As most of you already know, I joined the MtM family in January after about seven and half years with Fidelity Investments. In my short time so far, I have picked up on quite a significant number of differences between each firm (some of which I already knew before I joined – and were part of the reason I came aboard). Some examples below:
Holistic Financial Planning
Retirement Savings and Income Planning, Tax Planning, Insurance Planning, Estate Planning, Investment Planning and Personal Financial Planning are the hallmark pillars of a holistic financial planning relationship. Depending on your stage of life and your financial goals, there will be some that are more important than others. Here at MtM, we not only discuss all of these in unison, but have specialists we partner with in each area. We offer free second opinion meetings with our Estate Planning attorney, Life Insurance specialist, Medicare & Social Security expert, as well as other specialists. These are great ways to incorporate a holistic view of your entire financial plan to make sure areas aren’t missed, because more often times than not each one of these pillars is mixed with several others.
While I was not able to provide any tax advice whatsoever at my prior firm, here at MtM we are not only able to, but encouraged to provide tax advice as part of our financial planning process. We actually have an entire Tax Department for in-house income tax preparation services. This may sound obvious, but tax planning is often intertwined with most aspects of financial planning and our tax services are fully integrated with our investment advice. Whether it’s in relation to how much you can reduce your tax liability through strategies like Qualified Charitable Distributions or Donor Advised Funds; Or what’s the tax impact on doing a Roth conversion? How about selling some of your unrealized capital gains? Taxes are a big concern and expense for most of us. Lean on our expertise for complete tax planning designed to reduce your tax liability.
Every client is unique and has their own financial goals and dreams. So, it would make sense for each client to have their own personalized and tailored portfolio directly aligned with those goals and dreams. Fortunately, we have the autonomy and discretion to create that portfolio for you here at MtM. Whether it’s mutual funds, buffered ETFs, structured notes, guaranteed income annuities, or something else – your portfolio is unique and built around your specific goals and preferences.
As fiduciaries here at MtM, we take the stewardship of your capital very seriously. The areas above are just a few ways we look to build strong relationships and deepen existing ones. Another way we do this is through frequent communication. First and foremost, please don’t ever hesitate to call me any time for any reason whatsoever because you’re doing me a favor by calling: it’s how I continue to learn about what concerns you and is most important to you. Secondly, we will be speaking at least every 90 days for a quarterly contact. Sometimes not much has changed in 90 days, and sometimes a lot has changed.
A spouse retires, a child graduates, a grandchild is born, a loved one passes, so on and so forth. We strive constantly to be proactive and revisit your plan on an ongoing basis, because you never know what life is going to throw your way and how your situation may change on a dime. We take great pride in spending time to truly get to know you personally, professionally and financially in order to create a tailored financial plan to help you achieve your financial goals.
“Those who judge their portfolio performance relative to some narrow benchmark are focusing on an issue that is largely irrelevant to their ultimate financial success. The only benchmark that you should care about is one that indicates whether or not you’re on track to accomplish your financial goals.
Risk is measured as the probability that you won’t meet your financial goal. Investing should have the exclusive objective of minimizing this risk (emphasis added).”
– From the book Adaptive Asset Allocation by Butler, Phillbrick and Gordillio
Spring Cleaning Checklist: Estate Planning
Spring cleaning is of course the practice of cleaning your house in the springtime when the weather starts to warm up. I would encourage you to add your estate planning documents to the list this spring. Maybe you just got them done last year, or maybe you don’t have any. Either way, or anywhere in between, it can’t hurt to review and make sure everything is positioned exactly the way you would like in the event life doesn’t go according to plan. While this is not an exhaustive list, I think a great place to start would be with the following documents below:
- Last Will and Testament – Your final wishes pertaining to your assets.
- Power of Attorney – Allows you to appoint someone to manage your property, medical, or financial affairs.
- Living Will (Advanced Healthcare Directive) – Outlines your healthcare wishes in the event of incapacitation.
- Guardianship (for those with children under 18) – Specifies who will take over the legal responsibilities of parenting.
Bonus: You should also double check your beneficiary designations on all of your investment and non-investment accounts.
Our son Luke will be turning four on March 14th which is hard to believe. Maybe not so much for most of you with children (and grandchildren!) as you know how fast time flies. He just completed his winter swim class and is looking forward to starting up soccer again this spring. As I’ve been told by many people (some of you in fact), the days are long, but the years are short. I can’t help but think of the correlation within the investing world. The days can feel very long sometimes. This could be from current events, market turbulence or the financial news media (they are more harmful than helpful in my opinion) to name a few. The years however, seem to leech away some of that daily anxiety.
As I write in February, the S&P 500 stock market index closed at 3,982 on 2/27/2023. The day Luke was born on March 14th, 2019 the S&P 500 closed at 2,808. In about four years since, the market has gone up roughly 51% (with dividends reinvested) or about 11% annually in that time frame (again dividends reinvested). Along the way, we have endured the worst public health crisis in 100 years (COVID-19), a turbulent 2020 Presidential election cycle, a war between Ukraine and Russia (still ongoing), and a 50 year inflation high (just to name a few..). I am by no means projecting future performance, but rather commenting on the resilience of American businesses and to offer some historical perspective. I’m using the S&P 500 as an index to reference as it tracks the stock performance of 500 or so of some of the largest and most well-financed publicly traded companies in America and the world.
Some homework for you if you dare…
What did the S&P 500 close on the day your children or grandchildren were born? How about the day YOU were born? How much has the index gone up since then? What current events have you endured through all this time? It’s easy to get lost (and anxious) over the day to day volatility of the market sometimes. However, if you take a step back for a moment, you might realize that the volatility of equities passes away with time and the premium return endures. You earn the long-term premium return by simply and patiently (but not easily) enduring the often steep, but occasional declines. The days are indeed long, but the years are short.
Thank you for being my clients, it’s a privilege to serve you.
Until next time,
Variable annuities are long-term investments suitable for retirement funding and are subject to market fluctuations and investment risk, including the possibility of loss of principal. Annuity guarantees, including guarantees associated with benefit riders are subject to the claims-paying ability of the insurance company. Surrender charges may apply if money is withdrawn before the end of the contract.
Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Please note that individual situations can vary. Therefore, the information presented here should be relied upon when coordinated with individual professional advice. This information is not intended to be a substitute for personalized financial planning, tax planning, or legal advice.
Securities offered through The Strategic Financial Alliance Inc. (SFA), Member FINRA, SIPC. Advisory and tax services offered through MtM Financial Group, LLC which is otherwise unaffiliated with SFA. 4505 Hanoverville Road, Bethlehem, PA 18020. SFA does not provide tax or legal advice. Supervising office 888-447-2444.