Vince, a former Certified Financial Planner of over 25 year is active brokering, managing and investing in residential and commercial real estate and well as advising clients on business valuations and completing commercial broker’s professional opinions of values. He continues to teach business, investments, and real estate courses as well as advising individuals and businesses on those areas as well as: retirement and education planning, proper use of traditional fixed Annuities, life Insurance, long Term and elder care planning, as well as budget control/debt management.
What I've learned in 35 years? Average Joe is not being served by many laws that make you feel you are being protected from predators. Far too many laws to police with too little state and federal actual enforcement is used. Remember what happened 2007-2012 should wake you up. However, the public has about a 3 year memory. What was the number one stock in last year? Who won the Super Bowl 3 years ago and who was the coach? How much did you spend 2 years ago? Big government is not protecting you. We are helping the poor, yet many families are now 4th generation "poor" so why are we are creating more poor? You're still investing and saving with those same firms that were the center of the scams that put people down and lost millions. I think It’s time for us to wake up and become more self-sufficient and get great advice! Do not rely on advice only because a firm is big and old.
MONEY MANAGEMENT AND RETIREES: It has been said that besides our health issues the number one worry is outliving your money. Even a tougher concern is caring for one's savings all alone well into retirement by family members that have neither time nor experience. How old will we live … 75, 90,105? Add to the mix we have been retiring younger and we are truly living longer. "We" as a society have been poor at money management during our working years. Do you think this is it gets better as we get older? No, it doesn’t work that way. We all need help for many things at many stages of our lives. Money management is crucial. Trusts are excellent tools to manage assets long term. You need a map for vacation, draw it out and make a plan and work the plane. Select your Trustee with confidence and one that has you in mind.
PROTECT YOURSELF first by getting excellent advice. Beware of those that are "licensed" with little education and experience in the field beyond passing a test. Beware if they promote their BIG national OLD firm. That means those firms devoured all those competitors along the way and they are too big for you to fight when you have a problem with them. Please don’t be fooled into thinking your 401K or 403B have little fees and have "free" access as you have a “special” plan. They don't! You also need keep in mind all firms and individuals must charge a fair fee somewhere somehow. Just be sure they are up front with you and are open about all fees. They cannot run their business for fee. Think over why a plumber need charge a fee just to come to your home. They have cost of their truck, building, insurance, and their training. The same goes with your Doctors and Lawyers.
MY OWN EXAMPLES:
A couple sold their home in less than 6 hours that was listed with THEIR Broker! The client is owed a fiduciary responsibility. This means honesty, loyalty and fair play. Home sales used to take about 60-90 days or the price may be wrong. In our faster moving markets they have been due to undersupply. It is hard to judge both up and down! In this case possession was DAY of closing with NO rent back deal agreed on nor offered by their own agent! So, they were moving out that same day they closed and ... no place to live with their two young kids! They were not served by their agent well at all.
Another couple asked me advice on an offer that came to them unsolicited. This one page "Purchase Agreement" did not even meet the basic tests that define a contract. There was no deposit made plus, no time lines, and the offer came from a LLC that did not exist with a signature other than the buyer they talked to face to face. They moved forward anyway. They ended up in court and saw me after the action was started.
EQUITY INDEX ANNUITIES: ask the agent to explain each and every option to your satisfaction and prove PAST results. Even skilled agents with years of service have trouble understanding all the "bells and whistles" they now have. They CAN be a great vehicle for those that are VERY conservative with their money but want to also to hedge on stock market gains. Look at the minimum penalty years, usually 5-10. Get an excellent agent and just know what you are getting into and you will be happy. Again these can be excellent but be sure you fully understand these.
Pure LIFE insurance to build cash for retirement? I do not know of one person in my 35 years in the business who is living off of savings INSIDE a policy that was not later moved and invested INTO another product to make it work as a retirement plan. Now, maybe those that got the cash AFTER death live on the money. But that is not how it is sold to you in many cases. The policy itself is TO have funds available to others after a bread winners death, not a golden parachute. They are that simple but the designs go all over the street. In England where they were first crafted they were called "Death" policies. Folks, that IS what they were years ago and that is what they are today. That name was not a big seller by the way so it was changed. How much do you need? That depends on your age, how many years left to work, how many dependents you have and the age of the youngest. One rule of thumb is 5-10 times your gross income. However, that is only ONE method ... rules of thumb often break thumbs when not fully aware!
Financially, why are some of the biggest insurance firms leaving this part of their business behind? They NO LONGER sell “Life Insurance?”
Education Funding? Well what does that mean? You need start investing the month the kids are born and for every month you delay you need fund that in reverse. BORROWING is no way to fund education in the future and payback is hell! POST high school education might mean a 4 month certificate, possible a 2 year Associates, an Apprenticeship, and often over-priced over promised 4-6 year university degrees just are not worth it any longer. Community Colleges have even fallen into the over promised over-priced range with misleading courses that lead nowhere to touting lower tuition as they compare themselves to full blown universities. Apples to apples comparison is never used and it need be done. How many people do you know that kids started college, borrowed money, never finished, and now have the debt? Great deal that post high school plan of borrowing. Less is often better. Why did China in 2015 place University education 2nd to technical and skills training based on shortages in their markets. We have over educated Baristas and a shortage of HVAC trained workers. Our education system is led by well-meaning too well educated teachers inside our K-12 systems that push for all their right reasons University education but are missing the target for 75% of our high school graduates! We need post high school education but not university training for many at all! My own kids we planned from day one for 2-5 years of post-high school education. The plan worked. It just we did not buy new cars every 3-4 years, we did not take expensive trips, we did not keep buying more and more furniture nor have a 2nd home … they all ended up with NO debt after their post high school training, and, REAL JOBS!
Advice nowadays? Expect to pay for good financial advice, and know what that price is. Plan on the hourly rate to be 4-8 times your own equated hourly if working or a flat fee. A good mechanic or Dentist is not discounting! You pay for their education, experience, and common sense as well as high ethical standards.
Here are some on line sources to educate you and make you think just a little.
SUBPRIME MORTGAGE CRISIS - This is very funny but very true