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More than Money Newsletter - February 2017

Dear Friends,

“When America is united, America is unstoppable!”

I pray Americans do unite.  I pray Americans unite around the goal of returning our country to the American people.  I pray the American people can bring the U.S. back to one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.

“It depends.  It depends.  It depends.”

Answering questions on my television or radio shows often requires I provide as much valuable information as I can without knowing all the critical facts of the questioner’s situation.  The tool I’ve developed over the years to bridge the gap between my not knowing all the specifics and still being able to share useful information is the simple statement, ‘It depends.’

It depends.  So simple, but so very important to repeat over and over again.  It does depend.  Perfectly acceptable investments for one person can have tragic consequences for another.  The precisely correct tax savings approach for one taxpayer sends another to IRS court.  Wonderfully effective estate planning documents for one family leaves another family devastated.  It depends.

On you.  Your situation.  Your goals.  Your beliefs.  Your resources.  Your challenges.  Your family.  And on.  And on.  And on.

“It depends” disappears from the conversation when your More than Money Financial Advisor has learned all these things – and much, much more – about you.  Then the answers become precise, effective, acceptable, and meaningful for you and your family.

Isn’t that really what you want for your financial future?

 

 “Real Life Questions – Real World Answers - The Lightning Round – Quck Questions – Fast Answers”

“Are mutual funds better than exchange traded funds?”

No.  Mutual funds are different, but not better than ETFs.  They both offer the advantages of diversification and cost effective management, but they take very different approaches to the challenges of investment.  Study both before choosing to invest in one, the other, or both.

“Should I refinance my home to get a higher interest deduction on my tax return?”

No. While lowering your taxes is great, the amount you spend on your interest payments is so much higher than your tax savings – you actually lose money every month you are carrying a mortgage.

“How do we pick the right person to name as guardian of our children in our wills?”

This is always a challenging question.  My best answer is – select the person(s) who would raise your children as nearly as possible to the way you would have raised them yourselves.  Love, values, and commitment are most important.

“How do I know when it’s time to quit my job and go full-time on my start-up business?

You should quit your job when you find yourself falling asleep while at work.  To give your start-up the highest probability of succeeding you must allow it to mature out of its infancy without the pressure of supporting you for as long as possible.  When you simply can’t continue with both – make the leap. 

“Isn’t real estate the best investment if I want to get really wealthy?”

Real estate is not an investment.  Real estate is a business and a tough business.  Many people have gotten wealthy using their real estate business as a foundation.  Many people have lost everything trying to follow the same path.  The key is finding the right business opportunity to fit you and your unique set of skills.

“What tax deduction gives me the most for my money?”

Retirement plans.  401(k)s and IRAs provide excellent tax advantages over (potentially) many, many years and allow you to keep all your money.  You can then direct the investments inside those plans to best fit you and your goals.

‘Will giving my home to my children reduce the death tax they will pay?’

Yes.  If your home is in your name at your passing it will be included in your estate and your children will pay death/inheritance tax on its value.  Depending on your state of residence this may be very little/no tax or quite a large sum.  Consult an experienced advisor or estate planning attorney.

“Where is the best place to find someone to buy my business when I’m ready to retire?”

Inside your own business.  It is axiomatic that businesses sold to ‘insiders’ sell for higher values and have greater probabilities of success than those sold to ‘outsiders’.   Identify the person(s) you think most capable of running the business after your departure and begin the grooming process.  They may need training. They may need to see ‘behind the curtain’.  They may need to get the financial ducks in a row.  Now’s the time to start.  Don’t have that person in your business right now?  Go find him/her, recruit them, and get them inside.

“My sister and I invest in basically the same funds, but her returns are always better than mine.  How can this be?  Is she using black magic?”

Maybe she’s using black magic, but more likely – she’s more patient than you.  Investors in identical funds can have very different results depending on when they got in and when they got out.  The longer an investor stays in a quality fund the greater the chance she will see the bulk of their good results.  The more often an investor bounces around from quality fund to quality fund the greater the likelihood he will see lower/much lower returns. 

“How much income tax will I owe when I sell the home I inherited from my dad?”

None. Likely.  The IRS gives taxpayers a very nice break when they inherit any asset (home, stocks, mutual funds, etc.).  Your cost basis on the home you inherited is the value of your dad’s home on the day he passed.  If you sell the home soon thereafter for about the same value you will show little/no gain and therefore little/no income tax due.

“Is it true that I can help my kids avoid probate on my estate by using ToDs on my bank accounts?”

 Yes, indeed.  In fact, lots of folks have been chasing the ‘holy grail’ of avoiding probate by spending big bucks on creating fancy trusts set up by fancy attorneys.  An easy, simple, and free/nearly free way to accomplish much the same end is by the use of ToDs, PoDs, and beneficiary designations on as many of your accounts/assets as you are able.

“Is crowdfunding the way to go for us to raise money for our new business?”

Very possibly.  Raising significant investment funds for new businesses used to be nearly impossible.  Access to the ‘big boys’ of finance and their money was severely restricted.  Those days are passed.  Platforms like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and GoFundMe (and dozens, perhaps hundreds more) offer the entrepreneur direct access to the universe of potential investors found via the electrons of the internet.

While the door is wide open to raise funds with these platforms getting successfully through the door to your business goals will take serious thought, planning, and skill.  Do not consider a crowdfunding option without an experienced guide.

 

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

Seth Godin, is an American entrepreneur, author of more than 17 books, and world-class thinker.  Godin is considered by many to be the preeminent authority on ‘bootstrapping’ – starting businesses with very little money, but tons of creativity and energy.

We have made it part of our More than Money mission to inspire as many Americans as we are able to see the world of business and capitalism as the solution to many of the challenges facing our country today.  For many, this idea is new and rather radical.  Isn’t it just about making money?  We – and Seth Godin – see the opportunity of business very differently:

“Trust and attention – these are the scarce items . . .”

Scarce indeed!  Americans are hungry to find people and organizations they can trust.  In a world filled with electronic distractions, Americans are starved to find anyone paying attention.  In that all too rare instance when you enter a shop and find a shop owner who actually pays attention to you and works to earn you trust and serve you – aren’t you blown away?   Sad?  Certainly sad that more/most businesses don’t offer either trust or attention to their clients.

Exciting for all the companies – large and especially small – who have discovered that serving their clients, paying real attention, and building trust are the ingredients of a ‘secret sauce’ of success. 

 

Please allow us to serve you and those you love.

Thank you,

Gene

 

P.S.  Who – in your life – needs a financial second opinion from an advisor they trust, who pays attention to serving their best interests?  Let us know who they are and we’ll invite them to experience More than Money.

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