How To Strategize for Your Social Security Benefits

Video Transcript

As life expectancy has grown, your retirement now can last between 20 and 30 years. So Social Security planning is critical, no matter how much money you have. It can make a difference of hundreds of thousands of dollars. For example, if you retire at age 62 and pass away at age 86, you’ll receive at least 25% less for 24 years. But, if you wait to retire at age 70, you’ll receive 32% more for 16 years.


If your retirement income at age 66 was $2,000 per month, this could be a difference of over $200,000 during your lifetime. Arriving at a decision on when to retire is not easy. If you retire early, it could affect your spouse’s benefits. And wages and other taxable income could cause up to 85% of your Social Security benefits to be exposed to income taxes. Proper planning takes all of these factors into account to determine a Social Security strategy. For instance, a repositioning of assets could reduce taxable income and provide for more reliable monthly income.


With over 500 different combinations of factors affecting benefits, it makes sense to talk to a financial advisor and get it right.

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How to be Tax Efficient with Your Investments


Video Transcript

Tax efficient investing involves strategies to help reduce the impact of taxes. Investments have three tax flavors: taxable, tax-deferred and tax-exempt. Taxable requires gains to be paid as they are earned each year. These include investments like CDs and money market funds. Tax-deferred gains remain sheltered from taxes until withdrawn for retirement at age 59 ½ like 401(k)s or IRAs. Tax-exempt interest is not taxable either by federal or state taxes. To determine the tax effect of your investments, you must know which tax bracket you’re in and if capital gains rules apply. The highest investment income minus the lowest taxes due is your investment goal. So focus on placing fully taxable investments in tax-deferred accounts. Don’t make the common mistake of putting investments that have tax benefits into an IRA. You will lose those tax benefits since all distributions from traditional IRAs are 100% taxable.

Let us help you make tax efficient investments in your portfolio. Give us a call today.

Don’t Let Timing Ruin Your Retirement





Video Transcript:

Did you know that one of the greatest risks to your retirement portfolio can happen in the first years you retire? The timing of when you begin withdrawing money from your investments can dramatically impact your long-term wealth.

It’s called sequence-of-return risk, and the danger is very real. When you make regular withdrawals from investments while market returns are down, your portfolio shrinks faster because the investments are worth less.

If that happens early in retirement, it’s more difficult to rebuild your assets and get back on track – you could even deplete your portfolio before the good returns show up. But there are ways to protect yourself from negative returns in the early years of your retirement, including reducing risk in your portfolio and modifying spending in down market years.

For more information on how to achieve a successful retirement, call or visit our website today.

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Small Cap versus Big Cap Stocks

<b>Video Transcript</b><b><b>Spreading your investments over different asset classes like stocks and bonds is one way to diversify your portfolio. But you can also diversify through different types of stocks, such as large cap and small cap. Cap stands for capitalization, or the company’s market value, which is determined by the number of outstanding shares times current share prices. Large cap companies, often called blue chip are worth $10 billion or more, and tend to be household names like Apple, IBM and Walt Disney. These companies are likely to be more stable, offer conservative growth and usually issue steady dividends. They are often the mainstay of a portfolio. Small cap companies are usually valued at under $2 billion. Often called growth stocks, they can gain profit quickly in particular industries, but they also represent greater risk. Adding a mix of both small and large cap stocks can help create a diverse portfolio seeking to conserve capital, provide income and build wealth over the long term. For more information on the right asset mix for your portfolio, give us a call or stop by our website today. <br><br>

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How to Plan for a Successful Business Transition



Video Transcript:

We’re often asked, what’s the best way to provide a smooth transition of ownership and control of my business? Continuation planning is one of the most important ingredients for a successful family business, and it’s a process, not an event. Here are four important questions every business owner should consider:

Do you have a formal plan for continuing your business? If you do, make sure your plan is located where someone else could find it if you were to die unexpectedly.

Have you selected a successor to take over your business? That person should be named in your written business continuation plan.

Do you know the value of your business? A professional valuation, not a personal estimate, is critical to developing a successful plan. Do you have a buy-sell agreement in place? A buy-sell agreement is a contract between the owners of a business that enables the surviving owners to buy out the interest of a deceased or disabled co-owner.

For more information on successful business continuation strategies, give us a call or visit our website today.

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Financial Advisors: Ditch the Myths and Fears—and Niche Yourselves Already!

By guest blogger: Maria Marsala

There is probably no topic that makes an advisor’s eyes go wider and fingers clench tighter.  The topic?  When I suggest to the advisor that perhaps, maybe, she should consider choosing a niche.  I may be imagining this since we are usually on the phone, and she is not in my line of sight.  Nevertheless, the response often conjures up a mix of fears and myths.  It usually goes something like, “I can’t choose a niche because . . .

. . . I can’t afford to say ‘no’ to clients!
. . . I won’t have all the clients I want to grow my firm!
. . . It’s going to be hard to find those specific clients!
. . . I don’t want to fire my current clients!
. . . I don’t want to be bored and unchallenged!

All of these statements are fears and opinions; none of them are true, and I have the statistics to prove it!

In a Horsesmouth survey of 2,100 advisors, those with a niche reported they enjoy:

  • easier access to prospects
  • better and wealthier clients
  • increased referrals
  • higher production
  • enhanced reputation and status

https://www.horsesmouth.com/mktgpage/RNMG

And are those advisors bored and unchallenged?  I’m sure they’re contemplating that as they tee off at the golf course, read their new book, or spend more time with their family.  Gone are the days of running themselves ragged as they hunt down yet another prospect.

The Importance of Perfecting Your Niche

In case you’re not persuaded by over two thousand of your peers, I can assure you I’ve seen the same results with my advisor clients, up close and personally.  Many service business owners I’ve coached have had amazing results after taking a well-researched risk and niching their businesses.  There are many real advantages for financial advisors who perfect their niche, but I’ll give you just five:

1. You will become known as the obvious choice and go-to expert for that niche.  The benefits of this are numerous.  It will be easier for prospects to find your firm online because your website will be directed to your niche.  This will generate more awareness of your firm’s brand, which also brings prospects to you.  Companies like Coca-Cola and Tide spend a lot of money on branding to generate trust and earn a no-brainer reputation with consumers.  When people recognize a brand, they usually buy it—even if there is a lower-cost solution right next to it—because they are familiar with it.  This saves their over-stressed brains from making additional decisions.

2. You save time and money on marketing.  I once had a client, we’ll call him John, who secured a table at a conference within his niche.  He had decided this was going to be his last conference because it seemed like attending these events was a waste of his time and money.  Of course, under my tutelage, he had nailed his niche and determined his ideal client within his specific niche in preparation for the event.

When John called me after the event, he said, “I ONLY got 50 cards.  In the past, I’ve collected as many as 300 cards.  It was so overwhelming to contact them all.  Of course, many never called me back.  Out of the hundreds I contacted, I got very few clients.  But at this last event, I spoke with 50 people longer than usual because they were my ideals.  We connected better, and I know that’s going to make a big difference.” 

At the event, John initially began conversations with many more people.  This time, he politely cut many of the conversations short when he realized that the person(s) in front of him were “tire kickers” and NOT his vision of an ideal client.  This technique was also part of his training with me.

With a niche, you can select the proper type of marketing to purchase, whether it’s a table at a conference or an event sponsorship.  Creating your marketing messages is easier with a niche because you know what’s important to the people whose attention you want to capture.  You’ll be TARGET marketing instead of spaghetti marketing!  (Picture throwing a dart at a target versus a handful of spaghetti at a wall.  Get it?)  Target marketing is much more precise (and less messy) than spaghetti marketing.  The efficiencies make it less costly all around.

In addition, you’ll be able to assemble a great marketing team, even if you outsource.  Think of all the professionals you hire to develop your firm’s internal and external brand (logo, website, brochures, etc.).  They will all know exactly how to write and design your materials to attract your future clients.  All because you were smart enough to give them a persona or picture of your niche and ideal client.

3. With clients who have similar investment and planning requirements, you’ll be able to streamline your operations, deliver customized services, and provide a higher level of customer service.  Nailing a niche lends many efficiencies to your firm.  We already mentioned savings on marketing.  Operationally, your firm will benefit in many ways.  For example, onboarding clients with specific needs may require a custom questionnaire, but you only have to develop that once.  Then you’ll consistently collect all the information you need to adequately serve your niche—not to mention going over and above! 

When you’re free to develop specific services for your niche, you can spend more time helping your clients actually reach the goals they set.  When you have time to consult and coach your clients, you prove your value and further distinguish your practice from your competitors.  Your ability to add such value makes you less likely to lose clients over price, or any other reason.

Because you’re not trying to serve the needs of anyone who breathes, you’ll be able to forge deeper and longer-lasting relationships with your clients.  This paves the way for lifelong, multigenerational clients and also happens to be a very fulfilling way to do business as well.  Hmm.  Doesn’t sound boring to me!

4. You’ll get better referrals.  Your ideal clients tend to have circles of friends and associates that are just like them.  Many times, you won’t even have to ask for referrals.  After all, if your friend recommends a good movie, you’ll probably go see it without much more thought, right? 

A consistent message is the key here.  For example, when one of my clients is out networking, she says, “My ideal clients are women and the men who love them.”  Her website shows photos depicting happy couples, and her office is decorated to appeal to her niche.  People in her niche feel more comfortable contacting and referring her because her message sounds and looks consistent.  After all, people don’t want to refer their friends to a bad experience, whether it’s a movie or a financial advisor!

Niche marketing even makes it easier for strangers to refer ideal clients to you.  When people hear about who you help and what you do, they immediately understand who they could refer to you.  They don’t even have to be in your niche themselves.  They could say to their neighbor, “You know, Sue, there’s a financial guy in my building who specializes in advising veterans; it says so on his office door.  You and Bob should check him out.”

5. You’ll make more money.  An auto shop that services imports makes more money than one that takes any car on the planet.  It can do even better if it services only Mercedes.  Cardiologists earn more than general practitioners.  The same is true for financial advisors. 

“…a full 70% of top financial advisors – those earning at least $1 million annually – focus on a particular niche.  In stark contrast, just 35.1% of financial advisors earning less than $150,000 a year have a niche focus.”  – Jonathan Powell, Managing Director, CEG Worldwide Research

You’ll make more money if you nail your niche.  Here are a few ideas: pastors aged 40 to 55, business owners 15 years from retirement, executive parents with two or more teenagers at home, parents 10 years away from being empty nesters, divorced women over the age of 40.  The possibilities are literally endless.

Choose a niche or not; it’s up to you.  But don’t believe the myths or be afraid to try!  The numbers and my experience this past 20 years as a life and business coach all confirm you’ll have a much more productive, profitable, and pleasurable business if you do.

Maria Marsala is the President of Elevating Your Business. She guides advisors to transform their practices into more successful businesses. She helps advisor improve your people (including yourself), your firm’s processes, and to profit in a more systematic way. The consultative-coaching and training we do with our clients takes a holistic approach that provides accountability, focus, and tools to maximize your firm’s growth as you live better.

Is Tax Planning missing in your Retirement Planning

Video Transcript

Too many retirees believe that they don’t have to do any planning in retirement. They spent years saving for their retirement and now they think they can coast. WRONG! There are hidden tax traps waiting for the unsuspecting. For instance, If you want $75,000 per year in retirement, is that before or after taxes? If it’s after taxes, that could mean withdrawing $90,000 per year before tax. Will your portfolio last for 35 years if you withdraw $90,000 each year adjusted for inflation? After 15 years, to keep your purchasing power of $90,000 at 3% inflation you would need to withdraw $140,217! To find out more about planning during your retirement years, give us a call or visit our website today. To find out more about how to use videos like this to attract your ideal client through digital marketing on the internet, click here

How Can You Take Care of Your Spouse Just in Case Something Should Happen to You?

Video Transcript:

If you’re like most people, most of the time, you focus your financial efforts on maximizing your current income. But it’s also important to plan ahead for the benefit of your spouse if you should pass away. Here are some tips for how to do that. First, carefully consider joint vs. single life payouts from pension and investment distributions. Next, consider Waiting to take Social Security until age 70 instead of age 62, this could increase your survivor benefit by 76%. As life situations may change, update your beneficiary designations. These designations will take precedence over what’s written in your will or trust, so it’s important to keep these current. Investments like annuities have a guaranteed lifetime benefit. These can be a great way to ensure that your spouse is taken care of, even after you’re gone. Be sure to Keep your wills and trusts up to date and your assets properly titled. And Keep your spouse fully informed about all financial details. We can help you make sure that your spouse is taken care of. Please give us a call today.

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How to Allocate Assets Within Your Portfolio When You Retire



Video Transcript: If you’re nearing retirement, you may need to consider asset allocation in a different way. Be aware that asset allocation cannot eliminate the risk of fluctuating prices and uncertain returns. When you were younger, you may have invested in stocks and mutual funds for the growth and perhaps the diversification offered. You had time on your side. You invested for the long haul and could weather the ups and downs of the stock market. But when you’re nearing or in retirement, the ground rules change. Losses are difficult to recover and your income stream could suffer just when you’re counting on it. Often, a balance between stocks and bonds is used because these investments usually move in opposite directions. This is where asset allocation comes into play. Because investments may go up and down, and your financial needs may vary, your planning must allow for contingencies. Various types of investments can help accomplish this. By allocating investments for growth potential, guaranteed income, risk management, and taxes, we can develop a strategy to help you meet your financial goals. Please give us a call today to find out how you can allocate your assets for your retirement. To find out more about how to use videos like this to attract your ideal client through digital marketing on the internet, click here

How Are Your Social Security Benefits Calculated



Video Transcript:

We all think we know the basics about Social Security, but do we really know how different the benefits can be? The standard retirement age is between 65 and 67, depending on your birthday. Your monthly income, also called your PIA, is determined by your highest 35 years of indexed earnings. You can start taking benefits as early as age 62, but your monthly income will be reduced by at least 25%. Say your full retirement age is exactly 66 years old, then you can delay until age 70 and your monthly income will be 32% higher. Your strategy needs to be based upon a number of factors: how much retirement income you need, other sources of income, income taxes and your general health condition. Other factors also weigh in, like survivor needs, divorce, dependent children, and available liquid assets. Proper planning requires attention to all these details. Give us a call today for help with planning your Social Security strategies.

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JILL ADDISON
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JAMES STEWART, CFP®
Co-Creator, Turnkey Video System

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