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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Two of the most common marks of wealthy people are these: 1. Indisputable Integrity 2. Outrageous Generosity In fact, in our basic financial classes when we address budgeting we recommend giving a tithe (10%) of your income even while...

 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

If you're an insurance agent and life insurance sales make up most of your business, go ahead and just stop reading now. You're just going to get defensive and mad at me. But I'm just going to use math to show why the product you sold...

 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

You have a 401(k) and that’s awesome. If you’re like most people, you’re doing a bad job with it and that’s not awesome. Let us help you with some guidelines for managing and picking investments in your 401(k)....

 

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

I know, I’m a financial advisor. I help people “RETIRE” for a living. But I hate retirement. Shocking, right? We’ve been doing this for a while and have helped hundreds of people with retirement accounts and...

 

Thursday, October 26, 2017

“I don’t have time” …… May be my most hated popular saying. Remember I am a numbers guy and thinker, a deadly combo. We all have 24 hours a day, period. Now, I will give a little slack for those...

 

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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

If you have money you've invested in an IRA to shield it from taxes you have a whole lot of investment options to choose from to try to grow your wealth. Mutual funds, stocks, bonds, exchange-traded funds, gold, and real estate are...

 

Monday, October 9, 2017

If the economy keeps at it for another year and a half, this will be the longest expansion on record. Do you remember the economy of the 1990s? That was the longest so far. This expansion has been as big as the 90's, but it's looking...

 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Usually the story goes like this: Grandma and Grandpa are doing ok. Then they're starting to lose a step. Then Grandpa gets sick and needs home healthcare. Then Grandpa needs to go stay in a nursing home for a few years until he passes...

 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Brian Wesbury is an economist who blogs at FTPortfolios.com. Mr. Wesbury posed a question I thought I'd forward on to you. Imagine it's 10 years ago and we're on the precipice of the stock market collapse that was the Great Recession...

 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Dave Ramsey's organization commissioned a study that shows some alarming statistics about Americans retirement savings. Only 10% of American adults are saving 15% or more of their income for retirement, which is a good minimum for...

 

Monday, September 18, 2017

The deadline for starting a SIMPLE plan for your business is quickly approaching. Employers have until October 1st to set up a plan effective for 2017. If you have a business that has no retirement plan set up and less than 100...

 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Equifax, noted credit bureau and perpetuator of consumer debt in the United States, has been hacked. Reports are estimating that 143 million people have been impacted by this. This is possibly the worst data breach in history, not...

 

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Do you know how much you're paying your advisor to help you? Do you know what you're paying for? Are you paying annually, quarterly, monthly, or hourly? Are you paying an up-front commission and ongoing commission or a fee? Are you...

 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Time together with family is essential. I've never heard of anyone regretting spending too much time with family. One of the reasons family time is essential is because of the necessity of communication in keeping a relationship...

 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Sometimes life gets in the way of retirement savings. You or a family member got sick. The market tanked at exactly the wrong time. You lost your job and haven't been able to get back on track. Now you're at the age you'd thought you...

 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

401(k)s offer investors a way to save for retirement using investments that they may not otherwise have access to. If your company offers a 401(k) it can be a great benefit to have, especially if they offer a match! 401(k)s usually...

 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

If you have a pension through work for the state, then your dealings with social security won't be as straight forward as many other folks. You'll need to be aware of the Windfall Elimination Provision and the Government Pension Offset...

 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Have you heard the one about the youngest child of 3 being cut out of his dad's estate on accident? Or the one where a guy's ex-wife inherited his 500,000 dollar 401(k) because he forgot to name his new wife beneficiary? Those are some...

 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Some of my clients are old enough to be my grandparents. They love to share the stories of their lives, their highs and lows. The wisdom they yield from a lifetime of experience is simply invaluable. What surprises me most often is the...

 

Monday, July 24, 2017

 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

If you're a part of an operating family farm it can be difficult to determine how to go about dividing the estate up fairly between heirs. This issue is complicated if some of the heirs are working on the farm while others aren't....

 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Trusts are a prestigious sounding device that many people set up to take care of their affairs and to avoid estate taxes. In my experience many people have trusts that have no need for them. We tend to like complicating areas of our...

 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

I just read an article over at forbes.com that was really intriguing. It gives the top 10 reasons changing jobs every few years is a good career move! I have to say that I mostly agree with the points this article gives. Basically, the...

 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Aside from making sure you don't buy an overpriced piece of junk house, there are some financial steps you should take before buying a house to make sure you don't wind up broke. Buying a house represents for many people the largest...

 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

I’ve seen it time and time again: a potential client comes into my office, slaps down a 2-inch, 3-ring binder that another advisor gave them, and tells me that they never got past the table of contents. The plan was extensive,...

 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Unless you're already farming, keeping farmland you've inherited is a bad long term financial plan. I grew up farming with my dad and grandpa. I've been around it my whole life. I never really was passionate about farming, but enjoyed...

 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

I'm not talking about being discrete. I'm talking about definition number 2 of discretion and how it's applied to investment accounts. DISCRETION: the freedom to decide what should be done in a particular situation. "it is up to local...

 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The stock market indexes are hitting new all-time highs. In this time of prosperity, I have clients asking if they should take some profit off the top. The answer: it depends. For example, if you were planning on using some of your...

 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

You can be retired when you're dead. The idea of amassing wealth so that you can stop doing work at some point and just have a long vacation until you die is novel, immoral, unbiblical, and wrong. But I know that's how a whole lot of...

 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

I have 3 boys. When my oldest was just a little first grader and he came home with the Cub Scout application, we signed him up right away. Carter is now 12 years old and has been in Scouts since first grade. Last year he braved the...

 

Monday, May 22, 2017

I'm happy to announce that as of today I am part of Dave Ramsey's recommended SmartVestor program. SmartVestor is the Ramsey Solutions organizations's recommended resource for help with retirement, college savings, and other...

 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

We're all waiting. Investors. Business owners. Tax preparers. We are anxious to see what the upcoming tax reform proposals look like. We've got reason to be hopeful, because tax relief has been promised. So let's take a look at what...

 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

There's an old latin phrase (caveat emptor) that means "let the buyer beware". In an age of extreme government intervention and regulation post 1960 many folks just assume that the government has ironed out conflicts in businesses like...

 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Credit cards are the enemy to achieving your financial future. Here are some reasons why: We spend more with credit cards. McDonald’s experiences an increase of average ticket from $4.50 when their customers use cash to $7.00...

 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

What do I do with my PSP? Your Personal Savings Plan is potentially one of the biggest assets that you have accumulated during your working lifetime. It is important to make sure you are doing a good job managing this important...

 

Friday, May 5, 2017

So you've been offered a buyout. Maybe you saw it coming. Perhaps you were blindsided. Either way, life is now about to change and there are some big decisions to make and questions to answer. What will you do next? Will you look for...

 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Bet your bottom dollar you'll lose the blues in Chicago, Chicago! Jason Bernal and I took a short 3 day trip to join in the fun at the 2017 Morningstar Investment conference. We saw keynote presentations from Michael Lewis, the author...

 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Jason Bernal and I are heading to Chicago this week to learn from some of the best and brightest in our industry. The founder of Vanguard, founder of Wikipedia, and the author of Moneyball, The Big Short, and The Blind Side are just a...

 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

When people get motivated to start taking care of their personal finances, a few things sometimes happen. 1. They major in minor details such as: using the coolest budgeting software that shows analytic breakdowns of dollars spent per...

 

Monday, April 17, 2017

 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

This is a question I get asked almost all the time by people that are just starting to invest. To answer this question, I must ask a few precursory questions myself. 1. How much debt do you have? If the answer is some, then that should...

 

Friday, April 7, 2017

After news of a failed health care bill, missiles being launched at Syria, and leaked minutes from the Fed's last gathering there's a distinct aura of pessimism surrounding the United States economy and the stock market. How should you...

 

Monday, April 3, 2017

I caught some flak from a couple friends of mine who sell insurance for demonizing whole life insurance a couple months ago. I stand by the principles for that article and want to extend the philosophy into another part of the...

 

Monday, March 27, 2017

Recently at Blue Jay, we all participated in a personality assessment called DISC. DISC is a method of measuring your personality types that has been around since the 1940’s and was developed by William Moulton. His main goal was...

 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

For the last 2 years I've been trying to shed my reputation as a procrastinator. It's not that I'm lazy or unmotivated. I like to work hard. I like to get stuff done. I become obsessive once I've undertaken a job. I usually explain...

 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Here we are. The tax filing deadline is approaching. It's approaching quickly. It's practically here. If you blink it will have passed. Don't forget to contribute to your IRA for 2016. You can still do it all the way up to the tax...

 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

You may have heard reports in the news recently that our newly elected President has issued a presidential memorandum pertaining to the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Fiduciary Duty Rule or “Conflict of Interest” Rule....

 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Due to some promising economic numbers coming out over the past few weeks it is safe to say that the Fed is going to begin taking action. If the Fed does decide to raise rates (presumably by a quarter percentage point or 25 basis...

 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

It is very common for folks to ask us if they are on track for retirement and how much they should save. Saving for retirement doesn’t have to be that hard. Here is a simple plan for saving for retirement. We recommend saving 15%...

 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The Baby Boomer generation is retiring. There are less people working and therefore less payroll deductions headed toward the mysterious FICA and OASDI lines that dog our paychecks. As the Baby Boomers retire and start tapping in to...

 

Thursday, March 2, 2017

You've been successful in business. You've lived on less than you make for a while and have saved a lot. You've saved more money than you'll ever spend. If this describes you, then great! You've done well, but you face challenges that...

 

Monday, February 27, 2017

The current bull market is getting very close to turning 8 years old. And while it's become very stylish to mock anyone who exhibits optimism regarding the stock market, it hasn't helped any portfolios. We've discussed how it's easier...

 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Last time I covered some steps to handle before saving for your kids college. Now I'm going to give the answers I know you're all waiting for. What specific vehicle should you use to save for college and education expenses? That...

 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

It's probably because I'm a parent of young children myself. Many of the people I associate with on a regular basis have young kids. They know I'm an advisor. So, of course, inevitably the questions about investing start flowing in....

 

Friday, February 17, 2017

 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

We advocate maxing out tax-qualified accounts as savings vehicles before using non-qualified accounts most of the time. Why is that? There's more to it than just lowering current income and getting a nice tax deduction. 2 Other...

 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

If you've never invested before that's ok. Everybody has to start somewhere. It can be overwhelming. There is so much information out there, so many investment products, so many tax implications, tons of platforms to use, and numerous...

 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Last time, I suggested investing in real estate as an individual. Today I want to explore another alternative to stock market investing for retirement: Starting a small business. Starting a small business is one of the most rewarding...

 

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Ok, first of all let me address the elephant in the room. I hold series 7 & 66 licenses that make me an investment broker and Investment Adviser Representative. I help people by providing investment management advice and financial...

 

Monday, January 30, 2017

If you're a teacher retirement is a little different for you than for most; especially if you're retiring from the public sector. There are a few added considerations that need to be kept in mind that just aren't common for private...

 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Well, it finally happened. The Dow Jones Industrial average has topped 20,000 for the first time ever. Really, the Dow 30 Index has been hitting new record highs fairly regularly since March of 2013, when it finally rose above its...

 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Having previously covered what a mutual fund is and how to pick a mutual fund we've established a broad and general set of principles for starting to invest with mutual funds. The next logical question then is: how do you buy a mutual...

 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

It’s a new year and fostering great relationships may be a goal of some of us. Unfortunately, most people associate spending time with friends with spending money. The two do not have to be synonymous. Just because we want good...

 

Friday, January 13, 2017

 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Having already established that there are pros and cons to mutual funds and that they are worth learning more about, I want to move on to some suggestions for how to pick the "right" fund for you to invest in. After determining what...

 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

We usually use mutual funds in some capacity when developing our clients' portfolios and have found that most people have heard of them but aren't exactly sure what they are. Some folks are afraid of them. Other folks are gung-ho to...

 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

It's the beginning of yet another new year! Sin' Auld Lang Syne my dear! If you put off starting an IRA or making a contribution to your IRA in 2016, it's not too late. You have all the way up until the tax filing deadline to make a...

 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

How should we invest if the unthinkable happens: the Cubs win the World Series?

 

Friday, December 9, 2016

Most people go with the first person calling themselves an advisor that they meet or hear about and that can be a costly mistake. Here's a brief guide to picking someone to give you financial advice. 1. Know what you want. Do you want...

 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Thanksgiving is right around the corner! Now is the time for crisp mornings, delicious coffees, and cozy nights in. Autumn is widely regarded as everyone's favorite time of the year and to top it all off, we get to spend this week with...

 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

If you've never lost someone you love to that great sorrow called death, you probably just haven't lived that long. We all will experience the death of a loved one at some point in our lives, even if we don't like to think about it....

 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Your Advisor's Job is Changing Like a thundercloud made of brooms; sweeping changes are blowing and rolling through the investment world. The federal government, which is well known for it's ability to efficiently handle money, has...

 

Monday, October 24, 2016

Owner and Financial Advisor of Blue Jay Financial Group, Jason Bernal has earned yet another designation that assists him in serving you. His designations now include Accredited Investment Fiduciary® and Certified Wealth...

 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

I'm not sure, but I think it E.A. Guggenheim who said in his work Thermodynamics. An Advanced Treatment for Chemists and Physicists, seventh edition in 1985 something along the lines of: The internal energy in a system is equal to the...

 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Staying ahead of DOL Fiduciary Rule Is your broker proposing changes to your retirement savings? Do you understand the adjustments? Are they talking about recent regulatory changes? Are they making this seem too easy? If your broker is...

 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

This is a public service announcement. You have too many IRAs. I get it. You probably rolled an old 401(k) to an IRA when you left your last job. Then you invested part of that IRA on an an awesome (<3.0%) CD at your...

 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Do you have dreams you're not making reality? Are you not doing something because you don't have enough money? If the reason you're feeling stuck is because you've got a big giant pile of debt next to you or your expenses are just...

 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Attention small business owners. You have finite time and a whole bunch to do, but I want to talk about a couple things you need to prioritize if you want to succeed. 1. Marketing. You need to spend time on this. I think the average...

 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

I'm a naturally cynical person. It's not a good quality, but it helps me understand where people are coming from when they're skeptical about the value of using me as a financial advisor. After all, why should you pay me for something...

 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Why is it spelled differently in different places? What's the difference? The answer is: there's no difference. They're slightly different spellings of the same word. Like doughnut or donut. An advisor isn't different than an adviser....

 

Monday, September 12, 2016

When Jason Bernal or I meet with a client, that client will usually bring up investing and investments rather quickly. After all, that's the primary reason someone with some money saved up has come to talk to us. We talk about our...

 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

I just read a bankrate.com article that says: "According to Edmunds.com, the average monthly payment on a new vehicle is $479. Considering your existing car is trouble-free, saving that $479 per month means an annual savings of $5,748...

 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Yeah. Investing's not that. If investing seems complicated and foreign to you then you then there's a problem. Take a moment, stop investing, and do some research. Don't invest in something you don't understand, but that doesn't mean...

 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

People usually come and talk to me when they feel like they need some help investing. I help them decide on a plan and the steps to get there: Roth or Traditional IRA? SIMPLE, SEP, or 401(k)?, ETF or Mutual Fund? Stock or Bond?...

 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Investing seems very complicated and you may be asking yourself a bunch of questions about how to start. There are a lot of places to start: open a brokerage, start an IRA, backdoor a Roth, max out contributions, pick a mutual fund,...

 

Monday, July 25, 2016

The Roth IRA is one of the best things to ever come out of congress. The Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 was primarily sponsored by Senator William Roth of Delaware. A Roth IRA is different than a traditional IRA. With a traditional IRA...

 

Friday, July 15, 2016

It's all part of the plan. We don't worry about things going according to plan. We worry about chaos. If you don't have a plan for your career, family, or finances there's a good chance you'll experience some level of anxiety. How did...

 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Remember how the world is falling apart? I can't remember if it started yesterday, or last week, or last month, or last year, or last decade. It seems like the news is always telling me things are horrible. Take a minute to read this...

 

Monday, June 20, 2016

If you've invested any money in anything it's important to know how much it's costing you and what you're paying for. There are all sorts of custodial fees, trading fees, account closing fees, statement fees, management fees, 12b-1...

 

Friday, June 3, 2016

I am involved with teaching a personal finance course and the first lesson covers the basics. I'm struck by everyone's faces in the class every time we first touch on the principal of compound interest. They are always amazed. You need...

 

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Budgeting. You don’t want to do it. The sound of the word alone causes sneers, wrinkled noses, and mockery. You think you won’t be able to do the things you want if there’s a budget. You think you’ll be...

 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

I’m remodeling a house. It’s a complete remodel with some rehab and renovation thrown in there. You name it, I’m working on it: roof, siding, windows, foundation, plumbing, electric, HVAC, etc. It goes on and on....

 

Monday, May 23, 2016

 

Friday, May 13, 2016

If you haven’t been keeping up to date on the recent Department of Labor’s Conflict of Interest Rule (read: Fiduciary Rule), I’m not surprised. Who wants to read through a 1,023 page document that probably...

 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Even if you "didn't build that" or "had help" and you still own a small business, I thank you. You have grabbed the American dream by the horns and said "I can do this better." Whether you're running your business as a supplement to...

 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Once we've started a new relationship with a client the first things we look at are the big picture and we build a plan with the clients goals, fears, tax situation, and more in mind. A few weeks ago I briefly described Blue Jay...

 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Contrary to Popular Rhetoric: We Live in a Great Era During this election year, I can’t help but get frustrated. The rhetoric surrounding the process of finding the most powerful leader of the free world is contributing to the...

 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

It can be rather difficult when you are attempting to choose a financial advisor. How do I know if they are working in my best interests? How do I know if they have the best products available? Do they just want to make money for...

 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

 

Monday, April 4, 2016

How many types of IRAs are there? When meeting with a potential client, I am always surprised at the limited knowledge they have regarding options for retirement savings. Most everyone has a basic understanding of 401(k) plans, but...

 

Thursday, March 31, 2016

I'm closing on a mortgage today. After much deliberation, counting of costs, weighing pros and cons, prayer, consulting of family and friends, and watching lots of HGTV; my wife and I decided to tackle a fixer-upper. We got a great...

 

Monday, March 21, 2016

I've been asked this a lot lately and it has me thinking many folks are confused about what exactly it is that we do here. People have assumed we do various things that we don't. I've been asked if we're a lending institution, a bank,...

 

Friday, March 11, 2016

Sometimes, laughter is the only appropriate response. How many times and for how long have you heard that something horrible is happening? Our media saturated world has desensitized us to the point that we don't pay attention unless...

 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

"My tax guy handles my investments." I cringe a little when I hear this and it's not just because I'm an advisor. The two professions of Accountant and Financial Advisor are not interchangeable. I was talking to a friend and client of...

 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

There’s no question that periods of increased market volatility can be unsettling for investors. However, the decisions you make now—choosing to stay the course or move to the sidelines—can have long-lasting...

 

Monday, March 7, 2016

Do you have a hot tip? Did you get the down low on the newest, sexiest, can't-missiest opportunity to come around since tulips? Have you been sold a product that is "where it's at" or "where the big guys are"? Are you working with a...

 

Thursday, March 3, 2016

If you're like the average worker in the U.S.A. you've probably had more than one job. You've probably had more than a few jobs. In reality, the average American changes jobs about every 5 years. That's about an average of 7 jobs over...

 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Jason Bernal and Jason Demland of Blue Jay Financial Group have been awarded the Accredited Investment Fiduciary® (AIF®) designation from the Center for Fiduciary Studies™. The AIF designation signifies specialized...

 

Monday, February 1, 2016