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Establishing a financial plan can’t wait for “someday”.

Establishing a financial plan can’t wait for “someday”.

Establishing a financial plan can’t wait for “someday”

Make it a priority TODAY.  Here’s how.

Young people, whether single or married, can be among the most frequent of procrastinators when it comes to establishing a financial plan.

That financial plan you’ve been putting off to do “someday” needs to get pushed up to the top of your priority list.  Getting around to it later is potentially hurting your financial stability and wealth creation long term and/or causing financial stress that could be avoided altogether.

So, why the procrastination? 

You may feel you’re not yet at an income level that allows you to have any significant savings, let alone a financial plan.  You might feel you have all the time in the world to create a financial plan.  You may not think of yourself as financially savvy and, thus, feel intimidated by the thought of contacting a financial planner.  Or, you might just have other priorities.

A word to the wise... none of these reasons is good enough to wait any longer. 

Financial planning

Start today to think about, establish and commit to a financial plan.  Here’s how.

Believe in yourself and your future. Wherever you are in your career and whatever your income, if you want a better tomorrow, it’s up to you to make it happen.  In a recent article posted online at ladders.com, entitled... The most important life-changing habit in 2 words: START NOW... author Thomas Oppong writes, “Many people consistently hold back and waste precious time. The only way to get ahead is to overcome that state of mind.  Start.  Every single day.  Start and then restart. It doesn’t matter if you fail.”  In other words, don’t wait for some miracle to happen or for someone else to take charge of your financial future.  Believe in yourself, and start today to establish your financial plan.

Find a financial advisor who also believes in you.  There’s a long-held belief that you have to make a lot of money to get the attention of a financial planner.  That’s not the case at Lenox, where “we start with you, not your portfolio”.  We are your advocates first and foremost.  We believe in you and help you discover and use your inherent strengths and talents to Fund a Life You Love®.  One of our unique tools is to take you through an Honest Conversation®, prompting great discussion about what is important to you, or if you are a couple, what is important to each of you individually and as a couple.  From this, we create a financial plan that is relevant, actionable and doable because it is about you and what you consider to be your personal happiness.

Let no excuse get in your way.  Forget the naysayers who say a financial plan isn’t important at this stage of your life... or that you’ll never stick to it... or that all financial advisors are alike... and on and on.  It’s your money.  It’s your financial future.  No one else should be allowed to determine your success.

Start small.  Doing something is better than nothing at all.  You don’t need grandiose ideas to set a financial plan in motion.  You just need to get started.  Once begun, the bottom line results, peace of mind and comfort that come with having a financial plan can be somewhat addictive, meaning you want to keep it going. 

Understand the time value of money.  If you need further motivation to stay true to your financial plan, take a few minutes to look at the time value of money.  There are numerous charts online to show you how your wealth can grow via this compounding of money over time.  Go to https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/tools/timevalueofmoney to see for yourself.  It’s an instant discipline builder.

Cut yourself a little slack now and then.  Yes, a financial plan requires discipline, but it should not be dreaded or feel like a life sentence.  The right plan for you should get you on track for your income level and lifestyle and show you how to stay on track to meet your lifetime goals.  Remember, the goal at Lenox is to help you Fund a Life You Love®.  If that means traveling or pursuing a hobby or buying a business or whatever your interests, let’s include those things in your financial plan.

Visit and revisit your financial plan.  Life changes and so might your financial plan.  It most likely won’t be a one and done.  That’s a reality that should feel very freeing to you. Tweaks and adjustments will occur, inspired by family, career and other commitments.  That’s a good thing and a discussion that your Lenox financial planner will initiate with you on a regular basis.

If it sounds like we’re here to help, we are. You deserve financial planning that helps you live the best life you can with financial peace of mind.  We help you do just that.  Now, let’s get started on your financial plan.

Fund a Life You Love®... we live it and want our clients to experience it as well.

If you’re ready to discuss financial planning that will allow you to Fund a Life You Love®, we’d love to tell you more.  Let’s talk.  It’s your tomorrow.

 

Call us for a complimentary 1 hour review.  Call 513.618.7080 or visit www.lenoxwealth.com to Fund a Life You Love.


 

Past Performance is not indicative of future results.

 

This blog is limited to the dissemination of general information pertaining to its investment advisory/management services. This is not intended to be personalized investment advice. Please contact a Lenox adviser if you would like additional information.

OCTOBER 2018 OUTLOOK ON PROCTER AND GAMBLE CO. (P&G)

OCTOBER 2018 OUTLOOK ON PROCTER AND GAMBLE CO. (P&G)

OCTOBER 2018 OUTLOOK ON PROCTER AND GAMBLE CO. (P&G)


Current P&G Stock Outlook:

  • In response to P&G’s quarterly earnings announcement, which beat Wall Street estimates on both the top and bottom lines, the stock jumped by $7/share from $80.24 to $87.30.

  • We are increasing our 12-month price target from $91/share to $94/share.  In the event P&G outperforms again in the second quarter, and provides additional signs of a sustainable turnaround, we anticipate increasing our price target once again.

  • The stock, even with the recent runup in price, continues to represent good value, relative to the overall market. This conclusion is based on a combination of the 3.3% dividend yield and the increasing probability the company is finally showing the benefits from its past restructuring programs. We are also hopeful that Nelson Peltz, the Board, and David Taylor will be more collaborative in terms of bringing bigger ideas and holding management accountable to improving results short-term.

  • Wall Street analysts, who forecasted a price target of $82.08/share last quarter, have increased their average 12-month stock price target by a whopping $6 plus to $88.42/share Analyst forecasts now range between $78/share and $100/share, still indicating disagreement between “the experts” on the company’s outlook and valuation.

  • We believe David Taylor has bought himself more time, and we continue to believe if Nelson Peltz, David, and the Board collaborate, good things will happen for the business and the share price.

 

Highlights of P&G’s Quarterly Results:

  • P&G quarterly sales gains marked their strongest performance in five years, driven primarily by volume growth, product innovation, and a healthy U.S. economy.

  • First quarter FY 2019 produced revenue of $16.69 billion, exceeding Wall Street expectations of $16.46 billion.

  • P&G produced total organic sales growth of 4%, driven by a 3% lift in volume growth.

  • First quarter Core EPS rose 3% over the same period last year to $1.12, exceeding analyst estimates of $1.09 per share.

  • Organic Sales increased in four of five business units, and nine of their ten product categories, led by Beauty with a 7% increase versus the year ago period. P&G grew organic sales in 12 of their 15 largest markets in Q1.

  • Fabric & Home Care, P&G’s largest business unit, grew organic sales by 5% compared to the same quarter last year. 

  • After declining organic sales growth during 2017, Grooming made a comeback by growing organic sales by 4%. This was attributed to product innovation, investments in direct-to-consumer programs, and increased pricing in some markets.

  • Baby, Feminine and Family Care was the lone segment to produce negative organic sales growth, down 1% versus the year ago quarter. This was driven primarily by poor performance from the Luvs diaper brand.


Fiscal Year 2019 Guidance:

  • The company maintained Fiscal Year 2019 guidance for organic sales growth ranging between 2% and 3%.

  • P&G lowered the range for FY 2019 all-in sales growth to -2% to 0%, reflecting foreign currency headwinds of -3% to -4%.

  • They reiterated FY 2019 guidance for Core EPS growth of 3% to 8%. From our perspective, this is a very broad range and reflects a combination of management’s conservatism and uncertainty in the current environment.

  • For FY 2019, the company is forecasting dividends of $7 billion and share repurchases up to $5 billion.

  • As pointed out last quarter, we anticipate a significant increase in after-tax cash flow due to corporate tax reform. The company has not identified the tax savings in the forecast or how they will redirect the proceeds It to increase shareholder value. In our opinion, we think this is an opportunity for Jon Moeller, CFO, to provide increased transparency and build credibility with institutional and retail shareholders who would like more clarity on this part of his forecast guidance.  

 

Understanding our $94 Price Target:

  • Nelson Peltz and Trian Partners will bring Shareholder Point of View to the Board and Management

    • Nelson and Trian have a strong track record of adding value for shareholders and holding management accountable

    • Longer term, call it 3-4 years, we believe Trian has the potential to bring an additional $30 to per share in value to the price of the stock. Its arguable, they have already brought $10.

  • Continued Cost Cutting

    • P&G continues to extract another $10 billion in costs, focused on reducing overhead, lowering material costs, and increasing manufacturing and marketing productivity. It is not clear how much of this cost savings will drop to the bottom line, given increased transportation costs, rising raw material costs, unfavorable mix, lower pricing, and volatile foreign exchange.

  • Macroeconomic, Political, and Competitive Risks

    • P&G identified several key risks that they have not taken into consideration in their guidance: Significant strengthening of the US dollar, further rising commodity prices, continued political and economic volatility, significant deceleration of market growth rates, and increased competition on highest margin products.



The above material is not investment advice and should not be relied upon by any person in making financial investment decisions.  The price of P&G shares may go down in value and at no time reach the above listed Lenox price target.  Any persons reading these materials should not take any actions without first contacting their investment and tax advisor.


 

Past Performance is not indicative of future results.

 

This newsletter is limited to the dissemination of general information pertaining to its investment advisory/management services. This is not intended to be personalized investment advice. Please contact a Lenox Wealth adviser if you would like additional information.

Source: P&G Earnings Release 10/19/2018

529 Plans - The Basics

529 Plans - The Basics

529 Plans - The Basics

What you need to know about these tax-advantaged ways to save for college.


Whether you already have children or you’re planning to start a family someday, the sooner you start to put money away for college, the better.  That’s why we encourage you to learn all you can about 529 plans, a college savings plan created to help families save for education expenses and get a tax break in doing so.

 

Here are some 529 plan basics that every family should know.

 

What is a 529 plan?


According to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, a 529 plan is a tax-advantaged savings plan designed to encourage saving for future education costs. 529 plans, legally known as “qualified tuition plans,” were added to the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) in 1996.

 

How do 529 plans work?

  • 529 plans offer tax and financial aid benefits to the person funding them (account holder). Earnings in 529 plans accumulate on a tax-deferred basis and distributions are free from federal and state income tax when used for qualified education expenses.

  • 529 plans are offered/sponsored by states, state agencies or educational institutional agencies. All 50 states and the District of Columbia sponsor at least one 529 plan. 

  • You can invest in any state 529 plan, not just that offered by the state in which you reside.  Also, the student (beneficiary) is not required to attend a school in the state where the plan was opened.

  • You can change the named beneficiary of a 529 plan at any time.  However, if you change it to someone other than a family member, there may be tax implications.

 

Are there different types of 529 plans?


Yes, there are two types: Prepaid Tuition Plans and Education Savings Plans.

  • There are important differences between the two types –– fees, certain restrictions, expenses, investment options, to name a few.  (For details, ask your Lenox financial advisor, contact your 529 plan sponsor, or visit www.sec.gov.)

  • You can find out more about a particular 529 plan by reading its offering circular. The National Association of State Treasurers created the College Savings Plan Network, which provides links to most 529 plan websites. 

 

How can 529 plan savings be used?

  • A 529 plan can be used to save and pay for higher education costs –– tuition, room and board, computers, and other qualified expenses. The plan also may be used to pay for up to $10,000 annually for K-12 tuition. 

  • In most cases, your 529 plan can be used to cover expenses at any qualified college or university.  There are more than 6,000 qualified colleges and universities in the USA and an estimated 400+ eligible outside the USA –– most anywhere federal financial aid   is accepted. (Check with each individual plan for its list of qualified schools.)

 

Who can open and contribute to a 529 plan?

  • Parents and/or grandparents can open a 529 plan and be the account holder for a student (beneficiary).  (See our prior blog, “Grandparents and 529 Plans” for information on why parents instead of grandparents might want to be the plan’s account holder.)

  • You can even open an account before a baby is born, opening it in your own name and   transferring it once the baby is born and has a Social Security number.

  • Anyone can contribute to a child’s 529 plan –- aunts, uncles, other family and friends –- which makes the 529 a good idea for birthday or holiday gift giving.

  • The account holder will want to name a successor as you would with any other assets in the event of death or inability to continue as account owner.

 

How is your money invested?

  • Generally speaking, 529 plan contributions are invested in mutual fund-based investments.  Some plans also offer FDIC-insured banking options. 

  • You can typically choose from planned portfolios or create your own investment options.

  • To see which investment options are best for you, check with your financial advisor. 

 

Let us know how we can help.  Lenox professionals are here to explain 529 plan fundamentals and to help guide you in your plan selection and investment options.  Give us a call at 513-618-7080.

  

At Lenox, we work with families to help guide them in every aspect of their financial life –– from education funding, to generational planning and finances, to setting financial priorities, to eliminating debt, establishing budgets, career planning and coaching, retirement planning, and working through financial hurdles –– the entire realm of wealth creation, wealth building, and wealth management.  In every instance, we start with you, not your portfolio to help you FUND A LIFE YOU LOVE™.


If you’re ready to discuss financial, business, career and life planning that will allow you to Fund a Life You Love®, we’d love to tell you more.  Let’s talk.  It’s your tomorrow. Call us for a complimentary 1-hour review.  Call 513.618.7080 or visit www.lenoxwealth.com to Fund a Life You Love.


 

Past Performance is not indicative of future results.

 

This blog is limited to the dissemination of general information pertaining to its investment advisory/management services. This is not intended to be personalized investment advice. Please contact a Lenox adviser if you would like additional information.

 

401(k) Plans – Understanding the Basics

401(k) Plans – Understanding the Basics

401(k) Plans – Understanding the Basics 

Our quick primer on this retirement savings vehicle, whatever your age.

If maximizing your retirement savings is a priority, and you’re looking for a little motivation to establish and/or get more involved in your 401(k) plan no matter what your current age, consider these findings from a recent Wall Street Journal report entitled “The Unprepared––A Generation of Americans is Entering Old Age the Least Prepared in Decades”.

                                                “Unprepared”, Geoffrey Rogow, WSJ, August 7, 2018

 

            “More than 40% of households led by people aged 55 through 70 lack sufficient resources    to maintain their living standards” in retirement.”  

 

            “Households with 401(k) investments and at least one worker aged 55 through 64 had a median $135,000 in tax-advantaged retirement accounts as of 2016, according to the latest calculations from Boston College’s center.  For a couple aged 62 and 65 who retire today, that would produce about $600/month in annuity income for life, the center says.”

 

 

The why behind 401(k) plans

In 1978, the United States Congress authorized a tax-law change that ushered in 401(k) plans, retirement savings vehicles provided/sponsored by employers.  Such plans allow employees to reduce their taxable income by placing their own pre-tax dollars in a 401(k) account (aka a “defined-contribution account”).  The goal then and now has been to encourage and help people build their retirement funds.  A dual goal back in the late 1970s was to supplement the pension payouts employees often received in those days.  Since then, however, many companies with their pension funding squeezed by economic cycles and recessionary periods over the years have limited pensions or replaced them altogether with 401(k) plans.

 

How 401(k) plans work

•  Employees who put money in a 401(k) can deduct their contributions from their taxes.  Their 401(k) contributions are invested and grow tax-free until retirement, at which time retirees pay taxes on withdrawals from their 401(k).  Current legislation requires that retirees start taking mandatory distributions from retirement accounts once they turn 70-1/2 years of age. 

 

•  Employees decide what percentage of their pay they want to contribute.  The designated amount is deducted from the employee’s paycheck and automatically placed in their individual 401(k).

 

•  Employees are capped at how much they can put in a 401k annually –– either up to earnings or $18,500. If you are over age 50, you have a catch-up option of up to an additional $6,000 contribution per year.

 

•  A 401(k) plan is portable meaning that when changing jobs, employees maintain ownership of their account and can move it from one company to another without penalty.  They can roll from 401k to 401k – or to an IRA with no penalties.

 

•  In 401(k) plans, employees are allowed to choose their own investments from a limited selection (typically mutual funds) offered by their employer and overseen by an independent plan administrator.  While the employer will offer information on the funds, the onus is on the employee to decide which is best for them. Selecting one’s own stocks can make a 401(k) somewhat of a DIY retirement plan.  This has worked well for some people and not so well for others.  Like any investment, there is risk involved and losses can occur.  For example, many people lost a significant portion of their 401(k) in the 2007-2009 recession, and/or they cashed out or borrowed from their 401(k) savings to cover other expenses, funds they have not been able to replace.

 

• Monies withdrawn from a 401(k) before the account owner is age 59-1/2 typically results in the employee paying a10% early withdrawal penalty on top of any taxes due.

 

•  Many employers offer to match employee contributions –- typically up to a percentage one’s annual salary.  It is wise to take advantage of “matching programs”.

 

 What is a Roth 401(k)?

A Roth 401(k) is a type of 401(k) offering tax savings that is essentially the reverse of a traditional 401(k).  Employees pay tax on their 401(k) contributions at the time the contributions are made, but they do not have to pay any tax in retirement when they withdraw their savings.  As such, all money in their 401(k) account grows tax-free. 

 

Making 401(k) plans more accessible

Because it is not mandatory for employers to offer employees a 401(k), Congress in 2006 enacted legislation to help private-sector workers without workplace 401(k) plans enroll in a 401(k) via state-run-retirement-savings programs.

 

Currently, an executive order is being considered by President Trump that would make it easier for small businesses to offer employees 401(k) plans.  The idea is for small businesses to band together in order to share the overhead costs of 401(k) plans and, thus, have the economies of scale that larger companies enjoy.

 

Learn all you can about 401(k) plans

We’ve given you some 401(k) highlights, but we encourage you to learn or refresh yourself on the specifics of your 401(k).  Let us know how we can help.  Lenox professionals are here to explain 401(k) fundamentals and to help guide you in your 401(k) plan investment options.  Give us a call at 513-618-7080.

 

At Lenox, we work with families to help guide them in every aspect of their financial life –– from education funding, to generational planning and finances, to setting financial priorities, to eliminating debt, establishing budgets, career planning and coaching, retirement planning, and working through financial hurdles –– the entire realm of wealth creation, wealth building, and wealth management.  In every instance, we start with you, not your portfolio to help you FUND A LIFE YOU LOVE™.

 

If you’re ready to discuss financial, business, career and life planning that will allow you to Fund a Life You Love®, we’d love to tell you more.  Let’s talk.  It’s your tomorrow. Call us for a complimentary 1-hour review.  Call 513.618.7080 or visit www.lenoxwealth.com to Fund a Life You Love.


 

Past Performance is not indicative of future results.

 

This blog is limited to the dissemination of general information pertaining to its investment advisory/management services. This is not intended to be personalized investment advice. Please contact a Lenox adviser if you would like additional information.

Grandparents and 529 Plans

Grandparents and 529 Plans

Grandparents and 529 Plans 

3 important 529 Plan questions to ask

For generations, one of many ways grandparents have chosen to support their offspring is to help fund their grandkids’ education.  They may have done so via designated savings accounts, trusts or simply by writing a check.  Introduced in the mid-1990s were 529 Plans, an education savings plan offering tax benefits to the plan funder as an incentive to help them save for their grandchildren’s college or post-secondary education expenses.

 

The unique tax advantages of 529 Plans have made them an increasingly popular way for grandparents to help cover tuition, room and board, computer software or other equipment needed for the student.  And thanks to the 2017 Tax Laws, savings from a 529 account may now also be used to pay for tuition at K-12 private or religious schools (with certain caveats regarding annual withdrawals for students of pre-college-age).  We would be happy to discuss such details with you at your convenience. 

 

Whether you already have a 529 Plan for a grandchild or are considering opening one, here are three questions you should ask.

 

Who should own the 529 plan?

Anyone can own a 529 Plan –– grandparents or parents –- and the owner can select (and change) the beneficiary of the plan, as well as direct the plan’s investments or trust their financial advisor to do so. However, while the grandparents may be the ones funding the 529 Plan, it might make more sense for the parents to officially own it. 

 

Here’s why. It’s a matter of putting the student in the best possible position for obtaining financial aid, if needed.  When applying for financial aid, the family must complete a form called FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Part of the FAFSA form is something called the EFC (Expected Family Contribution). The EFC takes into account the student’s income and assets and the parent’s income and assets. 

 

If grandparents own the 529 Plan, the savings that come out of the plan are considered part of the student’s income on the FAFSA form for two years after the funds are received.  By FAFSA calculations, income for the student is weighted significantly higher than if it were income for the parents, which means the funds can work against the student in terms of financial aid eligibility.

 

Can grandparents gift the plan to their adult kids?

A better idea might be for the grandparents to gift the plan to their adult son or daughter (parent of the student) and let them, in turn, make the 529 contribution. However, making this switch in ownership of the 529 Plan is not permitted in all states, so you will want to explore your options.

 

Can grandparents continue to deduct the contribution?

If the 529 Plan is gifted to their adult kids, can grandparents continue to deduct the contribution?  In Ohio, you can, but again this rule changes by state so you will want to do your due diligence.

 

Let us know if we can help.  Our Lenox professionals are experts in education funding.

 

At Lenox, we work with families to help guide them in every aspect of their financial life –– from education funding, to generational planning and finances, to setting financial priorities, to eliminating debt, establishing budgets, career planning and coaching, retirement planning, and working through financial hurdles –– the entire realm of wealth creation, wealth building, and wealth management.  In every instance, we start with you, not your portfolio to help you FUND A LIFE YOU LOVE™.

 

If you’re ready to discuss financial, business, career and life planning that will allow you to Fund a Life You Love®, we’d love to tell you more.  Let’s talk.  It’s your tomorrow. Call us for a complimentary 1-hour review.  Call 513.618.7080 or visit www.lenoxwealth.com to Fund a Life You Love.

 

Past Performance is not indicative of future results.

 

This blog is limited to the dissemination of general information pertaining to its investment advisory/management services. This is not intended to be personalized investment advice. Please contact a Lenox adviser if you would like additional information.

What’s your plan for your digital assets?

What’s your plan for your digital assets?

What’s your plan for your digital assets?

Yes, They Are Part of Your Estate Plan.

What exactly do you have stored on your computer?  Tax and financial records?  Online banking access?  Health information?  Business contracts?  Insurance policies?  Usernames and passwords?  Family history?  Social media accounts?  Hundreds if not thousands of photos?  Business correspondence?  Personal and business contact lists?  Etsy or eBay pages?  How about your favorite Pinterest boards, valuable web domains, or the details surrounding that new business idea you’ve been nurturing?

 

Most of us have become so accustomed to using our computer, tablet or smartphone that we forget how much information (valuable, personal, private) is actually stored on these digital devices. 

 

DIGITAL ASSETS AND YOUR ESTATE PLAN

Try to picture how many metal file cabinets it would take to hold all of the data you carry around with you each day!  Why?  Because your digital files, like your other tangible personal property, will be considered part of your estate and will need to be bequeathed to someone after your death or if you become incapacitated and are unable to manage your own affairs.  It may not be metal files of manila folders you pass on, but it’s still your information.

 

THE QUESTION YOU NEED TO ANSWER

Who do you trust and designate to have access to all of your digital assets when you are no longer on this earth?  It’s a critical question to address and one that has legal ramifications. 

 

Simply put, giving someone a username and password does not give them legal authority to access your digital files.  Even if one spouse provides login information to another or to a close family member, this is not considered legal authorization for digital access. Instead, it can be considered hacking for anyone to knowingly access a computer or account without legal authorization.  There are written statutes that cover this matter.  Also, laws and punishment can vary by state.

 

WHAT SHOULD YOU BE DOING?

Whatever your age, it’s a good idea to contact an attorney for legal clarification about ownership of your digital assets and for guidance in appointing a guardian or custodian of such assets as part of your will. You should also contact your financial advisor to discuss digital estate planning and steps you can take now to get your digital life in order and to help keep it that way, including: developing an inventory of accounts, usernames and passwords; cleaning out old files and deleting unnecessary or dated information; ensuring the security of private data, and more.  

 

 

LET US HELP

Want to know more about this subject, call or email us at info@lenoxwealth.com.  Let us help you take control of your digital assets as part of your overall financial future.  It’s one more way we help you look at all parts of your life to FUND A LIFE YOU LOVE®.

 

 

At Lenox, we work with families to help guide them in every aspect of their financial life –– from generational planning and finances, to setting financial priorities, to eliminating debt, establishing budgets, career planning and coaching, funding education, retirement planning, and working through financial hurdles –– the entire realm of wealth creation, wealth building, and wealth management.  In every instance, we start with you, not your portfolio to help you FUND A LIFE YOU LOVE™.

 

If you’re ready to discuss financial, business, career and life planning that will allow you to Fund a Life You Love®, we’d love to tell you more.  Let’s talk.  It’s your tomorrow. Call us for a complimentary 1-hour review.  Call 513.618.7080 or visit www.lenoxwealth.com to Fund a Life You Love.

 

Past Performance is not indicative of future results.

 

This blog is limited to the dissemination of general information pertaining to its investment advisory/management services. This is not intended to be personalized investment advice. Please contact a Lenox adviser if you would like additional information.

 

 

 

Back-to-School Finances for Your Kids

Back-to-School Finances for Your Kids

As the school year begins so do the tuition bills, costs of room and board, fees, dues, and endless other expenses. Read the 7 realities of back-to-school finances all parents and students should understand.

Setting Financial Priorities When Everything Is Important

Setting Financial Priorities When Everything Is Important

Setting Financial Priorities When Everything Is Important

Where to start and why.

 

Let’s say you’re in your 20s or 30s, and you’re trying to figure out what you should be saving for first, why, and how you’re going to do it.  If you’re like most people your age, you’re looking at a combination of paying off student loans, saving for retirement, wanting to buy your first home or a larger one, possibly going back to school for another degree, moving and changing careers, or simply having fun. Throw kids into the mix and you need to save for their education, plus cover the overall costs of having a family.

 

With all of this on your financial plate, it’s easy to throw up your arms and to not want to think about any of it.  That’s the worst thing you can do.  Instead, realize life is a balancing act.  Then, sit down and set your financial priorities.  You can do it.  Our step-by-step guide below can help you get started.  Most important for you to remember is that you have an enormous advantage at this stage of life your age!  Even the smallest of actions you take now, then gradually increase and maintain over time can pay off royally for you.

 

A simple guide for where to start when it comes to setting financial priorities.

 

1.     List the expenses you will need (or will want) to cover over a lifetime.

Start with those we share above and then add others that matter to you personally, such as travel, starting your own business, helping family members financially, making charitable donations, etc.  You need a plan.  Putting it in writing helps to make it real.

 

2.     Make getting rid of debt your first priority.

Whether it’s credit card debt, student loans, or loans from family or friends hanging over your head, do your best to get rid of it at this stage of life.  Making monthly debt payments for years on end not only hinders your ability to save for anything else, but can prevent you from getting ahead financially in any number of ways.  For instance, debt load can affect your credit rating, make it harder to get a loan for necessities, and limit your capacity to save or invest.  Some people push debt so far down the road that they are still paying it off in their boomer years which, in turn, affects their ability to retire. NOTE:  While paying off debt, you’ll need to discipline yourself to live within your means and not incur additional debt.

 

3.     Next, build an emergency fund.

Because you never know when you might lose your job, get sick or hurt, or suddenly need money for things you can’t begin to imagine right now, you need to put money aside in an emergency fund.  The goal should be to build a fund of three to six months’ worth of living expenses.  And, make the fund strictly off limits for anything but an emergency.

 

4.     Begin saving for retirement.

It’s hard to think 30 to 40 years ahead, especially when there are so many things you’d love to spend money on today and tomorrow.  However, in your 20s and 30s is when you have time on your side.  If you don’t know about the compounding of money –- also known as the time/value of money –– look it up and see for yourself how putting away a small percentage of your income now is one of the most painless ways to grow your retirement nest egg. 

 

Experts recommend saving at least 15% of your income for retirement.  To help you meet that goal, take advantage of your employer’s 401(k) match or contribution.  For example, if your company contributes 4%, you only need to save 11% on your own.  Also, look beyond a bank savings account for savings vehicles that pay higher interest rates.

 

5.     Make a wise home purchase.

There’s a saying that “you make money when you buy a house, not when you sell it.”  In other words, use your head not your heart when purchasing a home.  For instance, buy in locations where you will be most likely able to sell your home with ease, be it on your timing or unexpectedly.  If you’re the handy type, buy a fixer-upper and reap the benefits at the front end by not paying for outside services and at the back end by enjoying a greater profit.

 

If you have children, consider buying where a good education can be found in public schools or via affordable private school options.  One young couple paid more than they had planned for their home, but with the public-school system so strong where they purchased, they will save more than $500,000 over the course of K-12 for their three children versus paying tuition at private schools.

 

6.     Start a college-savings plan for your kids.

With your debt payoff plan in place, emergency fund established, and retirement savings launched, it’s time to put money aside for college.  Maybe you’ve already started a college savings plan and, if so, kudos to you. If not, soaring college costs can appear overwhelming, so don’t hesitate to contact a financial advisor to discuss your best options.  One idea to discuss is having a 529 Plan, and the appeal the Plans have for grandparents as a means to contribute to their grandkids’ education and enjoy tax benefits, as well.

 

Look at setting financial priorities not as a burden, but as a path to financial peace of mind.  Then, get started.  It’s easier than you think.  And, the more you follow your plan, the easier it becomes to keep following it.  Discipline becomes a habit.  Success builds success.

 

 

At Lenox, we enjoy and work closely with clients in their 20s and 30s, single or married, to help guide them in every aspect of their financial life –– from setting financial priorities, to eliminating debt, establishing budgets, career planning and coaching, funding education, retirement planning, and working through financial hurdles –– the entire realm of wealth creation, wealth building, and wealth management.  In every instance, we start with you, not your portfolio to help you FUND A LIFE YOU LOVE™.

 

If you’re ready to discuss financial, business, career and life planning that will allow you to Fund a Life You Love®, we’d love to tell you more.  Let’s talk.  It’s your tomorrow. Call us for a complimentary 1-hour review.  Call 513.618.7080 or visit www.lenoxwealth.com to Fund a Life You Love.

 

Past Performance is not indicative of future results.

 

This blog is limited to the dissemination of general information pertaining to its investment advisory/management services. This is not intended to be personalized investment advice. Please contact a Lenox adviser if you would like additional information.

How do you think and feel about money?

How do you think and feel about money?

The Money Mind® Analyzer is a remarkable tool that will open your eyes not only to your own money attitudes but to those of your spouse, other family members, or business partner(s).

7 No-Excuse Budgeting Tips

7 No-Excuse Budgeting Tips

7 No-Excuse Budgeting Tips

Take charge of your money once and for all.

 

Budgeting is never easy.  However, it is absolutely necessary in order to take charge of your finances.  If you’ve been putting off budgeting, stop the excuses and start now.  You deserve the financial security, comfort and peace of mind that come with being in control of your money. Here are 7 real-world tips.

 

1.     Put it on paper.

Write down ALL of your monthly “musts” (these are your needs –– rent, mortgage, utilities, auto expenses, insurance, fees, savings, etc.)  Then, write down your list of “maybes” (these are your wants –- new clothes, dinners out, travel, decorating, etc.)  Religiously set aside money for your musts.  Any monies left over can go toward your maybes, BUT only after all musts are covered.

 

2.    Find a budgeting system that works for you.

Some people will keep an online or printed list of their “musts” and “maybes”.  Others will go so far as to hang their lists on their kitchen or home office wall.  We know of one person who color codes her stack of bills each month with post-it notes, saving pink post-it’s (her favorite color) for her stack of maybes.  Use whatever system you want –– if it works for you, it works!

 

3.    Focus on happiness (be a glass half-full, not half-empty, kind of person)

Everyone lets the tough parts of life get to them, but the harder you work to maintain a positive attitude about whatever crosses your path, the less likely you’ll be to sabotage your budgeting by using “retail therapy” to get over the blues.

 

4.    Make a plan for the future. 

At Lenox, we have our clients do a quick exercise called “Future Focus”.  We ask you to look ahead and write down how you want your life to be in three years.  Then, we help you set a plan and work backward to get to where you want to be.  The trick here is set the plan.  Without a plan, you never have a map for your future, the motivation to build your skills and career in the right direction, or the subconscious reminders that encourage savings and discourage unnecessary spending.

 

5.    Change your mindset as to where you find fulfillment.

It can be a pivotal moment in life when you realize that buying and owning a lot of stuff doesn’t always feel as fulfilling as you had hoped.  Yes, it can be fun in the short-term to shop, buy and accumulate, but if in the long-term it derails your budget and puts you in serious debt, the initial rush of happiness will fade to lingering guilt and angst.  Look for other ways to find fulfillment.  Think fitness, volunteering, conquering a new hobby, improving your cooking skills, building something from scratch, starting your own business, you name it.

 

6.    Unsubscribe from retailer emails.

The sales and deals are amazing, right?  If you don’t buy it now, you’ll never get it again at that price.  Plus, you get free shipping and free returns, so why not order it.  Before you submit your order, STOP!  Retailers do an excellent job of enticing us to buy things we don’t need.  Don’t let them undo your budget.  You’re smarter and stronger than that. Put items in online “shopping carts” but wait 24 hours before you make a purchase.  You may forget you even had things in your cart (proof they weren’t all that important).  Try NOT purchasing anything after dinnertime.  A glass or two of wine and your common sense and self-control dissipate.  Or just flat out unsubscribe –- no temptation, no damage done.

 

7.    Learn to say “no”.

You don’t need to just work and not do anything else, but be selective in how you spend your discretionary monies.  If your budget won’t support traveling to the remote island for the bachelor party, say thanks but “no”.  If your friend constantly gives you pricey gifts and you can’t reciprocate without bashing your budget, suggest the two of you have a nice dinner instead.  If your best buddies are constantly going on weekend getaways, pick one or two trips you can afford, but don’t get pressured into spending money you don’t have just to fit in.  Real friends will understand.

 

At Lenox, we work closely with people of all ages to help guide you in every aspect of your financial life –– from budgeting and savings, to career planning and coaching, to paying off debt, funds for education, wealth creation, wealth building and wealth management.  Looking at the big picture is one more way we help you FUND A LIFE YOU LOVE™.

If you’re ready to discuss financial, business, career and life planning that will allow you to Fund a Life You Love®, we’d love to tell you more.  Let’s talk.  It’s your tomorrow. Call us for a complimentary 1-hour review.  Call 513.618.7080 or visit www.lenoxwealth.com to Fund a Life You Love.

 

Past Performance is not indicative of future results.

This blog is limited to the dissemination of general information pertaining to its investment advisory/management services. This is not intended to be personalized investment advice. Please contact a Lenox adviser if you would like additional information.

Where do you begin to plan for retirement?

Where do you begin to plan for retirement?

Where do you begin to plan for retirement?

Our 13-point “Retirement Checklist” is a great place to start

 

Retirement isn’t as easy as cleaning out your office, shutting the door and heading off to relax on a beach somewhere.  It takes planning.  Truth be told, retirement planning is as important if not more so than career planning, because you don’t want to waste a minute of your retirement years.  There’s little time for “do overs”, so it’s critical to think ahead, plan ahead and to be prepared as best you can to have the time of your life in retirement.

If you’re like most people, you’ve been putting money away for retirement, but there’s more to retirement planning than reaching a certain number in your 401k or other savings account.  What do you want to do with your free time and what is the associated cost?  Have you determined a retirement budget, and where will money come from for day-to-day expenses?  Do you plan to seek part-time employment?  How will such income be taxed?  Are you set with health insurance and Medicare supplemental coverage?  When should you start claiming social security?  The list of things to think about is long and important but, not to worry, very doable.

We offer the “Retirement Checklist” as a great starting point for your retirement planning –– one more way we help you Fund a Life You Love™. Click here or on the image to the right to download.

At Lenox, we assist our clients in all aspects of their financial life –- career years through retirement years –– not just in managing their portfolio.  Have a question?  Need some specific guidance or information?  Please let us know. It would be our pleasure to help you Fund A Life You Love™.

If you’re ready to discuss financial planning that will allow you to Fund a Life You Love®, we’d love to tell you more.  Let’s talk.  It’s your tomorrow.

Call us for a complimentary 1 hour review.  Call 513.618.7080 or contact us here to Fund a Life You Love.

 

Past Performance is not indicative of future results.

 

This blog is limited to the dissemination of general information pertaining to its investment advisory/management services. This is not intended to be personalized investment advice. Please contact a Lenox adviser if you would like additional information.

How long do you need to keep tax and business records?

How long do you need to keep tax and business records?

How long do you need to keep tax and business records?

Some tips to save yourself some headaches.

The boxes are piling up, filled with paperwork ­­from the last umpteen years –– tax returns, bank statements, canceled checks, bank deposit slips, investment statements, contracts and agreements, sales receipts for major purchases, insurance policies, real estate records, property tax statements, mortgage agreements, medical records, and on and on.    

Even if you’ve gone electronic, you likely still have hard copy files from the past that you would be delighted to get rid of once and for all.  BUT, do you dare?  What if you or someone else needs proof of this or a copy of that, and you’ve pitched the paperwork?  What then? 

We offer the following guidance and checklist as to what records to save and for how long.

Rule #1:          

Follow IRS rules to the letter.  If you are self-employed or are a small business owner, go to https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/how-long-should-i-keep-records and save their single-page summary entitled “How long should I keep records?”

Rule #2:          

Ask your accountant or financial advisor to provide you a comprehensive list of what personal and business-related records to save and for how long. 

At Lenox, we assist our clients in all parts of their financial life, not just in managing their portfolio.   Have a question?  Need some specific information?  Please let us know.  Knowledge is one more way we can help you FUND A LIFE YOU LOVE.

If you’re ready to discuss financial planning that will allow you to Fund a Life You Love®, we’d love to tell you more.  Let’s talk.  It’s your tomorrow.

Call us for a complimentary 1 hour review.  Call 513.618.7080 or contact us here to Fund a Life You Love.

 

Past Performance is not indicative of future results.

This blog is limited to the dissemination of general information pertaining to its investment advisory/management services. This is not intended to be personalized investment advice. Please contact a Lenox adviser if you would like additional information.

What’s New About 529 Plans?

What’s New About 529 Plans?

What’s New About 529 Plans?

The new twist to these education savings plans, thanks to the 2017 tax legislation.

Designed to help parents and grandparents save for their children’s or grandchildren’s college or post-secondary education expenses with tax advantages, 529 Plans now have a new twist.

Previously, expenses covered under the plan included tuition, room and board, computer software or any other equipment needed for the student. Withdrawals used for these expenses were and still are tax free.

So, what’s the new twist?

Parents and grandparents now can use the savings from a 529 account also to pay for tuition at a K-12 private or religious school.  That can be of great advantage to many families. 

HOWEVER, there is an important watch out –– withdrawals for students who are of pre-college-age are limited to $10,000 per year per student.

The risk, as such, is that families may deplete their 529 Plan(s) by the time the student goes off to college.

It is critical that parents and grandparents think ahead and closely monitor the amount in each 529 Plan to pace withdrawals in such manner that necessary funds will be available for as many years as needed.  And if not, the time to figure out another way to help cover education expenses is before those monies are needed.

Let us know if we can help.  Our Lenox professionals are experts in education funding.

If you’re ready to discuss financial planning that will allow you to Fund a Life You Love®, we’d love to tell you more.  Let’s talk.  It’s your tomorrow.

Call us for a complimentary 1 hour review.  Call 513.618.7080 or contact us here to Fund a Life You Love.

 

 

Past Performance is not indicative of future results.

This blog is limited to the dissemination of general information pertaining to its investment advisory/management services. This is not intended to be personalized investment advice. Please contact a Lenox adviser if you would like additional information.

Facts presented have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable.  However, Lenox cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of such information.  Lenox does not provide tax or legal advice, and nothing contained herein should be taken as legal or accounting advice.  Individuals should seek such advice based on their own particular circumstances from a qualified tax or legal adviser

10-Year Financial Planning Roadmap for Couples

10-Year Financial Planning Roadmap for Couples

Marriage is a wonderful thing for millions of couples, but that doesn’t mean it comes without stress, including financial stress.  Learn more about wealth management strategies for couples.