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.

Did You Catch These Changes the IRS Made in 401(k) Investing?

Retirement Planning With 401(k) Investing: A Quick Review


Now that 2018 is more than halfway completed, were you aware that you can increase the amount you put into your 401(k)? If not, there’s still time. Each year, the IRS assesses what the contribution limit should be, which is an important number for those focused on 401(k) investing for their future. For three years, the IRS held the limit to $18,000 per year. For 2018 and until they make another change, the limit will be $18,500. This means that investors can make changes to how much they contribute at any time, as long as their elective contributions don’t exceed $18,500.

It’s also important to note that if you’re age 50 or older, you can take advantage of something called the “401(k) catch-up,” which allows an extra $6,000 per year to be invested into the account. This amount remains unchanged, but it’s still a useful tool for those who got a late start investing for retirement.

If you’re self-employed or own a small business, you will also see a change in the amount you can save in your SEP IRA or solo 401(k). It goes up from $54,000 to $55,000. If your employer lets you take advantage of after-tax contributions in your 401(k) investing, you will also be able to take advantage of that increase to $55,000.

Furthermore, the phase-out of deductibility for IRA contributions will also change. There will be an increase to income phase-outs adjusted to the gross income limits for those interested in the saver’s credit. Unfortunately, the limit to your individual retirement accounts will remain the same at $5,500 per year. This has gone unchanged for six years.

Your IRA catch-up (age 50+) opportunities also remain unchanged at $1,000. However, your deductions for IRA contributions to a traditional IRA are phased out at higher income levels. You can still contribute if you’ve earned too much to get a deduction, but it’s going to be non-deductible.

Are you interested in the savers credit? You can get the savers credit if you and your spouse file jointly and make up to $63,000. This is an increase from $62,000 last year. If you’re filing as the head of the household, the limit will increase by $750.00 from last year to $47,250, and from $31,000 to $31,500 for singles and married couples filing separately.

There are a number of ways to get ahead on your retirement goals. To make sure you don’t miss a step, contact us at Family Investment Center. As a fiduciary, we’ve always acted in your best interests – so let’s talk about your goals and let us show you the ways you can reach or exceed them.

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President of Family Investment Center Talks About Revised Standards in Journal of Financial Planning

Since Day One, Family Investment Center Advisors Have Operated as Fiduciaries



Personal finance touches everyone, although some of us devote more time and energy to this area than others. It’s no surprise that the environment across the financial industry -- from basic banking to 401(k) investing to Social Security - is constantly changing. At Family Investment Center, we keep up-to-date on these changes and how they may affect your financial planning and investment management.


The guiding forces behind these issues can seem far away, but they are not. In fact, St. Joseph plays a powerful role through Richard C. Salmen, CFP®. Salmen is president of Family Investment Center and also serves as 2018 Chair of the CFP® Board’s Board of Directors.

The CFP Board guides 80,000 CFP Financial Professionals, and the new standards they just adopted forever change the national financial landscape. Salmen’s June 2018 article in the prestigious Journal of Financial Planning details the new standards and explains why they are necessary.


In “Raising the Bar: Elevating the Fiduciary Standards for CFP Professionals,” Salmen said the standards are actually 30 very carefully chosen words that “contain a revised financial planning definition that is shorter, without sacrificing clarity, and provides great accessibility for the public.”


“Financial planning is a collaborative process that helps maximize a client’s potential for meeting life goals through financial advice that integrates relevant elements of the client’s personal and financial circumstance,” the standard reads.


Salmen said the CFP® Board’s standards of professional conduct also reflect the commitment that the CFP® professionals make when they uphold high standards. Furthermore, this adherence to standards “raised the bar” for the country’s 80,000 CFP® professionals.


“Consumers expect financial professionals to act in their best interests,” Salmen wrote. “Under the new Standards, anytime a CFP® professional gives advice, a fiduciary standard will apply. This means that CFP® professionals are required to act in the best interest of their clients not only during the financial planning process, which is what we previously required, but at all times when providing financial advice.”

Salmen said the CFP® Board spent more than two years developing, reviewing and deliberating proposed revisions to the Standards, working toward a goal of striking the right balance between serving the public interest and ensuring the rules will be practically applied and enforced.

At Family Investment Center, we established ourselves as fiduciaries on day one of opening our doors. We believe acting in the best interests of the client is the right way for our team to carry out our business model. Make an appointment today to find out how we put this philosophy into action.

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What do Soccer’s Biggest Event and Your Investment Strategies Have in Common?

Putting Together a Game Plan for Your Investment Strategies


World Cup season recently wrapped up, and even though the United States didn’t qualify this time, soccer fans across the country and the world we’re living, breathing and talking soccer outcomes day and night. What does the World Cup have to do with your investment strategies?  More than you might think! Here are a few soccer strategies that are also great tips for your investments:

Seek Professional Guidance

All good soccer players know where they excel, and they don’t stray from their comfort zones very often. If you want a good striker, Pele famously filled that position for his teams. So how does that analogy work for investing? When it comes to choosing someone to manage your money, you’re probably not going to ask a painter to do it, right? You’re going to ask a trusted investment professional who knows all about the various investment vehicles that will work best to help you meet your goals.

Don’t Stray From the Plan

When soccer players get emotional, things don’t usually go well. In most cases, it’s a red card that comes flying out of the ref’s pocket and into the air. This is generally in response to a flagrant penalty, which results in the player being taken out of the game.

When investors become emotional, similar things happen, only it’s more severe than being taken out of a game – it could sink your life’s savings. Many investors get nervous when the market becomes volatile. They make rash decisions and pull out of an investment as it falls, never getting the chance to make that money back when the stock rebounds.

Don’t stray from the plan, and remember that it’s a long-term situation, not a short-term process.

Know When to Readdress Your Strategy

In professional soccer, the coach doesn’t make substitutions without a plan. Therefore, when a substitution is made, it’s only after serious thought. The same is true in your investment strategies. While an emotional investor will make many changes to their investments, a wise investor will only do that when it’s necessary. For example, as you age, shifting your money to less risky investments may be the best strategy for you.

At Family Investment Center, we’ve helped people across all walks and stages of life develop investment strategies that work toward their goals. As it was in our beginnings, and as it still is today, we’re commission-free and focused on your success. Contact us today and we’ll discuss our approach to see if it’s a fit for you, whatever season of life you’re in.


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How You Get Financial Advice Will Change in the Future

Family Investment Center’s Salmen Talks About Financial Advice and a New Rule


The debate around a fiduciary rule is heating up again, which means you’re going to see more about the Certified Financial Planner® (CFP) Board of Standards as its Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct reaches new areas. Also called the fiduciary standard, it’s been widely debated since the Department of Labor created a controversial rule in 2016 that could impact financial advice given by professionals.

Richard Salmen, president of Family Investment Center, is also the 2018 Chair of the CFP® Board of Directors, which means he’s often in high demand as a source for news articles on various financial/investment topics. He was quoted recently in two articles, one in the Chicago Tribuneand the other in Barron’s.

The CFP® voted that the 80,000 CFPs in the United States would have to follow the new fiduciary rule beginning in October 2019. The current standards say that CFP®s only have to follow the fiduciary standard when offering financial planning services. However, in October of next year, they’ll have to act as fiduciaries whenever they’re giving any type of financial advice.

“This is a monumental step forward in the evolution of not just CFP® certification,” Salmen told Barron’s, “but for the profession of financial planning.”

Many investment businesses have already made sweeping changes to comply with the fiduciary rule, some brought lawsuits saying the labor department had overreached in establishing the new rule. The Securities and Exchange Commission is proposing its own fiduciary rule, which willaffect retirement and non-retirement accounts.

Despite rumblings and rumors, the CFP® board decided to take action and not leave anything to question.

“We are raising the bar even higher now with a fiduciary standard that will apply anytime a CFP® professional gives financial advice,” Salmen told the Chicago Tribune.

The debate began following a White House report (Obama Administration) outlining how conflicted advice from investment advisors costs investors billions of dollars per year. However, for those, like Family Investment Center that have always operated as fiduciaries, the new rule only solidifies the way in which they’ve always practiced their profession.

The change in administrations at the White House has caused some back and forth. The Trump administration delayed implementing the Department of Labor fiduciary rule until July 2019.

“For those who want to avoid conflicted advice from investment professionals, always ask if they are held to the fiduciary standard. Make sure there are no hidden fees or commissions to be made off products they recommend,” says Salmen.

At Family Investment Center, we’ve operated as fiduciaries since day one. Contact us today and let’s plan your future.

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Family Investment Center Team Talks About Books That Inspire Serious Thinking and Real Change: The Full List

The Family Investment Center team is talking about the books that have influenced their view of business success, or of life in general. Enjoy this list below and add a few to your personal shelf!


Richard C. Salmen, President

The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal    - Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz


Why Richard loves the book:

The central premise of the book is that energy, not time, is the fundamental currency of high performance. From the authors: “This insight has revolutionized our thinking about what drives enduring high performance. It has also prompted dramatic transformations in the way our clients manage their lives, personally and professionally. Everything they do—from interacting with colleagues and making important decisions to spending time with their families—requires energy. Obvious as this seems, we often fail to take into account the importance of energy at work and in our personal lives. Without the right quantity, quality, focus and force of energy, we are compromised in any activity we undertake.”


How it changed his life:

The challenge of great performance is to manage your energy more effectively in all dimensions to achieve your goals. Four key energy management principles drive this process. They lie at the heart of the change process and they are critical for building the capacity to live a productive, fully engaged life.


PRINCIPLE 1: Full engagement requires drawing on four separate but related sources of energy: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.


PRINCIPLE 2: Because energy capacity diminishes both with overuse and with underuse, we must balance energy expenditure with intermittent energy renewal. To be fully engaged requires strength, endurance, flexibility, and resilience in all dimension. The richest, happiest and most productive lives are characterized by the ability to fully engage in the challenge at hand, but also to disengage periodically and seek renewal.


PRINCIPLE 3: To build capacity, we must push beyond our normal limits, training in the same systematic way that elite athletes do. Stress is not the enemy in our lives. Paradoxically, it is the key to growth. In order to build strength in a muscle we must systematically stress it, expending energy beyond normal levels. Doing so literally causes microscopic tears in the muscle fibers. At the end of a training session, functional capacity is diminished. But give the muscle twenty-four to forty-eight hours to recover and it grows stronger and better able to handle the next stimulus. While this training phenomenon has been applied largely to building physical strength, it is just as relevant to building “muscles” in every dimension of our lives—from empathy and patience to focus and creativity to integrity and commitment. What applies to the body applies equally to the other dimensions of our lives. This insight both simplifies and revolutionizes the way we approach the barriers that stand in our way.


PRINCIPLE 4: Positive energy rituals—highly specific routines for managing energy—are the key to full engagement and sustained high performance. Change is difficult. We are creatures of habit. Most of what we do is automatic and nonconscious. What we did yesterday is what we are likely to do today. The problem with most efforts at change is that conscious effort can’t be sustained over the long haul. Will and discipline are far more limited resources than most of us realize. If you have to think about something each time you do it, the likelihood is that you won’t keep doing it for very long. The status quo has a magnetic pull on us. The power of rituals is that they insure that we use as little conscious energy as possible where it is not absolutely necessary, leaving us free to strategically focus the energy available to us in creative, enriching ways. Look at any part of your life in which you are consistently effective, and you will find that certain habits help make that possible.


How it changed the way he thinks about his business:

Whenever a client tells me “I don’t have time for that.” I now know that what they are really saying is “I don’t have the energy for that.” We then need to dig deeper to understand what their real motivation is and what the real challenges are in order to help them change the financial behavior that is limiting their potential.


What makes a lasting impression from this book:

• Our most fundamental need as human beings is to spend and recover energy. We call this oscillation.

• The opposite of oscillation is linearity: too much energy expenditure without recovery or too much recovery without sufficient energy expenditure.

• Balancing stress and recovery is critical to high performance both individually and organizationally.

• We must sustain healthy oscillatory rhythms at all four levels of what we term the “performance pyramid”: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.

• We build emotional, mental and spiritual capacity in precisely the same way that we build physical capacity. We must systematically expose ourselves to stress beyond our normal limits, followed by adequate recovery.

• Expanding capacity requires a willingness to endure short-term discomfort in the service of long-term reward.


Additional titles on Richard’s “must read” list include:
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Are of Decluttering and Organizing  - by Marie Kondo


The Science of Liability: 27 Studies to Master Charisma, Attract Friends, Captivate People, and Take Advantage of Human Psychology  - by Colin Falconer


Rising Strong: How the Ability to Reset Transforms the Way We Live, Love,
Parent, and Lead - by Brene’ Brown


The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Live a Good Life - by Mark Manson


The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Trust Behind Extraordinary Results - by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan


Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead – by Brene’ Brown


Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? - by Seth Godin


Mindset: The New Psychology of Success – by Carol S. Dweck


The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever
- by Michael Bungay Stanier

15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management: The Productivity Habits of 7 Billionaires, 13 Olympic Athletes, 29 Straight-A Students, and 239 Entrepreneurs

- by Kevin Kruse


Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us – by Daniel H. Pink

Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work and in Life One Conversation at a Time – by Susan Scott

How to Get Lucky: 13 Techniques for Discovering and Taking Advantage of Life’s Good Breaks – by Max Gunther


Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

- by Greg McKeown


Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder  by Nassim Nicholas Taleb


Emotional Intelligence 2.0  by Travis Bradberry, Jean Greaves


Get Out of Your Own Way: The 5 Keys to Surpassing Everyone’s Expectations

by Robert K. Cooper

Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter

by Liz Wiseman; Greg McKeown


The Why of Work: How Great Leaders Build Abundant Organizations That Win

by David Ulrich; Wendy Ulrich; Marshall Goldsmith


The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves

by Matt Ridley


Influencer: The Power to Change Anything, First Edition

by Kerry Patterson; by Joseph Grenny; by David Maxfield; by Ron McMillan;
by Al Switzler


Go Put Your Strengths to Work: 6 Powerful Steps to Achieve Outstanding Performance

by Marcus Buckingham


What You Can Change…and What You Can’t: The Complete guide to Successful Self-Improvement  - by Martin E.P. Seligman

Outliers: The Story of Success - by Malcolm Gladwell



Dan Danford, CEO/Founder


Quiet,by Susan Cain


Why you love the book:

Do you get energy from being around people, or from thoughtfully recharging your personal battery? This is a fascinating discussion about introverts. American society historically rewards extroverts with big personalities. Yet, 30-40 percent of us are introverts. Interestingly, some incredibly successful and inspiring people are introverted.


How it changed your life:

My personality never really fit the extrovert salesperson model suggested in business school, or the typical stockbroker. I’ve overcome that in a lot of ways, but I always suspected my quiet ways reflected some sort of character flaws. It’s been amazing to discover – late in life – that those very traits are “normal” and can be helpful in business.


Why it changed the way you think about your business:

I suddenly realized that my ability to read, understand, write, and explain (introvert traits) are responsible for most of my business successes. The very things that seemed negative are enormously positive.


Fortunate Son, by John Fogerty


Why you love it:

I read a lot of books about rock ‘n roll and this is one of the most authentic. Fogerty chronicles his life story with some incredible insights about his life’s ups and downs.


How it changed your life:

There are many ways to live a creative life. Creativity brings to mind occupations like songwriters and actors, but there’s creativity in jobs from teachers to entrepreneurs. The creative process is unique to each person, but the challenges can be similar. Fogerty suffered horribly at the hands of his early manager and others he trusted (all Creedence Clearwater Revival royalties still flow to others). Still, he grew beyond all that and became one of America’s most beloved and successful performers.


Why it changed the way you think about your business:

It’s pretty common to encounter bad situations and people in business, but I admire John Fogerty for rising above the parasites.


What’s your favorite quote from the book?

One of my all-time favorite songs features John Fogerty singing “Put me in coach, I’m ready to play.” I love the lyrics and the infectious tune and you’ll hear it over the loudspeakers at ballparks all summer long. Fogerty wrote the song and played every instrument on the record. It’s a solo recording!


The End of Power, by Moises Naim


Why you love this book:

The world is changing and Naim explores how 24/7 news and social media influence the seats of traditional power. From politics to economics to social culture, power is diminished everywhere by the new order of worldwide openness.


Why it changed your life:

There are no secrets. You’ve heard the adage that “knowledge is power” and that has always been true. Today, it’s very hard to exercise power or earn profits by hoarding information. That knowledge leverage is gone.


Why/how it changed the way you think about your business:

Data about almost everything is readily available, but converting it to usable information and making it operational is where value lies.


What surprised you most from what you read?

There were amazing examples from around the world. For instance, I was surprised to find that institutions like churches and universities also suffer consequences from these changes.


Nudge, by Richard Thayer


Why you love the book:

Thayer won a Nobel Prize for these ideas. The traditional notion that “more is better” is turned upside down as Thayer explains that too many choices often create bad results. Most people choose better among a handful of options than a dozen. It’s counterintuitive, but you know it is true if you ever watched someone new study a Starbucks menu.


How it impacted your approach:

The best way to help people is to guide them in the right directions.


How it changed the way you think about your business:

In business, people turn to us for help. Most times, they understand and expect that we know more than they do. It’s good to offer them choices, but too many choices can paralyze them. It’s best to narrow the choices while staying prepared to go deeper. Probably better to say less and know more!


Is there anything in particular that made a lasting impression from this book?

Thayer explained the 401(k) dilemma first revealed to me back in the 1980s. The 401(k) premise was to offer employees choices on how to invest their retirement savings. Unfortunately, many people opted out of the plans because they were burdened by all the options. Even people who opted into the plans often made sub-optimal choices, but now we know it is better to build positive defaults (nudges).



Chris Steins


The Total Money Makeover, by Dave Ramsey


Why you love the book:

I was lucky enough to read this as a young adult and it has turned out to be a true blessing for my family. 


How it changed the way you think about business:

This book is partly responsible for me wanting to help others by joining the financial profession. 


Any favorite quotes from the book?

Anyone familiar with Dave Ramsey knows his famous financial sound bite: “IF YOU WILL LIVE LIKE NO ONE ELSE, LATER YOU CAN LIVE LIKE NO ONE ELSE”.


Laura Holthaus


48 Days to the Work You Love: Preparing for the New Normal, by Dan Miller


Why you love the book:

It was an excellent read after graduating from college and being unsure of which career path to take.


What’s your favorite quote from this book?

 “Success is never an accident. It typically starts as imagination, becomes a dream, stimulates a goal, grows into a plan of action—which then inevitably meets with opportunity. Don’t get stuck along the way.”


Maybe your bookstore wish list just grew by a few, or maybe you’re intrigued to know more about how the team at Family Investment Center are shaped by these ideas. Make an appointment with us to talk more about the ideas that come into play when we’re helping you create the future you want.


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