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More than Money Newsletter - March 2016

Dear Friends,

“Thank You for Twenty-Five Years!”

Twenty-five (25) years ago I broadcast my first ‘More than Money’ radio show.  I could not have dreamed that I would continue for twenty-five (25) years broadcasting; over one thousand two hundred (1,200) shows; and answering nearly fifteen thousand (15,000) listener questions live on air. 

Thank you.  Thank you for all twenty-five (25) years and blessings I cannot count.  Thank you for trusting me to serve you and your families – now generations.  Thank you for accepting not just my financial advice but my quirky (?) sense of humor and my willingness to share my love of our great country and my love of God.

While I’m not sure I can be (accurately) termed young, I can assure you all (according to my wife) I am most certainly immature.  I intend to continue broadcasting, answering questions, and serving you in every way possible for as long as it fits into God’s plan for me.  How does ‘Thanks for Fifty Years,’ sound?

And in case you were wondering, in June, I will mark the twentieth (20th) anniversary of my first ‘More than Money’ television show.  Thanks for that, too!

“Negative Interest Rates?”

‘Not likely’ says Mark Belcak.

Banks around the world have been charging ‘negative’ interest rates on money deposited with their institutions.  In some cases, it’s national central banks.  In some cases it’s on retail deposits.  You give them your money; they use it; and you have less at the end of the year than when you started.  Instead of paying you one per cent (1%) for the use of your money the bank is charging you one per cent (-1%) for permitting you to park your funds with them.  Is this trend coming to America?

Mark Belcak, MtM Advisor, doesn’t believe so.  However, he does point out that factoring in taxes and inflation many Americans are already seeing negative returns on their bank deposits.  Getting a decent rate of return on lower risk investments is a challenge today.  To explore ideas that might fit you and your needs – contact Mark.

“IRS Calling?”

‘Absolutely not!’ says Daryl Okken.

With tax season comes tax scams.  One of the most prevalent scams we’re seeing involves a taxpayer receiving a call claiming to be from the IRS and demanding immediate payment for a fictional tax bill.  Daryl Okken, CPA and MtM Financial Advisor, notes that you will know the phone call is a scam because – it’s a phone call!  The IRS does not and will not call you for payment.

If the IRS believes you owe additional taxes they will send you a letter by USPS.  They do not call.  They do not email.  They send you a good, old fashioned letter.  So take comfort – you can hang up the phone on those scammers.  But, if you get a letter . . . call Daryl.

“Can Stocks Pay You More than the Bank?”

‘It depends’ says Bill Maughan borrowing one of my favorite phrases.

Are there stocks that pay shareholders dividends that are much higher than the interest they’re receiving from their banks?  Absolutely, yes!  Should an investor leave the bank and invest in these stocks?  Absolutely, not!  Not without understanding a whole lot about yourself and how these investments work.

As always, before even considering any investment, carefully analyze (perhaps best with the assistance of a trusted advisor) your situation, your financial objectives, timeframes, and every other factor you need to consider to identify appropriate investment options for you and your needs.

One thing to understand quickly is that dividend paying stocks are not – in any way – the investment equivalent of CDs or bonds.  CDs and bonds carry certain guarantees (FDIC or contractual).   Stocks carry no guarantees.  An investor cannot – should not – think of these two types of securities as apples to apples.  Think more like – apples to kumquats.

Another important factor is that all dividend paying stocks are not created equal.

Dogs of the Dow is a phrase that references one way to get access to very large, profitable, American companies (all components of the Dow – America’s 30 largest companies)  that are currently paying between 3.09% and 4.89% dividends to shareholders.  Names like Verizon, Exxon Mobil, Merck, P&G, and Walmart currently reside on the Dogs of the Dow list.  You can add Dogs of the Dow to your portfolio by buying individual stocks, mutual funds, or ETFs.

Some dividend paying stocks are not so large and not so profitable.  There are hundreds of stocks paying dividends.  Some pay dividends of over 30%.  Ironically, in the world of dividend paying stocks, higher is not necessarily better.  In fact, some of the highest dividend paying companies are at real risk for bankruptcy and expose investors to potentially very serious losses.

Bill Maughan, MtM Advisor, cautions that many investors do not understand the many pros and cons of moving dollars from very safe positions to significant risk positions in the pursuit of cash flow.  Bill further advises investors to take the time necessary to fully understand their objectives and the attributes of any investment option they might consider.  

“Is a Will Ever Useless?”

No, but – in some cases – not very useful.

Everyone knows you should have a will.  Not everyone knows that relying on your will to control the distribution of your estate could result in some pretty surprising results.

You might be surprised to learn that your IRAs, your 401(k)s, your life insurance policies, your annuities, and (probably) your home will likely not pass through your will.  With these assets you are required to name a beneficiary or perhaps a joint ownership.  By law, these assets will pass to those beneficiaries and/or joint owners before the will is even considered.

Using beneficiary designations (even ToDs and PoDs on bank accounts) can provide some significant advantages to heirs of estate.  Settlement of these assets is usually quicker, simpler, and less costly than the probate process of a will.  These operations might, however, thwart your intentions as stated in your will.

So if you thought you had your estate neatly planned because you have a will – you might want to think again.  Take the time to sit with a trusted advisor, review your wills, trusts, ownership and beneficiaries of all your assets.  You – and your loved ones – will be very glad you did.  Not sure where to start?  Contact our More than Money office.  We’ll be happy to provide you with organizational assistance at no charge.

More than Money Radio and Television

Have Breakfast with Gene every Saturday Morning at 8:06 as 

More than Money with Gene Dickison airs on AM790 WAEB. 
all with your questions live at 610-720-7900 
Two Full Hours – 8:06 through 10:00 AM.

 Who would you like to see interviewed on our radio or television show? 

What topics would you like Gene to discuss?

 Send your suggestions to JoAnne@AskMTM.com

Words are Powerful Tools for American Freedom

One of my favorite writers, Robert Collier, lived from 1885 until 1950.  He saw America through two world wars and the Great Depression.  Rather than becoming embittered, negative and fearful Collier produced some of the most positive, optimistic, and hopeful works to aid Americans in persevering and prospering.   

Today’s authors in the field of ‘self-help’ are largely egocentric and – at best – agnostic if not outright hostile to the existence of God. I would suggest the impact of today’s offerings leave most Americans little better off than when they paid their hard earned money to buy them. 

In contrast, Collier relied – unapologetically – on the Scriptures and God’s inspiration in his efforts to inspire his readers. I share with you some of Collier’s The Secret of the Ages:

“When the sun of understanding shines on all the dark spots in our lives we realize that there is no cause, no creator, no power except good.  Evil is not an entity – it is merely the absence of good – the absence of God.

Blessed is the man whose delight is in the law of the Lord: And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water; that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”

For nearly eight years Americans have lived in the darkness – in the shadow created not by evil, but by our turning away from good – from God.  In recent months a fair number of Presidential candidates have revived the notion that America is a nation founded on a strong belief in and allegiance to our God.

Perhaps in the months to come more and more Americans will remember the source of all greatness as a nation and all prosperity as individuals.  That source is God our father.

 

Please allow us to serve you and those you love.

Thank you,

Gene

 

P.S.  What can you do today to bring the light of God back to America?

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