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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.

Free agents in the corporate world

Free agents in the corporate world

Free agents in the corporate world

The growing opportunities of our “gig” economy

You’re not part of a rock band playing a one-night gig or an artist working in residence for a few months.  You’re a career professional working in a major corporation.  You’ve put in your time to get where you are.  So, what’s with the growing number of consultants, contract workers and freelancers you see working alongside you?  Is this a shift that has some permanency and if so, is it a good thing or a bad thing?  More importantly, what might it mean to your career and financial planning long term?

 

WHAT’S GOING ON?

Some say it’s all part of America’s gig economy, an outgrowth of nearly a decade ago when jobs were scarce and people became comfortable hopping from one role to the next to survive.  “That was then, this is now,” says John Lame, Lenox CEO, who believes “free agents signal the Uberization of the professional workforce, and that as many as one-third of employees in large companies will eventually participate.” 

 

WHY NOW?

There are a number of theories around the popularity of “free agents” in the corporate world. Here are just a few.

1.     More job openings than people to fill them.

Some employers are scrambling to fill positions and are defaulting to contract, part-time workers and retirees to get the job done.  According to the WSJ, “Jobs Go Unfilled as the Economy Expands”, August 8, 2018... “Job openings are piling up in the transportation, retail and business services sectors as workers become scarce in the fast-growing economy.  According to Labor Department data released yesterday, there were 6.7 million job openings on average in the three months ended in June 2018––the highest quarterly level on record dating back to 2001.”

 

2.     No time to find, interview, vet and hire a full-time employee.

If a business is already slammed with orders and work is piling up, they need to find someone with the skills they need now!  It makes sense they would bring in people on a project basis to get the work done until they can find the full-time worker they seek.

 

3.     Free agents can be less expensive than a full-time employee.

While consultants may command a higher fee per hour, they are available without the overhead, benefits, healthcare costs, etc. of a full-time employee, making them a financially-sound choice for project-based assignments

 

4.     Your company is undergoing change and hiring full-timers is too big of a commitment. 

In most cases, free agents are a short-term hire making them easier to get rid of than full-time workers.  Their higher cost per hour is balanced by a company’s ability to let them go on short notice without a severance or hard feelings.  The temporary relationship is understood by all parties.

 

5.     Free agents can add a fresh perspective and broader insights.   

It can be a good thing to get some new thinking and a different set of eyes on one’s business. Free agents have the benefit of exposure to a variety of companies and best practices.  It might be interesting to see what they bring to the table.

 

HOW DO YOU SEE IT?

Where do you stand on the matter of free agents in the corporate world?  Do you see yourself a forever full-time corporate employee, or are there aspects of being a free agent that might well suit your skill sets, your personality, your family and financial life, your income aspirations and your ability to build personal wealth?  Are you willing to rethink how your career might shake out over a lifetime doing what you love but as a free agent?  Change is rarely easy, but the idea of being a free agent can prove to be both personally and financially rewarding.

 

“Too often we get lulled to sleep and believe we have to have one employer, never recognizing    when we can make more money, have more flexibility on time, do more interesting and unique work, and increase our personal growth rate by choosing to be a ‘free agent’,” notes John Lame.

 

Want to know more on this subject, call or email us at info@lenoxwealth.com.  We’d love to help you look at your specific opportunities.

 

 

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.

It's okay to talk about money with your kids.

It's okay to talk about money with your kids.

It’s okay to talk about money with your kids.

The lifelong impact of dinner table dialogue.

Even when they don’t act like it, your kids are listening to and hearing what you have to say about money –– everything from chatter over household expenses and bills to pay, to telling a store clerk that a certain item is beyond your budget, to your fretting over a pending tuition payment. 

 

You might remember hearing your own parents talk about the family budget, or saving for a vacation, or how much they could spend on a new car, new furniture, new clothes, school supplies, and why you “didn’t need that” whatever “that” might be. 

 

The dinner table was a traditional forum for such discussions.  Who doesn’t remember hearing a parent say, “when I was your age, we had to work all summer for our fun money... we waited until our birthday or Christmas for new toys... we wore our older siblings’ hand-me-down clothes...” and on and on. 

 

The fact that so many of us can recall these money talks, often in great detail, means they made an impact.  It was a great teaching opportunity for parents and learning opportunity for kids.  These opportunities still hold true today.  Talking about money with your kids is still time well spent.

 

Here are some tips for engaging your kids or grandkids in talking about money and building the next generation of dinner table dialogue and memories.

 

MAKE IT RELEVANT

Whether the kids are begging for a jungle gym for the yard, a day at an amusement park, or a ski weekend, include them in the conversation about how to prioritize their wants versus the family’s needs. Discuss with them the costs of their wants, and the sacrifices that may be needed to purchase what they feel is important.  Today’s tech-savvy kids can go online to research and compare the cost of items, experiences and trips.  Older kids can create a spreadsheet and provide a cost-comparison report for the family to review.  

 

MAKE IT FUN

Want to talk to your kids about saving, spending, donating to charity, creating a budget and don’t know where to start?  There are books galore to help you.  With a quick visit to amazon.com, we found a bevy of titles for kids of all ages, toddlers to teens, with fun illustrations, puzzles and money-oriented games for the whole family. If you prefer online teaching, check out sites such as www.parents.com or www.daveramsey.com for kid-focused lessons about money. Whether a book or website, make the learning experience a family affair to give it more meaning and impact. 

 

MAKE IT REWARDING

Getting kids to understand that money needs to be earned before it can be spent, and that earning requires doing some type of work in exchange for the money can be one of the tougher lessons to teach.  Some families have great luck in making a list of weekly chores for each child and assigning an amount of money for the completion of each task –– all of which adds up to a performance-based allowance, if you will. 

 

The goal is to include children of all ages, assign age-appropriate tasks, and check off a job well done.  For example, even a two or three-year-old can take their non-breakable drinking cup and plate from the table to the sink, put their shoes in the closet and dirty clothes in a hamper.  Older kids can take out the trash, make their bed, load the dishwasher, help with yardwork, etc.  In exchange for performing their chores, they receive the total amount of money they’ve earned for the week.  (NOTE:  Chores not completed are not compensated.  Stick to your guns on this one.)

 

MAKE IT ASPIRATIONAL

One family we’ve met has a bucket list generated by their sons, ages four and six.  Never too young to dream.  What’s on the boys’ bucket list?  A trip to Disney World.  A trip to the National Air & Space Museum.  A big house with a swimming pool.  A trip to the moon.  And helping the less fortunate families in their city.  Nothing wrong with those aspirations.

 

Have favorite tips or resources of your own for teaching kids about money?  We’d love to hear them. Want to know more about family budgeting, generational wealth building, and personal financial planning, give us a call at 513-618-7080.  We’d love to help you FUND A LIFE YOU LOVE® today and for generations to come.

 

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.

Will you have enough money to retire?

Will you have enough money to retire?

Our 5-step guide will help you determine “your enough”.

What’s “enough”?  You can’t know if you’ll have enough money to retire until you define your enough –– the amount of money you personally will need annually to live the way you hope to in retirement.

Long-held thinking has been 70%-80% of your final, pre-retirement annual gross salary would be a reasonable amount to qualify as “enough”.  The problem with this thinking is that it’s not necessarily panning out for today’s retirees, especially considering the number of retirees who are active, involved and who may have a retirement that lasts 20 to 25 years or longer.  Conventional wisdom is that people tend to slow down in retirement and as a result don’t spend or need as much money as during their working years.  Today’s retirees don’t necessarily fit that profile. Many are busier than ever. They’re traveling, shopping, dining out, renovating their home, taking up hobbies, going to concerts and events, working out, visiting family and friends, taking classes –– all things that cost money.

The point is this: there’s no one formula (percentage) that works for all retirees.  Believing that “your enough” is like everyone else’s is a mistake that may lead to a lot of disappointment in your later years.   

A better approach to determining “your enough” is to take out a pencil and paper and start now wherever you are on your road to retirement to assign real costs to the things you imagine wanting to do, buy, own, see, experience and enjoy in your non-working years.  Planning your retirement around well-considered personal projections beats relying on a arguably dated percentage.

At Lenox, we advise you follow a simple, 5-step guide to help determine how much money will be “enough” for you personally to retire in the manner you desire.  It’s based on a number of variables and financial projections pertinent to you individually.

GET STARTED HERE (A Brief Look at Our Guide)

Make five lists, following the steps below.  Be as complete as possible in making your lists.  Next, assign honest numbers to each item on your lists, projecting out as best you can into your retirement years.

Step One –– The Expected

List all of your basic expenses that will continue into retirement:  mortgage or rent, utilities, insurances, auto, groceries, medications, etc.  Assign costs to each.

Step Two –– The Unexpected

You’ll still need an emergency fund in retirement.  Think unexpected healthcare costs, accidents, home repairs, increases in insurances or fees, replacing major appliances, etc. when making this list.

Step Three –– The Family

Retirement means finally being able to dote on and spend more time with family.  Whether that translates to gifts, trips or both, you’ll want to plug in a number to cover these costs.

Step Four –– The Change of Habits

Having more free time can be both wonderful and expensive. In a nutshell, habits change in retirement that can cost more money than you might imagine.  Eating out more often than usual is one example.  Same for playing more golf, shopping more frequently, spending more on personal grooming, etc.  Retirement is the perfect time to enjoy one’s life, but remember there’s always an associated cost.

Step Five –– The “I’ve Always Wanted to...”

Call this your bucket list or dream list.  What are the things you’ve always wanted to do?  Travel the world?  Visit every state?  Traverse America’s back roads?  See museums and monuments?  Take cooking classes in Italy?  Create the media center of your dreams?  Take your grandkids to major league sporting events?  Build your dream home?  Collect art?  This list can be anything or everything.  List your top five priorities and estimated costs, then your next five and so on.

TIME TO TOTAL UP YOUR ESTIMATED RETIREMENT COST OF LIVING

If your total falls into the 70%-80% range of your final, annual gross salary, good for you.  However, don’t be surprised if your total doesn’t actually surpass your final salary. Not to worry.  The trick to having “enough” money to retire is to start now to get a clearer picture of how much money you will need to live the life you imagine in retirement.  Write it down.  Plan for it.  Make it happen.  We’d love to tell you more and work with you one-on-one to help you FUND A LIFE YOU LOVE® all lifelong.  Let’s talk.

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 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.

Why Work with a Fiduciary Financial Advisor?

Why Work with a Fiduciary Financial Advisor?

Why Work with a Fiduciary Financial Advisor?

The difference you need to know.

 

Financial advisors fall into two camps –– fiduciaries and non-fiduciaries.    It’s important to know the difference when choosing a financial advisor, whatever your age, income level or wealth.  Generally under current laws and regulations, a fiduciary is held to a more strict “fiduciary standard” versus the less strict “suitability standard” for non-fiduciaries. 

 

In a nutshell, fiduciary financial advisors are required by law to put their clients’ interests ahead of their own.  That may sound obvious, but it’s not necessarily the case.  By example, if an advisor favors or otherwise is influenced to engage his or her clients in investments that may benefit the interests and compensation of the advisor more so than the client... he or she may not be acting as a fiduciary.

 

What is a fiduciary?

 

A fiduciary is a person or legal entity (bank or brokerage firm) that has the power to act on behalf of another (client, beneficiary, principal) in situations requiring total trust, good faith and honesty.

 

The fiduciary standard means a fiduciary financial advisor must by law put client interests first and foremost.  The advisor cannot exploit his or her position of trust and confidence for personal gain at the expense of the client. Fiduciaries have a “duty to care”.  This means they are expected to continually monitor a client’s investments and financial situation and adhere to best practices of conduct for the duration of the advisor/client relationship.

 

According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, which regulates registered investment advisors as fiduciaries, the fiduciary duty also includes...*

  • Acting with undivided loyalty and utmost good faith

  • Providing full and fair disclosure of all material facts, defined as those which “a reasonable investor would consider to be important”

  • Not misleading clients

  • Disclosing all conflicts of interest to clients (such as when the advisor profits more if a client uses one investment instead of another)

  • Not using a client’s assets for the advisor’s own benefit or the benefit of other clients

 

What is a non-fiduciary?

 

By comparison, a non-fiduciary financial advisor is held only to the suitability standard, which does not require the advisor to recommend the best possible investments for the client’s goals.  A recommended investment needs only to be “suitable”, which means the advisor is allowed to choose investments that may or may not be totally appropriate for client goals and/or reward the advisor with fees or compensation that may differ by the investments chosen.

 

Should you expect every financial advisor to act as a fiduciary?

 

No, brokerage firms that are not acting as a registered investment adviser are subject to the suitability standard, not the fiduciary standard.  With the recent demise of the Department of Labor Fiduciary Rule this has become even more pronounced

 

Lenox –- Strictly financial fiduciaries

 

At Lenox, we faithfully serve as financial fiduciaries, seeking to make each financial decision in the best interest of the client.  We embrace the new CFP Board rules scheduled to go into effect in October, 2019, which mandate all holders of a CFP- Certified Financial Planner who engage in financial advice be held to a stricter fiduciary standard than previously demanded. Lenox has been living this higher standard since our inception, versus some brokerage firms that are resisting the change. **

 

If you have questions about working with a financial fiduciary advisor, give us a call.  We’re happy to share more details with you at any time.

 

*    US News-Money March 21, 2018

**  wealthmanagement.com  “Will Brokerages Comply with CFP Board’s New Fiduciary Standard?”  March 29, 2018

 

At Lenox, we work with clients to help guide them in every aspect of their financial life –– from setting financial priorities and optimizing income, to eliminating debt, establishing budgets, funding education, retirement planning, and working through financial hurdles –– the entire realm of wealth creation, wealth building, and wealth management.  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.

Your Assets Are Not A Dollar Sign

Your Assets Are Not A Dollar Sign

Your Assets Are Not A Dollar Sign

They are your inherent gifts and strengths.  Here’s why.

 

Each of us is born with a potential Unique Ability that has four characteristics: First, it is a superior ability that other people notice and value; second, we love doing it and want to do it as much as possible; third, it is energizing both for us and others around us; and fourth, we keep getting better, never running out of possibilities for further improvement.
— Unique Ability® Creating the Life You Want, by Catherine Nomura and Julia Waller with Shannon Waller, based on a concept by Dan Sullivan.

We begin with this excerpt because it captures what we at Lenox believe can drive both the greatest wealth and happiness for people of all ages and income levels.  Simply put, a person’s greatest assets are not a dollar sign or their net worth but, instead, their inherent gifts and strengths. 

 

Money will come and go.  Careers can flourish or fail.  Luck may be on your side one day and not the next.  Most sustainable in life are the natural talents people are born with, what they’re really good at, what they like doing most, and what makes them happiest.  The challenge for most people is to be willing to recognize their inherent gifts and strengths and to let them guide their life.

 

Think about it.  Based on the four Unique Ability characteristics noted above, you probably already know your own Unique Ability.  What if your life could be built around developing it, excelling at it, making a living from it (perhaps beyond your wildest dreams), and at the same time loving what you do each and every day?

 

Unfortunately, because people can be so deeply focused on building wealth, reaching titles and financial benchmarks others have for them, they forego their Unique Ability and assume a role or career they’re “supposed” to do –– one that is true neither to their heart nor their inherent strengths.  Too often, people are conditioned from an early age whether by family, society or culture to fit in and follow others’ expectations rather than pursue their own aspirations.

 

At Lenox, we believe you can have it all. The Lenox Mindset is to grow, preserve and manage wealth in today's world starting with your strongest asset... you.  We help you discover your strengths and how you can put them to work to create and build wealth.  We know that wealth and happiness are simultaneously attainable. 

 

We’d love to tell you more about how we help to translate your personal strengths into financial strength.  It’s what we mean by FUND A LIFE YOU LOVE®. Give us a call or email us to schedule a personal, no-commitment consultation.

Someone’s growth to wealth creation is based on… did you identify your gifts? ... did you identify who should receive your gifts? ... and are you getting paid fairly for your gifts? We get this right; we can change anyone’s life
— John Lame, CEO Lenox

At Lenox, we work with clients to help guide them through every aspect of their financial life –– translating personal strengths to financial strength, setting financial priorities, optimizing income, eliminating debt, funding education, retirement planning, and working through financial hurdles –– the entire realm of wealth creation, wealth building, and wealth management.  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.

Snowbird Alert - Thinking About Retiring to Florida?

Snowbird Alert - Thinking About Retiring to Florida?

Snowbird Alert

Thinking about retiring to Florida?  Now may be the right time.

 

With many Cincinnati-based companies trading at 5-year lows, now could be a good time to look at Florida residency.  Here’s why...

It used to be that many corporate executives would work for 30 years in Cincinnati, retire to Florida, and in doing so, be able to avoid paying the dreaded Ohio state tax on their retirement plans and stock options. It was a huge planning opportunity, which could often save them several hundred thousand dollars in state taxes.

About 10 years ago, Ohio decided to rewrite the rules. They argued that if you earned your stock option in Ohio, then you should pay Ohio tax on the option. They then would calculate the Ohio tax due as the difference between the grant price of the stock option and the fair market value on the day you left Ohio.

So as an example, let’s say John Doe worked for P&G in Cincinnati for 30 years and then moved to Florida on January 1, 2018. Based on the stock price when he left, he would have “locked in” a stock price of $92. This means his next set of options due February 2019 would have Ohio tax due based on the difference of his $48 grant price and $92 (the price when he left Ohio), or $44.

Since January, P&G’s stock price has dropped to the low 70’s. Meaning if John Doe had decided to wait and move at the end of May, he could have locked in a price around $74. So, the state tax due on that same 2019 option would be the difference of his $48 grant price and $74, or $18.

In this case, the difference between January 1 and May 31 would save John Doe $26 in taxable income or almost $1.30 per each share in state taxes. Assuming he has a grant of 15,000 shares, this saves him almost $20,000 – just for this stock option! Imagine the impact it could have over his other 150,000 option shares…

So, if you have employer stock options and are seriously looking at retiring in Florida, you should run the numbers and see if this could make sense for you. Lenox is always happy to take a look and provide a second opinion.

 

At Lenox, we work closely with people of all ages to help guide you in every aspect of your financial life –– from wealth creation, wealth building and wealth management, to career planning and coaching, funds for education, retirement planning, working through financial hurdles, and more.  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.

Women & Money | 5 Inherent Habits to Celebrate

Women & Money | 5 Inherent Habits to Celebrate

At Lenox, we applaud women and their financial thought processes.  We encourage women to feel confident in what makes their thinking different than that of men, and to appreciate and continue to practice the highly commendable money habits that make their opinion so valuable.

Happy, Safe "Home Sweet Home" As We Age

Happy, Safe "Home Sweet Home" As We Age

Happy, Safe “Home Sweet Home” As We Age

Check out these smart ways to age in place.

 

Is this you?  Your aging parent(s) want to remain in the house where they’ve lived for many years and where they are comfortable with memories, friends and neighbors.  No moving to a senior facility for them!  You want to be supportive but are worried they might fall, forget to take their medicines, not eat properly, try to do chores beyond their ability, and on and on.

According to “The United States of Aging Survey” (AARP June, 2012), approximately 90% of seniors (age 60+) plan to continue living in their current homes for the next five to 10 years of their life.  Of these individuals, 85% are confident in their ability to do so without making significant modifications to their homes.

However, that confidence dwindles as people get into their 70s and beyond.  According to the same survey, “although 65% of seniors between the ages of 60 and 70 find it very easy to live independently, among those aged 70 and older, only 43% find it very easy.  Nearly two in 10 Americans aged 70 and older say either they can’t live independently and accomplish daily tasks without assistance from caregivers or community resources or find it difficult to do so.” 

The truth is, aging in place can be enormously healthy mentally, physically and psychologically for many older adults.  Sometimes, all it takes is making a few modifications to their living spaces to help keep seniors independent, safe and secure in their own home. 

Here’s are some of the many ideas, tools, technologies and products specifically for older adults to help them age in place.

 

In the Kitchen

  • Replace kitchen rugs with non-slip versions

  • Replace cloth potholders with non-flammable ones

  • Install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and change out batteries every year on a birthday

  • Install a fire extinguisher and role play how to use it should it be needed

  • Swap out heavy glass bowls for lighter weight, unbreakable plastic versions

  • Get a rubber grip opener to make it easier to open jars and bottles. Visit www.vivehealth.com to read “7 Best Jar Openers for Arthritis”, March 12, 2018

  • Move frequently-used items to lower shelves for easy, day-to-day access

  • Purchase a solid, rubber-footed step stool to reach higher areas and climb only to the first step. Ask for help to reach the highest items.

  • For stovetop cooking, set a countertop or other type of alarm for each time you’ll need to tend to the pan or skillet again. Do not leave the kitchen without doing so. It can be easy to get distracted and forget you left something on the stove.

 

In the Bathroom

  • Use only bath rugs that have a non-skid backing

  • Add non-skid mats or tape to the tub or shower floor

  • Install sturdy grab bars where needed in the bathroom

  • Install an anti-scald device to your tub and shower faucet to prevent hot water burns

 

All Living Spaces

  • Repair any loose carpet, tile, or raised areas of flooring

  • Replace raised door thresholds with no-step, no-trip, beveled thresholds

  • Keep clutter to a minimum and definitely away from traffic patterns

  • Install light switches at the top and bottom of stairways, at the entry and exit of rooms and porches, inside the garage, and along outdoor walkways

  • Get rid of electrical cords that can be a trip hazard. Try cordless lamps instead.

  • Keep several flashlights throughout the house –– in the kitchen, bedside, in the bathroom, in the garage, on a porch, in the car, in the basement, and even a small flashlight for your purse, pocket or keychain. You’ll want easy access to light should there be a sudden loss of electricity.

  • Install railings along outdoor steps and walkways

 

Medications

  • Faithfully use a pill reminder box/pack (versions can be found at discount stores and drugstores)

  • Look into MedMinder –– a subscriber plan. This digital pill dispenser flashes or unlocks at the time preprogrammed by a family member or caregiver. The box beeps and if it’s not accessed, the voice of a family member or caregiver issues a reminder. If still no response, the senior gets a call and their contact person also is notified.

  • CareZone is a no-cost phone app that buzzes when it’s time to take medications, leave for appointments, refill prescriptions. CareZone also stores your complete list of medications via a photo you take of all prescription bottles.

  • Reminder Rosie is a talking clock that lets your record up to 25 reminders at a time in the voice of a family member or caregiver.

 

Personal Emergency Response Systems

  • Choose a monitoring company, such as MobileHelp, Great Call, First Alert and others. Look into systems that work both at home and wherever the older adult may be.

  • Look into systems that alert you as to the activity level of the senior. BeClose and Lively are two options that will alert you to any unusual activity in the home –– such as if your loved one is wandering or leaving the house unexpectedly, or if lights have not been turned on by a certain time in the morning.

 

At Lenox, as part of our Wealth Impact services, we work closely with seniors and with families to help make the later years of life as enjoyable, happy and easy as possible.  If we can help you or your loved ones, just ask us about our EMBRACE program.  We have a Certified Senior Advisor® (CSA®) on our staff who will be happy to share more.

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.

 

Wealth Impact

Wealth Impact

Wealth Impact

Like you, we know that success is measured not just through a financial lens, but also in one’s personal happiness. How do you define happiness? Is it the money you make or the joy it can create, whether for you, your family, your business, or community? For most people, it’s the sum of all of these. It’s realizing your purpose and values and “living” them. We can help you do that.

The opportunity to share one’s wealth is often described as the most meaningful of moments in life. We have experience in helping to make your wealth work for you and the world around you. Trust us to thoroughly assess organizations, causes and institutions that interest you, and assure that your charitable gifting is facilitated professionally, accurately and to the advantage of all concerned.

We believe in community and giving back, knowing that this is just one way to make the world a better place for all of us.

Visit our 'Lenox Gives Back' page to see the non-profits we have supported over the years.

 

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 or a quick 15-minute conversation to see how we can help.  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.

Save Money by Shopping Strategically

Save Money by Shopping Strategically

Save Money by Shopping Strategically

 

Patience is not only a virtue; it can save you a lot of money when it comes to shopping.  Smart shoppers know that waiting pays off, especially when making major purchases.  That’s because many items are deeply discounted at certain times of the year.  Plan accordingly and the savings are yours to enjoy.

Here’s our list of traditional times to get the best deals, but be sure to check for specials year-round. And, download one or more of today’s many shopping apps so that you can price compare in real-time.

 

Our 12-Month “Best Time to Buy” Guide

 

January          Bedding and Linens (“White Sale” events)

                        Winter Clothing

                        Winter Sports Gear

                        Exercise Equipment –- Treadmills, Elliptical Trainers

                        Furniture

                        Carpeting

                        TVs

                        Video Games

                        Motorcycles

                        Broadway Tickets

                       

February         Cell Phones

                        TVs and Home Theaters

                        Mattresses

                        Humidifiers

                        Winter Coats

                        Winter Sports Gear

                        Broadway Tickets

 

March             Digital Cameras

                        Exercise Equipment (Treadmills, Elliptical Trainers)

                        Boxed Chocolates

                        Golf Clubs

                        Luggage

                        Frozen Foods

 

April                Carpet

                        Desktop and Laptop Computers

                        Digital Cameras

                        Sneakers

                        Cruises

 

May                 Refrigerators

                        Mattresses

                        Office Furniture

                        Baby Gear (Strollers, High Chairs, etc.)

                        Interior and Exterior Paints

                        Wood Stains

                        Desktop and Laptop Computers

 

June                Dishware

                        Exercise Equipment (Treadmills, Elliptical Trainers)

                        Gym Memberships

                        Tools (Workshop, Yard)

                        Indoor Furniture

                        Summer Sports Gear

                        Camcorders

                       

July                 Furniture

                        Home Decor

                        Tools (Workshop, Yard)

                        Video Games

                        Summer Clothing

                        Decking

                        Camcorders

                        Interior and Exterior Paints

                        Wood Stains

 

 

August            Kids’ Clothing

                        Back-to-School Supplies (Backpacks, gear, etc.)

                        Bedding and Linens (“White Sale” events)

                        Storage

                        Snow Blowers

                        Outdoor Furniture

                        Air Conditioners

                        Dehumidifiers

                        Office Furniture

                        Office Supplies

                        Swimsuits

 

September     Appliances

                        Bicycles

                        Automobiles

                        Lawnmowers and Tractors

                        Snow Blowers

                        Office Supplies

                        Printers

                        Wine

                        Desktop and Laptop Computers

                        Interior and Exterior Paint

                        Digital Cameras

                        Broadway Tickets

                        Holiday Airfare

 

October          Appliances

                        Jeans

                        Patio Furniture

                        Lawnmowers and Tractors

                        Gas Grills

                        Desktop Computers

                        Digital Cameras

                        Broadway Tickets

 

November      Appliances

                       Gas Grills

                       Camcorders

                       TVs and Electronics

                       Tools (Workshop, Yard)

                       Candy

                       GPS Equipment

 

December      Golf Clubs

                       Pools and Pool Equipment

                       Major Appliances

                       Kitchen Cookware

                       TVs

                       Blu-Ray Players and other Electronics

                       Headphones

                       E-book Readers

                       GPS Equipment

                       Tools (Workshop, Yard)

                       Camcorders

                       Champagne

 

 

At Lenox, we help guide you to smart money moves every month and across every part of life.  We align life planning, career planning and personal financial planning to help you attain what matters most to you. It’s one more way we help you FUND A LIFE YOU LOVE™.

 

If you’re ready to discuss financial, 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.

Are you facing changes in your life?

Are you facing changes in your life?

Are you facing changes in your life?

Could be the best thing that ever happened to you

Things are moving along just fine with your career and then one day, forces beyond your control begin to paint a future that looks very different than what you had anticipated.  Happens all the time in the corporate world –– companies merge, downsize or are purchased, or hefty competition changes the dynamics of the marketplace and the once predictable career path is no longer in view. Your comfort zone is replaced with changes yet to be determined.

Career uncertainty also happens to the most seasoned of entrepreneurs.  The best-laid plans and most solidly-financed ideas can fail quickly when a sharp downturn in the economy, supply chain issues, loss of talent, or any of dozens of other potential issues rear their head.

Change is never easy.  In fact, it’s one of the most difficult things we face as human beings.  But when it’s inevitable, you can either deny it and risk being the last to leave the sinking ship, or you can accept it and look at it as your reason to uncover opportunities you never would have explored otherwise.  Think of it as the kick in the pants that takes you out of your comfort zone to a much better place going forward.

According to one corporate manager whose career plan was suddenly turned upside down...

“I lived in comfort until one day a mentor pushed me.  I didn’t know he was my mentor at the time.  He was just my friend and he pushed me to dream bigger dreams. He pushed me to want more out of life. To go after the big fish. 

I have physical and psychological ease because I am reaching for the stars and I am going to do whatever it takes to get there!  My mentor pushed me and changed my thinking. That was motivation enough for me – and wow did my life change.” 

careerchange.jpg

From comfort zone to change –– 3 simple steps 

Whether unexpected change is already in front of you or lurking around the corner, here are three simple steps that will help you take charge of your future.

  1. Accept the change; don’t fight it or drown in self-pity. Negative energy is not only a waste of time, it’s an enormous drain on your energy. Avoid commiserating with the naysayers or letting “crowd speak” drive you to a numbing sense of inertia.

  2. Take immediate steps to position yourself for a better tomorrow. Get busy networking and exploring new opportunities. Reconnect with past associates. Look into courses or seminars that will enhance your skills. Make a list of ways to improve your marketability and tackle them with commitment.

  3. Be ready to make a decision when the right opportunity comes along. Indecisiveness is a decision to not make a decision. This is typically fueled by the fear of failure. Instead, stay positive. Low self-esteem and succumbing to circumstances is why so many people make poor decisions.

At Lenox, we assist our clients in all aspects of their financial life –– career planning through career changes, career coaching, life coaching and more –– not just in managing their portfolio.  Looking at the bigger picture is one more way we help you Fund A Life You Love™.

If you’re ready to discuss financial, 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 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.

Companies Are Growing and Hiring - Is Now the Time to Make the Move?

Companies Are Growing and Hiring - Is Now the Time to Make the Move?

Companies Are Growing and Hiring

Is now the time to make a career move?

Things are looking up.  Companies are expanding, building new facilities, bringing jobs back into the USA and hiring for new ones.  Opportunities are at an energizing high across many industries.  While no one can make a long-term forecast with any accuracy, optimism is on a roll and picking up speed.

Where do you stand in this current environment?  If you’re thrilled with your present career and growth path, then you may not care to read any further. If not, as a growing number of companies are looking for new talent, are you positioning yourself to take advantage of the roles to be filled?  Is now the time to make the career move you’ve been contemplating for months or years?  At a minimum, is now the right time to seriously explore what’s out there?

Same goes if you’re an entrepreneur or if you’ve always dreamed of being one.  Is now the time to expand your business to reach its broader potential?  Or, is now the time to seriously look at breaking free from the corporate world to launch your own business?

Change is never easy.  Risk is always part of life.  But, considering that most people are staying in the workforce well into their 70s and beyond (whether by choice or financial need), why not be happy and position yourself to do the work you love to do?

If you’re thinking about making a career move, there’s no time like the present to give it serious consideration.  If you haven’t already done so, write down the following...

  • What you like/dislike about your current job/career

  • If nothing stood in the way, what you would really like to call your career

  • What excites you about a career move; what scares you

  • The obstacles you see to your making a career move at this time

  • How different your life would look 3 years from now if you were doing what you love

  • What a new career could mean to your financial planning, wealth management, retirement plan, or day-to-day budgeting and money management

  • If you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you do

  • If money didn’t matter what would you do

At Lenox, we work hard not only to help our clients FUND A LIFE YOU LOVE but also to Live A Life You Love.  That’s why career advice is often part of what we bring to the table.  We’re the sounding board, neutral third party and understanding minds that provide both pragmatic and empathetic guidance.

We’d be delighted to help you think about, envision, plan and prepare for the career move that can lead to your greatest personal and financial happiness. 

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 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 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

If Money Were No Object...

If Money Were No Object...

If money were no object, what would you do with your life?

Get beyond the limitations.  Get busy doing what you love.

“Sure, I’d love to but I can’t afford it.”  Love to what?  Move to another city?  Change careers? Get married?  Have a family?  Start your own business?  Travel?  Retire?  Is money really the limitation or is it something else?  Oftentimes, we get in our own way when it comes to doing what we really want to do in life, because we use not having enough money as our excuse.  For a minute, stop and think... what if money were not a hindrance, what would you do with your life?

Find your answer, starting with these 4 tips:  

1.  Make a list.  Make two lists.

Get down on paper what matters most to you.  If married or involved with someone, have your significant other do the same.  Compare your lists.  Are you on the same page?  This exercise is not only eye opening in understanding yourself and each other, but it helps you align your financial plan with your life plan.   At Lenox, our Honest Conversation® tool makes this exercise both easy and enjoyable.  Our clients rave about it. We’d love to show you how it works and give you a no-commitment test drive.

2. Find a mentor.

Ask the most successful, life-embracing people you know and almost all will tell you they had or still have people in their life who have given them the encouragement, motivation and support to try, do and accomplish what they could not have done on their own.  It might be a parent, friend, teacher, clergyman, or even an author they’ve never met.  Having been on the receiving end, we know firsthand at Lenox the benefits of mentoring and as such, we uniquely offer life coaching to our clients, seeing it as an essential to sound financial guidance, budgeting, and wealth creation.

3. Read things inspiring.

There’s no shortage of books, articles and websites whose goal is to inspire us to optimize our life. Don’t knock these resources if you haven’t tried them.  We have an exhaustive library at Lenox of books and materials that we keep adding to on a weekly basis –- what we believe is the best thinking from the best minds in the financial planning and life planning arena for people of all ages and income levels.  Watch for our Lenox Book List to be revealed soon.  Or, send us your email and we’ll send you the list.

4.  Think ahead.  Plan backward.

Where do you want to be in three years, five years, 10 years?  What do you want to accomplish?  How are you going to get there?  Time’s ticking by.  Start today to prioritize your to-do’s, figure out the cost and time commitment for each, and design your life plan and financial plan around them.  We help our clients do this day in and day out.  It’s what we mean when we say we help you Fund A Life You Love®.

If it sounds like we’re your champions, we are. You deserve financial planning that helps you live the best life you can with financial comfort and peace of mind.

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 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.

5 Ways to Put the New Tax Reform to Work for You

5 Ways to Put the New Tax Reform to Work for You

5 Ways to Put the New Tax Reform to Work for You

Time to rethink some of life’s major financial decisions?

There’s a lot to learn and to understand about the provisions within the recently-passed 2017 Tax Reform. 

One thing for sure is that the new tax law could change how you think about the financial decisions you make whatever your stage of life –– everything from what job you take, if and when you change careers, whether or not you get married and when, if you buy a home or rent, if you move or remodel your existing home, what schools your kids attend, if you go back to school and when, if you take a vacation and where you travel, if and when you retire, the size and timing of charitable contributions, and the list goes on and on.

The reality is that the financial strategy and plans you currently have in place will likely need to be revisited.  “This can be both an exciting and confusing time,” notes Steve Reder, President of Lenox Wealth. “Changes in tax laws have a ripple effect that tends to affect most parts of our lives.  This is the time for people to talk to their financial advisor, tax planner or accountant to reassess their financial picture taking into consideration how the new tax reform will affect them and how to use it to their advantage in the short and long term.”

Here’s a good place to begin –– 5 ways the new tax reform might affect you. 

1.  You are among the projected 80% of taxpayers who will receive a tax cut.

According to the office of Congressman Brad Wenstrup (OH), “In 2018, taxes will be reduced by about $1,600 on average, increasing after-tax incomes by 2.2%. In 2018, 80% of taxpayers will receive a tax cut from the included provisions––averaging about $2,100.”

2.  You have dependents (children) eligible for the Child Tax Credit.

In the new law, the child tax credit doubles from $1,000 to $2,000 per child, with $1,400 of that amount refundable (indexed to inflation). 

3.  You are a student or an educator.

Student loan interest and graduate school tuition waivers are maintained under the new law, as are deductions for educator expenses.

4.  You may not itemize anymore on your taxes anymore.

The standard deduction doubles with the new tax bill and things you typically itemized may get reduced. The Tax Policy Center estimates that the number of people who can itemize will drop from 37 million to 16 million (a drop of 57%). For those who don’t itemize, this will eliminate the tax deduction for state/local taxes, medical expenses, donations to charity, and home mortgage interest. It will be even more important to work with your CPA / financial advisor to determine how to best navigate these changes.

5.  Your business is organized as an S corporation, partnership, LLC, or sole proprietorship.

Among our nation’s job creators, your corporate tax rate is now lowered to 21% from 35%.  The tax reform package also includes a first-ever 20% tax deduction that applies to the first $315,000 of joint income earned by businesses organized as an S corporation, partnership, LLC or sole proprietorship.

Don’t go it alone.  Get the help of a financial advisor to help you plan for the future. You may think you don’t qualify or can’t afford professional financial advice.  Truth is, you can’t afford not to get professional guidance.  Financial advisors not only complement your tax advisor, they also know the ins and outs of 401Ks, IRAs, funding education, buying a house or car, retirement savings, and investment strategies.  They help to guide you beyond financial hurdles and challenges whatever your stage of life, income or net worth.  At Lenox, we call it helping 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.

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.