ideas of what your future will look like and also give you an idea of how much money you will need in retirement. Here are some other questions to explore:

What will you do in retirement? Everyone has different ideas about that, which is why every plan has to be just as unique. For instance, do you plan to continue working part time into your 70s? If the answer is yes, your planning will differ from the person who plans to never work again after the day they retire. Do you want to travel extensively or just stay local and enjoy your family and friends? Again, the traveler will have to make extra room in their budget for the expense of traveling.

When will you quit your career? Do you have a set date that you’ve been looking forward to for years, or are you going to step down when you have saved enough money to retire and have enough for the goals you’ve set for yourself during those years?

 

Where you plan to retire will also have an impact in how you plan your investments. Are you planning to downsize your current living situation or upgrade to something less modest? Maybe you want to move to a different city in a different state or live with nearby family. The way you answer the question of “where” will also change how you approach your investments.

Getting an objective viewpoint from a qualified professional can go a long way in making the decisions that will put you on the road to reaching your goals. An investment advisor has the expertise to help you invest money in a way that is as unique as your goals. However, be sure to seek out the assistance of a fiduciary. When your investment advisor operates as a fiduciary, they will work for your best interests, not theirs. Instead of pushing products that pay them a commission, a fiduciary will only make recommendations that match your goals.

At Family Investment Center, we’ve looked out for our clients’ best interests since day one. We’ll listen to your plans for retirement and help you choose investments that provide you with confidence toward your future.

 

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Survey Shows What Americans Have to Say About Working With an Investment Advisor

Those Working With an Investment Advisor Have a Better Understanding of Financial Terms and Concepts

 

When it comes to working with an investment advisor, many Americans say that they feel they don’t need to work with an advisor. Getting to the reasons behind this decision, respondents in a recent survey from Plan Adviser were asked why they preferred not to work with an investment advisor and 44 percent responded that their assets didn’t warrant any planning.

 

Among the respondents that reported not having enough assets to bother with an investment advisor, 28 percent had an income of at least $75,000 a year. These individuals could see many benefits by working with an advisor and planning for their financial future.

 

Overall, those Americans that reported working with an investment advisor were more comfortable with their understanding of financial terms, including “long-term care insurance”, “Roth IRAs,” and “annuities.” Among those respondents that were working with an investment advisor, there was a high rate of confidence that they understood these terms, at a rate of 41 percent, 69 percent and 49 percent, respectively.

 

For those not working with an investment advisor, there was a significantly lower level of comfort with financial terms. Using those same terms, only 31 percent felt confident they understood the term “long-term care insurance,” 42 percent understood “Roth IRAs” and 28 percent understood “annuities.”

 

Of those who did not have an investment advisor, the reasons were varied. As noted above, many didn’t feel that they had the kinds of assets that warrant seeking out a professional opinion. Still others said they preferred to manage their own finances (38 percent) or felt that an investment advisor would cost too much (36 percent). Some don’t know what kind of professional to hire (14 percent) or don’t understand the value of engaging these types of services (10 percent).

 

Yet in addition to the value of having an investment advisor help you plan for your future and work with you in creating a strategic investment plan, working with an investment advisor positively affects other aspects of your financial life outside of your investment or retirement planning. For instance, those that hired an investment advisor were also more likely to have an emergency fund and a retirement plan. Seventy-seven percent of those working with an investment advisor had an emergency fund or a retirement plan, versus 46 percent of those that had never worked with an investment advisor.

 

If you’re looking for ways to take some of the guesswork and the emotions out of your investment future, make an appointment with an advisor at Family Investment Center. We can take a look at your current financial picture and help you develop a plan in a client-first, commission-free setting.

 

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What is the Outlook on 401(k) Investing in America?

401(k) Investing is a Valuable Tool, Yet Underutilized

 

One of the most widely overlooked investment vehicles today is the 401(k). Surprisingly, two-thirds of all Americans don’t contribute at all in a 401(k) or other retirement account available through their workplace, and that number could shift even more if Congress stops auto-enrollment. 401(k) investing is a remarkable tool, yet often overlooked as an important part of planning for retirement.

According to tax records gathered during the most recent U.S. census, only 14 percent of employers offer a company-sponsored 401(k) plan. However, the majority of Americans work for larger companies which do offer these plans. Ben Steverman covers this topic in a Bloomberg article this year, saying bigger companies are the most likely candidates for offering a 401(k) plan and around 79 percent of Americans work for large companies.

“Four out of five workers are employed by companies that offer a 401(k) or similar plan, but many workers aren’t using them - either because they’re not eligible or because they aren’t signing up,” Steverman says.

These workplace plans create an environment where employees can build up their investments on a tax-advantaged basis. Unfortunately, too many Americans feel that it’s not worth the effort to get involved, probably because in order to get the most out of the plan, the money is tied up for a span of time and a penalty is assessed if the employee withdraws from it early.

Another possible reason for why so many workers aren’t getting involved in 401(k) investing is because they’re not willing to send incremental dollars to a long-term retirement plan, especially those who earn low wages.

People who change jobs often or who work part-time are also less likely to be eligible to participate in a workplace retirement plan. Many companies require employees to work for months or a year before they become eligible to participate in a plan, thus complicating the issue further.

Making investment decisions is difficult for many people. They’re intimidated by the choices that have to be made, so they don’t make any choices. Also, the cost of many plans can be high, which has been widely scrutinized in the media, drawing even more negative feelings out of workers, further complicating their savings plans.

Many companies that offer a 401(k) plan will automatically enroll their workers, as it costs the worker nothing. However, Wall Street believes this practice creates an unfair advantage against the products they sell. Unfortunately, Wall Street has the ear of many lawmakers in the Capitol, which is why there is a real threat that auto-enrollment could be wiped out.

At Family Investment Center, we can assist you in overcoming any fear, intimidation, or trepidation about investing your hard-earned money. Contact us today and let’s discuss your financial goals and how to accomplish them.

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Everyday Investments: An Interview With Dan Danford, CEO, Family Investment Center

Maybe the New York Stock Exchange comes to mind when you think of investing and investments. But you’re faced with investment decisions every day. Being aware of these choices can ease worries and help lay the groundwork for a profitable future.

 

Dan Danford, chief executive officer of Family Investment Center in St. Joseph, offers these tips:

 

  • Be mindful about money. You’re faced with hundreds of decisions every week. Don’t automatically respond. Think it over first.
  • Make wise buying decisions. Look for the differences between price and value in making a purchase.
  • Make wise use of any debt. Some things are good to finance, while others are terrible. Buying a house at three or four percent interest is a good investment.
  • Keep track of net worth. Make a list of what is owned and what is owed for tracking purposes. It’s easy to do on a monthly basis.
  • Credit cards should be used for convenience alone. Pay off cards at the end of each month.
  • Use tax-savings vehicles, like college savings plans for students or retirement plans, as much as possible.
  • Keep learning. There are nuggets that can be picked up by reading. The lessons parents learned may not necessarily apply today. Many innovations are being created daily.
  • Ensure that student loans are in sync with career opportunities. Make automatic arrangements to make monthly payments.
  • Stay healthy. It’s a whole lot cheaper to belong to a health club than seeing a doctor all the time.
  • Choose the right mate. What your mate does for a living can have a huge influence on your finances.


Ray Scherer - St. Joseph News Press / Tomfoolery Magazine

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