What Does Being a Dave Ramsey SmartVestor Pro Really Mean?

Dave Ramsey is one of America’s most trusted voice on money and business matters.  He is a personal money-management expert, radio personality, and author of numerous books. We are excited to be part of the SmartVestor program because Dave’s beliefs about financial education and retirement planning are rooted in the same beliefs as Trajan Wealth. By having the heart of a teacher, and not of a salesman, we dedicate the time needed to listen to your goals and educate you on your investment options. 

3 Reasons Investing In Mutual Funds Might Not Be Your Best Bet

Trajan Wealth Mutual Funds

Trajan Wealth Mutual Funds

There’s no doubt mutual funds remain one of the most popular investment choices. The better-known funds are fairly safe, have occasionally better returns and take a lot of the guesswork out of investing for the shareholder. In these ways, they are an alternative to the blue-chip stock for investors who want to either participate in an entire category or automatically diversify their portfolio without all the heavy lifting. 

However, mutual funds are not the answer for every investor. There are some situations where having the extra bulk of a fund can work against an investor. Believe it or not, there are some financial advisors who prefer to downplay these potential disadvantages because they believe the offsetting benefits of a mutual fund can make up for the shortfall.

If you have always believed mutual funds are one of the only ways to invest, read on. There are some important things to consider before choosing a mutual fund.

Six Resources to Learn More About Finances and Investing

Just because you have a Financial Advisor doesn’t mean you should stop learning about finances. Being an educated investor will help you choose the right Financial Advisor with confidence and help you articulate your financial needs. Although finding up to date, unbiased information on investing can seem like a daunting task, here are a few suggestions to stay informed.

A Random Walk Down Wall Street – Burton Malkiel
If you talk to money experts, you are likely to get several recommendations for this authoritative investing book. Mr. Malkiel is an economist and investment manager offering comprehensive yet easy-to-read guides to investing. He details the need to comprehend life-cycle saving. The book provides an excellent introduction to the world of markets and investing as well as how the two work together.

Trajan Wealth is Moving America Forward

 

Moving America Forward, a national television series celebrating the achievements and contributions of businesses and entrepreneurs across America recently interviewed Jeff Junior, President of Trajan Wealth about his long term success in helping people navigate the ever-changing economic landscape.

The show, hosted by William Shatner and Doug Llewelyn is dedicated to delivering quality educational programming honoring a variety of business owners that are moving our country forward.

Trajan Wealth was chosen as one of these businesses for their outstanding work in helping individuals and couples better understand and prepare for the challenges associated with retirement.

In this episode of Moving America Forward, Jeff Junior talks about common problems and concerns of pre-retirees and why working with an Advisor with a fiduciary standard is so important. He also shares his story of how a young Marine got started in the financial planning business and how Trajan Wealth can help people at any stage of life to secure their best financial future. In addition to retirement planning, Trajan Wealth also offers the following services:

 

  • Money Management
  • Annuities
  • Income Planning
  • Insurance
  • 401K Planning
  • Trusts and Wills

4 Biggest Concerns of Pre-Retirees

No one can just flip a switch at age 65, quit his or her job and then start to relax on the veranda with an ice-cold lemonade every day. Before retirement, there are many different plans to make and strategies to put into place. While your individual concerns can vary depending on your situation, there are some common concerns faced by almost every pre-retirees.

ESTATE PLANNING

Most pre- and post-retirees don’t plan to spend all their savings and liquidate all assets during their retirement. For the most part, retirees want to leave behind a legacy to their heirs. But as the economy constricts and it becomes harder to save money for retirement, the thought of leaving a legacy behind becomes a less practical desire.

The plans that a retiree can make in order to provide a legacy to his family after death will vary depending on many things. Some questions that pre- and post-retirees must ask themselves include:

What Does Financial Freedom Mean to You?

Financial freedom is a concept a lot of people think about, yet it’s hard to define. For some, financial freedom may be the ability to pay bills without having to work. Others may consider it the ability to work at a job they love or being able to support a particular cause.

Let’s take a look at what financial freedom may mean for you as well as some ways to achieve this goal.

Know what you want to accomplish.

If you didn’t know where you wanted to go on vacation, you could spend your weekend or your week driving aimlessly on the highway before coming back home. While it was nice that you had an idea of what you wanted, a lack of planning held you back from realizing your dream trip. 

The same concept is true for your money. It’s nice to think about making money or having enough money to last a lifetime but you need a plan to make it happen. Therefore, the first step in your journey to financial freedom is to write concrete goals and how you will achieve them.

Rodney Brooks, of the New York Times published a book called ‘Is one million dollars enough?’ reminding us that there isn’t one answer for every scenario. Brooks points out, “If you want your retirement to be the same lifestyle as your working life, you must save and plan.” 

Personal Training and Financial Advice

For those of you that have ever hired a personal trainer–you know what that experience is all about. The first day is the one that you will never forget because it was hard both physically and mentally. You probably found out that you weren’t as strong as you thought you were or maybe that you didn’t prepare well enough. But it made you stronger in the long run.

Working with a financial advisor, believe it or not, can be a similar experience. It is common for most people to have some level of emotional duress when thinking about money. The stress compounds when investors come seeking to break their bad investing habits or when they’re emotionally recovering from a bad experience with their former advisor or broker. A financial advisor should work with you to correct mistakes made by offering on-going advice, as painful as it may be.

There are benefits to getting ‘personal training’ regarding your investments. By helping you break down bad habits and recover from poor financial relationships, your financial plan can be a form of ‘financial therapy’.  This sets you up for long-term prosperity that is more self-sustaining. In other words, you grow to be more empowered to manage your day-to-day finances. Providing more strategic advice is often of higher value in the long-term.

Perhaps the most significant difference between an actual physical personal training and a financial advice personal training is the fact that we must listen to you more than a personal trainer ever would. By us asking you the right questions and listening, you’re able to accurately reflect upon what went right or wrong in your previous financial relationships. This element of critical thinking is the personal training aspect that allows an investor to break down so they can be built back up with a financial plan

The sting of financial pain can lead investors to a better place. The first step towards improving an investor’s well-being, however, is through asking questions and listening intently. This type of personal training sets the stage for financial empowerment and well-being for investors. Financial advisors experience divorce, death, business success (and failure), and personal growth from the front row seat of their clients’ lives, all by bringing each client through their own training.

Advisory services offered through Trajan Wealth, L.L.C., an SEC-registered investment adviser. 

These links are being provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only; they do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by Trajan Wealth, L.L.C., of any of the products, services or opinions of the corporation or organization or individual. Trajan Wealth, L.L.C., bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of the external site or for that of subsequent links. Contact the external site for answers to questions regarding its content.

Privacy, Social Media and You

In April 2018 Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg’s admittance of Facebook user’s data used by Cambridge Analytica in our last presidential election has caused an emotional reaction in Americans and lawmakers alike.  Zuckerberg admitted that controls to prevent such a leak were not in place and that, he too, believes social media will need to be regulated in the future.  To avoid your social media profile from being used for personal or political gain-by those wanting control-what will it take to ensure personal privacy and protection of your sensitive personal data going forward? 
With this specific instance, information was obtained by the downloading of third-party apps onto the personal smart phones of unsuspecting legal age voters.  Because Facebook operates in an unregulated industry, no foresight had been given to notify those whose personal information was being used for political purpose- until the story leaked to the media and was made public. 

With the sharing of personal information-sometimes by the person themselves-where does that leave privacy and personal information when it comes to your investments?  The financial services industry operates under the regulation of the Federal Government (the SEC) and FINRA, which has required each financial company to develop protocols for transparency and notification to customers if or when their information compromises.  Aside from technology in place to protect financial customer information, the customer must also play a role in their own personal privacy. 

To help you to determine if you may be compromising your privacy and personal information:


Review your social media profile and ‘turn off’ public view of your information such as date of birth, contact information, and education and employment information.  Limit this information, along with photos, only to connections. You may want to eliminate personal information from your profile completely. 
Use Apps only from financial companies you do business with and don’t use apps that aggregate access to all companies through a third party app-especially if they’re not a financial company.  Compiling online access to multiple companies through one app source puts you at risk for all your financial passwords and profiles.
Be aware of what you’re putting on the internet each time you ‘like’ or comment on a social post.  Artificial Intelligence captures your reaction for ad targeting-which is what happened this past election.  Those that commented or ‘liked’ posts were the recipients of more targeting; certain geographic areas were targeted during the 2016 election.
Lastly, have varied login and password credentials for each account you have-from the electric company to your retirement accounts.  Do not use the same information since if one is compromised they may all be.  We leave our digital path on the internet each time we login if we are not logging in and out securely each time with different credentials.

 

Advisory services offered through Trajan Wealth, L.L.C., an SEC-registered investment adviser. 

These links are being provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only; they do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by Trajan Wealth, L.L.C., of any of the products, services or opinions of the corporation or organization or individual. Trajan Wealth, L.L.C., bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of the external site or for that of subsequent links. Contact the external site for answers to questions regarding its content.

Is Early Retirement a Reality?

We all desire the flexible lifestyle, to not work or work when we want.   Wouldn’t it be great to spend more of our lives not working than working?  There have been countless financial plans created with this target in mind, but it may not be reality to stop one’s career before reaching the full retirement age Social Security has set for us. 

Early retirement won’t be an option for many as most American’s haven’t saved enough for retirement-and may never.  The median retirement savings balance for US adults aged 56 to 61 is $17,000 according to the Economic Policy Institute.  That’s not even enough to cover a year’s worth of food and utilities in retirement! 

What could we be doing better to increase the possibility of more American’s having the ability to retire early?  Saving!
You may be preparing to retire early or on time if you’ve been saving consistently and planning.  If this is your situation, congratulations!  To be sure your early retirement is a reality, consider these facts:

  • Leaving the workforce before full retirement age (according to Social Security) stops 401(k) contributions, Social Security Accumulation, and employer health insurance benefits.
  • Drawing pre-tax retirement savings before age 69 ½ results in an IRS penalty, further depleting your savings.
  • Health Insurance will now become your responsibility to pay as you are not eligible for Medicare until full retirement age.  Even when you’re able to use Medicare, it doesn’t cover everything, and you still need to pay for additional coverages like dental, vision, prescription, and a percentage of costs for all medical service.  Medicare is not that great of coverage- ask a retiree!

Advisory services offered through Trajan Wealth, L.L.C., an SEC-registered investment adviser. 

These links are being provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only; they do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by Trajan Wealth, L.L.C., of any of the products, services or opinions of the corporation or organization or individual. Trajan Wealth, L.L.C., bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of the external site or for that of subsequent links. Contact the external site for answers to questions regarding its content.

Tariffs, Trade Wars, and Your Investments

Since President Trump announced his intention to impose tariffs on all countries the stock market has been reacting-based on investor concerns in reaction to the media.   All indications at the time of this writing are that the tariffs would be applied to all countries, although that remains unknown. This development has risen the speculation of a trade war with the US’s major trading partners including the EU, China, Canada, and Mexico. Trump has softened his stance by indicating that countries that treat the US fairly would get relief from the tariff, although that remains unknown. A global market doesn’t avoid harm from strategic targeting of tariffs; international fallout may follow.

But is the possibility of a trade war and tariffs on imports really as dramatic as it sounds? Consider that the relationship between the US and its trade partners is quite frankly, lopsided. The US imports 4 times more than it exports to the trade partner countries. Political retaliation from other countries toward the US can negatively impact imports coming into the US resulting in increased costs on items such as clothing, food, and lifestyle items such as electronics. Agricultural exports will suffer additionally after experiencing a decline the past two years. We can only assume we are in for a bumpy ride if this ‘tariff talk’ continues.

The US may stand to benefit from buying more goods from its own home-based companies if imports become too expensive. Although certain imports are deemed necessary, such as food not grown in our climate, is a trade war stand-off enough to bulletproof the US economy? For now, the trade war and tariff talk is merely a war of words as the proposed tariffs will not go into effect until June 2018. 

Factors to consider:

  • Tariffs and trade wars typically lead to higher inflation and lower economic growth which has a negative impact on the markets.
  • While trade restrictions will create headwinds for the equity markets, ultimately it is high valuations that have a bigger long-term impact.
  • Inflation protection strategies should benefit from potentially higher inflation if this policy shift does materialize.
  • Limited duration of fixed income should buffer from rising rates driven by higher inflation caused by these policies.

These factors may not apply to all investors which is why we welcome your questions regarding your portfolio and how it may impact.

 

 

 

*Advisory services offered through Trajan Wealth, L.L.C., an SEC-registered investment adviser. 

These links are being provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only; they do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by Trajan Wealth, L.L.C., of any of the products, services or opinions of the corporation or organization or individual. Trajan Wealth, L.L.C., bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of the external site or for that of subsequent links. Contact the external site for answers to questions regarding its content.

Locations

Speak to our financial team today about your future goals and how we can help.

Contact Us