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.
Yes, You Can Expand Your Approach to 401(k) Investing
If your company offers a pension plan, you’re a rarity. While that was the most popular retirement planning tool for decades, not many organizations offer pension plans today. The tool that’s now in its 40th year and has taken the place of pensions is, of course, the 401(k) for investing.
401(k) investing has great benefits. For example, in 2018, your contributions are tax deductible up to $18,500. If you’re 50 or older, the IRS allows you to contribute $24,500 a year – tax deductible. Another benefit to the 401(k) investing method is that many employers will match contributions to a certain percentage (it varies, but rarely goes above 6 %).
What Are Your Options?
While the 401(k) has been around since 1978, a Roth 401(k) option was added in 2006. The traditional 401(k) investing model allowed for tax deductions upon contributing, but in retirement, those funds are taxable. The Roth model does not allow deductions on your contributions. Rather, you pay taxes up front, and then in retirement as you withdraw money, all of it – contributions and earnings - comes to you without a tax bill.
For employees in a lower tax bracket, the Roth model makes a lot of sense, because they can potentially see a big tax benefit upon retirement and are likely not depending on current tax deductions.
Another benefit of the Roth 401(k) is that there is no income limit. Plus, the traditional Roth IRA caps contributions at $5,500, or $6,500 for those 50 or older.
Getting the most you can out of your money should be a priority, but it can be difficult to do without professional guidance. That’s why it’s smart to bring a fiduciary in to guide you through all the options, and there are many more than most investors know about. More options mean more ways to get to the freedom you want, whatever that looks like.
At Family Investment Center, we’ve made it our mission to understand all the possibilities that exist for our clients. We’ll listen to you as you talk about your goals, and we can plan your route in meeting them. Contact us today and let’s discuss your options.
Engage in Positive Investment Behaviors With Family Investment Center
Family Investment Center team members are no strangers to study groups and book clubs. It’s through continued education that we establish new goals and achieve them, and it’s a life-fulfilling venture that is worth the effort. Two of our Family Investment Center leaders shared their thoughts about a powerful book in a recent podcast.
Dan Danford, CEO, and Richard Salmen, President, discussed “The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal”, by Tony Schwartz. The lessons in the book, though not directly related to investing, can be applied toward retirement goals and other finance related goals.
Danford and Salmen agree that clients who have taken the time to learn the lessons provided in the book have experienced dramatic positive changes in their personal and professional lives.
Salmen has been saying for years that when there was something he didn’t want to do, he would exclaim, “I just don’t have the energy for that,” which happens to be one of the main takeaways from the book. “When we say we don’t have time for something, we really mean we don’t have the energy, or we see expending energy on certain things as a waste of energy.”
According to the book, people can expend physical, emotional, mental and spiritual energy on the wrong things. Unfortunately, our energy capacity reduces if it’s not used enough or used too often without being replenished. For example, Salmen and Danford spend at least an hour a day at their respective gyms getting in a good workout. “It’s a constant balance to stretch yourself and give yourself enough time to recover,” Salmen said. “It’s the energy and effort you put into it that makes you grow.”
Danford agrees. He said he knows people who live their lives like it’s a pinball game – they launch the silver ball up and it bounces randomly around, hitting things at random until it finally comes back down and they have a chance to launch it upward again.
“A lot of people live their life like that silver ball. No deliberate thought about ‘what am I going to do when that obstacle pops up’,” Danford said, adding that “while we can’t control everything, we should do everything possible to be proactive in exerting energy toward the things we can control.”
What does your personal freedom tour, a.k.a, retirement, look like? Who is going with you? What do you want to experience along the way? These are things you can control, so contact us at Family Investment Center and let’s talk about how to invest your energy in the right places. To listen to Dan and Richard’s podcast, click here or go to https://soundcloud.com/money-is-freedom/getting_sh_done.
Three Investment Strategies for Couples
A sound investment portfolio includes a variety of investments to provide a more stable, yet prosperous, result. For couples, investment strategies can be a contentious topic, particularly when one has a low threshold for risk while the other’s is higher.
Opposites might attract, as the old saying goes; however, can that be a good thing when it comes to investing? In some cases, the answer is a definitive “yes.” Take, for example, a husband who is quite conservative when it comes to risk and prefers to keep the family dollars tied up in safe but low-yielding investments. The wife, on the other hand, is a real risk-taker, ready to pounce on a “hot stock.” To keep the investment moving forward and reach investment goals, it is important to balance each other out and stay on track.
So how does a couple like this make their opposing risk tolerance work?
Communicate About Risk
It is not entirely uncommon for couples to never express their opinions about risk. The situation might become clearer in how each person displays their relationship with money, because their upbringings in regard to money management could be quite different.
Having an actual conversation about these backgrounds and how that influences preferences in regard to investment strategies can add a sense of mediation to the process of investment planning, leading to compromises in investment styles.
Regardless of your position on risk, there is probably a set dollar amount put toward your goals, whether they are goals that are reached in stages or if you’re just setting a big retirement goal. When you come to that number, you then need to figure out how you will invest to reach these goals.
The great part about getting to this point is that most investment advisors can set up an investment discipline that allows each individual some autonomy over the portfolio that relates directly to their risk tolerance, giving each an empowered role in the process.
For some couples, investing together would be as awkward as sharing an email or social media account. Investing separately is also okay as long as the communication is good. The couple should maintain a good overview of their assets and stay on the same page with goals. Meeting together with a trusted investment advisor can help ensure there are no unforeseen bumps down the road.
At Family Investment Center, we’ve assisted couples with wildly different views on investment strategies in coming together with a plan that works for both. Talk to one of our investment professionals today and let’s customize a plan to help reach your goals together.
Danford to Help Women Make Unique Financial Decisions in New Position
Sept. 28, 2018: With increasing media attention on the unique financial decisions placed in front of women, Family Investment Center announces the advancement of Chris Danford to an Investment Advisor Representative position. She became an Investment Advisor Representative for the firm in September, after passing the Series 65 Uniform Investment Advisor Law Examination.
“People don’t think about special financial needs for women, but I see it again and again,” says Danford. “Women live longer, may earn less over the longevity of their careers, and may move in and out of the workforce with small children. Decisions can be complex. I’m excited to offer guidance for these life situations and more.”
Danford has served the Family Investment Center firm since 2011 and is also Director of Community Relations. She will continue in this role in addition to advising clients about finance and investing.
“I’m excited to step into an advisor role,” says Danford. “As Director of Community Relations, I’ve watched the team work with clients for years. This is an opportunity for me to help clients directly.”
In her current Family Investment Center positions, Danford draws upon diverse career and community roles. She worked 29 years as a teacher, special education teacher and counselor in the St. Joseph and Park Hill School Districts and Bishop LeBlond High School. After retiring from Park Hill School District in 2011, Danford was an adjunct teacher at Northwest Missouri State University. She was elected to the St. Joseph School District Board of Education and served from 2012 to 2017.
“I helped families for years as a school counselor and I’ve raised three successful daughters. Those coaching skills translate nicely into financial and investment planning,” Danford explains. “Some may think our business is about the numbers, but it is not. It is about the people. That’s my specialty.”
Reflecting her community dedication and volunteerism spirit, Danford has been active in organizations including CASA, InterServ, United Way, The Center and the Buchanan County Extension Council. She was the Missouri High School Counselor of the Year in 2009 and has been recognized as a Distinguished Alumni at Missouri Western State University. She graduated from Missouri Western State University in 1978 and earned an Master of Science in Guidance and Counseling from Northwest Missouri State University in 1990.
Family Investment Center, with offices in St. Joseph, Missouri and Lenexa, Kansas, is a commission-free planning and advisory firm founded in 1998. The company serves hundreds of families and other clients and manages some $275 million in discretionary portfolios.
“I'm excited to join the advisory team at Family Investment Center. What a great time to help others achieve their financial and family goals,” says Danford.
About Family Investment Center
Reflecting an unconventional approach to investing and financial planning, Family Investment Center invites clients to “plan for some serious freedom.” Now in its third decade of service, Dan Danford is Founder/CEO of Family Investment Center, a pioneer among commission-free investment advisory firms. Richard C. Salmen serves as President of Family Investment Center. Salmen also serves as the 2018 Chairman of the CFP Board national board of directors.
With a team of professionals at offices in St. Joseph, MO, and Lenexa, KS, Family Investment Center brings a client-focused philosophy to individuals and families in the Kansas City area and across the country.
Media sources who have interviewed or quoted the Family Investment Center team include The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, CBNC, Barron’s, InvestmentNews, BusinessWeek, Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, The Kansas City Star, the Chicago Tribune and others.
There’s Still Time in 2018 to Make Changes in Your 401(k) Investing
The IRS announced earlier in 2018 that retirement plan contribution limits for 401(k)s are changing. The increased contribution limits can help you put more away to reach your retirement goals and there’s still time in 2018 to put this change into action.
For three years, the IRS held the amount you can contribute to your 401(k) to $18,000 annually. This year, your opportunity for 401(k) investing improves as the limit goes up to $18,500 (plus a $6,000 catch-up contribution for those 50 and older). They also increased income phase-outs for IRA contributors as well as adjusting gross income limits for those who get the “saver’s credit.”
Changes to IRAs
If your investments include a SEP IRA, the overall defined contribution plan goes up to $55,000 per year (it was previously $54,000), which is seen as particularly beneficial to small business owners and others who are self-employed.
For deductible IRA phase-outs, the IRS is allowing people to earn more in 2018 and deduct contributions to a traditional pre-tax IRA. However, keep in mind that if you earn too much to get a deduction, you can still contribute to this vehicle, it just won’t be deductible.
If you’re an IRA contributor that isn’t covered by a retirement plan from your workplace, and your income is between $189,000 and $199,000 the deductions are phased out, which is up $3,000 from what was allowed last year.
Changes to the Saver’s Credit
Low- and moderate-income workers who are looking to take advantage of the saver’s credit get a $1,000 increase in what they can make and still qualify for the credit. The IRS allows couples that file jointly in 2018 to make $63,000, up from $62,000. Head of household limits go up from $46,500 to $47,250, and single or married and filing separately can earn $31,500 and still qualify for the credit, which is a $500 increase from last year.
Family Investment Center stays on top of changes like these and our team has many ideas, strategies and plans that meet the needs of each individual investor as these changes continue to take place. Contact us today and let’s talk about how we can help keep you on track with your retirement plan
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.
An Investment Advisor Can Help You Make Important Financial Decisions for Your Future
What’s your opinion of investment advertising? Do you immediately turn away when you come across it? You may not even realize you’ve tuned it out, which is unfortunate because so many Americans need the assistance that an investment advisor can offer.
Dan Danford, founder/CEO of Family Investment Center, recently penned a column in The Kansas City Star that touches on this topic.
Danford says that while some Americans will only take the DIY approach to investing their money, the majority of us would benefit from enlisting the help of a trusted professional.
Some investors are loyal to one brand and will invest heavily in its stock. Perhaps it’s their workplace where they enjoyed a long career and from where they have retired. They sink everything they’ve got into the performance of that one company. But what if the company begins to fail? All those years of saving and investing are now in jeopardy. This is not an uncommon scenario and it’s one that could possibly be avoided with the help of a professional.
It’s likely that the people who get in these predicaments don’t know that they should implement a long-term plan where portions of the stock are liquidated, often in a tax-advantaged manner. That’s the advice Danford offered in his column.
The process of making investments for the future intimidates many Americans. If this is true for you, consider talking to an investment advisor about what you should do. There are a number of investment vehicles that suit the goals that are unique to every investor.
The thing is, people can maintain their loyalty as long as they diversify. It’s really all about risk abatement – making smart decisions by spreading the nest egg out over a number of different investments that carry various levels of risk, tailored to the individual investor’s risk tolerance, time horizon and goals.
Unfortunately, there are many consumer advocates out there that offer poor investment advice, including advice saying no one needs a professional to assist them in their DIY investment efforts. However, it’s unwise for the average person to attempt to tackle the many complexities involved in investing.
“While many people are capable of basic investment and finance decisions,” Danford said in his column, “suggesting that the average person tackle complex financial issues without professional help is like advising consumers to service their own cars. Given the proper training and experience, I suppose it’s an option, but how many people have the knowledge, inclination and time to perform such a complicated and potentially hazardous task?”
At Family Investment Center, clients quickly leave their intimidation behind them as they receive reassurance from our team of professionals. The process is complex, but it’s what we do day in and day out, and we know how to inform you in a way that will educate you and prepare you for the big decisions that need to be made about your financial future. So make an appointment with us and let’s talk about your goals.