Summer newsletters now available

The latest issues of our two newsletters are now available.

Successful Women

In This Issue

Taking a real lunch break can fuel productivity and resilience
Were you meant to mentor?
The realities of remarriage


Financial Journeys

In This Issue

Savvy Social Security strategies
Sharing your hopes, fears and wishes can bring you and your adult children closer
Ways to potentially boost your retirement savings




Headlines

By Lynn Faust

Market volatility is not new. It has been going on since the market was created. It is inevitable and it challenges the psyche of man. However, to quote Warren Buffet, there’s opportunity in the market every day.

The recent activity is just like all the activity of the past. Fortunately, we do not see a looming market correction on the horizon. The economy continues to grow. The consumer has greater confidence. The price of oil is down, so you have more money to spend or save.

Like you, we remain concerned about all the conflict in the world. We continue to be concerned that Europe, unlike the U.S., has not completely addressed the financial concerns that began in 2007. And with interest rates currently at 0%, we certainly face a rise going forward.

However, I would point out that at any time in history you can find a headline that frightened all of us. In March 1972, the cover of Time Magazine read, “Is the US going broke?” The Christmas 1974 cover read, “Recessions Greetings.” November 1987 read, “The Crash.” Similar headlines were repeated in 2007, 2008 and 2009. And any of them could be a headline today.

But the reality is, the U.S. is still here. The economy is doing better and we remain the strongest financial and military country in the world. The strongest companies in the world are based in the US and they are still growing, helping you, our clients, increase your wealth.

During bad times I feel like I’m a psychologist, as we walk the road together to better times. But never forget that America, through capitalism, allows for the greatest creativity in the world. We are unrivalled in our manufacturing depth. And I would tell you we are in a long term bull market which will continue to emotionally challenge us – you might even see media words of a “plunging market” or a “tanking market.” But when dawn arrives, you will see, just as Francis Scott Key did, that the flag still is still there. We sing that song today, we will sing it in fifty years and, I believe, we will be singing it in 1,000 years. We live in the best country in the world, even with its imperfections. Capitalism is still alive and we will continue to be there to help you find the best companies to be invested in.

Our glass should always be half full.



Client Close-Up – Beverly and Carl Galante

They've remodeled nine houses and built four. They've lived up and down the east coast and in Texas, all while raising a family, building a career, and pursuing artistic endeavors. They've only been in Greenville for two years and one of them published a novel and the other appeared in an award-winning production of a brand new play.

Who knows what they'll do next?

We recently caught up with Beverly and Carl Galante at our offices and talked to them about their many artistic adventures, their plans for the future and their love for their new hometown.

"We were born and raised in the Boston area," says Carl. "Then we lived in New Hampshire for 20 years, in two or three different palaces. Mostly on the sea coast, in Exeter." They then moved to North Carolina and, later, to Texas. "We were in the Austin area in a couple of different places for 14 years. But the reason we came back is we were kind of done with Austin. I had moved there for a job, and I was done with the job and went back to work for myself. And we enjoyed it, but we were on three acres and it was a lot of work and Texas summers are very, very, very hot. And we just wanted to be closer to the east coast and closer to family."

They knew they didn't want to be on the coast any more – they'd lived through five hurricanes in Wilmington – and were looking for a nice medium-sized city. Greenville popped up on their radar, thanks in part to a Southwest Airlines magazine article, and they began doing some serious research. Finally, after completing a virtual tour via Google Earth but before having actually visited Greenville, the Galantes put down a deposit on a downtown apartment. That was two years ago and they've never looked back.

"It's just a great city to live in," says Carl. "It's been really intelligently developed."

Since arriving, they've not only had a house built in historic Dunean, they've been stretching their artistic muscles.

Beverly worked as a marketer for many years, but also painted and ran her own stained glass studio. But by the time she arrived here, she was ready for a new focus. "Even though I made my living as an artist," she says, "I won awards in high school for my writing. Most of my adult life was spent as an artist, only sporadically writing. Finally I said, I really love to write, so I'm going to sink my teeth into that one. I don't feel like traipsing around the country with my canvases. It's just not fun anymore. But this way, writing, I get it all out and I'm enjoying it and it's resulting in novels."

Her first novel, The Final Gift, came out in December, 2013. "It's basically about relationships," she says. "It's about two women who grew up together and parted ways after high school. One decided to marry a rich guy, the other one went to college." As time goes by, strange events bring them back together. "They both start having hallucinations that link them somehow. The one that married the rich guy is in trouble and her friend steps in to help her, and it's just one crazy thing after another. There's ghosts, there's mystery, there's comedy, there's maybe a little hint of reincarnation - if somebody wants to believe that happens - and a lot of heartwarming things about their friendship."

As in so many of their other projects, her novels – her second should come out this summer and she's in the final stages of a third - are collaborations. While Beverly writes them, Carl edits and designs the covers. Working together is just what they do.

"We worked together on all the house work," Carl says. "We actually built the first two from scratch ourselves, as well as all the remodel work. And the last two we had the exterior put up and we still did everything on the inside together. Also, I've worked with her – she had a stained glass studio for 13 years in Exeter New Hampshire, and I did a ton of work with her. I did all her installations."

Carl's primary creative outlet has been the stage. "I've done theatre work for the last ten years. I've slowed down a bit, but I'm still looking at things. And even as I say I've slowed down a bit, I realize that I haven't been here two years yet and I've already been in five different productions of various sorts. I guess for me that's just slower than the usual pace."

One of those productions was a staged reading of a new play for Centre Stage's New Play Festival. "I was in the one that actually won," he says. "It was cast by Melanie Williford and she cast it perfectly. Every character was spot on what they needed to be for this play, and that's probably why it won. And it was funny. It's called The Night We Bombed Lincoln Towing. It was hilarious." The play will get a full production in the fall.

Meanwhile, Carl continues to focus on photography, an art he uses in creating covers for Beverly's books. And as he looks back, he thinks it's something that just comes naturally to him. "I've taken pictures all my life," he says. "I've got a picture of myself eight years old with a camera around my neck."

They're also at a place in their lives where the focus is all about sharing. "I can't say we don't care about making money," says Beverly, "but I really want people to read my book. When I was an artist, I really wanted people to see my work. And it never became a thing where I had to become a millionaire through it. I just really enjoy the journey and the process, and the money never entered. So I'm not frantic. I'm not one of those frantic people I'm just really happy to enjoy the journey, honestly."

"I did computer consulting for almost thirty years, and that underlies all the interesting stuff," says Carl. "Working for myself, I had a lot of leeway to do all these other things, like learning to fly. It made it easier. I couldn't work at a job very long with all the other interests I've had."

 



5 Questions to Ask About Long-Term Care

The eldest seniors today - those frequently referred to as "The Greatest Generation" - lived through a period in which the government and private employers launched, proudly promoted and then reduced funding programs to help Americans live comfortably during retirement.

Back in 1935, when Social Security was first introduced, the average 65-year old received benefits for an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years. Today, however, at least one member of a 65-year-old couple is likely to be alive at age 91. And studies suggest that almost 70% of those over age 65 will need some type of long-term care for three years, and 20% will need care for more than five years.

While many baby boomers are diligently saving and planning for their retirement, it's important to understand how simply living a longer life can impact your income, health and quality of life.


  1. Why should I consider a Long-Term Care Insurance (LTCI) policy? Thinking about how LTCI fits into your overall retirement plan could help protect your assets, preserve your independence and ensure quality care. Plus, having that safety net could potentially relieve friends and family from the stress of unexpected financial and emotional burdens.

  2. Doesn't my health insurance cover Long-Term Care? Most health care insurance policies do not cover long-term care. Like Medicare, they pay benefits for only short-term rehabilitative care. For a true long-term care plan, you need an insurance plan that offers coverage for years - not months. Today there are different ways to plan for long-term care. And while an ample portfolio might absorb future long-term care costs, most people prefer to rely on quality insurance rather than pay out of pocket.

  3. When should I look into LTCI? It's hard to think of ourselves in need of care, whether that's adult daycare, assisted-living or in-home services, or nursing home care. And, it can be hard to plan for future unknowns, when more immediate costs demand your attention. But timing is critical when it comes to funding long-term care, and most consider mid-50s the ideal age to consider long-term care insurance. Waiting much longer could bring much higher premiums.

  4. Can I use my current assets to fund LTCI? Yes. There are other options in addition to traditional LTCI. Also, if you've seen increased premiums in LTCI policies you already own, we may have alternatives for you to consider. We can help you compare and contrast options to determine what is best for you. We can also help you think through different funding options, including paying directly from an investment account.

  5. How can I find out more? We have information available about all these options and more. Give us a call to schedule a full review today.


Winter newsletters now available

The latest issues of our two newsletters are now available.

Successful Women

In This Issue

Keep your friends close in retirement
Single women preparing for retirement can take cues from the four ladies of the '80s sitcom "The Golden Girls." Living with roommates, maintaining an entrepreneurial spirit and keeping physically fit are just a few of the things these women got right.

Balancing work, family and college
You don't have to give up your dreams of a higher education just because you're pressed for time and money as a working mother. Starting a 529 plan and learning how to speed-read are just a few examples of how to prepare for your life as a student.

A modern spin on preservation
Old bike chains and bathtubs have found new life as handmade items for home decoration and more. Upcycling, a way of turning discarded items into a whole new product, has gained popularity as consumers turn to websites such as Etsy to buy one-of-a-kind things that are easy on the environment.

Financial Journeys

In This Issue

Think long term about your future care
Deciding how to fund a long-term care plan now can save you later. Take a look at the costs of living longer and how traditional long-term care insurance can help.

The triple tax advantage of a Health Savings Account (HSA)
When you use your HSA funds only for qualified medical expenses, you can net a triple tax break.

Five Roth Rules
As an investor, there are always choices to make: pros and cons to weigh with your advisor. Deciding on your retirement savings vehicles is no different. There are so many options, but a Roth IRA, if you qualify, can really help you save for retirement, if you follow the rules.



Fall newsletters now available

The latest issues of our two newsletters are now available.

Successful Women

In This Issue

The scoop on Social Security
If you’re divorced or have experienced the loss of a spouse, you may be able to claim benefits on your spouse to increase retirement benefits. Incorporate these benefits into your strategy for when and how you will claim them to potentially increase your retirement benefits.

Surviving the retirement quicksand
Despite what you’ve seen in adventure films, quicksand won’t kill you – it just trips you up. The same can be said of common problems women face in saving for retirement. They may slow you down, but there are strategies to overcome them.

Baby-ready in nine months
A baby will change your life – and your finances. But there are things you can do to prepare before delivery day and life gets hectic. Review this list to help baby-proof your finances.

Financial Journeys

In This Issue

Five retirement questions couples should address together
Have you ever really sat down with your spouse and thought about what your retirement would look like? Often couples have two different perspectives – and not enough income resources to support both. To help you get on the same page, address these five questions together.

Nine scams that target the elderly
We may not want to burden our adult children, but isolating ourselves or deciding to take a leap of faith in the wrong person could have major consequences. Make sure you and your loved ones are aware of some of the most common scams to which older Americans fall victim.

Red flags of memory loss
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, more than 90% of those who complain about memory impairment do not have Alzheimer’s or dementia – so don’t jump to worrisome conclusions. But the more you recognize the red flags for memory loss, the better you can take measures to mitigate negative consequences.



Is it really important how my bank and brokerage accounts are titled?

Absolutely! Account titling often occurs haphazardly – an individual opens a bank or brokerage account, meets Mr. or Ms. Right, they live together or get married…down the line there’s a problem. If one partner dies and that bank or brokerage account is still titled only in the original holder’s name, those assets can’t be readily accessed by the survivor. The solution may be as straightforward as changing to joint accounts, but it’s not always that simple. In fact, titling has implications across a wide range of estate planning issues, as well as other situations such as Medicaid eligibility, special needs qualifications, and borrowing power, to mention just a few. Account titling is more than just using the right form – it can also be a tool for estate planning. Review your account titling and determine if that’s still the arrangement you want. If you have questions, contact us and we’d be happy to review them with you or refer you to an estate attorney if needed. Then discuss them with your financial planner or give us a call to review it with you.


Image courtesy of Pong / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How do I know what I’m really worth and if it’s enough for retirement?

Your balance sheet is the best predictor of future retirement and you need to know if it can support your current lifestyle. Using 12/31/13 as the effective date, update your personal balance sheet ( assets versus liabilities, broadly speaking). You should already have – or develop if you don’t – an idea of what you’re going to need to reach important financial goals. If you’re already retired, you also need to know if the income you receive from Social Security, pensions, retirement plan assets or other sources is still going to support your current lifestyle. Either way, you’ve got to have a scorecard. Every retirement plan is based on this, so take the time to bring all these numbers up to date. Then discuss them with your financial planner or give us a call to review it with you.


Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net



Fall newsletters now available

The latest issues of our two newsletters are now available.

Successful Women
The Successful Women newsletter covers financial planning concerns, family issues and other timely issues impacting women.

Financial Journeys
The Financial Journeys newsletter tackles various financial planning issues, with a focus on retirement planning.